Maryland’s Wake-Up Call

The Baltimore Sun’s John Fritze lays out the facts pretty well – federal spending in Maryland is down and Maryland’s congressional delegation just lost a lot of its clout.   Maryland Democrats spend every waking hour pointing fingers and trying to figure out why voters rejected their tax and spend message on November 4th.  Maryland Republicans like Governor-elect Larry Hogan, new Howard County Exec Allan Kittleman, and new Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver are trying to clean up the messes left by years of wasteful, misguided spending and a belief that taxpayers can be plucked like chickens.

Well, in the Once Free State government IS the family business.  Turn to your left.  Turn to your right.  Somebody is working for the federal, state, or local government.  With federal spending down $1.2 billion in Maryland (over $3 billion when you take out entitlement spending and adjust for inflation), times aren’t looking so good.

Economist Anirban Basu has it right:

"No one is suggesting that Maryland should not continue to focus attention on federal contracting and related industries, but these industries will no longer be the economic engines of growth that they have been.”

Maryland can be a great state.  It simply needs to get out of the way of business and allow its job creators to grow and prosper.  This will, in turn, attract new job creators.  Larry Hogan seems committed to doing just that.  Let’s hope.

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Common Sense About Disincentive

From Daniel Hannan , MEP –

It’s a funny thing… but if you start taxing countries for doing the right thing, in order to pay countries who are doing the wrong thing, you’re going to end up fewer of the former and more of the latter.

When will politicians ever learn?  The best way to incentivize an economy is to leave it alone.  Neither crony capitalism nor socialism will ever triumph over a truly free market.

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A Brighter Future for Wicomico?

The future of Wicomico County begins tomorrow!  At 11:30 AM, Tuesday, Wicomico County will witness the swearing-in of its second County Executive – Bob Culver.  While Culver can seize upon several opportunities, he faces a great number of steep hurdles.  Is he up to the task?  We hope so.

Show Me the Money

More than most places, the relationship between Wicomico County government and its citizens focuses on money.  We have the revenue cap.  Voters seem to believe that taxes can be cut, perhaps ad infinitum, with little or no impact on services.  As with most localities, the bureaucracy at the local Board of Education (WCBOE) equates quantity of money spent with quality of education.  For the last several years Wicomico’s county council has refused to cut spending requested by the outgoing county executive while that same County Executive has refused to trim the county payroll despite cutting back on services.  Rather than maintain its existing physical plant, the local Board of Ed wants to build more schools and the county government (both executive and council) have acquiesced.  Wicomico County keeps borrowing while debt and pension obligations keep growing.  Despite the wishful thinking of some, there are no easy solutions.

We would suggest Mr. Culver attack low hanging fruit first; while planning for the more difficult tasks ahead:

  1. Cut the Budget NOW!
  2. Require Accountability from the Board of Education
  3. Implement Zero-Based Budgeting
  4. Make Voters a Part of the Solution
  5. Pension Reform
  6. Grow the Local Economy

[Read more…]

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The Great Democrat Hope

Attempting to keep the fiasco which is ObamaCare off of the nation’s front pages, Democrat politicos far and wide are focusing on “income inequality” and hiking the federal minimum wage.  There is just one problem … only 1.6 million Americans earn the minimum wage.  Of those, nearly 1/3 are teenagers.

How many millions lost their health insurance because of ObamaCare?

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You Can’t Manage An Economy

WASHINGTON, DC – Big Labor, a leading backer of the Barack Obama administration and the Democrat party, is finally starting to learn that the government cannon manage an economy.  Their lesson?  ObamaCare’s 40% tax on “cadillac” health insurance plans.

Last week, just prior to the Labor Day holiday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they would be ending their affiliation with the AFL-CIO over the union umbrella’s support of ObamaCare and the tax on “cadillac plans”.  Other labor unions are denouncing the law as they learn that their members will be adversely affected by ObamaCare.  The Democrat promise that all Americans could keep their existing plans if they wanted has rung hollow.

