Friday, May 31, 2013

Ph. D. Student Uses Gun to Defend Herself, Home

After two days of thefts occurring at her home, Betty Collins was surprised by someone trying to kick her door in just before 5:00 am.  Clearly, the would-be home invader had no fear of someone being home.  He wanted in, and the front door wasn't going to stop him. 

Ms. Collins yelled that she had a gun and told the man to leave, he didn't.  She opened the door with her .357 magnum pistol in hand and demanded that the man lay on the ground until the police arrive.  They did arrive and took the man into custody.

Ms. Collins credited the rights under the Second Amendment and her firearm ownership for allowing her to defend herself and her home from certain jeopardy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Obama Regime Doubles Down on Official Oppression of Conservatives

Amid hearings on how the Obama Administration used the IRS to bully, stymie, and generally harass Tea Party Groups the Obama regime appears to have doubled down on those efforts.

Report, after report, after report, after report shows that armed DHS Federal Agents were dispatched to Tea Party rallies held last Tuesday to protest the unethical and likely illegal behavior of the IRS as it relates to those that oppose the policies of President Obama.

This behavior is more akin to a dictator’s banana republic than a constitutional republic.  For those keeping score, Obama’s goons have now used the IRS to demand information they aren’t allowed to ask for, delayed tax filings for 27 months simply because an organization opposed Obama, tapped the phones of reporters, read the emails of dissenters, and now used armed federal agents to intimidate protesters.

The Tea Party is a non-violent group.  Occupy Wall Street was the violent group that broke all sorts of laws yet, DHS doesn’t appear to have been dispatched to monitor them leading any clear-thinking individual to come to the logical conclusion that this is politically motivated.

This is another clear demonstration of the Obama regime using the full resources of the federal government to intimidate and suppress law-abiding citizens with dissenting opinions.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fallen Officer’s Daughter Uses Gun to Defend Herself

For the third time, a family had to call police to their farm because strange people were on their property.  This time was different.  A stranger put a knife to the neck of a 26 year-old woman while she tended to the family’s farm.

Thankfully, the young woman was carrying a firearm.  She was able to repel her attacker and protect herself.  She still suffered knife wounds, but the situation could have been far worse if she was disarmed.  The family points to the previous service of the woman’s father, now deceased, within the law enforcement community as the only possible explanation as to what prompted the attack and the trespassers.

The man fled and was not immediately apprehended.  Oddly, local law enforcement claims this does not pose a threat to the public.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cartwright Votes Against Lower Energy Costs, Job Creation, Energy Independence

Once completed, the Keystone Pipeline would bring approximately 830,000 barrels of oil a day through a North American pipeline.  The project is a privately funded $7 billion investment in our economy that would create 117,000 jobs over the next 20 years.

The alternative is to continue to be held hostage to OPEC, price manipulation, and middle-eastern countries that, well, hate America.

Independent study after study has confirmed massive economic benefits for the U.S. if this project is completed.  As far as environmental impact, this project has been studied for years and found to be safe.  So, no surprise that 69% of Americans want the project approved.

Nonetheless, Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright voted against the Keystone Pipeline.  He joined other Democrats in forcing Americans to continue paying high prices for gas, shipping billions of dollars overseas, and ruining the prospect of job creation.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lackawanna Study Commission

In a clear referendum on the people’s displeasure with Democratic majority Commissioners Jim Wansacz and Corey O’Brien, Lackawanna County voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of a Government Study Commission.

Lackawanna County’s Democratic majority commissioners also attempted to consolidate four elected offices into positions that they would be empowered to handpick.  All four of these proposals were soundly rejected.  One attempt, the attempt to make the Sheriff an appointed position, was particularly objectionable to Lackawanna County voters.

The campaign for the study commission was led by Chuck Volpe, a former Democratic candidate for both Pennsylvania Governor and State Senator who now sells insuranceIt is reported that Mr. Volpe’s campaign spent $300,000 on this effort.  Mr. Volpe was able to push most of his candidates to victory.

With the exception of Mr. Volpe’s team, a few individual candidates, and the Republican Party no unified force presented a serious campaign for a slate of candidates or on the questions.
While the election was non-partisan and the returns are still unofficial, Republicans will likely have representation by two of the seven members.  They will join former Democratic Chairman Jerry Notariani along with other Democratic members of Mr. Volpe’s slate to comprise the commission. 

