Economic reality and unemployment

unemployment

image source: marketmixup.com

The most recent unemployment number, 6.7% nationally, unchanged from the previous month. Among Millennials the number stands above 15%. One of the “news” pieces on Fox this morning was on how those in the 15% who favored President Obama have been failed by him (The Young Vote). Has the President failed the youth of America? Or, has and IS America failing the youth and for that matter everyone?

The Great Recession, does Fox and everyone else remember this devastating economic event? I certainly do and the lasting effects of the GR is seen in these numbers and will continue to affect our economy until economic, monetary and tax policies are reversed. Yes, President Obama has failed the youth and America as Bush II, Clinton and Bush I, all the way back to Reagan. Business in America, the favored group with the all to well-known “trickle down economics. Which despite the rhetoric from President Obama has continued for three decades with little on the horizon to hope for change soon. The tax system, with its low rates on the rich and business (with its tax breaks) would be a great starting point. Changing these breaks to encourage business to build factories and manufacture here and encourage EMPLOYMENT.

Everyone cannot be a professional! College and the youth who have been left behind. College that many of us have encouraged for our children, are there enough jobs for these youth? By the plus 15% unemployment number, one would have to say that answer would be no. With more college graduates each year, one can expect a higher number in the future. But where will they get a job if they don’t go to college? We make less in this country each year, so moving to the “labor” of the labor market a failed choice as well.

Raising the minimum wage, a great idea? Not if it is done on its own. Let me be clear, I favor a minimum wage increase ($15.00). It will immediately impact the lower paid workers and will benefit our consumer economy. Done alone, it will not have a lasting impact. Washington MUST promote investment in America, its manufacturing capabilities along with its infrastructure to move those products.

America’s decline, high unemployment and under-employment. How does President Obama, Washington fix? Politicians must acknowledge first that the 30 plus years of “trickle down economics” has created our current woes. Fixing it, not just one move will change our direction. The economic divide is the largest it has ever been and if allowed to continue we are well on our way to the next depression.

Debt ceiling, raising the limit or default?

Congress

image source: www.teambuildinginc.com

The nations debt ceiling limit is fast approaching and what will happen if it is not raised? Opinions on the effect of not raising the limit vary depending on which side of the aisle you sit on (Republican/Democrat). Fundamentally the government will not be able to spend money that it does not have, borrowing will cease. The rate of borrowing by the United States is at the alarming rate of $30,000 a second. Obviously this number is unsustainable (to steal a GOP word) but how long can it possibly continue without addressing?

To service our debt the government last year spent $223 billion on interest payments on a debt of $17 trillion. With a continued budget deficit in last years budget of $901 billion (5.5% of GDP) this number would be the number to focus on. To eliminate the need for increasing the debt ceiling, Washington needs to address this number. The sequester that effectively reduced the deficit with automatic cuts took both parties off the hook politically. And more needs to be done if we are to get our house in order. But what needs to be done seems impossible considering the gridlock of Congress.

Increasing taxes or to decrease spending? Or a combination of both? No new taxes always the pledge of the GOP is not a realistic approach as cutting programs is not to Democrats. The deficit in comparison to the overall budget of $3.8 trillion is significant about 24%. These numbers indicate that both parties will have to move from their positions if we are to successfully balance our budget and send the debt ceiling fear to extinction.

If no agreement is made and we “default”, the government will not go bankrupt. Spending will be prioritized and some will be paid and others will not. Service on our debt will continue, Social Security payments will likely be made and our debt? This will stop growing at least for the short period that no deal is in place. The overall effect on our economy is unknown. To be a betting man, I would think that the stock markets would crash and “WE THE PEOPLE” will suffer yet again. Those in Washington who are representing, I would also bet that their paychecks will not be at risk.

sources: bankruptingamerica.org , Wikipedia.org , Thomas.loc.gov

Fiscal Cliff is exactly where Washington wants to go

Remember Us? we made the fiscal cliff

DOOM, the Fiscal Cliff is on the horizon and Washington again is at impasse? Much is being said of this impending DOOM that will fall on the economy if nothing is done. Automatic spending cuts and tax increases will enacted on January 1. The “Fiscal Cliff” a name that has been given to legislation bourne from previous non-compromise, or for a more honest description the failure of the SUPER COMMITTEE. We do remember the Super-Committee don’t we?  The bi-partisan group of leaders who were tasked with dealing with taxes and spending. Now, the countdown is on AGAIN, to a meaningless deadline that the useless in Washington will ignore.

