"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Could Bill Clinton Bailout Barack Obama?

We are notably surprised that the 42nd president of this country of ours has remained visibly silent on the mess the 44th president is in.  Bill Clinton has never been much for keeping quiet on matters where he has an idea that will work.  And we all know that he knows that he ran the country pretty well.  We know that he takes credit for balancing the budget and creating millions of jobs.  Now why would someone who has balanced the budget and created jobs not help out his fellow democrat who is getting hammered for not balancing the budget and creating jobs?  That is our question of the month.
First, as always with us, let’s look at the facts:
People employed when Bill took office – 117.0 million (1/1993)
People employed when Bill left office – 136.2 million (1/2001)
People employed when Barack took office – 140.4 million (1/2009)
People employed today –   140.3 million (8/2011)
Okay, so while Bill was in office the people employed went up by 19 million :)
And while Barack has been in office the people employed went down by 100,000 :(
So, we can conclude that Bill apparently knew what he was doing and that means that Bill can surely talk about what, how, when and where he did it.  So, c’mon Bill, Barack needs you to tell him what, how, where and when to get some people employed.
Next let’s look at some more facts:
US Debt when Bill took office –   $4.2 trillion
US Debt when Bill left office – $5.7 trillion
US Debt when Barack took office – $10.6 trillion
US Debt today –   $14.7 trillion
Okay, so while Bill was in office the debt went up by $1.5 trillion, over eight years :(
And while Barack has been in office the debt has gone up by $4.1 trillion even though Barack has only been in office for 32 months and Bill was in office for 96 months.  THREE TIMES LONGER AND MUCH LESS DEBT :(((  That tells us that Bill has got to have some thoughts on balancing the budget and cooling it on the debt.  So, c’mon Bill, Barack needs you to tell him what, when, where and how to balance the budget.
So, where is Bill?  Why isn’t Bill helping Barack out of the mess he is in?  What the dickens is going on with Bill that he isn’t at the white house helping out his fellow democrat in this time of need?
Bill?  Oh, Bill?  Wherefore art thou Bill?  Has anyone seen Bill?  This is what Bill looks like.  If you see him please ask him to call Barack at the white house.  Pronto.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Racism Beard

Once again we hear the words of an ignorant man who views the attacks on the president and his party in power as being racist.  Should we even comment?  We have been called names for writing about fundamentals such as “living within our means” and  “sacrifice and frugality” and “don’t pass debt on to future generations.”  (See:  TheFundamentals, April 6 and May 21, 2010; January 11, March 10 and June 2, 2011.) 

