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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Constitutional Case Against A Hillary Clinton Presidency

"One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption."  The Federalist No. 22: Hamilton
Between 2009 & 2012, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary Of State, the Clinton Foundation raised over $500 million including money from seven foreign governments.  Fifteen percent of the total, or $75 million, was spent on charitable grants.  More than $25 million went to fund travel expenses.  Nearly $110 million went toward employee compensation & 58%, or $290 million was classified as "other expenses."  It is not clear how much money the Clinton Foundation accepted from foreign sources when Hillary was a U.S. Senator from 2001 to 2009.  Source: Washington Post & Sean Davis, The Federalist
"She sold favors, she sold access.  Wait until you see what ultimately she did for all these people."  Donald Trump speaking @ a rally in Tampa on August 24 denouncing the Clintons for running a "pay for play" charade that grants top-level political access to donors to the Clinton Foundation.
Emoluments Clause of the Constitution of the United States (Article I, Section 9, Clause 8):  "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."  This clause was carried over from the Articles Of Confederation (Article VI) & was intended to prevent foreign governments & entities from buying corrupting influence in the U.S. by paying off U.S. government officials.  This is what Alexander Hamilton was writing about in The Federalist No. 22 – see above.  
click on graph to enlarge
Donald Trump is taking up so much of the media time that the obvious question is where is Hillary Clinton most days?  Now Hillary does get in the news but it is not her personal presence or action that is covered but rather revelations concerning her e-mails, her private server, or the Clinton Foundation that makes the news.
Until recently I was like Bernie Sanders (shudder) in that I had heard enough about all of the above Clinton topics thinking that pursuing them was a waste of time because none of it was gaining traction with the electorate & therefore was going nowhere.  But when the Associated Press reported that 85 people from foreign governments & foreign corporations had been in contact with Mrs. Clinton when she was Secretary Of State, & that these foreigners had donated money to the Clinton Foundation in order to gain special access to the U.S. government in the first place – such donations totaling $156 million – most of us who had not been paying the least bit of attention quickly connected the dots & saw "pay to play," "quid pro quo," "crony capitalism," or more to the point concluded that the contacts were arranged in
wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain for Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea – the three people the charitable foundation is named for.
In brief, the appearance of impropriety, ethics violations, & conflicts of interest are only magnified when you consider that the Clintons were "dead broke when they left the Whitehouse in 2001" & now Bill & Hillary are worth $111 million – source Money Nation July 26, 2016.  Hillary's net worth (see above graph) is $31 million & Bill's is $80 million – Hillary's net worth is 1.5 times larger than Jeb Bush's & 459 times larger than the median U.S. household net worth – a true capitalist success story that Hillary does not want to see duplicated for any normal citizen who she sees only as a government dependent statistic.
We have learned that Huma Abedin, aide to Hillary since 1996 & current Vice Chairwoman of the Clinton presidential campaign, had simultaneously worked for the Clinton Foundation, the State Department, & Teneo (a U.S. based global advisory firm with one of the founding partners being Bill Clinton's former Counselor while Bill was President – "Teneo is headquartered in NYC & has offices in Washington, Brussels, Sao Paulo, London, Dublin, Dubai, Hong Cong, Beijing, Atlanta, San Francisco, Doha, Singapore, Toronto, & Melbourne.  Teneo partners exclusively with CEOs of many of the world's largest & most complex companies & organizations."  Source Wikipedia.)
It is the close ties of Huma, & therefor Hillary, to requests from Teneo & the Clinton Foundation seeking State Department help for Teneo clients who happen to be foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation that is most troubling in raising potential conflicts of interests & pay to play concerns.  The State Department is not releasing e-mails that would shed light on this matter.
Tantamount to an admission of guilt concerning foreign donations the three Clintons have said that if Hillary wins the presidential election that the Clinton Foundation will only raise money from non-foreign sources (exception being the Clinton Health Access Initiative that will still permit any foreign government to donate) & that Bill will resign from the Board & will not raise any more money – Chelsea will remain on the Board.  Why make any changes to the Clinton Foundation if all is legitimate, honest, & open?
