► Show Top 10 Hot Links

Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

How the US government trashed the diesel fuel cost advantage

by 1389AD ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Cars & Trucks, EPA, Food and Drink, Regulation at September 30th, 2014 - 8:00 am
Pain at the pump
Diesel or petrol, pain at the pump

I’m no Jay Leno but I do know a thing or two about motor vehicles, and a thing or three about tyranny, of which I have made a lifelong object of study. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that anything that raises the costs of road transportation also hamstrings the US economy, makes ordinary Americans poorer, strangles our liberty, and helps our enemies who are burdened by no such constraints.

I’ve owned both diesel and gasoline vehicles. Diesel was once the way to go when it came to saving money at the fuel pump. Diesel engines still outlast the gasoline variety and can deliver impressive power, but the US grabbermint deliberately wiped out the diesel fuel dollars-per-mile advantage.

Here’s how they did it:

Eric Peters: The Diesel Dilemma

The last time people began to sweat the cost of gas, they were able to turn to diesels. The cars delivered tremendous mileage (e.g., a VW Rabbit diesel was capable of 50-plus MPG, as good or better than a new Prius hybrid) and – perhaps as important – the fuel itself was cheaper than gasoline.

You may recall.

What happened?

Government.

Diesel fuel became more expensive than gasoline – because of government edicts that made it more rather than less expensive to refine. Today’s “ultra-low sulfur” diesel runs close to $4 a gallon in my neck of the Woods vs. just over $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

This cost-to-feed disparity takes a lot away from the economic argument in favor of buying a diesel-powered car. Especially given that modern diesel-powered cars – though excellent in many ways – are also a great deal less fuel-efficient than the diesel powered cars of the ’70s and ’80s (the era before government got around to hassling diesels to the extent that it had been hassling gas-powered cars). Engine design had to be altered; exhaust systems changed up. Almost all current-year diesel-powered passenger cars have particulate traps and “regeneration” (diesel fuel is injected into the exhaust to after-burn it for emissions control reasons; of course, fuel used to burn off soot is fuel not used to propel the car – and your mileage goes down).

Most (virtually all) current-year diesel-powered passenger cars also require something called Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to achieve compliance with emissions regs. That is, to placate the government (at your expense). The DEF – basically, urea (that is, piss) – is contained in a separate tank that must be regularly topped off. The DEF works kind of like a gas engine’s catalytic converter, chemically altering the composition of the exhaust stream.

Whether this is good or bad is ultimately neither here nor there as far as the consumer appeal of diesel-powered cars.

Historically, the primary reason for going with a diesel rather than a gas-engined car (all else being equal) was the prospect that the diesel would – hopefully – save you money.

Unfortunately, that’s less likely today than it was yesterday. Because of the higher cost of the fuel – and the lower fuel-efficiency of modern diesels.

Here’s an example:

I recently reviewed the 2014 VW Jetta TDI (see here). For a modern car – relative to other modern cars – it delivers excellent fuel economy: 30 MPG in city driving and 42 MPG on the highway. But back in 1979, a VW Rabbit diesel delivered 45 MPG … in citydriving.

And 57 on the highway.

See here, if you don’t believe me.

Now, granted, the ’79 Rabbit is (was) a smaller car than the ’14 Jetta. But the difference is startling nonetheless – because the Jetta has all the putative advantages of the intervening 40 years (almost) of technological advances.

Shouldn’t it deliver better economy than a Carter-era car?

Well, it could.

If VW were not forced to festoon its brilliant TDI (turbo direct injection) diesel with all the foregoing folderol. If the federal obsession with soot – aka “particulate” emissions – were not so fervid. And here it is important to point out that diesel emissions aredifferent. Particulates may be obnoxious to some, but they are not a factor in the formation of smog – the main justification for swaddling gas engines with a Hannibal Lecter-esque suit of “controls” to tamp them down.

Everything – like it or not – is ultimately a cost-benefit analysis. And frequently there is a conflict between one desired thing and another desired thing. In this case, the desire of the government to effectively curb tailpipe emissions of cars (both diesel and gas) to nil conflicts with the consumer’s desire for a fuel-efficient (to say nothing of affordable) vehicle.

And this is why – for the most part (the Jetta I reviewed being one of literally two exceptions) the diesel-powered cars available today are almost all high-end/expensive cars. The diesel engines available in vehicles like the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 3 and 5 are touted as much for their performance as their economy – and of course, the cars they’re installed in are sold on the basis of luxury and status. These are the sweeteners that make so-so-efficient modern diesels more palatable to buyers.

But on the economy end of the scale, it is harder to make a sound case for a modern diesel-powered car. Even the thoroughly excellent Jetta TDI. It costs about $5k more than the base trim gas-engined Jetta. And then there’s the 50-75 cents more per gallon you pay at the pump. Sure, the TDI’s mileage is 10-plus MPG better than the gas-engined models. But $5k buys oceans of gas … and don’t forget the extra $8-10 or so more you’ll be paying at each fill-up, diesel vs. regular unleaded.

To sum up:

The proverbial low-hanging fruit was plucked decades ago. That is, on the order of 90 percent of the harmful (e.g., smog forming, respiratory distress-inducing) byproducts of internal combustion were “controlled” by the first simple – but very effective – emissions technologies, such as catalytic converters (for gas-engined vehicles). Since the ’90s, the government’s increasingly demented crusade has been to “control” the remaining fractional part of a vehicle’s exhaust output that is less-than-pure.

I italicize this for emphasis because it is not a literary or editorial flourish. It is the literal truth.  The government will push for – and impose – a new round of emissions rigmarole in order to “cut” what they will invariably describe as “harmful emissions” by half a percent. But they will tout this as a 50 percent reduction – which it technically is. Because if you reduce 1 percent by half you have reduced it by 50 percent. But “50 percent” sounds a helluva lot better, PR-wise, than “half of one percent.”

So, we end with pretty pricey diesels that are only so-so efficient – relative to what they should and easily could be.

Continue reading…

Mixing alcohol with gasoline

Governmental bodies and various private organizations harp endlessly on the dangers of, and legal penalties against, driving under the influence of ethyl alcohol. At the same time, the US government is doing all it can to force you to feed ethyl alcohol into your gasoline-powered engine! Problem is, ethyl alcohol damages equipment that is not purpose-built to use it as fuel. Gasoline adulterated with alcohol can destroy your car, your motorcycle, your aircraft, your boat, your power tools, your generator…you name it. Seems to me that this is a stealth method to force older vehicles and equipment into the junkyard.

Arguably, “gasohol” harms the environment, in that the energy cost of producing the corn (maize), distilling ethyl alcohol from it, and transporting it to the pump, exceeds its yield as a vehicular energy source.

Corn is food. It is especially suited as fuel for people and animals, not machines. It makes economic sense to use corn as animal feed and to consume corn directly as sweet corn, hominy grits, cornbread, tortillas, popcorn, you name it. Burning corn, or for that matter, any food, as substandard vehicle fuel raises food prices worldwide, making people go hungry who otherwise would not.

