Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Emergency Rooms

For the truly bored at heart:


It is the latest ambulance Care Medical Survey. It is packed with a wealth of statistics and Tables, sufficient to numb the most brazen mind. It has only a few problems, like they don't use the same language as humanity, but it give a clear picture of Emergency Health Care today.

From 1993 to 2003, the number of ED visits increased from 90.3 million to 113.9 million visits annually (up 26 percent). This represents an average increase of more than 2 million visits per year. The number of hospital EDs in the United States decreased by about 12.3 percent during the same period.

Utilization rates were highest for Medicaid enrollees (81.0 visits per 100 persons) and lowest for patients with private insurance (21.5 visits per 100 persons). + At 14.2 percent of visits, patients arrived at the ED by ambulance, representing over 16 million ambulance transports. + The mean waiting time to see a physician was 46.5 minutes.

Injury, poisoning, and adverse effects of medical treatment accounted for 35.3 percent of ED visits. Falls, being struck by or striking against, and motor vehicle traffic incidents were the leading causes of injuries presenting to the ED, accounting for about 41 percent of such visits. + 1.7 million visits were for adverse effects of medical treatment.
+ About 15.8 million ED visits resulted in hospital admission, representing 13.9 percent of visits. + After increasing for 10 years, the percentage of visits with no followup planned decreased to 6.3 percent. + Over 2 million patients were transferred to other facilities (1.9 percent of visits), and 317,000 patients either were dead on arrival or died in the ED.

Emergency Room Care becomes more necessary with every Season, but the Emergency Rooms are closing down. Almost 40% of ER visits would be hard to treat by other means. Ambulance Calls to Doctors' Offices and Clinics stands as the leading User of ambulance services. A Third of such ER visits are made by Patients who are insured, and likely to have a Private Care physician. Emergency Rooms are the sole Care-Giver for an estimated 20% of all Americans. ER crowding is becoming endemic. The Situation must be corrected, but How?

Plan of Action:
1) Separate Emergency Rooms from Hospitals and other medical facilities.
2) Have ER's maintain their own ambulance and Switchboard Service.
3) Fully staff the Walk-In Service (provide more Staff than simple ambulance reception)
4) Make ER's maintain their own Billing and Payments Dept.
5) Cease Government funding of Hospitals, restricting such aid to Emergency Rooms.

Emergency Rooms must become full-service Clinics. lgl

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

A Day not only for Veterans, but for all Loved Ones lost for whatever reason. We still owe Veterans an obligation, though, to review the American tide of history. World War II Veterans now suffer the infirmities of old age, and will see few additional Memorial Days. It is imperative We gift them with an appreciative word of Thanks on this Day. Other military personnel should be thanked as well. It truly is the Day to Thank All who have served, or are serving in the Military.

A further obligation exists, though, in that We should reconsider the American hubris which affects Our military so drastically; We must avoid creation of unnecessary Memorials to American military dead, by avoiding such Deaths if at all possible. The best way to accomplish this goal remains reexamination of American military commitments.

The United States entered WWII because of a Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor. America responded to the immediate Injury by establishment of long-term military commitments. This Author stated once that We have had an American army of occupation in Europe since 1942, and an American army of occupation in Japan since 1945. It is known We have had an American army of occupation on the Korean peninsula since 1950. Anyone can find multiple defensive Arguments of the current American deployments in these areas, but All realize the continued American military presence in these regions serve only American bureaucratic hubris. The Time of Need for these deployments has passed.

The 9/11 Attack on the World Trade Center and New York was spurred by American military support of Israel. Does the United States have a real national interest in provision of this military support? The answer is Yes! Did the United States have to attack Afghanistan and Iraq because of 9/11? Afghanistan--Yes, Iraq--No! The Answer expresses the real danger of American bureaucratic and Political hubris. The Afghanistan invasion was based upon a real American interest, and because it was recognized as a real need, was and is not fought by even native Afghans. America has no real national interest in the invasion of Iraq, and We are paying the price in American Dead and Wounded.

Great Presidents and American Leadership keep American military endeavors contained to specific regions, with proper concentration of proper military force. All the U.S. invasions of the Banana Republics in the first half of the 20th Century did not equal the Cost of the current American incursions, both in terms of Casualties and military expenditures. The sick humor of the comparison lies in the fact that the previous invasions faced more equitably armed and trained opposition, than the current invasions. A Telling Point is the statement that the previous invasions cost only about 1-3% of the damage to native economies as has the Later, so American Good Will and Friendship was maintained with native populations.

American Political and Military Policy must be changed, before the United States will ever regain the prestige of Our Forefathers. lgl

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The EU

There are strong indications that France and the Dutch may vote down the EU constitution, in Elections coming shortly. Will it be a disaster for Europe? No! The economic integration of the Continent will not be undone, and the substantive agreements will remain in force. Europe may simply remain basically as it is Today, with little gain or loss.

Study of history provides an equivalent example. The United States started out as the Confederation of States, an integration little more than the current status of the EU at this point. They needed a new union in 1785, because economic functions could not be realized under the Confederation of States, basically elimination of Tariffs between States and uniform Tariffs applied to foreign Goods in different States. There was also the political goals of preventing individual States from establishing independent Treaties with foreign Powers.

Here is where the Confederation of American States diverge from the current EU. The Confederation lacks sufficient economic integration and economic linkages for unitary action by all States. The basic lack in the Confederation was inefficient Lines of Communication, both Political and Economic. The European Union, on the other hand, enjoys rapid and effective Lines of Communication, alongside extensive Private Sector integration of economic function. The political integration, as it now stands, remains sufficient to maintain the Status Quo.

Economists and Journalists propagate the theory of EU economic stagnation, a concept hard to accept when viewing the reality. Europeans enjoy a relatively high Standard of Living, good to excellent health care, and are altering their Pension plans to endure the coming decades. European businesses continue to be profitable, though Americans criticize European business practice for failure to develop according to the American model. Reality would claim Europe could not adopt the American model, which consumes too large a segment of the Resource pool, and could not be sustained by their economies. This Author believes Americans will eventually have to adopt the European model of business practice, due to reduction of Resources.

Europe does not need a political constitution, but Americans must start to think about Conservation. lgl

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Where is Oil Production Going?

Experts: Petroleum May Be Nearing a Peak

A scan of current thought from both sides on the amount of retrievable Oil reserves remaining on a World-wide level. It fails to fully outline all Alternatives to Oil as a energy source, but clearly states transference to alternate energy will require an entire competing infrastructure at immense Cost to the one already in place. It also highlights unproven claims that coal gasification can be achieved for $35/barrel in the massive amounts needed for transference.