What is going on behind these attacks; this simpleton excuse of labeling a critic with the “racist” designation.  Are the people who seek a different form of governance just haters at heart?  Can all our neighbors who want a balanced budget and less government everywhere just be out to take down minorities?  Is that what motivates these otherwise normal looking folks?  Is this teapartyphobic actor on to something?  http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/09/23/morgan-freeman-obama-has-made-racism-worse-tea-party-will-do-whatever#ixzz1YnWDliVr  Many of those with the racist allegations are minorities, mostly blacks as is the case with the actor.
If you embrace fundamentals are you racist?
American society, compared with most other world societies, is spectacularly tolerant.  Unless you expect something for nothing.  Considering the makeup and what little remains of openness in America, this place; this country; this melting pot offers the singular privilege of providing opportunity to anyone who will work hard.  The culture of the society actually promotes this opportunity to do something; accomplish something; earn something; build something.  If you wish to.  Anyone who wants to work hard and save is going to accumulate some wealth.  The key is working hard and saving.   Sure there are people who are wealthy who don’t have to work hard.  Sure there are those who cheat and skimp and make do off the work of others to benefit themselves. But there is nowhere on the globe where the simple combination of studying your three  R’s coupled with hard work and a frugal approach to spending and a generous approach to saving offers a comparable wealth accumulation chance.
But the politics and economics and bureaucracy of the last 50 years (particularly the last 20)  are now threatening the very fabric of this land of opportunity.  And those who are suffering the most are not the well to do but the very middle and lower class folk who bought into the learn, study, work, save opportunity.  They have been abandoned by a growing class of government sponsored beneficiaries who gain without the needed effort.  And once they gain they grasp with deadly grips.  They will not be discarded through words or political debates or legislative compromises.  They will only be discarded through tough and repeated efforts to eliminate them.  We doubt that many of the candidates or members of the opposition party recognize how severe the fight will be to dislodge the massive supporters of the party in power. 
But it’s not all roses for the gang in power.  The incumbent party in power is fighting for its survival.  It has pursued destructive policies for so long now and embraced so many in the grasp of these policies that it knows itself that the end is near.  It has no clue what to do next besides more of the same.  If they could survive for two or four more years by throwing Obama under their bus they would.  Which brings us back to where we started. 
Obama’s problem is not the out of power party or the clamoring tea party folks who scare them.  Time will tell if this gang can gain power and actually accomplish their objectives.  Go ahead and call them names if you wish but Obama’s real problem is with his own ilk.  Be it the actors or the party leaders or the ones who point fingers and call people names.  Where do they go next?  What they have built is not sustainable.  It just doesn’t work.  And all the clamoring and all the finger pointing and all the name calling coming from within their ranks and even from ignorant actors who get a few minutes on TV will not change the simple fact that this group has failed; their gimme polices have collided with the law of diminishing returns.  They have no place to go.
Racism is not what is taking them down.  Fundamentals are taking them down.
They use racism as a beard for failed policies.  A mask.  A deflection.   Next time you hear some ignorant person use the racist word try to show some empathy.  They just don’t know what else to do.  They had a chance and they made bad choices.   They can’t bring themselves to the simple conclusion that they choose false gods with false promises.  They are losers.  For the first time in history, it is not the haves who need to be thrown out; it is those who want something for nothing.  JFKennedy said ask what can you do for your country.  LBJohnson said sit back and the country will do it for you.
The Obama gang chose the wrong guy with the wrong policies. 
Was Kennedy racist?  Is Herman Cain racist?
By the way, did you realize that Mr. Cain is the only current candidate running for the nomination of President of the United States of America who is not; we repeat NOT, a politician.  We like this guy.

Mr. Herman Cain.  Several years ago.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank You NYTimes

Their article is an incredibly succinct telling of the silliness of the current administration and the many inexperienced people it employs pulling huge salaries from our tax payments even though they have no experience or judgment as to business matters.
The story is entitled, “In Rush to Assist Solyndra, U.S. Missed Warning Signs” and you can access it at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/us/politics/in-rush-to-assist-solyndra-united-states-missed-warning-signs.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=politics
Please read the story.  We must get these incompetent people out of the federal government and return them to Chicago and Illinois politics where this form of behavior is rewarded with fat paychecks and even fatter pension checks.
535 million US taxpayer dollars gone within months.  Obama praises the company.  His Chicago crony, Valerie Jarrett, meets with company officials; repeatedly.  The dope running the energy department, SChu, urges a speedup in getting the money to the company.
Even today more dopes from the energy department justify and support the effort to waste this money as quickly as possible.  Terminated?  Indicted?  Not a chance.
The federal prosecutors would rather indict some baseball player who may have artificially tried to build strength so that he could hit more home runs and then decided to deny it.  Who would you prosecute?  A baseball player who did not cost the taxpayer one cent or dopes at the energy department who wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer money in several months?
This company that took the money and wasted it paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists to help them get the money.  This has Chicago written all over it.  This is the Chicago way.  This is the destruction of America through crony, criminal politics.
Thank you NYTimes for writing the story and telling it straight.
The government employees who touched this deal must be indicted for taxpayer waste and fraud.  There has to be one prosecutor somewhere in the department of justice who knows how to build a case and hold government employees personally responsible for this inept and corrupt behavior.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Obama Blew It. If only...

He had the chance; that knocking at the door; the once in a lifetime opportunity to take his country somewhere the Bushes and the Clinton's and all the rest of them couldn’t. And he didn’t.  So he goes the way of those who hear the sound at the door but don’t recognize when opportunity is knocking.  They are so captured by their speeches and their history that they cannot recognize when circumstances and chance and timing bring them the once in a lifetime situation where they just need to do what is simple and right and time tested and forget about all the rhetoric and the promises and the expectations of supporters and special interests.

