Thursday, November 28, 2019

Leftovers After Thanksgiving

I come across a lot of interesting facts, figures and charts in my reading and research.

Many times it is not possible to write an entire blog post about them.

This blog post highlights several things that I found interesting but didn't think they would work in a full post. Think of them as BeeLine leftovers after Thanksgiving.

However, just because they are leftovers does not mean they will not nourish you in some way. If nothing else, one of these might prove to be a conversation starter at a holiday party over the next couple of weeks.

Hong Kong

1.47 million people in Hong Kong voted in local elections four years ago. This past week 2.94 million voters turned out. There is nothing that makes people angrier than trying to take something away from them---especially their freedom.

The pro-Chinese communists had a rather bad election night in Hong Kong. Democracy is on the upswing in Hong Kong.  More troubles for China.


This graph might explain why the Hong Kongers were motivated to vote. A lot of people in the world still do not have that privilege. However, more people live under democratic rule than ever before. You can thank our Founders for starting that trend and the Greatest Generation for giving it a boost with their sacrifices in World War II.

Credit: The Visual Capitalist


Speaking of freedom and democracy, how receptive are people to handing more of their hard-earned money to the federal government? Bernie Sanders said last week that he planned to raise taxes on everyone making more than $29,000 per year to pay for his socialist vision.

How do you think that will work out?

A recent Rasmussen poll asked likely voters how much they would be willing to spend in additional taxes per year to pay for Medicare for All.

32% of Democrats are unwilling to spend anything. 22% are willing to spend an extra $100 annually and 17% are willing to spend $300. In other words, 71% of Democrats are not willing to spend an extra $1 per day out of their pockets to pay for Medicare for All.

It does not look like a winning issue to me. There are an endless number of people who will vote for free stuff. There are not many who will vote to take money out of their own pocket to pay for it.

I am old enough to remember the last Presidential candidate who ran by telling voters he was going to raise their taxes.

It did not end well for Walter Mondale in 1984. He captured only 13 electoral votes. 3 from D.C. (where all the tax money goes) and his home state of Minnesota (although he carried it by a margin of only 3,700 votes).


Leftovers or Left out?

How do you explain it?

Later marriages?

iPhone introduced in 2007?

Harder to do it when you are living in your parents' basement?

More women having sex than men. Are they only doing it with men over age 30?

Are those 28% of men leftovers or left out?

I will leave it to you to ponder this one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Elizabeth Warren: Meet the Pilgrims

The Democrat primary field for President this year is much further left than it has ever been. In fact, leading contenders like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren can no longer be described as liberals or progressives---they are actively promoting unapologetic socialist policies.

For example, in the last debate Bernie Sanders proposed criminally prosecuting and imprisoning corporate executives with coal, oil and gas companies for causing climate change. Warren suggested something similar earlier in the campaign.

The only problem is that the fossil fuel energy that Sanders and Warren rail against is what drives the economy. There is a direct correlation between energy consumption and GDP as I have written about in the past. 

They are going to jail the people (and effectively shut down the fossil fuel industry) who run the engine that drives the economy that supports everything in our society?

It makes you wonder how will we pay for all of their socialist proposals?

Thomas Edsall of the New York Times summarized Warren's policy proposals in a recent column.

The broad scope of the Warren agenda is partially reflected in proposals to provide universal health care; to increase Social Security benefits by $200 a month; to “end Washington corruption;” to achieve 100 percent clean energy; a “fair and welcoming immigration system;” free public college; the breakup of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple; cancellation of student debt; “guaranteed high-quality child care and early education for every child in America;” a 2 percent tax on every dollar of net worth above $50 million and a higher tax on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion; and a $1 trillion program of environmental justice for poor and minority communities.
In addition, Warren would decriminalize illegal border crossing — the “criminal provision is totally unnecessary for border security” — and her Medicare proposal would include coverage of undocumented immigrants.

Roll Call recently estimated what all of Warren's proposals would cost. It came up with almost $30 trillion in additional federal spending over the next 10 years. I have to think this is on the low side.

Let's put that $30 trillion in new spending in context. The federal government is projected to collect just $3.6 trillion in revenues this fiscal year. That means that Warren essentially would almost have to double the tax take to the federal government in order to pay for her new spending proposals.

Does there appear to be a slight disconnect here?

You would think that Elizabeth Warren would know better. After all, she is a Senator from Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims landed 399 years ago.

Senator Warren might want to be reacquainted with the story of those Pilgrims this Thanksgiving.

The Pilgrims also thought that socialism was the ideal answer for their community when they first arrived in America. It did not take long for them to discover the theoretical appeal of socialist ideals quickly falters when tested against the human condition.