Here are excerpts from Kim Strassel's WSJ Potomac Watch column of August 26 – Kim is the best columnist I know of that has followed this subject matter intensely from the beginning:  "The Democratic nominee obviously didn't set up her server with the express purpose of exposing national secrets – that was incidental.  She set up the server to keep secret the details of the Clintons' private life – a life built around an elaborate & sweeping money-raising & self-promoting entity known as the Clinton Foundation . . . Mrs. Clinton's problem – as we now know from this week's release of e-mails from Huma Abedin's private Clinton-server account - was that there was no divide between public & private.  Mrs. Clinton's State Department & her family foundation were one seamless entity – employing the same people, comparing schedules, mixing foundation donors with State supplicants.  This is why she maintained a secret server, & why she deleted 15,000 emails that should have been turned over to the government . . . Mr. Band (President of Teneo) asks if Hillary's doing this conference, or having that meeting, & when she's going to Brazil.  Ms. Abedin responds that she's working on it, or will get this or that answer.  These aren't the emails of mere casual acquaintances; they don't even bother with salutations or signoffs.  These are the emails of two people engaged in the same purpose – serving the State-Clinton Foundation nexus . . . Mostly, we learned this week that Mrs. Clinton's foundation issue goes far beyond the "appearance" of a conflict of interest.  This is straight up pay to play.  When Mr. Band sends an email demanding a Hillary meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain & notes he's a "good friend of ours," what Mr. Band means is that the crown prince had contributed millions to a Clinton Global Initiative scholarship program, & therefore has bought face time.  It doesn't get more clear-cut, folks."
With regard to the aforementioned 15,000 emails on Hillary's private server that were deleted – they were not deleted the way you would clean up your Inbox.  FBI records indicate that when Hillary deleted e-mails from her private server her team went out of their way to not only erase them permanently using a software program, known as BleachBit, but to prevent them from being recovered & hiding traces of deleted files.  If these e-mails pertained to Chelsea's wedding & yoga classes why this extraordinary effort?
SC Congressman Trey Gowdy speaking during an interview on FNC – "She and her lawyers had those emails deleted. And they didn't just push the delete button; they had them deleted where even God can't read them. They were using something called BleachBit. You don't use BleachBit for yoga emails or bridesmaids emails. When you're using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see."  Click here to see the Gowdy interview – the BleachBit comments come about the 3:15 mark.
click on photo of secret server wiping cloth to enlarge.  The RNC handed out the cloths during the Democrat convention last month. 
Donald Trump previously called for a special prosecutor to investigate both Hillary's e-mails & private server, & the Clinton Foundation. 
Now it is too late in the election cycle for a special prosecutor to be assigned & to conduct an investigation.  But it is not too late for Trump to break this e-mail, private server, Clinton Foundation bewildering maze down into the simplest of terms for the electorate to clearly see & understand so they can determine if it is important to them like such matters of foreign influence corruption were to our Founders.  I have tried to explain the issue as clearly as I know how in this post. 
Trump is going after all the groups who have historically voted Democrat – & this is an excellent strategy.  If he picks off just a percent or two from each group it could be enough to win.  In pursuing the Clinton e-mail, private server, & Clinton Foundation controversy Trump should target the 20% of the electorate that is persuadable keying his effort to swing states.
But the battle for any non-Democrat politician is to overcome the Death Of Democracy principles that control every election once the voters understand they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury - & in Hillary Clinton the voters have found a candidate all too willing to cooperate with the further descent of our country from the current apathy to dependence stage.  This Death Of Democracy phenomenon explains the principles that are the most powerful influence on an election in America today because its destructive message has taken hold of a majority or near majority of the citizenry.
The Emoluments Clause (see above) is the basis of the constitutional case against a Hillary Clinton presidency.  The clause has been interpreted & enforced by Attorneys General, the Comptrollers General, & Congress who exercised its power of Consent under the clause by enacting the Foreign Gifts & Decorations Act which authorizes federal employees to accept foreign government gifts under certain circumstances – & having Hillary Clinton take money from a listed charitable foundation (that acts as a slush fund for use by the Clintons) that devotes 15% of its proceeds to charity is not one of the circumstances.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Debt Question Raised - The Principle Of The Opposite

This post is written to respond to questions like long time reader DC asked regarding the referenced post – specifically DC questioned how the savings rate in America increased, regardless of the bond or CD interest rate yields, when "Americans have once again pushed up to record levels of consumer debt."