While more  employers across the country are cutting worker hours below the 30 hour “full time” threshold for ObamaCare, others are abandoning their traditional health plans in favor of high deductible Health Savings Account plans (HSA’s).  Ironically, it was the left that attacked these plans during the first decade of the 21st century.

HSA’s are cheaper, in part, because employees have greater control over their health care spending:

John Goodman, a longtime proponent, is sometimes called the father of health savings accounts. He explains that with such accounts "the employee controls a lot of the money, makes a lot of his own decisions."

He says that saves money because, as he puts it, "we’re always more careful when we’re spending our own money than when we’re spending someone else’s money."

Increased regulation and higher taxes distort the market for health care, which encompasses 17% of our nation’s economy.  Big Labor, and other traditional Democrat allies may finally be learning that Washington’s “Brain Trust” simply cannot manage such a large portion of the world’s largest economy.  Despite continual attack from government, the “invisible hand” of the free market always comes out on top.  Unfortunately, the distorting effects of government, labor unions, and corporatist business interests do impact the free market; yielding results that few proponents can anticipate.

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Why Is IRS Going After Job Creators?

WASHINGTON, DC – While President Barack Obama and members of Congress from both parties claim that job creation is a national priority, the federal government is making life more difficult for the nation’s job creation engine – small business.  According to CNN, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is targeting small businesses that generate a disproportionate amount of revenue paid for by credit cards.

The IRS claims to be using “industry data” to determine who to target.  There are just a few problems with this notion.  Such data is always historical and doesn’t reflect the rapid technological and demographic changes our economy is going through.  The hot dog stand operator of ten years ago never even thought about accepting credit cards.  How could he (or she)?  Today that same business owner simply pops a small (and amazingly affordable) device like the Square or Intuit’s GoPayment into their smart phone and VOILA – customers can now pay with a credit or debit card!

Twenty years ago, selling your wares via the internet were the province of larger businesses who could afford to invest in the programming and infrastructure to put together an online store.  Today, millions of small businesses sell products and services online.  They receive their payments via services like PayPal or … credit card.

Let’s not forget the demographic changes we have experienced at an accelerated pace.  Today, fewer and fewer consumers carry cash.  It is assumed that they can pay for every product and service they will ever need via credit card, debit card, or online debit from their bank accounts.  Talk to a college student or a recent graduate – most have never written a check!  Cash?  Forget it!  In case you haven’t noticed, you don’t even need cash to buy a Coke from a vending machine anymore.

Why worry if you’re not cheating on your taxes?  If you have to ask, you obviously have never owned a business.  Time spent responding to the IRS is time that could be spent building your business.  Money spent on CPA’s is money that be spent building your business.  That means CREATING JOBS!

Most of us will acknowledge that the IRS has a job to do.  However, we should hope that our Federal government would be more judicious in using its power; particularly as it impacts the growth of our fragile national, state, and local economies.

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What Happened to Free Markets?

One of the assumptions of a free market is that all parties have equal access to all available information.  This is why things like “insider trading” are illegal.  We acknowledge that we do not live in a Pollyanna world of perfect competition and perfect information.  That said, we thought that the government was supposed to protect consumers from market manipulation.

It appears that this is not the case.  Any viewer of CNBC or Fox Business know that the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) or of a Board of Governors’ meeting can, and do, move markets.  Why then did copies of the minutes of the March Fed meeting go out a day early to several banks, at least one hedge fund, a law firm, and several Congressional staffer?

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FDR’s Grandson Working on Energy Independence … With Oil

Elliott Roosevelt, grandson of Democrat icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is sitting on top of almost 2 BILLION barrels of oil.  By injecting carbon dioxide into the ground he, and independent experts, expects to release 400 – 600 million barrels of that oil.  Of course, that’s assuming that the Obama administration doesn’t throw up additional roadblocks.

While the Obama administration has all but stopped new drilling on public lands, energy exploration on private lands has grown and yielded results.  North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation thanks to “fracking” for natural gas.  The method being used by Roosevelt has the potential to bring another 3 – 4 million barrels per day to market.

