EnduringSense

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato

  • Daily Quote:

    “The reason universities are so full of knowledge is that the students come in with so much and leave with so little.”

    Marshall McLuhan

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 84 other followers

  • Subscribe

Education and Student Debt

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 26, 2016

Marshall McLuhan“The reason universities are so full of knowledge is that the students come in with so much and leave with so little.”  Marshall McLuhan

 

Republicans and Democrats attempt to differentiate themselves via their views of the government’s role in the economy.  With close examination, it is hard to find real differences between them.

Those on the Right promote the benefits of “true” capitalism that allows markets to set prices via supply and demand.  Those on the Left share the view that capitalism is too harsh and that the government needs to step in and smooth out inequities created by markets.  At the extreme Left, socialism is promoted, irrespective of its history of failure.

At the macro-economic level there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats.  Crony capitalism is rampant within both parties.  Republicans typically support large industries and those in the military industrial complex.  Democrats promote social programs that benefit industries including education, social services, medical services, and trial lawyers.  The result of crony capitalism has been a significant increase in governmental spending and a surging United States’ debt over the past 50 years.  This debt is in part responsible for the economic malaise that has been inflicted on the country over the past decade.

An example of crony capitalism and the damage it has done is the educational industry.  Through the US Department of Education, as well as at the state and municipal levels, the funds spent on primary education have been skyrocketing as indicated by the charts below.

Total Educational Spending

Spending Per StudentSat Scores

 

 

 

 

However, the increased spending has not resulted in improved education.  The chart shows how poorly our students are doing in basic reading comprehension.

Student DebtThe problem is more significant at the college level.  The educational industry, with support of the US government and its loan programs, has created the false narrative that all Americans require and deserve a college education, irrespective of whether or not it improves their economic well-being.  As a result, the amount of student debt now exceeds $1 trillion and a significant portion of college graduates cannot make an income level that would allow them to pay off the debt in a reasonable period of time.  Many have been forced to move back into their parents’ houses.

While a market-based economy can be a cruel arbitrator of scarce resources, crony capitalism has proven to be catastrophic to those who have been cajoled into inappropriate economic decisions based on government programs.  It is a major cause of the growing wealth disparity between the ultra-rich and average Americans.

Yes, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have prospered under crony capitalism.  The same cannot be said for most Americans.

Posted in Debt, Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s View of Hillary in 2008 Versus 2016

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 15, 2016

Barack Obama once said words matter.  His words, however, don’t seem to matter all that much.  Below is a rather hilarious video put together showing Obama’s view of Hillary when she was an opponent in 2008, versus today when she is the candidate for the presidency for his party.  If words truly matter, either Obama was disingenuous in 2008 or he is being disingenuous in today.

Posted in Politics, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Legacy: Increased Executive Branch Power

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 14, 2016

When asked about Barack Obama’s legacies, supporters will universally list Obamacare as number one.  As for the problems the country faces, Obama has had a Teflon coat with supporters either ignoring the issues or blaming them on his predecessors.  Problems include the growth of international terrorism, the Middle East in flames, and significantly increased racial tensions in the Country.  Under the radar is perhaps one of the most dangerous Obama legacy; significantly increased power within the presidency and executive branch of government.

The New York Times published an article by Applebaum and Schear titled Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It that chronicles Obama’s power grab.  The article concludes that Obama, who prior to becoming president was publicly critical of executive power, has since embraced it stating: “Mr. Obama will leave the White House as one of the most prolific authors of major regulations in presidential history.”

The Times also states:

  • “Blocked for most of his presidency by Congress, Mr. Obama has sought to act however he could. In the process he created the kind of government neither he nor the Republicans wanted — one that depended on bureaucratic bulldozing rather than legislative transparency.”
  • “The Obama administration in its first seven years finalized 560 major regulations — those classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having particularly significant economic or social impacts. That was nearly 50 percent more than the George W. Bush administration during the comparable period, according to data kept by the regulatory studies center at George Washington University.”
  • “The Obama Era …. And it has imposed billions of dollars in new costs on businesses and consumers.”

obamaThe Times offers concern with the growth of the executive branch and regulations quoting Robert Hahn, a regulatory expert at Smith School at the University of Oxford: “The big issue that I grapple with is that the regulatory state keeps growing.  And as it keeps growing, when does it become too much?”  We have already crossed that chasm.  On the economic front the country has been in the midst of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.  Socially, the dissatisfaction in the inner cities is at a level not seen in decades.

Since embracing increased executive authority, Barack Obama has spoken arrogantly of this power stating: “an increasingly dysfunctional Congress: … Where they won’t act, I will.”  In addition: “Whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”  These are remarkable statements from someone supposedly expert in the Constitution.  The Constitution divides our government into three branches, equally dividing power.  Its purpose is clear, to stop any branch or individual from having their way with law, irrespective of the validity or quality of their proposed action.