Longtime Readers know the Author prefers a liquid Plastic fuel, which can be produced with surface Carbon (Ground Cover, Garbage, Sewage, or grown Ocean and River algae). Nuclear power can provide the energy to produce the Plastic Fuel, while transference only requires conversion of Engines, Pumps, and safe Carburation. This Author estimates surface Carbon collection would require $30/barrel, Conversion of infrastructure would require $20/barrel through the process of total transference, and mass production of a non-stick, Plastic fuel would range about $12-14/barrel. The Plastic fuel (a simple form of liquid plastic explosive with additives to keep it liquid throughout all temperatures) could be safely produced and distributed. It is the only Energy alternative with the possibility of Gas mileage in excess of 50 miles per gallon. Price at the Pump: $2-3 after complete conversion.
Back to the Article:

Oil Production will peak, but it will be slower than expected in the Article, somewhere around 2030-31. We have a lot of time to work on it, but We don't as well. Expanding Oil Production will require heavy Capitalization with resultant rise in Energy price, think $100/barrel Oil consistent past 2010, and Pump prices of $7/gallon past that time. Capitalization of Plastic Fuel production immediately, with 25% reduction in Oil usage by 2020, could create the Pump Pricing: Gasoline--$4/gallon and Plastic Fuel--$4/gallon. Full conversion to Plastic Fuel by 2025: Plastic Fuel--$2/gallon, Oil--only used as lubricants. lgl

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Volunteer Army

May 26, 2005
America's Recruiting Dilemma
By Robert Novak

Robert Novak stands as a Conservative (still Supply-Sider) who thinks Michael Milken should not have had to do Time. Why Read him? The Answer is simple: because he still writes Articles like the One here cited. He continues to come up with cutting edge stories, and has since the Korean War and his participation within it, which he mentioned in this article.

This Author lacks hard numbers (the Pentagon remains very quiet about this), but there has been one estimate that the Army falls 8.5% short of required junior Officers per year. Enlisted personnel has been supposedly found to fill the necessary quota, but Some like this Author, believes they are coming up about 20% short of Requirements. A more disastrous figure often unheard is the Shortfall in the NCO cadre. Iraq and Afghanistan chews up military personnel of all types, especially the small unit Commanders. All lack qualified Replacements.

The Army Reserve and National Guard units face Recruitment worries even greater than the regular Main force. Why? The Answer states Presidential and Pentagon polices have made such Service extremely unattractive. Such Personnel face being sent into War zones and danger with less-intensive training as often as Regular units, and like the Regular troops, are subject to more than one Tour. These are generally older Personnel with extensive family commitments, which Republican and Pentagon policy refuses to recognize properly (with extended Pay packages, special Family assistance, and adequate medical care if wounded). Potential recruits go mainforce Regular Army, because it is safer, better Overall Pay and medical care, and with better Return integration into American society.

Iraq and Afghanistan cannot continue to be fought on the basis which President and Pentagon desires, where the individual Soldier must face, and solve, all personal financial difficulties in isolation, without even Command sympathy. This Author agrees with Charles Rangel, and likely Robert Novak himself, that We need an Exit strategy from the current Administration's military adventures. lgl

Cubicle Retirement Planning

All sorts of Options have been expounded for reforming the Social Security system This Author has provided more than one. Arnold Kling at Econlog posted a Thread on Steuerle' idea to raise the Retirement age before eligilibility for Benefits. The Author provided commentary stating such an increase in Age limit stands as unsalable to the American Public. He then advanced another alternate Proposal, which would work equally as well. (Sorry for the lack of provision of Web address)

Cubicle Retirement Planning starts with a simple premise: Retirees need substantially more Income some decades after initial Period of Retirement in order to meet increased Medical and Living Costs. Workers, though, do not desire tampering (by Anyone) with their schedule of Retirement.

The Plan:
1) A base Benefit will be set and granted to all Recipients to insure Subsistence for Lower-Income levels.
2) Eligilibility will still be calculated as is done currently.
3) Benefit Payment schedules, though, will be assigned by Decades (40 Quarters)
4) The first Ten Years of Retirement will be paid according to the Taxes paid in the first 40 Quarters, the second Ten Years of Retirement will be paid according to the Taxes paid in the second 40 Quarters, etc.
5) Disability will be paid according to an averaging of the Decade levels.

The easiest method of thinking of the program is that your Benefits will be determined by the Social Security Taxes you have paid prior to a Date some 30 or 35 Years before, with Adjustment coming at the completion of every Decade of Retirement. Full implementation of the Plan would save an (Author-estimated) 6-10% of the total Cost of the Retirement system, with the least impact on beneficiaries. Wage-indexing could be kept to maintain the living standard of Retired People, and Medicare premiums could be scaled by decade as well, to best enhance the ability to pay. No Plan is perfect when considering retirement and Pension systems, but Cubicle Planning shifts the burden to Those most able to Pay. lgl

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Statisticians Do Lie

Let's see here: The Trade deficit is up, though Everyone is not sure what the exact increase is; it is only known it did not shave 1.49% off of GDP in the last Quarter, only a silly little 0.9%. There were 274,00 new Hires, nobody need mention that total disbursed income on the new Hires is unlikely to equal the lost income coming to Those filing new Claims for Unemployment over the same Period. We are back at a GDP economic growth rate of 3.5%, forget about the silly initial 3.1% economic growth projection (even though Some expect even the initial economic projection was scaled).

What is the relevance of the above Data?

No criticism, else the Stock Market might drop again! Liberal Economists could explain that a 3.1% economic growth rate will not generate the 3% Breakeven Return to make George W. Bush's Private Accounts Plan for Social Security viable. A 3.5% economic growth rate, on the other hand, can make some Conservative Economists fantasize that the 3% Breakeven Return can be attained. One less-educated like this Author considers Transition Costs, Handling Charges, alongside the average Market flux estimated by decade, and conclude that economic growth must be at least 3.7% per year in order for the Bush Plan to obtain the Breakeven Return, and this for a sustained Period of 24 Years duration. Addendum: The Inflation rate cannot exceed 1.4% per year.

This Author has yet to see any response to a Challenge he made privately. This was a statistical Model projection of what the National Debt would be over the next 75 Years, if the Debt grew continually at the same average rate in which it has grown in the later Bush years. lgl

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bad Mixed Bag

Durable Goods did what?

Orders for Durable Goods Reverse 3-Month Decline
Published: May 25, 2005

Durable Goods Orders Jumped In April
Published: May 25, 2005
Filed at 10:44 a.m. ET

Both try for a bright Picture, neither can hide a 0.2% decline in Durable Goods after volatile Transportation is excluded. Dollar amounts were actually the lowest spent since December.

Fitch Cuts GM Debt Rating To Junk
Published: May 25, 2005
Filed at 5:02 a.m. ET

GM is losing it's SUV market (down 20%), and has almost $300 bn in Carrying debt. Investment Funds (only Some) must divest GM bonds, because they cannot carry Junk bonds. Freed debt estimate: $20-30 bn, if We are lucky.