So, he blew it and America suffers.  Here is what he could have done and what America could have done and how all would be very different, if only…
Obama entered office in the middle of a year old crisis.  Most of the severe problems had been mitigated; not solved but not ready to blow up.  The GM and Chrysler deals were an opportunity to let the bankruptcy courts prevail with their reorganization plans and let the contracts disappear and let the resurrected GM and Chrysler stand on their own.  The simple lesson for all else to observe would have been monumental.  He did otherwise.

Next, he could have started to cut back the federal agencies; the rules; the bureaucrats.  He could have started with the white house; its operating budget; the staff and moved into every corner of the so called executive branch and made cuts.  And as he made them he could have explained what he was doing; why he was doing it and how much saving were being realized.  He could have welcomed new business to this unburdened environment.  He didn’t.
And then he could have come to the people and said its time for all of us to make an effort.  In order to balance the budget we must eliminate some tax deductions and we must ask our high wage earners to pay more.  He didn’t.  Instead he forced through a costly health care benefit with the assistance of his once in a lifetime liberal democrat party hacks controlling both the house and senate.  He had this limited focus when the opportunity was broad and deep.
Then he could have said it is time for our seniors to pick up a piece of the burden.  No more social security cost of living increases; they are eliminated just as we did for all federal employees; we are going to add 12 months to the retirement age over the next four years and we are going to start collecting a co pay on all Medicare services.  We also will introduce a cap on Medicare and Medicaid payments.  We can’t provide an open blank check anymore.  This is his biggest failure.  Someone, sometime soon must do it.
And then he could deliver a speech to the people who live here without proper documentation.  Something like this, “We are not condemning you but you have a choice.  Identify yourself and return to your homeland over the next 6 months.  We will notify you when we need you to return as a guest worker.  Or, if you choose to not do so, when you encounter any authority you will be arrested and returned and not be welcome to come back.  Ever again.”  He didn't.
Next to the folks who are not working.  There will be jobs available.  Many will be entry level, lower paying.  You must apply and find a job because if you don’t you will be required to join a work program and live according to the programs rules and requirements.  They will be strict.  No more pay for not working.
While he was engaging in these activities, he would have been conducting a thorough review of America’s military involvements around the globe with an idea to bringing as many military personnel home as quickly as possible. The only compelling reason to maintain a foreign military presence is to guarantee basic security and materiel needed to maintain our society and our commerce.  We will enforce those basics and we have the military might to do so.  The rest of the hopeful, wishful, democratic building or bad guy containment exercises will become the responsibility of our neighbors and allies with our occasional assistance. 
Last, our primary focus at home is twofold.   First, we need to make more products here and sell more of them overseas.  We can do it.  But it means that our primary focus is commerce; those who engage in commerce are the good guys and they need to be treated as such by a cooperative assisting government; not burdened by a complex system of rules and bureaucrats who prevent the above goal attainment.  Second, we need to reduce our debt.   We will do that through a combination of all of the above activities and we will do it with occasional special efforts (I am personally going to ask Warren to write a check to start this process) to pay down a specific amount of debt.  Our target for the first 24 months is simply to stop adding to the debt.  Then we will begin to start a repayment program.  We will live within our means by the end of my first four year term.
All will contribute to this effort.  We will do our best to make it fair and equitable.  We will probably make some mistakes.  We will move to correct them.  But we will not tolerate any group, be it big or small, that refuses to participate; refuses to pull their share of the effort; claims some form of exception or excuse.  Not going to happen.
In four years I will encourage all primary opponents in my party to take me on.  If you can find someone else to run the program and someone new can bring their ideas and plans to improve this effort, they should have the opportunity to make their case.
It’s not about me folks.  You voted for change.  Let’s get going.

If only...  Those two lonely words.  Maybe the next president will decide to lead and not just follow.  We'll see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Did We Get For $10 Trillion?

 When GWBush II took office, the US debt was $5.7 trillion.  The date was 1/20/2001.

When BHObama II took office the US debt was $10.6 trillion.  The date was 1/20/2009.

Today the debt is $14.7 trillion.

By the time Obama II finishes his first term on January 20, 2013 the debt will be over $15.7 trillion.

That means during a 12 year period, the US debt will have risen by at least $10 trillion.

