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You need to finish that thought… February 10, 2015

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From CNS:

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D–Md.) says, “so many people come to government knowing that they are not going to make the kind of money they would make in the private sector but they come to government to feed their souls.”

…off the carcasses of middle class taxpayers.

The Wonders of Obamacare February 10, 2015

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So I just got around to looking at the Gallup poll data on health insurance. You know, the one everyone cites to show how great Obamacare is. The money quote from Gallup makes the rounds, and all the Obamacarians do high fives. Here’s the money quote:

The uninsured rate has dropped 4.2 percentage points since the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for Americans to have health insurance went into effect one year ago.

“4.2 percentage points” sounds like a lot, but it’s only about a quarter of the uninsured we had a year ago. I have to say that I’m not thrilled that they turned our insurance world upside down just to insure 25% of the uninsured. Doesn’t seem like the cost-benefit analysis really plays out.

But I was even less thrilled when I saw this:

InsuranceCoverageJan2015If I’m interpreting that correctly, we’ve only managed to bring the number of uninsured down from about 14.5% before the recession to about 13% today. That means that we’ve insured a mere 10% of people who didn’t have insurance before the recession.

Now for those who had insurance but lost it during the recession, there are two solutions: 1) fix the recession, or 2) subsidize their insurance. Naturally, the President and his administration chose the stupid solution.

 

Thick Book of Death Spoils the President’s Tea February 10, 2015

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This is typical of the President’s attitude:

He discussed his current foreign policy strategy and his response to international terrorism in an extensive interview released today with reporter Matthew Yglesias for Vox.

‘I’m dealing with it every day,’ Obama said. ‘That’s what I wake up to each morning. I get a thick book full of death, destruction, strife and chaos.’

‘That’s what I take with my morning tea.’

Yes, I’m sure he reads the President’s Daily Brief every morning as he sips his tea. And then, having dutifully perused the entire thing, he sets it aside and turns on ESPN.

Mr. President, it’s not enough to be informed, or even to talk about these situations. You actually have to do something. And being the President of the USA, it’s not enough to just do something – you have to lead the world in whatever action is being taken.

But that attitude is clearly not part of Barack Obama’s world view:

…the president made sure to differentiate himself from what the reporter noted was the previous Bush administration’s policy of ‘preventative war’ and ‘democracy promotion’.

‘We don’t have the option of simply invading every country where disorder breaks out,’ Obama said. ‘To some degree, the people of these countries are going to have to, you know, find their own way.’

Think about that for just a second, Mr. President, and it will be clear to you why that book of death & destruction is so thick.

I Think It’s Safe to Say… February 9, 2015

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…that our President is going to be breaking his “I’ll double exports in 5 years” promise. If only he had said something like, “I’ll cause export growth to stagnate within 18 months,” he’d be looking like Nostradamus. Because that’s what happened:

ExportsRealityvsObamaFeb2015Yeah, you’re looking at 36% growth since January 2010, with 25 points of that growth occurring during the first 18 months. So over the past 3 1/2 years, we’ve seen 10% growth. Not what you’d call a significant player in economic recovery.

But that won’t stop the President from strutting around the stage, bragging about how his policies worked, despite the fact that the economy is just now where it should have been when he told us we’d be experiencing our “Recovery Summer.”

He told us that he’s have our economic woes fixed within 18 months. It only took him 72. And they’re still not exactly “fixed.” And the revival of the economy clearly has everything to do with increased domestic oil production and nothing to do his policies.

But it’s closer to success than he normally is.

The Employment Report for January 2015 February 6, 2015

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The BLS came out with its employment situation report this morning, and once again we see an uptick in my favorite unemployment metric (how many people working full-time vs. how many mouths to feed):

FullTimeEmpvsCivPopFeb2015

The recent improvement in the employment situation pretty much coincides with the dollar-and-a-half drop in gas prices (which started in July of last year). Here are gas prices for the past year so you can see for yourself:

Regular_Gasoline_Prices

That drop in gas prices is, of course, mostly a consequence of America’s increased oil production – something the President has opposed consistently throughout his rule. In fact, oil production on federal lands has dropped since he was first elected: the increase in production comes from oil production on state- and privately-held lands.

But that won’t stop him from taking credit for the improving employment picture.

What? No Lime-Green Thong? February 2, 2015

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If this hadn’t happened in a snowstorm, I think the authorities could have just rounded up the usual IB suspect:

A man wearing nothing but a cowboy hat walked down the middle of the travel lanes on northbound I-75 through the snowstorm Sunday in Auburn Hills, surprising motorists before police stopped him.

If you know who I mean and I think that you do.

So, About China… February 2, 2015

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I think I’ll just let this gentleman do the talking:

China launched a secret 100-year modernization program that deceived successive U.S. administrations into unknowingly promoting Beijing’s strategy of replacing the U.S.-led world order with a Chinese communist-dominated economic and political system, according to a new book by a longtime Pentagon China specialist.

The Chinese strategy also is aimed at gaining global economic dominance, he says, noting that China’s military buildup is but one part. The combined economic, political, and military power is seeking to produce China as a new global “hegemon” that will export its anti-democratic political system and predatory economic practices around the world.

Supposedly they have 55 years left in their “100-year marathon.”

They won’t need them.

We’re From the Government and We’re Here to Take Your Hot Showers Away February 1, 2015

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From the company that manages my rental property:

One of our trusted vendors made me aware of the new US Department of Energy requirement for improved energy efficiency for water heaters law that goes into effect as of April 16, 2015. This change will have a substantial impact on the cost of water heaters AND even more importantly the installation. The water heaters will likely be taller AND wider than current models in order to achieve the required energy efficiency. Some manufacturers are suggesting that the retail price could increase upwards of 25%.

This is going to create issues for many properties where the hot water heater is located in a confined location. Apartments will have the biggest issues with water heaters in small closets – this may require drywall, framing and/or HVAC changes.

Take a 40-gallon gas water heater from American as an example. The old heater was 18″ in diameter and 62″ tall (or you could get one 20″ in diameter but only 52.25″ tall). The new heater is 20″ in diameter and 64.5″ tall. I know that in the condo I used to occupy, there was basically no clearance between the water heater and the closet door. I didn’t have 2″ to spare, and I really wouldn’t have wanted to have to get the thing replumbed for a taller profile.

One wonders what people in condos & apartments will do when their current water heater dies. It’s not like they’ve got a lot of room to expand the water heater closet – every square foot is spoken for. Even in my current house, where the water heater is located in the basement, there isn’t much room for growth, since the water heater is right next to the furnace.

It’s likely that the only solution will be to downsize your water heater, which one suspects is considered to be a feature, not a bug, by the DOE. Not to mention that American currently doesn’t even offer a size smaller than 40 gallons, so if that doesn’t fit, you’re gonna be chilly.

And what about the demographics of this policy? Young adults and lower income families are likely to be hit hardest; they don’t have the financial reserves to cope with a water heater purchase and installation that’s likely to cost several thousands of dollars (and I’m guessing that “several” is close to “5” if the mods to the water heater closet can be done at all).

Just like when the DOE tried to saddle us with crappy light bulbs that weren’t up to snuff, they’ve let their regulations outstrip the capabilities of the marketplace. And we the consumers are left to suffer with the result.

[You can read about the new requirements at the DOE’s site.]