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Predictions for the Next Four Years (Part 1 of 2)

Predictions for the Next Four Years (Part 1 of 2)

Well, Barack Obama will be President for a second term. It is now time to take a look around, and prepare for what is likely to happen next. Based on my observations and what I’ve learned over the years, these are my predictions:

No Housing Recovery

Commentators have been calling the bottom of the housing market – and screaming with increasing urgency that it was time to buy – since 2007. The Fed has cut interest rates to nearly zero, and through quantitative easing has flooded the financial system with new money. This will continue for the near future, especially since QE-infinity was announced earlier this year. There remains no recovery in the housing market, and there won’t be a recovery.

Bad monetary policy has left the productive bits of the economy in an absolute shambles, and now there simply aren’t enough jobs to allow a recovery in the housing market. This will get worse, not better.

Mass Layoffs

This one will happen sooner rather than later. In an economy that is as sedate as ours the likelihood of reduced unemployment is already pretty slim, and if you consider the looming Obamacare mandates, tax hikes on income, dividends, and capital gains, as well as another four years of an administration that has a penchant for change (breeding uncertainty), I predict that there will be large job losses coming in the very near future.

Growing Poverty

This one seems to fall into place as well, especially for those laid low by the layoffs which I think are coming. But, even those who keep their jobs will experience marked decreases in their standard of living. In an economy where consumption is king and production – or any sort of value-added economic activity – is outsourced, taxed, regulated, or outright banned, the remaining employment opportunities take on a sort of wistful irrelevance. Many will be nominally employed, but at the same time wholly unable to support themselves, let alone able to assemble savings.

Spike in Utility Rates

All forms of energy are likely to get more expensive over the next four years. Obama has explicitly stated that he intends to bankrupt the coal-generated electricity industry in favor of renewable energy kitsch which can only be financially feasible with massive increases in electricity prices. Expect some coal plants to be shut down in the next term, and expect to pay far more for electricity.

High Prices for Oil and Grain

In a past article, I pointed out that since 1990, the United States has run trade deficits in excess of $9 trillion. This despite the fact that in 1990 the supply of dollars (the M2 metric) was only $3 trillion. In an economy where we can buy foreign goods by printing money, there is no reason to manufacture much of anything. This dynamic will continue for the time-being, and we will import shiploads of consumer goods and pay for it with nothing but inflation. This will lead to even higher prices for oil and grain, which are inflation-sensitive commodities whose production cannot be outsourced.

Feeding grain to livestock is a value-added activity, however, and in an inflationary economy the price of grain will go up, and the ability of the public to buy meat will be reduced, so I am predicting a continued decrease in the number of farmers who bother to raise livestock, as well as a decline in the overall size of the livestock herds in the country.

College Tuition Spikes; Enrollment Begins to Fall

Obama’s attempts to reform the student loan industry had nothing to do with controlling the costs of college. The government runs most of the student loan industry, and interest rates have been kept very low for Federal loans. This is all designed to get more kids into college, regardless of what it costs, and with no real limit to the amount of credit available to the college-bound, there are no incentives for colleges to control costs.

The luster has begun to rub off of the whole college experience in my estimation. A college degree has become little more than a very expensive lottery ticket, and new college graduates will not see any discernable increase in their employment opportunities, incomes, or future prospects.

Even with the endless propaganda urging kids to attend college, the decision to attend college will not make financial sense for a large number of American kids, and we will begin to see a decline in enrollments, especially in full-time, traditional enrollments.

((To Continue Reading, Click Here To Go Straight To Part 2))

The post Predictions for the Next Four Years (Part 1 of 2) appeared first on The Conservative Reader.

Predictions for the Next Four Years (Part 1 of 2)

Finally… Something We Can Agree On

The following is an op-ed I wrote some time ago that was edited slightly and then published by the Des Moines Register.  After turning on the television, which was tuned to MTV, while babysitting my young niece and nephew recently I was reminded how unfortunately relevant this piece still is.  The sections which are redacted below are ones that the Register was uncomfortable printing.  This perhaps make the point most poignantly.


The following words were spoken on the floor of the U.S senate by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in the heat of the recent debate on The Fairness Doctrine:

It takes away the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to basically determine that radio and television stations use their Federal licenses in the public interest.  What does this mean?  It means that the FCC can tell a television station it cannot put on a violent movie early on Saturday morning when kids are tuning into cartoons.  It cannot put on something with sexual tones in it at a time when children and family are watching.

Heartwarming isn’t it.   Well it seems Mr. Durbin has not taken a look at his local T.V. menu lately.  On my T.V. menu, here in Ankeny, Iowa, on the very day that Mr. Durbin spoke the above words, this is a sampling of what I found in the after school time slots of 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

At 3:00 p.m. on MTV (Direct TV channel 331) we have a program called “Sex…With Mom and Dad.”  On today’s episode of this show we meet Natasha, a nineteen year old California girl who is self-described as a “party girl who is not afraid to experiment.”  She tells us that she ********************************************** at fifteen, and is having problems in her relationship with her single father—wait for it . . . —because she slept with one of his co-workers!