Photo courtesy of Bloomberg

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The Observer – The Truth About Austerity … Everywhere But the U. S.

It seems that simple, basic economic truth is coming home to roost in the European socialist utopia.  It’s already occurred in Canada.  Why can’t our own politicians grasp the obvious?

In a study released Friday at the annual conference of the Royal Economics Society, economists Luca Agnello and  Vitor Castro of Italy and Ricardo Sousa of Portugal tracked austerity programs from 1978 – 2009.  They found that the best programs shoot for the greatest deficit reductions in the 2nd and 3rd years of a program.  They also show empirical data that opposition mounts to austerity programs lasting more than nine years.

Yet, here in the United States, our politicians are unwilling to make real cuts to government spending or to reform entitlement spending.  Don’t expect too much media coverage of this study; it violates the current political narrative too much to receive serious consideration.  Among the common sense findings:

  • Reducing public spending lowered deficits more than raising taxes
  • Trading nations are usually more successful at restoring their public finances
  • Low interest rates and “sound macro-economic” conditions improve the odds of financial consolidations
  • Spending cuts are typically deepest in the second and third years of austerity programs before rising again in the final years

IMAGINE – Reducing Spending is MORE EFFECTIVE than Raising Taxes!  I wonder what Barack Obama’s reaction would be if he was actually made aware of this study?

Lord Keynes gets a bad rap these days.  If he had lived to see the mess that was made from his General Theory he would be ashamed to see what the term “Keynesian economics” has come to mean.  Rationalism reigns.  Liberal politicians and economists tell us that if you spend X the economy will improve.  After spending X, we don’t see the desired result.  What is the left’s answer?  We didn’t spend enough! (don’t worry, Paul Krugman didn’t receive his Nobel Prize for spouting this macroeconomic drivel)

Common sense has fallen to men and women who fancy themselves gods.  While this statement may seem extreme, it is fact.  Omniscience and omnipresence are required to “manage” a national economy.  That’s either Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” or a god.  Since most of these folks don’t believe in either Smith or God …

H/T – D. J. McGuire @ Bearing Drift

The Observer appears on weekends in the DelMarVa Observer and provides commentary on a variety of issues.

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Jim Ireton’s Work Schedule

Yesterday we highlighted Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton’s interview on Delmarva Public Radio.  In addition to being scarily anti-business in his rhetoric, Ireton also made the following comment:

I get up every day and barrel at 110%.

Really Jim?  What do you “barrel” at?

For the moment, let’s ignore the debate as to whether a “part-time” mayor can successfully operate a $51 million enterprise. (I believe the record indicates a big NO on that one.)  Let’s ask two other questions:

  1. Is Jim Ireton really a part-time mayor?
  2. Is Jim Ireton really devoting the time he supposedly spends as mayor to making Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

If your definition of being “part-time” is spending one second or more per week, month, etc. to the job of being mayor I’d have to give Ireton a free pass.  However, IF (like me) you define the term as spending 20 – 30 hours per week at a task then the answer is clearly no.  This ties directly in to question two.

For four years, and particularly during the last two, Jim Ireton has spent a fair piece of his “mayor time” engaged in political grandstanding, partisan politics, and pushing an agenda that is not even tangentially connected to making Salisbury a better place to live and to work.

In August, 2011 Ireton took time out of his supposedly busy day to picket the Salisbury office of Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD).  He has time to picket, but not to sit down with city council and engage in civil, honest discussion of issues facing our city?  Did this make Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

In June, 2011 Ireton called a press conference to attack the city council majority for not backing his planned luxury apartment project at “The Bricks”.  In his press conference Ireton implies that council members Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohen, and Tim Spies are racists (sound familiar?) and intimates that racial discord could follow (with councilwomen Laura Mitchell and Shanie Shields cheering him on).  Ireton’s rantings before the press are numerous, and (sadly) legendary.  Do any of these things make Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

Ireton has travelled to Annapolis to lobby for issues such as gay marriage.  Unless Ireton has some undisclosed plan to make Salisbury a mecca for gay marriage (with the tourism dollars that would follow) we have to ask – Do any of these things make Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

Ireton has lent his name and the prestige of his office to a campaign to strip gun rights from our citizens.  Do any of these things make Salisbury a better place to live and to work? (Criminals will still get guns.  C’mon … They’re CRIMINALS)

So … what’s your definition of “part-time”.