Here is what ten trillion dollars looks like in figures:

$10,000,000,000,000.00

It doesn’t mean much to see it like that other than it represents a lot of money and it contains 13 zeros before the decimal point.    We have tried to think of ways to bring the number into perspective.   For example, as of year end 2010, the market value of the all the companies on the China stock exchange was $4.5 trillion.  Japan was $3.8 trillion.  In other words we could have bought and owned the better part of all the companies traded on the Japan and China stock exchanges; owned their profits and dividends and still had $1.7 trillion left over. 

Here's one other way of looking at ten trillion dollars.  It is estimated that since the beginning of time, all the gold ever mined would total 165,000 tonnes.  A tonne is about 2,200 pounds.  At its current value of approximately $1,750.00 per ounce, all the gold ever mined would be worth about:

$ 10,164,000,000,000.00

In other words the debt accumulated during the Bush II eight years of presidency and the Obama II four years of presidency is about the current value of all the gold ever mined in the world at the very high recent price of $1,750.00 per ounce!  Now that is a startling fact.  Source:  Wikipedia.  (By the way, we would have bought a lot of that gold at much lower prices.)

What do we have to show for this expenditure?  Well, that is a question that is rather unanswerable.  The two fellows named might suggest it is the price of keeping America safe and feeding, housing and employing some portion of the citizenry.  Others might suggest very little.  You can answer for yourself.  All this essayist would suggest is that some would rather have all the gold ever mined setting in the vaults in Ft. Knox, Kentucky or own the Chinese and Japanese companies that are beating the pants off US companies.  Please remember that this 12 year expenditure spree just began on January 20, 2001.  It cannot end until January 20, 2013 unless the house of representatives starts saying no and saying it daily, weekly and monthly for the next 16 months.  That will not happen.

This essay documents the debt accumulated under Bush II ($4.9 trillion over eight years) and the debt that will be accumulated under Obama II (at least $5.1 trillion over four years.)   These are simple facts.  We then related that debt accumulation to two other simple facts - value of all the gold mined and value of the stocks traded on two foreign exchanges.  Pay attention and see how many politicians running for office will talk about these simple facts.  How many will take ownership; responsibility for their role in the creation of this debt?  How many might even consider that a good investing plan would serve America better than just a spending plan?

How can one judge the two men who have signed the spending/borrowing bills that produced this debt?  It is way beyond the scope of these pages to judge any man.  But it is more than obvious to state that America would have been better off if neither of these men had ever run for the office of president nor had either sought or attained reelection after their first term in office.  Ditto for many of the members of congress.

A democratic republic that does not set limits on the spending and debt accumulation of its elected officials is a sham.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Chicago Way

If you Google the three words above, the first 10 responses will include several references to the Sean Connery character in the movie “The Untouchables” saying, "They pull a knife, you pull a gun.  He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.  That's the Chicago way " and then it will lead you to a book entitled “The Chicago Way” and a few essays written about the Chicago way of politicians abusing their offices and the people who elect them to same.  The focus of this essay comes closer to the latter reference but we will focus on the real cost, both the financial impact and the day in/day out impact of a governance system that exists to take care of its own.  We are not talking about the wastefulness of a military industrial complex that captures the warrior spirit of bold young men and sends them to distant locales to demonstrate expensive untried equipment of destruction on the characters identified by the Pentagon’s designated bad guys of the month program.  That’s kids play compared to what the Chicago way can do to an entire region; or, if you let it, an entire country.

The Chicago metropolitan geographical area consists mostly of Cook county and several surrounding counties; specifically, DuPage, Lake, Will and most recently via expansion, Kane.  Here is a view of the major expressways which provide high speed surface transportation to the area:
 The following roads are freeways:  94, 57, 55, 290 and 80.  The following roads are toll ways:  90, 88, 294 and 355.  Combined, this road system is the most clogged; most backed up; most time consuming, fuel wasting, inadequate for the load, road system in the nation; the entire US of A.  That’s the Chicago way.  Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/chicago-ranked-no-1-for-w_n_811626.html#s226786&title=_1_  and http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/20/which-cities-have-the-worst-traffic/ The toll road system, a product of Chicago and Illinois governance is a corrupt entity carefully removed from the control of the voting citizenry.  It's board is appointed yet they can raise fees without any taxpayer vote.  It just increased its tolls by 87.5% in one simple vote to which no toll road using citizen had any direct vote.  It held open hearings and let the road contractors and their unionized employees comment along with the public on the proposed increase.  What position do you think the contractors and their unionized employees took on the increase topic?   What impact of this doubling of the cost of using the toll roads do you think will have on traffic congestion?  What measurable reduced traffic congestion standards do you think were offered as justification for the increase?  So why did tolls go up so much at once?  The governor paid off the unions who supported his reelection, that’s why.