This is an excellent very intuitive question. 
The graph below shows household saving rates have increased in many countries with low or negative interest rates.  The referenced post was written to show that increased savings were being realized in many countries all over the world – not just the U.S. which shows a smaller uptick (really very flat) in household savings rates the past few years than the other countries on the graph.  In brief, the referenced post was talking more about other countries than it was the U.S.
The graph also shows that nonfinancial companies in Europe, the Middle East, & Africa are holding on to cash which was another part of the referenced post.
click on graph to enlarge
Although the U.S. savings rate has not increased as much as the other countries shown on the above graph have, the following graphs show that student loan debt is the only type of debt that has significantly increased in the U.S in the last several years.  Although students have a tremendous burden in paying off their student loans they will not worry about retirement savings for many years & accordingly are not the people the post was referring to.  Click on graphs to enlarge.
A good key to start saving is to reduce existing debt & people who have reduced credit card & home equity debt are in a much better position than they were a few years ago in this regard.  But the graph below shows that America is still debt heavy with almost two thirds of college graduates having student loan debt.
click on graph to enlarge

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Principle Of The Opposite

Early in my adult life I noticed that plans people made often did not work out well – in fact I noticed that more than half the time the exact opposite of the planned result occurred.
In the case of government bureaucrats - they never blink an eye @ this phenomenon - they just shrug it off & refer to outcomes that are not foreseen or intended by a purposeful action as unintended consequences – a term developed in the 20th century by Columbia University Professor Robert K. Merton.
In my own life I certainly would make plans but then I took time to consider what would happen if the exact opposite of my plan occurred – which it did more than 50% of the time also.  I came to call this The Principle Of The Opposite & incorporating this principle into my thinking has been a big help not in making original plans that are independent of The Principle Of The Opposite but in adapting those original plans to what was more likely to really happen.
To understand what I am talking about go back to pre-1492 days when the consensus was that the world was flat – it turned out to be round.  The Principle of the Opposite is different than just considering the worst case scenario – although sometimes it can be that scenario.
The latest example of the opposite of planned purposeful action taking place involves the world's central banks lowering interest rates to all time lows including negative yields in Europe & Japan.  The purpose of these central banks' plans is to have consumers spend more & businesses invest more because the money is cheap.
In essence the central banks are trying to manage both sides of the interest rate coin – savings & borrowing.  How conceited.
Stanford University economist John Shoven points out that "retirement was a 20th-century invention, but it's kind of gotten out of control.  If you go back to 1900, most men worked until they couldn't work anymore & died a few years later.  Now you can spend 40% of your adult life in retirement."
Come to find out consumers are quite aware of Dr. Shoven's above point & are more interested in saving for retirement than spending on every trinket or gadget that comes along even if the yield on their savings is negative.  The central banks' actions cause consumers to save more (i.e., spend less than before the low or negative interest rate policies were put into place).  If you need so much money to retire & the interest rate component on your savings is low, virtually non-existent, or negative you have to save more in order to retire on a date certain like your 65th birthday – i.e., people in this situation need to save more to accumulate enough money over their lifetimes so that the interest income adequately supplements pensions & Social Security.
Of course it is really not the same amount of money that a prospective retiree had previously planned on saving when interest rates were higher but rather a larger amount of money that will produce from lower interest rates the same annual cash flow living expenses.
The graph below illustrates the additional years people who turned 65 in 2012 have to work in order to be confident they are financially ready to retire.  The percentages shown on the graph have not improved in the last four years.
click on graph to enlarge
Look @ the pie chart graph below to see where you fit in.  Please note that 40% of the 124.6 million households in America have no tax-advantaged retirement plan.
  click on pie chart to enlarge
The other side of the interest rate coin is borrowing.