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Ireton Views on Business and Profit

Last week, Don Rush of Delmarva Public Radio interviewed both candidates for mayor of Salisbury.  The contrast was startling.  While this was not candidate (and SBYNews publisher) Joe Albero’s best interview, he was relaxed and discussed the issues facing the city.  Incumbent mayor Jim Ireton was agitated, sarcastic, interrupted Rush numerous times, and let the world know that Salisbury is NOT a business-friendly community.

See the interviews below.  Ireton’s starts at about 29 minutes in.

Ireton claims great accomplishment.  Nothing is his fault.  If something didn’t happen it was because of the city council, specifically Debbie Campbell.  If businesses believe that Salisbury isn’t business-friendly, it’s THEIR fault, not the city’s.  Oh … and he PLANS to do lots of things IF he’s re-elected.

For every ten people that come to the city, five feel they’ve been treated OK. – Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton

What is most disturbing is Ireton’s attitude towards business.  If you make a profit, you need to pay more.  If the police have to come to your business TWICE in TWO YEARS, the city (NOT a judge) should be able to shut you down.  If you appeal, you have to appeal to the same person who already decided to close your doors.

If you are a businessperson looking to move to Salisbury and you hear the mayor sarcastically asking questions like, “Who made that profit?” or “Somebody’s making money somewhere.” do you think that Salisbury is a great place to do business?

Ireton states, “For every ten people that come to the city, five feel they’ve been treated OK.”  Ireton thinks that’s acceptable!  Do you deal with businesses who take the attitude that they only need to satisfy 50% of their customers?  If you are a business do you want to move to a city that takes this attitude?  If you are a businessperson in Salisbury, do you want to expand in a city that takes this attitude?

You don’t have to give away the store to attract businesses.  You don’t have to make Salisbury unsafe to encourage businesses to expand.  You do need a sea change in attitude.  Satisfying 50% of your customers is NOT acceptable.  Making Salisbury “more progressive” isn’t going to attract business.

Thanks to PAC-14 for providing the video.

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Jim Ireton’s Respect for the Salisbury Taxpayer – Part 2

Giving YOUR Money Away to a Select Few

Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton LOVES to spend other people’s money.  OK, he’s a liberal.  Actually, Jim’s politics are somewhere to the left of Karl Marx.  Ireton has seldom seen a government program he didn’t love.  If Ireton is re-elected, AND if Jake Day is elected to the city council, Jim has a plan to spend some MORE of YOUR hard earned money. It involves re-developing downtown.

Ireton wants to sell the downtown parking lots for a song, subsidize them by waiving the capacity fees for water and sewer, and HOPE that Salisbury will somehow be re-born.

Does anyone believe that adding 500 “affordable housing units” downtown is going to re-vitalize Salisbury’s local economy?  Evidently Ireton, along with Jake Day, councilwoman Laura Mitchell, and councilwoman Shanie Shields do.

The “logic” goes something like this:

  1. You build X “affordable housing units” downtown.
  2. Businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers will RUSH to build stores.
  3. Downtown will be MAGICALLY re-vitalized.
  4. The world will be a better place.

Does that make sense to you?

500 Affordable Housing Units

OK, we sell off the parking lots, take EDU’s (water and sewer capacity) away from industrial development that could actually create jobs that pay a living wage, and 500 more housing units appear.  Do you think that businesses will then flock to downtown?  Ireton and his pals do.

Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, and Boutiques … OH MY!

Before a retail business decides to invest in a site they look at certain things, including traffic count and parking.  Would you build a grocery store based on a target population of less than 2,000?  Of course you wouldn’t!

