Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Socialism Is Supposed to Work Better Than American Capitalism?

Fridays job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was a head-turner for everyone in the labor force, job-seekers and every politician with any sense at all. It should be a major alarm bell for Democrats and their operatives who insist on denigrating free market capitalism and chasing their tails on the impeachment merry-go-round. 
There were 266,000 new jobs were created in November; experts expected only 166,000 jobs to be created. That includes 41,000 that were solid manufacturing jobs, not flipping-burgers-at-McDonalds jobs. 
The number of jobs created in October and September was revised upward by 41,000 jobs. 
The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, a 50-year low. By contrast, the unemployment rate in socialist countries keeps inching up, not down. Frances unemployment rate is 8.6%; Swedens rate is 6.6% and the Godfather of all socialist disasters, Venezuela, is sporting a 26.4% unemployment rate. 
Does anyone in the United States really want to emulate any of those results? If socialism is so great, how come so many people around the world are not able to find a job? Doesnt the government create enough jobs for them to do, even if it is menial work? 
Percentages don’t tell the whole story; real numbers do. There are 158 million Americans working today, the highest in history. Close to 100 million white Americans are working, while 19.5 million African-Americans are working full-time jobs as well as 28.3 million Hispanic-Americans. There are 10.4 million Asian-Americans working today; only 2.6% of Asian-Americans are unemployed. And 74.5 million female Americans of all races are working today. 
People have watched the total U.S. stock market increase in capitalization by $10 trillion according to the Wilshire 5000 index, up 54% since Election Day 2016. Close to 100 million households out of 130 million total households in America own mutual funds or stock portfolios in personal, IRA or 401(k) accounts that are increasing, not decreasing, for retirement or consumption purposes. 
Not a single Democrat in Congress or the Senate voted for the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 that has contributed heavily to this state of low unemployment and increase in wealth for people who vote. Republicans will run ads against every incumbent Democrat for the next year reminding voters that they had nothing to do with this return of prosperity they are enjoying. 
5.8 million Americans are unemployed. Roughly 7 million jobs are unfilled in America today. There is no shortage of jobs available. There are not enough properly trained people with specific skills looking for work to fill those jobs.  
Real wages went up 3.5% in November. Although most of the growth in wages is tied to educational and trained technical skills ability, it is still a sign of growth and job opportunity in the American economy regardless of the dystopian view of America put out by the dour Marxian view of the economy by socialist Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  
If you watch MSNBC or CNN all day long, you would be led to believe these are the worst of times in the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth based on these recent economic numbers. 
Thankfully, most normal people dont bingewatch cable news shows. Out of 350 million people, only an average of 5 million people, or 2.5% of the entire population, watch any cable news shows on any given evening: 2.4 million viewers for FOX News; MSNBC at 1.5 million and CNN at 1 million. 
They are usually the same viewers every single night. 
Close to 200 million adults are doing important things after work such as reading or playing with their kids, going to the Y to get some exercisegoing to church, or less important things such as watching Dancing With The Stars or NFL football. They are not watching the latest on the impeachment hearings or propaganda from either side. 
“Are you better off now than you were in 2016?”  Millions of voters are going to have a tough time saying no. 
(first published in North State Journal 12/11/19)
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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Can Mayor Bloomberg "Buy The Presidency"?

"Donald Trump Didn't Spend Enough of His Own Money
to Win the White House. I will show him!"
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are screaming that former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is trying to buy the Presidency! 
Go ahead,” they should say. Make my day.” 
Seasoned political people know campaigns with the most money win 87% of the time. That applies to national, statewide, congressional, state legislative and municipal races across the country. 
What is less well-known is that under 24% of wealthy candidates who fund their own campaigns ever win. In 2016, that number was a paltry 12.5%. 
Donald Trump could have bankrolled his entire 2016 presidential campaign by himself. Hgoofed all the major networks into giving him $5 billion in free advertising instead. President Trump spent $5 per vote, the lowest amount of money per vote received by a winning presidential candidate in modern campaign history. 
Hillary Clinton spent almost twice as much, over $9 per vote, and lost. 
What gives? Why doesnt every rich person who pours their personal wealth into a campaign win if 87% of the time the campaign with the most money wins? 
First, most self-funders are new to electoral politics. They think because they are wealthy, they can take their talents from the private sector and instantly be successful in the maelstrom of politics. 
Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost all newcomers who run for office lose the first time out. George Washington lost his first race for the Virginia House of Burgesses because he failed to spend the most money on alcohol on election day for his supporters. So did James Madison. 
Think of it as Campaign Finance, 18th Century-Style. 
Second, the candidate has to be likableThird, the rich person has to connect with average folks and not be distant, aloof and separated from the voters. Fourth, the rich person has to run a campaign based on issues people care about, such as their job and quality education for their children 
Most successful self-funding businessmen who enter politics want to talk about budgets, disintermediation and foreign policy, none of which are on the average voters Top 50 list. 
The most important reason why self-funders lose is that rich people who spend millions of their own money to win a campaign give off political pheromones to registered voters that scream: I DONT NEED YOUR MONEY AND I DONT CARE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY! 
Average voters dont like rich people lording their wealth over them. They believe rich people are insulated from the stresses and agonies of life regular people go through daily. 
One group of people do love self-funders, however: political consultants. A general consultant can make 15% off ad buys plus millions for direct mail and social media placements. Tapping into one source of big wealth such as Bloombergs is far easier than calling thousands of people who are limited to $2,800 contributions by current campaign laws. 
Who wouldnt want to make 15% off Bloombergs billions? 
Former GOP political consultant Lee Atwater, God rest his soul, explained the dilemma for self-funders this way: I would rather get $1 from 100,000 people than $100,000 from the candidate. If a person can only contribute $1 to any campaign, they are not going to vote for anyone else because that $1 means something to that voter. Money is fungible; it can come from anywhere. Votes cant. They have to come from registered voters in your district or state. That is what I am after; votes, not just money. 
On the other hand, Lee was also fond of quoting former Speaker of the California State Assembly Jesse Unruh, who said: Money is the mothers milk of politics. 
Which it is. Eighty-seven percent of the time, it produces a victory. However, chances are very high that Bloomberg may blow $1 billion of his personal wealth and not even secure the Democratic nomination. 
When Bloomberg loses — or Tom Steyer, for that matter — consider their personal investment in their campaigns an economic stimulus package. To their campaign handlers and to the TV stations who will love their money. 

