About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Finding Candidates Worth Voting For

It's been so long that I can't remember when, after a major event like the Benghazi murders on 9/11/12, that it wasn't reported that BO immediately went off to a campaign fundraiser.  I think we heard this so often, & still do, that we just didn't think about what this meant – it was like water running off a ducks back or just noise we heard with no meaning.  The graphic below explains that BO is determined to not let the midterm elections in his sixth year in office be the agenda breaker that it traditionally has been for his predecessors – & having money to tell a misleading story is @ the heart of his plan.  We have learned what it means to be a community organizer.
click on graphic to enlarge
With regard to the midterm elections pundits like Karl Rove have opined that Republicans are in a very strong position to win control of the Senate while taking for granted that they will hold, if not increase, their House majority – both of these potential accomplishments are important because they will help rein in the last two years of BO's intentionally destructive agenda & give the country a small chance to avoid becoming a politically ruined nation after the 2016 presidential election.
But to counter the theoretical Republican strong position the above graphic shows that Democrats have received far more campaign donations & it has come to light that many of the Senate races are much closer than thought – possibly because of the money spent.  Couple this with the natural Democrat advantage of promoting welfare dependent programs that in reality perpetuate the deterioration of the American standard of living – like the spreading national trend of raising the minimum wage laws – & you can see a Republican victory is far from assured.  Comprehensive immigration reform is always on the Democrat front burner (although sometimes on simmer like now) & this promise of amnesty will ensure the Hispanic vote for Democrats while the claims of the Republicans' "war on women" will attract the usual women voters to Democrat candidates.  MO, with an approval rating of well over 60%, has recently pushed women's issues & this should continue.
The money advantage allows Democrats to present negative ads that trash Republicans & this might just work in enough races for Democrats to hold control of the Senate what with Republicans already excruciatingly low approval ratings.  The Democrat Senatorial Committee plans to spend $23 million in TV advertising in Iowa, North Carolina, & Colorado which is $4 million more than Republicans plan to spend in the entire country.  Source WSJ.
Republicans are being outspent in nine of the ten competitive races shown in the above graphic – all except Alaska.  Who can blame Republican donors after the last two miserable candidates the GOP put up for president.  For those who still do not think there is more than a dime's worth of difference between such Republicans & their statist opponents please consider the example that Gina McCarthy, BO's recently appointed & confirmed head of the EPA, was an environmental adviser to Mitt Romney in Massachusetts before BO picked her for her current spot.  Oh please.
Long gone is the Republican single minded strategy of running only against ObamaCare which is starting to become more accepted & popular with an unsuspecting populace.  Of course a major part of this is because BO unilaterally delayed the most onerous parts of his law – for instance the next open enrollment on the healthcare exchanges starts on November 15, eleven days after the midterm elections.  How convenient since premiums are expected to go up an average of 10% for coverage in 2015.  In addition, the changes to ObamaCare continue to phase in.  The first set of penalties for not having healthcare insurance start this year - but are not payable until April 15, 2015.  This leaves Republicans telling disinterested people how bad their healthcare future will be but with no concrete proof until after the election – not a political winner on November 4. 
Just like Medicare, a tremendous loser for taxpayers, ObamaCare's burden on the country will increase in 2015.  According to an HHS summary through mid-August the number of insurance companies offering ObamaCare healthcare insurance plans will expand in 2015 from 252 to 316 – 77 new insurers with only 13 dropping out of the healthcare insurance exchanges.  The summary does not include seven states & the new plans are still subject to approval but you can get the idea that insurance companies want in.
In summary insurance companies want in, people will not know the detrimental effects of ObamaCare until after the midterms, & Republicans are left either dropping the issue or telling people how bad it is when hardly anyone has experienced the coming negatives themselves. 
We have an idea what Republicans are against but don't know what they are definitely for other than picking up control of the Senate.