But wait, wouldn’t people from outside the immediate area come?  Would they?  I live to the southeast of downtown.  There are at least  three grocery stores and at least seven pharmacies closer to my home than the downtown plaza.  Well, maybe the people who live over on the west side will come?  I can think of at least two grocery stores and two pharmacies that are closer.  Well maybe the folks from Newtown?  Maybe.  Where are they going to park?  Remember – Jimmy, Jake, Laura, and Shanie have sold all of the parking except for the parking garage.  Do you really believe that those folks from Newtown are going to walk across US 50 and then schlep their groceries back on foot?

OK, I’ll agree that one convenience store might succeed under the Ireton plan.

It’s MAGIC!

The notion that this will re-vitalize downtown, much less Salisbury’s local economy is too ridiculous for real comment.  Downtown CAN be salvaged.  It CAN be re-vitalized.  It just won’t happen by throwing subsidies at a few developers.

You need a solution that drives traffic.  Business people will then be willing to invest their own capital.  Look at Joe Albero’s plan.  It not only makes sense, it offers a REAL, free-market driven solution for downtown as well as a plan for the city’s entire economy.

Subsidizing residential development was a failure during the real estate boom!  Salisbury borrowed millions of dollars that were handed over to a select group of residential developers.  What did that yield?  Temporary construction jobs.  Subsidizing retail doesn’t yield jobs that pay a living wage.

The key is to allow development without unnecessary government interference.  The key is show potential employers – not just downtown, but throughout Salisbury – that the city will treat businesses, and residents, like valued customers.

Why can’t Jimmy Ireton learn from past mistakes; both his own and his predecessor’s?

Part 1 – Thrift Travel Inn

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Yet Another O’Malley Promise Broken

Another great piece of reporting from Red Maryland‘s Mark Newgent:

Millions of Maryland electricity consumers, served by BGE, and will see yet another rate increase.  This is SEVEN YEARS after Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley pledged to “Stop the Rate Hikes”.  Remember, this was O’Malley’s biggest criticism against then governor Bob Ehrlich.
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Virginia vs. Maryland … Again

According to the Daily Record:

Maryland lost 4.71 percent, or 6,494, of its small businesses from 2007 to 2010, a decrease that one fiscal policy group chalks up to the state’s tax increases.

The difference between the tax policies, and the flight of capital and jobs, was recently highlighted on the Fox Business Channel:

A key statistic – Virginia ranks as the 7th best place to do business.  Maryland?  40th.  While both states depend heavily on federal dollars, Virginia actively courts business – small and large.  Maryland actively drives businesses away.

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Voters to Barack Obama – “It’s the Economy Stupid”

WASHINGTON – While incumbent President Barack Obama continues to hold on to a virtual tie with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, he lags further and further behind in voters’ views of his handling of the economy.  Currently Romney holds (nationally) a 3 – 1 lead among voters in this area.

Voters invested a lot in Barack Obama in 2008.  He was young, vital, and the first serious African-American candidate for president.  Yet, voters continue to pull away from Obama despite heavy spending on ads attacking Romney.

In the key swing state of Virginia it seems you can’t watch television for more than 20 minutes without seeing at least one Obama ad, almost all of them negative.  Yet the Washington Post, hardly a mouthpiece for the Romney campaign, reports that the race for Old Dominion voters is a tie.

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Democrats Threaten to Plunge Nation Back Into Recession with Tax Hike

WASHINGTON – The Congressional Democrat leadership has announced that it is willing to “go over the fiscal cliff” if their GOP colleagues do not agree to raise taxes on the nation’s job creators (business owners and investors).

Democrats are making increasingly explicit threats about their willingness to let nearly $600 billion worth of tax hikes and spending cuts take effect in January unless Republicans drop their opposition to higher taxes for the nation’s wealthiest households.

Emboldened by signs that GOP resistance to new taxes may be weakening, senior Democrats say they are prepared to weather a fiscal event that could plunge the nation back into recession if the new year arrives without an acceptable compromise.

