Sunday, September 25, 2022

POLLS ARE NOT USED TO REFLECT PUBLIC OPINION- THEY ARE USED TO SHAPE IT!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 

POLL CATS!

by Steve Fair

     Forty-five days until the November general election and according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, America is divided.  The pollster included a ‘skewed’ question about the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, that showed 62% of Americans disagreed with the ruling.  The poll showed Republicans have a slight advantage in voter enthusiasm, but both Parties are motivated to get out to vote.  President Biden has an approval rating of 39%, with 53% strongly disapproving of the job the POTUS is doing.  57% of those polled believe Biden hasn’t accomplished much of anything.  31% of those polled said the Democrat Party is too permissive on abortion.  50% believe the Republican Party is too restrictive. Three observations about polls, no matter who is conducting them:

     First, polls are often manipulated and contrived.   Statistical sampling is the method pollsters use to measure voter interest.  They poll a cross section of voters and then extrapolate and project the results to a confidence factor.  Polls have been around since the early 1800s.  In the 20th century, The Literary Digest, a magazine published by Funk & Wagnalls, conducted opinion polls on the presidential races.  The Digest correctly predicted four straight races, but missed big in 1936 when they predicted Alf Landon would upset FDR.  George Gallup found their method of soliciting people to send in postcards had given them a bad sample. It seems, Landon’s supporters had conspired to bias the poll by flooding the Digest with postcards. 

     How a question is asked, who is commissioning (paying for) a poll, and those polled not providing accurate and honest answers can result in poll cats providing erroneous and faulty information.       Many push polls masquerade as opinion polls.  A push poll is an interactive marketing technique where a campaign attempts to influence the polled’s views and manipulate their response.

     Second, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day.  The phrase originated in Australian politics, but it’s repeated often in America- often by candidates who are behind in the polls.  While true, polling, when conducted in a fair, unbiased, and scientific manner can be amazingly accurate.  Exceptions have been the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.  Most preelection polls had Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden easily beating Donald Trump. According to a report from the American Association for Public Opinion Research, polls for the 2020 election were the worst in forty years and polling in state races was the worst in twenty years.  Loss of objectivity by pollsters have resulted in a loss of public confidence in their accuracy.

     Third, the economic poll is the one to watch.  Pay attention to the inflation rate, the Consumer Price Index(CPI), the Gross domestic product(GDP), unemployment, interest rates and the price of crude oil.  All of those aren’t trending well for the average American.  The average Individual Retirement Account(IRA) decreased in value -18% since January 2022, wiping out $3 trillion in collective wealth of Americans.  The stock market is down -20% during the same period.  Crude oil is at a fifteen year high, resulting in high fuel prices at the pump.  Inflation is over 9% this year. Food at home prices have increased by 11% this year.   Most voters vote with their pocketbook, so it’s a safe conclusion the economic poll indicates they will vote out the Party in power.

       The late Rush Limbaugh said: “Polls are just being used as another tool of voter suppression.  The polls are an attempt to not reflect public opinion, but to shape it.  Yours.  They want to depress the heck out of you.” Nothing could depress Americans more than the economic indicators this year.    

     But that won’t stop poll cats from releasing fake polls indicating Americans are going to vote liberal in November, in the hope it will deflate conservatives.  A pole cat is a weasel-like mammal, noted for ejecting a fetid fluid when threatened.  Is there an odor in the air?

 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

They condemn politicization, while politicizing!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


SNAKE OIL CONCOCTION

by Steve Fair

 

     The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) begins a new term on October 3rd.  This will be the first term new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was appointed by President Biden, will be on the court.  Brown Jackson replaced fellow liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who retired in June.  A 6-3 conservative majority remains on the court.  The SCOTUS is set to tackle a series of hot-button issues, including two major election disputes that could impact the 2024 presidential election.

     After the SCOTUS’s ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade, two of the liberals on the court have went on the road like snake oil salesmen questioning the legitimacy of the court.  Liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor claims the court’s most result rulings have been political and not constitutional.  “When courts become extensions of the political process, when people see them as extensions of the political process trying to impose personal preferences on society, irrespective of the law, that’s when there’s a problem,” Kagan said this week in Chicago.  Sotomajor said the same thing the next night in California.  Chief Justice John Roberts responded that justices shouldn’t question the court’s legitimacy just because they disagree with a ruling.  Three observations:

     First, every SCOTUS ruling is political.  The definition of political is: relating to the government or the public affairs of a country.  The original Roe vs. Wade ruling was political.  In 1973, spurred by social liberals, who wanted the government to sanction birth control- after the fact- the SCOTUS made a political ruling. Every ruling is political and rooted in ideology.  For Kagan and Sotomayor to question the court’s legitimacy is dishonest.  They know the six justices who voted to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision hold to an ‘originalist’ legal philosophy as opposed to their ‘textualism’ view.  To cast a shadow over the court’s legitimacy is the height of political and the ultimate sore loser.