While the Obama power grab and myriad of regulations are negatively impacting the country now, there is a more sinister impact to come.  Future presidents will be intoxicated by power and likely bring more authority to the Executive Branch, at the expense of individual freedom for Americans.

Posted in Governmental Intervention, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Democratic Congresswoman has Problem with Hillary Clinton’s Trustworthiness

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 7, 2016

During the past 25 years no family has dominated American politics more than the Clintons.  Bill was the most important political figure during the 1990s, serving as president for two terms.  Hillary Clinton was a powerhouse in her own right, most notably as an activist first lady.  During the next two decades she served as a United States Senator from New York, was a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and also served as Secretary of State during the Obama Administration.

The accomplishments of the Clintons have been accompanied by scandals.  Bill and Hillary have become infamous for lies with Bill being disbarred for it during the Lewinsky scandal.  Hillary’s lies have been so pervasive that the late New York Times writer William Safire called her “a congenital liar”.  That was 20 years before FBI director James Comey confirmed she lied on matters relating to the email scandal.

During a substantial portion of the past 25 years the Clintons successfully blamed a right-wing conspiracy for attacking their credibility.  That dog no longer hunts.

Polls indicate the majority of Americans find Hillary less than trustworthy.  Just a significant, politicians who support Hillary have difficulty with her trust factor.  CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin in the video below asked Democratic Congresswoman from Arizona, Ann Kirkpatrick her thoughts on Hillary’s trustworthiness.  She did not answer the question, but instead said “she is the most qualified to lead this country”.

American politics are in a sad state.  Republicans nominated Donald Trump, who not only has problems with temperament, but shares few philosophical views in common with traditional conservative politics.  The best Hillary supporters can say is that she is more qualified than Trump.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties have failed the people.  This reality demands radical intervention.  Third parties are a reasonable alternative.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

John Kerry Equates the Dangers from Climate Change and Terrorism

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 24, 2016

Perhaps no one in the Obama Administration better epitomizes the loony-left then Secretary of State John Kerry.  This past week Kerry was at his “best” when he compared the dangers from terrorism with climate change.

On Thursday, Kerry attended a conference at the State Department to Counter ISIL.  Two days later he was in Vienna attending a climate change conference when he referred to both meetings saying: “It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what you are doing here right now is of equal importance, because it has the ability literally to save life on this planet.”

As seen in the video below, Kerry first refers to the terrorist organization as ”DASH”, a term rarely used.  The need to obfuscate seems genetic with those who are supposed to be representing the People.

Then, in typical Progressive-elitist fashion, Kerry calls the American people stupid given that their concerns for safety are more focused on terrorists then climate change.  It is likely that Kerry’s lack of personal concern against terrorists emits from the fact that he is protected by armed guards 24-7.  Similarly, his wealth allows him to avoid the personal pain that is proposed policies inflict on the common man through increased cost of energy and other necessities.

Posted in Climate Change, Terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brexit Consequences to Come

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 2, 2016

The political elites and many in the economic community warned of dire consequences should Britain vote to leave the European Union.  Immediately following the announcement of the vote equity markets worldwide drop significantly.  However, one week later they have rebounded and are about back to where they started.

The action of the equities markets suggest either the predicted dire consequences were severely exaggerated, or as an alternative, equity markets with the assistance of continuous central banker interventions no longer believe that stock valuations can go down.  Neither is very comforting.

How the UK’s exit from the EU will affect the world economy remains to be seen.  The Daily Reckoning suggests that political elite Progressives will take a play out of Obama associate Rahm Emanuel strategy book, who infamously said: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Using this strategy, they will use the Brexit vote as an excuse for more central bank spending and interventions into the economy.  Why not, that strategy has failed for the last eight years so let’s double up on it.

The Daily Reckoning reports that since 2009 central banks have printed over $12 trillion.  In addition, they have made 654 interest cuts worldwide.  This has succeeded in creating equity bottles that have made the wealthy wealthier.

The Daily Reckoning expects more Quantitative Easing, QE 4, and an even more radical policy called “helicopter money” where the Fed basically froze money to the masses.  These radical steps are not taken out of stupidity.  Instead, they are an acknowledgment by central banks that we are reaching the end game.  Without continuous and more aggressive interventions, the rebalancing of the economy will begin and it will be painful.  Irrespective of the central banks’ actions, that rebalancing will occur.  It is only a matter of time.

Posted in economics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Brexit Vote Explained

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 28, 2016

Last week’s vote by the British people to extricate themselves from the European Union (Brexit) seems to have left many, including the political ruling class on both sides of the Atlantic, in shock.  It is a wonder that a vote that has two possibilities would create any such consternation when it goes one way or the other.

Governments of all sorts of philosophical directions have proven often throughout history an inability to hear the people.  At the same time, they have created an elite ruling class that has benefited substantially from their positions.

Nigel Farage, a British member of the European Parliament, has been a strong proponent for Britain to leave the EU.  During today’s Parliamentary session, Farage made a speech in which he did a victory lap, taunting other members of the European Parliament, posted below.  While his aggressive approach can be questioned, the logic he lays out helps explain the People’s anger building in the EU, as well as other countries.