We could write the same essay and discuss the topic of teachers pay, working hours and other benefits and conditions.  We could write the same essay and address the pay, working hours and other benefits and conditions of elected officials and the tens of thousands of hired, unionized employees working in agencies and bureaucracies in the counties named above or even elsewhere in the state.  Ditto for police, firemen, park district employees and bureaucrats in the school districts.  Ditto for the contracts they let to paving companies, airport concession providers, garbage collectors, the fancy meals and expensive outings they buy and charge to their publically paid credit cards and the way their kids find an opening into the better public schools while the taxpayer’s kids end up in crappy low performing schools.

There is nothing funny about the Chicago way.  You may admire Obama and the Chicago cronies he brought to Washington DC; you may have even voted for him.  Heck, if you live in Chicago or one those counties you probably voted for his associate Rahm Emanuel or maybe the hack politician running the US transportation department, Ray LaHood (talk about an appropriately named corrupt bureaucrat)  or the kid who is now distributing hundreds of billions of dollars to crappy school systems around the country, Arne Duncan.  He ran the crappy Chicago schools.  Should that qualify him to distribute billions to crappy public school around the country?   Why not Joel Klein or Michelle Rhee or Geoffrey Canada?  Not a chance.  Arne is a trusted Chicago way guy.  You see, if you aren’t a member of the gang you don’t get in to the clubhouse.

Chicago and Illinois are now at the top of the heap for debt; deficits; unfunded pension liabilities and disappearing jobs.  Chicago’s population is declining.   The minority kids are tossed into a non performing could care less governmental education system that destroys lives as quickly as one of those fancy untested weapons of mass destruction coming from America’s beloved military industrial complex mentioned above.  Do you think that is funny?  Just below is a picture of the woman telling the parents of Chicago’s school kids where they go to school?  Who their teacher will be?  How long the school day should be?   What a good teacher is?
How many of you want her overseeing your kids?  How many of you want her overseeing your kid’s education?

The next time you decide to vote for change you may wish to put more than a few minutes into learning just what in heck the candidates you have selected have actually done; accomplished; what their real life track record has to show to earn that vote of yours.  You gave the keys to the nation to these fools who destroyed a city and a state.  They got you good. That is the Chicago way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reading/Watching Recommendations

Videos:

Inside Job.  We recommend it even though the slant of the director is a bit too much Wall Street greed and a bit too little politician/bureaucrat benefit and ignorance.  Nevertheless the focus on the politicians, and particularly the horrific economic and regulatory mistakes of Greenspan and Bernanke, make this documentary worth watching.  A balanced review of the film is offered by Gene Epstein of Barron’s at: http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424053111904502004575562621077193024.html

Waiting for Superman.  Do not miss this excellent video capture of the outrageous lottery education system that awaits youngsters, mostly urban low economic kids, who desperately long for an education that is regularly denied them.  The agents of denial are a combination of chance and the most horrific of all cabals – lazy teachers; their prophylactic, self serving union shield that insulates them from performance evaluation and long overdue termination and the disinterested administrators and politicians who are only too quick to feather their nests while sending their own kids to private schools.  America is flirting with destruction; mostly brought about by excessive entitlements and a complete capture of its democratic system of governance by special interests and greedy politicians and bureaucrats.  But if there is one reason; one cause; one ailment worth providing these fools their just desserts, it is the blatant and ongoing disregard they have for youngsters who want to get a good education and use their God given talents to build a better life for themselves and their neighbors.  Take a blood pressure pill and bring along a handkerchief but, by all means, get this video!

