Sunday, September 30, 2012

President Opposite

Take a minute and think back to four years ago.

Day after day and in speech after speech we heard about "Hope and Change".

I have come to the conclusion that to understand where we will end up with President Obama is to convert everything he says to the OPPOSITE of what he says he is going to do.

President Opposite

He was going to bring us together.  He has worked primarily at creating divisions with endless class warfare rhetoric.

We heard how we would experience a new tone in Washington that would see hands reaching across the political divide for the good of America.  We have never been more divided.

We heard how the federal deficit would be cut in half and we would not longer burden our children's future with the enormous federal debt.  The federal debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to over $16 trillion.

We heard how the United States of America would be respected like never before.  Our enemies have gotten angrier and we have angered some of our closest allies.

We heard how we would extend health care to millions and at the same time the tens of millions who liked their health care could keep it and premiums would be reduced by $2,500 per family as a result of healthcare reform.  A 2,300 page health care reform bill was passed on a strict party line vote that will increase our deficit by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, cut Medicare by $716 billion, force religious organizations to violate the most basic tenets of their faith and turn over many medical decisions to a government bureaucracy.  Health care premiums have not decreased by $2,500=they have increased by $2,500 over the last four years.

We heard how green jobs would be created by the millions to spur a economic revival the likes of what we had not seen in decades.  Solyndra and many other "green" companies were given billions of dollars by the federal government and many went bankrupt without providing anything of value in jobs or economic growth.  At the same time, a project that would have increased our energy security and created thousands of jobs, the Keystone pipeline, was rejected.

We heard how we would lift more people out of poverty with a helping hand that would benefit the entire country at the same time.  More people are on food stamps, Medicaid and disability than at any time in history.

We heard how this would be the most open and transparent federal government in the history of the Republic.  The health care reform was drafted behind closed doors, we still don't know what happened with Fast and Furious and a U.S. Ambassador is dead and we hear a different story every day.

I could go on and on about the promises, propositions and predictions that were made as to how our lives were going to be made better by Barack Obama.  Consider just a few other examples of how we have gotten the OPPOSITE of what we were promised four years ago.

  • We have fewer people working than four years ago.
  • The net worth of American families is lower than it was four years ago.
  • Real incomes are lower than they were four years ago.
  • We have 47 million people on food stamps-a 50% increase from four years ago.
  • We have lost almost 600,000 manufacturing jobs to China and other foreign countries in the last four years.
  • Gas prices at the pump are almost double what they were four years ago.
  • The United States has fewer allies and more enemies than four years ago.
  • We have taken on $3 of federal debt for every $1 in economic growth over the last four years.
  • We lost our nation's AAA credit rating.
  • Most importantly, President Obama has gotten the formula that made America great exactly backward although he talks about going forward.  He seems to think that government creates prosperity.  If that was the case North Korea, Cuba and Greece would be economic giants.  The only way forward is with productivity gains in the private sector.

President Obama's campaign theme is FORWARD. However, I have not been able to discern one new idea or new policy that he is proposing that is any different than we have heard for the last four years. There is nothing to look FORWARD to as everything that he is proposing we have already seen how it will turn out... all we have to do is look BACKWARD.

The man in office is simply President Opposite.  He has us going in the wrong direction with every step he takes.  If you still have doubts go BACKWARD to the beginning of this post and read it again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Washington D.C.-"You Didn't Build That"

It is ironic that we continually hear about the income and wealth divide between the rich and the poor in our country but the income and wealth divide between Washington, D.C. and the rest of the country gets no attention.
A couple of facts might surprise you.

The metro Washington, D.C. area has the highest percentage of millionaires in the United States (as a percentage of households) according to the August, 2012 issue of Money magazine. In fact, seven of the ten richest counties in the United States surround Washington, D.C. according to a report released last week. Money also points out that 40% of the world's millionaires live in the United States. Therefore, it seems to follow that a fair percentage of the world’s millionaires live in close proximity to The White House and Capitol Hill.
This is consistent with Bureau of Economic Analysis data on State Personal Income which shows that per capita personal income in the District of Columbia was $73,105 in 2011.  For the United States as a whole it was $41,663. Washington, D.C. is 75% higher than the nation as a whole.

The highest state was Connecticut at $56,889.