Volpe has a super-majority on the Commission, guaranteeing that his ideas for government reform will be addressed.

This commission will meet, study the current system, and propose changes if they believe they are necessary.  Their recommendations will be placed on the ballot for the approval or rejection of Lackawanna County’s voters – probably on the 2014 Primary Election ballot.  That vote, the one to accept or reject the recommendation of the commission, will be the title fight.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Marino Takes On Gov’t Reform

Republican Congressman Tom Marino recently introduced two bills to reform Washington.

The first bill, H.R. 2113, the One Subject at a Time Act, would require that bills embrace only one subject, that the subject be clearly displayed in the bill title, and prohibit appropriations bills from including hidden general legislation.  If a bill like this were in place, Obamacare would have been impossible.

The second bill, H.J. Res 48, amends the U.S. Constitution to prohibit U.S. Senators from serving more than two consecutive terms (12 Years) and prohibits members of the U.S. House of Representatives from serving more than six consecutive terms (12 years.)
Term limits are an interesting subject.  When the founders designed our Constitution, U.S. Senators were not elected by the general public.  Instead, they were elected by the state legislatures as expressed in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution.  The 17th Amendment to the Constitution changed that, making them directly elected by the people.

Members of Congress have always been directly elected by the public.  The real difference is in the expectations of service.  As a member of the House, it was understood that you were there for service to the people.  The founders designed it so that average, every day people would give up some of their time to serve in Congress and then return to their regular business. 

No doubt to reinforce temporary service, they were barely paid anything.  For nearly the first 70 years, members of the House of Representatives received a $6 per day payment that was designed to cover their expenses.  In 1855, that changed to a flat $3,000 per year.  Today, they make $174,000 per year plus benefits.  Contrast that with the median household income in the U.S., which is around $50,000 per year.

In short, congress wasn't supposed to be a career.

Marino’s One Subject at a Time Act deserves passage.  This bill is a common sense bill that will improve government transparency. 

Politicians becoming entrenched is a problem at every level of government and Marino’s amendment might get help fix that.  But, it won’t truly deal with the problem. 

Deviation from the Constitution and the spirit of original intent is what caused the problems in Washington that Marino is trying to address.  Rather than limiting the terms of politicians, a better bill would merely adjust the salary a politician may receive to the median household income in the U.S. during the year in which they were elected.  This would do three things: first, it would right-size the salary of Senators and Representatives to better reflect the annual income of their constituents; second, it would make it difficult for members of Congress to make a career out of being a member of Congress because the money just wouldn't be there to do it; and third, it would force representatives to focus on bettering the economic prosperity of this country.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

AG Kane: Prohibitionist

Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane spoke recently at a gathering of newspaper editors about her thoughts on medical marijuana and the proposed decriminalization of recreational use.

There is legislation proposing exactly that, which likely prompted the question.

She believes marijuana is a gateway drug that will make you turn to other hard drugs.  She also fears medical marijuana prescriptions will be given out “willy-nilly.”

Her prohibitionist policies do not however appear to transcend to alcohol.  In fact, during her campaign, The Sentinel  reported that her family holds a multi-million dollar contract with the state for the storage and delivery of liquor and wine.

The Attorney General is the top prosecutor in Pennsylvania and the law of the land explicitly prohibits municipalities form enacting municipal gun laws.  The AG is supposed to go after people for breaking Pennsylvania’s laws, not encourage them to break them and pledge to use state resources to defend them.

As far as slowing up permits, the only permits issued in Pennsylvania for guns are concealed carry permits.  Disarming law-abiding citizens and preventing them from being able to defend themselves, their family, or their property is a terrible idea.

Kane is a prohibitionist, and a hypocritical one at that.  Fellow nanny-stater Michael Bloomberg has to be proud…the Soda-banning Bloomberg’s six-figure superpac expenditures to prop up her campaign are paying off.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Walter Griffith and Wire Tapping

At the start of the year, accusations were made that Republican Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith illegally recorded conversations dealing with CityVest.  When made aware of these accusations, Republican District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis turned the information over to Democratic PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office.

CityVest has been plagued with problems. No one disputes that.  And, being a good government advocate, it is entirely understandable that Walter Griffith would attempt to turn over every rock and expose any wrongdoing that he believed he found.  He has been incredibly successful with that.  Unfortunately, that also likely made him a target.

