Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 2015, Part 5, Political Class Insanity: Hillary's $600 Haircut, Presidential African Ego Trips, and More

At the beginning of each month we take a week or so to review the latest insanity from the American political class. Insanity from them includes a wide range of very depressing actions which can include wasteful spending, idiotic quotes, an inefficient and ineffective government bureaucracy, failed economic policies, etc. Every month we continue to prove that we are being served by the worst set of politicians ever.

And as you will see, this month’s review and discussions do nothing to prove that this thesis is wrong in any way:

1) We have already discussed the following statistics in a previous post that come from a phone survey conducted for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) by Harris Poll in March among 1,010 American adults. We repeat it here in our insanity series for two reasons. 

First, as we discussed previously, the Washington political class and the Obama administration have done such a lousy job at managing and growing the economy that millions of Americans are being forced to postpone life affecting decisions, given the uncertainty in their minds and their wallets relative to the economy. Specifically, the survey found that many Americans are delaying, for financial reasons, decisions involving: 
  • Higher Education (24 percent delaying in 2015, compared to 11 percent in 2007)
  • Buying a Home (22 percent delaying in 2015, compared to 14 percent in 2007)
  • Medical Procedure (19 percent delaying in 2015, compared to 9 percent in 2007)
  • Retirement (18 percent delaying in 2015, compared to 9 percent in 2007)
  • Having Children (13 percent delaying in 2015, compared to 5 percent in 2007)
  • Marriage (12 percent delaying in 2015, compared to 6 percent in 2007)
Thus, despite what Obama might be claiming about his stewardship of the economy, Americans quality of life is suffering as they deny themselves the opportunity to own a house, get a better education, get needed medical care, etc. In other words, the current set of American politicians are delaying and/or denying the American dream to millions of Americans because these politicians have no idea how to manage and grow a robust economy.

Second reason we are revisiting the these numbers is that they were part of a larger article that appeared on the Affluent Investor website. After discussing the above numbers and realities, the article went on to show a hypothetical Chinese economic class in the future where the instructor explains how the great United States of America collapsed, not because of a war or famine, but because the Washington political class had no financial, economic, or budgeting skills, resulting in the economic ruin of the greatest democracy ever. 

The video and article can be accessed at:

The insane thing about the video is that it is probably accurate and highly likely to come true, a scenario that was unthinkable just a few years ago.

2) Hillary Clinton is running for President and during the early stages of her campaign we have seen some pretty anemic attempts by her and her campaign to try and prove to a skeptical American public that she is one of the people, in touch with the needs of the common citizen, that she feels our pain and identifies with our struggles.

Of course, this is all total political bs, Hillary could not be any further out of touch with our struggles:
  • Her family’s net worth is probably approaching the $100 million level.
  • She travels in a luxury private jet wherever she goes. 
  • She insists on only the best hotel suites when traveling with nearby suites for her entourage.
  • The multi-million dollar wedding she threw for her daughter was ranked among the five most expensive weddings EVER.
  • She regularly attends political fund raising dinners and events that cost tens of thousands of dollars to attend.
  • She has been seen and photographed shopping at only the most exclusive stores in NYC.
Now, according to multiple news sources, she recently got a haircut...a haircut that likely cost her $600 or so at an exclusive salon in the exclusive Bergdorf Goodman high end retail store. That is a week’s salary for someone making $15 an hour.

If you have enough money to get a $600 haircut, more power to you, do anything you want with your own money. But please do not try to tell me you are one of the common people because common people do not get $600 haircuts or ride in luxury private jets or drop millions of dollars on their daughter’s wedding, etc. Please give us a little credit for being able to see through your political spin and condescension.

3) President Obama recently visited a number of African countries. Not saying any President should not visit foreign lands but his visit was to such places as Kenya and Ethiopia, countries that are a nit relative to the United States economy, national defense, social interactions, or anything relative to most American lives. In other words, this trip was totally unnecessary.

Even though unnecessary, aside from feeding the President’s personal need to visit the homeland of his ancestors, something he could do in two years on his own money and not the taxpayers’ money, the taxpayer still got screwed. According to the National Taxpayers Union, just the cost to operate Air Force One on this unnecessary trip was just under $6 million. 

