Thursday, November 29, 2012

Did President Obama Present the Republicans An Offer He Knew They Could Not Accept?

Remember the classic line from the Godfather “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse?”

What if President Obama is making the Republicans an offer they can’t accept?

The assumption is that President Obama wants to avert the fiscal cliff.

He won reelection, gained two Senate seats, and several House seats. The President controls the Bully Pulpit. The mainstream media supports him. Having just been reelected, he’s at the height of his political power. He has the leverage.

The Republicans lost; they’re weakened.

They have more leverage than they think, but they lack the voice to convey their message right now.  The budget is about to approach the borrowing limit. The Treasury may run out of money in a few weeks.

The President and Senate Democrats want the lending cap lifted as part of the deal. The House GOP has leverage.

The President has said he wants to increase revenues. The way to do that is to grow the economy. A rising tide raises many a ship.

The President has shown no sign in four years of wanting to grow the economy.

He wants to raise tax rates on the rich, defined as incomes of $250,000 or more.

That will not raise revenues but contract the economy.

The tried and proven means to increase revenues is to lower tax rates. It sounds counterintuitive, but the lowering of rates increases economic activity

That has been proven by the Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts, the Reagan tax cuts needed to stimulate the economy after the Carter debacle, and the Bush tax cuts, which were a response the bust. Similarly, cuts in capital gains taxes unleashed a flood of revenue.

President Obama again demanded earlier this week that the Republicans approve the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for all but those earning $250,000 or more.

The Democrats and media are mounting a full court press against the Republicans to prevent the fiscal cliff on January 1, 2013.

He has the Republicans on the horn of a dilemma. If they agree to raise taxes on his terms, then they will once again become known as the tax collectors for the welfare state. They will lose credibility with voters and court revenge from the Tea Party. The base will rebel, but take it out on the Republicans in two years rather than the Democrats, who might otherwise prevent a repeat of 2010 since the Republicans will be the tarnished politicians..

President George H. W. Bush lost reelection because he raised taxes in spite of his “No new taxes” pledge.

If they don’t go along, and the economy slips into recession, then the President and the media will cast blame on the Republicans.

If taxes are raised, the economy will go over the cliff.

Wait a moment; taxes are being raised. All the ObamaCare tax increases will go into effect January 1, coupled with small business cutting back employment.

President Obama has clearly demonstrated an ignorance of basic economic principles.

He is genetically opposed to the wealthy, as indicated by his famous response when told that the lowered capital gains tax generated revenue. He said the rates had to rise for “fairness.”

He bad mouthed “fat cat bankers,” insurance companies, doctors, and Big Oil. Unlike many demagogic politicians, he believes his rhetoric. “You didn’t make it” was a Freudian slip that says it all.

What if the President doesn’t really want an agreement?

Taxes will rise automatically on January 1. Defense spending will be sequestered; i.e. cut. The liberal Democrats love defense cuts.

Medicare cuts will ensue, but those will be blamed on Republicans.

The President views himself in a win-win scenario, but the Republican House controls the debt limit.


I realize as I post this blog that the Politico reports that the contours of an agreement have been reached between President Obama and Speaker Boehner. The details will represent a sellout of Republican principles.

Monday, November 26, 2012

If They Didn't Make It, Build It, or Create It, Then Who Did?

H. F. Ahmanson

Philip Anschultz

L. L. Bean

Arnold Beckman

Amar Gopai Bose

William W. Cargill

Willis Carrier

Henry Crown

Michael Dell

Joseph Durst

Edward Gaylord

Meyer Guggenheim

William Harrah

Wayne Huizenga

Erskine Bronson Ingram

Carl Karcher

Fred C. Koch

John Michael Kohler

Ray Kroc

Estee Lauder

Henry LeFrak

James Cash Penney

H. Ross Perot

Michael Rothstein (Redstone)

Herbert and Marion Sandler

Larry Page and Sergei Brin

Igor Sikorsky

Norton Simon

J. R. Simplot

Henry George Steinbrenner II

A. Alfred Taubman

Robert Tishman and Jerry Speyer

David Thomas

Frederick Trump

Sunday, November 25, 2012

They Also Did Not Make, Build, or Create It

Ted Arison

Warren A. Bechtel

Emil J. Brach

Adolphus Busch

Adolph Coors

Walt Disney

Bob Evans

John Simon Fluor

Collis P. and Henry E. Huntington

Domenico Ghirardelli

William Randolph Hearst

Robert Wood Johnson, James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson

Samuel Curtis Johnson, Sr.

