Contribution from Left

Nov 17 - On this day in 2008, an article titled "How to Fire Secretary of State Hillary Clinton" was published on the left-leaning Media Matters website. This piece by Eric Boehlert came out before she was even offered the position.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Transocean Tragedy

It troubles me to admit my first thoughts after my prayers going out to the rig operators involved in the Transocean accident and their families. Unfortunately, I could not help thinking of Rham Emanuel’s infamous quote, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” I also can’t shake Obama’s lamenting that Americans use a disproportionate amount of energy per capita than the rest of the world. Finally, I thought of what a field day the far left environmentalists would have with this too.

Now, I sit here and hope this administration does not make a travesty of this tragedy. I hope we don’t have to suffer through another weak eulogy or moment of recognition from our tearless leader. If it is anything like his effort to turn lemons into lemonade with the recent coal mining tragedy in West Virginia, I’d rather him leave the prayer and condolences to those of us who really do care.

Obama, like many of the environmentalists and left wing politicians, simply do not appreciate the amount of work that goes into extracting oil and coal, which we absolutely need to survive as a civil society. Not to mention compete with the rest of the world. I have a grandfather that worked in the coal mines in France in the 1940s. I could not believe the amount of work they did and how dangerous it was for them. Back then they worked in about a three to four foot space and actually had to detonate

sticks of dynamite themselves before piling the coal into little wagons. Their wages were determined by the amount of coal they were able to haul out of the mine.

I have a cousin that used to work on oil rigs until the physical demands and his aging body were no longer a good match for the career. He gave me a great picture of himself out on the rig where he is covered in mud, hanging onto a chain about as thick as our tax code and as long as a stack of one dollar bills contributed to Obama by Goldman Sachs (that would be over $1 million, which is over 358 feet)! He was smiling in the picture and enjoyed the work, but he would never deny that it was a very physically demanding and dangerous job. Not to mention the weeks or months at a time that were spent away from family and friends. It is important for all of us to consider this every now and then when we turn on our lights or fill up our gas tanks. These resources are coming from somewhere, someone is working hard to get them to us and windmills and solar panels are a long way from meeting our needs.

When this administration goes for the throat of the oil industry armed with this new crisis, as they undoubtedly will, you have to ask if we really want to lose the remaining ability to drill for oil on and off our shores. The environmentalists will certainly be demanding the administration further restrict drilling, but do they think drilling will be done elsewhere with more safety and environmental regulation? That would only result in less control, as the global demand will require the extraction of oil elsewhere.

I suggest we pray for the lost crewmembers and their families. I also think we should support our domestic oil industry, especially through this crisis. I hope we determine exactly what went wrong, we are able to prevent it from happening again and there is proper penalty and punishment if there was a violation of law or safety requirements. However, I do not want to see this administration and their liberal media lap dogs make our energy industry their latest villain in their next round of populace propaganda. If it were not for the work of men like those on the Transocean rig or the West Virginia coalminers, our politicians could not fly to global warming conferences or cover the country begging for campaign contributions, and the left wing media would not have the energy to criticize this vital industry and all of its hard working Americans.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Win the Arguments

While the wound is still open for the 50% of us that actually pay Federal Income Taxes, I could not help wondering how this administration feels about profits on April 15th. On Jan 30, 2009, Obama said, “There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.” Perhaps, profits and bonuses are alright on Tax Day? Of course, his blathering was before the people who now have voter’s remorse figured out that was primarily an effort to draw attention away from his administration’s lack of real solutions. It is easy to incite the masses by saying, "… we need to limit CEO salaries" or "…control their day-to-day operations", etc. However, coming from Obama, who has never operated a cash register, much less make a payroll, or this Congress that is orchestrated the longest jobless recovery in recorded history, this rhetoric is insulting and hypocritical.

At a dinner party shortly after Obama began publicly demonizing, ostensibly just the CEOs of companies “requiring” government bailouts, I engaged in a conversation about the “stimulus” and CEO bashing with a liberal friend. At a certain point, her husband cut short his own conversation to come into the room we were in to blurt out, “No one person is worth that much money.” His wife could wind up in a cardboard box begging for cheese from her local congressman and still pull the “D” party line at the ballot box, so I decided to get her all worked up more for fun than anything else. However, I could not let her husband’s outrageous comment be flung into the air like something that would foam out of Chris Matthews’ mouth, so I decided to turn that into a teachable moment. As the great Margaret Thatcher said, “First you win the argument and then you win the vote.”