This figure does not include every other incremental expense that is involved with a Presidential trip, even the unnecessary ones. The National Taxpayers Union estimates that those extra expenses will add tens of millions of dollars onto the total expense of the trip. When Obama took his family on a weeklong trip to sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, the estimated total cost of that trip was put at between $60 million and $100 million. On that 2013 trip, the Secret Service’s hotel costs alone totaled $953,788.

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation now says that Obama is now tied for most international trips by a President through July of his seventh year in office. He is tied with Bill Clinton with 41 trips, although Clinton stayed abroad longer, 178 days, compared to 161 for Obama.

We go through all of this to make the point that thousands and thousands of our veterans are not getting the needed medical care they were promised, millions of Americans are hungry, homeless, or addicted, and our schools still stink at educating our kids. $60 to $100 million could go a long way to making the lives of a lot of Americans better rather than wasting it on unnecessary, ego driven trips to countrys that have little or no strategic value to America. Insanely bad priorities.

4) Let’s circle back to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and spin and condescension. John Podesta, one of Hillary’s main campaign gurus, recently claimed in a fund raising letter that Republicans are funding their presidential candidates with “a ferocious onslaught of dark money,” i.e. rich people are funding the Republicans. He went on to claim that Hillary is being funded by small dollar donors. Which is always the case with HIllary, either a gross exaggeration or an outright lie.

Why? Campaign finance reports show that Hillary’s campaign pulled in $46.7 million in campaign donations in the first quarter of 2015 from about 250,000 donors. In Podesta’s fundraising letter, there are boxes to check if you want to donate $1, $5, or $10 as far as small donations. 

The DC Caller did an interesting analysis where they assumed that every one of those 250,000 donors sent in $16 , which is the sum of $1 + $5 +$10. If Hillary was getting much of her money from small donors, regular type American citizens vs. the supposed fat cats that are donating to Republicans, then she would have collected about $4 million, leaving her about $42 million short of what she actually did pull in. In other words, rich people are accounting for a large portion of Hillary’s campaign cash also.

Reporting by the Washington Post supports that conclusion also. It found that: “Donations under $200 made up just under 17 percent of Clinton’s total raised.” The DC Caller reporting concludes: “That means the vast majority of the Clinton campaign cash has come from bigger individual donors, or so-called “bundlers.” This clearly shows the “grassroots,” small donor claim made by campaign chairman Podesta is far from an honest representation of the truth.” Far from the truth, no surprise there.

5) One last piece of political insanity for today. Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry recently reached a tentative deal with Iran to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. We will not go into the details of this horrendous deal today, it’s pitfalls and potential horrors could take days to discuss.

All you have to know about this potential deal is that Nancy Pelosi has called it a “diplomatic masterpiece.” This is the same person who made the fabulously inane statement that Congress had to pass the Obama Care legislation so that Congress and America could find out what was in it, as if reading it first before voting on it was some type of foreign process to her. 

This is the person who boldly stated that: “Obama Care Will Probably Save Taxpayers More than a Trillion Dollars.” Nevermind that Obama Care is likely to add trillions of dollars to the deficit and that Americans are seeing substantial increases in their health insurance costs.

This is the economic wizard who once stated: “Every dollar invested in this initiative [extending unemployment benefits (UI)] yields $1.52 in economic growth, and an extension of UI could produce as many as 300,000 jobs.” In other words, the more unemployed people we have collecting unemployment benefits the more jobs will be created. Huh?

And this final gem: “Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package 500 million Americans lose their jobs.” Given that there are just over 300 million people in America today, it is highly doubtful that 500 million are losing their jobs every month.

Given these quotes and her assertion that the Iran arms deal is a “diplomatic masterpiece,” you have to figure that the deal is the worst piece of diplomacy the United States has ever developed. Betting against Nancy Pelosi is almost always a sure winning position.

The insanity keeps on rolling in, from Nancy Pelosi fantasies to Presidential ego trips to Africa to $600 haircuts, you cannot make this stuff up. More insanity tomorrow and for at least several days after that.

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