Oil Leaps To $51 As US Crude Stocks Fall
Published: May 25, 2005
Filed at 12:06 p.m. ET

$51.23/barrel for Light Crude, all because Crude Oil stockpile slipped, though Crude inventories are 9.57% higher than last Year's.

Gasoline stocks increased by 600,000 barrels to 215.4 million and distillate stocks rose by 1.9 million barrels to 105.7 million.

The rationale for the Rise in Oil price:
American Consumers are expected to consume more than ever, and China will use an additional 8% of Oil this Year than last. Facts:

Refineries raised Gasoline production by only 0.2785%, and is doubtful to raise Gasoline production by more than 1.85% of current production using current Refining capacity. China faces a similar constriction. Both the United States and China will have to import Refining capacity, rather than simple Crude Oil. Crude Oil inventories are actually overstocked, without the construction of additional Refining capacity. This Author will again say that Speculators drive the Oil market pricing, not economic shortages of Oil.
Email from Samuel H. Willamson
Titled: The Economic Issues of Social Security

He excellently excerpted several Papers presented to the Democratic Policy Committee. These Papers show why the Bush Plan for Private Accounts for Social Security will lead to the loss of security for both the Social Security program and Recipients. Access to the Papers:

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

April Housing Sales

Greenspan warns last week that there is "froth" in the market for homes. Now We hear there is over a 4% rise in Home Sales, this vastly increasing the number of yearly sold units. What is happening? No One can be sure, but this Author has his suspicion: Homeowners are overextended, and have start to 'Buy Down'. This Process rids Homeowners of too large a level of Debt, reduces their monthly Mortgage payments, and allows for Capital Gains-taking without Tax penalty, and a future mortgage credit. They are also joined by Speculators, who think to profit from the new round of compulsive buying'.

The real problem is the produced increase in Housing prices, over a 15% Price rise year over year. This causes a problem! Homebuilders witness higher Profits coming from new Home construction, and therefore, they push hard for new construction. The mortgage Tax credit, and Homeowner indebtedness, send false economic signals to the Construction and Realty industry. Pricing proclaims an acute shortage of Housing, when a glut of Housing is growing!. The Problem defined is: When will the Housing Glut overbalance the economic impact of the mortgage tax credit, causing Housing prices to plummet?

This Author is also comforted by the knowledge that the OECD disagrees with his basic prediction of yesterday, but due solely to imaging that the Japanese and American economies differ substantially in emerging market forces. lgl

Monday, May 23, 2005

National Association of Business Economics

They possess a truly sound composition of Economists, but this Author must state they are both too optimistic and too pessimistic. Here is the list of this Author's own predictions:

1) GDP growth rate--will not make 3% in 2005 (their prediction 3.4%) as the American economy already has too many Strikes against it this Year.
2) Their prediction of Labor Cost increases in excess of 4% is all wet, as variations in Productivity growth do not impact that much. Rarely does Wage increases exceed the CPI, because of Business use of Layoffs and Downsizing to cut Labor Costs, unless Labor exerts real muscle in negotiations for a Living Wage.
3) Their prediction of CPI inflation of 2.8% fails of belief: All the Supply and Energy distortions within the Price structure are not only still present, but more impactual. Core inflation will equal, if not exceed, the Core inflation of 2004. A triangular Inflation syndrome has also developed, where non-Core inflation (of the beautiful Stripper's art) has become the Third Rail of Household Cost--directly behind mortgage, Car payment, and Health Care.
4) Their Trade Deficit of $662 bn can only be realized if the Dollar devalues significantly. Real physical Trade components indicate total Trade Product will decline. Author prediction of Trade Deficit: $601 billion.
5) Too much production of Light Crude and Brent, and too little refining capacity. Author's prediction: average Crude Price for 2005: $39.75/barrel; Gasoline: $2.05/gallon; diesel: $2.20/gallon; Heating Oil: $2.40/gallon; Propane: $2.00/gallon. Crude will be much cheaper than the National Association estimate with Gasoline a little cheaper. The real bummer will be the diesel and Heating Oil prices--with Propane unnaturally in step with Heating Oil pricing (major weight Price-gouging without presence of weighted Production Cost increases--can you tell the Author heats with Propane?) The cost of diesel fuel will push up Transportation Costs overall, with much greater impact than ordinary PPI increases (We are talking about a 2% increase in Core inflation.

Now you can all join in the Chorus: WHAT THE HELL DOES HE KNOW??? lgl

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Coal Gasification

Dirty Secret: Coal Plants Could Be Much Cleaner
Published: May 22, 2005

Good article about becoming locked into antiquated technology due to insufficient regulation now. The real value of the Article lies in it's statement that 'stripping' carbon and greenhouse elements from fuel is cheaper than scrubbing exhaust to rid of pollutant gases. The benefits of the Gasification of Coal process consist of using about 15% less fuel to produce the same energy as Coal emission technologies. The Downside lay in the fact that Coal Gasification technology is much more expensive than stated in the Article, and current Costs of Coal production are such that it would take almost 6 Years at current Coal prices of Production to equalize Production Costs with Construction Costs added. Heavy industrial Production plant construction has gone up drastically, since the Pilot plant was built.

The Author would feel greater regret, except he does not believe Coal Gasification is the Answer. He has always favored a cheap, artificial, plastic fuel (low-grade plastic explosive) which could be produced as cheaply as the current Oil refining process--including Supply components. People may be disturbed by mention of plastic explosives, but almost all such plastics are harder to ignite than Gasoline, and could be safer overall than diesel. lgl

Saturday, May 21, 2005


The word makes Free Traders tremble with anticipation, but has of late brought some tremors of fright. A axiom of truth must be entered at this point: American Exports will never grow to match the current American level of Imports. This leads to the second truth which must be stated: The only way to effectively close the Trade Deficit, and alter the fundamental structure of the Current Accounts Deficit, is to find some way to curtail American Imports.

This Author thinks We will get an example of the effectiveness of Economic Policy, but exhibited in the only place where it is effective--at the microeconomic level. West Coast harbor facilities are raising their usage fees in effort to regulate the flow of traffic. This will alter Shipping costs significantly for Carriers, who have no effective manner of determining whether they can get the cheaper or the higher rate (they quene for harbor usage, and cannot tell what Time they will be called). Carriers will thereby charge Shippers according the higher rate universally, and raise Shipping Costs by almost 11% per Container. Simple Economic models, unadjusted for outside propulsions, relate this will mean a 4% reduction in Imports (this Author expects no more than 1% decline, due to those exterior propulsions to Trade). It will still mean a 0.6 reduction in the Advantage of Trade Index.

