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Support the troops, VOTE!

Posted by Scott Bannon

They’ve made the ultimate sacrifices just so that you could

Government Spending

America is often called the land of easy millions. A society of convenience and luxury. Some say being an American is having advanced citizenship. And when it comes to the political process in America, it isn’t a spectator sport. All that we have and all that we enjoy demands participation.

I’m not going to advocate who anyone should vote for. I certainly have my opinions in many races, but I respect that everyone has their own.

I will offer some non-partisan, economic facts about incumbents for anyone who could use a candid recap.

I call our current Congressional leadership the ‘Do-Nothing-part-Deuce Congress’ because they have worked less days this year than the original ‘Do-Nothing Congress’ Harry Truman condemned of 1947-48. But this is misleading because despite a lack of work days our Congress this year–and over the last few years–has been quite busy spending our money.

Republicans have been in control while Congress spent our money like crack addicts with a stolen Gold Card, but Democrats have been equally guilty as enablers through their own participation in the spending and their silence about it. The only constant voice against this abuse to American taxpayers has been Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona. For his efforts he’s been applauded by voters and shunned by fellow politicians. I suppose they don’t like being outed for their excesses. I personally join in applauding Flake’s efforts and wish my state of Pennsylvania had such courageous leadership in Congress.

I know some have been led to believe that the economy is doing good, even if it doesn’t seem like it in their own lives; so I think some actual facts–minus the political spin–about the economy today are in order here.

Got Jobs?
A recent BLS Unemployment Rates report said that unemployment was down to 4.4% which sounds like a good thing. What the report and those who tout its findings fail to explain though is that it has no basis in reality. First of all, it fails to count up to half of the unemployed people in America. That seems significant since it is supposed to be the Unemployment Rate, I’d think they would include everyone who is unemployed in it. But no, they only count those who are currently collecting benefits. The unemployed who have had their benefits expire are not counted.

Then, they take the inaccurate (incomplete) number of unemployed and apply some fuzzy math formula to it that includes surveys and eventually turn the number into a percentage rate. In other words, the BLS Unemployment Rate means absolutely nothing and isn’t worth the taxpayer dollars used to create it. [Source 1]

A statistic that is a much better indicator of the economy (and based in reality) is the number of wage earning, tax paying members of the civilian labor force. This number is easily tracked and doesn’t rely on surveys, fuzzy math or anyone’s intuition to deduce.

The number of wage earning, tax paying members of the civilian labor force reached an all time high in 2000. Since then it has dropped every single year and is currently at the same low rate as in 1994. [Source 2]

What this means? Fewer Americans are working and paying taxes.

Got Debt?
Also in 2000 the national debt was at $5.6 trillion. It took America 224 years, with 2 World Wars, 1 Civil War, Korea, Viet Nam and numerous other skirmishes and projects to accumulate a $5.6 trillion debt. Since 2000 the debt has risen by over 50% to $8.6 trillion. [Source 3]

The debt is a funny and often misunderstood thing. I myself used to say “what’s the big deal, so we owe ourselves money?” It seemed like a waste to even keep track of what we owed ourselves.

But then I decided to look into it and found some frightening facts. First, we don’t owe the money to ourselves. We owe much of it to China, OPEC, Mexico and various other foreign interests.

That didn’t make sense to me, why would the richest nation in the world be borrowing money from foreign countries?

But we don’t exactly borrow it. We sell these foreign interests Treasury securities. We sell them ownership in our dollar. That’s why the debt is so important. Over the past couple of years we have sold unprecedented amounts of Treasury securities to foreign interests (like China and OPEC) and as of right now, foreign interests own more Treasury securities than domestic. The foundation of our entire economy is supported more by foreign interests today than by America. [Source 4]

The bottom line? The ‘Do-Nothing-part-Deuce Congress’ has allowed a controlling interest of America’s financial stability to be sold to foreigners. It’s weakened the value of the dollar and burdens our children and grand children for our own lack of fiscal responsibility.

Need Housing?
Then you’re in luck because the market has dropped harder than a Cheney hunting partner and prices are low, there are deals to be found.

The housing market is typically the lead physical indicator of the economy. When the market is good the economy also tends to be. When the market goes south, so goes the economy too.

Here’s a few recent quick facts about the nation wide housing market: [Sources 5 and 6]

1) New mortgage applications fell by 3% in the U.S. in the last week of October

2) Refinancing applications dropped by 4.5% in the same week

3) Home prices nation wide fell .4% in August (the largest drop in over a decade)

4) New home construction fell 6% in August (down 20% since last year)

In Summary
There is far more than the economy to base your vote on, but I felt those other issues have been discussed, debated and distorted to death already in this campaign cycle.

I’ve tried to offer a non-partisan review of how the Republican controlled and Democratic enabled Congress has failed the country in its fiscal obligations.

If you believe the incumbents in your local races have done a fine job, re-elect them. If you don’t, give someone else a chance.

If you believe that the members of your political party have done a good job, vote them back in. If you don’t, be brave and cross lines at the booth.

While creative and invented numbers can be spun to paint the economy as healthy or even booming, the truth is something else. I see our economy as a car out of control on the highway and the ‘Do-Nothing-part-Deuce Congress’ is the drunk driver at the wheel.

I don’t think we need a change, I think they need an intervention. And I hope that Tuesday, Americans will care enough to step up.

[1] U.S. Department of Labor
[2] U.S. Department of Labor (PDF Document)
[3] U.S. Treasury Department
[4] International Herald Tribune
[5] Bloomberg
[6] Money Week

Image source: U.S. Government Printing Office

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  1. One Response to “Support the troops, VOTE!”

  2. By casey Kochmer | Reply to article

    Yes very much so!

    This is a war of lies. By fighting for lies, our troops are servicing dishonor by forcing and supporting this administration’s lies.

    The only way the troops can have honor is to stop fighting for lies!

    Help our troops have honor, Vote for them to come home to peace!

    Freedom with Action

    Reply to this specific comment

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