I wrote the following blog post in 2013 about the Pilgrims and the origins of Thanksgiving Day. It is a useful story to have at hand at the dinner table should someone you love start to turn the conversation in a leftward direction.

Share as you might dare between the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

For me, I am thankful for all of my readers this Thanksgiving. Thank you for being a part of the BeeLine family.

Pilgrims, Prosperity And Poverty
(originally posted November 28, 2013)

I am thankful for many things.  My family. My friends. My job. I could go on and on. The list is very long.

I am most thankful I was born in the United States of America.  A country founded on the concept of individual rights and freedom.  A country that has embraced the idea of economic freedom, property rights and capitalism since its founding.

Of course, I was born at a different time than where we seem to be today in our attitudes about some of these ideals. Will our young people be as thankful as I am about their country of birth? I certainly hope so. However, it amazes me how we fail to accept the reality of the failings and foibles of the human condition throughout history. As a result, the same mistakes and missteps plague us no matter how many times the history lesson is taught.

Look no further than Venezuela. What was once the one of the most prosperous South American countries now languishes under a socialist regime despite rich natural resources.  Communist North Korea can't feed its own people while South Korea is giving a tablet computer to every school child. Taiwan flourished in freedom while Red China floundered for decades before its leaders embraced capitalist-based economic reforms. The same was true for East and West Germany.  In all of these cases there was no difference in the people. They were literally blood brothers and sisters. It was the governmental system and philosophy that made the difference between prosperity and poverty for the people of these nations.

Speaking of history, let's revisit the story of the Pilgrims and the origins of Thanksgiving Day. The story as I learned it in school was about a group of rugged individuals who set sail on the Mayflower in 1620 seeking religious freedom in America. They encountered many hardships that first year but thanks to help from Indians and the Grace of God (I am sure this is no longer mentioned in the textbooks) they reaped a bountiful harvest in the following year and gave thanksgiving with a giant feast.

The First Thanksgiving At Plymouth, Jennie Augusta Brownscombe

The real story is much more enlightening.  It also shows that there is absolutely no question about which system works best to provide the most prosperity for the most people and limits poverty. There should be no debate. It has been shown to be true over and over again in human history. However, over and over there are those who persist in thinking there is a better, more humane way to best provide for people in a society.

The real story of the Pilgrims was written by William Bradford who was the leader of the Plymouth Colony from 1621-1657.  He wrote "Of Plymouth Plantation" to chronicle the story of the Pilgrims and it is recognized today as the most complete and authoritative source on the subject.

One of the best summaries I have seen about the Pilgrim story was written by Dr. Judd W. Patton, "The Pilgrim Story: Vital Insights And Lessons For Today".

Let's start at the beginning. When the Pilgrims decided to go to America they had a problem not uncommon to many of us. They did not have enough money. They lacked the funds to sail to America, equip and establish their colony. As a result, they got financial help from some investors who financed New World adventures in return for a share of what the colonists made through farming, fishing, trade and other working endeavors.

The contract between the Adventurers (Investors) and the Pilgrims consisted of ten points. The most critical of which stated, “That all such persons as are of this colony are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock and goods of the said colony.”
Today we would call this a socialist commune. In other words, the Pilgrims accepted the socialist principle, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Each person was to place his production into the common warehouse and receive back, through the Governor, only what he needed for himself or his family. The surplus after seven years was to be divided equally, along with the houses, lands, and chattels, “betwixt the Adventurers and Planters.”

The first year after they set sail for America was particularly difficult. The voyage itself took sixty-six days. They landed first on Cape Cod even though they had intended to reach the mouth of the Hudson River. They spent another month sailing the coast of Cape Cod until they finally decided to settle in Plymouth at the site of an old Indian village on December 21, 1620.

Within two months, half of their numbers died. Of the 24 families who had set sail, only four were untouched by death that first year.  Four other families were wiped out completely.  Those that made it to that first Thanksgiving were thankful.  However, it wasn't necessarily because of a bountiful harvest. They were just happy to have survived.

Contrary to legend, the harvests were extremely poor in 1621 and 1622. It was normal to be hungry. Governor Bradford referred to 1621 as the “the small harvest” year. Yet he notes that in “the summer there was no want.” Thankful for what God had given them, Governor Bradford declared a three-day feast for the purpose of prayer and celebration. We all know it as the first New England Thanksgiving – apparently observed in late summer.

Things were marginally better in 1622. The harvest was a little better but many Pilgrims held back and did not work as hard as others. There was stealing and hoarding. Bradford and the other Pilgrim leaders recognized that this would continue unless they changed the system.  What could they do to prevent another poor harvest?

This is how Governor Bradford tells it in "Of Plymouth Plantation".

“So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land…This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise…The women now went willingly into the field, and took the little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”

The socialist system was discarded and replaced with a system that was built on individual property rights that put the trust in individual initiative to take care of the common good of the colony.