Yesterday Mitch McConnell said it best, “we will either reach compromise or we will not.”  Does this sound as dire as the media is making out to be? The cliff, falling off to where? It is the place that both parties want to be in some fashion or another isn’t it? Automatic spending cuts( The Republicans) and Tax Increases on the Rich (The Democrats), will be the result that they  the end result after this latest failure in Washington.

So what did they actually do? They avoided the difficult, which is standing by a position either it be tax-cuts or spending-cuts and passing it off as a “fiscal cliff” to the American people. And the American People bought it hook-line and sinker. The cliff that we are allegedly about to fall off of and into economic calamity will have no name or party attached. All of that has been avoided and we have just voted basically all of them in again. John Boehner will get to pass the buck along with Nancy Pelosi and every other member of the House and Senate. The blame, will be because “they” cannot compromise, “they” being Republicans and Democrats not the actual NAMES of those with the power to make or in this case not make tough choices.

It will be left up to us to decide how this “fall of the cliff” will affect out lives. Afterall our economy is driven by the consumer and we will create our next recession or we won’t. So to steal a line from former President George W. Bush,”Go out and SHOP”,our economy depends on it.

Growing America’s economy the Eisenhower way

image: en.wikipedia.org

America’s future and how do we grow our economy, the never-ending and always hotly contested debate in Washington. Party-line politics drives much if not all the debate with tax-cuts taking center-stage with Republicans. The belief that private business will create jobs with tax-cuts and tax-breaks. Always avoided in their claim the obvious. which is many of these companies are pocketing the savings and/or returning the money to shareholders. Spending our way to economic growth/expansion, a dirty thought in the world of Republicans and also the right one.

Getting down and dirty, lets take a look back in America’s history and 1956. President Dwight D. Eisenhower championed and authorized the Federal Aid Highway Act the largest public works project ever in the United States. The Inter-State system of roads which  has a total length exceeding 47,000 miles is largely responsible (if not solely) into making the United States the worlds largest economy. The costs of this massive project have been paid by a combination of gasoline taxes, general fund receipts, bonds, and other taxes ( gas taxes account for 70% of bill). Construction of our Inter-State Highway system took 35 years to complete and in this time we have also financed repairs as well. President Eisenhower’s roads plan was driven by economics but also defense, moving troops and military equipment across the nation quickly and efficiently was also important to Eisenhower.

We often hear “we must invest in America’s future” and this statement takes us in many directions with much debate and little action. America would not have grown into the world’s largest economy without investment and we will not grow without it. America’s great expansion model can today be seen in China’s growth and how they are investing in their infrastructure. Rebuilding America and creating jobs in mass can only come from the Federal Government. Improvements to our highway system can again be a large part of this. Over the long-term, other benefits achieved would be a reduction in congestion (reduced pollution), improved gas mileage and lower transportation costs.  Would that also impact the costs of our goods moved across the nation? It would also have a positive impact on our gas consumption!

Washington needs a history lesson and specifically the lesson that can be learned from President Eisenhower’s plan to investment in America. We also should state another obvious from this plan, JOBS equate to TAX REVENUE another political dirty word and hot potato. 

 

 

Buckle your dogs! New Jersey police to crack down and issue fines

pic: defenderofthemiddleclass.com

The radio and newspaper coverage in New Jersey has been clear, if you have rover in your car you better seatbelt him in. The campaign to inform motorists has been going on now for roughly a week and over that time I have changed the way I feel about the reinforcement of an existing law.