Republicans in the House of Representatives proposed a bill last year, HB 2400, that would have changed Pennsylvania’s wiretap law to allow recording of conversations if there was a belief that the subject of the recording would be talking about criminal behavior.  With the corruption that has been exposed in both Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, a law like this might make a lot of sense.

When considering the timeline, that this information was given to Democrat Kane’s office months ago and charges were filed four days before an election, some will question the timing of Ms. Kane’s actions. 

Nonetheless, the law is the law.  If Walter Griffith broke it, he needs to answer for that. 

That said, every citizens enjoys certain rights in this country, not the least of which is to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  Mr. Griffith hasn’t been proven guilty.  The people of Luzerne County shouldn’t lose sight of that or the tremendous good he has done for them in the Controller’s office.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Colion Noir: How to Stop Mass Shootings

Several good points in this.

To illustrate one of them… ever heard of Alfred and Sylvia Armen?  Didn’t think so.  They are an elderly couple that owns a music store in PA.  While working at their store a criminal entered the store with a club, hit the 72-year-old Sylvia in the head with it, forcing the 73-year-old Alfred to act.  He used his .38 caliber revolver to shoot and kill the attacker, likely saving their lives.

Or how about this guy that used an AR-15 to defend himself and his girlfriend from an intruder?

That’s just two incidents that happened in Pennsylvania in the last seven days of April.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kutztown University Lifts Partial Ban on Civil Rights

Effective 19 April 2013, Kutztown University has amended their campus firearms policy.  The new policy states:
"The possession or carrying of any deadly or offensive weapon by any person is prohibited in Kutztown University academic buildings, administrative buildings, student residence halls (both university owned or leased), dining facilities, student union buildings, athletic facilities, recreation centers, or while attending a sporting, entertainment or educational  event on the university property or sponsored by the university. Entry upon university  property in violation of this prohibition is expressly forbidden and will result in the  individual being directed to remove the weapon immediately from university property or sponsored event. Failure to comply with such directives may result in further disciplinary action for students and employees."

The old policy:

"Possession or use of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on university premises is prohibited. Unauthorized items include but are not limited to: firearms of any kind including pellet and BB devices, ammunition, air powered projectile devices, knives with blades longer than four (4) inches, switchblades of any kind, chemicals, fireworks, any item which has been modified or adapted so that it can be used as a weapon or any item which has been used as a weapon, or any other dangerous weapons."

It would appear as though the policy still disarms lawful citizens in the housing they rent from Kutztown, in University buildings, and other structures but would allow them to maintain their rights in some circumstances.

It does create a bit of a paradox for students living in rented campus housing.  There are areas where you can carry, but you cannot store your firearm in your residence.  That may be why they inserted a provision that allows Kutztown to review requests for full restoration of rights on a "case-by-case" basis.

While students still must surrender some of their rights to attend school at Kutztown, decriminalizing lawful conduct like this is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gun Homicide Rate down 49% Since 1993

The National Institute of Justice estimated in 1994 that 35% of civilian in America owned a firearm and that firearms totaled 192 million.  By 2009, the number of firearms increased to 310 million.

Yet, gun homicide rates are down by 49%.

If you believe this appears inconsistent with both MSM reporting as well as the rhetoric of gun control supporters, you would be correct.  And, like most of the public, you probably didn’t know it either.  That is due, in no small part, to the MSM using statistics produced by agenda-driven, anti-gun groups instead of scholarly research and neutral FBI crime statistics.

While a correlation doesn’t always indicate causation, it is hard to argue that more guns in the hands of lawful citizens hasn’t brought crime rates down.  This is particularly relevant in the context of other research.  A study of Pennsylvania burglary inmates found that they tried to avoid occupied homes for fear of being shot by gun owners, for example.

The fact is, firearms are used 2-2.5 million times a year to save lives.  Or, looking at it another way, firearms are used 80 times more often to save lives than take them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

AP CEO blasts Justice Department for seizing phone records

HB 770 – PA Anti-Spying Legislation

Rep. Gary Haluska, (D-Cambria) has sponsored HB 770, a bill to protect farmers from people who enter their property without permission or under false pretenses to record them, their activity, or to steal data or other information.

Pennsylvania has a long history of protecting its citizens from uninformed recording.  Generally speaking, recording someone when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy is prohibited.  Audio is particularly controlled, prohibiting the recording of audio in a private setting unless you have someone’s expressed permission or a court order allowing you to do so.