READ MORE …

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If I Wanted America to Fail …

If I Wanted America to Fail … from FreeMarketAmerica.org

… I would do exactly what the Left has been doing in America for the last 40 years.

If you don’t believe in FREE MARKETS, don’t bother watching this video.  Just remember, it is only in societies with FREE MARKETS and the RULE OF LAW that the poor are able to rise to the middle and upper economic classes.

from Free Market America

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Maryland’s Eastern Shore Continues to Suffer High Unemployment

WASHINGTON – Maryland’s Eastern Shore continues to suffer from high unemployment rates with three (3) counties having an unemployment rate of over 10% for the month of February (the last available month).

To see a table of the unemployment rates for each county, GO HERE.

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Cost of Living Nearly Doubles in Queen Anne’s County Over Last Decade

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The cost of living in Queen Anne’s County has risen over 92% during the last 11 years, the highest increase in Maryland.

Housing and childcare costs have skyrocketed, making it hard even for people who are working full time to pay their bills. The study by researchers at the University of Washington School of Social Work calculated how much families of different sizes and ages in varying locations must earn in order to meet basic needs, such as housing food, child care, transportation and health care, without government assistance.

They found that the cost for one parent with a preschooler and school-age child in Queen Anne’s County rose from $33,855 in 2001 to $65,072 in 2012. Queen Anne’s County saw the biggest cost increases in housing and child care. For example, housing for a family of three now costs $1,518 a month, a 110 percent increase, the study says. Childcare went up 91 percent, to $1,425.

READ MORE …

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Federal Workers Out-Earn Private Sector Counterparts

WASHINGTON – A government study shows that federal workers, on average, earn about 2% more than private sector workers in comparable jobs.  When you add in the generous pension benefits of federal employees, overall compensation is much higher.

The study, prepared by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that lower paid federal employees earn much more (about $4 per hour) than in the private sector.  Employees with advanced degrees actually earn more in the private sector.

Benefits cost the federal government approximately 48% more than in the private sector.  The study does not factor in the higher job security which is also afforded federal employees.

READ MORE …

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Delaware Senate Approves Hike in Minimum Wage

DOVER, DE – Thursday evening the Delaware Senate approved a two-tiered hike in the state’s minimum wage.  If the bill is approved in the House and signed by Gov. Jack Markell, the will would increase the state’s minimum wage by $1 per hour beginning January 1, 2013 and another $0.50 in 2014.

Debate on the measure centered on whether the hike would harm employment for low wage earners:

"The people we intend to help will end up being damaged by it," said Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel. "This will inhibit employers from replacing those they lose, it will cause them not to hire more; full-time will become part-time and part-time will be gone."

Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, R-Milford, said unemployment rates are above average in states where minimum wages are highest.

"I strongly suggest that by these statistics there is a correlation, but obviously I can’t prove it," he said. "Delaware needs to find out before we join this top tier."

Currently, 17 states have minimum wage rates higher than the Federal minimum.

READ MORE …

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Unemployment Drops to 8.5%

200,000 Non-Farm Jobs Created in December

WASHINGTON – The U.S. unemployment rate dropped in December to 8.5%, from November’s 8.7%.  With the creation of 200,000 non-farm jobs, this could be a signal that the economy is moving forward at a slightly better pace.

While the unemployment rate did decline, a large portion of that decrease was from a contraction of the workforce (those actively seeking employment), rather than unemployed workers (particularly the long term unemployed) finding jobs:

The decline in unemployment to 8.5% came largely from a decrease in the size of the workforce. The average workweek for all employees was up 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours, while average hourly earnings inched 4 cents, or 0.2%, higher, to $23.24.

READ MORE …

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President Obama, Please Put JOBS Under the Christmas Tree This Year!

Unless you have a high paying government job, and even if you do, you are probably well aware that the majority of American’s are deeply impacted by the ongoing devastation to the United States economy since President Obama took office.

