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Monthly Archives: December 2009

In a stunning display of economic brilliance, the Obama Administration announced today:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. government is imposing new duties on imports of steel pipes from China…

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted Wednesday to impose duties between 10.36 percent and 15.78 percent on the pipes

Once again, our administration is trying to stifle and regulate trade when no such need is required.  If a product or service is introduced into the market at a price the seller is willing to sell, a buyer should be able to enter into contract with that seller if he wants.  Right now, the administration is needlessly preventing such an arrangement at the price being offered.  This will have the effect of punishing the purchasing party and raising the costs of that parties goods.  Further, the demand for that product will be artificially lowered causing an imbalance in the allocation of scare resources which have alternative uses.

On the other hand, we must never forget that the business of politics is inherently, ahh, political.  And if we read a little deeper we see:

The move is in response to a complaint filed in April by U.S. Steel and six other steel manufacturers, as well as the United Steelworkers’ union.

Ahh, I see.  One of the largest group of Obama supporters would like the United States government to intervene on its behalf in order to make their product more cost competitive in the market place.  Interesting.  But surely, there must be a group whose interests are HURT by the rising cost of Chinese steel?

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted Wednesday to impose duties between 10.36 percent and 15.78 percent on the pipes, which are mostly used in the oil and gas industries.

Masterful stroke.  With one stone, Obama gets two birds; assistance for his Union thugs and a penalty to the dirty nasty oil and gas industries.

I don’t know what this means.  I’m not sure it means anything at all.  Then again, it may mean everything:

The high price of pavement and the sour economy have driven municipalities in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Vermont to roll up the asphalt — a mile here, a few miles there, mostly on back roads — rather than repave.

Now look, I grew up in a county FULL of gravel roads.  I used to drive gravel roads to visit my friends and to get to work.  Heck, when I was teaching the directions I gave to family was “turn left at the gravel road”.  I am FINE with gravel.

Question is: I this a sign of fiscal responsibility or a harbinger of bad times ahead?

My only hope is that these Leftist States lead us out of darkness by their example fo what NOT to do:

Flint, Mich.

Michelle Berry runs a private day-care service from her home on the outskirts of this city, the birthplace of General Motors.

Ms. Berry owns her own business—yet the Michigan Department of Human Services claims she is a government employee and union member. The agency thus withholds union dues from the child-care subsidies it sends to her on behalf of her low-income clients. Those dues are funneled to a public-employee union that claims to represent her.

A year ago in December, Ms. Berry and more than 40,000 other home-based day care providers statewide were suddenly informed they were members of Child Care Providers Together Michigan—a union created in 2006 by the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union had won a certification election conducted by mail under the auspices of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. In that election only 6,000 day-care providers voted. The pro-labor vote turned out.

Awesome.

This woman, and thousands like her, are putting it on the line every day.  They are working.  They are sacrificing.  They are, in short, DO’ERS.  And yet, somehow, the moochers and the looters have arranged a deal in Michigan where these business owners are getting screwed.

I mean, for a sec, just for a bloody second, think about what is going on here.  Ms. Berry is the OWNER.  And she is supposed to pay into a Union?  If there were a union/employer relationship present here, it would be HER that the Union would organize against.

California or Michigan.  Michigan or California.

Which one is going to give us the clearest example of what NOT to be?

Governor Bev Purdue is right to object to the new trend in Carolina’s largest school districts; Neighborhood schools and the end of busing.

Raleigh, N.C. — As Wake County and other school districts across North Carolina shift away from busing students to achieve socio-economic diversity, Gov. Beverly Perdue and other officials fear the districts will become racially segregated.

“It’s the most troublesome thing I think that’s happened,” Perdue said of the push toward neighborhood schools from Goldsboro to Charlotte.

I think that she’s right, but for the wrong reasons.  See, I don’t think that white kids learn better than non-white kids.  Or that black kids learn less well than non-black kids.  I think that kids that come from poor families learn less well than kids that come from wealthy families.  In fact, excepting the Hallmark worthy story of the little school that could, the over whelming evidence suggests that academic success trends with income.

What it does not trend with is race.

No doubt the Governor is correct when she senses something wrong with the folks who are clamoring for neighborhood schools.  These are the folks who have been able to manipulate the system, in a very subtle way, such that the schools they attend are the best of the best.  But she has to be careful on how she debates those folks; race won’t get it done.

The State of North Carolina claims that it is serving the people.  It claims that by relieving my money from, well, from me, they are helping other people in need.  Never mind for a second that I already help people in need through my various charity giving and other activities.  Or that the people I help are people that I think need help.  Or that, in any case, this decision on what to do with my money should be mine to make.  The State is helping an entire class of citizens, or so they claim:

Raleigh, N.C. — A program launched a year ago has helped more than 2,500 North Carolina homeowners avoid foreclosure, officials said Monday.

Birdsong will now receive mortgage assistance, including payments for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance for at least the next nine months and could benefit for as long as two years.

That’s one way of looking at it.  The other way, of course, is to look at it this way:

Raleigh, N.C. — A program launched a year ago has prevented more than 2,500 potential North Carolina homeowners from attaining affordable housing, officials said Monday.

Their goal of home ownership has been prevented because select citizens will now receive mortgage assistance, including payments for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance for at least the next nine months and could benefit for as long as two years.

But serious.  I’m sure that all the people who are in danger of losing their homes are good, hard-working people who almost certainly bought a home that was within their means and needs.  Right?  No?

She said she’s most relieved that her three children will be able to spend the holidays at home.

“Each one of them has their own room. They’re like, ‘It’s mine,'” said Birdsong, a widow. “I wouldn’t want to take that from them. They’ve had enough problems already.”

So, a single mother with one revenue stream over reaches, buys a FOUR BEDROOM HOME surprisingly finds herself in a financial pinch.  And because of that, the government takes my money, thereby preventing me from giving to who I think is deserving, props up this family and keeps what would otherwise become a more affordable home from falling into the hands of more responsible home owners?  Unbelievable.

For the record, I grew up in a house that had TWO bedrooms.  Sure, after a bit we added a bedroom, but that was when my family grew from 3 to 6.  That’s 2 rooms for 4 kids.  If only I could have had my own room.

Merry Christmas.

I’m not sure how this is gonna end, but it doesn’t look good:

Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County’s school board has a new challenge: reducing classroom sizes during tough budget times.

The Board of Education on Tuesday learned the state did not grant waivers for 329 oversized kindergarten to third-grade classes.

North Carolina law allows for 18 students for every one adult in those grades.

Principal Lisa Cruz says first-grade classes at Jeffrey’s Grove Elementary School in Raleigh have closer to an average of 29 students this school year.

The State is getting further and further into debt and there is seemingly no way out.  We simply don’t have the money to hire new teachers or assistants and yet we have hay to make.

I’m not sure how we are gonna get to the 18 students to adults ratio in some of these schools, but I know that we have to.  When the classes are as big as they are at the school mentioned above, Jeffery’s Grove, the teacher’s ability to teach is severely limited.  Discipline becomes the order of the day and any real hope of knowledge transfer vanishes.  More than the diversity issue that our board faces, I think that they are going to have to solve this problem first.