     Second, the SCOTUS should not rule based on public opinion.  Every ruling should be based on the U.S. Constitution.  In the most recent past, that hasn’t been the case because the majority of justices on the SCOTUS were textualists and believed the Constitution is a ‘living’ document.  Textualists contend the original intent view is out of date/unfashionable.  Most SCOTUS textual rulings were made based on public opinion.  Now that’s political.  While it is true, citizens/the governed should have confidence that SCOTUS rulings are proper and follow the rule of law, the court should never rule based on public opinion.  It should rule based on the founding document.  

     Third, liberals are trying to change the structure of the SCOTUS.  Since President Trump appointed three justices in four years, liberals have come to the conclusion the SCOTUS needs to change.  Pressured by liberal activists, President Biden appointed a commission to study ways to change the SCOTUS.  The commission recommended term limits for justices (70 years old max) and expanding the court.  President Franklin Roosevelt tried the exact same thing in 1937, when conservative SCOTUS justices struck down some of his New Deal legislation.  The plan failed because Democrats in Congress opposed FDR’s plan- calling it a politicalizing of the SCOTUS.

     Democrats are trying to use the SCOTUS ruling on Roe Vs. Wade as ammunition against Republicans in the mid-term elections.  They are trying to convince voters the SCOTUS justices who voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade are partisan political hacks.    They condemn politicization while politicizing.  They are double-minded, unstable, vacillating, and insincere.  November will reveal if Americans brought their snake oil concoction.

 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

CITIZENS GET THE GOVERNMENT THEY WANT!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


WHISTLE PIGS!

by Steve Fair

      According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Americans in 2021 paid more in taxes than they spent on food, clothing and health care combined.  American households spent an average of $15,495 on food, clothing and health care, while paying an average of $16,729.73 in total taxes to federal, state and local governments.  Both of these numbers are up vs. 2020.  Three observations:

     First, government, at all levels, never has enough revenue.  Whether its for the national defense or the repair of a local pothole in the city street, government’s appetite for taking money from citizens is never satisfied.   Government spending is never cut or reduced- it continues to grow each year- no matter which Party is in office.

     The U.S. Treasury divides federal spending into three groups: mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and interest on the national debt.  Discretionary spending refers to the portion of the budget Congress decides each year through the appropriations process.  Last year, that was a whopping $2 trillion dollars.  In a normal year, about half of that amount goes to the military. 

     Mandatory spending includes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which combined are three times more than what the U.S. spends on national defense.  In 2022, mandatory spending was $6 trillion dollars.

     The interest on the national debt is $400 billion each year.  The Congressional Budget Office(CBO) projects the annual interest cost will increase to over $1.2 trillion in the next ten years,  As a percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), these costs would double from 1.6% to 3.3%.  Government grows at all levels, with little accountability.   

     Second, true fiscal conservatives are endangered.  GOP candidates, at all levels, ballyhoo fiscal conservatism in their campaign literature and stump speeches, but few follow up once elected.  Candidate Donald Trump promised to balance the federal budget, but by 2019- before the pandemic- then President Trump was sending a budget to Congress that was $1 trillion dollars in the red.  During his four-year term, Trump spent more tax money than Obama.  Political activists rarely question elected officials about deficit spending and the national debt, which has resulted in true fiscal conservatives vanishing like the blush of innocence. 

     Third, citizens get the government they want.  While most Americans lament and complain about the size of government, the amount of taxes they pay, and the lack of response from their elected officials, only a very few do anything about it.  Most citizens are too busy making a living, paying their taxes, and raising their families to invest any time paying attention to how their tax dollars are being spent or to pay attention to politics.  They rely on others to do their heavy lifting.  Like Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who only leaves his burrow once a year, these hard workers emerge from their den periodically to hold those who are engaged accountable for the sad state of affairs.  They are unwilling- and sometimes unable- to be involved, but that doesn’t stop them from deriding those who are.  What those whistle pigs fail to discern is they have the government they deserve.  The only way to change that is for them to take proprietorship/ownership of their government more than intermittently.