If you own an older car or motorcycle, or would like to buy one, you owe it to yourself to read this:

Eric Peters: Making Your Car (and Bike) Ethanol-Safe

Follow The Money

by coldwarrior ( 53 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Energy, Marxism, Open thread, Progressives, Technology at September 23rd, 2014 - 8:00 am

Follow the money…always a good place to start:

 

What really drives anti-fracking zealots?

Author

By Paul DriessenSeptember 22, 2014 | Comments| Print friendly |

Recent news stories underscore the tremendous benefits brought by America’s fracking revolution.

  • The shale oil production boom could boost US crude production to 9.5 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) next year, reducing America’s crude oil imports to 21% of domestic demand, the lowest level since 1968. Output from fracked wells represents 43% of all US oil production and 67% of natural gas production; “frack oil” could hit 10 million bopd by 2016, the Energy Information Administration says.
  • The global economy saves $4.9 billion per day in oil spending because of the shale oil boom. Without it there would be a 3 million barrel per day shortfall and prices would likely be 55% higher: $150/barrel.
  • Constantly improving hydraulic fracturing technologies continue to increase production. For example, Cabot Oil & Gas refracked a 2013 Pennsylvania well, increasing its output to 30.3 million cubic feet of gas per day; that’s four times the output from the best well drilled in 2003. Fracking is even being used in decades-old onshore and offshore wells, to keep them producing for many more years.
  • Rust Belt cities and industries—from manufacturing, real estate and law to hotels, restaurants and many others—are rebounding because of drilling,fracking and production in nearby shale areas. In Ohio unemployment fell to 5.7% in July from 10.6% four years ago; oil output increased 26% just from the previous quarter, while gas production rose 31%—generating billions in state and local revenues.
  • The US oil and natural gas boom means jobs and business for almost 30,000 companies within the industry’s vast and complex supply chain. Indeed, the petroleum industry accounts for nearly 10 million jobs and almost 8% of all domestic economic activity, including states far from actual drilling activities.
  • The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers launched a new website to help veterans and other men and women find high-paying jobs in the booming oilfield, fuel and petrochemical industries.

Anti-fracking zealots: Follow the money—and the ideology

There are numerous other benefits, while the alleged risks are exaggerated or even fabricated. So what drives anti-fracking zealots who seem to materializeen masse whenever a new project is announced?

Follow the money—and the ideology. Big Green is big business. The US environmental activist industry alone is a $13.4-billion-a-year operation. It pours that money into determined campaigns to eliminate fossil fuels, gain ever greater control over our lives, reduce our living standards, and end free-enterprise capitalism. It drives its agenda with clever but phony crises: catastrophic climate change, unsustainable development, imminent resource depletion, poisonous frack chemicals and dozens of others.

Fracking obliterates its claim that we are about to run out of oil and gas—and so must slash our living standards, spend billions on crony-corporatist “renewable energy” schemes, and put radical green bureaucrats and activists in charge of our lives, livelihoods, living standards and remaining liberties. They are incensed that fracking guarantees a hydrocarbon renaissance and predominance for decades to come. They won’t even acknowledge that “frackgas” helps reduce (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide emissions.

Even √ºber wealthy celebrities get involved. Exaggerations and fabrications, confrontations and often callous disregard of other people’s needs are their stock in trade. In torrents of angry outrage and demands for totally one-sided precaution, they denounce any suggestion that fracking is safe or beneficial.

Whatever alternative technologies they support comply with their “precautionary principle.” Whatever they oppose violates it. They trumpet alleged risks of using fracking and hydrocarbon technologies, but ignore even the most obvious benefits of using them… and most obvious risks of not using them.

Anti-fracking zealots tend to be well-off, and largely clueless about the true sources of modern living standards. They assume electricity comes from wall sockets, food from grocery stores, iPhones from Apple Stores. You can count on one hand the farm, utility or factory workers they know personally.

They are dismissive about people who are jobless because of their war on affordable energy—and about poor rural New York families that are barely hanging onto their farms, unable to tap the Marcellus Shale riches beneath their land, because of an Albany and Manhattan-instigated moratorium.

They are equally uncaring about the world’s impoverished billions, whose hope for better lives depends on the reliable, affordable electricity that drilling and fracking can help bring. Worldwide, 1.4 billion people still do not have access to electricity including 300 million in India and 550 million in Africa. Millions die from lung and intestinal diseases that would largely disappear if they had electricity.

What the frack is wrong with this picture? This is not the same environmental movement that Ron Arnold, Patrick Moore and I belonged to decades ago. Big Green has become too rich, too powerful, too driven by perverse, inhumane notions of ethics, social responsibility and compassion. Their claims aboutethanol and wind power being environment-friendly are just as out of touch with reality.

Incessant claims that fracking contaminates groundwater and drinking water?

But what about their incessant claims that fracking contaminates groundwater and drinking water? Even EPA has not been able to cite a single “proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” A September 2013 report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences further confirms this. After carefully examining water wells in heavily fracked areas of Pennsylvania and Texas, researchers concluded that rare cases of methane (natural gas) contamination were not due to fracking.

Instead they resulted from improper cement and pipe installation near the surface, thousands of feet above the frack zone. The problem is covered by existing regulations and is preventable and relatively easy to correct. Petroleum industry and state officials are already collaborating to further strengthen the regulations where necessary, enforce them more vigorously, and improve well completion practices.

Moreover, some of the contamination resulted from water wells being drilled through rock formations that hold naturally occurring methane. Indeed, there have been very few cases of any contamination, out of more than one million wells hydraulically fractured since the first “frack job” was done in 1947, and out of 20,000 wells fracked in Pennsylvania since the Keystone State’s boom began in 2008.

Of course, none of this is likely to assuage anti-fracking factions or end their fictions. They are driven by motives that have nothing to do with protecting people’s health or environmental quality. In fact, what they advocate would further impair human health and environmental quality.

The great Irish statesman Edmund Burke could have been talking about these “fracktivists” when he said: “Because half a dozen grasshoppers make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle… chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that they are the only inhabitants of the field… or that they are other than little, shriveled, meager, though loud and troublesome, insects of the hour.”

Unfortunately, these definitely loud and troublesome insects have also grown powerful, meddlesome and effective. So fracking supporters must continue to battle the anti-energy ideologues—by becoming better community organizers and persuaders themselves, to counter the anti-fossil fuel lies and insanity, and the destructive policies, rules and moratoria imposed by ill-advised or ideological politicians and regulators.

We fracking supporters are clearly on the side of humanity, morality, true sustainability and real environmental progress. We also know that—no matter how hard eco-activists despise it and rail against it—they cannot put the fracking genie back in the bottle.

America and the world have awakened to its potential—and to the critical need for this technology. Let us applaud this incredible progress, and champion it throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and worldwide.