We also know House Republicans have a modest goal of picking up 12 seats – a very small target in such an anemic economy where the latest Pew Research poll found only 21% think the recession that officially ended in June 2009 is over.  With a median annual household income of about $50,000 & the Federal Reserve's target inflation rate of 2% people @ the median will lose $1,000 per year in purchasing power in accordance with the policy of the government agency that was established to maintain the purchasing power of the dollar.
But the meager 12 House seat pick-up goal is the reality for a country in the apathy to dependence stage – another sign of Death Of Democracy of the American Republic.  A significant percentage of the country is just not interested in anything but electing statists who support & provide government dependent programs – this is what must be turned around in order for the country to prosper so that everyone not only knows the recession has ended but can participate in the prosperity to the best of their ability.
So what happens if Republicans win the Senate & hold the House.  To paraphrase Pelosi "you'll have to elect the Republicans to find out what their plans & programs are."
We all can list the libertarian & Tea Party points of limited government, personnel responsibility, & free enterprise that candidates worth voting for follow as a matter of routine.  But if this was the norm members of Congress would not need to be off for six weeks prior to an election campaigning day & night telling us with carefully orchestrated positions based on political calculations to win over one group or another how they have our interest @ heart – when we know that the overwhelming majority have only their own interest @ heart. 
Many in this readership have already stopped voting for the Republican lesser of two evils (Republican or Democrat) because it is this two-party philosophy that brought us to this stage in our descent toward dependency & less self-sufficiency.  The stakes are high in this election & the 2016 presidential election but even higher is stopping the drift away from our founding principles – this drift cannot end well & the sooner we start to turn it around the better. 
With the awareness of the millennial generation (ages 18 to 34) coupled with negative electoral experiences of the baby boomers more & more people realize they are not voting for choices because there is just one Big Government Party (think – you wind up with both government run healthcare & Gina McCarthy as head of the EPA with either BO or Romney as president) where the elites in the Democrat & Republican wings of this party take turns being in power.  How ironic that a people who have become so dependent on government would now think they have the power, let alone ability, to properly elect their representatives in government.
I have advocated for years that we need more than two major parties (currently two wings of one Big Government Party).  To me you can't have enough parties & if you have more than two viable parties many presidential elections will be decided in the House of Representatives (who vote for the three candidates who received the most electoral votes) per the Constitution when no one candidate receives a majority of electoral votes (currently 270).  A much better system than two parties taking turns being in power.
You can't start sooner than this election to break the two party cycle that produces congresses with under 20% approval ratings but 90% incumbent reelection rates.
Do you want to waste your vote?  Gary Johnson answered the wasted vote question in a Third Party presidential debate two years ago - "Wasted Vote? The only wasted vote is when you vote for someone you don't truly believe in."
Let left-wing statists vote for Democrats who support forcing taxpayers to pay for big government social programs & right-wing conservatives vote for Republicans who support laws that restrict personal behavior that violates their ideas of traditional values.  If the rest of the people vote for candidates who are financially responsible & socially tolerant we will have established a viable third choice which is the last thing the two major parties want.
Since the last election RTE has posted the voting records of both House & Senate members on many important issues as well as highlighting some excellent candidates.  These people are far superior to McCain, Romney, Boehner, McConnell, Leonard Lance, Rodney Frelinghuysen, or any Democrat – all on this list except the Democrats pander for votes in a way that is not believable to Hispanics, Asians, blacks, homosexuals, single women, young people, & the poor.
It is this type of information & knowledge that is essential for us to remain free – I do this for my personal benefit in formulating my own opinions & the blog is a way of sharing my work.  You have five weeks to find candidates worth voting for – make the most of it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why Income Inequality Has Not Increased In America