     American consumers are price conscious at the grocery store.  They make sure they get a value for their food dollar.  They watch for bargains on clothing.  They shop and compare health care.  But when it comes to how taxes are being spent, taxpayers are impassive.  Until taxpayers start watching where taxes are being spent- at all levels of government- citizens will get the government they deserve.  Start paying attention!  Don’t be a whistle pig. 

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A WORKER IS WORTHY OF HIS HIRE!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial

 

NO WORKER IS A VICTIM!

by Steve Fair

     Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States that is always celebrated on the first Monday in September.  It began in the late 19th century (1894) and was established to recognize and honor the American labor movement(unions).  Labor Day also marks the unofficial end of summer, celebrated with outings, picnics and parades.   

     At the height of the Industrial Revolution in America, the average worker was putting in 12-hour days seven days a week to make a living.  Workers got organized, formed unions and collectively negotiated with business owners for higher wages and better working conditions.  That led the rise of labor unions like the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, and United Auto Workers.  The unions not only worked to get better wages and working conditions for their membership, but they got heavily involved in politics.  They successfully lobbied in many states to restrict workers from opting out of a union by requiring compulsory membership.  A portion of union dues were used to campaign for candidates who agreed with the unions.  Rank and file membership wasn’t given the choice of whether their dues would be used for political purposes for causes and positions they disagreed with.  That autocratic, tyrannical approach hurt the union’s membership.  Current union membership is about 10.3% of the total workforce in the U.S., half of what it was in 1983.  Three observations about labor and workers in America:

     First, the wage gap is widening in the United States.    Republicans don’t like to discuss it, but it’s true.  Workers are not appreciated and rewarded financially as they were in years past.  In a study of 300 top U.S. companies conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a liberal think tank, the average CEO received $670 in compensation for every $1 the worker received.  That is 4 times the disparity 40 years ago.  More than a third of the companies IPS surveyed were not increasing pay to keep up with inflation for their rank-and-file workers.  Clearly IPS has a liberal agenda, but the truth is the disparity between worker pay and executive has widened dramatically in the U.S.  

     Second, every worker is self-employed.  That doesn’t mean they have their own LLC or operate their own business.  It means they make a conscious choice to work for the wages they agree to upon hiring.  They agree to provide a service (their labor) for a paycheck.  If they want to sever that relationship, they can.  If they believe they are being treated unfairly or being underpaid, they should point it out to their employer.  If the boss doesn’t recognize their value, they should seek an employer that will. 

     Good workers should never ‘play the victim’ and blame their boss for not making enough money.  Working for a company isn’t the priesthood- you can leave.  A worker is worth fair wages.  An employer who takes advantage of willing, loyal, honest workers by not paying them what they are worth isn’t worthy of having eager, reliable, forthright employees.  Building a business on the backs of people being taken advantage of isn’t being conservative- it’s socialist.

     Third, living the American dream is no guarantee.  In fact, the dream in America is declining.  90% of children born in the 1940s achieved more accumulated wealth than their parents.  Only 40% of children born in the 1980s are doing that.  Why the decline?  One reason is government regulation on lending practices that have restricted access to capital.  Banks can’t take a risk on an idea and a hard worker like in the 1970s.  The government has made it next to impossible to get a business loan.  The primary reason Generation Xers are not doing better than their parents is many have a ‘victim’ or ‘entitlement’ mentality.  Until they take personal responsibility for their financial lot in life and stop blaming somebody else, they can expect to be stuck on the merry go round of life.

     Labor unions evolved because workers got fed up with being treated bad by their employers.  Those workers organized and effectively changed their circumstances by not being victims or demanding entitlements.  No worker is a victim.  They control their own economic fate.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

DEBT CAN'T SIMPLY DISAPPEAR- THERE IS NO FREE IN ANY ECONOMIC SYSTEM!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN!

by Steve Fair

 

     Last week, President Joe Biden announced student-loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and other federal borrowers.  Pell Grant borrowers could have up to $20,000 forgiven- non-Pell borrowers up to $10,000.  Both groups have to make less than $125,000 annually ($250,000 for couples) to qualify.  Forgiveness is automatic for borrowers who the Department of Education already has their income information.  That could be up to 8 million borrowers.  Under Biden's plan, 43 million people stand to have their loan payments reduced, while 20 million would have their debt forgiven altogether.

