%PM, %14 %941 %2019 %21:%Aug

Some reasons for hope for the future

In last week’s column, I showed things really are much better now than in the past and said this week I’d provide some reasons for hope in the future.

Let’s start with: Our air and water are much cleaner now than 50 years ago.  But we’ve not really observed the fundamental principal of regulation: We should implement such laws and regulations only if they are socially cost-effective and fair.  That is, if the social benefits exceed the costs and minimize cross-subsidies.  Fortunately, the Trump administration has stopped the rush to mindlessly promulgate ever more regulations and started to reconsider a few excessive ones now on the books.  Maybe we can get policy right and all be better off.

Many children are indeed growing up in poor circumstances and face challenging futures.  But that’s always been true, and some of them turn out surprisingly well anyway.  Many other children are raised in very good circumstances, and some of them also do very well.  Our daughter gives me much hope for the future.  I hope your kids do so for you, too.

And some people are finally beginning to speak up about the need for two-parent families and the damage divorce and single parenting often do to children.  We can’t reduce these problems until we openly acknowledge them.

Almost all significant dire things Al Gore predicted in his 2006 book An Inconvenient Truth have failed to materialize, especially the 20-foot rise in sea level.  Good thing for him, too, because he bought an $8-million mansion on the coast.  Probably even he didn’t believe that dreck.

Even though government excess and other basic trends have slowed economic growth, it seems to have settled at two percent annually in real terms, instead of slowing ever more.  Economic growth is necessary to increase human wellbeing.  Maybe we can turn our policies and other problems around and get back to long-term growth above three percent so each generation is about twice as well off on average as its parents.

A handful of high-tech companies have huge size and virtual monopolies in communications platforms.  But just as IBM and others once ruled their sectors, only to be taken down by disruptive firms including the current leaders, so also will they eventually succumb to new technologies and business models, curing some of their current bad behavior.

A prominent futurist predicts artificial intelligence will blossom in the future, the way micro-electronics and the internet did before.  And its benefits will exceed its risks.  I think he’s right.

The rot of the Deep State is bringing it down fitfully and slowly.  People are gaining consciousness of it and the problems it causes.  All this likely will set off a round of reform that will benefit the public interest and ordinary folk.

Rumors of the death of the private auto are greatly exaggerated.

New technology has fostered a boom in creative arts and will continue to do so.  You can make a video and post it to the world with your phone.  Yes, most are forgettable, but not every play in Shakespeare’s time was a masterpiece, either.  New tech gives us much new art and science.

Baseball is as much fun as ever to watch, especially the brilliant fielding plays.  And the Dodgers are still the best team.  Now, if only the Orioles could get back to their glory days …

If current film-makers won’t produce good movies (plot, character development, hope, inspiration, etc.) we can now watch classics on TCM, which we couldn’t decades ago.  Thanks, Ted Turner.

There’s some hope biotech will help us live better, longer lives – and reduce the cost of medical care.  No guarantees here, because health care and insurance costs continue to rise, but we can hope.

Technology and economic progress continue to improve our diets – quality, variety, nutrition, etc.  Now we need to find ways to manage our intakes to fight obesity and promote overall wellness.  A task for people, not governments.

We’ve been through crazy times like the present before and recovered.  The Great Depression, the Sixties and various wars.  We can do so again.

Thank you, President Trump, for considering the human lives lost before counter-attacking the evil empire of Iran.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion

White terrorism.

 

Kind of has a ring to it, no?

 

Twenty-two people killed by a sicko in El Paso and the first thing out of Robert Francis O’Rourke’s pie hole is that it’s the fault of…wait for it…President Trump.

 

Little Bobby told ABC News that Trump “doesn’t just tolerate, he encourages the kind of open racism.”

 

Seriously?

 

We already know that Bobby is a moron, but, like my late father used to say, better that people should think you are a fool than you should open your mouth and prove it—something that little Bobby does anytime, anywhere on any subject.

 

Then, there is the rest of the field of Democrat mental midgets.

 

Pick one, any one, and they’ll say it’s the President’s fault or they’ll, wink, wink “allude” to his “racism.”

 

Uh huh?

 

Let me put this in terms that even these dorks might understand.  Sometimes, a nutcase is just a nutcase.  