Reading:

Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. There are many good reasons, recorded throughout history, to go to war.  And, of course, there are many very good reasons to not to go to war or, at least, avoid it at most all costs.  If and when you go to war, expect bad things to happen even with the war machine telling you otherwise.  This book, this story telling; this capture of waste and silliness and puerile antics; this documentation of bad decisions and voluminous wasting of the American public treasury should result in indictments; lengthy prison sentences; record setting fines and judgments against the many guilty.  Within the last week a bunch of bureaucrats took to task the bunch of bureaucrats who oversaw the waste.  Consequence to the wastrels?  NOTHING.  At a minimum, Bush II, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocon gang of fools should be forced to stand in front of the pentagon for four hours daily reading excerpts from this book to those who enter the building.  You can get the book at your library or at:  http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Life-Emerald-City-Vintage/dp/0307278832/

The Great Recession and Government Failure by Gary Becker.  Becker has the credentials and the common sense to write the best summary of the mess we are in – its causes; its personalities; and the ultimate way out.  He writes succinctly and provides us all with a road map to refer to when we hear the silliness of politicians and bureaucrats with their nonsensical explanations and impotent solutions.  The essay was printed in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, September 2, 2011.  They may make you register or pay for it so we direct you to the Hoover Institutions website (Mr. Becker is a senior fellow there) and you can access it readily:  http://www.hoover.org/news/daily-report/91511

Triple Agent by Joby Warrick.  It is interesting that this book was even written considering that the only way to get at the facts and circumstances surrounding a successful al-Qaeda suicide bombing at a CIA compound are to speak with those who are not supposed to speak.  The story of the unfortunate intelligence personnel is one of mission, hubris and an enemy that played those factors well.  Even though the author does his best to follow their script, as we read this story, we were constantly reminded of General Eisenhower’s warnings about setting priorities and limits.  Perhaps even more so we were reminded of one of the most basic fundamentals of all – know thyself.  Must reading but most certainly very bothersome reading.  Get it at your library or http://www.amazon.com/Triple-Agent-al-Qaeda-Mole-Infiltrated/dp/0385534183

Some additional reading/learning comments:

We, at TheFundamentals, are occasionally asked where we go to read about important topics of the day.  Who do we trust?  What do we read?  Well, there are a few examples offered above but if you want to check in at a very worthwhile location to get some good information and analysis, just bookmark http://www.hoover.org/   We imagine you will stop by and get addicted just as we have.

An example.  Former NYCity schools administrator, Joel Klein, takes a look at the two new publications (one written by a Hoover fellow) on public school reform.  Klein’s review was published in the Wall Street Journal and we highly recommend it to you for reading.  We can only offer the WSJ site because we cannot locate a link elsewhere.  Here it is:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904006104576504730339106252.html


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Check Is In The Mail

 One of the things you learn in competitive business or commerce, those activities wherein one is providing goods or services to customers, is the creativity of some of your customers who are not doing well in trying to keep getting a supply of your goods and services without paying for them on the same terms as others.  Hence the title of this report.  The most common placation offered by someone who wants your goods but can’t pay for them or is behind on paying for the previous order is, “The check is in the mail.”

Businesses compete with others to sell their goods and services and business don’t want to lose a customer and customers know this fact.  So another common ploy of the struggling customer is to threaten to go to a competitor supplier.
When things get real bad and the suppliers have to chase the customer to collect their accounts receivable, frequently the customer will stop answering the phone and ignore other forms of collection activity such as mailings and calls from attorneys and collection agencies.
Sometime during this process the supplier reluctantly concludes that the customer is no longer credit worthy and it is at this time that they put that customer on payment terms known as COD or cash on delivery. In other words, no goods or services unless the payment in received in cash at or before delivery of the goods and services.

COD.  Cash on Delivery.
Last night the president of the United States attained COD status.  He has been working in that direction for some time.  The credit card that is issued to him has no more room for credit.  He, of course, doesn’t need credit to run his business; he needs it to run his campaign for reelection.  And the reason he still needs credit is because he has been in the business of promising to deliver certain results – his version of a product, to a receptive audience.  Namely, more jobs; better roads, fixed up bridges; hard working school teachers successfully educating children and, most of all, an effective but very large bureaucratic team that is delivering on their mission which is a successful, competitive and growing economy that is not only keeping up with others but is surpassing them.   He asked for more credit to keep doing all of the above and he forgot to mention that all of his past efforts have not worked. 

