Friday, February 24, 2012

Abbott and Costello on Unemployment

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were one of the all time great stand-up comedy teams from the 1940’s and 50’s. Their “Who’s On First, What’s On Second” routine is a timeless classic. If they were around today, the unemployment numbers coming out of Washington would no doubt give them ample material with which to work.

Abbott: The unemployment rate is stuck above eight percent. Times are tough; a lot of people are out of work.
Costello: Over eight percent of the workforce is still looking for work?

Abbott: No.
Costello: But you just told me the unemployment rate is over eight percent.

Abbott: It is.
Costello: So how many people are out of work?

Abbott: Sixteen percent.
Costello: (Looking perplexed). Sixteen percent of the workers are not working, but the unemployment rate is 8.3%?

Abbott: Right.
Costello: (Looking determined). OK, so I go out and count all of the idle workers, turn that into a percent, and what number do I get?

Abbott: 16%.
Costello: And that’s the unemployment rate.
Abbott: No, the unemployment rate is 8.3%

Costello: (Grimace). The unemployed, they’re out of work, right?
Abbott: Right.

Costello: So if you’re out of work, you’re unemployed.
Abbott: No.

Costello: Someone can be out of work but not counted as unemployed?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: There’s more than one way to be out of work?
Abbott: Yes. You can be out of work and out of work, or you can be out of work and unemployed.

Costello: If I’m out of work, I’m not necessarily unemployed?
Abbott: Correct.

Costello: (Agitated). How can someone be out of work but not unemployed?
Abbott: If you’re out of work but you quit looking for work, the government no longer considers you to be unemployed.

Costello: Alright, if I’m out of work and I give up looking, I‘m not considered to be unemployed.
Abbott: (Smug look). According to the government.
Costello: They take me off of the unemployment role.
Abbott: Yes.

Costello: So if I’m out of work and I want to get off of the unemployment role, I can either get a job or stop looking.
Abbott: That’s what the government says.

Costello: (Looking brilliant). Here’s how we solve the unemployment problem: Everyone who’s out of work stops looking, and the unemployment rate goes to zero!
Abbott: You should work for the government.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Obama Didn't Say

President Obama’s recent State of the Union address was more notable for what he didn’t say than for what he did say.

The most glaring and telling example was Obamacare. At the time it was being debated and passed, Obama told us that his health care bill was vitally important to the nation; that if it wasn’t passed, the health care system in this country would collapse and people would die en masse in the streets; that his bill would save trillions of dollars in health care costs; that the quality of care would rise; that millions of uninsured people would have coverage; that finally we would have affordable, high quality health care for all. The bill was debated for months. It finally passed late at night on Christmas Eve after the Democrats in Congress considered resorting to such chicanery as “deeming” the bill to be passed without actually voting on it. And it finally did pass. The Democrats erupted in jubilation. At the signing ceremony, VP Joe Biden (Democrat) made his famous remark: “This is a big f****** deal”. It was Obama’s signature accomplishment.

After all of this and with the provisions of Obamacare now starting to take effect, Obamacare was barely mentioned in passing in the State of the Union address. I guess it wasn’t such a big deal after all, since it was all but ignored by the President himself in his major speech on where we stand as a nation.

And what about the stimulus? You remember that one, don’t you? At the time, we were again told that instant action was essential in the form of this $800 billion stimulus in order to save the economy as we knew it. It had to be passed immediately, that day, in order to avert financial calamity. It too was passed, and the economy was presumably saved, by Obama. Not mentioned in the State of the Union address.

Unemployment at 8.5%? The underemployment rate estimated to be at 16%? One in five men of prime working age and nearly half of all persons under 30 not working? The unemployment rate of African-Americans at 15.8%? Teen unemployment at 23.1%? A total of 13.1 million unemployed Americans? None of this was mentioned by Obama.

The national debt ballooning to $15 trillion during his administration and being projected to go even higher? Not mentioned by Obama.

The Keystone Pipeline which would have created tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and reduced our dependence on Mid-East oil and which Obama blocked? Not mentioned in his speech
The failure of the United States Senate, controlled by Obama’s own party, to pass a budget, as required by law, for 1000 days now? Not mentioned by Obama.

The financial chaos in Europe with rioting in the streets in Greece and a potential collapse of the Euro? Not mentioned by Obama.

The complete failure of Obama’s “outreach” to Iran to get them to stop their nuclear bomb program, and what Obama has learned from this in dealing with Iran going forward? Not discussed in his speech.

The violence that has erupted in Iraq after the departure of U.S. soldiers? Not mentioned.

Specifics about how Obama’s continued draconian budget cuts to the military in this time of worldwide unrest are going to result in a stronger military, as he claims? Not presented in his speech.