This post is based on two reports of income inequality studies entitled - The Myth of Increasing Income Inequality & Income Inequality In America – Fact & Fiction - that were sent to me by Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute.  Diana wrote the first report in its entirety & contributed to the monograph in the second report.  You can use this information in conjunction with the September 8 post regarding income mobility.  I know many subscribers to RTE, like our Wall Street Finance VP, will pour over these reports.
The studies conclude that there has been no increased inequality in America from 1987 to 2012 when measured by real spending per person by income quintile – the best measure of a person's financial well being.
How can that be true since we all have heard that the average CEO used to make 20 to 30 times the income of the average worker & lately that ratio has been reported to be more like hundreds of times more.  The conclusion seems even more improbable when you consider the dreadful economy of the past six years with its high degrees of unemployment & underemployment, the number of previously unemployed people who found work but only @ a fraction of what they used to make, the labor force participation rate of prime-age workers (ages 25 to 54) is still 2 points below its pre-recession level, the median inflation adjusted household income dropped 5% between 2010 & 2013, the poor education provided by government schools that leaves graduates (& drop outs) ill prepared to find work in the global economy, employers are still concerned about the shortage of qualified workers in engineering, construction, & information technology which they say is both intensifying & broadening across skills & occupations, the Fed's manipulated zero-level interest rates that leave CD interest income virtually non-existent, & statistics abound that the top ten percent now takes in 45% of the nation's income instead of one third.
We know all of the above maladies are facts that would @ least imply growth in income inequality over time.  But why then don't we see people dying of starvation in the streets?  Could it be that inequality is not growing? – i.e., the rich are not getting richer especially @ the expense of the poor.  In fact it is pretty close to just the other way around.
For perspective it is important to understand that the average poor American in the bottom income quintile has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe.  These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor. Source – Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. 
The problem with the emotional excitable claims made by BO that the income gap between America's rich and poor is the "defining challenge of our time" is that the claimed increasing income inequality in most studies is based on pretax income, does not include any of the 126 anti-poverty federal government programs whose benefits & existence has been documented by the Cato Institute such as food stamps, housing allowances, unemployment benefits, & Medicaid, does not include demographic changes to households that have occurred over time, & does not include the effect of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 which resulted in some small businesses filing their income taxes in the late 1980s & 1990s under the 28 percent individual rate rather than the 34 percent corporate rate, later increased in 1993 to its current level of 35 percent – as long as the top individual rate is less than the corporate rate small business owners will follow this practice.
The Manhattan Institute studies address faulty methodology used in other studies by concentrating
directly on the amount of money people have available for spending using the government's own published consumer expenditure data.  It is from this analysis that you see that there has been no widening inequality for the last 25 years.  The impact of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 makes comparisons of incomes or spending prior to 1987 pointless as explained above.
Below is a table from the Manhattan Institute studies that show the remarkable consistency from 1987 to 2012 in the ratio of real expenditures per person of the top income quintile to the bottom income quintile based on the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey. 
click on table to enlarge
The information in the table is not based on the spending of CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies (i.e., 500 people), the handful of professional athletes who have tremendous incomes for a few years, or the even smaller handful of successful Hollywood stars who may never have another hit movie or TV show again.  It is based on an analysis of the 120 million households in America broken down into quintiles & then each quintile is analyzed to show real inflation adjusted spending per person per quintile for the selected years between 1987 & 2012.
Increasing inequality was shown to be a myth by the Manhattan Institute when they analyzed the government's own published consumer spending data from the government's Consumer Expenditure Survey. 
In essence the spending data can be derived by adding disposable income (adjusted for a small savings rate – i.e., people spend most of their disposable income) plus government transfers like those listed in the table below.  It is this balance that tells the tale of why income inequality has not increased over the years.
Income taxes (federal, & if any state & local) coupled with Medicare & Social Security payroll taxes reduce the pre-tax income of people in the higher quintiles while none of these taxes are paid to any significant degree by people in the lower quintiles.  Over the years Congress & our state elected representatives have done a masterful job of distributing a portion of the aforementioned tax revenues to people in the lower quintiles so that the ratio of the top to the bottom quintiles remained constant as shown in the above graphic.  This consistency of income redistribution shows the precision with which the politicians controlled tax revenues even before
BO told Joe the Plumber he wanted to spread the wealth around.
Our elected representatives have found the monetary redistribution formula to keep the domestic peace so that the half of the population with poor education & limited job skills is not @ the throats of the productive half – everyone has some money jingling in their pockets.  Of course this makes the U.S. a mixed economy – somewhere between a totally free market (pure capitalism) & a government directed one (socialism).  In 1996, just ten years into the 25 years covered by the Manhattan Institute's studies, Professor Friedman said "We're more than 50 percent socialist.  And I don't think we're getting our money's worth." 
   click on graphics to enlarge
The above table shows where some of the money goes & the above right graph indicates that government dependence spending is now higher than disposable income.  Both of these graphics are from IBD.  The first graph on left is from the Cato Institute & is for 2011.
The above table does not include 3 million people who have signed up for Medicaid under ObamaCare.  The Cato Institute has determined that a family can get government benefits equivalent to a $35,000 a year job in 11 states & in Hawaii such benefits are equivalent to a $60,000 a year job.  The programs do not require work; in fact people lose benefits if they become employed.  There is no one working in half of the bottom quintile households.
But we have to be careful of his intentions because BO does not always distinguish in his remarks between income inequality & growing income inequality - in fact he rarely if ever does.  In BO's defining challenge of our time quotation above he was referring to just the gap between the rich & poor (not the growing gap) meaning he favors socialism - for starters.  BO prefers the methods that show there is growing income inequality (disproved by the Manhattan Institute studies presented herein) & he also tries to convey the idea that the people in the bottom quintile are always the same people (disproved in the September 8 post regarding income mobility).
Scott Hodge, President of the Tax Foundation, calculated that the top two quintiles currently pay $1.5 trillion in taxes that go to the bottom three quintiles (yes, this means even an average middle quintile family – i.e., middle class - receives over $7,000 more in benefits than they pay in federal taxes each year) – this represents 21% of the top quintile's income.  Mr. Hodge calculates that in order to bring every family in America to average would require the people in the top two quintiles to pay higher taxes than they currently do with people in the top quintile paying the vast majority of an additional $2.4 trillion per year in federal taxes or 74% of their income. 
So now we know BO's target.
In mid-August a report came out that statewide 64.2 percent of New York students are not proficient in math and 68.6 percent are not proficient in English.  These appalling results, typical throughout the U.S., take the subject of income inequality to another level by revealing a problem much greater than the false and misleading claims of income inequality.  They clearly show how someone becomes so ill-prepared to support themselves that they will be competing for jobs with third world people who make pennies a day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From Discouraged Worker To Suicide Victim