Historically the lowering of interest rates has incentivized businesses to borrow to expand their operations.  But after 91-months of BO's deliberate & intentionally harmful policies & the current likelihood of Hillary Clinton becoming the next president & continuing the same policies it is no wonder that businesses have, for years, reduced their capital budget investments regardless of how low interest rates have gone.
Under BO the total business cost of compliance of federal regulations in 2012 was $2.028 trillion (in 2014 dollars) – the annual cost burden for an average U.S. firm is 21% of its payroll.  Hillary is running for what would be the equivalent of a third BO term – if not farther to the statist side if for no other reason that she has an eight year statist foundation under her. 
Just look @ the graph below of inflation-adjusted GDP growth since the second quarter of 2011 – only once during this period did real GDP growth exceed 3% & eleven times real GDP growth was less than 2% – what prudent business would want to expand in such a slow growth economy?  And of course this was all per BO's design to make Americans more dependent on government as both private sector investment & employment dried up.
click on graph to enlarge
Higher taxes & more regulation is all that can be seen if Hillary wins the White House with promises like expanding Social Security benefits, reintroducing the public option to the ObamaCare legislation, enacting $15 per hour federal minimum wage laws, providing free college to people making less than $125,000 per year, mandating overtime pay for salaried personnel, & enacting paid family leave laws.  These policies continue the type of policies that produced the current stagnate economy & do not make for a good investment climate.
Please consider the two graphs below.  The graph on the left shows the change in annual investments since the recession began in December 2007.  Business investment during the last seven quarters is essentially zero & it has actually declined the last three consecutive quarters.
click on graphs to enlarge
The graph on the right above shows that 56.8% of the economists surveyed think that uncertainty to one degree or another regarding the presidential election is hurting the economy.  These economists think that uncertainty will restrain consumer spending & business investment if people worry about higher taxes & more regulations.  I think it is more accurate to say that it is the certainty that Hillary Clinton will be elected that is hurting consumer spending & business investment since she has promised increases in taxes & regulations. 
In perfect correlation with the negative private investment figures indicated above productivity also has declined the past three quarters & is now lower than when BO took office – see graph below.  Increasing productivity is the biggest factor in determining prosperity & rising living standards because it is a measure of the efficiency with which industry works & business investment is the foundational support of productivity increases.
  click on graph to enlarge
Stocks, bonds, & investments have been my hobby since I was 12 years old.  Until recently I followed the principle of investing in stocks only for capital gains (& never for dividends) & buying bonds (& CDs) only for income.  This is now another Principle Of The Opposite in that it is bonds that have appreciated in value as bond yields plummet to record lows while stock dividend yields are raised above bond interest rates due to companies raising dividend payouts thereby making stocks more attractive than bonds – i.e., instead of investing in new plants & equipment companies are putting this money into raising dividends that will ultimately raise their stock price.  Especially in this government controlled investment climate dividend increases paid to shareholders are actually investments by the underlying companies intended to increase the companies' stock price.
In step with both lower investment & productivity, as described above, earnings of the S&P 500 stocks are set to decline from year earlier levels for the fifth straight quarter.  Source FactSet & the WSJ.  Since earnings are the long term basis of stock prices all of this manipulation & distortion of free markets by the government makes a stock & bond market bubble ready to burst highly likely.
A specific example of where BO's & Hillary's political correctness has led us is Target's planned $20-million expenditure to add locked single stall bathrooms to 297 stores due to customer protests over its policy to allow transgenders to use whichever public restroom corresponds to their current gender identity.  Now I make it a point to never be big with other people's money but it is hard to believe that this bathroom project is the best use of Target's capital.  This is Target's second visit into gender issues – about a year ago Target announced that it would no longer label toys as being for girls or boys.  Target's earnings, revenue, & stock price have all declined since venturing into the gender field which the management certainly thought would be a progressive plus.  It is unknown how or if Target figured in The Principle Of The Opposite in their thinking.