How did that work out?

In 1621, the Pilgrims planted only 26 acres. Sixty acres were planted in 1622. But in 1623, spurred on by individual enterprise, 184 acres were planted! Somehow those who alleged weakness and inability became healthy and strong. It’s amazing what incentive will do to improve bad attitudes!

However, the Pilgrims still had their challenges. The summer of 1623 was hot and dry. For almost two months there was no rain. Their crops were in jeopardy. Governor Bradford did not lose faith.

Governor Bradford then set a “solemn day of humiliation (fasting) to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer in this great distress.” Their prayers were answered. By evening it began to rain. It revived the corn and other fruits. Even the Indians were astonished. The soft showers continued along with beautiful fair weather. The result was a “fruitful and liberal harvest …for which mercy they also set apart a day of thanksgiving.”

By the fall of 1624, the colonists were able to export a full boat load of corn! And the Pilgrims settled with the Adventurers. They purchased the Adventurers stock in the colony and completed the transition to private property and free markets.
The rest is history. The experience of the Pilgrims went a long way to forming the values and principles upon which our Founding Fathers created a new nation unlike anything the world had ever seen before. It came to be the most prosperous and powerful country ever known to mankind. For that I am forever thankful to the Pilgrims and the others who endured trials and tribulations to give me the life I have today.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving it is useful to remember the Pilgrims and what their experience can teach us. I think Dr. Patton summarizes the lessons pretty well.

The Pilgrim experience dating from 1623 was and is yet a prototype for the United States of America. They learned the hard way that: (1) Socialism does not work; it diminishes individual initiative and enterprise; (2) Socialism is not a Godly economic system; and (3) Famine and drought can be used by God to humble a people and set them on a proper course. The Pilgrims responded. The real question today is: Can Americans learn these vital insights from the Pilgrims or must we too face famine and drought in the coming years?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Hail Mary Impeachment

Now that the impeachment inquiry hearings have concluded where does it go from here?

Most assuredly it seems that the House Democrats will bring Articles of Impeachment for President Trump to the full House for a vote before Christmas.

I can't imagine that it can end in any other way in the House. It would be very difficult for the Democrats to turn away now and not lose face.

It is also hard to imagine that the impeachment vote will not be very close to a strict party line vote. There might be a few Democrat defectors. 218 votes are needed for impeachment. The Democrats currently have 233 in their majority (there are currently four vacancies) meaning that they cannot have more than 15 defectors if all Republicans stand with Trump.

I also continue to be amazed that Democrats and Republicans can look at the evidence in this case and come to such diametrically opposed conclusions about it. I think this shows just how partisan this whole process has been. I think it also points to the fact that this is much more about politics than it is about high crimes and misdemeanors. It also speaks to the significant partisan divide we see in the country as a whole.

If you wonder how large the partisan divide is in the country right now, compared to what it has been in the past, look at this chart by the Pew Research Center that graphically shows the gap.

Notice that the Democrats are much more liberal than Republicans are conservative and the median Democrat is much further to the left than the median Republican is to the right.

Consider as well that this chart is from 2017. The divide has only gotten wider as the Democrats have gone further to the left over the last two years. If you doubt it, consider the positions of most of the Democrats running for President.

Why have the Democrats persisted in the impeachment effort when it is clear that no national consensus exists that Trump should be removed?

A big reason seems to be that a large constituency of the Democrat party for three years has been promised by high profile Democrats and the media that Trump will be removed. It hasn't happened despite everything that has been thrown at him. Notice that the impeachment talk actually increased after the much anticipated Mueller Report turned up nothing.

However, Trump's approval ratings, poll numbers and the percentages of Independents opposed to impeachment all have turned up for the President since the impeachment hearings began.

The attacks on Trump seem to have hardened Trump's support with Republicans and Independents seem to be concluding that this is nothing more than a partisan political game for Democrat politicians and the media.

The Democrats must have also decided that they would pursue impeachment because they also could not take the risk that Trump might actually be reelected. Speaking of that, this recent poll by Emerson has to terrify the Democrats.

Trump has a 34.5% approval with Blacks and 38.2% with Hispanics. For context, Trump only received 8% of the Black vote and 28% of the Latino vote in 2016.

By pursuing impeachment Democrats must figure that they can further taint Trump's reputation even if he survives. Trump has to run for reelection as an "impeached" President even if he is not convicted in the Senate.

However, all of this carries significant risks to Democrats.

First, as mentioned above, Independents are seeing this as political theatre as issues that are important to them are swept aside by the Democrats in Congress. Are Democrats really interested in them? What does this portend at the ballot box in 2020?