Full disclosure - I know people whose future is poverty, homelessness, & suicide.  I have known people who have committed suicide.
click on graph to enlarge
Robin Williams suicide by hanging has brought to the fore the fact that suicides of people aged 45 to 64 has increased sharply since 1999 so that this cohort now makes up the largest group of people committing suicide (see above graph). 
Thanks to economic illiteracy of the masses & just plain poor (or no) financial planning whatsoever people who have little savings, small pensions, or no family to rely on are very susceptible to this tragic ending so much so that deaths caused by suicide exceeded those caused by auto accidents in 2011 – source the CDC & the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 
Today people known as discouraged workers know the hopelessness of trying to find employment & when another prominent suicidal trait is added such as depression, loneliness, or chronic pain from a physical condition they become a candidate for suicide.  A discouraged worker is someone who drops out of the labor force because they cannot find work.  They move in with family & live a life of part time under the table jobs if they are lucky, receive a government benefit check or two, & are the cause of spending down their families' wealth.
This problem only increases as the baby boomer generation ages & its members become more alone with no savings, pension, or family of any means to help support them. 
The oldest of the baby boomers is now 68 – so this generation is well into the age group that is normally considered retirement age which accentuates this problem. 
The financial downturn of the past 6 years increases the possibility that workers over 45 with limited skills who have been laid off see the impossibility of finding gainful employment again in their lifetimes.  This does not immediately lead to someone committing suicide but make no mistake – this type of situation is only the fault of the person himself who did not continue to take the responsibility to get the training & experience necessary to make a living for himself & his family.
Some of the real long time subscribers to RTE will remember this contribution from 2007 from one of several doctors who subscribe to RTE:
"I thought about what we talked the other day. I would like to add the following to what you wrote about depression.  It looks like your friend was an example of burnout in which body and mind are strained, developing emotional and physical fatigue due to high stress. The involved person becomes overwhelmed and depleted of energy. Sadness, anger or indifference can set in.  Since burnout is a physical and psychological response that is connected to feelings about a work situation, it is important to attend to the mind as well as the body.  Burnout, if not treated leads to or reactivates depression.  Some of the other symptoms are: Powerlessness, hopelessness, drained, frustrated, detached from people and things, insecure about one's competence and abilities. The person's relationships fall apart, productivity drops, work deteriorates and the end result is suicide if the condition is not detected and treated."
The purpose of this post is to help all of us detect the symptoms of friends or family that can be treated in time.
1.  A person dies by suicide every 16 minutes in the U.S.
2.  A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day.
3.  Depression is the leading cause of suicide.
4.  One in twelve teenagers will attempt suicide.
Warning Signs:  If you know someone with one of these signs look for another.  If you find a second sign look for help.
1.  Depressed mood.
2.  Loss of interest in usual activities.
3.  Change in appetite or weight.
4.  Change in sleeping patterns.
5.  Speaking &/or moving with unusual speed or slowness.
6.  Decreased sex drive.
7.  Fatigue or loss of energy.
8.  Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or guilt.
9.  Diminished ability to think or concentrate.
10.  Reckless behavior.
11.  Withdrawal from family, friends, & society.
12.  Thoughts of death.
Prevent Suicide:
1.  Be willing to listen.
2.  Be non-judgmental.
3.  Become available.
4.  Don't be sworn to secrecy.
5.  Get help from local crisis intervention agencies, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 800-273-TALK.
Hope that this post can help save someone's life through your awareness & action.  My dear friend who committed suicide had far too many of the above warning signs that none of us recognized as potentially suicidal. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Time To Remember