On a more positive note this past week Donald Trump began to pull himself out of the trough he put himself in following the Republican convention last month.  His speeches were excellent & the one in Charlotte last Thursday was as good as any I had ever heard by any politician.  Trump specifically tried to reach Blacks & the other 47% of the population that Romney identified in 2012 as "people (who) are dependent on government, believe they are victims entitled to government handouts, & pay no income tax."  If Trump reduces the number from 47% to 40% he could win – & start the needed mindset change.
Two posts ago I wrote "Trump has time to reach all of these people & if he is good enough & they are worth it he can win."
To be good enough I wrote "If Trump is to make a difference he has to focus & relentlessly drive home what he can do to improve the lives of every American – Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, single mothers, teenagers, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, homosexuals, transgenders, & people who think socialism is the answer to their problems.  Trump has to convince all Americans that it was capitalism that originally made America great & it is capitalism that will make America great again."  Trump has to present the ideas in the Charlotte speech over & over again until people understand what he is talking about & believe it.  He has to change the government dependent mindset that now totals over 50% of Americans.
By whether or not we are worth it I meant that if Trump makes his case will people rise up & take the chance that we can return to the excellence of the free enterprise prosperity that enriched everyone's lives.  To do this the citizenry would have to know in their heart of hearts that we are on the road to socialist ruin with Hillary Clinton & that each & every one of us has to help turn this around.  It is a tall order in an apathetic society where people have been brainwashed into taking all of America's freedoms for granted never realizing that these freedoms will disappear along with their government benefits that maintain their standard of living.  In brief, they have to be able to see that the future will be nothing like the present.
With the polls showing Hillary slaughtering Trump as of August 21 we are counting on The Principle Of The Opposite more than ever.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Quiz - Ben Or The Bard

Click here to take the subject quiz.  Ten famous quotations are shown & the idea is to identify whether they are attributable to Benjamin Franklin or William Shakespeare.
After you submit your answers online the website will tell you your score & the average score of the thousands of people who have taken the quiz.
Please let me know how you make out. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

It's Later Than Trump Thinks

My attraction to Donald Trump's presidential candidacy started about half way through his announcement declaring his run for the presidency that I saw live on June 16, 2015.
Specifically, I saw the chance for a start of a change to the political correctness mindset that is ruining America unless it is reversed – & quickly.  Items like eliminating the fallacious destructive anchor baby claim to birthright citizenship, settling the incompatible relationship of Muslims who follow Sharia law taking a U.S. citizenship oath, banning people from Muslim countries from entering America until we know that immigrants & refugees from these countries are not terrorists, ending sanctuary cities, & restoring the enforcement of immigration laws – are all bedrock matters that must be settled before issues like tax reform, healthcare, climate change, the national debt, the budget deficit, or even adequate national defense can be addressed. 
Without Trump none of the politically incorrect issues listed above would have ever been brought up @ all by any other person running for office & for this every lover of America should thank Trump whether or not they hate him for any or every other reason.
Prior to 2015 I was not very familiar with Trump.  I had never watched his television program or read any of his books – in fact I didn't even know he had a television program or wrote books.  My only first-hand experience with Trump was the WWE Battle Of The Billionaires Match on WrestleMania 23.
There certainly were dust-ups in the primary season with Cruz, Kasich, & others but Trump only got stronger with each one of these.  Both Trump & Hillary each got 14% of the eligible primary votes & both will need about 50 million more to win the presidency.
RTE left off with the dust-ups with a post on June 26 about claims of racism against Trump for his comments about the Mexican-heritage judge in the Trump University case.  My research found that Trump made no racist comment whatsoever but that Paul Ryan had pandered to Hispanics in denouncing Trump using identity politics to further his career & that the entire Supreme Court is biased by classifying themselves as conservative or liberal justices – special emphasis of the June 26 post focused on Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayor who wreaked of prejudice against any non-Hispanic both during her confirmation hearings & since joining the Supreme Court.
More recently Trump had refused to back Ryan or McCain in their little noticed primaries later this month – in fact Trump @ least implied he backed their primary opponents.  Party unity starts with backing people you agree with & Ryan & McCain are not these people for Trump & they both have viable primary opponents within the GOP so real unity could be achieved if the primary opponents won.