This means that the average income in DC is almost $30,000 higher than the nation at large and over $16,000 more than the highest state.
Since 2000, per capita income in DC has increased at more than twice the rate of the country as a whole. An 81% increase in D.C.- from $40,462 to $73,105- compared to a 37% increase in U.S. per capita income which saw an increase from $30,319 to $41,663.
Is it any wonder that the most recent Gallup poll found that President Obama’s approval rating in Washington, D.C. is an astounding 83%?    
Washington, D.C. has no manufacturing base. It does not grow crops. It has no oil wells or coal mines. It does not produce computer chips or other high tech items. It produces almost nothing that creates value in a traditional economy. Yet, its residents have the highest per capita income in the country. What more is needed to know that something is seriously amiss in our nation?
I am not just talking about the pay for government workers. After all, there are plenty of lawyers, lobbyists and lunch places along with everything else in D.C.  I am also not saying that all of these people don't work hard.  However, almost all of those jobs and wealth would not exist without the massive amount of money that gets shipped to D.C. by the people who are working the factory jobs, tending the crops and mining the coal. People who also work hard every day for a fraction of what the people in Washington, D.C. are making. However, they must pay taxes on that fraction and send it to Washington to support incomes that are almost double what people in my home state of Ohio are earning ($37,791).
How has it gotten this way? A lot of  money to spread around and a lot of special interests. The federal government will spend about $3.7 trillion this year.   Two-thirds of it is in direct payments to individuals on spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs. A modest amount of total expenditures is for national defense and the general welfare compared to historical percentages. In 1945, payments to individuals made up less than 3% of federal spending.  In 1970, it was about 30% and it was below 50% as late as 1990.
Washington is largely a gigantic redistribution machine today. Money comes in one end from one group of people and it goes out the other end to another group of people. Money and wealth have been created in Washington because of the bureaucracy to run that machine and all of the politicians, lobbyists, lawyers and special interest groups working to get "their share" of money coming out of the other end. 
Of course, no one in Washington ever believes they are getting their “fair share” for their group.  Therefore, the D.C. answer is always to get more people to pay their “fair share” in taxes.  This is clearly President Obama’s view but he is only one more in a long line that has gotten us to where we are today.
Those taxes are then spent to support a government that legislates, regulates and stipulates almost everything that we do.  Picking winners and losers. Redistributing money from one person to another. From one industry to another. From one business to another. From one region to another.  Functions far removed from the principles of our founding fathers.
You don't need a massive government structure to protect the nation, establish justice and promote the general welfare.  You do need one to manage, control and serve special interests.  Special interests also grow exponentially when the system is designed to pick winners and losers rather than just provide a level playing field for everyone to compete.  That is how District of Columbia residents have come to make almost twice the income as the nation as a whole.  
I will borrow a phrase from President Obama… “You didn’t build that”. If there was ever an example where that phrase is accurate it would be in talking about our nation's capital. Taxpayers built Washington and sustain it today. Taxpayers deserve a return on their current investment before they pay to build any more Washington bureaucracy.
"You Didn't Build That"
Credit: Library of Congress

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would be well advised to start talking about the income and wealth divide between Washington, D.C. and the rest of the country as much as the Democrats speak about the divide between the rich and poor.  There is no better way to make the case as to why change is needed in Washington.
It is just another example of The Redistribution of America that I wrote about earlier this week.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Appeasement, Apologies and Advertisements

You have to wonder who is making the decisions in the United States Department of State?

We first had the infamous "apology" by the American Embassy in Egypt for the "continued efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims" that was later disavowed by the Obama administration after critics argued that it appeared that the United States was siding more with the violent protestors in Cairo than showing concern for the First Amendment in this country.

We now find out about the tv ad produced for Pakistani television that the U.S. Government paid for, and which President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton appeared in, apologizing for the 14-minute trailer for the video, The Innocence of Muslims, which mocks Islamic prophet Mohammed.

If the tv commerical was not only a bad idea to begin with, it appears that the idea was not even executed very well.

Consider these facts:

The State Department spent $70,000 on the tv commercial in Pakistan condemning the video and the man who made it in an attempt to diffuse the situation in that country where six days of violent protests killed 21 people last week.

However, the 45-second commercial was deemed ineffective by most Pakistani commentators because it was broadcast in English with Urdu (the official language of Pakistan) subtitles.