From this morning’s drudge:

GARBAGE MARCH FOR CLIMATE…

VIDEO: Dicaprio loses his hearing when asked about his yachts…

GOOGLE severs ties with conservative group over ‘climate change’ stance…

VIDEO: RFK Jr. refuses to give up cellphone, automobile to save planet…

Skeptics ‘should be in Hague’…

BASTARDI: ‘Nature, not man, rules climate system’…

Saturday Lecture Series: Ponzi Oil?

by coldwarrior ( 39 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Energy, Environmentalism, Open thread, saturday lecture series, Science at September 20th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Good morning all! Today we are at the Blogmocracy Petroleum Institute and lumber yard. The lecture today is about Ponzi Scemes/Peak Oil/Gas and Fracking.

In a rapid change of tack, the left, the Luddites, are now screaming that the natural gas and fracking method of extracting is  a Ponzi Scheme. Interesting that they can’t see Social Security as such. This week we found out that any contamination of well water  is the result of cracked well pipe and not form fracking. Oh, and Fracking does not cause earthquakes either.

 

 The integrity of oil and gas wells

Public concerns about oil and natural gas extraction these days inevitably turn to hydraulic fracturing, where millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped underground at high pressures to crack open rocks. Hydraulic fracturing often occurs a mile or more down, far from the water we drink or the air we breathe. The focus for safety and environmental stewardship should often be somewhere else—nearer the surface—emphasizing risks from spills, wastewater disposal, and the integrity of oil and natural gas wells passing through drinking-water aquifers (1⇓⇓–4). In PNAS, Ingraffea et al. (5) examine one of these factors, well integrity, across the Marcellus region of Pennsylvania, using inspection records from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

In a technical sense, “well integrity” refers to the zonal isolation of liquids and gases from the target formation or from intermediate layers through which the well passes. In a practical sense, it means that a well doesn’t leak. Drilling companies emphasize well integrity because a faulty well is expensive to repair and, in the rarest of cases, costs lives, as in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Drillers use steel casing (pipes), cement between nested casings and between the outside casing and rock wall, and mechanical devices to keep fluids inside the well.

Faulty casing and cementing cause most well integrity problems. Steel casing can leak at the connections or corrode from acids. Cement can deteriorate with time too, but leaks also happen when cement shrinks, develops cracks or channels, or is lost into the surrounding rock when applied. If integrity fails, gases and liquids can leak out of the casing or, just as importantly, move into, up, and out of the well through faulty cement between the casing and the rock wall.

 

So how can the Luddites continue…easy, call it a Ponzi Scheme! Who are the science deniers now?

 

Is the Shale Revolution a ‘Ponzi Scheme’ or the End of Peak Oil?

“Ponzi scheme” or the end of Peak Oil?

 

Shale boomGWPFA lot of folks are fervently forecasting that shale gas and oil production is a bubble about to pop, possibly producing an economic collapse similar to the one in 2008. Earlier this week, the left-leaning Center for Research on Globalization in Montreal dismissed the shale revolution as a “Ponzi scheme” and “this decade’s version of the Dotcom bubble.” In a column last year for The Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed of the Institute for Policy Research and Development cited studies predicting that U.S. shale gas production will likely peak in 2015 and oil production in 2017. In a July 2013 report for the Club of Rome—the same folks who brought us 1972′s doom-mongering classic, The Limits to Growth—the University of Florence chemist Ugo Bardi declared that the “idea that a ‘gas revolution’ that will bring for us an age of abundance is rapidly fading” because “the data show that the gas bubble may be already bursting.” A month later, Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute said, “It turns out there are only a few ‘plays’ or geological formations in the US from which shale gas is being produced; in virtually all of them, except the Marcellus (in Pennsylvania and West Virginia), production rates are already either in plateau or decline.”

So was President Barack Obama wrong in 2012, when he claimed, “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years”? Perhaps not.

The renaissance of oil and gas production in the United States has largely been the result of applying the technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which releases vast quantities of hydrocarbons trapped in tight shale formations. The bubble theorists make much of the fact that production tends to drop more rapidly in fracked wells than in conventional ones, forcing the frackers to drill more holes just to keep up. They overlook the fact that drillers are working ever faster and cheaper and that newer wells tend to be more productive than earlier wells. How do we know this? Because the number of drill rigs has not increased in most shale fields, yet production continues to go up.

So what about Heinberg’s claim that “production rates are already either in plateau or decline”? He’s just wrong. The September drilling productivity report from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes that since 2013, that gas production is up in every one of the “plays” cited by Heinberg. Production in the Bakken region of North Dakota grew 8 percent; the Eagle Ford, Permian, and Haynesville regions in Texas increased 15, 7, and 97 percent, respectively; the Niobrara region in Wyoming and Colorado rose by 29 percent; and the Utica and Marcellus regions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia surged 142 and 47 percent. “We’ve been tracking this for 10 years, and recovery rates have gone up dramatically,” says EIA forecaster Philip Budzik.

Meanwhile, the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 shows the potential U.S. oil and gas resource bases are increasing, not decreasing. Bubble forecasters insist those estimates are way off-base. They point to the EIA’s recent big flub when it came to estimating how much petroleum might be pumped from the Monterey shale formations in California. The agency initially prognosticated that as much as 13.7 billion barrels of oil might be produced, but it cut its estimate by 96 percent, to 600 million barrels, once it recognized the extraction challenges posed by the complicated geology of southern California. Whoops!

That’s bad, but in the scope of estimates it’s a blip, not a fatal error.

Back in 2000, the EIA Outlook report estimated that the U.S.’s technically recoverable petroleum resources were 124 billion barrels; it put natural gas resources at 1,111 trillion cubic feet (tcf). (“Technically recoverable” basically means that the resource can be extracted using current technology if the price is right.) Proved oil and natural gas reserves amounted to 22 billion barrels and 176 tcf, respectively. (“Proved” generally means the amount of resources that can be recovered from the deposit with a reasonable level of certainty.) When it came to shale and other tight rock formations, the 2000 report estimated that only 2 billion barrels of oil and 50 tcf of natural gas were technically recoverable. “Basically, in 2000 no one was even thinking that you could produce this stuff,” says Budzik.

How time and technological progress make fools of all prognosticators! The 2014 EIA Outlook estimates that the U.S.’s technically recoverable oil resources are 238 billion barrels and natural gas resources are 2,266 tcf. Proved U.S. petroleum reserves have increased from their 2009 nadir of 19 billion barrels to over 30 billion barrels, and proved natural gas reserves are at 334 tcf now. In other words, estimates of technically recoverable U.S. resources of both oil and gas have nearly doubled in the past 15 years. Proved oil reserves have increased 50 percent, while proved gas reserves have also nearly doubled. Technically recoverable resources from shale and other tight rocks is now estimated to be 59 billion barrels of crude and 903 tcf of gas—a 30-fold and 18-fold increase, respectively, over the 2000 assessments.

Take the figure of 2,266 tcf of natural gas. Last year, Americans burned through 26 tcf of natural gas. At that rate, the estimated resource would last 87 years. Not the 100 years claimed by the president, but close enough for government work.