We do have a very large bureaucracy, that is for sure, but our economy is not successful.  We are not making more goods in the United States and selling them to others.  Others are making more goods and selling them to us.  Our roads have not been fixed and neither have our bridges.   Our urban schools are overwhelmed with teacher’s union rules and poor performance and, as a matter of fact, he endorsed more of the same during his speech.  He actually said he would continue to support the teachers and their union as they fail to deliver for the kids who most need performance. For that reason alone, he is now a COD customer.  If he will not take a stand to give urban kids a good education, in whatever way is necessary, he should be expelled or resign quickly and most certainly no later than November 2012. 

Mr. President you are on COD.  We do not believe you when you say your jobs program and your fix the roads and bridges program and your keep teachers in the classroom program and maintain the largest bureaucracy in the history country program will work.  And perhaps most of all, we do not accept your twisted version of “the check is in the mail” by telling us that it is all paid for.  You have lost your credit line.  We don’t care about your words about it being paid for.  The words are false.  It’s not paid for and we know that.

So, show us the money. 
Show us the cash.

Bring the cash and then we will talk.  You start this time by cutting back and then we will examine how to use the cash that is saved.   Enough with the check is in the mail stuff.  We have provided you with more than enough credit for one term and to fix the mess you inherited.  You have made it worse; much worse.

So, bring the money; the cash.
You’re COD from now on.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Has America Got Jobs?

Jobs.  Jobs.  Jobs.  They all want to create jobs.   They all are focused on jobs.  Good jobs.  Bad jobs.  Any kind of jobs.  Even the congressional black caucus, which knows about as much about creating jobs as they do about balancing the country’s checkbook, now says we’re all about jobs.  Obama is all about jobs.  His staff can’t stop saying, “Jobs, jobs, jobs.”  Lots and lots of talk.  These folk can’t talk about anything but jobs.  So, let’s take them at their word(s) and let assume (we know; we know what happens when anyone assumes anything) that they really want to create some jobs in America.  Here is how you can measure if they are serious, because all they need do to cause a big pickup in jobs is:

1.    Cut back on most government spending because as they do that they will:

a.    Be able to reduce taxes on producers which is the number one way to create jobs

b.    Be able to reduce the number of bureaucrats interfering in the job creating activities of all forms of businesses and commerce which is the number two way to create jobs, and

c.    Be able to eliminate all sorts of rules and forms and applications and fees and waiting in lines and wasting time talking with government employees and that entire elimination process is the number three way to create jobs.

2.    Remove from the law of the land all legislation that creates “protected classes” of citizens and/or places a real threat of litigation on jobs creators for things like claimed discrimination activities and claimed product safety issues and claimed environmental violations and claimed bribes or payoffs to compete in the marketplace.

3.    Enact “loser pays” reform to all federal litigation – civil and criminal and cap all non economic damages, whether settled or adjudicated, at $200,000.00.  This item is so simple to do and America is for so long out of step with all its major competitors that we, at TheFundamentals, would encourage any person talking about jobs or jobs creation to have to include this change at the top of their list in order to receive any credibility on claiming to be interested in “jobs.”

4.    Enforce existing immigration laws and deport as many illegal visitors as quickly as possible.  Be nice to them; we may need them sooner than we think because we may be asking them back as guest workers.

5.    Require that all government contracts for goods and services be openly bid with no preconditions; no union favoring provisions; no minimum prevailing wage stipulations and state clearly that the United States of America is a right to work country.

6.    Stop unemployment supplemental compensation payments.  Leave any payments for not working to the states. 
There will be so many jobs created in 18-24 months that Obama will be heralded as the savior he thinks he is.  The brilliant economist he knows he is.  The great leader that he, his mom, his dad; his wife and kids, his cousins and uncles and aunts here and abroad always wanted him to be.
By following the above steps the following will occur:
1.    Manufacturing of American made products will gradually increase (Yes, Virginia, those roller skates were “Made in U.S.A”)

2.    Staff and supportive service jobs will also, as a consequence, increase.

3.    New businesses and new manufacturing plants and new service companies will open quickly and without unnecessary government preconditioning.

