Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February, 2016, Part 8, Political Class Insanity: More Bad Employment News, Water Vs.Choo Choos In California, and More

It is the beginning of another month which means it is time again to review the latest political class insanity from the American political class. Each month it takes us multiple posts to cover the wasteful spending, incompetent government organizations and employees, government programs that usually make a problem worse than resolving it, inane and idiotic politician comments, etc.

To review past posts on this insanity and idiocy, just click on the first few posts in each month listed to the right of this page. After reviewing just a handful of these insanity posts we think you will agree that we are currently being served by the worst set of American politicians ever to hold office in our entire history.

So let’s get started with the latest insanity:

1) Many times we have discussed how Obama’s management of the economy coming out of the recession has been horrific: persistently high unemployment and underemployment, tens of millions of Americans still getting Federal food assistance every month, stagnant wages and household income levels, astronomical national debt, over regulation, historically low labor participation rate, 14 million Americans either unemployed or underemployed, etc.

But for American citizens, according to the latest monthly national economic data, the Obama mismanagement of the economy is worse than these top line realities. According to the government statistics, the number of native-born Americans with a job decreased by more than half a million people last month. The Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that that 123,710,000 native-born Americans (ages 16 and over) were employed during the month of January, 567,000 Americans fewer than the month of December.

Other bad news for native born American workers included:

  • The number of unemployed native-born Americans increased by 669,000 reaching 6,956,000 people in January.
  • The number of native-born Americans out of the labor force increased by 69,000, hitting 80,704,000.
  • Native-born Americans had an unemployment rate of 5.3%, higher than the total national unemployment level
  • The labor force participation rate of native-born American workers was 61.8%.
  • But you are much better off in this economy if you are a foreign-born worker.
  • The unemployment rate for foreign-born workers in the U.S. was 5.1%, less than the unemployment rate for native-born Americans.
  • The labor force participation rate for foreign-born workers was at 65.0% was much better than the rate for native-born Americans.
  • The working-age foreign-born population has increased by 6 million since Obama’s took office, while the working-age native-born population has increased by 11.6 million people. During that same timeframe, foreign-born people in the U.S. gained 4 million jobs and native-born Americans gained 4.6 million jobs, much better economic performance for foreign-born workers.
Thus, while the economic recovery has been anemic for the entire country, the Washington political class has somehow managed economic strategies and tactics that reward foreign-born workers much better than native-born Americans. Insanity.

2) Two major things going on in California. The state is in the midst of an epic drought with severe water shortages all over the state. Second, the California political class wants to spend tens of billions of dollars to build a high speed rail line from northern California to southern California.

According to a Breitbart article by Daniel Nussbaum on January 15, 2016, these two programs are about to enter an epic political fight. On one side are regular citizens that would like to have water in their lives to drink, bathe and basically continue to live. On the other side are vain politicians that want to spend limited resources on a pipe dream high speed rail line that may not be needed and that may be impossible to build, given the ineptness of today’s politicians to get anything done on time and on budget:

  • A recent Hoover Institution Golden State opinion poll found that 53% of likely California voters would approve a measure to strip funding from the high speed rail line project to fund construction of surface and groundwater water storage facilities. Only 31% would not strip funding.
  • In light of this sentiment, two California politicians have introduced legislation to put that question on the ballot in November.
  • The poll also found that 62% of those polled want the state to prioritize water storage construction in its spending plans and that only 39% of voters support the high speed rail line while 41% oppose it.
  • Previous reporting by Breitbart found that the high speed rail line would cost upwards of $93 billion of which only $26 billion has been budgeted for.
  • Given that the Big Dig in Boston cost over $20 billion to build years ago and that was a small, in town project, the $93 billion to build a long high speed rail line of which nothing currently exists is likely a very low estimate also.
Should be interesting to see what happens. Whether the state's citizens can take back control of how their tax dollars are spent in order to basically survive or if ego driven politicians continue to waste money on projects that will affect a small minority of citizens but boost their own self esteem. Everyone needs water to survive, no one needs a high speed rail line to survive. Or as a water storage advocate said in the article: “While trains are nice, water is a necessity for survival, food and our economy.” 

Given that truism, I would bet that the high speed rail line goes forward to disaster while Californians continue to struggle just to have enough drinking and bathing water.

3) Abbie Van Sickle, writing for the Washington Post on January 28, 2016, had some very distressing news. According to her writing, the Obama administration failed to protect the welfare of thousands and thousands of Central American children who showed up at the southern border in 2011. A Senate investigation found that many of those kids ended up in the hands of human traffickers and were abused by Federal government approved caretakers.