Second, there are 31 House districts currently held by Democrats that Trump won in 2016. Will these House Democrats defy Democrat leadership and vote to impeach Trump? History suggests that not many will dare cross the line on their leadership. If they vote to impeach and Trump is acquitted in the Senate trial, how many will lose their seat because of that one vote? The Democrats may be putting their House majority at risk by pursuing impeachment.

Third, the Democrats may think that they need to move forward on impeachment or incur the wrath of their base. However, an old adage states, " If you are going to take a shot at the King, you better not miss." What will the base be saying about House leadership if they go through all of this for nothing? Will the failure to remove Trump demoralize those base voters? Will it motivate Trump voters to turn out in the Fall?

Finally, a House vote to impeach Trump by Christmas means that an impeachment trial will begin in the Senate when the new year begins. All Senators will be required to hear the evidence in that trial and ultimately vote on the impeachment of Trump. That includes Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet. How can these candidates campaign when they are supposed to be sitting as the jurors on a trial to remove the President of the United States? How can they even make any comments about Trump during the trial since they are supposed to be even-handed arbiters? Moreover, how do the Democrats expect there to be any media attention regarding their Presidential candidates when everything is focused on the impeachment trial in Washington?

The Iowa caucus is February 3. New Hampshire is February 11. Nevada February 22 and South Carolina February 29. 14 states primary on Super Tuesday, March 3.

Bill Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives on December 18, 1998. (Look for similar timing this year as you can't expect any Congressman to defer their holiday vacation because of a little old impeachment vote). The Senate trial began January 7, 1999 and Clinton's acquittal verdict was voted on February 12, 1999. Similar timing with the impeachment of Trump will mean there will be a substantial conflict with the Democrat Presidential primaries. How does this make any sense if your party is trying to win the White House ten months away?

This may be why the White House and Senate Republicans have already stated that, if articles of impeachment are passed in the House, that they would want a full trial rather than a swift motion and vote to dismiss the charges. This would also allow the White House to call numerous witnesses that might include Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and the whistleblower who initiated all of this.

We may find that Nancy Pelosi considers all of this, and while also counting the votes in her own caucus, decides that it makes more sense to censure Trump rather than impeach him. This may become a more attractive option the Democrats, especially if it continues to look like there are nothing close to 67 votes in the Senate to convict Trump.

That is what a sensible person would do at this stage. However, are there any Democrats with any sense still remaining?

I understand that they don't like Trump. They did not like him three years ago and they dislike him even more today. Let's not forget this headline from The Washington Post on Trump's inauguration day.

However, it is three years later and there is an election in less than one year that can remove him from office. Why put the country through all of this? To what end is this justified?

To use a football analogy, the Democrats are in a tie game and they are at their own 35 yard line with five seconds on the clock. They can take a knee a play and play to win in overtime. Or they can take a chance on a Hail Mary pass even though their quarterback doesn't have the arm to throw it into the end zone.

The Democrats are going for the Hail Mary but they risk fumbling the handoff or throwing an interception that results in the other team returning it for a touchdown.


A Hail Mary is the Democrats' best move right now?

A most curious strategy for a party that booed God at their National Convention.

We live in very interesting times.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Think Before You Ink

When I was growing up, and all the way through the 1970's and 1980's, the only tattoos I normally would see would be on a WWII or Korean War Navy or Marine Corps veteran.

I assumed most of them got their tattoos at some faraway port or after a night on the town in a seedy tattoo parlor just off the base.

This hula girl seems to have been popular with sailors passing through Pearl Harbor.

Of course, Marine Corps vets would often favor a tattoo that looked something like this.

A 30 or 40 year tattoo on a 50 or 60 year old man lounging around the pool was enough for me to decide that tattoos were not for me.

However, I have found it very interesting to see tattoos became more popular and accepted over the last 20 years or so.

Tattoos went from the subculture in my youth to popular culture today where it is now estimated that among those age 26-40, 40% have at least one tattoo and 36% of those 18-25 also have inked at least once.

My exposure and experience with tattoos growing up has always caused me to wonder what was someone thinking when they decided to get a tattoo?

Were they thinking?

A new study confirms what I have always thought was somewhat obvious.

People with tattoos are probably not the first people you should seek out if you are looking for someone to help you with an important long-term decision.

Credit: The Daily Mail

A few cases on point.

Trump tattoos?

How many girls want to date a guy with a Trump stamp?

These might actually be worse. Hillary tattoos. She did not even win.

If there were any doubts, I guess this proves there are still some things where people share similar minds whether conservative or liberal.

My advice...

Think before you ink.

It might not be the best long term decision you will ever make.

That is not just me saying is coming from research scientists.

Believe it.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

iPhones, Walls and Dollars

I recently returned from being out of the country for a month. I visited Rome and then boarded a cruise ship that went to various ports in the Mediterranean before doing a transatlantic crossing ending in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

A few random observations.