While overall the unemployment rate hovers close to 9%, minority unemployment remains consistently near 15% and these figures show no indication of significant improvement in the near future.  Meanwhile, the current administrations lack of a positive Energy Policy is not only hamstringing companies that could add much needed AMERICAN JOBS to the economy; it is also compromising our long term national security and unnecessarily delaying our economic recovery.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released a report that shows the U.S. is on track to actually export a net increase in gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels in 2011 for the first time in 62 years.  This is due to the fact that while our economy is stalled, the economy in emerging markets is booming.  However these record exports are not forecast to continue.  EIA is also predicting domestic oil production will fall 240,000 barrels/day through 2012, mainly due to the continued Gulf “energy freeze” imposed by our current administration.

The United States has the highest standards for environmental protection in the free world.  Other countries do not endeavor to protect the environment for future generations as we do, yet their lack of concern for the environment will affect all of us.  We have the desire to be good stewards of the environment as well as the technology to extract our resources in a safe and efficient manner.  The U.S. also has the most stringent work place safety requirements of any nation.  We have the energy resources right here within our borders.    If President Obama wanted to put American’s back to work he has an entire industry waiting for the green light to help him turn around our economy.

I grew up in New Orleans and my Dad worked on the oil rigs.  I can attest first hand that oil industry jobs keep food on the table, the lights on and the rent paid.  If we simply used the God-given resources we have in our great Nation, many American’s would not be needlessly losing their homes and struggling to keep their lights on and their families fed.

We still import over half of our oil and petroleum products.  Instead of selling our debt to China we should be selling our OIL to China and reducing our national debt.  We do not lack the resources in America.  What we lack is leadership and the political will to demand our administration put forward an energy policy that is beneficial to Americans and the United States.  Let’s start the New Year on the right path.  It is time to resume drilling within American borders and stop exporting American jobs.

Melody Himel Scalley is an entrepreneur and talk-radio show host in Virginia.

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Economy Adds 120,000 Jobs

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FALLS TO 8.6%

WASHINGTON – 120,000 new jobs were created during the month of November.  Although job creation was weak, the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.6%.  The fall in the unemployment rate was due primarily to a reduction in those that are actively seeking employment.

"Overall, the continued modest employment gains reflect an economy that plods along at an uninspiring pace," Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board, said in a statement. "These modest job gains are still not enough to propel economic growth to a sustainable 2 percent-plus growth path."

The “real” unemployment rate, which does include discouraged workers, also fell; from 16.2% to 15.6%.  This is the lowest rate since March, 2009.

READ MORE …

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Lawmaker Wants Jobless to Volunteer

ATLANTA – A Georgia senator has proposed a bill which would require the unemployed to perform community service in exchange for unemployment benefits.  The proposal by Georgia Sen. John Albers, the Dignity for the Unemployed Act, would require unemployed Georgians to volunteer at least 24 hours per week to charities in order to receive jobless benefits.

"We want to have a society that is responsible and that is accountable," he said.

There are come concerns with the measure because it conflicts with federal law.

READ MORE …

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Mixed Message in Economic News

WASHINGTON – Economists are discouraged by October’s economic reports.  While worker pay continues to rise, consumer spending was down in October.  Business investment is also down.

Paul Dales, a senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics, said the slower consumer-spending growth and decline in business investment suggest economic growth in the October-December quarter could be weaker than first thought. He now expects just 2.5 percent growth instead of 3 percent.

Consumer spending increased 0.1 percent last month, the Commerce Department said. It was the poorest gain in four months. Spending on durable goods such as autos showed a solid increase. But spending on nondurable goods, such as food and clothing, fell.

While workers’ earnings are up, it appears that they are saving rather than spending.  Historically, this would not be bad – those savings would then make capital available for business investment.  However, since the mid-nineties the focus on economic growth has been increasingly focused on consumer spending, even when that spending is fueled by credit.

READ MORE …

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Holiday Hiring A Mixed Bag

WILMINGTON, DE – Hiring additional staff for holiday shopping is often an indicator of future economic growth.  If so, the best that can be said about the outlook for 2012 is that it is mixed.