Many people in the country speak regional dialects and do not speak Urdu.  Very few speak English.

A bigger  problem is that 56% of the country is illiterate and could not read the subtitles!

The result-Another $70,000 of our tax money thrown down a rat hole for apologizing for the exercise of free speech (even though idiotic) in this country which the Pakistanis clearly do not understand anything about in the first place.  They simply have never experienced it.

President Obama took office confidently claiming that he could build a bridge with radical Muslim elements in the Middle East.

Carolyn Glick puts it this way,

By changing the way America treats the Muslim world, Obama believes he can end their hatred of America. To this end, he has reached out to the most anti-American forces and regimes in the region and spurned pro-American regimes and political forces.
When Obama's policies are recognized as driven by appeasement, the seeming inconsistency of his war against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi on the one hand, and his passivity in the face of the anti-regime uprising in Iran in 2009 and the Syrian uprising against the Assad regime today makes sense. Gaddafi was not a threat to the US, so he was unworthy of protection. The mullahs in Iran and Assad are foes of the US. So they deserve protection. Obama has assiduously courted the Muslim Brotherhood from the outset of his presidency.
The official and unofficial Egyptian exploitation of the Internet film as a means to intimidate and attack the US into disavowing its core principles is proof that Obama's theory of the source of Muslim rage is wrong. They do not hate America because of what the US government does. They hate America because of what America is. And it is because of this that since September 11, the rationale for Obama's foreign policy has disintegrated.
Ask yourself these questions.  Has the Obama policy in the Middle East made it more or less stable?  Do we have more friends and allies?  Is America hated more or less?  Is America respected more or less?  I think the answers are clear.  President Obama has not moved us FORWARD, his policies have moved us BACKWARDS.

I think Glick makes a very insightful comment about dealing with the Muslim world.
To appease a party that hates your way of life, you must change your way of life. The only way America can appease the Muslim world is for America to cease to be America.
Is this Obama's definition of FORWARD for the next four years in his Middle East policy?   Are we ready to give up our way of life to go back in time 1,000 years in time as the Islamists seem to want?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Who Is Skewing Us?

I have written about the polling in the Presidential race here and here.

As I have analyzed a number of the polls and look at the internals it seems obvious that some very big assumptions are being made on turnout that may or may not come to pass come November 6.  Most polls seem to be assuming that many more Democrats than Republicans are going to vote this year as was the case in 2008.  Of course, that was not the case in 2010 when turnout was evenly split between R's and D's and Republicans captured more seats in federal, state and local races than any time in history.

I came across the website today that takes all of the polls and uses assumptions on turnout that are more consistent with current voter party identification data than looking at past history.  What would the media buzz be if these poll results were being reported every night?

The results are very telling and show a completely different picture than what is being reported on the evening news.   Romney supporters take heart!  These numbers may be as wrong as what is being published in the polls right now.  However, the assumptions and methodology that is used could be just as easily justified as any other method.  The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

UnSkewed Avg.9/4 - 9/20----44.051.8Romney +7.8
Reason/Rupe9/13 - 9/17787 LV4.345.052.0Romney +7
Reuters/Ipsos9/12 - 9/201437 LV2.944.054.0Romney +10
NBC News/WSJ9/12 - 9/16736 LV3.644.051.0Romney +7
Monmouth Univ.9/13 - 9/161344 LV2.545.050.0Romney +5
QStarNews9/10 - 9/1520753.044.055.0Romney +11
NY Times/CBS News9/8 - 9/121162 LV3.044.051.0Romney +7
Democracy Corps9/8 - 9/121000 LV3.143.052.0Romney +8
Fox News9/9 - 9/111056 LV3.045.048.0Romney +3
Wash. Post/ABC News9/7 - 9/9826 LV4.045.052.0Romney +7
CNN/ORC9/7 - 9/9875 RV3.545.053.0Romney +8
IBD/CSM/TIPP9/4 - 9/9808 RV3.541.050.0Romney +9
ARG9/4 - 9/61200 LV3.043.053.0Romney +10

It makes you wonder who is really trying to skew us?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Redistribution of America

There is a lot of talk about redistribution in the Presidential campaign right now. In the typical use of the term it describes a policy where government uses its taxing power to take money from one person to give it to another. However, this common definition is much too narrow in my opinion. Redistribution is not just about money.