My initial thought was probably what many thought, New Jersey is at it again looking to collect $$$$ for their coffers, in this case $250.00 fine for a violation. That was until after I had heard a radio spot on KYW 1060. The interview piece had someone from the state discussing the law and more important was the description he gave. Your dog is in the car unsecured and you get into an accident and that dog becomes a projectile. Potentially leaving the car, injuring others and killing your pet. Does anyone consider this when transporting a pet? Obviously no, if  New Jersey is coming out with a campaign to educate people prior to cracking down. Changing a view totally by one 20 second news piece is very unusual for me and I am sure many. Could my initial thought have something to do with collecting fines? Sure it could, but in the end following the law is better for your pet and wallet. CATS TOO, they are to be transported in a carrier. Finally!!! something good’s going on in JERSEY!

California’s budget crisis, voters to decide tax increase

Gov,Brown

image source: wikimedia.org

California’s budget deficit projection $16 billion, up from the projected shortfall of $9.2 billion, due to lower than expected tax collections. Severe cuts are coming to public safety and education if voters do not approve tax increases in November said Governor Brown Saturday. In attempting to avoid severe cuts, Governor Brown is taking the crisis to the voters to avoid the partisan gridlock. Republican’s have not supplied the needed votes and the 2/3 needed to pass a tax increase. The Republicans believe the increase will keep the economy from growing and also have pointed to a rosy revenue forecast as an issue.

If voters fail to approve a tax increase, education will be hit hard as Brown outlined in January. Kindergarten thru 12, will see their school year reduced by three weeks along with higher college tuition. Also, planned cuts to the states court system will provide the budget with relief.

California’s government is a perfect example of what is wrong with the country. Like Washington, the legislative body has no desire to make the difficult choices. Leaving it up to the voters in November takes both parties off the hook for cuts in spending and tax increases. What is left for the elected to do other than collect a paycheck? Legislative bodies must work together, get past the partisan and do what they have been elected to do, LEGISLATE. Voters decide on who represents their interests, ballot questions and initiatives signal the failure of our system. Serving your state or country is not just the occupation of an office. Make a decision, it is not the job of the voters to legislate and approve budgets.

The police, cash cow for state,cities and towns

 

Police traps in NJ

image source: http://www.freerepublic.com

To hear anyone in law enforcement deny that a quota system for writing tickets doesn’t exist, is equal to someone telling you that the world is flat. At every month’s end, you see plenty of hidden police cars (mostly when it is too late). This has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with generating revenue for cash strapped states,cities and towns. Driving the same route each day, does make it easier to find the “traps” that are set. Which must be why our law enforcement is getting creative in their attempt to bust us and get some $$$$.

I will change the name of the town/street in New Jersey so not to piss anyone off and become a target. This event took place the last week of February.

Driving at 6:45 a.m. on Lazy Parkway at 35 miles an hour in a posted 35 mile zone, parked and idling on the side of the road a police cruiser (a sea of brake lights). After passing, about 2 blocks or 30 seconds later, hidden between two buildings another police cruiser. Driving on, within two blocks on the opposite side of the road another. Last but not least, a half mile up the road the final police cruiser, again waiting and watching.

In what is no coincidence we have four police cars lined up on the same road less than a mile apart, at the end of month. A “dirty trick” if I do say so maybe even desperate. If they want to say that the last week of the month had nothing to do with it, I guess it doesn’t matter. But I know they are lying. Instead of patrolling our streets to make them safe, they instead dedicate their time to policing traffic. This obviously is where the money is which is why they are there.

To add insult to injury, I recently was speaking to a friend who received a traffic ticket in a New Jersey town. The “criminal” was equally as irritated by the mandatory court appearance. This for a traffic ticket? Written on the ticket, was you must appear in court. Another added $25.00 on top of the ticket for court costs. This town is not unique, as I have been told that other cash strapped towns have mandatory court appearances for parking tickets.