While EIA reserve and resource estimates have been trending steeply upward over the past decade and half, the agency tries to take into account uncertainties by sketching out scenarios to 2040 in which domestic oil and gas supplies are either 50 percent higher or lower than its reference case. Production of shale gas and oil is the key difference in the scenarios. In the high supply case, technically recoverable crude and gas plus proved reserves amount to 431 billion barrels and 3,683 tcf. Consequently, domestic oil production rises to 13 million barrels per day before 2035 and imports decline to near zero. Tight oil production peaks at 8.5 million barrels per day in 2035 compared to the reference case peak of 4.8 million barrels in 2021. Cumulative tight oil production reaches 75 billion barrels, up from 44 billion in the reference case.

In the low supply scenario, crude oil totals 210 barrels and gas totals 1,814 tcf; oil production reaches 9.1 million barrels per day in 2017 and then slowly falls to 6.6 million barrels per day in 2040. Tight oil production peaks in 2016 at 4.3 million barrels per day with a cumulative production of 34 billion barrels. Interestingly, the difference in price in the high and low supply scenarios is only $20 per barrel—$125 versus $145 (using 2012 dollars) in 2040.

The shale bubble proponents essentially are betting on the EIA low production scenario. They will be proven right if shale oil production does peak in the next year or two. We shall soon see. “The history of the industry is that we are always running out,” says Budzik. “So long as we have a well functioning economic system that allows the price mechanism to adjust and encourages innovation we will see the resource base grow rather than diminish.” Rising prices at the beginning of the 21st century did, in fact, promote more exploration and faster technological progress, resulting in the shale revolution the U.S. is currently enjoying. If this dynamic is not unduly hampered, it’s a good bet that the prophets of bubble-bursting doom are wrong yet again.

The LEGO Movie: Emergent order wins, centralized planning fails

by 1389AD ( 121 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Economy, Fascism, Hipsters, Movies, Regulation, taxation at September 9th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

EconPop – The Economics of The LEGO Movie

Published on Jul 29, 2014 by Econ Stories
All new episode! Click to share: http://ctt.ec/myUJ0

In this episode of EconPop, Andrew discusses the animated hit comedy The LEGO Movie. Subjects include emergent order, creative destruction, and central planning.

EconPop is the YouTube series that sifts through the haystack of popular culture to find the needle of economics within… and then stabs you with it!

Starring comedian Andrew Heaton, EconPop takes a surprisingly deep look at the economic themes running through classic films, new releases, tv shows and more from the best of pop culture and entertainment. Heaton brings a unique mix of dry wit and whimsy to bear on the dismal science of economics and the result is always entertaining, educational and irreverent. It’s Econ 101 meets At The Movies, with a dash of Monty Python.

A Production of http://emergentorder.com

Produced in Association with The Moving Picture Institute. http://thempi.org

The Myths Of Minimum Wage

by Bunk X ( 42 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Economy, Fascism, Liberal Fascism, Politics, Progressives, Socialism, unemployment at September 7th, 2014 - 12:29 am

Minimum Wage graph Poverty Level BS

My eyes glazed over when I saw that graphic, because there are no numbers or statistics to back up that arbitrary wiggly line and its specious claim. It’s pure socialist propaganda. Ready for some unadulterated reality?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 1979-2012 minimum wage jobs comprise an average of about 60% of all hourly jobs for any given year, but guess what percentage of workers over the age of 16 make minimum wage or less?

In 2012 a whopping 4.7 per cent of the working population above the age of 16 earned at or below minimum wage nation-wide. In California, only 1.4 per cent.

[Source: www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted 20130325]

Why such a small percentage? Because the majority of those workers are in transition to better jobs, better pay, and the minimum wage jobs have an unsurprisingly high turnover rate. Who wants to scrub pots at Denny’s for the rest of their life, let alone for more than a year?

Which industries employ the majority of minimum wage earners?

Minimum Wage Bar Chart by Industry

[Source: www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130325 ]

Agriculture is relatively insignificant, especially once you combine the Service/Retail percentages, and note that the Federal Government employs very few minimum wage earners.

Now let’s look at the make up of the minimum wage workforce, the nebulous 4.7 percent.

2013 Census Table 7

[Source http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012tbls.htm#7]

Now let’s examine the age makeup of the 4.7 percent who make minimum wage or less.

Minimum Wage graph 1 ALL

Note that many workers in restaurants and hotels (waiters, waitresses, busboys, bellhops, etc.) often receive less than minimum wage, as they’re expected to make up the rest in tips. Tips account for a large percentage of income and workers typically earn more than minimum wage, sometimes a lot more in upscale venues. Since tips are un-monitored cash transactions, much of that income goes unreported. Let’s break it down a tad further.

The prevailing federal minimum wage in 1979 was $2.90, $3.10 in 1980, and $3.35 in 1981-89. The minimum wage rose to $3.80 on April 1, 1990, to $4.25 on April 1, 1991, to $4.75 on October 1, 1996, to $5.15 on September 1, 1997, to $5.85 on July 24, 2007, to $6.55 on July 24, 2008, and to $7.25 on July 24, 2009. When I checked Minimum Wage Job Numbers and correlated them with Minimum Wage Increases I found none, which suggests that employers covered the increased overhead with higher prices for goods and services in order to stay in business, and the costs were passed down to the consumer. The low income population takes another hit.

Minimum Wage graph 3 PCT Men and Women

Blue is for boys, pink is for girls. Statistics are not sexist.

I’m not an economist, and I’m also not a CPA, but I suspect the IRS gets something out of this scenario because the basic illogic of raising the minimum wage, especially in a sluggish economy, escapes me.

Who else benefits? Union leaders, long-march socialists and politicians whoring for votes.

Aside from the fact that the majority of the poor do not remain poor indefinitely (any more than the majority of the wealthy stay wealthy) raising the minimum wage gives people an incentive not to advance. If a worker finds that minimum wage meets or surpasses his/her current expenses, why not ride with it a few more years? The problem with that scenario is that the worker is not improving his/her resumé for those valuable “few years,” and by the time they realize it, they are years behind those who abandon minimum wage jobs, pick up new valuable skills, and naturally earn more. Those who choose to remain in low-skilled positions deny recent graduates the opportunity to find work, and the ladder to prosperity becomes stagnant.

Another scenario is of a family who needs a secondary income to give them a financial cushion during the expensive child-rearing years; or perhaps an elderly couple may not have saved enough for their retirement because their investments tanked; or simply because they choose not to retire.

Wage and price control is a socialist/fascist concept that has never worked because it creates more problems than it solves, and the problems it attempts to solve are non-existent in the free market. Pay a worker for the value of his/her work, and if there aren’t enough workers for the job, then you’re paying too little. Nobody wants to be a buck an hour pot scrubber for the rest of their life, but we’re still talking about only 4.7 percent of the working population, and most of those workers are moving up the ladder uninhibited.

There is also a macro-scenario that has to do with illegal immigrants and the Cloward-Piven Strategy that aims to overwhelm a stable government with free services provided and paid for by successful corporations, entrepreneurs and the common man, fomenting economic collapse and allowing Socialism/Communism/Fascism to prevail.

This road has always led to mass murder, without exception.

May God help our children and grandchildren if the progressives succeed.