Trump also has spoken poorly of incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH) – & I still do – & says he will support Super-Pacs that target Cruz (2018) & Kasich (no date) the next time they run. 
You can see why on Friday night I was surprised when Trump spoke glowingly while endorsing Ryan, McCain, & Ayotte – three people I have no use for & certainly three people who have not spoken well of Trump.  It remains to be seen what, if anything, these endorsements get Trump.  Will any of these three endorse the anchor baby or immigration positions of Trump?  You know the answer.  Are the Bush & Rubio supporters coming over to Trump because of this?  I'd have to see it to believe it.  Will Trump lose people like me who start to feel betrayed by his move to the establishment?  A good chance if it keeps up.
Somebody obviously convinced Trump that the race is lost – not just currently losing – in order for him to make this quick reversal of endorsements.  It remains to be seen if he can recover.
Ron Paul explained in 2012 that he would not endorse fellow Republicans who had not in any way endorsed his views because it would be a betrayal to his followers.  Trump's above endorsements are much the same betrayal to me especially in the case of Ryan & McCain where there are viable GOP alternatives.
In the case of Cruz & Kasich Trump is looking for trouble that can only cost him votes especially in Ohio.  If Kasich does not endorse Trump, which he doesn't, & Ohio Senator  Sherrod Brown endorses Hillary, which he does, Trump's chances in Ohio are greatly diminished & based on the precedent that no GOP nominee has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio means the election is already over.
And then there is the dust-up with the Muslim Gold Star Khan family, whose son U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004 protecting men under his command from a roadside bomber.  Mr. & Mrs. Khan appeared @ the Democrat National Convention taking issue with Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the country including Mr. Khan viciously attacking Trump for "smear(ing) the character of Muslims" saying that with Trump's policies Captain Khan would not have even been allowed in America.
Of course Captain Khan is a hero & Trump stated so.
The problem is that Mr. & Mrs. Khan's willing exploitation by Hillary Clinton means that their presentation @ the DNC was no exploitation @ all but rather was a one-sided coolly calculated partisan act like all the others @ the DNC, but in this case had the natural sympathy of the audience because of the death of their son.  In short, the Khan's appearance @ the DNC makes this a political matter.
The partisanship of Mr. Khan's speech starts with Mr. Khan singling out Trump saying "You have sacrificed nothing" referring to Trump never having served in the active military.  By the standard of "what have you sacrificed?", compared to Captain Khan, neither Hillary or Bill Clinton, BO, or virtually anyone else in the convention center for that matter has sacrificed anything.  Why not single out these Democrats also unless the point being made is partisan politics?  There are 1.3 million people in active duty military service.  These are the people who are willing to sacrifice something (their lives) & that is why they, & Captain Khan, are better than the rest of us.  Trump, Hillary, Bill, & BO do not rise to that level.  (Police & Border Patrol personnel are excluded from these remarks.)
Just consider the facts regarding this matter:  By Khan's own admission his son would be alive today if he had not come to America – Trump had nothing to do with his death.  Hillary voted for the war in Iraq in which Captain Khan was killed.  Humayun Khan volunteered for the U.S. Army & was killed by Islamic terrorists – i.e., Muslims.  Had al Qaeda been taken out in 2003 there would have been no war for the son to have fought in.  How many delegates @ the convention had read the Constitution themselves – especially those cheering wildly when Mr. Khan wondered & asked whether or not Trump had ever read it?  By pulling the Constitution out of his pocket & declaring allegiance to it Khan would not be considered a Muslim himself by those Muslims who hold Sharia law as the highest & only supreme law.  Mrs. Khan was not able to speak @ the convention (women being subservient to men is one of the tenets of Sharia law that is practiced in Muslim countries) allegedly because of her emotions but she was able to take credit for writing an op-ed in the Washington post on the subject.
But the problem is that Trump allowed this personal attack against him to be spun away from the fact that Islamic fascists are @ war with America & he let the news media center on his counter attack of a Gold Star family.  Instead of concentrating on the facts regarding the hundreds of thousands of Islamic fascists who would murder us as quickly as look @ us the news story degenerated into portraying the Khans as victims & Trump the aggressor – i.e., Trump took the bait.