Bernard Kroger

Herman Lay

R. H. Macy

Frank C. Mars

William Worrall, William James and Charles Horace Mayo

Adolph Ochs

William Paley

Francis Peabody

A. N. Pritzker

Margaret Rudkin

Charles, Florence and Mary See

Leland Stanford

Martha Stewart

Levi Strauss

Lawrence and Robert Tisch

Donald Trump

Charles R. Walgreen

Oprah Winfrey

William Wrigley, Jr.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

You Didn't Build That

John Jacob Astor

Alexander Graham Bell

Jeff Bezos

Walter Chrysler

John Deere

Donald Douglas

Herbert Henry Dow

James B. Duke

Pierre DuPont

George Eastman

Thomas Edison

Harvey Firestone

Henry Ford

Bill Gates and Paul Allen

J. Paul Getty

Amadeo Pietro Giannini

Charles Goodyear

Jay Gould

Erle P. Halliburton

H. J. Heinz

Bill Hewlett and David Packard

James J Hill

H. L. Hunt

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

Henry J. Kaiser

Herb Kelleher

Joseph Kennedy

Phil Knight

William Levitt

J. Willard Marriott

Cyrus McCormick

Andrew Mellon

J. P. Morgan

William Mulholland

Jack Northrup

M. M. O’Shaughnessy

John H Patterson

Joseph Newton Pew

Charles Albert Pillsbury

George H Pullman

John D Rockefeller

David Sarnoff

Howard Schultz

Alfred Sloan

J. M. Smucker

Juan Trippe

Ted Turner

Theodore Vail

Cornelius Vanderbilt

Madame C. J. Walker

Sam Walton

Thomas Watson, Sr. and Jr.

George Westinghouse

George Weyerhaeuser

C. E. Woolman

If they didn’t build it, if they didn’t make it, if they didn’t design it, if they didn’t envision it, then who did?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Today is Black Friday - Only 32 Shopping Days Till Christmas

Let’s see what this Christmas Season holds forth.

Today is Black Friday, which symbolically has lost its meaning. As far as Lego is concerned, today is Brick Day. Forget the traditional 6:00AM, 5:00 AM, or even 12:01AM store openings.  Walmart and Kmart jump started Black Friday by opening at 8:00PM Thursday, followed by Target at 9:00PM.

Most large retailers offer their Black Friday specials online as well as at stores. If you missed the pre-Black Friday and Black Friday internet specials, there’s still Cyber Monday, which offers more of the same, not to mention Green Monday, Super Saturday, Free Shipping Day, and January bills.

The stores offered pre-Black Friday specials, which were often the same as the Black Friday specials. Do not fret if you missed out on these specials since most be will be perpetually on sale through Christmas into the post-Christmas sales.

The Grinch arrived early this year in the form of two unions. The Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union played chicken with Hostess management – not a tasty proposition. 18,500 workers lost their jobs before Thanksgiving while Americans are, at least temporarily, deprived of their sugar highs from Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and cupcakes.

No Ho Ho Ho’s for the workers and their families this holiday season.

The SEIU was chagrined that 500 members, working for a subcontractor at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), voted to decertify the union. The employees felt the employer offered them more than they would receive through SEIU’s collective bargaining.

Five other contracts are up for renewal with the risks that these workers will also ditch the SEIU.

The purple clad SEIU members threw a hissy fit on Wednesday afternoon, during the peak airline travel period, by mounting a demonstration on Century Blvd. leading into LAX. They shut down access into LAX for 90 minutes. They were the true Thanksgiving turkeys.

Other grinches will steal from Salvation Army kettles. At least one department store Santa will be accused of inappropriate behavior.

LA Radio station KOCE doesn’t even wait until Thanksgiving. It began playing Christmas Music 24/7 on November 20. Stan Freberg is still Dreaming of a Green Christmas.

The networks will offer the standard fare of Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Miracle On 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life, interrupted by college football and basketball games. The Clapper and Chia Pet ads will reappear.

Let us partake of our usual ginger bread, fruitcake, rum cakes, and candy canes, while leaving milk and cookies out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, unless we are still shopping the night before Christmas. Chick Fil-A, if you are part of the 50% of America who will patronize Chick Fil-A, offers a splendid Peppermint Shake.

We can expect the usual litigation over Nativity scenes and crèches in public places. Santa Monica said “A Pox on all displays” by banning all unattended displays in public parks, thereby depriving lawyers of a seasonal source of income..

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, following the earlier lead of Berkeley and San Jose, gave the world a great Christmas present last Tuesday by banning public nudity, subject to a few exceptions. The sight of corpulent middle-aged men prancing nude through the Streets of San Francisco constitutes visual pollution.

Remember, only 32 shopping Days until Christmas.

Also, only 32 shoplifting days until Christmas.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Meaning of Thanksgiving - Past and Present

The Meaning of Thanksgiving: Then and Now.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, the new Thanksgiving. It looks like the traditional Thanksgiving, but it’s not.