(first published in North State Journal 12/4/19)

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Meditation on the Divine Will

Washington, D.C. 
September 1862 
The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong.  
God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war, it is quite possible that Gods purpose is something different from the purpose of either party  and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose.  
I am almost ready to say that this is probably true  that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest.  
Yet the contest began. And, having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds. 
President Abraham Lincoln wrote this private note to himself after 17 months of a brutal civil war amongst his fellow countrymen. He slipped it into the front drawer of what is now known as Lincolns desk and periodically would pull it out to read and meditate on its meaning and his role as a public servant elected leader of this country. 
Three years later, on March 4, 1865, Lincoln delivered his sublime Second Inaugural Address to the nation which many experts consider to be the greatest speech ever givenAt roughly 700 words, it was almost three times the length of his Gettysburg Address which the same experts consider to be one of the top five speeches of all time. 
Lincoln amplifies on his same thoughts as in his private Meditations on the Divine Will note to himself. 
Four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came 
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully Yet, if God wills that (this war) continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsmans two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’” 
What if the same could be said of todays political polarization in America? What if both sides pray to the same God asking for deliverance and victory in their political fight against the other side  and neither side is deemed righteous to be granted victory? 
What if God continues to allow the contest to proceed? Can we, as a country, survive as a free democratic republic much longer as a house divided,” which is from yet another great Lincoln speech? 
How would Abraham Lincoln navigate todays treacherous polluted political waters if he were leading our country today?  
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nations wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. 
We all need personal meditations. Try Lincolns Meditation on the Divine Will for this Thanksgiving season. We could use some malice toward none and charity to all right now. 
(first published in North State Journal 11/26/19)

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Content of Character and Talent Over Race

Syracuse pummeled Duke 49-6 last weekend.  
Eighty-one years ago, they were scheduled to play the seventh game during Dukes magical undefeated, untied and unscored-upon 1938 season. Syracuse almost had to play short-handed without their best player, running back Wilmeth Sidat-Singh. 
He only played because Dukes legendary Coach Wallace Wade did the right thing so his Iron Dukes could play Syracuse at full-strength, not less than their very best. 
Wallace Wade was a very conservative Republican, a man of strong principle and a patriot beyond being one of the great college football coaches of all time. He said his greatest disappointment in life was not being allowed in the first wave of the Normandy invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944.  
The Army said he was too old. At age 52. 
He was a close friend of Sen. Jesse Helms and brave Republican politicians who dared to run in heavily Democratic North Carolina over the years. 
Wade was born in 1892 in rural Trenton, Tennessee. He went on to become a feisty, 150-lb guard on Brown University’s 1916 Rose Bowl team. 
Coach Wade blocked for Fritz Pollard, who was the first black running back named All-American. Pollard went on to become one of the first two black NFL players and then the first black head coach in 1918.  
They also became close friends. 
In 1938, a gentlemans agreement existed where Northern colleges who had black players would hold them out of the games against all-white Southern college football teams such as Duke or Carolina if requested. 
Several weeks before the Nov12 game, Syracuse officials cabled Coach Wade to inquire as to whether they should bench Sidat-Singh for the upcoming game at Syracuse. 
Sidat-Singh was born to African American parents. When his father died, his mother remarried an Indian physician who gave Wilmeth his last name. Most everyone thought he was Indian, not African American. 
Sidat-Singh was a great back who could throw, presaging todays game where a running quarterback such as Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson can dominate a game. 
Coach Wade wired back that Duke had no objections even though a previous contract states that he will not be allowed to participate against Duke.” 
Before the game, Wade said, If he doesnt play, no matter what the score is, well get no credit for winning. Wade had won three national titles at Alabama in three Rose Bowls in 1925, 1926 and 1930 before coming to Duke in 1931. He demanded the best. Always. 
If you are not good enough to play in the Rose Bowl, you are not good enough to play in any bowl he would tell his team at the beginning of each season. 
Sidat-Singh was allowed to play and there were no incidents or fights reported during the game. Coach Wade had instructed his players to treat Sidat-Singh as they would any other white player: Keep anyone in a non-Duke blue uniform out of the endzone regardless of skin color. 
After the game, which Duke won 21-0, press accounts reported that Sidat-Singh went over to the Duke bench and shook the hands of Duke co-captains Dan Hill Jr. and Eric Tipton, which had to be noticed by everyone in the Syracuse stadium. 
Coach Wade could have declined to play Syracuse had Sidat-Singh played. Duke players could have caused a huge ruckus and media incident by refusing to play or shake his hand after the game.  
Coach Wade would have none of it. He played with and respected Fritz Pollard from his Brown University days. He knew that great football players were great because of their talent, not their skin color. His Duke players knew that to disobey, embarrass or, worse, disappoint Coach Wade would have been the kiss of death for them and the end of their careers at Duke, right at the very end of what was a magical season for them and the university. 
Coach Wades decision exemplified what the essence of America should always be about: a free country where the content of someones character and talent matters far more than the color of their skin. And winning.
(first published in North State Journal 11/20/19)

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