“Delaware and the mid-Atlantic have been a bit slower to recover in terms of an uptick in temporary hiring,” said Todd Bevol, President and CEO of Integrity Staffing Solutions in Wilmington. But, he added, “We’re starting to see a shift. We’re getting calls from customers we haven’t heard from for some time saying they need seasonal workers and folks to fill in for vacations.”

Listings on many online job sites are flat when compared with last year.

graphic courtesy of Delaware First Media

READ MORE …

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Health Insurance Premiums Keep Rising

COLLEGE PARK, MD – As if we didn’t know … Maryland increases in health insurance premiums have outpaced the national average, despite Maryland’s leading role in “health care reform”.

A report by the Commonwealth Fund shows that premiums for private-employer health insurance increased 51% between 2003 and 2010.  In 2010, Maryland’s average premium cost was $13,952.  The national average was $13,871.

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Looking For A Job?

Looking for a job

PRINCESS ANNE, MD – A new website was launched this week to help job seekers reduce the amount of time spent searching the web for job listings.

The new site, www.EasternShoreJobFinder.com pulls listings from many popular websites including Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Craigslist.org, and more to create one daily listing of jobs available. And instead of covering one small region, this website covers the whole Delmarva Peninsula with jobs for all three states and even work from home listings.

The site’s creator, Gretchen Parks, works from home and knows how discouraging the job search can be. “As a freelancer, I am always trolling the job boards and looking for my next client or opportunity. The competition is fierce and every edge that you can have can make all the difference.” Parks said.

Parks had the idea to create this blog site to fill a need. “I saw people online looking for work and asking others if they knew of any openings. Online groups have formed to help each other, but the job listings are not plentiful in these groups because only the person looking knows the extent of their experience and qualifications for any given job,” she said.

[Read more…]

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O’Malley Trashes GOP, Shows Own Lack of “Serious Thought”

WASHINGTON – Appearing on Sunday’s Face the Nation, Maryland governor, and third string Democrat huckster, Martin O’Malley (D-MD) attacked Texas governor Rick Perry (R-TX) and the other GOP presidential hopefuls for pandering and a “lack of serious thought”.  Well, I’ll give O’Malley his props, he’s right that we’re seeing a lot of pandering.  Every successful nomination winner (post-Ronald Reagan) has pandered to the max.  Most of the unsuccessful ones too.

That said, the pandering isn’t limited to Republicans.  No one pandered more in 2008 than Barack Obama.  Of course, O’Malley’s never going to admit that one.

As for serious thought …?  O’Malley’s pot is seriously calling the kettle black on that one.  While I would have agreed that GOP candidates, until a few of the current crop, lacked “serious thought” – they’re seeming answer to everything was to “cut taxes” – it’s disingenuous at best to say that about the current crew.

Democrats only know four things:

  1. Tax
  2. Spend
  3. Regulate (or in lieu, trash the capitalist system)
  4. Put more Americans on the dole, hoping that the dependent class will continue to pull the lever for Democrats so that the checks keep rolling.

Whether you agree with them or not, candidates such as Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have proposed reasoned, realistic solutions to help solve our nation’s economic problems.  Perhaps that is why the pundits continue to claim that neither one aren’t capable of winning the GOP nomination.

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Opening Bell – November 11, 2011

Stocks Open Higher on Euro-Zone Progress

DJIA

12,068.62

+174.83

S&P 500

1,258.46

+18.77

NASDAQ

2,656.87

+32.68

source – Google Finance

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Benefits Running Out for Nation’s Unemployed

WASHINGTON – While this week’s jobless numbers showed a slight downtick in the nation’s unemployment rate, unemployment benefits have expired for millions of America’s jobless.  Last year, 75% of the unemployed were receiving unemployment benefits.  That number has dropped to 48%.

Currently there are 14 million Americans listed as officially “unemployed”.  This does not include “discouraged” or “underemployed” workers.  Of that 14 million, approximately 1/3 have been out of work for a year or more.

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