The iPhone and/or smartphones are ubiquitous wherever you go. Everyone has them. Shopkeepers in the Greek Isles, deck hands on cruise ships, concierges in hotels. Of course, all of it resulting from American technology with Apple or the Google Android operating system. Europe has largely been left out of the value chain on this innovation. The people of Europe are using them but very little of the profits are inuring to companies there compared to Asia and the United States.

Despite all the controversy about building a wall on the southern border of the United States, when you are touring those old Mediterranean coastal cities they almost all were built with high walls around them. They placed a high price on keeping their populations safe and secure from invaders who would do them harm.

The same is true of the Vatican which we toured while in Rome.

Vatican Wall

It makes you wonder why walls are so controversial now. It does not appear that was the case in the past and it took a lot more to put up those structures then than it does now.

Tourism dollars have become absolutely critical for countries we visited like Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro. It is a huge part of the economy and the inflow of dollars (US or Canadian) is particularly important. About 2/3 of the passengers on our ship were American or Canadian. You can be assured that if the North American economy sneezes that there will be a lot of people in these European countries who catch a severe cold.

We had a young college-educated tour guide in Montenegro who, although doing well in the tourism industry, told us that he was concerned about the heavy reliance his country now has on tourists. The manufacturing jobs that were once there in the communist days of Yugoslavia were long gone and he wasn't sure that was all good for his country. Many young people in these countries are looking for careers in tourism of some type.

A few images I captured on the trip with my iPhone.

The Vatican Museum

Sveti Stefan, Budva, Montenegro
Rooms could be had on this private island resort enclave for $10/night for Communist Party officials in Tito's Yugoslavia
Today a room costs as much as $1,000/night

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Sunrise in the middle of the Mediterranean

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Malaga, Spain

Ponta Delgada, Azores
The biggest surprise of the trip. Beautiful islands that are somewhat similar to Hawaii in their lush landscapes.

Sunrise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

It is a beautiful world we live in.

I am blessed that I was able to experience some of it this past month.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Cloaked in the Constituion

There are two consistent themes in most everything the Democrats have been doing since Donald Trump was elected President.

1)Donald Trump's Presidency must be resisted in every way possible.

2) It is their constitutional duty to do so in order to protect the Constitution.

What is ironic is that while they cloak themselves in the Constitution they are trampling it at the very same time.

I wrote in a previous blog that Democrats had cited 89 instances why President Trump should be impeached over the last three years. The first was just two weeks after he took office. There were 36 instances alone since the Mueller report came out and Democrat hopes that Trump would be impeached for Russian collusion were dashed.

All of this has now led to impeachment hearings in the House that began last week. Of course, the net result of those two days of hearings has not elicited one witness citing any "crime" that Trump committed. In fact, the witnesses have testified they had no direct contact with Trump.

The main gripe seems to be that these career bureaucrats did not agree with the foreign policy of Trump regarding Ukraine. Never mind that the Constitution vests the power over foreign policy to the President and the executive branch. Never mind that Trump was the duly elected President of the United States and no one ever voted for any of the bureaucrats.

Yes, the Constitution provides the Senate the right to ratify treaties and confirm ambassadors and cabinet officers, and Congress needs to consent to trade agreements, but the Constitution assumes some comity in this process.

Consider, for example, that the Trump administration negotiated a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico (the "USMCA") to replace NAFTA almost a year ago (November 30, 2018). The House has yet to even begin the ratification process. What are they spending their time on instead? Impeachment of a President who ran on the promise of replacing NAFTA.

Consider as well the stark differences in the use of the "advice and consent" power of the Senate on Presidential appointments regarding Trump and other recent Presidents. That power is intended to be used to reject unqualified appointees but was never intended to be a unilateral power to oppose and draw out the approval process for every appointee. Doing so prevents the operation of a functional government.

Nevertheless, the Democrats in the Senate have filibustered 236 Trump nominees since he became President. How many times did this occur in Obama's first term---17 times. It only occurred four times in George W. Bush's second term.

We have the same thing happening in the Judicial branch. Since President Trump took office, federal district courts have issued over 40 injunctions ((almost all from Democrat appointees) against the government. The similar number during Obama's first term over the same period---TWO! Do you see a pattern in all of this?

Attorney General William Barr gave a speech before the Federalist Society last week in which he cited these statistics and made this overriding statement.

Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called “The Resistance,” and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration.  Now, “resistance” is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power.  It obviously connotes that the government is not legitimate.  This is a very dangerous – indeed incendiary – notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic.  What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the “loyal opposition,” as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.  

The Democrats cloak themselves in the Constitution while actually abusing it.

Here is how Attorney General Barr describes what is occurring.

The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.

I predict we will soon see the Constitution invoked by the Democrats in another way.