 

It happens that I owned radio stations all over Oklahoma on April 19, 1995.  That was the day a nutburger named Tim McVeigh blew up a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 168.  I can assure you that it not only was not Donald Trump’s fault, it also wasn’t even more conservative Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating’s fault.  Or then President Bill Clinton's fault.

 

You look up the term white boy in the dictionary and McVeigh’s picture is next to it.

 

Bill Clinton’s Justice Department prosecuted McVeigh and George W. Bush was president when McVeigh was executed.

 

The left’s problem with that is McVeigh didn’t use a gun.  It’s hard to raise money to stop people from buying fertilizer and renting Ryder trucks. (Editor’s note: The government does regulate Ammonium Nitrate, which was used by McVeigh in the 95 bombing.  In 2011, the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program expanded upon a chemical anti-terrorism bill already in affect in order to "regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate facility ... to prevent the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism." But then, in June of 2019, The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) (of Homeland Security) pushed forward an assessment report which will re-evaluate the program and is currently "taking comments" about said re-evaluation, through September. As of now it’s unclear what will and will not be changed (if anything) in the initial 2011 Program.)

 

Given today’s digital landscape together with 24/7 news outlets on radio and TV, there may not be more nutburgers out there but we all know about them as soon as the second shot is fired.  Or the truck bomb blows up.

 

So, idiots like little Bobby O’Rourke issue politically self-serving statements blaming everyone but themselves.

 

Then, they call for gun control.  And start raising money.

 

Now, think about this.  If every law abiding citizen turned in his or her guns tomorrow then who would still have guns?  And, law enforcement has told us that all of the guns used in the last three shootings, Gilroy, California, El Paso and Dayton, were purchased legally.

 

As far as “assault weapons” go, those are semi-automatic hunting rifles made to look like military rifles but would be just as powerful if they were called hunting rifles.

 

I happen to believe that this is the fault of parenting.  It appears that the shooters involved in 26 of the last 27 mass shootings (defined as 8 or more killed) since 1966 came from fatherless households.

 

Also, 85% of youth who are currently in prison grew up in a fatherless home. (Texas Department of Corrections) and 7 out of every 10 youth that are housed in state-operated correctional facilities, including detention and residential treatment, come from a fatherless home (U.S. Department of Justice).

 

It would also appear that the latest statistics from the Center for Disease Control are that 39.8% of American children were born out of wedlock in 2017, the last year for which we have data.

 

And these morons are worried about GUNS?

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion

Many folks have had enough of the anger, condescension, dishonesty, hate, bitterness, aggression, etc. that are so plentiful these days.  So, despite my inclination to answer so much of it (and it needs to be answered), I write today about some reasons to be grateful for the world we inhabit — and hopeful about the future.

Our family recently traveled back to the Midwest for the biennial coast-to-coast extended family reunion on my mother’s side.  The fact that many folks can travel economically such long distances for brief stays is something to appreciate, because it wasn’t possible in the past and still isn’t in most parts of the world today.

Mom’s the oldest surviving member of the family, while our daughter Karyn’s the youngest of her generation of cousins.  So Karyn has had a great opportunity to learn first-hand some real and important history others get only in passing in school.

Her grandmother, until she turned eight, was a barefoot, dust-bowl, depression era Kansas farm girl.  My grandparents (Mom’s parents) did well as young farmers in the Kansas farm boom of the 1920s, but as the water table sank, their well went dry and they lost the farm.

Having been diligent and productive farmers and paid their loan to the end, the bank asked them to take over a farm that still had water but had been abandoned by folks who went to California.  When the well at the second farm also went dry, the bank asked them to try once more.

When the third farm went dry too, as the water table continued downward, they gave up farming and moved into Wichita.  From my grandfather’s funeral many years later, the salient thing I remember is he continued to deliver eggs to neighbors even when they couldn’t pay.

Mom vividly remembers that the only time she ever saw her parents cry was after they moved into town and the pastor came to tell them he had found Grandpa a job.  They cried at the family table because they knew their seven (soon to be ten) children would not go hungry.  Those were really hard times.