click on photo to enlarge
Earlier today Carol & I attended the annual 9/11 memorial service in Somerville that is presided over every year by the Somerset County Freeholders.  This is always a short simplistic service @ the site shown on the photo above where residents pay respect to the 39 people from the county who died in the WTC thirteen years ago.
The list of memorial services held today in NJ was read on the radio & it seemed endless. 
When we were leaving we were interviewed by a reporter for a local radio station who asked if we thought the general public was still engaged in what happened on 9/11.  And of course the answer is no.  9/11 brought the country together for a short time as has the beheadings of two Americans but to a much lesser degree.
Visiting sites like the one shown above, attending services like today's, & reading messages like this one momentarily remind us it is Time To Remember humanity's Islamic Fascist enemies who are intent on eradicating from earth everyone who does not follow their religious beliefs. 
Anyone who has ever been in our house knows that Carol keeps photos of both the WTC & the airplanes that flew into the buildings on a small section of our living room coffee table.  I don't think Carol or I need it but it is a daily reminder of the fragility of our way of life.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Deceptive Impression Of Growing Income Inequality & Its Relationship To Income Mobility

"It is hard not to marvel at the audacity of a man, who after five years in office, identifies as, quote, 'as the defining challenge of our time,' an income gap that as you heard has steadily widened since he's been in office. But income inequality has long been a preoccupation of Democrats to the point that it sometimes seems they'd prefer everyone be equally poor than unequally rich."  Brit Hume's commentary on FNC following BO's remarks regarding income inequality @ the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) in Washington on December 4, 2013.

click on graphic to enlarge

Talk about gaps in incomes – just look @ the above graphic that I first presented on November 15, 2007.   It shows the results of American prosperity, opportunity, & work ethic by matching the GDP of entire countries around the world with a U.S. state of similar GDP.  Russia's GDP is the size of NJ's & Ukraine's is the size of Idaho's.

Along with the above graphic I pointed out in 2007 that the claim that class warfare politicians like to make that there is rising income inequality in America is not true – certainly not in 2007.  This opinion is based on the results of a 10 year Treasury Department study, released on November 13, 2007, that started in 1996 using a sample size of 96,500 income tax returns.

The results of the study prove (along with other similar studies that go back to the 1960s) that the American economy is dynamic in that people move from one income quintile to another over time & then mostly upward.  For instance, of those in the second lowest income quintile, nearly 50% moved into the middle quintile or higher, & only 17% moved down.  Moreover, more than half (57.4%) of the richest 1% in 1996 had dropped to a lower income group by 2005. Some of these people might have been "rich" merely for one year, or perhaps for several, as they hit their peak earning years or had some capital gains windfall. Others may simply have not been able to keep up with new entrepreneurs and wealth creators.  Source of this analysis – WSJ.

Common sense tells you that someone whose earnings are in the highest income tax bracket in their later years of work will probably move to a lower level after retirement just as sure as someone in their 20s who starts for low pay will move into a higher category unless they are a real loser.  The point is that the rich are not the same people over time as the above analysis shows.  Class warfare politicians want you to think that the rich are always the same people & the poor are the victims of capitalism that should be pitied & need a government hand up (from them of course).

My own study of this subject over the years reveals that there is a difference between "the rich or wealthy" & people with earnings in the highest income tax brackets.  For instance, according to the Spectrum Group in 2007 there were 930,000 households in the U.S. with a net worth of greater than $5 million - these are the rich & there is no relationship to their wealth & the progressive income tax bracket they are in (multi-billionaire Warren Buffet famously reported that he paid income tax @ a 17% rate - check your income tax rate against his 17% to prove my point).  The people whose earnings are in the highest income tax brackets are not necessarily wealthy but rather are recently successful people, maybe about 40 years old, who are in the highest earning years of their lives.  These are the people that class warfare politicians want to tax into oblivion having them pay for every boondoggle earmark or government welfare program the politicians can think of - all the while calling out the inequities of "the rich" over "the poor".