The release of the Inspector General report regarding the Obama administration investigation of the Trump campaign and potential FISA abuses involving key figures such as James Comey, John Brennan and James Clapper could come any day now.

You can be sure that if any wrongdoing was done in investigating Trump as a candidate, or as President, (no matter how egregious or outside the bounds of Constitutional protections it was) it will be defended as necessary for the protection of our Constitution.

Democrats will claim that there was evidence to believe that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia and that the Obama administration actors would not have been performing their constitutional duties unless they initiated a counter-intelligence operation against Trump.

Hindsight may suggest that they were wrong but no one should believe that their actions were illegal considering the risks to our constitutional republic with Trump as President.

They were just patriots protecting our constitutional system. Ignore the fact that the "evidence" relied on appears to have been the Hillary Clinton funded Steele Dossier and media reports that were based on leaks from the Obama administration. In effect, they used their own leaks to justify the investigation.

Of course, it was all done to protect our Constitution.

My advice. Beware those who cloak themselves in the Constitution.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Wit and Wisdom of Warren Buffett

I have been an admirer of Warren Buffett for almost 50 years.

He clearly has been one of the greatest investors of all time.

One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I did not have the courage to introduce myself and express my admiration for him when I was several feet away from him about 25 years ago. Another is not buying stock in Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway when I first heard about it 50 years ago.

I was attending a Congressional hearing in Washington which Buffett also attended at the Hart Office Building. Buffett left the hearing a few moments in front of me and I followed him out to the street. He was completely alone with no handlers and no aides. The only thing he carried was a USA Today newspaper that he looked like he had picked up at his hotel.

Even then, Buffett was one of the richest people in the world.

Did a black limo swing around and pick him up? No.

He stood on the street and hailed a cab to take him to the airport.

I always wondered if that cabbie had any idea who was in the back of his cab as Buffett climbed in.

As for me, I decided not to intrude and introduce myself. It was all too perfect. A man that rich and nobody even noticed. I wish I had introduced myself. I just didn't want to intrude on that splendid solitude he must have been enjoying.

One of the things I like best about Buffett is the wisdom he dispenses. He keeps it simple and delivers it with a certain amount of wit. There can't be much that Buffett has not seen in his 89 years. I have learned a lot over the years by paying attention to what he has had to say.

The Visual Capitalist recently put together an infographic that included what it considered to be "The 25 Best Warren Buffett Quotes". 

Here are some of my favorites from the "Oracle of Omaha".


Monday, November 11, 2019

Looking For A Few Good Men

Researchers at Cornell University have made an astounding discovery about why marriage rates are falling according to to this article.

Previous studies had attempted to answer why marriage rates are on the decline, but most focused solely on gender ratio discrepancies as opposed to looking into the specific socioeconomic characteristics that make a particular man and woman a good match.

The researchers at Cornell put together a data set on the financial characteristics of men who had actually gotten married over the last few years (the "dream" men) and compared them to unmarried men who were actually currently available to unmarried women (the "real" men).

Researchers found that these estimated potential “dream” husbands had an average income about 58% higher than the actual unmarried men currently available to unmarried women. These synthetic husbands were also 30% more likely to be employed than real single men and 19% more likely to have a college degree.

I guess that really shows there is some truth to the statement you hear from time to time "that all the good men are already taken."

Or course, you did not have to wait for researchers at Cornell University to know this because I have been writing about the effects that gender economics were having on marriages in these pages for at least six years.

Seeing this "new" research I thought this might be a good time to republish my blog post "Marriage and Money" that I wrote a couple of years ago that spoke to this exact issue.

Why is it only now that researchers at Ivy Leagues schools are discovering that there may be something to the fact that marriage rates are down because of the significant imbalance in college degrees (and incomes) between men and women?

BeeLine...the shortest route to what you need to know.

Money and Marriage
(originally published April 25, 2017

Four years ago I wrote a blog post that is still among the five most viewed on BeeLine. It was titled "Degree Dearth=Date Dearth" and it detailed what I predicted would be an increasing problem for young women seeking a husband---the significant imbalance between female and male college graduates.

Why is that a problem?

Women have historically tended to date and marry men of at least equal educational attainment. However, that is becoming an increasingly difficult goal today. Almost 60% of college graduates are now women. Only 40% are men. This is true for almost all college degree programs.

What difference does it make whether you both went to college? It becomes important because those who have college degrees tend to make more money. Does a women want to marry someone who makes less money than she does?

You would think that it shouldn't matter but it seems that it is pretty important. recently wrote about the problem in a story titled "Millennial women are 'worried', 'ashamed' of out-earning boyfriends and husbands".

There is also data that supports the fact that when the woman earns more than the man in the marriage, the odds of the marriage ending in divorce increases.