China is already placing tariffs on Clothing Exports, trying to head off U.S. and EU imposition of Clothing quotas. The tariffs will not succeed, because the Quotas will be imposed. This Author can hardly wait for the Quotas, but not to reduce Chinese trade. The Quotas have a microeconomic effect! American Wholesalers and Retailers find the Quotas effectively block Overseas investment to establish cheap supply of Goods. Said Wholesalers must rely on World market forces to purchase Goods from native-owned Manufacturers, or they must set up foreign distribution networks (a huge Expense) to sell their own excess manufacture.

What is the total effect?

Guess-estimates of the Author imply American foreign investment will decline by 12-15% due to the Quotas concurrently emplaced in both U.S. and EU, while American domestic investment will rise by a late 2-3%. The increased Harbor charges will sustain the microeconomic effect of the Quotas, without affecting American Exports (concentrated Goods with low Harbor charge per item) more than marginally. The Energy shortage of the coming Winter is vastly overrated, and the U.S. and EU, along with China and Japan, will not meet the Energy usage of last Year. You can all tell the Author how wrong he was, at the end of the Year. lgl

Friday, May 20, 2005

What is North Korea Doing?

This is not the usual ramble on the idiosyncrasy of North Korean leadership concerning their nuclear threat. They produce a multiplex of threats to American national objectives. This Author has received an unverified report that the N. Korean munitions industry has started to supply Terrorist elements; nothing new, except for detail. The gist of this rumor, until verified, states N. Korean are sending wire-guided, hand-held, anti-armor missiles to Iraqi insurgents through Iran. This would be an major escalation of the Terrorism in Iraq, as such missiles have a range of 1000 meters with a 80% accuracy. N. Korea is known to have about 18,000 of these weapons in stock, and the capacity to produce about 2000 per year.

The Report may be nothing more than Islamic Terrorist rhetoric, but the Author suggests American intelligence take the Information seriously until disproved. It implies almost 4000 of these weapons are already in the process of distribution throughout Iraq. The major problem of such a Weapon system in Iraq is not simply threat to American soldiers. Most Armor vehicles need a direct hit (not a deflection hit) to achieve penetration. The threat to Convoys, though, is incredibly high, and the Oil pipelines could be permanently closed with little danger to the attacking Insurgents. lgl

Thursday, May 19, 2005

China Growth

The NYTimes came out with an article today suggesting that internal growth in China shows signs of slowing, though their Exports continue to grow. The Article implies this will make the Chinese even more resistant to allowing the Yuan to float. Part-Right and Part-Wrong.

China faces a huge Cash-inflow from her production of Exports. She, and the other Asian nations, cannot permanently continue the practice of buying U.S. Treasuries. China's huge level of Export production is propelling Wage inflation throughout the internal economy. Her tight Credit control can only delay internal inflation. Prevention of internal inflation requires absorbing the increasing Wages of the Export industries. A Black Market will expand in China, unless Chinese leadership enters into a program of interior development.

Floating the Yuan will retard this Black Market, which expresses almost total freedom from other forms of Market and Currency controls. The primary feature of Black Market effect in tightly controlled economies is the development of the Double-Pay package, where Labor is paid a regulated and accounted Pay, but alongside an under-the-Counter unaccounted Wage. Businesspeople get accustomed to carrying around a bag full of Cash to do business. The initial Chinese Bank scandals indicate the Double-Pay package already thrives in China.

China has to start internal development with switch of Chinese production from Exports to internal consumption, or confront a worse Inflation than an over-spending Federal Government could produce here. lgl

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Core Inflation

This Author has some difficulty with Core Inflation standing at 2.24% this month year over year. Food Costs have averaged more than that since the First of this Year. Apparel is down? Since when did Apparel knock more than one percent off the Inflation rate? The Owner-Equivalent Rent is what? It going down only reflects all those Unemployed who could not make Rent payments or mortgage payments in the last Year. Correct me if I am wrong here, but didn't the PPI go up over 1.7% since January? Are Our poor Businesspeople giving up around 8% of their Profits since the first of the Year, so We could have a stable Core Inflation?

A More Likely Scenario:

Someone (think of a West Wing episode) reached out and touched Someone else (like one of the Fed Governors), asking said Governor what type of Consumer Report could entice the Fed to stop raising the Overnight rate. We are back to the West Wing episode, with the President calling something like BLT, or the BLS; President's mistake, he doesn't like lettuce on his BLT's, or is that this Author. The Conversation probably mentioned something about reining in a stampede, lest the Chinamen charge me 2% more on my Notes. Can't have that now, can We? By the way, put some salsa on that BLT. lgl

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Producer Price Index

It rose 0.6 in April, continuing the trend of March of 0.7 increase. This does not mean that Inflation pressure is lessening. A sharp increase one Month will lead to following reduced increases in following Months, until there is another sharp spike, or a leveling off of Prices for a number of months. This pattern emerges due to Producers only periodically altering their Price schedules, because of the Cost of changing their Price schedules (notification to Wholesalers and Retailers of the Price changes, issuance of new catalogues, etc.). Such Price increases generally extend in excess of a Quarter, as Producers possess varying Evaluation formulas to determine Prices, and they are set to trip at different Period dates. Widespread gain in the PPI will invariably incur successive Months of gain, due to the process.

The real Economic worry consists of the 15.9% year over year increase in Energy prices. No One can validly strip Fuel price increases from the next PPI reading, it stops being volatile and becomes statistical gain. The only thing to reverse this gain is a reduction of that 15.9% increase over last year. Sensible Economists actually state that stripping of volatile Prices ends by the third consistent Quarter.

Manufacturing output was down 0.2, after a 0.1 gain in March, but what does this mean? The reduction comes in lower Vehicle production, the same thing which held down the March reading. Why is Vehicle production down? Car Companies are not producing or selling the lines most favored before the Energy prices increases--SUVs, and the high-powered Light Trucks, simply because they are Gas-hogs. Let no Economist snow you, the American economy suffers from high Energy pricing. lgl

Monday, May 16, 2005

Make or Break Month

May is the month where We find out if the higher Fuel bills will have an impact upon fuel consumption. Ideal Model outcome is a 6% drop in Fuel Consumption year on year from last year. The Price of Gas would then be about $1.80/gallon by Fall--start of the Heating season. Worst Scenario will be if Worldwide fuel consumption eats up the excess capacity by an 8% increase year on year from last Year. Fuel prices then will have to be stabilized by Rationing, unheard of since WWII.

The Author had hopes high Fuel prices would curtail the non-Productive usage of Fuels. He has noticed fewer RVs on the road, but they are still substantially there. Truck traffic has slowed somewhat, though it takes a trained Eye to detect it. He needed to go to his local Walmart this morning, though, and found the Parking areas filled as usual. The final deep cut consists of SUV Sales are again going up in relation to other new Vehicle Sales. The American Consumer is pushing the Envelope.