Karyn also has such a story on her mother’s side from the same period.  Kathy’s dad’s family owned a restaurant (25-cent full meals!) and then a general store in Lily, South Dakota, population 33.  As things went downhill for everyone, they had to accept barter from folks at the store because no one had cash.

Ultimately, they couldn’t make the last payment on the family car and lost it, while the store closed.  They packed everything they could into their suitcases, including the family silverware, and boarded a train for the west coast.  Eventually they landed in California, where Dad and his father worked in the Marin shipyards in World War II (and Dad caught asbestos fibers in his lung that killed him half a century later).

As I told Karyn when we watched Ken Burns’ documentary, The Dust Bowl, that was something of a family history for her.  But both families worked hard and prospered after the war.  Kathy and I have been more fortunate than most, and so today Karyn will be able to go to college wherever she can get in.

Not everyone has been so fortunate, but a very large percentage of the population lives much better today than their forebears.

For example, in the last century, the portion of the average family budget that goes for food has declined from 25 percent to less than 10 percent.  And over half of today’s food dollar is spent eating out, with much greater selection than at home and no dish-washing.  A couple of years ago Karyn ordered Australian lobster at an Elko restaurant in February – something completely unheard of when I was her age.  (Yeah, I really said that.)

Clothes, furniture, tools and all kinds of material things are plentiful and inexpensive today.  So, much of our spending now goes to services only the very wealthy could afford in previous decades.

Yes, economic growth has slowed, and we may not see such rapid progress going forward.  But next time I’ll give some reasons to be hopeful and optimistic for the future.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion

Gee, the Chinese seem to want a trade war.

 

That should raise the blood pressure of the Chicago School of Economics students.

 

Why should you care?

 

The truth is that the Democrats want you to care only because they sense a vulnerability they might be able to exploit in the 2020 election.  Of course, what they know about business you could stuff in a thimble and still have room for the 20 mental midgets who want a chance to get the losing party’s nomination.  Elizabeth Warren indeed.

 

If you were to add the IQ of the 20 candidates for the Democrat nomination together, it would not equal one American steelworker—and it is not my intention to insult steelworkers.

 

The other reason one might care is that your really cheap flat screen TVs will have to be made in Korea or Viet Nam in the future.

 

Here’s the fact.

 

China has been ripping us off since President Nixon went to China.  We’re the bank they have been robbing.  If we catch a cold, they get pneumonia.

 

They tax the hell out of our manufacturers one way or another, they keep their markets essentially closed to us and they steal our intellectual property.  And we’re supposed to allow them to continue?  Their next step is to try and replace the dollar as a primary currency.

 

The truth is that a little pain—slightly more expensive cheap Chinese crap, as an example—probably won’t hurt us.

 

In case you haven’t seen past the Shepard Smiths and Rachel Maddows of the world, things are pretty good right now for the middle class.  However, economic hucksters on cable tv would like you to think we’re headed to 2008 all over again.  Remember, when the market drops 700 points in one day, they get more viewers.  

 

Of course, in 2008, crooks on Wall Street and crooks on Main Street had been deliberately making crappy home loans, packaging them up as securities, selling those securities to each other and betting against them.

 

When it all blew up, they turned to us, the taxpayers, for a bailout and got it.  That solved Wall Street’s problem.

 

But on Main Street, the credit markets seized and millions of people found themselves with mortgages worth more than their houses because the market values of those houses crashed.  Those with incomes could power through.  Those who got loans which nobody in their right minds would have made, got evicted.  And it represented a great buying opportunity for those who got bailed out.

 

Fast forward to today.

 

We have a real businessman in the White House—not a community organizer.

 

If Goldman Sachs and their buddies came to Donald Trump for a bail-out, they might get it but the terms would be much more onerous than the days when Barack Obama was there.  Think of our President as negotiating for US in such a situation.  We’ve never been in such good hands.

 

Now is not a good time for Wall Street to come begging.

 

So, they won’t.  They will keep things under control.

 

There will be no securitization of NINJA (no income, no job or assets) loans like lenders were encouraged to make before 2008.

 

When you see the amateur economists—like the people responsible for the last crash—predicting another economic crash, remember two things.

 

One is that we can develop new markets for our exports.  

 

Second, Chinas’ biggest market is us.