The key is the expectation of privacy.  No one should expect to have an expectation of privacy at a public meeting or on a public street, for example.  But they should have an expectation of privacy on their own property, in their home, or at their business.

With that as a backdrop, it appears consistent with current law for farmers to expect to have privacy on their own land.  That can cut both ways.  Some will certainly argue that current law covers this already.  Others clearly believe that current law is insufficient.

Unless a court of competent jurisdiction orders it, no one should be able to enter your private property under false pretenses, no one should be able to steal your data or your information, and no one should be allowed to spy on private citizens.  If that is happening, it should be stopped. 

American citizens enjoy private property rights and a certain degree of privacy.  Farmers should be no different.

Monday, May 13, 2013

HB 357 – Right to Bear Arms Protection Act

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe’s (R-Butler) HB 357, the Right to Bear Arms Protection Act, is picking up steam in Pennsylvania.  No doubt, due to the failed attempt by Senator Toomey and others in the federal government to increase gun control across the country.

Rep. Metcalfe is the most active member of the PA House on the issue of gun rights.  He regularly takes part in rallies, circulates citizens petitions, and proposes legislation like this to defend second amendment freedoms.

House Bill 357 is important legislation to gun owners in Pennsylvania.  In essence, it makes any federal law enacted after December 31, 2012 that attempts to register, restrict, or ban any firearm, magazine, or accessory unenforceable in Pennsylvania.  Furthermore, it provides for penalties against anyone attempting to enforce that law in the Commonwealth.

Basically, it forces federal gun control laws to remain exactly as they are today, in perpetuity.

Currently, the bill has 76 sponsors, including both Republicans and Democrats.  It needs 102 for passage.  Those from the Northeast not on the list of sponsors include:
Rep. Mike Carroll (D-118)
Rep. Frank Farina (D-115)
Rep. Marty Flynn (D-113)
Rep. Kevin Haggerty (D-112)
Rep. Sid Kavulich (D-114)
Rep. Phyllis Mundy (D-120)
Rep. Ed Pashinski (D-121)
Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-116)

Click on their name if you want to email them to ask them about their views on your rights under the Pennsylvania Constitution which states:

“The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” (Article 1, Section 21)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

IRS Apologizes for ‘Wrong’, ‘Incorrect’, ‘Insensitive’, ‘Inappropriate’ Targeting of Conservatives

Have anything to do with the Tea Party or Patriot movement?  The IRS has a few questions for you.  At least they did, during the 2012 election.   Oh, and even though the IRS is not allowed to ask you for things like your donor lists, they still want to see them.

The IRS claims that only low-level employees were involved and that upper-level people had no knowledge of the practice.  They also claim it wasn’t political.  Both the AP story and The Atlantic story fail to indicate if those involved were fired, a valid question that should have been asked.

The IRS has a great deal of power.  Too much, if actions like this can go on unchecked. 

At a minimum, the employment of anyone directly involved as well as anyone so incompetent to have been managing these employees and not discovered this apparent abuse of power should be immediately terminated.  Congress should then impose stiff criminal penalties for any IRS employee found to have engaged in this type of behavior in the future.

Friday, May 10, 2013

PA Supremes Uphold New Maps

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously upheld the most recent version of legislative reapportionment, creating new districts for State Senate and Representative.

You can view the new Pennsylvania House of Representatives map here.
You can view the new Pennsylvania Senate map here.

Northeastern Pennsylvania will see many changes.  The largest is moving the 115th Legislative District (currently held by Democrat Frank Farina) into Monroe County.  The 112th Legislative District (currently represented by Democrat Kevin Haggerty) will move into much of the area the 115th District previously occupied, prompting a Primary Election contest between the two legislators if both decide to continue serving in the House.

Representatives for the new districts will be elected in the 2014 Election.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Heritage Checks the Math on Gang of 8 Amnesty Bill

The numbers are in on the Gang of 8 Amnesty bill…and they aren’t pretty.  Instead of improving the lives of Americans, the proposal appears to be a sure path to bankruptcy.  Some highlights from the study:

·         The bill will cost the American taxpayers $6.3 trillion dollars.

·         The average illegal immigrant granted amnesty would receive $592,000 more in benefits than they would contribute.

·         After 13 years, illegal immigrants would become eligible for means-tested welfare and Obamacare, eventually causing an aggregate annual deficit increase around $106 billion.