Author Proposals:

Any Steps to avoid Gas Rationing stand preferable to the bureaucratic mess itself. The President should immediately order all National and State Parks to triple their Access and Camping fees. He should also order all Single-Occupant vehicle access to Toll roads to pay triple the normal Toll rate. Down-the-Road Congressional Act could demand all Shopping facilities install Parking meters in their Parking areas, collected Funds to underwrite State Medicaid Costs; the Parking toll will be $1 per hour, gathered by the Shopping facility itself for 20% of the revenue (The City Parking tickets will be real enough, at $50 apiece a significant source of Local Government revenue). lgl

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Greenspan spoke at the Wharton commencement, advising the Graduates to be honest and fair in their dealings with Others. The general tone of his words implied avoidance of the personal corruption, which comes with dishonest dealings with Associates, Competitors, and External Controls in the Marketplace. It sounded a correct note for graduating Students, but actually does little to suppress the personal corruption.

The basic malfeasance exhibited in the Business world comes from excessive Regulation. Lawyers and Legislators hold the blame for the corruption, by demanding very specific and particular statement of every 'Can Do' or 'Can't do'. Basic Injury Law should be utilized to govern Business ethics. The Statement for Justice in Business performance must be: Who, if Anyone, suffered Personal Injury or Financial Loss due to unethical Business practice? The obtuse regulations on Business conduct draw Everyone away from the above central question.

The Author will immediately be queried as to the definition of ethical Business conduct, saying the lack of definition requires the intense regulation. He can only provide a definition he believes valid: Ethical Business conduct is that which does not impose Exterior Costs upon Others without recompensation. lgl

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Export Pricing

The Last Government report said Imports--up 0.8%, Exports--up 0.6%, but the previous report put Imports--up 2%, Exports--up about 0.6% (in Price). This reflects a trend which has been going on for about a Year. Resources and low-Tech production has been gaining in value against high-Tech production. Another way of expressing it: American and World high-Tech products have been suffering Product-inflation; Resource and low-Tech Products have been enjoying a Product-deflation.

What has brought on this Trend?

The primary cause consists of American Outsourcing of base element (low-Tech) Production. This has raised foreign industrial demand for Resources and semi-Finished Products, while the American demand for such Resources and Products diminished at a slower rate than the rate of Outsourcing; the Process increasing overall industrial demand for the Products, leading to higher Resource pricing. The second primary cause stands as the fact that American Producers did not pass all Profits gained from Outsourcing along to the Wholesalers, who did not pass all the reduced Costs along to the Retailers, who did not pass all the reduced Costs along to the Consumers through lower Pricing.

We can now turn to the Production side of the Equation. The Producers of high-Tech Products face higher Production Costs due to higher Pricing for Resources and Semi-Finished Products. Their Profits from Production have been reduced, and they face a sharply competitive market for their Product. They individually chose to maintain their Price schedules, in hopes to achieve greater market share, intent on recouping lost Profits through expanded Sales. Now comes the debacle: Achievement of their intent resulted in higher Labor Costs, again reducing Profits. Exorbitant failure of intent led to increased Inventory Costs and higher Resource Pricing.

This Author suggests high-Tech Producers Worldwide abandon a self-defeating pursuit of expanded Sales, and initiate Price schedules which would increase high-Tech Product pricing to an overall 3.5-6% gain. lgl

Friday, May 13, 2005

Military Base Closings

The Pentagon just released the BROC recommendations for Base closings. It is milder than expected, but the upcoming fight will be as rough. Governors, Senators, and Congressmen are already gearing up for battle. The sad element in all this lies in the fact the Closings will beneficial in the long run for Everyone.

New London (the Sub base) can be dredged and revamped into a modern Container-Ship facility serving the Northeast. Some of the Alabama and Mississippi bases should not be deactivated, per sec, but turned into Oil refineries (left Active for Security protection with a MP battalion stationed onsite). The Texas bases even have reasonable Pipeline access for Oil refining capacity. The Pentagon's plan for Shared-Training facilities is not as acceptable; Combat MOS training facilities should be kept separate, for expansion purposes in case of large-scale War. There are some Expenses which should be borne. The Recommendation Report, though, stands as very creditable, and State and Local officialdom should be brought on board.

A primary accomplishment to the afore-mentioned End would be a Federal Executive and Legislative decision to 'Build and Lease' economic productive capacity on the closing bases. The Author mentioned on previous Post the suggestion that the Federal Government itself build Oil Refineries on Active Military bases, then lease the Refining capacity to Private Operators. The Federal Government could develop the Container-Ship capacity at New London, then lease the facility, or have a Federal Port Authority operate the Facility at a Profit. Alabama and Mississippi base sites are almost perfect locations to build Top-tech Steel smelting plants which can be profitably leased; the Military will need Steel production capacity in case of full-scale War. Conservatives will claim this would be a huge expanse of Government, but it would be a good expansion; the Government acting only as Capital-Aggregator and Landlord. lgl

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Iraq Casualties

The Author was playing with the numbers today (he should never do it, and he has a high error rate at numbers-crunching), and he came up with some very depressing Numbers. The monthly Casualty numbers as reported April 5 were 51 American KIA, and 276 total American Casualties. The interesting element about the April 5 numbers was it gave Us the 24th monthly Casualty count.

Distressing data elements start to appear under computation. The April 5 Count of 51 KIA was 101.33% of the average monthly KIA rate of 50.33 per month of Year One, but only 62.38% of the average monthly KIA rate of 81.75 per month of the second Year of the War. Does this mean the War is getting better, or winding down for Americans? The April 5 KIA Count was higher than the actual KIA Count in 11 months of the War, no more than 10 American deaths lower for three more months, and equaled at least half of average KIA deaths in an additional 11 months of the War. The fact that the highest KIA rates occurred in the later 12 months should not please, as it means that the KIA rate had gone up 61.56% in the second Year of the War.

The total Casualty Rate has also increased from an monthly Average of 306.083 Casualties in the First Year of the War, to a monthly average of 768.5 Casualties in the Second Year of the War. The April 5 Casualty Count equaled only 27.40% of the highly monthly Count recorded, but it is not time for congratulations. The April 5 Casualty Count made up 90% of the First Year monthly Casualty Count average, but only 35.94% of the Second Year's casualty Count monthly average. Iraq's guerilla war is expanding, not diminishing!

Iraqi Citizens are dying presently in greater numbers than ever. The U.S. Government has spent over $300 billion in Iraq since the start of the Conflict, remember the poor Official who lost his Job with Bush, because he suggested that Iraq might cost $100 billion? The Author cannot find reliable numbers on the Incident rates against Americans, and the Incident rates overall. The Reader can be assured they have gone up significantly during the Second Year of the Iraq War.