     “There is an entire generation now saddled with unsustainable student loan debt in exchange for a college degree.  We’re making incredible progress bringing relief to those that need it and fixing the student loan system so it works for working people,” President Biden said. 

     Biden’s executive order is expected to be challenged in court.  Many believe the president doesn’t have the legal authority to cancel student-loan debt, including it would seem Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  In July 2021, Pelosi said, “People think the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness.  He does not.  He can postpone and delay, but he does not have that power.  That has to be an act of Congress.”  Care to bet if Peolsi has changed her mind?  Three observations:

     First, Biden’s debt forgiveness is a blatant effort to help Democrats in the mid-term elections.  The economy is struggling, inflation is up and the supply chain remains broken, which has resulted in high prices at the shelf and pump.  The Democrats are projected to lose control of the U.S. House and perhaps the Senate in November unless something moves voters to the left. 

     Nothing motivates voters like getting free stuff (at least free to them), so Biden is hopeful his decree will spike voter turnout from the 43 million recipients of his generosity and keep Democrats in control of Congress. 

      Politicians of all persuasions/affiliations love to give away taxpayer money as re-election tokens.  That’s why taxpayer funded roads, bridges, airports and buildings are named after them and not for the people who actually paid the bill.

     Second, Biden’s action is blatantly unfair.  The forgiven student-loan debt is not eliminated.  It is transferred to taxpayers.  People who made a bad decision are rewarded.  Responsible citizens are penalized. It’s sad the American government and higher education duped and conned young students into borrowing money to fund their education, but it is not the responsibility of taxpayers to assume that debt.  Biden’s executive order reeks of Karl Marx’s famous communism creed: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” 

      Third, higher education has become about revenue, not education.  Colleges and universities sell unqualified students remedial (high school) classes at high prices, knowing those students will not finish college.  39% of the student-loan borrowers did not complete a degree and account for 23% of the total student-loan debt.  55% of those who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree account for 64% of the debt.  Working your way through college has become an impossibility because of the high cost of higher education. 

     The theory that a college degree will pay off in higher income has become a fallacy.  The Texas Public Policy Foundation found only half of modern college graduates will recoup their costs of going to college within twenty years and the other half will never make enough to cover what they spent to get their sheepskin.

     There is no free!  Someone is always paying the bill. Free doesn’t exist in any economic system.  Tragically many in America don’t know that, including the current president.  They wistfully wander through life, believing debt can simply disappear, and the lakes are stew and whiskey too on Big Rock Candy Mountain.   

 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

AMERICA NEEDS SOME RISKTAKERS- APPLY ANYWHERE THERE IS A HELP WANTED SIGN!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


CAPITALISM REQUIRES PARTICIPATION!

by Steve Fair

 

    The Wall Street Journal reports American companies are on pace to return nearly 350,000 jobs to the U.S. in 2022.  If that happens, it would be highest number on record since 2010.  Taking manufacturing and production out of the country had been a trend for over thirty years until President Trump took office in 2016.  Trump made keeping domestic manufacturing and production here a priority.  About 450,000 new manufacturing jobs were added during Trump’s term in office.  During President Obama’s eight years in the White House, the U.S. lost 192,000 manufacturing jobs.

     When COVID hit, American companies had to rethink their ‘out of the country’ strategy as labor shortages in foreign countries coupled with high commodity prices and logistics challenges made price a secondary issue. Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine disrupted grain markets and the conflict between  China and Taiwan has disturbed the microchip market.  That has resulted in three major microchip manufacturers announcing they are bringing their production back to the U.S.  A constant, reliable, and dependable source of supply has become more important than price to American manufacturers and processors. That should be the goal for the American consumer. Three observations:

     First, a buy American policy is not just patriotic- it’s sensible.  When companies made the decision to have their products or components made out of the country, American consumers eagerly accepted the products because they were cheaper. 

     50% of American consumers acknowledge price is the main decision factor when they buy something.  Bottom line- if they can save money, they will buy the lower priced item.  Two thirds of Americans polled last year claim they will pay more for products made in America, but they don’t follow up by doing it.  Imported products often have higher market share than their domestic competition.

     Second, globalization contributed to the disruption in the supply chain.  Since COVID-19, labor issues, raw material shortages, and high fuel costs are not just in the U.S., they are across the globe.  Every country is facing historic price increases and inflation.  Manufacturers across the world have high demand and lower productivity than pre-pandemic.  Consumers are adjusting to the new normal- delays in getting consumer goods, and service in a timely way. 