You can see the dimensions of the problem even better in the results from the recent U.S. Census Bureau study that I cited last week on "The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1976-2016" which showed that more 18-34 year olds are living with their parents than with a spouse.

That study had another interesting statistic with regard to the income of 18-34 year old males.

41% of these young men made less than $30,000 annually in 2016.

In 1975, only 25% of men of a similar age failed to achieve that level of income (in constant dollars).

If you are a well-educated, young woman looking for marriage material, that statistic is not real comforting today. The pool of eligible bachelors could be looking pretty small depending on where you live.

You know it is bad when there are 10 women for every 8 men in a city (Fairfax, VA) and that is in the Top 10 list for best U.S. cities for dating.

As I stated above, all of this talk of education and income levels should not matter. After all, isn't it about love and companionship first and foremost? If you have that all should be well in the world.

The problem is that even though the world has changed our basic biology and the way the male and female brains are wired has not changed with it. There are primal emotions deep within us that dictate a lot about what we are looking for in a mate.

Many marriage experts will tell you that the most important factor that a woman is looking for in a husband is security. Women want to feel secure that they will be protected and cared for. Men, on the other hand, are looking most for respect. They want to have the respect of their wife.

Do you see a potential problem when the wife is out-earning the husband in the house considering these underlying factors in marriage involving men and women? How does the wife feel secure? How does the husband feel respected?

If you doubt how powerful these factors are in us, consider the survey research I cited in a previous blog involving the dating preferences of millionaires . When asked what they were looking for in a potential spouse insofar as money is concerned, there was a massive difference between men and women.

It seems that the vast majority of the millionaire men, 79.6% according to the survey, are seeking non-millionaire women.  However, 84.5% of the female millionaires want to date another millionaire.
The female millionaires made it clear that they are not looking to use their money to take care of someone else.  However, the men seem to want to find someone they can take care of.

In short, the men are looking for respect. The women are looking for security. Even when they are making a lot of money themselves.

Many marriages survive and thrive despite the woman bringing home more money. However, like everything else in a marriage, it requires a lot of effort to make it work.

What is particularly interesting in all of this is, despite the fact that many Millennial women are earning more than Millennial men today, the youngest Millennials (ages 18-25) of both genders are increasingly in favor of a traditional home in which the man is the breadwinner and the woman stays at home. This is particularly true of young males.

This is from a Daily Caller article on the survey which has tracked young people's opinions on the roles of men and women since 1977.

42 percent of high school seniors in 1994 believed that the best family arrangement was one in which the husband was the financial-earner and the wife stayed at home — this figure increased to 58 percent in 2014. When looking specifically at men ages 18-25, support for this arrangement increased from less than 20 percent in 1994 to nearly 50 percent in 2014.

I assume these young men have not seen the Census Bureau study above in which they are more likely to be living in their parent's basement than supporting a young bride at home in a few years!

The other thing that young women have not likely seen is this blog post by Penelope Trunk on "How To Pick a Husband If You Want To Have Kids".  I referenced Ms. Trunk's advice to women on this subject in my previous post on this subject. I don't know if the choices are as stark as she lays them out but I think there is food for thought here.  For me, this would turn daunting into depressing if I were a single woman.

This is how Penelope Trunk sees it.

You cannot pick a husband to have kids with until you know if you want to work full-time while you are raising them. Some women will say they know for sure that they do want to work full-time. Most women will say that they don’t know for sure. But there are actually only two choices: be a breadwinner or marry a breadwinner. Then, within those two choices, there are a few strategies you could use.

Most people just will not like these choices. Nothing here is good. It’s reality, and of course it’s not as good as fantasy. The only good, real thing is that you have choices, and you can figure out who you are and what you need and you can get what you need. 

There will be people who say you can’t choose who you fall in love with. This is a lie, of course. There are a million people you could fall in love with. If one is impractical, just go find another.

However, as I point out in the statistics above, it may be just as impractical to "go find another" in light of the dating pool of eligible bachelors in various cities across the country.

Should you think that I don't understand the husband/wife dynamic on incomes and think that I am a chauvinistic pig, this is what Ms. Trunk says on the subject. This is a married woman speaking, not me.

Statistically your marriage is high risk if you and your husband are both in the workforce and you earn more than him because surveys show that you will resent him. This is not logical, or social, it is primal. Statistically, you will marry a guy who does not make as much as you and then you will have kids and get a divorce. Because women hate the feeling of out-earning their husbands.

Trunk's article is worth the full read. It may be uncomfortable for a young woman to read it. However, my experience is that too few women are really thinking through the realities of marriage and child rearing in this day and age.