Everyone, since the beginning Build-up to attack Iraq, vigorously denied Iraq had any similarity to Viet Nam. The Author has lived through both Events, and thinks the Denials are foolish. lgl

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

$55 Billion Trade Deficit

Many Economists claim a potential turnaround trend, with the GDP growth rate for the First Quarter bound to be revised upward. This Author does not believe this, but he has often been wrong. Here is his rationale:

Retail Sales have been sliding in terms of Real Goods sold, combined with increasing Business inventories and declining Retail Imports purchased at the Wholesale level. Clear Indicators showing that Consumer Demand is cooling! Crude Oil inventories stand at 10% above last Year's level, Gasoline at 5% above last Year's level, and Distillate at 2% above last Year's level. The Author lacks hard numbers, but Household vehicle inventories have increased over last Year, plus the number of People of Driving Age has increased. Higher Gasoline pricing has definitely cut into Demand for the Product. Aircraft Sales recorded during the last Quarter probably(the Author lacking hard information) were only Sale Contracts, with the Product still uncompleted; resources and Manpower to complete the Contracts will detract from later Quarter readings. The Author is still of the opinion that the First Quarter growth rate will be revised downward to below 3%. lgl

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Federal and State spending has been increasing about 10% per year, and is expected to increase. The trouble comes in that Bush and Congress do not want to provide the funds, and neither do the States who have their own fiscal troubles:

May 9, 2005 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
By Robert Zahradnik, Iris J. Lav and Elizabeth McNichol

State revenues increase, but not at the levels needed to fund the fast-growing Medicaid Cost. State Governors and Legislators have turned at least fiscally conservative, and remain opposed to Tax increases. Many States still pass backloaded Tax Cuts, which will cut additional Tax revenues in the face of rising Costs overall.

States Propose Sweeping Changes to Trim Medicaid by Billions
Published: May 9, 2005

This article clearly outlines the Thought pattern at the State level on methodology to trim Medicaid Costs. There are serious Outcome problems with this set of options. No Co-Payment system will raise more than marginal revenue when dealing with a subsistence medical insurance for Poor people; Collection Costs will exceed gainful benefit, while medical Costs will revert to Emergency Room Costs explosion. Limiting Medicaid rolls in an artificial manner will also lead to the previous described effect. Such Changes will always fail.

Author's Proposal:

Medicaid is Subsistence medical insurance, therefore, adequate rather than superior medical aid stands sufficient. Medicaid cannot survive dealing as freely in a highly-financed Private health market. Medicaid Rules of Payment must be altered:

1) Doctors, Clinics, and Hospitals must submit a Weekly and Monthly bill for their Medicaid patients. This will be a Combined Bill for all Patients, submitted in a manner where Payment can resemble reimbursement for Employee services.
2) Medicaid will pay a set price for Each medical service according to a Bluebook schedule of medical services--uniform through the U.S. for Medicare and Medicaid.
3) Doctors and Clinics will be paid a uniform rate per Patient visit not to exceed a Weekly, bi-Weekly, or Monthly remuneration level set by Bluebook schedule, whereas after payment of this amount; Doctors, Clinics, and Hospitals are considered Employees of Medicaid, or Medicare, and must provide medical aid for all Said Patients whatever their final number. lgl

Monday, May 09, 2005

Oil Refineries--A National Security Issue?

No New Refineries in 29 Years? There Might Well Be a Reason
Published: May 9, 2005

More refining capacity will almost certainly be needed. Gasoline demand is forecast to rise 39 percent by 2025, to 12.9 million barrels a day, up from today's 9.3 million barrels, according to a long-term outlook by the Energy Information Administration. By then, gasoline alone will account for nearly half the crude oil consumed in the United States.

There exists much illusion in the Above statement, as current Crude Oil pumping could not accommodate such a large increase, combined with a projected reduction in the driving Population by 2025. It stands as no exaggeration to say We are lacking in sufficient Oil Refining capacity. George W. Bush suggested turning some of the closing Military bases into Oil Refineries. This does not adequately resolve the Issue.

Author's Proposal:

A Presidential declaration that lack of Oil Refining capacity is a National Security Issue. This to be combined with a direct proposed Bill to Congress requesting Nine Oil Refineries to be built and supervised on active Military bases, with the capacity to produce 3 million barrels of Gasoline or Heating Oil per day. These Oil refineries are to be owned by the Government, who can direct the supply of Fuels to the Military or other necessary Government tasks, but will be leased to the Private Sector, and will be allowed to provide excess capacity to the Private market. The Leasee must pay a Rent sufficient to pay the Cost of Capital equipment amortized, but will receive an Contractual price for supply to the Government maintained within 10% of current Private Sector market price for equivalent Product.

The National Security activation negates necessity for State and Local Permits etc. for Emissions standards, and reduces Federal Permits to a minimum. Government construction of the facilities circumscribes the development of Private Sector concentration of Capital to build the capacity. It is not good from a Big Government involvement in Private industry; it simply accomplishes construction of necessary refining capacity. lgl

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Budget Options and the Military

Budget Options
February 2005

This Analysis provides good insight into restructuring of the Military. The Future Combat System should be canceled for various reasons:

Inability to Achieve Function: The Joint Chiefs and Staffers imagine a battlefield reducible to a Computer screen, where everything can be controlled from one Playstation. If it were only true! An integrated Response system will always fail in the face of an Enemy composed of Thousands of individual attack elements. The FCS will crumble under an onslaught of individual initiative, as the integrated Command response will over-commit defense elements initially, to be followed with Refuel and Rearm Time lags before efficient Counter of Enemy action.

The Folly of Target Evasion Doctrine: High Command assume an Enemy emasculation before actual Combat even starts. An Enemy will utilize any Weapon delivery system which is effective: Viet Cong used to send small children to GIs with armed Grenade attached. FCS envisions $90 bn of equipment which can be neutralized by methodology costing less than the Salaries of the enlisted personnel manning the inferior equipment.

The Weight Issue: The weight of the vehicles will never be reached, if the Target Evasion Doctrine is proved to be ineffective. This means actual Force Delivery Times will stay consistent with current Unit Movement Time schedules; not necessarily a poor performance element, it allows for Political and Command assessment of the initial Unit Movement decision, and development of specific Tasking for the Units. Unit Movement Costs and Transportation needs will be understood with necessary components scheduled.

Author's Counter-Proposal to the FCS

Creation of Five new Divisions of mobile Light Infantry, supported with new Weapons systems. Extensive use of UAVs to locate the Enemy, a varied array of 'Smart' bombs released at high altitude from something resembling a B-52 upon call from the Infantry(individually) , said Infantry equipped with 'Hand-held' Targeting capability to direct the Smart bombs. The Infantry will be transported to battle by helicopters (heavy) capable of transporting a Platoon of Infantry with their extremely light ground vehicles. lgl

Complement Goods

The Author was looking around for something to write about today(a very non-Newsworthy sunshine for Mothers' Day), and decided to run through a little theory. Complement Goods are those Goods which reinforce each other's usage, whether used in tandem, or One facilitates the use of the Other. Products which are seemingly unrelated can express a correlation when external factors create a shortage of one Product, and another Product suffers constriction in normal Sales.