Bunk

GOP Messes It Up Yet Again

by coldwarrior ( 242 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Election 2014, Politics, Republican Party, RINOcracy, taxation, Tea Parties, Unions at September 2nd, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Kiss Pennsylvania Good Bye in November. We will have a Democrat in the Governor’s Mansion because the GOP refuses to be fiscally conservative. The following article is how not to win in PA. We want to be left alone, not to be taxed too much, we want smaller government; the establishment GOP screwed the pooch here. Gov Corbet and the party elite have angered the Fiscon base to the point that what should be an easy win for Corbet will be a loss, and a big one. They managed to beat the motivation to get out and vote out of the Republicans.

Read My Lips, No New Taxes…he said.

 

 

Anatomy of a GOP Disaster: Losing Pennsylvania

Governor Corbett has lost support by raising taxes and giving ground to public-sector unions.

All over the country Republican governors are either poised for easy reelection (such as Ohio’s John Kasich and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval) or running even or better against Democrats (Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Florida’s Rick Scott). Then there is Governor Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania. The latest independent poll has him down a shocking 49 percent to 24 percent (with a quarter of voters undecided) against Democrat Tom Wolf.

How did Corbett become such an outlier? The answers show just how much trouble Republicans get into if they allow machine politics and public-sector unions to dictate their agenda.

Corbett aides quickly attacked the messenger, sending out tweets dismissing the recent poll, from Franklin & Marshall College.

“You are unfairly influencing this election with bad polls,” claimed Corbett campaign manager Mike Barley. But no such complaints came from Team Corbett when F&M showed then–attorney general Corbett winning the governor’s race easily in 2010. In addition, other polls confirm the governor’s dire political condition: The Real Clear Politics average of all recent polls in the race show Corbett down by 17 points. That’s in a state that Mitt Romney lost by only five percentage points in 2012.

Corbett has gotten himself into this fix in two ways: First, F&M pollster G. Terry Madonna noted that four years ago Corbett ran against the political culture of Harrisburg, the state’s capital, and “its cliques, obstructionist tactics, recurring corrupt behavior, and anti-reform ethos.” But he has consistently failed to get the major parts of his agenda through a legislature controlled by his fellow Republicans. Madonna pointed out that this leads to an obvious question: “Why can’t Corbett work with his own party?”

That question leads to the second reason for Corbett’s collapse. Pennsylvania is indeed an anti-reform state. Though once dominated by a GOP machine, it gave way to a Democratic-run machine with the advent of the New Deal. Now, the Keystone State is dominated by public-sector employee unions with their hooks buried deep inside both parties.

Time and time again, Corbett’s agenda was blocked by key Republicans in the legislature. His effort to pass school vouchers was whittled down to a measly $75 million increase in tax credits for private schools. His bid to finally privatize the state’s antiquated system of state liquor stores was thwarted. Ethics reform was dead on arrival. This year, Corbett lashed himself to the mast and vowed to steer public-employee pension reform to passage. “Sixty-two cents of every new dollar in revenue, goes to the pensions,” he told groups up and down the state. His proposal to change the pension plans for all new state and public-school employees ran aground when the GOP state house blocked it.

Corbett’s conservative allies urged him to press for “paycheck protection” — blocking the state from deducting union dues from state-worker paychecks — as the key to overriding union influence in the legislature. “Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Michigan’s Rick Snyder have both demonstrated how union power can be curbed by ending the union-only deduction-for-politics privilege,” Matt Brouillette, president of the state’s conservative Commonwealth Foundation, told me.

But at a pro-reform meeting of the Associated Builders & Contractors of Pennsylvania this spring, Corbett gave “paycheck protection” only a passing reference in his speech. When pressed by a member of the audience, he mumbled, “I’ve told everyone, if you get that bill on my desk, I’ll sign it.” But he made no special lobbying effort for the measure, just as he allowed his political team to discourage primary challenges to pro-union GOP legislators in the 2012 midterm elections. Paycheck protection died this summer. “We took an internal GOP caucus vote, and we were a few votes short in the house,” atate representative Richard Saccone told me at an Independence Hall Association event in Philadelphia this July 4th. “The unions have powerful influence on a few of our members.”

Governor Corbett’s failure to either anticipate the intransigence of some of his GOP legislators or build outside pressure on them has been compounded by his retreat on the pledge he made in 2010 not to raise taxes or fees. Earlier this year, he angered conservatives when he raised a wholesale tax on gasoline as well as a bevy of motorist fees as part of a business-as-usual transportation bill. Unsurprisingly, he has declined to repeat his pledge this year. “We can imagine what that would mean in any second term under Corbett: higher taxes,” conservative activist Bob Guzzardi tells me. Guzzardi tried to run against Corbett in this year’s GOP primary, but his petitions were challenged by four Corbett supporters and he was thrown off the ballot. Despite Guzzardi’s lack of money, Corbett clearly perceived him as a threat. A Gravis Marketing poll in January of this year found that when GOP primary voters were asked if they wanted to reelect Corbett or go for a new GOP nominee, 41 percent plumped for a new candidate and only 38 percent stuck with Corbett. In a hypothetical matchup, Guzzardi trailed Corbett, 42 percent to 23 percent, with a full 35 percent undecided.

Corbett’s problems with his base have continued. Last week’s F&M poll found that he doesn’t even command majority support among Republicans, leading Democrat Wolf by just 48 percent to 24 percent. Astonishingly, while Republicans nationwide are more motivated to vote than Democrats, in Pennsylvania it’s Democrats who are four points more likely to say they are certain to vote this fall.

Pennsylvania conservatives have often shown in the past they want more principled and effective leadership. In 2012, tea-party activist Cris Dush came within 500 votes of beating house speaker Sam Smith in a GOP primary, prompting Smith to retire this year. Dush went on to win this spring’s GOP primary to replace Smith.

The challenge Pennsylvania conservatives will face after Governor Corbett’s likely loss is how to deal with an anti-reform legislature that is apt to remain under GOP control thanks to creative gerrymandering. In the past, too many conservatives have cut them slack and allowed the party to retain quiet insider control in Harrisburg. But Corbett’s loss would be a wake-up call that the status quo is dragging Pennsylvania’s economy down and alienating the Republican party’s base.

A new approach is required. Democrat Wolf, a former finance secretary under Democratic governor Ed Rendell, has publicly said he plans to circumvent the state’s constitutional requirement that its income tax be one flat rate. Wolf won’t disclose details of his plan for a “progressive” tax regime, but its implementation could include some Obama-like dubious assertions of executive power. If Pennsylvania Republicans don’t start holding their leaders accountable by demanding pension reform and preserving the state’s flat 3.07 percent income-tax rate, they could see the state going the way of bankrupt Illinois, which has become a sordid example of just how much damage political machines in both parties can do to a once-proud state.

— John Fund is national-affairs correspondent for NRO.

