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How Stuff Works, Political Edition: The State of a Speech

In the State of the Union Address last night, President Obama made the following claim: Corporate profits are skyrocketing but wages, over the last decade, have barely gone up.

Everything in that statement is technically correct but will lead most to believe that this is somehow corporate America’s fault. Oh, no folks, this is politics 101, and this president is the best BS’er I’ve ever seen. Welcome to How Stuff Works, the Political Edition:

First let’s look at the simple part of that statement: wages, over the last decade, have barely gone up.

This gives the impression that wages have grown, but very slowly over the last decade and gives this president cover, because if they’ve barely gone up over a decade, this is a systemic problem that transcends political divides (a Repupublican and Democrat President). The problem is then not a product of his policy, right? Wrong! This is what happens when politics meet fizzy math, specifically averaging:

Under President Bush (heretofore referred to simply as ‘W’) wages rose at a decent clip. Under President Obama, they’ve fallen. When you add the two up and divide by ten, you get wages barely rising. Presto, you have your systemic, butt covering statement – and it’s complete horse shit. Add that to the jab that corporations are finally making a decent profit again and President Obama makes it look like corporations are the greedy bastards!

In other words, the President was correct in stating that wages have only gone up slightly in the last decade, but they’ve fallen under his leadership. This is his baby and the problem most certainly is not systemic.

Now, over the last four years or so revenue into the government has stagnated. This is a product of the economy stagnating as a result of various forces, chief among them, presidential policy – the drop wasn’t Obama’s fault, but the stagnation certainly is and it has nothing to with “the rich not paying their share. Look at the Canadian oil pipeline that President Obama quashed: Keystone. I’ve seen estimates that the pipeline was worth 200,000 direct jobs with hundreds of thousands of ancillary jobs tied to it. In a time when this country needs jobs, who would turn that down? There are two things, two reasons that makes this make sense, and it’s not the environment, that was only the “cover”. The pipeline leads directly to refineries, skipping steps in getting oil to market… One would assume this would make gas cheaper, yes? The president wants expensive gas because we use less of it when it breaks us – don’t take my word for it, he’s said so plenty of times, look it up on YouTube.

The second is a little trickier. It has to do with new technologies in clean energy. Cheap energy is the bane of green energy because the system has to adapt for it to work. This adaptation has a price that we, the consumer, have to pay (think about it this way, whether the power company passes the buck or the government subsidizes, the consumer picks up the tab). Wind energy is actually quite cheap by itself. The expense is in storing the energy because it’s erratic. Solar is just flat-out expensive. Cheap natural gas and cheap oil will allow people to relax and new technologies – the presidents “investments in the future” of energy would fall flat.

This is just one simple case – if you multiply that across the whole American economy, it’s no wonder companies are holding on to cash. This is what we do in times of crisis or uncertainty – the situation is tenuous enough and companies are trying to weather a storm the best they can – we weather uncertainty with reserves (unless you’re Solindra, then you do it with a fat government loan and then flop – or the government, they have the red-phone hotline to China).

The last thing I wanted to touch on here is the notion that budget cuts will hurt the economy and that the government doesn’t have a spending problem which was also a part of the Address last night. Federal spending to prime the economy makes sense, short-sighted, until you factor in that for the government to ‘spend’ it has to take that money out of the economy first, the notion doesn’t hold water. Let’s look at federal spending over the last decade or so…

SRfedspendingnumbers2012p11table1

From the Heritage Foundation

Notice, please, the surplus/deficit column… While W. did have a few bum years (during the recession), spending wasn’t brought back under control – revenue grew after the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Now the federal deficit in 2006 was managable – a mere $277 Billion. It was 2006 that Congress shifted back to the hands of Democrats who promised to end the fiscal irresponsibility! That lasted a year ’07 spending was already set, and that deficit ($174 Billion). In 2008 spending goes up by a couple hundred billion – but look at the deficit, revenue went down by another hundred billion (housing bubble popped). Now look at the spending jump in 2009 – half a trillion dollars. Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. On top of that, revenue declined because of the recession by $470 Billion – folks, there’s a dual problem here. Revenue and spending – one fell and the other jumped. Granted, spending leveled out, but so did revenue – it flatlined. Now, compare the 2001-2003 recession to this one (in terms of revenue) W. lost just shy of $400 Billion. Obama lost $560, so yes his recession was worse, by a bit – but the increase in spending didn’t help, it hurt… Where Bush’s pro-growth policies and tax cuts raised revenue, stimulus and federal spending did not. In other words, if federal spending were the path to prosperity, we should be humming right along right now with deficits 3-5 times worse than President Bush’s worst!

Federal spending isn’t the answer, economic growth is – and this is exactly why we’re in the mess we are in now – because the bureaucracy has it’s boot on the neck of economic growth (everything but the firearms and ammunition industries I should say which are both seeing a boom [forgive the term] of epic proportions). This explanation is the only thing makes it all make sense.