The Pilgrims held a feast in 1621 with the Wampanoag Indians to celebrate a successful harvest and the Pilgrims’ survival. The meal was simple by today’s standards. The cornucopia for the Pilgrims was the unlocking of the abundant resources of the New World.

The Pilgrims experimented with an early version of socialism, but soon recognized its failure. The famous phrase was “Each produced according to his ability, and each received according to his need.” They quickly learnt that some people become freeloaders if they can receive something without having to work for it, whereas selfish incentives maximized production. They did not call it capitalism at the time, but capitalism and the Native Americans saved the Pilgrims.

The American Spirit, the ethos of adaptation, self-determination, self-sufficiency and individualism evolved over the first 360 years of our existence – the key to American Exceptionalism.

The Wilderness was initially perceived as foreboding. As the British settlers on the east coast proved they could survive and then master the foreboding wilderness, they recognized the bounty of the new land. Nature’s bounty was a veritable cornucopia of resources to be taken, harvested, and reaped. And take Americans did.

Subsidence farming was the primary economic activity, but the resources were the attraction. The resources of the continent were open to exploitation. Conquering the wilderness unleashed the American Spirit, the drive of Americans, the drive of each generation of immigrants. America was the land of opportunity.
The American Spirit, the drive to conquer the wilderness, farm the Great Plains, settle the West, in short to span the continent, was ordained as each successive wave of immigrants caused the new immigrants and existing residents to move west. As Horace Greeley is famously said to have said  ‘Go West Young Man, go West,” or “Go West young man, go West and grow with the country.”

The keys were freedom and opportunity, which liberated the human spirit. The American immigrants fled the Old world, its sovereigns, feudal heritage, limited land, religious wars, and restrictions for the welcoming New World to start a new life.

The American people spanned the 3,000 mile long American continent in 220 years.  They conquered the eastern wilderness, crossed the Berkshires, Catskills, Appalachians, Alleghenies, Rockies, Sierras, and Cascades, tamed the great plains, bridged, ferried and forged the Connecticut, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Ohio, Cumberland, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Platte, Sabine, Red, Colorado, and Columbia Rivers, settled the frozen Northern Plains, and survived the burning deserts of the Southwest.

Rivers were bridged, dammed, diverted, and tunneled. Mountains were cut, blasted, and tunneled. Wetlands were drained, filled, and dredged. Fossil fuels and minerals were mined, drilled or pumped. America was spanned first by explorers and mountain men, then by wagon trails, canals, steel rails, and finally asphalt.

The spirit of the pioneering settler was to live off the land – to settle it, to shelter, to farm it, to eat, to survive. The spirit of independence, that of self-reliance, became the spirit of Americans. It was the cradle of American exceptionalism.

We celebrated the master builder, the developer, the industrialist, the entrepreneur, the financier, the builders of America, such as John Jacob Astor, Charles F. Kettering, Thomas Edison, Henry Firestone, John D. Rockefeller, Robert Moses, Henry Ford, Henry J. Kaiser, William Mulholland, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Andrew Mellon.

President Washington issued his famous Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1789. The purpose was to give thanks to God for “his care and protection of the People of this country.”

Thanks be to God for America’s greatness and exceptionalism.

President Roosevelt signed on December 26, 1941 a joint resolution of Congress  recognizing the fourth Thursday of November as the day of Thanksgiving.

The November 6, 2012 election results affirm the change in Thanksgiving. The theme is set by the Obama Campaign use of a composite Julia who owes all her success in life to President Obama.

We have become a people dependent upon the government. 47%, the famous 47%, of Americans receive benefits from the federal government. Some of the benefits, such as social security and Medicare, reflect reimbursements for taxes paid by the beneficiaries. Others, such as food stamps, reflect the compassion of the American people.

Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, children health insurance, agricultural subsidies, ethanol and green energy subsidies, food stamps, cell phones, housing subsidies, guaranteed and subsidized student loans, extended unemployment, disaster relief, PBS, Planned Parenthood, et al, add up, financially and in dependency.

Many of these programs are politically irrevocable.

The President wants to increase taxes on the producers, who really didn’t “make it,” to give to others.

An interesting statistic is that in 2007 almost 400,000 Americans claimed an income of $1 million or more, but that had dropped to around 268,000 in 2010. The President wants to substantially increase income taxes, to penalize the economic builders, and the so-called “unearned income” on dividends and capital gains. In short, he is also trying to penalize economic growth.

He will transfer their earnings, their shrinking earnings, to the less fortunate. The President must be ignorant of the basic economic thesis in Aesop’s Fables – Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg. 

The reality is that voters validated the change in the American ethos from independence to dependence. We will become dependent upon the government for economic growth rather than the private sector. Look at how that worked out in the Soviet Union and Western Europe.

We are increasingly looking to the government to solve our problems.

For that the American people need to thank President Obama, the transformative President.