Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Add another one to the mix:

The Federal Trade Commission has informed Minneapolis-based manufacturer Graco that it is challenging the the company’s planned acquisition of a unit of Illinois Tool Works, saying the proposed deal would hurt competition and lead to higher prices.

The agency said it is seeking to maintain competition in markets for key industrial finishing equipment and has issued an administrative complaint against Graco, Illinois Tool Works and ITW Finishing seeking to stop the proposed $650 million cash deal.

Graco announced the proposed acquisition last April. The companies make industrial liquid finishing equipment, which is used to apply finishes to manufactured products like cars, wood cabinets and appliances.

The FTC said the proposed deal would lead to reduced innovation for the North American manufacturers who rely on this equipment.

“Liquid finishing equipment is critical to manufacturers,” Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a release. Only three significant competitors sell and service it in North America, with Graco and ITW together dominating this field.”

Obama says that he loves capitalism.  He acts like he doesn’t.

Obama may be the least business friendly President we’ve had in my lifetime:

Washington — Federal regulators have delayed the proposed merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy late Wednesday, setting back into plans to merge the two North Carolina-based utilities by the end of the year.

How many corporate deals has this man’s administration destroyed?

Off the top of my head:

  1. Duke-Progress merge
  2. AT&T – TMobile merge
  3. Pipeline
  4. Boeing
  5. Obamacare

That’s just 5.  Right here with little or no thought.

I often tell people that America and being “American” is more of an ideal than a real descriptor of one’s nationality.  For example, if you say he is a “Japanese” you will know that he is a man born and raised in Japan.  His heritage is Japanese.  Same for a German or a Mexican.

But when you say he is an American you can not assume him to have been born in America.  Nor can you assume race or historical nationality.  Rather, American means that quality that embraces the pioneer, the risk taker the lover of freedoms and Liberty.  It is an ideal of hard work results in hard rewards.  Of all the nationalities that one could be, American conjures the bootstrap.

Obama is not American in that sense.  And in that way and measure, when he says he is going to fundamentally transform America, I believe him.

So, conservatives are seeking to over turn Obamacare on the basis that the government can not force you to purchase a product.  I agree with this stance.  If Obama can force me to purchase health insurance, control what that insurance looks like and even who sells that insurance, there is nothing to stop him from forcing me to purchase tickets to the Raleigh Philharmonic Orchestra.  Or a car from GM.  Or organic carrots from Democrat farmers.

But, as conservatives, we have to answer to our stance on Social Security.

Our answer to the current mess that is Social Security is to continue to collect 6.5% from the employer and the employee.  BUT we want some % of that 13% to go to personal private investment accounts.  These accounts would belong to the tax payer and he could even manage those accounts.

In short, we would be enabling the government to force us to buy a product; an investment account.

It seems there is no discernible difference.

Obama is mad that his nominee for Consumer Financial Protection boss was blocked.  But I have to ask, why do we even need such a position?

Why isn’t is possible that the consumers learn to protect themselves?

With all the buzz, Apple’s iPhone 4S tops a lot of lists this holiday season, but is it worth it? Consumer Reports testers say it is a great phone. It’s faster than the iPhone 4, and the improved camera takes better photos.

Another perk is the voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, which works well and even has a sense of humor. Ask it for the meaning of life, and here’s the response you get: “I can’t answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens.”

Even with all that, Consumer Reports says plenty of other smartphones perform just as well, or even better, than the iPhone 4S.

“Several phones we tested weigh less than the 4S and have larger screens,” Consumer Reports’ Mike Gikas said.

If we can build private organizations that help us with phones, why can’t we build organizations that help us with credit cards, or homes or cars?


The nomination is now down to two, Newt or Mitt, and I don’t think it’ll be close.  It’s a primary, and voters trend to the to the left or right,depending on which party we’re talking about.  I don’t see the Republicans moving to the middle and selecting Mitt.

However, who is a candidate better able to beat Barack?  I’m not sure.  Mitt actually steals Obama’s votes.  But Gingrich will garner more support from Republicans, especially Republican insiders.

Either way, Obama loses.  He’s simply lost too many big time Democrat businessmen, his youth vote has grown up and a second term would only be the second time we’ve had a black President, not the first.

Anyway, it should surprise no one that Herman Cain is supporting Newt Gingrich:

Fox 5 Atlanta reported Sunday that businessman Herman Cain would endorse GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Monday.

The current economic condition was brought about by housing.   Housing costs and a housing bubble.  The result is that we find an enormous problem with hundreds of thousands of people facing foreclosure. And until that problem is cured, we may never truly begin to see a real path to recovery.