 

As far as China goes, how can they replace us?  Especially if we stick with the President in keeping the pressure on.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

 

 

 

Published in Opinion
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The Deep State and the Dumb State

The pencil neck geek who is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiffhead (read into that what you will), more than adequately illustrates what’s wrong with American government these days.

 

In short, the deep state and worse, the dumb state.

 

Schiff represents both.

 

And, worse, he’s NOT from Somalia.  He’s from the People’s Republic of California.

 

Years ago, when I was in college, we ran a very small college radio station which broadcast local city council meetings, gavel to gavel.

 

I did color commentary.

 

Then, I would go home and wake up the next morning and read the daily paper’s report on the meeting.

 

I often wondered whether we were broadcasting the same meeting I was reading about.

 

Watching the Democrats spin it, I have the same problem with the testimony I saw from Robert Mueller before Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee (yeah, believe it or not, they still call it that). Also before that clown Jerrold Nadler’s Judiciary Committee.

 

What these idiots did was try to get Mueller to whittle a gun into a bar of soap.

 

The report from the special prosecutor was pretty clear that the President did not “collude” with the Russians nor did he attempt to obstruct the investigation.  Period, full stop.  And, by the way, “colluding” is not a crime.

 

Prosecutors DO NOT “exonerate” people.  They indict them.  Even the morons in the House have probably watched the real Adam Schiff (well, he’s more real than Congressman Schiffhead) on Law and Order for 10 years (actually Steven Hill) and probably know how it works.

 

Mueller refused to talk about how the investigation got its start. The FACT that the FBI used a completely discredited “dossier” compiled by a company which, it turns out, had been hired by the Democrat National Committee to ask for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) secret court.  That document had been made up by a foreign spy which should tell you a lot.

 

The fact that 14 of the 18 investigators Mueller hired were registered Democrats should tell you even more.

 

And even after two years and $30-MILLION of our dollars that Mueller could not bring any action against President Trump should tell you all you need to know.

 

Did the President use some foul language?  No more foul than I would have.

 

Did some people involved in the campaign get indicted for crimes totally unrelated to the campaign?

 

Absolutely.

 

Did Trump do anything illegal?  Not according to Mueller.

 

Mueller bumbled and stumbled through hours of testimony and looked like he is beginning to suffer from dementia.  I felt bad for him.  It was painful to watch.

 

Now, more importantly, did the Russians do anything illegal to manipulate the 2016 election?

 

Well, they bought a lot of facebook ads.

 

Facebook says that roughly 126 million Americans may have been exposed to content generated on its platform by the Russian government-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017.  Keep in mind that the election was in November of 2016.

 

“This equals about four-thousandths of one percent (0.004%) of content in News Feed, or approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content.  Put another way, if each of these posts were a commercial on television, you’d have to watch more than 600 hours of television to see something from the IRA,” Facebook told CNN.

 

And then, consider the source.  Who in the hell takes Facebook seriously?  In many ways, it is just as stupid as the Democrats in the House.

 

That’s meddling in the election?  Then what about NBC, CBS and ABC?

 

All of the queen’s men couldn’t kill off the Trump campaign.

 

That’s largely because Queen Hillary called half of America “deplorable”.

 

Mueller didn’t “investigate” that.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

Published in Opinion

People are dying all over the country from opioid overdoses. There’s a movement to have the antidote naloxone available in all ambulances and even over the counter. This temporarily reverses the fatal effect of opioids, which stop the patient’s breathing. First responders themselves may need a dose because of contact with a tiny amount of fentanyl, an extremely potent narcotic, while attending a patient.

No, the fentanyl does not come from the patient’s bottle of legal prescription drugs.

Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) introduced a proposal that he claims would “go a long way to fight the practice of doctor shopping for more prescription pain pills amid a deadly opioid crisis.” Doctor shopping “involves visiting multiple doctors.” Hardly new, this proposal, now passed by the House of Representatives as an amendment to a $99.4 billion Health and Human Services appropriations bill, lifts the ban on funding a Unique Patient Identifier (UPI).

The UPI is part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. You don’t have one yet because former congressman Ron Paul, M.D., (R-Tex,) sponsored a prohibition on funding it as part of a 1999 appropriations bill. Rep. Foster’s amendment repeals Dr. Paul’s prohibition.