If Trump chose to answer Mr. Khan's remarks @ all, or if he is asked about them later @ a news conference or debate, he should stick to the point that although the Khan's came to America in 1980 when the Muslim terrorist threat was virtually non-existent there is a common sense need for carefully vetting people coming to America today from Muslim countries where terrorists thrive.  Mr. Khan agrees with BO who previously said "as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country."  But of course practicing their religion was exactly what Mohammed Atta & Marwan Al-Shehhi were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001.
Several months ago Hillary showed her political savvy when she started a "Republicans for Hillary" group led by John Podesta & Leslie Dach.  So far more than 45 high profile, to one degree or another, Republicans have backed Mrs. Clinton in public statements.  For instance, last week Hillary personally called Meg Whitman, former Republican candidate for governor of California & current CEO of Hewlett Packard, who has now endorsed Mrs. Clinton. 
All of the above points show that the Republican Party is not capable of being united & has been in that divided condition during BO's entire time in office.  The break of the Tea Party members seven years ago from the establishment GOP has only gotten worse.  What good does it really do in the long run to have Ryan, McCain, Ayotte, & people like Meg Whitman saying they endorse Trump & he endorses them if they are not all willing to push for the same policies if Trump is elected.  Can you imagine any of these people governing as if there is no birthright citizenship of anchor babies or that they want to build a wall on America's southern border.  Ryan could not even support Trump on the Mexican-heritage judge issue saying that Trump's (non racist) comments were the text book definition of a racist comment.
If Trump is to make a difference he has to focus & relentlessly drive home what he can do to improve the lives of every American – Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, single mothers, teenagers, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, homosexuals, transgenders, & people who think socialism is the answer to their problems.  Trump has to convince all Americans that it was capitalism that originally made America great & it is capitalism that will make America great again.
On Friday the Bureau Of Labor Statistics reported that the July U-6 unemployment/underemployment rate increased to 9.7% because of the number of people who stopped looking for a job plus those who were working part time but wanted full time work & could not find it.  There are also millions more people who are working for a fraction of their pre-recession income.
Trump has time to reach all of these people & if he is good enough & they are worth it he can win; otherwise the country falls further down the Death Of Democracy spiral.
Every pundit focuses on November 8 saying there are 93 days until election day - that is a big mistake.  The graphic below shows that 34 states plus DC (plus three all-mail states) have early voting to one degree or another with some states starting early voting in September.  In 2012 over half the ballots cast in Florida, the biggest battleground state, were cast before the official election day in November.
It's later than Trump thinks.
click on graphic to enlarge

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Relationship Of Declining Worldwide Interest Rates & Slow Economic Growth

'Neither a borrower, nor a lender be." – with these seven words, spoken by Polonius in Hamlet, the Bard recommended the elimination of what had become, as of 2010, a $93 trillion worldwide bond market of which the U.S. bond market represented $37 trillion.  By comparison the 2010 global stock market capitalization was $54 trillion of which the U.S. stock market capitalization was $21 trillion – there is no word that the Bard discouraged owning equities.
  click on graphic to enlarge
The U.S. Treasury is the largest issuer of bonds worldwide.  Because U.S Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government & its taxing power, investors perceive them as risk-free and highly liquid – recent demand for these securities has driven up their price & lowered their yield.  On July 5, 2016 the yield on the 10-year treasury note fell to an all-time record low of 1.37%. 
As the above graphic indicates one third of all the world's government bonds have negative yields meaning that the central banks of countries with negative interest rates shrink the electronic balance of deposit accounts of commercial banks daily by imposing a charge based on the money in the account.  Yes, the investors (depositors in the commercial banks) in these countries pay the central banks to hold their money for them.  Accordingly negative interest rates, not just low interest rates, in theory are a great incentive for the investors in these countries to use their money to expand the economy by stimulating both consumption & investment.