The police who are out on the street handing out tickets are there at someone’s orders. They are not to blame for the quota system that is in place. Generating revenue for local and state government is not why we pay taxes. The local municipalities who have mandatory court appearances for traffic and parking tickets? I have nothing to say on that subject that is fit for print.

ATTENTION NEW JERSEY VISITORS!!! watch yourself traveling through the state. Don’t break the law, because you might be back for an unplanned visit. The New Jersey welcome to the state sign’s should read: Welcome to New Jersey, break any traffic/parking law you WILL BE BACK!

 

 

Tax Holiday extended, Boehner’s image unchanged

Congress

image source: www.teambuildinginc.com

Can you believe it? The tax holiday was signed into law Friday, extending the cut two months into next year. The “drama” created by Speaker Boehner was unnecessary angst for the people, who are living on the edge. That specifically would be the unemployed, who received a benefit extension; but lets not exclude the 160 million who get to keep an extra $24.00 a week.

If you support the reduction in the Social Security tax or not, are we on the right path?  We have a temporary fix in place, which began in 2010. Has this fix done anything to improve the economy?  If it has, it is difficult to imagine what the economy would be like without it. Yes, having more money in your pocket feels good now ,but in the long run we are playing into the hands of the eventual privatization push of Social Security. Who would end up being happy with that outcome?

WALL-STREET would see another windfall of money achieved from all the “little people” investing into their personal social security account. That is if the end result is the mandating of  putting money into this type of account. We all know how the GOP feels about mandating Americans to buy medical insurance. Having a lack of a mandate to invest is a stretch, considering again, WALL-STREET is set up to make big bucks if privatizing comes to fruition.

As I said in the title of this post, Boehner’s image of  lacking leadership and being an elite douche’ is alive and well. To be fair though, he is not the only one in Washington that fits this mold. Playing around with the average Americans dollar, whether it is a tax dollar,unemployment dollar, social security dollar or medical reimbursement dollar, to simply put it, is WRONG. While the politicians including President Obama play around with short-term solutions, the long-term becomes murkier with each passing day. The only thing that is getting stronger is the platform of the Occupy Movement.

Camera’s policing traffic, is it for revenue, safety or simply BIG BROTHER

image source: usatoday.com

Nationwide we have over 3,000 camera’s in more than 600 communities policing traffic. The effectiveness of them are unknown, as no official report has ever been released. According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, seventy-one percent of New Jersey residents who responded to a poll, believe they should be used state-wide. Twenty four percent believe they were in use to make money for local governments.

In the second quarter of this year, American Traffic Solutions has signed agreements to provide 274 additional camera’s across the country. Charles Territo, a company spokesman believes the reason is ” law enforcement has to do more with less” for their growth. “If you can limit violations, you limit crashes and save lives.” American Traffic Solutions charges a monthly fee and does not make money off fines. It would be safe to say that his opinion is bias. Is the poll taken accurate? Do you believe that we would be “safer” if more camera’s were patrolling our streets?

With no real data available, I take from the growth in camera use, that it is all about the money. Law enforcement doing “more with less” being that they can go somewhere else in the community to hide behind a tree or whatever and catch more traffic violators. The twenty-four percent, though the minority on the issue are correct in their beliefs.

A few years back, a relative of mine had their home robbed. The police came and took the obligatory report. After this was done the relative asked if he had any chance recovering his stolen items. The police responded: “we have limited resources, I would not expect recovery. Since the robbery, I have traveled through the town often. In my travels the “limited resources” were busy hiding on the side of the road waiting for the dastardly violator of traffic laws.(THE REVENUE STREAM) I guess the police weren’t lying, he had no chance of recovering his stuff.

Big Brother and the use of camera’s is all about collecting needed money. I am with the twenty-four percent in that belief. Using the camera’s everywhere is the answer in fighting crime. Allowing thieves to get away while police concentrate on writing traffic violations is wasting valuable resources. Protecting people from crime is what they are supposed to being doing. Camera’s everywhere for traffic!!!! Getting a ticket in the mail is far better than a policemen holding me up.

source: Courier Post 7/17