These people are suffering.  They’re going to bed at night with that pit i their stomach wondering how they’re gonna make the next payment.  How they’re gonna avoid having the phone shut off.  How they’re gonna make winter.  There is fear and apprehension and stress.  I get it.  And I don’t wanna diminish it.   But those feelings are never, ever, really gonna go away until they’re addressed.  Not just contained, but addressed.

I went to school in Marshall, MN, home of Schwanna’s Ice Cream and Red Barron pizza.

I met Mr. Schwann by the way.  He dropped out of school in the eighth grade before founding his company.  I tended bar at the hotel he liked to have his Christmas Parties at.  His favorite thing was to tell me to watch how his executives would “run on the bar” in an effort to drink what he was drinking.  The worst was when he landed on CC and water with a rind of lemon.  I never cut so many lemon rinds in my life!

My major was Mathematics.  Not math, but Mathematics.  In calc I found myself in class with a bunch of non-math majors.  And they were struggling.  Some just wanted to pass and get the req out of the way.  Others were earnestly interested in learning calculus.  I gravitated towards those kids.

We would study forever.  I’ve found that math is learned in a series of ramps and plateaus.  That is, forward progress is made steadily until such a time as a specific concept is hit that prevents further and deeper understanding.  And until that plateau is addressed, not contained, further learning can not occur.  The gifted teachers have a grasp of plateau identification and remediation.  Anyway, the same process holds true in other aspects of life.

And home finances are one of them.  Which is my very long way of saying that just giving someone the answers to the calc exam isn’t going to help them understand calculus.  And neither is forgiving mortgages going to help people address their home finance situation:

WASHINGTON — The federal government’s expansion of a mortgage refinancing program could reduce the monthly payments of up to one million homeowners, but analysts said the modest scope of the plan meant it would probably do little to heal the housing market or help the broader economy.

The effort, built on sweeping voluntary agreements with the mortgage industry to let people refinance even if their homes have declined in value, reflects a new White House emphasis on economic measures that do not require Congress to overcome its bitter partisan divisions.

It also maintains a choice President Obama made in the early days of his administration to focus on reducing monthly payments rather than on the amounts that borrowers owe, the latter being what a growing number of liberal and conservative economists consider necessary to resolve the problem.

I resonate with the plight.  I get the desire to help.  But this isn’t helping.  This is enabling.  And until true and serious lessons are learned, nothing will change:

Treasury has publicly estimated that the redefault rate on HAMP permanent mods will be 40% over five year. Now, just one year into permanent mods, we have already reached a 21% redefault rate. There is no indication that the redefault rate is plateauing, and no reason to think that it will.

In other words, the default rate on refinanced mortgages is very high.  If you are failing to meet the payments of your current mortgage, there is little reason to believe that you will suddenly be able to make the payments on a restructured mortgage.

Not only does this program fail to help the problem it sets out to fix, the secondary impact is that it artificially keeps the home market from clearing.  The price of a home remains artificially high.  And this prevents true recovery.

Let the market work.  Accept the pain and allow these homes that are over leveraged to go into foreclosure and the market will heal.  It always does.

Warren Buffet is now famous for claiming that his secretary pays more in taxes than he does.  Forget for a second that she doesn’t literally pay more.  Also forget for a second that she most certainly doesn’t pay the rate that Buffet claims she does.

Instead, focus on Buffet.  And his salary:

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), was paid a $100,000 salary for a 30th straight year after warning that excessive executive compensation can hurt shareholders.

Buffett, 80, received no bonus in 2010 and he doesn’t get stock options or grants, the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm said today in a filing. Buffett’s personal and home-security services paid for by Berkshire cost $349,946. The company’s compensation committee has determined salaries since 2004. Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and largest shareholder, formerly recommended his own salary to the board.

It’s reasonable to conclude that Buffet will earn another $100,000 next year.  Plus, of course, the security compensation.  So, if he gets his way and Obama and the Democrats raise the marginal tax rate from the 35% it is now to what ever they wanna move it to, guess what happens to Buffet’s tax burden?

It remains almost exactly the same.

See, Buffet makes his money in other ways than a simple paycheck:

  • Buffett’s adjusted gross income last year was $62,855,038
  • Buffett’s taxable income last year was $39,814,784
  • Buffett paid $15,300 in payroll taxes last year
  • Buffett’s federal tax bill came to $6,923,494, or 17.4% of his taxable income last year
So, if we DOUBLE the current top marginal rate, Buffet is only impacted on the first $100,000 + whatever the security compensation costs him.  The rest, the $39,400,000 or so left over, won’t be impacted.
Don’t be fooled.  Buffet doesn’t wanna pay more taxes.  He wants OTHER people to pay more taxes.