Shootout at the Cold Stone Corral: The Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Primary

by The Osprey ( 79 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Business, Corruption, Democratic Party, DOJ, Economy, Election 2014, EPA, Eric Holder, Health Care, immigration, Immigration, IRS, Janet Napolitano, Misery Index, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, The Political Right, unemployment at August 24th, 2014 - 6:02 pm

AZnObamaTruck

Damn. The Arizona Republican Primary is Tuesday, and I have still not been able to make up my mind who I am going to vote for to be our contender for Governor in November. There are 6 – count ‘em – 6 candidates!

Nicknames in quotes are mine :lol:

I break them down like this:

The Corporates – pushing their experience in the private sector:

Doug Ducey. “The Ice Cream Man” : Current AZ Treasurer. Founder of Cold Stone Creamery, the upscale ice cream chain. Has gotten endorsement of Republican heavy hitters from outside the state – Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, radio talker Hugh Hewitt. On the hand, he has been endorsed by John McCain and there have been questions of impropriety raised around some of his dealings with Cold Stone franchisees. UPDATE: It appears that Doug Ducey has been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Christine Jones. “Go Daddy’s Girl”: Kind of a dark horse, or should I say, ginger horse. (She’s a red head). Was corporate attorney for Scottsdale based internet hosting company Go Daddy – they of the racy Superbowl ads and Danica Patrick ad campaign. Claims to be for strong border enforcement, but recent revelations of her social media posts from a few years back supporting Obama and other liberal positions, resume embellishments (she claimed to have worked as a prosecuting attorney prior to her Go Daddy days) have made me skeptical of her.

The Politicos – claiming the voice of moderation:

Ken Bennett: “Cool, Calm Ken” Current Arizona Secretary of State. Long term AZ politico seen by many as a balancing force in AZ Republican politics. Presents a “cool calm and collected” image but may be a RINO. Many Arizonans who support Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigation of Obama’s document fraud feel Bennett allowed himself to be bamboozled by Democrat officials in the Hawaii State Dept. of Records, and his lack of experience outside government has caused some criticism as well.

Scott Smith: “Mayor McRINO” Current Mayor of Mesa. Presents himself as a moderate Republican. Has a pretty good record as Mayor, but his support of Brewer’s Obamacare associated Medicare expansion which was passed in the dead of night by RINOS and Democrats and his participation in national Mayors conferences heavily influenced by Democrats has left a sour taste in the mouth of small government and balanced budget advocates in AZ. Endorsed by Jan Brewer.

The Lawmen- For border security and state’s rights :

Frank Riggs: “Marshall Dillon” Frank is a California transplant who moved to AZ in 2001. An army veteran and former police officer, he represented a conservative district in California in the Reagan years. This is his first foray back into politics since moving to Arizona. Has the endorsement for former State Senator Russell Pierce, author of SB 1070. A Border hawk. Those who object to him site a congressional voting record that is not quite as conservative as Riggs claims it to be.

Andrew Thomas: “The Boy Scout” Former Maricopa County Attorney. Defended Sheriff Joe’s immigration law enforcement in court, exposed and lead prosecution of various corrupt State representatives and Maricopa county supervisors. This gained him many enemies in the liberal Democrat run AZ Bar Association, who filed a lawsuit against him that while ultimately defeated, nonetheless lead to him being disbarred. He is very well liked in among AZ conservatives, but even many who like him feel that he is “damaged goods” and vulnerable to a Dem lead smear campaign in the General.

My initial thoughts back in February or March favored either Doug Ducey or Christine Jones. Having someone in the Governor’s office with private sector experience could help Arizona divert a lot of those California companies fleeing that state’s regulatory environment to Texas, into Arizona instead.

However, with the Bundy Ranch vs. Fed Gov showdown in April, the ongoing controversy over Sheriff Joe’s investigation into Obama’s document fraud, the “Camp of the Saints”/”Children’s Crusade” on the border, and the threat of ISIS infiltration via the border, has me leaning now towards one of “The Lawmen”. I don’t think the “Corporates” would have enough spine to stand up to Obama and Holder.

Polls are all over the map, there are some in the media who say the race is Ducey’s to lose, but I think there is a strong undercurrent for Andrew Thomas, as an F-YOU! to the Dems locally and nationally.

Curious to hear what other Blogmocers either in AZ or out of state think. We, along with Texas are on the front lines of the border crisis, Obama and Holder have been meddling in our local politics and the economy here has been struggling since 2008.

UPDATE: It appears that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has endorsed Doug Ducey.

Free Trade Rarely is Fair Trade

by coldwarrior ( 47 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Open thread at August 24th, 2014 - 10:00 am

Yet again, America sends jobs overseas. Dumping is defined as the government of a country subsidizing a product to create a disincentive for the importing country to manufacture said product.

Thousands of American steel jobs believed lost to import surge

The International Trade Commission cleared the way for anti-dumping penalties on cheap imports of oil and natural gas pipe from South Korea and five other nations that American steelmakers blamed for causing a severe oversupply, depressed prices and lost jobs.

The ITC on Friday voted to confirm a majority of the Department of Commerce’s findings of dumping of so-called “oil country tubular goods” into the United States by the six nations. They account for 90 percent of the subsidized and unfairly priced products, according to U.S. Steel Corp.

The ITC allowed imports to continue from two countries that are smaller producers.

“Unfairly traded imports of OCTG from these countries have been very damaging to American steel producers, taking away significant sales in the energy sector, which should be a bright spot for the industry given increased oil and gas development in the U.S.,” said Thomas J. Gibson, CEO of American Iron & Steel Institute, the industry’s trade group.

The actions won’t change the indefinite closing of tubing plants in McKeesport and Bellville, Texas, affecting 280 workers, including 180 in McKeesport, said U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone. The Bellville plant closed two weeks ago, and the McKeesport plant will close soon, Boone said.

Oil country tubular goods are used inside wells, while line pipe made at McKeesport carries natural gas from wells to processing plants and distribution systems.

An estimated 4,184 workers in eight states lost their jobs to the import surge since the beginning of 2012. Nearly 1,000 steel jobs have been lost in the first three months of 2014, an Economic Policy Institute study said.

U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi said the company is “pleased” with the ITC’s vote to impose anti-dumping penalties against six of the nine countries it accused of dumping pipe. U.S. Steel is the largest producer among the nine companies that filed the trade case last year.

The ITC confirmed material injury by imports from South Korea, the largest importer, India, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and Taiwan. The agency determined that no injury resulted from imports from the Philippines and Thailand. Saudi Arabia was excluded from the ITC vote after Commerce revised an earlier ruling, saying Saudi dumping was minimal.

The vote allows the Commerce Department to charge anti-dumping penalties against the six nations. Anti-subsidy charges also will be leveled against India and Turkey.

“Given the overwhelming evidence of Korean steel dumping, no other decision could have been made,” said Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus.

The case against South Korea and other nations came when imports surged to 1.76 million tons in 2013 from 840,313 tons in 2010, according industry figures. South Korea alone shipped 894,300 tons to the United States in 2013.

U.S. Steel will continue to evaluate its options, including further litigation, in regard to Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the Philippines, Longhi said.

David Mitch, CEO of TMK IPSCO, said the vote sends “a clear message that we are open to trade from all, as long as it is fair.” TMK IPSCO has tubing plants in Ambridge and Koppel in Beaver County that employ 730.