Redistribution is occurring whenever you see our federal government making decisions favoring one person, one group, one business or region compared to another. Providing an advantage to one side at the expense of another. Taking sides where it should not be taking sides. Picking winners and losers. Tilting the playing field to play favorites.

Government should not be on the playing field calling the plays. Its primary role should be making sure that the playing field is safe, that people are playing by the rules and that penalties are assessed when the play is out of bounds. This is what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote our Constitution.

The Redistribution of America takes many forms. It is time to think about what this has done to our country. What it has done to our economy. What it has done to the very fabric of our nation. It does not have to be this way. We can restore America to the founding principles that made this country great. However, we first have to recognize the insidious nature of The Redistribution of America.

You don't need a massive government structure to protect the nation, establish justice and promote the general welfare. You do need one to manage, control and serve special interests. Special interests also grow exponentially when the system is designed to pick winners and losers rather than just provide a level playing field for everyone to compete on.


Let's look at a list of what is occurring in The Redistribution of America. These are all examples where the federal government has taken an active role in stacking the deck for one group to the detriment of another. Providing an advantage to one party to the disadvantage of another. The sad truth is that at times the advantages have even been given to foreign interests to the disadvantage of Americans.

You will notice that I use the word "We" to describe what is going on. Why? Because we all have allowed this to happen. These are all conscious policy decisions that our federal government has made. It doesn't have to be this way. However, The Redistribution of America will continue until WE demand that it stop.

We are stealing from the next generation to fund current government spending with our massive budget deficits. With every dollar of deficit spending we are shifting costs from today to tomorrow which our children and grandchildren will have to pay.

We are taking from savers to bail out bankers and debtors with the ridiculously low interest rates that have been manipulated by the Federal Reserve .

We have hurt those on Main Street to bail out the people on Wall Street who caused the financial meltdown.

We are taking from the private sector and giving the public sector wage and benefit packages that long ago were deemed unaffordable for private businesses and which are not sustainable over the long term.

We have favored illegal immigrants who broke our laws over immigrants who patiently wait in line to come here legally.

We ignore rich energy reserves in this country and have redistributed billions of dollars of our wealth to dictators and despots in the Middle East and elsewhere. The result is that they are richer, we are poorer and we remain energy dependent when we could be energy independent.

We have given much of our manufacturing base away by legislating, regulating and stipulating almost everything involved for the industrial sector of our economy. The result is that we have redistributed good paying jobs from the United States to China and other foreign countries.

We have seen a redistribution of power from the states to the federal government that has turned the original intent of our Constitution upside down.

We continually see the public interest having to yield to special interests and people of faith being required to yield to people of no faith.

We will soon see the further redistribution of America in our health care system under Obamacare. Decisions that used to be made between doctor and patient will increasingly be made by government bureaucrats. We have already seen the impacts of this where religious organizations must provide and pay for health benefits that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

The size and scope of the federal government today is a direct result of The Redistribution of America.

As I stated above, you don't need a massive government structure if you are focused on protecting and promoting the public interest. You do need one to manage, control and serve special interests. Special interests also grow exponentially when the system is designed to pick winners and losers rather than just provide a level playing field for everyone to compete. I have written before that per capita personal income in Washington, D.C. was $73,105 in 2011. This is 75% higher than the national average. Personal income has grown by 81% in Washington, D.C since 2000 compared to 37% for the nation at large.

The metro Washington, D.C. area also has the highest percentage of millionaires in the United States (as a percentage of households) according to the August, 2012 issue of Money magazine. Money also points out that 40% of the world's millionaires live in the United States. Therefore, it seems to follow that a fair percentage of the world’s millionaires live in close proximity to The White House and Capitol Hill. This would not be possible without The Redistribution of America.

Washington is largely a gigantic redistribution machine today. Money comes in one end from one group of people and it goes out the other end to another group of people. Requests from special interests comes in from one end and favors and advantages go out the other end. Money and wealth have been created in Washington because of the bureaucracy to run that machine and all of the politicians, lobbyists, lawyers and special interest groups working to get "their share" of money and advantages coming out of the other end.

President Obama recently said that "he could not fix Washington from inside." He can't fix it because "the fix" has been in for a long time with The Redistribution of America. The Redistribution of America means power and money to Washington, D.C. However, as power and money go to Washington, the People lose their freedom in addition to the power and money that has been redistributed to Washington. Is it any wonder that a recent Gallup poll found that President Obama's approval rating in Washington is 83%! Washington, D.C. does not want to change.  Things are working out well for them.  However, how is The Redistribution of America working out for you?

