Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November, 2015, Part 2, Political Class Insanity: Stupid Water Idea From California, Stupid Wage Idea From Seattle,and Stupid Syria PLans From the White House

It is the start of another month which means it is time for our monthly review of the latest political class insanity that continually spews forth from America’s politicians. Their actions, words, quotes, incompetency, and general ineptness continue to reinforce our theory that we are currently being served by the worst set of politicians in the history of the nation.

As you read about the latest shenanigans and ineptness of the political class, keep in mind what should be their priorities in these difficult times and compare this list to what they are actually working on:

  • NBC recently reported that ISIS forces are getting larger and stronger despite the Obama administration spending billions of dollars on a failed air campaign and military strategy.
  • The stock market is stalling.
  • Job creation is barely keeping up with population growth.
  • Wage growth is anemic, growing just .2% in the second quarter, the lowest quarterly growth since 1982.
  • The labor participation rate is at the lowest level in decades because the Obama economy cannot generate enough jobs.
  • Thousands of veterans are still not getting the medical care they were promised by the Federal government.
  • A record number of police officers have been assassinated in the past week.
  • 45 million Americans are still receiving monthly Federal food assistance.
  • Our borders still leak and thousands of illegal immigrant criminals continue to walk our streets.
  • Major programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are hurtling towards insolvency and lose hundreds of billions of dollars every year to fraud and mismanagement.
  • Our kids are still getting lousy public educations at most public schools.
  • The IRS and other government functions seem to be getting their computer systems hacked on a regular basis, exposing tens of millions of Americans to identity theft potential.
  • Obama Care is a failure along so many dimensions as health care costs continue to soar despite the Obama promise that they would decrease.
  • Annual Federal deficits, while down, are still about half a TRILLION a year meaning that even though the Federal government is collecting more in taxes than ever before, it still cannot run a balanced budget.
Again, keep these real crises in mind as you read what our politicians are actually doing, saying and wasting.

1) California has been suffering through an epic drought for a number of years now. I will not talk about what caused the drought today, although many feel it was the ineptness of the California political class on a number of fronts that at least made the water shortage far worse, if not caused it, to begin with.

Today’s water shortage insanity comes from an LA area Congresswoman who thinks she has a solution to the drought. Her idea is to ship water from Alaska to the LA port for use by California water users. Congresswoman Janice Hahn wants to ship water from the Blue Sitka lake in Alaska via ships. Back in the 1960s there was a proposal to build a pipeline to move the water to California but it was never built.

On first glance there is a big problem with the Congresswoman’s. Even if the Congresswoman can get the water to the LA port, there is no infrastructure or pipeline to transport it. No problem, Hahn’s concept is to put the water in giant plastic bags that would then be put into shipping containers. 

But the problems do not end there. Even if the water could be gathered, put into plastic bags and somehow delivered hundreds of miles, across land and water, to California water users, the cost would be about 12 times the cost of water California users are paying today.

And the final piece of insanity in this watery problem:

  • According to the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2010 California users consumed 38 billion gallons of water every day.
  • Wikipedia estimates that the average oil tanker can hold 2 million barrels of oil or 84 million gallons.
  • Thus, if California used oil supertankers to transport that Alaskan water, it would take 45 supertankers a DAY to supply just 10% of that 38 million gallons of water used everyday.
Thus, her solution is one of impossible logistics, high costs, and numbers that simply do not add up. Typical non-solution from the American political class.

2) Many politicians incorrectly think that significantly raising the minimum wage is a good idea. We have already discussed the reality that this is not a good idea in previous posts with the most obvious outcome is that higher wages depress job growth. Businesses generally have fixed or semi-fixed budgets for salaries and forcing businesses to increase how much they pay their employees reduces the number of employees that the business can carry.

That is exactly what is happening in the Seattle metro area which has decided that substantially raising the minimum wage is a good idea:

  • An analysis from the American Enterprise Institute, using metro level Census data, found that the Seattle Metropolitan Statistical Area lost 700 restaurant jobs in the first three quarters of 2015.
  • In the rest of the state of Washington, where the minimum wage was not raised significantly if at all, 5,800 restaurant jobs were added to the state economy.
  • Over the past three years, prior to the minimum wage increase, the Seattle metro area averaged the creation of 4,000 restaurant jobs a year in the first three quarters each year.
  • Overall job growth in the Seattle has been positive despite the loss of the 700 restaurant jobs.
Now, these coincidences, while they imply a high degree of correlation, they do not necessarily prove that higher minimum wages depressed job growth. But, logically and these “coincidences”, along with elementary economic theory proves that many politicians have no idea what they are doing when it comes in their dabbling in the economy. The insanity is that they continue to think they are economic wizards.

3) More than a few times we have shown that President Obama has lied and deceived the American public dozens of times on various topics during his tenure in the White House. Many of us that have followed his pathological lying now assume that any public pronouncement he makes is false until proven true.

The position’s validity has been proven again with a recent article in USAToday on October 31, 2015 by Gregory Korte. For those of you who did not get the news, the President recently announced that he would be deploying 50 U.S. special forces ground troops into Syria itself. One would say that as commander-in-chief he has the prerogative to protect Americans and American interests.