Let’s see if Obama can let the Republicans craft policy in the same way that Bill Clinton let the Republicans in his day:

(Reuters) – The United States will likely suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another major rating agency by the end of this year due to concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasts.

The trigger would be a likely failure by Congress to agree on a credible long-term plan to cut the U.S. deficit, the bank said in a research note published on Friday.

A second downgrade — either from Moody’s or Fitch — would follow Standard & Poor’s downgrade in August on concerns about the government’s budget deficit and rising debt burden. A second loss of the country’s top credit rating would be an additional blow to the sluggish U.S. economy, Merrill said.

“The credit rating agencies have strongly suggested that further rating cuts are likely if Congress does not come up with a credible long-run plan” to cut the deficit, Merrill’s North American economist, Ethan Harris, wrote in the report.

Everyone knows that the Republican Congress has passed job creating bill after job creating bill only to have Harry Reid kill it in the Senate.  Obama’s job bill was defeated by Democrats and then Senate Democrats supported the Republican version.  And this was after Obama’s first shot at a jobs bill was defeated 99-zip.

This is Obama’s economy.

There’s been a lot of talk about the lack of a jobs bill to come out of Washington.  In the campaign of 2010, the mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs” was heard from The Coast of Carolina to the coast of California.  Of course, we know how that election worked out.

Horribly for the Democrats.

Since then, any legislation by the Republican House that doesn’t deal directly with “jobs, jobs, jobs” has been derided by the Left as some sort of betrayal to the people.

Wanna pass a bill that talks about abortion?  Wanna discuss legislation that speaks to immigration?  All impossible under the chorus of mockery from the Left claiming that the Republicans haven’t passed a single jobs bill.

The Speaker of the House disagrees that his chamber has been silent:

 House Republicans have worked throughout the year to implement the Pledge to America, our governing agenda focused on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation, and later this year built on the Pledge by putting forth an expanded jobs agenda, our Plan for America’s Job Creators.  Our new majority has passed more than a dozen pro-growth measures to address the jobs crisis. Aside from repeal of the 1099 reporting requirement in the health care law, however, none of the jobs measures passed by the House to date have been taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.  

None have been taken up in the Senate.  More than a dozen bills.  None taken up in the Senate.


Very hard to blame the Republicans for the Democrats refusal even to consider such bills.  Much ado has been made about the Republicans use of the filibuster, but let’s not forget that the Democrats control the Senate.  And as such, only bring up legislation that they want to consider; a built in filibuster.

However, even with all of that aside, last night was illustrative:

Thursday night, there were a couple Democratic defections on Obama’s jobs measure. And despite a veto threat from the White House, 10 Democrats voted for a GOP alternative.’

The Democrats brought up a jobs bill in the Senate.

It was defeated 50-50.

Then the Republicans brought up a jobs bill.  Every single Republican voted for it.  AND 10 Democrats joined ’em.

It was defeated, 57-43, due to Democrat obstruction.

I find it fascinating that the Republicans garnered more bi-partisan support for a jobs bill in a Democrat Senate than the Democrat President was able to muster.

A tale of two jobs bills indeed.

Obama’s star is fading.  I never had any doubt that he would be an ineffective President; he simply didn’t have a single ounce of experience that would lead a reasonable person to think otherwise.  He is, in essence, a lifetime member of the #OWS crowd.  Not an executive.

However, as the campaign wore on and I saw that he was going to be elected, I began to doubt America’s ability to discern competence, or at least lack of it, in our Presidents. We went from electing capable leaders to voting for American Idol.

But, good news.  America is waking up:

PRINCETON, NJ — President Barack Obama’s 11th quarter in office was the worst of his administration, based on his quarterly average job approval ratings. His 41% approval average is down six percentage points from his 10th quarter in office, and is nearly four points below his previous low of 45% during his seventh quarter.

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking from July 20-Oct. 19, 2011. During this time, Obama’s approval rating ranged narrowly between 38% and 43% for all but a few days of the quarter. The 38% approval ratings, registered on several occasions, are the lowest of his presidency to date.

This is fantastic news on two levels.  On the first, it reflects an awaking of Americans and does some little bit to restore my faith.  On the second, it means that the Republican Primary is really the Superbowl.  That condition where the one team is widely regarded as being too weak to defeat whoever the other team is.

Further, Obama is slipping in comparison to the last President to “inherit the worst economy since the great depression”.  Mr. Reagan:

At this point in his term, Reagan was well on his way to recovering from his horrible numbers.  There is no such movement on Obama’s part.  In fact, he continues to slide.  I fully expect worse numbers as the months go by.