A City, where the Author had lived for over twenty years, has just gone Non-Smoking (the Author smokes, so the Reader can understand all Positions). It simply joined a long list of Cities and Towns. All initial economic Reports assert little loss of Patronage in Public Places from such a Smoking Ban. Later economic Reports do not exist because they present the socially-unacceptable alternate Picture. Bar, restaurant, and Coffee shop patronage has fallen in Number, and in the Dollars transferred per patron. What has been the effect?

Coffee and Cigarettes go together. Folgers or Hills Brothers was sufficient back in the day when Smoke curled through the air. Latte permeates instead of Smoke in the Coffee shops and restaurants today. Customers are significantly less, and they are charged much more (this Author bought his first cup of Coffee for a Dime). Labor Preparation Cost per cup of Coffee ascended to a professional fee Cost, plus the reduced Patronage, has brought a cup of Coffee to an average $3-4, depending on where you have a quick cup of Coffee; Time having quadrupled to get said cup filled. The Author will not expound on Bars, except to say a Bartender looks blank if you ask for bourbon and Branch. He wants a clear American drink demanded, like a Mai Ti or an Excalibur. All part of America today. lgl

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bush Budget-Cutting

The Grand Old Spending Party
How Republicans Became Big Spenders

by Stephen Slivinski
Policy Analysis No. 543 May 3, 2005
(Thanks to Tyler Cowan at Marginal Revolution for the Pointer)

A Must-Read for Anyone concerned with growing Government with Spending increases. It proves Bush deliberately increased Discretionary Spending (nondefense), as intentionally as he reduced Tax revenues. Now if this Author could only interest some Economist in a Study of exactly where the reduced Tax revenues went to: the average amount of Taxes saved by each Income group, according to IRS records.

Some Quotes from the above Study:

Total government spending grew by 33 percent
during Bush’s first term. The federal budget
as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent
of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent
by the end of Bush’s first term.

Government spending has grown from
$1.86 trillion to $2.48 trillion—up 33 percent
since 2001.

When defense and homeland security spending are
excluded, George W. Bush’s annualized rate
of budget growth falls, but only by 0.2 percentage
points. Simply put, defense and
homeland security spending is not driving
the overall Bush budget bloat.

Inflation-adjusted defense spending is higher today ($402.6 billion) than
it was at the high point of Reagan’s defense
buildup ($399.6 billion) and rivals Johnson’s
largest Vietnam War defense budget ($421.3

The real value of this Study is obvious, but it lacks the real component to reflect the real cause of the growth of Government, bless George W. Bush's Corporate soul. Real direction of increased Government Spending outlines a flow of Taypayers' Dollars to Government Corporate Venders through Supply Contracts. These Contracts have expanded the production of these Venders by almost 40%, at triple the Profits coming under the Clinton administration. A real secret of Bush success: The Cash flows to the Corporations now, the benefit to Taxpayer and Citizen lies on the far-distant horizon. lgl

The Data Not Given

This Author sometimes finds irritation with the presentation of modern Economic data. Economists today only present what they imagine is a glowing Picture of the Economy. A prime example is the issue of Labor Income. Economic Reports describe Labor Income as rising based on total increase of Wages (below the Inflation rate, but Weekly salaries are actually ahead of the Inflation rate because of the rise in Wages plus increase of number of Hours worked). This provides only directed data to encourage belief in the Economy.

It probably needs statement here that the Author has the interest of Labor at heart, but is not the primary issue in this case. The importance stands in the fact that the Trade Deficit will only be constrained by reduction of Imports, these only held back by Consumer loss of Disposable Income. Serious examination requires more than a Cheerleading Squad. Questions which the Author would like answered:

How much has Energy Costs increased as percentage of Household Income?
What is the percentage increase or loss of Household Income is Consumer Debt interest?
What average percentage of Card limit are Credit Cards utilized(how close to being maxed are these Cards)?
How much has Food Costs increased as percentage of Household Income?
What is the current average Age of automobiles in this Country?

The restraint of Consumer Discretionary Spending will reduce the Trade Deficit, and also actually increase the Savings rate. The Above questions already have answer, but are not publicly disseminated due to fear of Market reaction. Accurate Economic modeling, though, requires Economists communicate among themselves--outside their given Specialties, else innate error be built into the Models. lgl

Friday, May 06, 2005

Labor Numbers

The Labor Dept. Claims the Economy has added 700,000 Jobs since the start of the Year. Fine and Wonderful! There is only one problem: why does independent economic models express a slowing Economy, and why does the Labor Dept. still report 339,000 discouraged Workers alongside 333,000 New Unemployment claims? (Check previous Post: Background Briefings)

Snow (Treasury Secretary) was all prepared for a media blitz with the release of the Labor Dept. Report. Study of the Report suggests a vast increase in Hamburger-flippers and the Summer pre-Tourist cleanup crews. The Labor Dept. also found 93,000 additional Jobs created in February and March than previously reported; must be real important Jobs, to take this long to show up. It is also indicative that the Wholesale Trade sector grew the slowest: isn't this the season of a doubling of outside Work, requiring Wholesale supply? lgl

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tax Avenue

Recommendations for altering the Tax System are coming in, now that the President's Commission is due to report in July. Almost Everything under the Sun finds some Advocate, and some Alterations even possess widespread support. The Author's own proposal was first published some Years back, but was not examined in detail. He intends to do so here.

The current Tax System handles Credits for Investment and Savings very badly. It accomplishes very little, with a great loss of Tax revenues. Those Taxpayers who utilize the Credits would have invested anyway, and therefore the Tax Credits simply grant them unfair advantage in terms of propelling greater financial security for Households. But how to change the Tax System to ensure maximum participation?

1) Tell Business interests they will not get Investment Credits or even Depreciation Expense. These will be replaced by a set Credit for each Employee, including themselves. This will reduce pressure for Protectionism, spur Employment, and generate domestic Capital investment. The Employee Credit can be adjusted to provide approximate reward for Investment to the current Investment Credits, but it would be a directed award to achieve maximum domestic economic performance.

2) Investment Credits would again be eliminated for individual Taxpayers, replaced with a partial or total Deduction per individual equal to the Investment at all times up to a set limit. This amount can be invested not only for the individual Taxpayer, but also for Anyone else he chooses--the main choice likely to be Dependents. A properly-set Investment Deduction could operate so well, that the Personal Exemption could be eliminated. It is an admitted Capital Redistribution scheme, but one operated by the individual Taxpayer. It would spread Investment throughout the populace, and pressure for a higher Savings rate. Tax rates could be lowered substantially, and Personal Exemptions and Investment Credits canceled. lgl

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Background Briefings--Propaganda?