Mitch said producers should see some relief in price competition by the end of the year.

IT’S GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!!

by coldwarrior ( 8 Comments › )
Filed under Climate, Economy, Special Report at August 23rd, 2014 - 1:35 am

Too Much Corn With Nowhere to Go as U.S. Sees Record Crop

By Jeff Wilson, Lydia Mulvany and Megan Durisin – Aug 22, 2014

The ripening corn and soybean fields stretch for miles in every direction from Dennis Wentworth’s farm in Downs, Illinois. As he marveled at his best-yielding crops ever, he wondered aloud where the heck he’ll put it all.

“Logistics are going to be a huge problem for everyone,” the 62-year-old grower said, adding that he has invested in boosting output rather than grain bins. When harvesting starts in a few weeks, Wentworth expects his 150-year-old family farm to produce 10 percent more than last year’s record. “There are going to be some big piles of grain on the ground this fall.”

From Ohio to Nebraska, thousands of field inspections this week during the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour show corn output in the U.S., the world’s top producer, will be 0.4 percent above the government’s estimate. Months of timely rains and mild weather created ideal growing conditions, leaving ears with more kernels than normal on 10-foot (3-meter) corn stalks and more seed pods on dark, green soy plants.

Prospects of bumper harvests sent Chicago futures tumbling into bear markets last month, two years after a drought eroded output and sparked the highest prices ever. Cheaper grain is bolstering profit for buyers including Tyson Foods Inc. and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM), encouraging some cattle producers in the Great Plains to expand herds, and eroding income for farmers who say increased output will make up for some of the slump.

Bigger Yields

Corn on the Chicago Board of Trade has tumbled 20 percent since the end of May, closing at $3.715 a bushel today, and soybeans are down 30 percent to $10.42 a bushel. The Bloomberg Commodity Index slid 6.3 percent over the same period, while the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities rose 1.7 percent. The Bloomberg Treasury Index gained about 0.6 percent.

Samples in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa — representing 45 percent of forecast U.S. corn output and 41 percent of soybeans — showed bigger yields than last year, according to inspections on the 22nd annual Pro Farmer crop tour, which ended yesterday. Corn production will be 14.093 billion bushels, compared with 14.032 billion estimated by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pro Farmer said in its final report today. Soybean output was forecast at 3.812 billion bushels, compared with a USDA estimate of 3.816 billion.

The volunteer scouts on the four-day crop tour drove more than 15,000 miles across seven Midwest states, the biggest growing region, taking random samples by counting the number of kernels on corn ears and pods on soybean plants. Editors of the Pro Farmer newsletter will issue final estimates of U.S. output today, partly based on this week’s measurements.

Ideal Weather

In Illinois, the No. 2 corn-growing state, Pro Farmer estimated yields at 198 bushels an acre, more than the 188 bushels the USDA predicted earlier this month, while soybeans were estimated at 54 bushels an acre, the same as the government forecast. In Iowa, the top grower, Pro Farmer pegged corn yields at 183 bushels, less than the USDA’s estimate of 185, and said soybean yields will be 49.5 bushels an acre and may reach the USDA’s forecast of 50 bushels.

The outlook has improved after months of ideal weather. Through Aug. 16, the majority of the Midwest was slightly dry to abnormally moist, according to a weekly Crop Moisture Index from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Temperatures that have been cooler than normal will remain average or below average through the end of August, the agency forecasts.

The government already predicted record crops on Aug. 12 and a drop in exports that will boost reserves, with corn output rising 0.8 percent and soybean production gaining 16 percent. The USDA will update its forecasts on Sept. 11.

Cutting Bets

Prices have plunged to the lowest since 2010, with soybean futures in Chicago dropping to $10.35 on Aug. 20 and corn slipping to $3.58 on Aug. 12. Money managers have cut their bets on a corn rally by 75 percent since early April, and they have had a net-short holding in soybeans for five straight weeks, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Surging crop supplies may exacerbate the squeeze on grain storage and shipping. BNSF Railway Co., owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/B), and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. struggled with “greater-than normal” demand from shippers of coal, oil and Midwest crops, the USDA said this month in a report.

Combined with inventories left from the 2013 harvest, production of all grains and oilseeds will boost 2014 supply to 26.97 billion bushels, USDA data show. That’s more than the 23.4 billion of storage on farms and grain-company silos as of Dec. 1, the government estimated in a Jan. 10 report.

Roads, Trains

“I don’t know where it will all go this year,” said Richard Guse, a 54-year-old farmer from Waseca, Minnesota, who owns a 1 million-bushel grain elevator that he expanded in the past year by 275,000 bushels. “We need better roads and faster train shipping to keep the grain moving,” Guse said this week while inspecting fields as part of the Pro Farmer crop tour.

With the main harvest still weeks away, there is still time for crops to be damaged by weather, including an early frost. Parts of eastern and northwestern Iowa, the largest corn-growing areas, had less rain than normal over the past two weeks, QT Weather said in a report yesterday.

Not everyone is seeing better yields. Parts of Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota had samplings that were less than last year. Ron Lampe’s 2,100 acres in Cumminstown, Iowa, were flooded by 20 inches of rain in late June, forcing him to replant more than 10 percent of his corn fields and damaging some of those that survived.

More Rain

Prices already may reflect expectations for a national corn yield of 170 bushels an acre, which would be more than the 167.4 bushels estimated by the USDA earlier this month, said Christopher Narayanan, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in New York who participated in the crop tour.

“I haven’t seen anything or heard anything that might suggest it would be higher,” Narayanan said in an interview yesterday.

For now, there are few risks seen and many farmers are expecting bigger harvests.

More rain is expected through the weekend across the northwestern and eastern Midwest, increasing soil moisture to boost the final stages of soybean growth, Donald Keeney, a meteorologist at MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said in an Aug. 20 report. There are no risks yet of frost, Commodity Weather Group said. The weather service yesterday predicted national corn yields will reach 171.5 bushels an acre, 1 percent above a prior estimate.

Best Crop Ever

Wentworth, the Illinois grower, said that instead of adding extra grain bins he is relying on forward-contracting to sell his anticipated avalanche of grain to six grain companies including Cargill Inc. and Andersons Inc. (ANDE) It will take about 538 semi-truck loads, each capable of hauling 80,000 pounds of corn and soybeans, to get his anticipated harvest to buyers. He’s been working to lease trucks and hire temporary drivers to help his two part-time employees keep his grain moving.

Cory Ritter, who farms about 2,000 acres with his father near Blue Mound, Illinois, said they planted more corn this year and expects to harvest 250 bushels an acre, at least 15 percent more than he originally anticipated. Some fields may get as much as 280 bushels, with some plants sprouting second ears and kernels heavier and larger than last year, he said.

“My corn has not been under any weather stress for one day,” said Ritter, 33. “The seed popped out of the ground in four days and started growing right away. Cool temperatures helped during pollination, producing big ears, and rains have come at the perfect time all season. It’s my best crop ever.”