Posted in European Union | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

UK Says “Yes” to Brexit

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 24, 2016

Yesterday the United Kingdom held its referendum as to whether it would stay or exit the European Union.  The vote is in and the British decided to leave the EU.

Today, markets throughout the world have experienced turmoil, seemingly surprised by Brits’ decision.  This reaction is curious given that the various indicators, except the polls, pointed towards a British exit.

The British electorate’s decision to leave the EU is part of a broader worldwide phenomenon.  Governments and bureaucracies in many countries have been growing at increasing rates over the decades.  This has enriched and given additional power to ruling elites.  The masses accepted this until recent years when their standard of living stagnated.  Two changes affected the mentality of the masses:

  • A growing number of middle class in Western Europe and the United States have seen decreasing living standards.
  • Bureaucracies, unelected shadow governments, have exerted more influence through regulations.

Born of dissatisfaction, is a new type of revolution enhanced by social media and the Internet is occurring.  In the United States the phenomena is epitomized by the popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.  Their popularity is resounding “no” vote for the status quo, irrespective of the potential consequences of electing untested populists.

Similarly, Britain’s decision to leave the EU is a resounding vote against the status quo.  The British people no longer will allow unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to create laws and regulations for the UK.  They also indicated their desire for stronger border controls.

The European Union was a mismanaged creation of the political class.  The goal was to create a United States of Europe increase economic activity and lessen the likelihood of armed conflicts, as so often happened in Europe.  Unlike the United States with a powerful central bank, European countries still control much of their monetary policies, irrespective of the single currency.  Also unlike the United States where the central government is elected by the people, Europeans have no vote concerning the bureaucracy in Brussels that creates laws and regulations that member states must abide by.  The British say “no more”, irrespective of the consequences of leaving the EU.

Since World War II the world has traveled through two different periods.

  • The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union for all practical purposes divided the world into two spheres. This period effectively ended in 1991.
  • Since the end of the Cold War, the political class worked to create a new world order where sovereign borders would be made moot. The beginning of the end of this period started in 2008 with the great financial meltdown.  This meltdown exposed the weakness of this new order that in part was built on flawed policies and excessive debt.

We are in the early stages of the next phase that involves rejection of the political elites’ vision for the world since 1991.  It is likely that the UK’s Brexit vote will be viewed historically as the start of this next phase.  It is difficult to visualize what this new reality actually means, other than significant change.  Progressives overreached in a power grab for themselves and their bureaucracies.  History has shown that this type of action generally leads to overreaction from the other side.

This Blog has repeatedly written of the illogic of the European Union from an economic standpoint.  One posting in October 2013 titled Noble Peace Prize Awarded to European Union reviewed rather incredulously of the European Union being the Nobel Peace Prize.  The turn of events since helps show just how far out of touch the political elites are, including those that award the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted in European Union | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Department of Justice would Punish People for their Scientific Ideas

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 16, 2016

Townhall.com reported on a story that should bring chills down any American’s spine, irrespective of their political views.  In congressional testimony earlier this year, Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch stated that the Justice Department (DOJ) is considering punishment for some including academics and others in the fossil fuel industry for denying climate change.

Irrespective of where one comes down on the climate change discussion, we should all be outraged by the DOJ even considering such outrageous action.  Sacrosanct to what is America is the Constitution and freedom of speech.  For the DOJ to use intimidation and possibly the law to stifle free speech is not only illegal, but the start of a slippery slope that is reminiscent of actions of totalitarian governments.  Governments that attempt to control the thoughts of its citizens have often become enemies of the citizens.  The results are often ugly.

A few centuries ago the then “powers to be” persecuted those who did not believe the earth was flat.  The US Department of Justice is now one of the “powers to be”.  History repeats itself.

Posted in Political Correctness | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

April’s Employment Numbers Miserable, Yet Unemployment Rate Drops

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 4, 2016

The April jobs report has been released by the US Department of Labor and it is not pretty.  According to CCNMoney, a mere 38,000 jobs were created in the US, the lowest monthly rate in six years. To put this into perspective, in the past two years the monthly increased averaged about 200,000 new jobs and the number required just to keep up with new entrants into the job market is in excess of 200,000 monthly.

Commenting on the job’s number, Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, correctly said, “It’s a pretty gloomy report, hard to find a silver lining in this one“.  Contrast this realistic assessment with the Department of Labor’s unemployment number released indicating that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%, the lowest level in 9 years.  How does the Labor Department come up with such rubbish?  They merely stop counting those Americans who have given up the job search for lack of success.  Now that’s banjo accounting!

There are many reasons behind the US economy’s poor performance with government being a major factor.  Included in this list is the government’s willingness to create false reports to further its own political and bureaucratic agendas that often in conflict with those of the American people.

Posted in Unemployment | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 84 other followers