Which is a true statement but for the past few years, according to the article, he has told us over and over and over (at least 16 times) that he would never put U.S. troops “boots on the ground” in Syria (my emphasis added below):

August. 30, 2013: "In no event are we considering any kind of military action that would involve boots on the ground, that would involve a long-term campaign. But we are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that not only Syria, but others around the world, understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban and norm. So again, I repeat, we're not considering any open-ended commitment. We're not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach."

August 31, 2013 - "After careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope."

September 3, 2013: "So the key point that I want to emphasize to the American people: The military plan that has been developed by our Joint Chiefs — and that I believe is appropriate — is proportional. It is limited. It does not involve boots on the ground. This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan."

September 4, 2013: "I think America recognizes that, as difficult as it is to take any military action — even one as limited as we're talking about, even one without boots on the ground — that's a sober decision."

September 6, 2013: "The question for the American people is, is that responsibility that we'll be willing to bear? And I believe that when you have a limited, proportional strike like this — not Iraq, not putting boots on the ground; not some long, drawn-out affair; not without any risks, but with manageable risks — that we should be willing to bear that responsibility."

September 7, 2013: "What we're not talking about is an open-ended intervention. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan. There would be no American boots on the ground. Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope, designed to deter the Syrian Government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so."

September. 9, 2013: "Tomorrow I'll speak to the American people. I'll explain this is not Iraq; this is not Afghanistan; this is not even Libya. We're not talking about — not boots on the ground. We're not talking about sustained airstrikes. We're talking about a very specific set of strikes to degrade his chemical weapons capabilities in terms of delivery."

September 9, 2013: "What I'm going to try to propose is that we have a very specific objective, a very narrow military option, and one that will not lead into some large-scale invasion of Syria or involvement or boots on the ground; nothing like that. This isn't like Iraq. It's not like Afghanistan. It's not even like Libya. Then hopefully people will recognize why I think this is so important."

September 10, 2013: "Many of you have asked, won't this put us on a slippery slope to another war? One man wrote to me that we are 'still recovering from our involvement in Iraq.' A veteran put it more bluntly: 'This nation is sick and tired of war.' My answer is simple: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad's capabilities."

February, 27, 2014: "We are doing everything we can to see how we can do that and how we can resource it. But I've looked at a whole lot of game plans, a whole lot of war plans, a whole bunch of scenarios, and nobody has been able to persuade me that us taking large-scale military action even absent boots on the ground, would actually solve the problem."

September 5, 2014: "With respect to the situation on the ground in Syria, we will not be placing U.S. ground troops to try to control the areas that are part of the conflict inside of Syria. I don't think that's necessary for us to accomplish our goal. We are going to have to find effective partners on the ground to push back against ISIL."

September 7, 2014: "(You) cannot, over the long term or even the medium term, deal with this problem by having the United States serially occupy various countries all around the Middle East. We don't have the resources. It puts enormous strains on our military. And at some point, we leave. And then things blow up again. So we've got to have a more sustainable strategy, which means the boots on the ground have to be Iraqi. And in Syria, the boots on the ground have to be Syrian. ... I will reserve the right to always protect the American people and go after folks who are trying to hurt us wherever they are. But in terms of controlling territory, we're going to have to develop a moderate Sunni opposition that can control territory and that we can work with. The notion that the United States should be putting boots on the ground, I think would be a profound mistake. And I want to be very clear and very explicit about that."

September 10, 2014: "I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground."

November 16, 2014: "Yes, there are always circumstances in which the United States might need to deploy U.S. ground troops. If we discovered that ISIL had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon, and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then, yes, you can anticipate that not only would Chairman Dempsey recommend me sending U.S. ground troops to get that weapon out of their hands, but I would order it. So the question just ends up being, what are those circumstances? I'm not going speculate on those. Right now we're moving forward in conjunction with outstanding allies like Australia in training Iraqi security forces to do their job on the ground."

February 11, 2015: "The resolution we've submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria. It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq. ... As I've said before, I'm convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East. That's not in our national security interest, and it's not necessary for us to defeat ISIL. Local forces on the ground who know their countries best are best positioned to take the ground fight to ISIL, and that's what they're doing."

July 6, 2015: "There are no current plans to do so. That's not something that we currently discussed. I've always said that I'm going to do what's necessary to protect the homeland. One of the principles that we all agree on, though, and I pressed folks pretty hard because in these conversations with my military advisers I want to make sure I'm getting blunt and unadulterated, uncensored advice. But in every one of the conversations that we've had, the strong consensus is that in order for us to succeed long-term in this fight against ISIL, we have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress. It is not enough for us to simply send in American troops to temporarily set back organizations like ISIL, but to then, as soon as we leave, see that void filled once again with extremists."

Sixteen times Obama said he would not deploy American ground forces within the country of Syria. He made these strong pronouncements within the United States and in foreign countries. He made them publicly to American press people and to foreign press people and foreign leaders.

And yet he has done the exact opposite of what he told us sixteen times, in no uncertain terms, what he would not do. Why would anyone believe anything he says on any topic when after sixteen times in this situation he does a complete reversal of what he said he would not do? Complete insanity to believe anything this man says.

And even worse insanity, what in the world are deploying 50 ground troops into the hellhole that is Syria going to accomplish from a military perspective? Thus, he killed his credibility even further with what appears to be a stupid military strategy. You cannot make this stuff up, it is that inane.

More insanity tomorrow.

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