The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race

by Iron Fist ( 266 Comments › )
Filed under Bailouts, Crime, Economy at August 20th, 2014 - 7:00 am

Let’s talk about it:

Ferguson is not just about systemic racism—it’s about class warfare, and how America’s poor are held back

Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century?

The answer can be found in May of 1970.

You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment.

You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings.

On May 14th, 10 days after Kent State ignited the nation, at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Mississippi, police killed two black students (one a high school senior, the other the father of an 18-month-old baby) with shotguns and wounded twelve others.

There was no national outcry. The nation was not mobilized to do anything. That heartless leviathan we call History swallowed that event whole, erasing it from the national memory.

And, unless we want the Ferguson atrocity to also be swallowed and become nothing more than an intestinal irritant to history, we have to address the situation not just as another act of systemic racism, but as what else it is: class warfare.

That gets us a little historical perspective. We can come back to it in a minute. Let’s continue or exploration, here:

By focusing on just the racial aspect, the discussion becomes about whether Michael Brown’s death—or that of the other three unarmed black men who were killed by police in the U.S. within that month—is about discrimination or about police justification. Then we’ll argue about whether there isn’t just as much black-against-white racism in the U.S. as there is white-against-black. (Yes, there is. But, in general, white-against-black economically impacts the future of the black community. Black-against-white has almost no measurable social impact.)

First and foremost, let’s hear it for someone willing to be honest about this problem. We don’t see this discussed at all. I think that you may find more raicsm against whites than against blacks, but I will also agree that the black against white racism doesn’t generally impact things the way white on black racism (even if less forcefully in-your-face) does. I think I can agree with this completely, and I can say this as someone who has been a victim of black-on-white racial violence. Let’s pursue this a little further:

Then we’ll start debating whether or not the police in America are themselves an endangered minority who are also discriminated against based on their color—blue. (Yes, they are. There are many factors to consider before condemning police, including political pressures, inadequate training, and arcane policies.) Then we’ll question whether blacks are more often shot because they more often commit crimes. (In fact, studies show that blacks are targeted more often in some cities, like New York City. It’s difficult to get a bigger national picture because studies are woefully inadequate. The Department of Justice study shows that in the U.S. between 2003 and 2009, among arrest-related deaths there’s very little difference among blacks, whites, or Latinos. However, the study doesn’t tell us how many were unarmed.)

I don’t see anything here to disagree with. Police have their own problems, and they do not come to the table with clean hands, but when we are bringing our wrath to bear about the treatment of gangbanger-wannabes in thug life as victims to the table, we have to also represent the police themselves. Let’s explore this a little further:

This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.

And that’s how the status quo wants it.

Notce how he doesn’t say “Left” or “Right” or “Black” or “White”. It is the forces of the status quo, who have a good deal of money that they are making out of the situation, that are pleased by this course of events. I really like the way that he has set this up. It is well written. I don’t have any particular complaints about the content, the agenda, or anything else that he has presented so far. Continue:

The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals. So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control so they never stop to wonder how they got so screwed over for so long.

One way to keep these 50 million fractured is through disinformation. PunditFact’s recent scorecard on network news concluded that at Fox and Fox News Channel, 60 percent of claims are false. At NBC and MSNBC, 46 percent of claims were deemed false. That’s the “news,” folks! During the Ferguson riots, Fox News ran a black and white photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the bold caption: “Forgetting MLK’s Message/Protestors in Missouri Turn to Violence.” Did they run such a caption when either Presidents Bush invaded Iraq: “Forgetting Jesus Christ’s Message/U.S. Forgets to Turn Cheek and Kills Thousands”?

How can viewers make reasonable choices in a democracy if their sources of information are corrupted? They can’t, which is exactly how the One Percent controls the fate of the Ninety-Nine Percent.

I don’t particularly disagree here though I might dispute the specific numbers for Fox News versus MSNBC, we can’t ignore the fact that across the spectrum we are not being given the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth by the news media nor our political leaders. We are being lied to and manipulated, and I think that at some level we all knowthat. He goes on:

Worse, certain politicians and entrepreneurs conspire to keep the poor just as they are. On his HBO comedic news show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver ran an expose of the payday loan business and those who so callously exploit the desperation of the poor. How does an industry that extorts up to 1,900 percent interest on loans get away with it? In Texas, State Rep. Gary Elkins blocked a regulatory bill, despite the fact that he owns a chain of payday loan stores. And the politician who kept badgering Elkins about his conflict of interest, Rep. Vicki Truitt, became a lobbyist for ACE Cash Express just 17 days after leaving office. In essence, Oliver showed how the poor are lured into such a loan, only to be unable to pay it back and having to secure yet another loan. The cycle shall be unbroken.

Payday loans aren’t my thing one way or another, and I don’t know the political parties of the people he mentions by name here. I think that we can all agree that this looks pretty shady, no matter who these people are or what party they represent. And we see this same thing at the national level. How many big press operatives have spouses/significant others working in the Obama Administration. Do we really believe that these people are giving honest accounting of the actions of people that they really are literally sleeping with? You’ve got folks in every branch of the government, all over the place, where these relationships help each other make it though the day without people like us dragging the SOBs out of their offices and to the nearest lamp post.

Rather than uniting to face the real foe—do-nothing politicians, legislators, and others in power—we fall into the trap of turning against each other, expending our energy battling our allies instead of our enemies. This isn’t just inclusive of race and political parties, it’s also about gender. In her book Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution, Laurie Penny suggests that the decreased career opportunities for young men in society makes them feel less valuable to females; as a result they deflect their rage from those who caused the problem to those who also suffer the consequences: females.

Yes, I’m aware that it is unfair to paint the wealthiest with such broad strokes. There are a number of super-rich people who are also super-supportive of their community. Humbled by their own success, they reach out to help others. But that’s not the case with the multitude of millionaires and billionaires who lobby to reduce Food Stamps, give no relief to the burden of student debt on our young, and kill extensions of unemployment benefits.

Nothing I particularly disagree with here., I might also point out that making the Straight, Christian, White Male the societal scapegoat (a position held by Jews in Nazi Germany and by blacks in the post-Reconstruction South) isn’t helpful. Continue:

With each of these shootings/chokehold deaths/stand-your-ground atrocities, police and the judicial system are seen as enforcers of an unjust status quo. Our anger rises, and riots demanding justice ensue. The news channels interview everyone and pundits assign blame.

Then what?

And that, my friends, is the real question. I don’t find anything here that I particularly disagree with. He comes at it from a more Leftward perspective than I would, but I can’t disagree with what he is saying. I could add, where are we in an America that has seen the net worth of the middle class evaporate (to the tune of about 33% of the net worth of the average American Middle Class Family) over the last six years while Wall Street is going gangbusters, and the National Debt is exploding into uncharted levels in all of history. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know it isn’t more gun control, more Wall Street bail-outs, more militarized police, or more draconian laws to hold us all down while the elites party like it is the end of the world while the rest of us are fighting to make a life for ourselves under more taxes and regulation, and the heavy-hand of a police force that looks more like it comes from Death Race 2000 than it does Mayberry.