Thursday, August 07, 2008

Something For Everyone


One might ask the question: if you are for everything, are you really for anything?

I have spent some time reading Barack Obama's website. It is really very well done. Clean looking. Red, white, and lots of blue. And there is literally something for everyone in his proposals. It reminds me of the Apple store. Goodies galore... and you barely notice the price.

The guys at General Motors could learn something about marketing on the Internet from this.

But back to the point: if you are for everything, are you really for anything? The list of everything is extensive. I am truly amazed by his grasp of everything.

But there is one theme common among all... Obama will give you something. Below are summaries or dot points... you can read more at Obama's site. As you read these, ask just one question: who pays?

Certainly not me! I'm going to get something!


For women and minorities

Combat Employment Discrimination

Obama will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination. Obama will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

For National Defense
  • Invest in a 21st Century military [Barack Obama supports plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops. Increasing our end strength will help units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments and decrease the strain on military families.]
  • Build defense capabilities for the 21st Century [We must rebalance our capabilities to ensure that our forces have the agility and lethality to succeed in both conventional wars and in stabilization and counter-insurgency operations. Obama has committed to a review of each major defense program in light of current needs, gaps in the field, and likely future threat scenarios in the post-9/11 world.]
  • Restore the readiness of the National Guard and Reserves
  • Develop "Whole of Government Initiatives" to promote global stability
  • Restore our alliances [America's traditional alliances, such as NATO, must be transformed and strengthened, including on common security concerns like Afghanistan, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Obama will renew alliances and ensure our allies contribute their fair share to our mutual security.]
  • Reform contracting [Barack Obama will require the Pentagon and State Department to develop a strategy for determining when contracting makes sense, rather than continually handing off governmental jobs to well-connected companies. An Obama administration will create the transparency and accountability needed for good governance. Finally, it will establish the legal status of contractor personnel, making possible prosecution of any abuses committed by private military contractors.]
For criminals
Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Support

Obama will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society. Obama will also create a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates.

For the disabled
Obamas comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with disabilities fits in with the campaign's overarching message of equalizing opportunities for all Americans.

In addition to reclaiming America's global leadership on this issue by becoming a signatory to -- and having the Senate ratify -- the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the plan has four parts, designed to provide lifelong supports and resources to Americans with disabilities. They are as follows:

First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.

Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity.
Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities.

And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities.
For states
  • Provide Additional Tax Rebates to American Workers - Stimulus: $20 billion
  • Establish a $10 billion Foreclosure Prevention Fund
  • Provide $10 billion in Relief for State and Local Governments Hardest-Hit by the Housing Crisis to Prevent Cuts in Vital Services
  • Extend and Expand Unemployment Insurance - Stimulus: $10 billion
For taxpayers
  • Obama will cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll tax they pay.
  • Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000
For Unions
  • Fight for Fair Trade
  • Amend the North American Free Trade Agreement
  • ...more...
For Business
  • Invest in our Next Generation Innovators and Job Creators
  • Double Funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • ...more...
For Infrastructure
  • Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank
For Education
  • Early Childhood Education [multiple]
  • K-12 [multiple]
  • Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America's Teachers
For the Environment
Plan for a Clean Energy Future

“Well, I don't believe that climate change is just an issue that's convenient to bring up during a campaign. I believe it's one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation. That's why I've fought successfully in the Senate to increase our investment in renewable fuels. That's why I reached across the aisle to come up with a plan to raise our fuel standards… And I didn't just give a speech about it in front of some environmental audience in California. I went to Detroit, I stood in front of a group of automakers, and I told them that when I am president, there will be no more excuses — we will help them retool their factories, but they will have to make cars that use less oil.”
  • Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
  • Invest in a Clean Energy Future
  • Support Next Generation Biofuels
  • Set America on Path to Oil Independence
  • Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
For Ethics in Government
“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”
For the Religious

In June of 2006, Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years. Speaking before an evangelical audience, Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life.

Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate. In December, 2006, Senator Obama discussed the importance of faith in the global battle against AIDS.