     How did this happen?  Short sighted companies, greedy labor unions, and clueless politicians contributed to the expansion of globalization.  Those who called for an America First policy were attacked as isolationists and called  non-progressive and too traditional.   

     Third, capitalism requires participation and less are choosing to engage.  In the capitalist economic system, individual initiative is rewarded.  Unlike socialism or communism, where individuality is downplayed, capitalism rewards those who work harder than their counterparts.  In capitalism, when fewer workers choose to participate in the workforce, the demand for those who will work increases and wages go up.  America has a shortage of people who will work.  Help wanted signs are in every business.  Anyone who really wants a job can get one and many older Americans are delaying retirement and continue to work. 

     The number of Americans over age 55 who are in the labor force is projected to be over 42 million by 2026- over one quarter of all those working.  Younger Americans are not entering the workforce.  The reason? The government will pay them more to sit on their duff than to work.  Who can blame them?  It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. 

     If trends continue, America’s capitalism economic system will fail.  The risktakers that built the U.S., who lived the American Dream and made their fortunes must have modern day counterparts to step up and roll the dice.   America needs young passionate, hardworking, adventure seekers.  Apply anywhere there is a help wanted sign.


Sunday, August 14, 2022

AMERICANS SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT DIRECTION OF COUNTRY!

Weekly Opinion Editorial


OVERPLAYED HAND!

by Steve Fair

 

           In 1978, the Presidential Records Act (PRA) was enacted.  The PRA requires any memos, letters, emails, and other documents related to the president or vice president’s duties be preserved and given to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at the end of an administration.  It was enacted after President Nixon tried to destroy records relating to his presidential tenure. 

     Since its’ implementation, every POTUS has tried to circumvent the PRA.  President Reagan tried to shield email records about the Iran-Contra arms deals.  President George H.W. Bush was accused of destroying telephone logs and emails records about the State Department’s investigation into Bill Clinton’s passport records.  President Clinton had many people in his administration that used private email accounts to conduct government business to avoid the PRA.  President George W. Bush challenged the National Archives to review and determine how documents were to be classified.  President Obama was accused of moving presidential documents from the White House to Chicago for his presidential library. 

      After President Trump left office in January 2021, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said they had received some of Trump’s presidential records, but accused him of tearing up some records.  On February 8th of this year, the NARA confirmed they had gotten 15 boxes of presidential records from Trump that had been at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.  They said some of the returned documents were classified. 

     In June, investigators with the U.S. Justice Department met with Trump’s lawyers and served a grand jury subpoena for more documents at Mar-a-Lago.  On August 5th, U.S. Magistrate Judge in Florida, Bruce Reinhart, an Obama donor, issued a sealed search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.  On Monday, August 8th, at 9am, thirty plainclothes FBI agents descended on the former president’s home.  They spent 9 hours, concentrating on a bedroom and at a safe.  Reportedly, at one point, the feds scoured former first lady Melania Trump’s closet. 

     President Trump issued a statement: “These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.  Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.”

     U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that he ‘personally approved’ the decision to seek a warrant for the FBI to search Trump’s residence and that he didn’t take the action lightly.  Three observations:

     First, the goal is not to get documents preserved/returned- it is to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 election.  A conviction of violating the PRA could prevent him from running.  Democrats know that.  Every president since the passage of PRA has dealt with the bureaucrats at NARA after they have left office on document/record preservation, but none have faced the scrutiny Trump has.   

     Second, no one is above the law and that includes Donald Trump.  If he violated the law- including the PRA- he must pay the price.  The United States is a nation of laws, which is the foundation of the country.  But equal enforcement/administration of the law is critical if citizens are to believe they have a country.  

     The raid of a former POTUS’s home is unprecedented.  The incursion into Trump’s home better produce clear evidence of a law being broken.  The FBI, AG Garland, and the Department of Justice should publicly reveal what they found and do it expeditiously.      

     Third, Americans should be concerned about the direction of the country.  Selective enforcement of the law and ignoring the law by leaders with no consequences is commonplace. Disrespect of law enforcement run rapport.  Tolerance is preached, but not practiced.  Traditional values are deemed irrelevant in modern culture.  The fabric of the United States appears to be unraveling.    

     Politically, the raid and attack on Trump could backfire on Democrats.  They likely have ‘overplayed their hand.’  When someone ‘overplays their hand,’ they make the mistake of believing their position is stronger or better than it really is.    Voters may see through the motivation of the attack on Trump and show up in record numbers in November and give Republicans control of both chambers of Congress.