What does it all mean? We will find out in time. However, we are in uncharted territory with regard to the changing roles of men and women in the workforce and in society. Those changes have come faster than our brains are evolving. Marriage is not easy to begin with. It seems to be getting even more difficult with this new dynamic in play.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Majorities and Minorities

Whites make up about 62% of the U.S. population today.

Hispanics, Blacks, Asians and other ethnic groups comprise the other 38%.

However, where these groups live is not evenly distributed around the country. has some interesting charts on where Whites have large percentages of the population and where minorities have a large presence.

Let's look at state data on the percentage that Whites are in each state's population.

Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and New Hampshire all are over 90% White.

On the other hand, Minorities are already the majority in Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas.

How about the Non-White percentages in 50 selected cities?

Detroit is more than 90% Non-White. Miami and El Paso are not far behind.

Portland, Oregon and Colorado Springs are only about 30% Non-White.

What about Metro areas? These are the White percentages in various large metro areas.

The Pittsburgh and Cincinnati metro areas are both more than 80% White.

By contrast, the LA metro area is now only 30% White.

I also found it interesting that the Detroit metro area is 67% White even though the city of Detroit is more than 90% non-White.

What about counties? These are the counties with the largest non-White populations.

The Bronx is over 90% non-White. This might help explain how a 27-year old Hispanic woman, who was working as a bartender. was able to defeat Joe Crowley in a Democrat primary for one of the Congressional seats in the Bronx. Crowley had been in office for 10 terms and was also the Chair of the House Democratic Congress.

Credit: Wikipedia

The United States is more racially diverse than it has ever been in history and this trend will continue into the future based on current demographic trends.

Will that increased diversity result in a stronger nation?

For that, we will have to wait and see.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Numbers and Ages Don't Lie

I think most people understand that the United States is in the midst of changing demographic trends.

The nation is getting older. There are more immigrants. Minority populations are growing. The White population is aging and getting smaller as a percentage of the whole.

However, I doubt many fully understand how profound these changes really are and where it leads.

After all, demography is destiny.

I follow this subject closely and have written about it from time to time in BeeLine.

For example, I wrote about data on 2018 births in June where I pointed out that just 51.5% of births" in the United States last year were White.

Despite all of that, I was still surprised when I came across this factoid the other day.

Over half of all the minority and immigrant populations in the United States today are parts of the Millennial (Generation Y) or younger generation  (Generation Z).

That means that over half of the entire population of minorities or immigrants in the United States are under the age of 38!

Seeing that statement I had to research it myself which led me to which puts together data on demographics as well as the ethno-racial composition of the USA population by age.

The information included in these charts is based on population estimates for 2010-2012 so keep that in mind.

Whites comprise 62% of the current population totaling 197 million people.

Minority populations (Hispanic, Black, Asian etc). total 121 million.

The relative Ethno-Racial Composition by Age looks like this.

Notice that Whites are already in the minority at ages 4 and under. At age 9 and under we essentially have an equal proportion of Whites and Minority/Immigrants in the United States.

This clearly shows the effect of the lower White birth rate that I wrote about before, but also the impact that immigrant children are having on the demographics of the country.

This data shows that 57% of the minority and immigrant population in the United States is actually age 34 or younger.

On the other hand, Whites age 34 and under make up only 40% of the overall White population.

The Pew Research Center adds some more context to this subject.

The most common age of white Americans is age 58.

The most common age of Asians in the USA is 29.

The most common age of Blacks is 27.

The most common age of Hispanics is age 11.

Current birth rate trends will undoubtedly skew these numbers even further in the future as will continued immigration which primarily involves those of younger ages..

You begin to get an idea of how these trends will reshape the demographics when you consider a few numbers and what happened over time.

400,000 Africans were imported to America as slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries. The importation of slaves was outlawed in the United States in 1807.

Immigration statistics since that time indicate that an additional 560,000 Africans immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 1996 (the most recent data I could find).

However, those 1,000,000 African immigrants has resulted in 40 million African Americans today.

Interestingly, based on numbers I have seen, about 40 million Europeans have immigrated to the United States since the 16th century. Most of these were Caucasians which now form the base of the 197 million Whites in the country.

 Between 1820 and 1940 there were only 1.2 million Hispanics from Mexico, Central and South America and the West Indies who immigrated to the United States. Things have changed a great deal since that time.

In 1970, there were 9 million Hispanics in the United States.

By 2012, that number had reached 53 million.

Credit: Pew Research Center

Today it is estimated there are over 60 million Hispanics in the USA and projections suggest that this population will be nearly double that number in another 40 years. The number of Hispanics under the age of 20 today and the continuing influx of immigrants (legal and illegal) across the southern border of the United States might actually make this forecast low.

Forecast of Hispanic Population in USA (2016-2060)

If demography is destiny, what destination are we headed to based on this data?

Within 25 years Whites will be in the minority in the United States.

Numbers and ages don't lie.