So how is this 1996 idea supposed to work? And why would it be better than the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) now in effect in nearly every state? Every prescription for a controlled substance must be reported to the PDMP, and the doctor must check it before writing a prescription, to be sure the patient is not lying about having prescriptions from other doctors. This costly program that creates time-consuming hassles for doctors has not prevented opioid deaths.

PDMPs are ineffective because doctor shopping is not the cause of the problem. Only 2.5 percent of misused prescription pain medicine was obtained by doctor shopping. And this small percentage apparently increased after PDMPs. More than 97% of misused medications are obtained from a single physician—or from an illicit source. The spike in opioid deaths after 2013 was caused by illicit fentanyl, as Dr. John Lilly concludes from painstaking analysis of official data.

If Rep. Foster’s amendment is not removed, you might have to have a UPI to get legitimate medical care—“no card, no care”—but the drug cartel won’t mind. You can shop drug dealers as much as you like. There is a flood of fentanyl, mostly from Mexico or China, coming across our borders. Rep. Foster is apparently unaware of the armed lookouts protecting the smuggling routes in the Tucson sector. And once here, the drugs go to distributors—such as illegal aliens protected in sanctuary cities.

So, what about the other touted benefits of the UPI? “Specifically, assigning a unique number to a patient would give doctors a way to immediately identify a patient’s medical history,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.). He says it “would lower the cost of medical mix-ups due to misidentification.” His elderly father was nearly given the wrong medication.

To prevent medical errors, you need alert nurses and doctors—and the UPI is not going to fix the hazards of the electronic health record. The EHR, touted as the solution that will bring efficient, quality care, has created its own type of errors.

There is no guarantee that a UPI will improve access to the record, and critical information will still be buried in voluminous, repetitious data of dubious reliability, some of which may have been cut-and-pasted from another patient’s record. There may be critical gaps as patients withhold information they don’t want in a federal database. The new problem that brings the patient to the hospital won’t be in the old record—but may be the result of an old misdiagnosis that should be corrected instead of copied.

Patients need to be able to shop for doctors, especially if the one they have has not solved their problems. Some of them desperately need opioids, which are increasingly difficult to obtain. They do not need a UPI, and neither does their doctor.

The UPI is ideally suited for government tracking and control of all citizens. People like J. Edgar Hoover or Lois Lerner might find it very useful. But it would be the end of privacy, and the foundation for a national health data system.

 

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. Her views and opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN.  Her column can often be found at www.pennypressnv.com. Her column has been reprinted in full, with permission.

 

 

Published in Opinion

A few years ago, where I live (in rural Nevada), we thought there was going to be a neighborhood tragedy.

 

The 7-11 store which served my rural area started falling on hard times.

 

First, they got out of the gas business.  The powers that be, told the owner that he needed to replace the underground tanks.  He couldn’t justify the expense.  And then, it became public knowledge that Dollar General had purchased the land across the street.

 

The 7-11 franchisee fled.  He was replaced by a remarkably similar independent operator who got a Valero gas franchise and called his store 24-7.

 

And Dollar General built a pretty nice store across the street.

 

The reason for that story is a headline on the CNN Business site:

 

“Dollar stores are everywhere. That’s a problem for poor Americans”

 

That’s right.  The Chicken Noodle News network a/k/a the Trash Trump Net is all of a sudden worried about “poor” Americans.

 

The thrust of the story is that members of a number of city councils are restricting new dollar stores—which can be roughly defined the same way they define “assault weapons”—because many of them only sell fast frozen food thus creating a “food desert”, allegedly because big grocers do not wish to compete.  

 

CNN says, “Advocates of tighter controls on dollar stores say the big chains intentionally cluster multiple stores in low-income areas. That strategy discourages supermarkets from opening and it threatens existing mom-and-pop grocers, critics say.”

 

Of course, that’s also the strategy of McDonalds.

 

““The business model for these stores is built on saturation,” said Julia McCarthy, senior policy associate at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and a critic of dollar stores. “When you have so many dollar stores in one neighborhood, there’s no incentive for a full-service grocery store to come in.”