I hear people say all the time that they don't think it makes any difference who is elected President or sent to Washington. I am hear to tell you that is nonsense. Our Founding Fathers established a system of government to provide unprecedented powers in the People. Every two years the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate is accountable to the People as the ballot box. After four years, the President and two-thirds of the Senate must face the People's vote. In six years, the entire Washington power structure could be replaced if the People wanted it.

The Redistribution of America does not have to continue. It does not have to be this way. We have the power to change it. November 6, 2012 is your opportunity.

Update:  I just came across an op-ed in The New York Times by Ross Douthat entitled "Washington vs. America" that makes many of the same points as I do.  When something in The New York Times is consistent with the thoughts in BeeLine we may really be on to something!  
Last week, new census data revealed that 7 of the 10 richest American counties in 2011 were in the Washington, D.C., region. Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington Counties, all in Northern Virginia, have higher median incomes than every other county in the United States.
Whence comes this wealth? Mostly from Washington’s one major industry: the federal government. Not from direct federal employment, which has risen only modestly of late, but from the growing armies of lobbyists and lawyers, contractors and consultants, who make their living advising and influencing and facilitating the public sector’s work.
In reality, our government isn’t running trillion-dollar deficits because we’re letting the working class get away with not paying its fair share. We’re running those deficits because too many powerful interest groups have a stake in making sure the party doesn’t stop.
When you look around the richest precincts of today’s Washington, you don’t see a city running on paternalism or dependency. You see a city running on exploitation

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Borrowing $3 to Earn $1 Is Not Going Forward

Since President Obama has been in office the United States has borrowed $3 for every $1 in economic growth that has taken place.

                                                   2009                           2012                          

Federal Debt                           $10.6 trillion              $15.9 trillion         +$5.3 trillion

Gross Domestic Product         $13.9 trillion             $15.6 trillion         +$1.7 trillion 

Source: from Treasury Department and Bureau of Economic Analysis (thru Q2, 2012 for comparison purposes.

The President's entire campaign is based on the argument we have to continue what we are doing. He just needs more time in order to spread more money around. FORWARD is his rallying cry.

Credit: Bob Gorrell, Creator's Syndicate, Inc.

Friends, if we are going forward on the same path we have been on for the last four years we are going right over the fiscal cliff in the next four years.

This is math that a 5th grader can understand.

You cannot borrow $3 and only get a return of $1 and expect to stay solvent.

This country needs a dramatic change of course.

I know that people wanted to have hope with this man.  We desperately wanted him to succeed.  However, it is time to realize that there is no hope on the current path we are on.

This country is stretched to the limit.  If it breaks it is not going to be pretty.  It will be difficult to put back together.  People may think they are at risk today.  They have no idea of what risk lies ahead if we do not change course.

As a country we are like Humpty Dumpty sitting on that wall.

It does not have to be this way.

We don't have to fall.  However, to avoid the fall we have to get off the wall. We need to stand on our feet and do what has to be done to confront our problems.

It is late but it is not too late.

However, this country cannot afford another mistake where we HOPE things will work.

It is time for real CHANGE.

That is the only hope we have left.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Polls and Politics

In my last post I wrote about the 3 major factors that will determine this year's Presidential race as I look at the race right now.  Of course, there is always the wild card.  The potential gaffe by a candidate or an external event that changes the dynamic quickly (look no further than the financial meltdown that was occurring almost exactly four years ago).  Barring the wild card, these are the difference makers
  1. The Presidential debates.
  2. The energy of Republican voters compared to Democrat voters to get to the polls.
  3. The Independent vote.
Let's look further at point #2 in more detail.  This is probably the most important factor in the accuracy of any poll.  

Polls are samples that are used to make a projection about the future.  It is not enough to know what someone tells you today, you also have to determine whether they will actually vote in November.  For example, only about 60% of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2008.  In the 2010 mid-term elections, only about 38% bothered to vote.