4.    The available workforce will find an increasing need for their skills at all levels of capability and they will also be motivated to get to work because their payments for not working will, hopefully, be wound down.

5.    There will be a sudden renewed interest by the workforce in jobs presently filled by illegal visitors because the illegal visitors numbers will be declining and the work still needs to be done and the bellies of the unemployed will be growling (notice we do not support any present reduction in the government food stamp program as we go through this period of readjustment.)

6.    Growing business will demand better basic education for the workforce which means schools will compete to increase their measurable learning output and the crappy urban schools of today will fade away to their long overdue dustbin destiny.
Our last suggestion.  A new TV series.  “Has America Got Jobs?”  On this program the politicians compete with each other to show their job creating talents and outcomes.  They each get a few minutes to bring on job creators, business men and women, who are building commerce and creating wealth and jobs.  Each politician gets a minute to yap about their role in the improvement process.  Just one minute.  And then America gets to vote.  To be a voter, you must be a citizen; at some point employed in the private sector and you must be a federal income taxpayer.  We predict the show will last two seasons at most.  Reason:  America will quickly realize that the politicians don't create any jobs, they just make the process difficult.  America will want to hear from the real jobs creators.  Not the yappers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Accountability Time for Rumsfeld and Gates

Some of you may be interested in reading about waste at the Department of Defense as well as State and USAID. A report is available at:  http://www.wartimecontracting.gov/docs/CWC_nr-49.pdf  For others we provide a synopsis below of the wartime waste commissions findings and some comments of our own.  The findings first:

1.    Iraq and Afghanistan contractor waste runs at least $31 billion and, possibly, as much as $60 billion (aside:  Warren Buffet, please send your share which we calculate at  $6 billion directly to Leon Panetta, Department of Defense, Washington, DC 20301) 
2.    Government agencies rely too much on contractors
3.    Government rules do not apply to contractors (they recommend more control over contractors or just building more government agencies to avoid contractors)
4.    Money spent on projects needing ongoing tending and maintenance will probably also turn into waste later on (the commission recommends that the existing government agencies take steps to prevent this subsequent waste from happening :)
5.    More in the report about government agencies not knowing how to deal effectively with contractors and managing them and making them compete with each other and blah – blah – blah (by the way, the commission suggests an inspector general and staff oversee and prevent these problems; add rules and enforce them (i.e. more bureaucrats)
6.    Major reforms needed (congress should enact laws, blah – blah – blah)
On second thought don’t bother reading it.  It is a waste of time written by well paid bureaucrats asking for more bureaucrats to oversee other bureaucrats who wasted your money because there are not enough bureaucrats. 
Our brief recommendation:  withdraw American military personnel from everywhere possible as soon as possible; call a major timeout within the US military industrial complex and terminate everyone in any way involved with any aspect of any waste identified in the report.   Further, terminate permanently any contracting arrangements of any sort with any company; its personnel, lawyers and accountants working for any person, place or thing identified in the above report.  Then, instruct the Department of Justice (more bureaucrats) to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of American taxpayers to recover the $31 – 60 billion including filing claims against any elected or employed official who had any responsibility to authorize and, consequently, over see the wasted monies identified in the report.
Any fines or settlement monies collected should be used to build a bureaucrat only prison which will be called, The Rumsfeld/Gates Retraining Center (first two occupants.)  Each center (we imagine we will need several) will provide one quarter acre per inmate; one shovel; one hoe and a few packets of seed of the bureaucrats choosing (corn, tomatoes, beans, watermelons, etc...)  When the bureaucrats learn how to take care of and provide for themselves they will be released.

Closing comment.  Bernie Madoff made off with a similar amount of money from his only too willing clients and close friends.  This caused a big hullabaloo with lots of government finger pointing and bureaucratic caterwauling.  In Bernie's case, the court appointed a person to go after the wrongdoers; the bad guys; the ones who benefited, besides Bernie, from his shenanigans.  It's time the courts of this country applied this "holding people accountable" to government employees, government contractors and politicians.  It is long past time that the same accountability applied to private sector Bernie's be applied to the bureaucratic Bernie's.  If nothing else, this report gives them a good road map to start the process.

Visit:  http://www.wartimecontracting.gov/