 

“Opponents also express concerns that dollar stores don’t offer fresh produce. Dollar General and its dollar store rivals mostly sell snacks, drinks, canned foods and vegetables, household supplies and personal care products at rock-bottom prices.”

 

Imagine that… snacks, drinks, canned foods and vegetables, household supplies and personal care products at rock-bottom prices.

 

How terrible is that?

 

Hey MORONS! (that’s you CNN).  If you don’t have a lot of money, snacks, drinks, canned foods and vegetables, household supplies and personal care products at rock-bottom prices is a GOOD thing.

 

I’m sorry to tell you that Oklahoma City, where I once owned KOKC and Tulsa where I used to own KTRT passed legislation limiting new dollar store openings.  But only in the “poor” neighborhoods.

 

Ahh, the Nanny State.

 

If you can’t afford to buy a lot, we’ll make you drive to a rich neighborhood to buy it cheap.  Only the oil producers in Oklahoma would like that.

 

The thought in the heads of the libs who lobby for this crap is that if you kill off the dollar stores in the neighborhoods who need them the most, Kroger or Albertsons will take the risks and move right in.

 

Sure they will.  When their shareholders don pink pig suits and fly.  That’s what happens when the Jihad Squad followers get themselves elected to city councils.  Maybe Congress, if we let it continue without opposition.

 

We’ll check into what happened in my former stomping grounds in a few years and see if the libs were right.  Here’s a hint.  Find a bookie who will book a long term future bet.  Bet they won’t.  Make sure that bookie can pay off.

 

Oh…to finish the story about my neighborhood, both stores are doing well, several years later.  Which goes to show the truth of the old saying that the best place to locate a shoe store is across the street from another one.

 

FRED WEINBERG

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

 

Published in Opinion

“Job growth was about 227,000 in June but 46 percent of the people surveyed say they are not better off.  Democrats claim the 50 percent growth of the stock market does not help the common people because most do not invest in stocks, except those with 401(k) plans.  But the stock market indicates companies are willing to invest, which leads to job growth.  Please explain.”

Good points from a thoughtful reader.

June job growth of 227,000 was good, and recent upward revisions of prior-month figures likewise.  However, longer-term job growth hasn’t been very robust, even though unemployment is at record lows.

Some people who were dropped from the job market during the Great Recession and tepid recovery that followed it simply haven’t returned.  But some are beginning to.  Some are seniors who entered retirement early and aren’t being welcomed back by hiring managers.  And some are millennials who retired to their parents’ basements or similar quarters.

Dems err when they claim securities market price gains don’t help common folk.  Beyond 401(k) plans and personal portfolios, the much larger impact is that the vast majority of those people depend on retirement plans that are invested in the markets.  Given the poor management of most plans, members need markets to soar, for otherwise their golden years may not be so rosy.

And stock market rises don’t necessarily indicate strong investment by firms, so long-term job growth has been weak, as noted above; however, in the last decade, things have changed significantly from the pre-recession decades: thus, the “new normal.”  And I think those long-term changes explain our national ennui and sourness.

The key fact is that, even after a decade of recovery and stock market growth, our economy is growing significantly slower than in previous decades.  So, people’s incomes and wellbeing are rising much slower than they did during most adults’ lives, when annual per-person real growth of 2.0-2.5 percent meant that standards of living doubled every generation.  Now, the generational growth is only about 40 percent, instead of doubling.

Although people don’t much consciously think or talk about that, it greatly conditions their sense of wellbeing and their outlook.  For example, living space in the average home has doubled over about 40 years, and home amenities have also greatly improved.  So, people are less burdened by preparing and cleaning up after meals with microwave ovens and dish washers.  And they enjoy more TV options on much bigger and higher quality screens.  Life seems better, and it is.

Although they don’t think about per-capita real growth having been cut in half, they do get a sense the last decade that things aren’t getting better the way they had come to expect from life-long experience.  The fact they don’t know the exact reason for that is itself discomforting.

In my controller’s annual reports the last four years, I explained some key reasons for the new-normal slow growth.  Government excess – spending, taxes, and debt rising continuously relative to the economy, plus continuously proliferating regulations of all kinds – all slowed growth ever more.  Labor force participation grew before the turn of the century, helping growth, but has slowed since.