·         By making illegal immigrants eligible for Social Security and Medicare, it will cause a net increase in retirement costs of around $22,700 per retired amnesty recipient per year.

Any proposal to legalize the millions of unlawful immigrants in this country must be a net gain for the American people.  This bill isn’t.  In fact, it places a huge cost on the taxpayers of this country and saddles already struggling social programs with additional costs that they cannot contain.

Any politician, Republican or Democrat, who supports this legislation owes the taxpayers an explanation of how they will pay for these additional, massive costs because the legal citizens of this country simply cannot afford to give more money to the tax man.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Benghazi Hearing Today

Republican Congressman Daryl Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will conduct a hearing today with three Benghazi “Whistleblowers.”

The hearing will be streaming live, starting at 11:30 am today, on the committee’s website.  You can watch it here.

The witnesses he is calling are:
Mr. Mark Thompson
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism
US Department of State

Mr. Gregory Hicks
Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargĂ© d’Affairs in Libya
US Department of State

Mr. Eric Nordstrom
Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya
US Department of State

In October 2012, the Oversight Committee held the first hearing on the Benghazi attacks, which exposed denials of security requests and forced the Administration to acknowledge that the attacks were not sparked by a protest of a YouTube video, contrary to claims made by Obama Administration officials.

Here’s an interview Issa participated in on the topic:

The Death of Liberty?

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
-Benjamin Franklin
Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.

Two polls came out recently that raised eyebrows.

The first, more tame poll, was conducted by CNN/Time.  The poll found that:

  • When asked what concerns them more, government infringements of their rights or more anti-terrorism laws, more Americans (61%) are worried that the government will enact anti-terrorism policies that will excessively restrict their civil liberties.
  • 49% of Americans are not willing to surrender more of their civil liberties, even if that were necessary to prevent terrorism.
  • 60% of Americans are not worried that they, or a member of their family, will fall victim to terrorism.
  • 63% of Americans believe that terrorists will always find a way to launch an attack, no matter what laws we pass. 
The second poll, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, dealt with similar topics but also expanded into gun control.  It found:
  • 73% of Democrats want more gun control.
  • 65% of Republicans oppose increased gun control.

The big standout was this:
  • 29% of Americans believe that an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect liberties in the next few years.  This group includes 18% of Democrats, 44% of Republicans, and 27% of Independents.
The first poll shows that most Americans are not afraid of terrorists, that they are concerned that their civil liberties are being eroded, and that they view their government as more of a threat to their life, liberty, and happiness than people that outwardly promise to do them harm.  The second poll suggests that about 1/3 of the country believes that their rights have been so decimated by their government that the only solution left to fix it may be the worst possible solution.

If these polls are to be believed, it is very troubling.  Or, at least, it should be.  Putting aside the fringe elements of society, one thing is clear: a majority of Americans have grown tired of what they believe are their civil rights being violated in the interest of “security.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cleaning Up

Decided to scrap the links to blogs that don't link back. 

If you link to us, and you aren't listed to the left, shoot us an email.

HB 440 Heads to the PA Senate

Yesterday, Pennsylvania moved a step closer to right-sizing taxes in Pennsylvania.  By a vote of 129-65, House Bill 440, was approved with bi-partisan support.  It is now heading to the PA Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana,) would lower the commonwealth’s corporate income tax by 3% over ten years, expand the Net Operating Loss deduction, and close the “Delaware Loophole” exploited by some businesses to avoid paying Pennsylvania taxes.

Creating a business climate that promotes job creation is critical to the economy of Pennsylvania.  This is particularly true in Northeastern Pennsylvania where we regularly lead the state in unemployment.  And, for years, Pennsylvania has ranked among the worst states in the nation for corporate taxes.  According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, our rate of 10.24% is higher than the national average (9.9) and makes Pennsylvania the 10th worst to do business in when considering this factor.

Local Democratic Reps. Kevin Haggerty, Sid Kavulich, Phyllis Mundy, and Ed Pashinski voted to keep Pennsylvania taxes high and the Delaware Loophole open.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Post Every Gun Control Democrat Should Read

Came across this post the other day.  It is written by a blogger that identifies herself as "politically far left of center" and it deals with how Democrats handle the issue of gun control.

It is worth the read.

Check it out here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Senate Bill 114 – Identity & Data Protection Legislation

On Monday, the PA Senate approved SB 114 by a vote of 49-0.  The bill requires state and local government agencies to notify the public of any data breaches that occur.  So, if the state loses a laptop (or three, which is what prompted Republicans to push this bill) that contains your social security number, they must notify you within seven days.