Less than twenty four hours later, I decided to do a little research, put together some data and send an e-mail to everyone in the room to address that brilliant comment. As an employer myself, I wanted to give these friends a more thoughtful perspective. My response went something like this….

The notion that, "no one person is worth that much money" may or may not be true, depending on the person and the circumstances. It certainly warrants a deeper look into how much they actually earn, what they produce, how much society gains and how many people benefit from their success. Can you really put a price tag on Bill Gates' value?

We can certainly discuss who’s to blame for the financial crisis and how, both the existence and lack of regulation, created this horrible crisis. However, we cannot transform our society into European Socialism or replicate the Lost Decade of Japan to correct it.

After that discussion, I thought these figures and the attached supporting spreadsheet might better explain how the government and media are using class warfare and the usual rhetoric to make people think this economic crisis is the fault of greedy CEOs:

The Top 50 Employers of the Fortune 500 provide:

11,950,157 jobs or 239,000 jobs on average

At $30K per job (which is an extremely conservative number just for illustration), that would produce $7.17 Billion in employee salaries

By using an average tax rate of 30%, these salaries would generate $2.151 Billion in Income Taxes (not including PP Taxes and Corporate Income Taxes)

The Top 50 CEOs by Compensation:

Earn an average of $79.6 (mil)

That average drops to $52.5 (mil) if you simply drop the top 5

Fortune 500 CEOs:

Earn an average of $15.0 (mil)

That average drops to $11.89 (mil) if you simply drop the top 5

How much does Angelina Jolie make per film?

While an average salary of $79.6 (mil) or even $52.5 (mil) is undoubtedly an enormous amount of money, you have to consider the salaries and taxes generated under that person's leadership. I don't know of any single movie star or athlete that employs 239,000 people or generates $2.151 Billion in income taxes alone.

Now take all of this information and put this into real perspective. These 500 CEOs, who on average actually earn $15.0 (mil), represent far less than 1% of all CEOs in the country. These CEOs actually represent only .167% of all CEOs!! The mean annual wage of a CEO in this country during 2007 (the year I used for all of these statistics) was $151,370.

Once our government starts throwing around language like… "…not the time for profits and bonuses" or "controlling executive compensation," everyone should be concerned. Despite their continuous encroachment on our liberty through our wallets, we must keep in mind the people of this country and around the world depend on our private sector and their executive leadership to produce goods, services and livelihoods.

I can tell you that there is quite a bit of truth to the belief that the quickest way to silence a liberal is to introduce them to the facts.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Latest Unemployment Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment data for March last week. The unemployment rate remained 9.7 percent, which translates to over 15 million unemployed Americans. In fact the number of unemployed has grown by tens of thousands each month this year, but that is not enough to push the reporting percentage. If you are curious why the White House was celebrating those numbers, you are not alone. The only thing that comes to mind would be that the number did not go up, but their $787 billion (CBO estimated eventual cost estimate of $3.27 trillion) stimulus efforts were supposed to prevent unemployment from reaching 8%. Perhaps they are celebrating the transfer of jobs from the private to public sector?

As you can see the unemployment rate for March 2010 is higher than 2009 and much higher than 2007 and 2008. What is interesting about this data is who is being impacted the most from this administration’s economic policies. Democrats have received the majority of the young voters age 18 – 29, in the last three general elections. Obama grabbed 66% of the age 18 – 29 votes in 2008. Obama also received 95% of the black vote and benefited from 4.9% increase in black voter turnout. In fact, black women made up the greatest voter turnout in the election with 68.8%. One has to wonder if Obama will get the same level of support from black voters and young voters in the next election. With unemployment approaching 20% for black males over 20, over 40% for blacks age 16 – 19, and nearly 24% for whites 16 – 19, these voters might be looking for some more change in November 2010 and 2012.