Details of this humanity failure include:

  • The Office of Refugee Resettlement, a government entity within the Department of Health and Human Services, did not do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsoring adults to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and often placed children in homes without vetting the locations ahead of time. 
  • After placement, caseworkers were often prevented from doing follow up checking on the kids.
  • A typical case of abuse involved Central American teenagers who were taken to work on an egg farm in Marion, Ohio and lived in a rundown trailer park.
  • Ohio Senator Rob Portman called the situation modern day slavery: “It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard. What makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers.”
  • The Senate report concluded that, “HHS places children with individuals about whom it knows relatively little and without verifying the limited information provided by sponsors about their alleged relationship with the child.” 
  • As another example, the Senate report discussed a kid from Guatemala who ended up with a sponsor who forced the boy to work 12 hours a day to repay a smuggling debt.
It is bad enough when the Federal government does not fulfill its obligations to take care of our veterans or would rather pay billions of dollars to resettle foreigners into this country but not use those funds to help feed our hungry, shelter our homeless, or treat our addicted. But now it not only accepts waves of immigrants from other countries but it abuses the kids within those immigrant masses. Pathetic and insane. 

3) One of the few energy strategies the American political class concocted over the past years has been to force the American driver to put up with ethanol in their gas tanks. We were told that diverting agricultural output into ethanol production would be good for the environment, would strengthen the economy, and would hope ween us off of foreign oil. As a result, a massive amount of taxpayer wealth was diverted to farmers to grow more corn, the most common crop used to produce ethanol in this country and that ethanol was introduced into our gas supplies.

Now, I said it was a strategy but not that it was a good strategy. A recent review of this idiotic government program by Nicolas Loris of the Heritage Foundation summarized what went wrong:

  • Ethanol has only two thirds the energy of regular gasoline so drivers end up paying more to get the same amount of energy for their cars, certainly not a way to strengthen the overall economy, increasing consumer costs.
  • It obviously did not reduce energy prices since any number of times over the years we have seen gas prices explode to over $4.00 a gallon. The only reason prices are so low today is because the Saudis are flooding the market with oil, not because we have a little corn syrup in our gas tanks.
  • The ethanol political mandate diverted farming resources and land to making fuel rather than food which increased the price of many, many food products. By 2012, the amount of corn produced in this country just to produce ethanol was more than the entire corn consumption of the entire continent of Africa.
  • But the biggest reason for ethanol, to improve the environment, never panned out either. The EPA reported that the levels of nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and ethanol vapor emissions, among other air pollutants, all increase as a result of producing and using ethanol.
  • Iowa State University researchers concluded that ethanol production causes adverse environmental impacts, resulting in increased soil erosion, sedimentation, and nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into lakes and streams.
So, the political class thought that ethanol would reduce fuel prices. It did not. It was supposed to get us off of foreign oil. It did not. It was supposed to strengthen the economy. It did not. It was supposed to be good for the environment, It was not. It did increase food prices though, an unintended consequence of a bad piece of legislation. A typical politician course of action: they came, they saw, they made the situation worse. You cannot make this stuff up.

4) One last piece of insanity for today and for this month. A number of times this week we showed how screwed up our immigration policies, strategies, and execution is. No doubt about it, our borders leak, the government is incapable of preventing illegal immigration or deporting those that are here illegally, especially criminals. What a mess and failure of government and especially the Obama administration.

But consider this aspect of our failed immigration situation that was recently reported on the Daily Wire website:

  • According to a new government report, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended more Pakistani and Afghan men of “military age” in just over a month in the San Diego area than they had over the previous twelve months.
  • At least two of those detained have known terrorist ties.
  • Quoting Border Patrol chief Richard Smith: "We have detained more Pakistanis and Afghans in the first month of this fiscal year than we did all last year."
  • He went on to say that these men are of military age and were carrying U.S, cash.
  • A report in the San Diego reader stated: "Between October 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015, the San Diego sector of the Border Patrol detained 18 Pakistanis and 1 Afghan, according to Border Patrol statistics. Between October 1 and mid-November of last year, 2 Afghans and 22 Pakistanis reportedly surrendered to Border Patrol agents. ... In the month and a half since mid-November, 3 more Afghans and 6 more Pakistanis were detained by the Border Patrol (not including those detained at the ports of entry)."
Feeling safe yet? Makes you wonder what the Texas Congresswoman was talking about when she said Obama had been successful in securing the southern border. 

That will do it for now. Another month’s worth of political class insanity, lunacy, delusion, incompetence, and wasteful spending. As we often say you cannot make this stuff up, it is wild how out of control and inept the American political class can be. And next month I am sure we will be right back with more of the same.

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