It is the current opaque IRS income tax code itself that is the real inequity - being able to be legally manipulated so that multi-billionaires' income tax rates are lower than those of ordinary people.  This is just one more of the maladies that the FairTax corrects.  The FairTax is hard to avoid & being transparent (like your quarterly property tax bill) people see exactly how much of their money goes to government so that we wind up with just as much government as we really want.

Class warfare politicians like to say that the fruits of American prosperity are not being widely shared.  America is not about sharing but rather about opportunity.

  click on graphic to enlarge

Just look @ the above table – it shows a tightening, not a widening, of the top & bottom income divisions.  Although the table shows huge positive changes in the lowest two quintiles, which is very good, many of you will remember that I was worried in 2007 about the small changes in the top 20% &10% as well as the negative changes in the top 5% & 1%.  I am for raising everyone's earnings through economic growth rather than concentrating on raising the minimum wage that BO is obsessed with.

As the Treasury data show, we shouldn't worry about inequality. We should worry about the people who use inequality as a political club to promote policies that reduce opportunity.

An upcoming post in the near future will analyze income inequality, including years after 2005, from the spending side rather than the income side.  The insight gained from the above primer on income mobility is essential for understanding why the concept of increasing income inequality is a myth.  The post will explain why this is true & what makes it happen - so fasten your seatbelts please.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cause For Concern

"They're more negative than they were five years ago." – Carl Van Horn, Rutgers University public policy professor, speaking about the results of a Rutgers poll conducted July 24 to August 3 (released on August 28) regarding Americans being more anxious about the economy now than they were right after the recession ended over five years ago. 
click on graph to enlarge
The above graphs are a strong confirmation of the results of the July 24 to August 3 Rutgers poll – they show over 3 million people still are unemployed for more than 27 weeks  & over seven & a half million people still are employed part time for economic reasons.  The cumulative change in weekly earnings for those employed in the private sector increased 1.5% since January 2007.  A pitiful performance but all per BO's design – & it is working to his benefit as an apathetic citizenry buys into it.
The following statistics (1 – 4) are from the Rutgers poll (by economics writer Josh Borak of the AP):

1. Seventy-one percent of Americans say they think the recession exerted a permanent drag on the economy.  By contrast, in November 2009, five months after the recession officially ended, the Rutgers researchers found that only 49 percent thought the downturn would have lasting damage.  And that was when the unemployment rate was 9.9 percent, compared with the current 6.2 percent.

2.  The slow pace of improvement during most of the recovery, now in its sixth year, has eroded confidence and slowed a return to the pay levels that many enjoyed before the economy suffered its worst collapse since the 1930s.  About 42 percent of those surveyed say they have less pay and savings than before the recession began in late 2007.  Just 7 percent say they're significantly better off.  The survey results dovetail with estimates that the median household income was $53,891 in June, according to Sentier Research. That's down from an inflation-adjusted $56,604 at the start of the recession.

3.  Each year of subpar growth has compounded the anxieties of many Americans.   In contrast to the robust snapbacks that coincided with most economic rebounds, this recovery proved tepid well after the recession had ended. Consumers struggled with an overhang of mortgage debt and the risk of layoffs for much of the recovery. A majority of those surveyed say they fear that job security has all but disappeared and that they'll have little choice but to work part time during retirement.

4.  Recent evidence of economic strength has done little to brighten most Americans' outlooks. The Standard and Poor's 500 stock index has surged more than 170 percent since bottoming in March 2009. Yet only 14 percent of the respondents said the gains have affected them a lot — a sign of either meager investments or the extent to which families unloaded their stock holdings near the bottom of the market.

The type of results of the Rutgers poll are quite familiar to readers of RTE – from the decline in median household income where people now make a fraction of what they used to make if they are fortunate enough to find employment, to people working two or more part time jobs in retirement to meet their expenses, to the wealth spend down required as a result of the combination of no jobs or low paying jobs & meager CD or investment income – you have seen post after post present details of our economic deterioration even before BO became a national figure.  BO may not have started the decline but he sure has been the opportunist taking advantage of it for his own purposes.