For Families
  • Provide a Living Wage
  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Expand Paid Sick Days
  • Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Encourage States to Adopt Paid Leave
  • Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities
  • Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
  • Protect Against Caregiver Discrimination
  • Expand Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Strengthen Our Schools
  • Provide Universal Health Care and Lower Health Costs
  • Protect Homeownership
  • Strengthen Families at Home
  • Strengthen Retirement Security
For improving Foreign Diplomacy
Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe. He will do the careful preparation necessary, but will signal that America is ready to come to the table, and that he is willing to lead. And if America is willing to come to the table, the world will be more willing to rally behind American leadership to deal with challenges like terrorism, and Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs

[multiple points]
For the Uninsured
Plan for a Healthy America

“We now face an opportunity — and an obligation — to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday's health care debates… My plan begins by covering every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.”
For Homeland Security
  • Protecting Our Chemical Plants
  • Keeping Track of Spent Nuclear Fuel
  • Evacuating Special Needs Population in Emergencies
  • Reuniting Families After Emergencies
  • Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe
  • Protecting the Public from Radioactive Releases
For Immigrants
  • Create Secure Borders
  • Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.
  • Improve Our Immigration System
  • Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.
  • Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally
  • Obama will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.
  • Bring People Out of the Shadows
  • Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.
  • Work with Mexico
  • Obama believes we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.
For Iraq

“Here is the truth: fighting a war without end will not force the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. And fighting in a war without end will not make the American people safer.

So when I am Commander-in-Chief, I will set a new goal on day one: I will end this war. Not because politics compels it. Not because our troops cannot bear the burden- as heavy as it is. But because it is the right thing to do for our national security, and it will ultimately make us safer.”

For the Poor
  • Expand Access to Jobs
  • Make Work Pay for All Americans
  • Strengthen Families
  • Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing
  • Tackle Concentrated Poverty
For Farmers
  • Ensure Economic Opportunity For Family Farmers
  • Support Rural Economic Development
  • Improve Rural Quality Of Life
For Volunteers
  • Enable All Americans to Serve to Meet the Nation's Challenges
  • Integrate Service into Learning [Obama will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year.]
  • Invest in the Nonprofit Sector
For Seniors
  • Protect Social Security
    Obama believes that the first place to look for ways to strengthen Social Security is the payroll tax system. Currently, the Social Security payroll tax applies to only the first $102,000 a worker makes. Obama supports increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security and he will work with Congress and the American people to choose a payroll tax reform package that will keep Social Security solvent for at least the next half century.
  • Strengthen Retirement Savings
  • Affordable Health Care
  • Protect and Honor Senior
For Technology
Barack Obama understands the immense transformative power of technology and innovation and how they can improve the lives of all Americans. He sees that technology offers the tools to create real change in America. Obama’s forward-thinking 21st century technology and innovation policy starts by recognizing that we need to connect all citizens with each other to engage them more fully and directly in solving the problems that face us. In tandem with that goal, Barack Obama understands that we must use all available technologies and methods to open up the federal government, creating a new level of transparency to change the way business is conducted in Washington and giving Americans the chance to participate in government deliberations and decision-making in ways that were not possible only a few years ago. To achieve this vision, Barack Obama will encourage the deployment of the most modern communications infrastructure. In turn, that infrastructure can be used by government and business to reduce the costs of health care, help solve our energy crisis, create new jobs, and fuel our economic growth. And an Obama administration will ensure America remains competitive in the global economy. [multiple points]
For Urban Areas
  • Strengthen Federal Commitment to our Cities
  • Stimulate Economic Prosperity in our Metropolitan Regions
  • [multiple subpoints of other issues]
For Veterans
  • Allow all veterans back into the VA
  • Strength VA care
  • Combat homelessness among our nation's veterans
  • Fight veterans employment discrimination
  • Help for returning veterans [multiple points]
  • Improved mental health treatment [multiple points]
For Women [multiple subsets of other issues]

For Fiscal Responsibility
  • Reinstate PAYGO Rules
  • Reverse Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
  • Cut Pork Barrel Spending
  • Make Government Spending More Accountable and Efficient
  • End Wasteful Government Spending

What do you mean you couldn't find a promise for you?


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)