At 4:00 p.m., also on MTV (DTV channel 331), we have a show called “Room Raiders” where another nineteen year old girl is going through the bedrooms of three guys to decide who she is going to go out on a date with.  In the first guy’s room we all have a good chuckle when she finds some female oral contraceptives in his night stand.  In the second guy’s room she takes a magnifying glass to his bed sheets to find and then comment on the ********************** she sees.  Fantastic.  So maybe this is not your thing.  Never fear you can also turn over to the gay, lesbian and trans-gendered network LOGO (yes, you do likely have this channel-DTV ch.272), whose midday offering is a 12:30 to 4:30 marathon of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” in which a variety of gay and trans-gendered contestants vie to see who is the best drag queen.

This is but a small sampling of content that parents must be made aware, I could go on ad nauseam with examples but it’s safe to assume the point has been made.  When we dig a little deeper into this we find every one of these shows comes from the same source, a company called Viacom.

Allow me to do the honors and introduce you to one Sumner Redstone.  You likely are unfamiliar with him, but if you have any pre-teen or teenage children he has been trying to familiarize himself with them for years.

You see Mr. Redstone is the owner of Viacom, and thus is singularly responsible for a jaw-dropping amount of immoral garbage, not just in the aforementioned time slots but, unmercifully, around the clock.  Also disturbing is that along with owning CBS, Paramount Pictures, Blockbuster Video (majority stock holder), MTV, MTV 2, VH1, CMT, and the gay, lesbian, trans-gendered LOGO network, Viacom, ironically, also owns Nickelodeon.  Making matters worse is the fact that the stated demographic audience for MTV, MTV 2 and VH1 is 12-34 years of age (yes this is not a misprint, I said 12 years old).  This age group is deemed very valuable to marketers because – you guessed it, they are by nature very impressionable and have a longer future consumer life.

Shining the light on Viacom and these types of shows is long overdue, for only with knowledge can we have action.  I have a feeling the average American parent has no idea that this is going on, that a broadcaster would or could so brazenly put on shows, squarely aimed at their children,  in after school time slots that teachers would get fired for putting on at school.  Though it seems hard to believe I assure you that it is in fact occurring.  Even if it means recording these shows with your DVR, I encourage parents of any aged children, not to take my word for it but to go to these channels (all of which are provided above) and become aware of this content themselves.

It is not my purpose to blame anyone for ignorance on this matter, and to the contrary maybe we all deserve a break on this one.  Looking back at what was on the air when many of us were coming of age is very interesting.  Those currently around the age of 70 had “The Whistling Wizard” and “Howdy Doody,” those around 60 had “The Millionaire” and “American Bandstand,” 50 or so saw shows like “The Beverly Hillbilly’s” and “The Andy Griffin Show,” and if you are between 35-40 you had choices such as “The Love Boat” and “The Jefferson’s.”  Quite a far cry from “Sex…With Mom and Dad,” wouldn’t you say.

Since I suspect most of you parents out there do not condone sexually-charged, immorally bizarre programs being offered up to your children by Viacom and others, and clearly the regulating bodies are not looking out for your “public interest,” I urge all of you to contact your cable providers and, in the least, use your remote control’s parental blocking features.  In many ways this is a unique opportunity.  In a climate that too often finds us deeply divided on one political issue or another, this might be about as close to a shot at consensus as we get. Let us not lose the ability to at least stand up, and stand together when we can.

Finally here is a chance to act in the interest of not only our children, but plain common decency.  Finally, here is something that we don’t get much of these days…something we can agree on.

The post Finally… Something We Can Agree On appeared first on The Conservative Reader.

Predictions for the Next Four Years (Part 1 of 2)

Violence Can’t Solve America’s Problems

The shooting in at a Tucson political meeting Saturday was abhorrent.  We are praying for the injured and the families of those who died.

And for the young man who thought this was somehow an answer to our nation’s problems.

Gabrielle Giffords did nothing to deserve this or any violent attack.  I don’t know a lot about the Arizona congresswoman, but in briefly reviewing her web site, I’m struck by the fact that she has been driving a campaign for fiscal restraint, including reducing Congressional pay.  At the moment, I see her as one of the good guys.  But even people like Barney Frank and Charlie Rangel do not deserve to be attacked violently.

It seems that the shooter is possibly a deranged conspiracy theorist.  Unfortunately, there are times when the lines blur between some of these folks and legitimate political advocates.  Although I’ve heard that there are some that are already pointing fingers at conservative organizations as if they are promoting this type of violence, I’ve seen little advocacy for violent protest among those I know in the Tea Party, the Republican Party, or other aligned organizations.  Our tendency is to try to find a problem to solve in the midst of a situation like this, but sometimes there is no problem to solve except to incarcerate the person responsible.  Finding other scapegoats is not productive.

In a similar vein, I am hoping that this tragedy does not become a new reason for more government intervention in our lives. While this is a gut-wrenching affair, it should not be seen as justification for further attacking the 2nd Amendement.  Sean McClanahan has some great comments at Des Moines Gun Rights Examiner.

However, for those who advocate that violence is somehow becoming the only answer to solving the problems we see in our government, it simply is not.  It has become easy to try and draw comparisons between our lives today and the lives of those who formed our country.  The comparison is sadly wanting, and cannot be used as an excuse for violent action, nor threatening statements.  The nice thing about our country and form of government is that we can work through our issues intelligently. Unless we suffer from physical subjugation, I cannot conceive of any reason for violence to achieve our agenda.  If we are incapable of making our case before the People, violence cannot be a suitable alternative.

Not now, not ever.

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