Turning out voters sympathetic to your party is critical in any election.  This is because if someone identifies themselves with a political party there is usually a 90%+ likelihood they will cast their vote for a member of that party.  This is a big reason why candidates trek from Cincinnati to Chillicothe to Canton for campaign apperances.  It is not so much as to convince new voters as to solidify their support with those that are already likely to vote for them already.  If you see a candidate or shake his hand you are much more likely to follow through and make sure you vote for him in November.  It becomes personal.

Many of the polls that we have been seeing recently are assuming that self-identified Democrats will outnumber Republicans in voting in November.  This was true in 2008 when Democrats had about a seven point advantage over Republicans in turning out.  Obama's candidacy in that year energized a lot of Democrats to get to the polls.  I am also sure that many likely Republican voters sat it out as they saw the writing on the wall before the sun even rose on election day.

Most of the polls right now are using models on party identification that are closer to 2008 than to 2010.     

Right on the heels of my earlier post about the importance of the Democrat/Republican split comes this interesting blog post by DaTechGuy that shows what has been occurring in Rasmussen's poll of party identification over the last several years.  Rasmussen is the only pollster I know of that polls this number monthly.

Here is a sampling of various months since 2006.  You can see the month-by-month numbers and complete analysis from DaTechGuy by going to the link above.  The numbers shown below show the Republican advantage/disadvantage based on party identification in the Rasmussen poll for that month.

November, 2004  (Bush re-elected)                                                      -1.6%
November, 2006  (D's pick up 31 seats in House and 5 in Senate)       - 6.1%
November, 2008 (Obama elected)                                                       - 7.6%
November, 2010 (GOP gains 63 House seats and 6 in Senate)           + 1.3%
August, 2011      (Failure to get debt limit deal, I's increase)                 + 0.5%
August, 2012      (Latest data)                                                             + 4.3%

As you can see, according to the Rasmussen data, the underlying political landscape is much different today than it was in 2006 and 2008.  However, most of the polls are assuming that Democrats will outnumber Republicans at the voting booth in November.  The Obama and Democratic machine may be able to turn out that vote like they did in 2008-by hook or by crook.  On the other hand, we also saw in 2010 what happened when Republican were energized and Democrats were less motivated to get to the polls.

This excellent chart by NumbersMuncher shows what is happening with the polls in a manner that is easy to grasp.  All of the major polls (except Rasmussen) are projecting Democrats to outnumber Republicans at the voting booths in November from 5 to 11 points.  This is the sole reason that these polls are showing a 2 to 7 point Obama advantage overall.  On the other hand, Rasmussen is projecting a 3 point Republican advantage right now that he translates to a 2 point Romney edge. 

Doug Ross sums up what appears to be this politization of the polls by the media this way.

So let's just get this straight: more people identify as Republicans than Democrats and Independents break by a double-digit margin for the Romney-Ryan ticket.

And, in the midst of an conflagration in the Middle East, QE3, and an economy back in recession, the media is trying to save this election for (Obama).

My advice to Democrats is be careful about drinking the kool-aid right now.  My advice to Republicans is to take heart in looking at the data.  However, recognize that Romney needs to have 4 or 5 big states (most particularly Florida and Ohio) fall his way to win.  In the meantime, there is a lot of campaign time left and 3 debates to go.  The first debate is October 3.  Let's see where we are in a little over two weeks.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

50 Days and Counting

There are 50 days until Election Day.

The Presidential race continues to look like a toss-up.

Seven states are critical to the race.  Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.  95 electoral votes are at stake in these states.  All seven (with the exception of Missouri) went to Obama in 2008.

Florida is the most critical of these seven states for Romney with 29 electoral votes.  Obama won Florida by a 2.82% margin in 2008. Ohio with its 18 electoral votes is right behind.  Obama's margin was 4.59% in the Buckeye state. If Romney loses either of these two states it will be difficult to prevail.  However, if he wins these two states and holds Missouri as McCain did four years ago he will be only 17 electoral votes from winning the Presidency.

Virginia has 13.  Wisconsin has 10.  Colorado has 9.  Iowa has 6.  Romney needs 17 of these 38 electoral to get the job done.

The math does not look much different today than it did 100 days ago when I did my initial analysis of the Presidential race.  Neither candidate has been able to close the sale with the voters.

President Obama continues to be able to hang in there despite his dismal record because of a basic rule of human nature.  People are slow to change.  Human beings feel more secure with the familiar.  It is always a risk to venture away from what you know.  Even if it is bad.  After all, it could get even worse!  That is why people are generally slow to turn out an incumbent.  It really is the devil you know.