2011 GDP growth (a measure of economic expansion and the overall health of the economy) at a mere 1.7%, a little more than half of the 2010 number? Not mentioned.

Social Security on a path to only be able to pay only 77% of promised benefits by 2036 and even less thereafter? Not mentioned.

It’s almost as though Obama just arrived from Pluto and had no involvement with or knowledge of any of this.

The President did say that the state of the Union is getting stronger. Really? God help us of he ever tells us it’s getting weaker.

The Tyranny Of The Left

The Susan G. Komen Foundation recently announced that it was going to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood, and the events that transpired thereafter are highly instructive.

Now, in order to understand this episode, you need some background information.

First, it is very significant to keep in mind that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a charity whose mission is to find a cure for breast cancer. It collects donations and then gives money to various organizations that are somehow involved with fighting breast cancer. They have been giving hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to Planned Parenthood to be used for breast cancer screening. And they decided to stop.

Left-wing liberals started squealing like a stuck pig. Abortion, and therefore Planned Parenthood, are sacrosanct to the left, so they sprang into action. Public condemnations of Komen poured forth from the left. Phone calls were made to Komen threatening to cut off their donations. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City announced that he was personally giving $250,000 to Planned Parenthood as a show of support. Within twenty-four hours, Komen caved and retracted their announcement of ceasing donations to Planned Parenthood.

What are the lessons learned from all of this? One thing we have clearly seen is that the Komen Foundation is run by wimps. Rather than stand by their decision, which no doubt they must have considered carefully, they immediately caved in.

More importantly, we see the tyranny of the left on full display. We see that they absolutely refuse to allow anyone to have a different opinion than they do on anything, but especially on abortion. Where was all of the tolerance and inclusiveness of liberals with regard to the Komen Foundation?

What we saw here was actually a lot worse than intolerance from the liberals. Keep in mind that Komen is a private charity; it’s not any sort of a government institution. Thus, in this episode we see the liberals excoriating a private charity over a decision by that charity on what to do with its own money. The liberals are not only totally unwilling to grant this private charity the right to use its money as it sees fit, the liberals actually demand that Komen give its money to the liberals’ favored institutions! Failure to comply with the liberals’ demands on how a charity is to use its own money results in a public campaign to demonize that charity. Remember, the institution that the liberals viciously attacked in this whole sorry affair is a private charity whose mission is to find a cure for breast cancer!

Exhibit B of the intolerance of the left is the recent decision by the Obama administration to force Catholic institutions, under Obamacare, to provide contraception services in their employees’ health care plan, even though the Catholic Church is morally opposed to contraception as part of its religious views and teachings. But the Obama administration said no matter, you have to do it anyway.

Again, in order to fully understand what is going on here, we need to review some background material.

Liberals talk a lot about the separation of church and state, going to such extremes as saying that having a prayer before a high school football game violates this separation.

So let’s dissect this decision by the Obama administration in light of the principle of separation of church and state.

We have religious freedom in this country thanks to the concept of the “separation of church and state”. This is a principle written into our nation’s constitution, but those words are not there. The Founding Fathers wanted to set up a form of government under which there would be no official government mandated national religion, but rather a government where people would be free to practice their religion s they so desired. This principle of religious freedom became known as the separation of church and state, meaning that churches and the government are completely independent of each other and neither is allowed to control the other.

Thus, churches in this country pay no taxes. That’s because if they did, they would be under the control of the government. The government could just tax churches out of existence, for example, or use the tax laws as a way of controlling churches in one way or another. So, as part of our principle of the separation of church and state, churches pay no taxes. That’s how important it was to the founding fathers to ensure that the government would not be able to find a way of controlling churches; they are totally exempt from taxation. Even sales tax. If you go to a store and buy something for your church, that store must provide a mechanism whereby no sales tax is paid on that transaction.

Enter the Obama Administration. It has decided to dictate to church institutions (such as colleges) the specific provisions of the health care benefits they are to provide to their employees, even if those provisions violate a church’s religious beliefs. Did you get that? Obama’s government is demanding that church institutions provide government specified health care to employees. If that isn’t the government controlling the churches, nothing is.

So “separation of church and state” has come to mean that the government can’t control churches by taxing them, but the government can control church institutions by dictating to them what kind of healthcare benefits they must provide to employees.

Why aren’t the liberals up in arms over this egregious violation of the separation of church and state, as they were over something as innocuous as a prayer at a high school football game?

The answer is, again, the intolerance of liberals, which trumps everything. Liberals are extremely intolerant of people being allowed to openly practice their religious beliefs, and “separation of church and state” is a very useful way of shutting that down. But when this same “separation of church and state” gets in the way of liberals imposing their views concerning abortion on everyone else, “separation of church and state” is suddenly gone and of no concern to liberals. Imposing their views on society is what really matters.