The European Central Bank (ECB) followed by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) have pushed the large economies of both Germany & Japan respectively into negative interest rate territory.  See yield curves on graphic below.
click on graphic to enlarge
Although yields on U.S. Treasuries are @ record low levels they remain in positive territory because of a law passed in 2006 that requires the Federal Reserve (Fed) to pay interest to commercial banks on excess reserves deposited with the Fed – key wording in the law is "to be paid."  But we are well aware that politicians have pens & phones & that one stroke of a pen followed by one click of a mouse & the U.S. could have negative interest rates also.  See graph below showing the decline of yields in America the past 35 years.
click on graph to enlarge
My attention is drawn to the above graph to the week of February 7, 1994 – I was in NYC when Greenspan started to preemptively raise interest rates from under 6% to 8% thereby ruining the value of bond funds all over America.  Interest rates have never been over 8% in the last 20 years as shown on the above graph.
All of the above highlights the fact that governments all over the world are trying to stimulate economic growth by means of monetary policy only – savers, whether young or elderly, are finding out how low we can go.  Ever wonder why whenever you go into a local bank you are inevitably introduced to the bank's financial planner – investment officer who you find out ultimately is peddling high commission annuities that maneuvers you away from CDs?  Is the stock market the next bubble to burst?
The genesis & appeal to governments of such forced low interest rates has the added benefit of keeping deficits down – just imagine what the interest payments on the national debt would be if governments let the natural rate of interest prevail.
On Friday the Commerce Department announced that U.S. GDP growth in the second quarter of 2016 was 1.2% – part of the weakest recovery since 1949.  See graph below.
click on graphic to enlarge
The graph below points out that since the 1980s each recovery from recession has been weaker than the one before.  Just look @ the four horizontal bars (labeled 1 to 4) since 1980 to see the literal steps down in growth & accordingly our standard of living.  Coordinate this with the graph immediately above for precise numbers.
  click on graph to enlarge
This post is written to show that the monetary policy of declining worldwide interest rates when applied without any responsible fiscal policy (i.e., tax reform like cutting the corporate income tax rate that has been talked about by virtually every politician in Washington for years or enacting the FairTax that has been successfully locked up in Ways & Means because the Joint Committee on Taxation has no means to evaluate it whether statically, dynamically, or any other way; & spending cuts if only following the weak sequester that barely got started before it was abandoned) results in stagnant economic growth.  Just look @ all of the above data.
Adding insult to injury is that federal regulations under BO has increased so that the total cost of compliance in 2012 was $2.028 trillion (in 2014 dollars) – the annual cost burden for an average U.S. firm is 21% of its payroll.  See graphics below – click on them to enlarge.
Based on the above it is no surprise that businesses & investors have continued their cut back of investment that should be encouraged because it is the springboard for the growth & productivity gains that are the basis of an improved standard of living.  Who can criticize them with Hillary Clinton the favorite (really any Democrat would be) in the electoral college?  Higher taxes & more regulation is all that can be seen if a Democrat wins the White House with promises like expanding Social Security benefits, reintroducing the public option to the ObamaCare legislation, enacting $15 per hour federal minimum wage law, providing free college to people making less than $125,000 per year, mandating overtime pay for salaried personnel, & enacting paid family leave.  These policies continue the type of policies that produced the current stagnate economy & do not make for a good investment climate.
The fact that the positive interest rates in America is drawing money from negative interest rate accounts around the world to the U.S. bond market also means that the U.S. dollar continues to get stronger as investors buy dollars to purchase the positive yielding Treasury securities.  The U.S. export market is hurt in turn by all this contrived manipulation by central banks because the artificially strong dollar increases the price of U.S.-made goods in overseas markets.
Ayn Rand wrote in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal that
"A system of pure, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism has never existed anywhere" – & that is most certainly true of 2016 America, as described hereinbefore, where 43% of the members of the Democrat Party believe in socialism more than capitalism & really have no idea what socialism is. 
But who could blame the young adults, for their anxiety & dissatisfaction, who can't find jobs & never will in their chosen college educated fields under the mixed economic & political system (way more than 50% socialism with traces of capitalism) we have today.  The problem is the youth of America has been brainwashed into thinking what they are experiencing is pure capitalism & that they are due all the socialist freebies being promised.  These people are so poorly informed that they do not know what they are losing
or why they are losing it.