Washington Bureau Chiefs of all the News agencies are purportedly pressuring the White House to allow Sources to be cited. White House staff and Cabinet agencies have always utilized Background Briefings to bring Reporters and News agencies online about current events. They are not new, actually going back to the first President. What is the current dispute about?

The current Administration, White House and Cabinet, allows very little to be cited; they refuse to go on Record. They avoid Accountability by never making a quotable Statement in the first place. This stands as a somewhat normal condition among Politicians and Bureaucrats in Government; it is not something which would create marked furor. The difference about this Administration comes in the provision of Lies and Distortions in Background Briefings--for the purpose of Propaganda.

This affects Economists as well. Why is it Commerce Dept. monthly estimates always conform to ISM (Institute of Supply Management) modeling, but then are always revised upward? lgl

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


It is currently fashionable to claim a physiological floor of $50/barrel Oil has developed. Examination of the creation of this 'Floor' could provide some Insight, and some call for law enforcement. A Collusion of Interest may(?) exist in the market. Here is how it could work:

Hedge Funds could be heavily invested in Oil industry stocks. Hedge Fund Managers purchase Oil to manipulate the price of Oil. There is no illegality here, unless Oil companies have promised Hedge Fund Managers they would buy the Hedge Fund-owned Oil at the Price purchased. Oil companies may also have offered Incentives, such as a agreed Contribution to the Hedge Fund, made by Oil companies or their Executives.

The Price of Oil has hung far above the Market-clearing estimate Price ($37/barrel currently) for Weeks, if not months. Oil companies gorge themselves on excess Profits, which they do not use for Oil Exploration, or expansion of Plant capacity. Hedge Funds achieve financial growth, in a Market which is not producing Equity Profits. The Economy continues to be crippled by high Energy Costs. The Justice Dept. should already be hard at work, except of course, We have an Oil Executive administration. lgl

Monday, May 02, 2005

Pension Benefits

Monday, May 02, 2005
Cross-Country Pension Comparisons (Kash)

Right now, according to the study, the US ranks 25th out of 30 countries in pension generosity toward the average individual - or, put another way, the US is fifth from the top when it comes to stinginess toward retirees. But clearly Bush is not happy with America's fifth place position - his proposal will substantially reduce benefits for "average" Americans (defined as those who make around $36,500 per year right now), dropping the replacement rate toward the mid-20s, as a percent of pre-retirement income.

There is no doubt the Bush Social Security Plan stands as a ideological attempt to destroy the Social Security system. A Concept battle rages among Economists today over the real value of Welfare programs--which, in truth, Social Security and Pension benefits are. Extreme Conservative--like the current NeoConservatives in the Administration--dream of the complete elimination of Welfare programs; second Option being crippling such programs so they cannot function. Liberal and Moderate Economists are hamstrung by the current Vogue of Economic thought.

This Author does not know how Economic Growth became the supreme God of Economics, where everything need be sacrificed to it. All Economists, Right and Left, assert Economic Growth is propelled by aggregation of Capital, which is produced by Business Profits. Such sentiment remains fallacy! Aggregation of Capital comes from the modern Banking system, and expert manipulation of Financial instruments. Business Profits--except at the level of International Corporations--has little to do with the process. Another great fallacy lies in the claim that all Profits must go to Corporate Executives or Stockholders, who invest such Profits--rather than Consume. Labor, in aggregate, invest significant share of Income, when such Income exists. There is a Case for a Living Wage, just as there is a Case for a Viable Pension.

Labor, through their efforts and skill, produce the Business Profits described; something which no Stockholder can claim, unless the Stockholder is directly involved in the Business management or Production. A viable Pension system provides their real Profit-sharing within the Business format and Economy; like unto Dividends and Stock sales insure Stockholder Profit-sharing.

Kash states other OECD countries may have to lessen their pension benefits schedule. This Author disagrees! Economic Growth will eventually decline, this due to declining Labor participation, and Technological innovation propels Overproduction of Goods. Conservative Economists ignore the real need to generate Consumer Demand for the Goods produced. Reduction of Pension Benefits will reduce Consumer Demand, and thereby, destroy future efficient Economic performance. This will be coupled with the real fact depleted Pension benefits will lead to eventual higher alternate Welfare Costs. lgl


This Author enjoys controversy, but this could be going Above and Beyond. Construction has again expanded by 0.5% last month. How far can it expand? It has been expanding for months, and shows no sign of easing. It is pushing all Resource Costs--but especially Fuel. Manufacturing holds its own, with a little improvement; but remains unwilling to return to By-Gone Days. There should be a Policy change, as the Economy has expanded to the max under the current policy matrix.

The Author calls for immediate repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts. Construction is the traditional 'dumping pool' for excess Profits. It is the same for Individuals! A Brother-in-law has just completed the purchase of a third residence this Year, and thinks of building a new primary residence next year. Why? Diversion of Personal Gains from taxation. Current Business practice stands as worse, with All dumping Profits into construction of new facilities as tax evasion and no plans for business expansion. We have ridden the crest of economic gain from the Bush Tax Cuts; We should cancel them, before diversion of Resources eat Us out of economic expansion. lgl

Sunday, May 01, 2005

National Debt

Irreponsibility of White House Press releases and Others(Public and Private) have fanned radical presentation of Statistics. A good example:

The Outer Limits of National Debt
By ANNA BERNASEK Published: May 1, 2005

According to government figures, to make the Social Security trust fund big enough to cover its obligations, we'd have to pay in an additional $4 trillion or so today. And that's only for the next 75 years. To put Social Security on a sound basis indefinitely, significantly larger sums are needed.

What a Crock!!

The initial thing which must be said states there would be little of a Government Deficit today, if the Tax laws of the last Administration were in force at present. The accumulated Debt since George W. Bush took office would not exist. It also must be conceded this excessive Government spending actually did not fuel the Economy significantly. Exterior forces have driven the Economy since the last Recession. Tax Reform would eliminate this deficit Spending.

The second element, here, remains the Concept that all these unfunded obligations have to have some present preempt Funding. The $4 trillion outlay for Social Security serves no better than a 2% tax increase in FICA in 2015. A 10% Co-Payment system for Medicare benefits would so significantly lower Patient Demand for Services, lower Medical Costs due to restriction of Access, and pay to the point that the $21 trillion liability would not exist.

The final point made the Statement: And that's only for the next 75 years. To put Social Security on a sound basis indefinitely, significantly larger sums are needed . The Article makes a like statement about Medicare and Medicaid. The Critical Period lies between the Retirement and Death of the Baby-Boomer Generation. The Condition of the Social Security system, and the Medicare system, will improve after this Period. The great Crisis should be over by 2040 at the maximum. lgl