In addition to the Rutgers poll the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the following statistics for Morris County, NJ: 1) since 2006, the number of salaried workers has decreased by 5 percent—from 297,300 to 283,400, 2) the number of salaried workers who supplement their income with additional jobs, or freelance work, rose 40 percent—from 59,000 to 82,500, & 3) the number of self employed people dropped 15 percent from 16,200 to 13,800 – & most of these are more informal, unincorporated people who tend to work solo in home-based settings after losing a job rather than being self starting entrepreneurs with big dreams of innovation.

The Social Security Administration reports that in 2014 34% of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement, 51% has no private pension coverage, & 52% of couples & 74% of unmarried individuals who receive benefits get @ least half of their income from Social Security.

As long as the economy remains as weak as depicted above & people continue to show a growing trend toward favoring government dependence BO is getting his way – whether he is sitting in the Oval Office or playing golf – much to the consternation of conservatives.

And the trends of deterioration are relentless in BO's favor – last Thursday PA Governor Tom Corbett agreed to extend the state's Medicaid program to half a million low-income residents under the optional ObamaCare Medicaid feature.  Corbett is the ninth GOP governor to succumb to the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion that the Supreme Court allowed states to op out of in their June 2012 controversial unconstitutional decision.  Not coincidentally Corbett trails his Democrat opponent by 25 points in the polls & thinks this detestable move will help his reelection prospects.  Hope there is a good third party gubernatorial candidate in PA.

The WSJ reports that "the major budget driver now is Medicaid, which will surge by 15% on ObamaCare's expansion of that program.  The figure would be still higher had not 23 states opted out to protect the integrity of their own budgets."  All of this no thanks to Corbett & PA.

The above Republican Medicaid capitulation mirrors the GOP governors' cessation of resistance regarding running their own state healthcare insurance exchanges because of the foregone federal government subsidies their citizens would otherwise be entitled to.  Governors whose states opted out of setting up their own state exchanges have had tremendous pressure applied because of the lost federal money foreseen.  Republican governors in Idaho & Nevada, standing on quicksand, have each taken the position that their federally set up exchanges are state-based no matter who runs them.  Doesn't even sound like a good try.

It is no wonder that Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots writes "ObamaCare is rapidly replacing the world's best healthcare system with a government run & rationed socialized boondoggle that will destroy Medicare, limit healthcare access, lower healthcare quality, & increase healthcare costs."  ObamaCare keeps steaming along with more damage scheduled right after the November 4 elections.

So as lovers of freedom hang on for dear life & try to contemplate an opposition that could possibly eliminate the Democrat majority in the Senate (while desperately hoping that the Democrats don't retake the House) the results so far are not good.  BO is no less popular now than he was in the fall of 2013 & Democrats de Blasio (NYC Mayor), Booker (NJ Senate), & McAuliffe (VA Governor) all won their respective races.  The primary turnouts in 2014 are @ record lows – for instance if Dave Larsen could have just held the vote total he had in 2012 & added just 50 votes he would have won the NJ – 7th district Republican primary – instead he received over 2,000 votes less than he did in 2012 & lost to a statist Republican candidate who received over 9,000 fewer votes than in 2012.

In the GOP's favor in this midterm election is the fact that second term presidents' parties historically lose congressional seats in midterm elections.  But if the GOP was any good we would not have this second term president to begin with.

Republican primary turnout is down 15% in 2014, positive feelings about Republicans has fallen from 34% in early 2011 to 19% today, there is a voter backlash against the way the GOP has used its House majority, & Democrats have a double digit lead among women.

BO's expected amnesty plan to the millions of illegal immigrants in America has been delayed insultingly until after the November midterms.  The thousands of unaccompanied children arriving on our southern border from several Central American countries has been met with disapproval as people recognized the children were being used as pawns & American citizens as fools – hence the delay until BO squeezes the electoral process dry.

Recent political science scholars are returning to the idea that a country's structural foundations are more important than even economic policies in determining a country's long term economic growth & prosperity.  America's foundations were built on the bedrock of limited government, personal responsibility, & free enterprise.  The danger to our liberty & individual rights is BO's relentless onslaught on America's structural foundations, as only partially detailed above.  Those of us who cherish these freedoms see clearly the great cause for concern that there will never again be times like most of us grew up in.