Now that’s just one statement – maybe a second or two in the whole State of the Union Address… And the entire address was filled with little seconds like that. Of course, this also explains why rebutting an entire speech is so difficult. It took 1000 words to put two seconds into context. In the end, whose problem is the spending? Congress. Whose problem is revenue? Well that would be President Obama folks.

Have a nice day.

My Superstar Daughter and The Art of Marrying Well…

My eldest, yesterday, was named student of the month for January for her elementary school.  While there may be a shred of truth to the notion that it takes a village to raise a child, it takes two very good parents to make sure that the child is applying herself.  Our kids are good because they have two morally founded parents.  Period.  That said, I thank God that making and raising a child is a team effort, and here’s why:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m the sports nut of the team that is Bgddy Jim and Mrs. Bgddy.  While my wife deserves a lot of credit for getting me into running and she does have a mean arm – that’s right fellas, I’m married to a hot chick that doesn’t throw like a chick 😉 I’m the one with the skills when it comes to sports in my house.  It is quite apparent that my skills have passed on to both of my daughters – for what genetics are worth in sports, they’ve got a good set.

On the other hand, while I am far from being an imbecile, my wife has the corner on scholastic intelligence.  I will never be accused of being an intellectual.  I got into college by the skin of my teeth.  My wife, on the other hand, was accepted to college with a scholarship – because she’s smart.  My wife’s gene contribution is also abundantly obvious in our children as is the fact that she meticulously works with those two so they learn how to think and prepare to be great students.  For this I am infinitely grateful because where I fall short, my wife picks up – and that’s really what marriage is all about.  As difficult as being married is (btw, there’s a difference between living singly together and being married), I am with exactly the perfect woman for me.  I am a blessed fella.  I married well.

So, to my darling Isabella, I am so proud of you sweetheart.  You are the apple of my eye and you are a spectacular, brilliant little lady.  Congratulations on your most excellent accomplishment.

And to my wife, Mrs. Bgddy…  You rock honey.  Nice work, you’re doing a fantastic job with the girls.  Thank you.

18th Annual Men’s Wild Game Dinner – It’s What Men Eat

I had the pleasure of attending the Annual Men’s Wild Game Dinner again this year and the fare was nothing short of spectacular.  Now, to put a fork in a possibly controversial topic before it can get wound up, this dinner is not a gathering for men to complain about their wives and lives or a “networking” event where we men get together to plot how we’re going to exclude women from [insert anything here].  Somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand of us meet in a church to eat a fantastic wild game dinner and discuss ways in which we can be better men to our wifes and fathers to our children.  Dinner is then followed by a keynote speaker who shares his story in finding God and becoming a better husband and father.  There are a few women (literally, like three this year) who attend and dozens who volunteer so the event is anything but estrogen free, but it’s really a pep rally for men t celebrate manly things.

So, moving on to the dinner it is important to remember that those of us who enjoy and indeed shoot our dinners are generally not too worried about presentation – if the grub’s good, it’s all good…  For starters, we were treated to elk (or maybe it was moose – can’t remember) chili and venison summer sausage, cheese and crackers.  Both the summer sausage and chili were fantastic.  On a side note, last year they had squirrel noodle soup (think chicken noodle soup only with squirrel instead – it was fabulous) and I really missed that this year.

IMG_1786    IMG_1787We sat and talked about hunting and fishing as we ate our appetizers, trading stories of deer camp, bear camp, fishing and attempting to fish on the US/Canadian border (ah, you’ve gotta love bureaucracy).  Promptly at 6:30 tables were dismissed to line up for the main dinner.  Again, remember that the presentation means nothing if the grub’s good – and oh my was it…

 

 

 

IMG_1788Starting from the upper right corner of the plate and moving clockwise, barbecued goose and duck (a little overcooked so it was rather tough), wild turkey and stuffing (phenomenal), BBQ venison meatballs (spectacular), Au gratin potatoes (delicious), Fried pike (amazing) and obscured by the cole slaw cup, upper middle, was venison roast with carrots and onions which was my absolute favorite – it was so masterfully prepared that you could cut the meat with a plastic fork – I don’t have enough of a masterful command of the English language to explain exactly how good that roast venison was.

If you read my post from yesterday, about paczkis, you can look at that dinner and think one of two things…  That hypocrite, or the more proper:  I was saving space for the good stuff!  The truth is, I don’t have any idea what the calorie count is on that dinner, nor do I care – and you can be certain that there wasn’t a crumb left on that plate (cupcake included).  In the end, I’d much rather ride off that dinner of starch, protein, carbs and veggies than a couple of paczkis which nutritionally, add up to bupkis.  After all, when you look at food as fuel, the choice is obvious.

After dinner and discussing manly things with the guys at my table, I came to the conclusion that I needed to be home with my wife (who I’d talked to earlier in the day and I could tell she was having a tough go) and my kids, so I made a quiet early exit before the speaker and went home to try to do some good there.