On the other hand, Governor Romney still has not been able to make the compelling case for the majority of the American people to make a change.  He needs to find a "Hope and Change" formula similar to what Obama concocted four years ago to provide swing voters a reason to move in another direction.

The number of polls out there can be confusing to almost everyone.  One day we hear Romney is up.  The next day we hear that Obama is solidifying his lead.  The next day we are back to a toss-up.

What is difficult in polling is getting the poll results to mirror what the behavior of voters will be on election day.  The key factor is what will the split be between Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  Obama won in 2008 because 39% of the voters that year considered themselves to be Democrats.  This compared to a 32% turnout of Republicans and 29% who considered themselves to be Independents.  Keep that 39D, 32R, 29I split in mind.

When President Bush won in 2004 the split was 37D, 37R, 26I.  Bush won the election in 2004 even though he lost independents 48/50.  He won because he got Republican voters to the polls and history tells us that usually about 90% of self identified party voters will vote for the candidate of their party in an election.

In the 2010 mid-year election which saw Republicans take the U.S. House of Representatives and sweep many state offices, the vote split was 36D, 36R, 28I.

The difference between 2008 and 2010 was a 4% point increase in Republican voters and a 3% decrease in Democrat voters to start with.  However, Independents voted 55% to 39% for Republicans in 2010.  In 2008, Obama won Independents 52% to 44%.  That is why you had what was considered to be a landslide Republican year in 2010 to an Obama sweep in 2008.

50 days from now this election is going to be determined by three big factors.

1.  The Presidential debate.  Can Romney convince voters that he is change they can believe in?

2.  Will Republican voters be energized to vote like they were in 2010?

3.  Can Romney win the Independent vote?

Three recent polls seem to indicate that Romney is making headway with Independent voters.  He is up by 6 points with these voters in the NYT/CBS poll.  He is up by 11 points in the WaPo/ABC News poll.  He is up by a huge 14 points in the CNN/ORC poll.  However, the Fox poll has Romney down by 5 points to Independents.  Go figure how this poll can be such an outlier. (and I thought Fox was supposed to be in the tank for Romney).

However, he is down to Obama in all three polls overall.  This can only mean that the pollsters are assuming a Democrat/Republican turnout more consistent with 2008 than 2010.

You might want to read "Can Obama get reelected losing the independent vote" in Hot Air for more perspective on these polls and the dynamics of the independent vote.

Can I tell you who is going to win in November?  No.  However, give me the answers to the 3 questions above and I might be persuaded to get out on the limb.  Let's check back after the debates for a better idea.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Trillion Is No Trifle

The United States of America is now $16 trillion in debt.

This is an increase of $5.4 trilliion since President Obama took office less than four years ago.

We have had a budget deficit of over $1 trillion in each of the last four years.  In fact, it has averaged about $1.35 trillion per year over that period.

How much is a trillion?

It is a big, big, big number.  How big?

It is 1,000 billion.

If you started counting right now at one number per second you would not reach 1 trillion for 32,000 years.

If you placed a trillion dollar bills end to end it would stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back again ... 40,000 times!!

It would encircle the earth 4,000 times.

It would reach the moon and back 200 times.

That is how much a trillion is.

That is how much we are spending on federal government programs beyond what we have coming in this year alone.

Of course, I mentioned above that we now have $16 trillion in total debt at the federal level.  Take all the numbers above and multiply by 16.

Let's bring it a little close to you.

Paying off that $16 trillion debt would require a contribution of $51,000 from every man, woman and child in the country.  It is also about $142,000 per household.

Of course, only a fraction of our total population right now are paying taxes.  If that burden is borne just by the taxpayers today it amounts to $232,000 for each one.  The tab grows to $290,000 for each taxpaying family.

A trillion is no trifle.  This election is not trivial.  Our time is almost up.

This vast expansion of our federal debt due to deficit spending is not sustainable.   The path we are on will not end well.  That is a certainty.  It does not have to be that way.  It is late but it still is not too late right now.

This chart shows the growth of federal debt from 1900 with a projection based on estimates of where we are heading in 2020 based on Congressional Budget Office data.

The American people have what I see as one last chance to control their own destiny on this issue in November.    After November 6, it will be too late.  Choose wisely.