Debt of all kinds grew unsustainably before the recession, accelerating growth, but has stalled since then.   And increasing trade and international investment, plus strong world economic growth, all helped us before the recession, but those trends too have reversed since then.

These are the important drivers people don’t see, but they definitely feel their effects of slow growth of productivity, jobs and incomes.

As noted above, people generally don’t think consciously about then versus now, although such considerations may play a subconscious role in their outlooks.  Instead, regardless of how much their lives have improved, they always focus on us versus them: They are acutely aware of how well off they are compared to other folks.

And when they feel things aren’t going well for them, they look for scape goats and others to blame.  When they don’t understand the economic complexities and long-term issues, they look for single-factor causes and immediate trends.  

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

 

Published in Opinion

Humor me for a minute.

 

Let’s say that someone sues me in Federal Court over something I said or wrote and the Federal Judge in his or her infinite wisdom puts a gag order on the defense.

 

So, I hold a press conference and the judge threatens to hold me in contempt.

 

I tell the judge, “It’s too late your honor, I already am in contempt of YOUR court.”

 

How do you think I would be spending the next week?

 

OK, let’s look at the million or so illegal aliens roaming around the United States who are already under the orders of a Federal Judge to leave the United States and simply ignore the order.

 

Are they being rounded up and deported?

 

Are they being arrested and held in “contempt” of a Federal Court?

 

Unless President Trump goes through with his plan to round them up, the answer is no.

 

So, let’s review.

 

If I mouth off to a Federal Judge, I get to see the inside of a cell.  But if someone who has already been through the system, is here illegally and is ordered out just ignores the order, nothing happens.  And that’s the way Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat clown show want it?

 

Now the truth be told, over the last 40 years, I’ve had a few lawyers who would have gladly stuffed a sock in my mouth when I was standing in front of a Federal Judge, but I’ve never quite gone as far as my hypothetical example above, largely because not waking up in a cell is usually among my priorities.  (Or a sitting Federal Judge hasn’t made me mad enough.)

 

But it seems to me that we have two systems of justice.  One for citizens of the United States. And a wholly different one for a class of people the establishment wants coddled. Like illegal aliens. Hell, the Democrat clown show doesn’t even want me to call them illegal aliens.  As if undocumented immigrants makes it OK.

 

Folks.

 

What part of illegal do we not understand?

 

Perhaps, when President Trump of overwhelmingly re-elected in 2020, they’ll get the message.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion

Henry Ross Perot was an American’s American.

 

He died this week at age 89.

 

His 1992 and 1996 independent runs for President were a pre-curser for Donald Trump’s win in 2016.

 

His legacy, however, is embodied in every American who ever took a risk and either succeeded or failed.

 

Perot was largely successful.  He started Electronic Data Systems with $1000 and experience at IBM as a salesman fresh out of the Navy.  In 1984, he sold it to General Motors—the least entrepreneurial company in the United States—for $2.5-billion dollars.  He got a seat on GM’s board and became its biggest shareholder.

 

That’s when the fireworks started.

 

Perot wanted GM to make better cars.  He soon found out that GM Chairman Roger Smith regarded EDS as a shiny new thing.  “At EDS when we see a snake we kill it. At GM they appoint a committee to study snakes,” was Perot’s comment.

 

Smith soon had enough and the company coughed up another $750-million to get rid of the Texas provocateur once and for all.

 

What GM didn’t get was a non-compete agreement.  Perot soon started Perot Systems which was bought by Dell in 2009.

 

One other thing about Perot was important.

 

Being from Texas, he never lost touch with Middle America.  No matter how rich he became, he never stopped being the guy from Texarkana whose Daddy was a cotton trader.  He always understood that between the east coast and the west coast was a majority of Americans who worked hard, played by the rules and he had immense respect for us.

 

I remember meeting with him one day when I owned radio stations in Tulsa and he spent quite a bit of time quizzing me about the radio business.  He was interested in just about everything.

 

What he never appeared to be much interested in was his legacy.

 

His legacy will be huge because he lived a huge life well.

 

His last, most Perot-like quote was this:

 

“Texas born, Texas bred and when I die I’ll be Texas dead.”

 

If God, ever needs a Texas poet-laureate, He won’t have to look far.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

Published in News & Information
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