Another provision of the legislation requires that the District Attorney or the Office of Administration be notified within three days of a security breach so they can determine if a criminal investigation is warranted.

Finally, the Office of Administration is tasked with beefing up state government security to make these security breaches more difficult.

This legislation will help the residents of Pennsylvania better protect their privacy and defend themselves against identity theft. 

Similar legislation was proposed before, but failed to get taken up by the State House.  Hopefully, that will not happen this year.

Friday, May 3, 2013

HB 790 – Getting Pennsylvania Out of the Liquor Business

Only two states in the nation, Utah and Pennsylvania, have their governments in the business of selling alcohol.  Yet, every Democrat that cast a vote on HB 790, the privatization of Pennsylvania’s liquor stores, voted against it.  It seems Pennsylvania Democrats believe selling booze is a necessary function of government. 

They used scare tactics, arguing that underage drinking would increase and DUI-related incidents would go up.  So, we took a peek at the actual statistics.  Turns out, Pennsylvania   already does worse than other states on both counts.  The current system is producing higher underage drinking than the national average and more DUI-related incidents than 34 other states.

They invoked taxes, talking about how much tax “revenue” we will lose.  Again, turns out, we are already losing tons of revenue under the current system.  23.6% of Pennsylvanians are purchasing their wine elsewhere, causing Pennsylvania to lose $17.3 million in taxes. 
Finally, they argued about jobs.  Surely, tons of jobs will be lost by closing state-run liquor stores, right?  Well, the proposal actually more than doubles the amount of outlets for wine and liquor.  Common sense dictates that if you double the number of stores, you will create an environment where more jobs will be created than lost.

Now, the bill is in the Senate.  Odds are, unfortunately, that they will let the proposal die.  Or, perhaps worse, hold the liquor bill hostage to their demand for more spending (don’t forget, it’s budget time.)
Reach out to your Senator and ask them how they will vote.  If you aren’t sure how to reach them, click here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Real Unemployment 14.5%, GDP worst in 83 Years, Money Losing Value

Yesterday, we wrote about regional unemployment in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region.  Today, we are looking at other economic indicators – and they aren’t pretty.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the market value of all officially recognized goods and services produced within a country over a period of time.  The GDP of the USA is about $15 trillion.  That sounds good until you consider the rate of growth, or, more directly, the lack of serious growth.  Our economy hasn’t had more than 3% growth in GDP since 2005 and is presently projected to be about the growth rate we had in 1929 – that’s Great Depression numbers.

In it’s most basic sense, unemployment numbers are derived by dividing the number of unemployed workers by the total labor force.  There are however six different ways to figure out the top number, the number of unemployed workers.  Likewise, we have six different unemployment numbers.  They are:
·         U1 Unemployment: %of labor force unemployed 15 weeks or longer.
·         U2 Unemployment: % of labor force who lost jobs or completed temporary work.
·         U3 Unemployment: % of labor force without jobs and have actively looked for work within the preceding  four weeks.
·         U4 Unemployment: U3 Unemployment plus those who have stopped looking for work because they believe that there is no work available for them.
·         U5: U4 Unemployment plus those who would like to work, are able to work, but haven’t looked for a job recently.
·         U6: U5 Unemployment plus part-time workers who would like to work full time, but cannot find a job.

When the press reports on unemployment numbers, they typically report only the U3 Unemployment numbers.  That is, those that are unemployed and are have tried to find a job in the last four weeks.  The better, more accurate calculation is the U6 unemployment figure.  The most recent U6 calculation is 14.5%. 

There are two major forms of currency, fiat currency and representative currency.  Representative currency is tied directly to something of intrinsic value – like gold, for example.  Fiat currency is tied to nothing of value.  Instead, it is declared by law to be legal tender.

In the United States, we use fiat currency.  “Dollars” are not tied to a commodity.  As such, their value or purchasing power is easily manipulated by inflation or deflation.  Since we used 1929 previously, let’s look at that again.  Between 1929 and 2013, annual inflation was a little over 3%.  That means, whatever you could buy for a buck in 1929, would cost you a little over $13 today.
So let’s tie it all together.  In order to earn dollars, you have to have a job.  But, the economy is growing too slowly to replace the jobs that are lost making it hard to find a job.  And, if you have a job, the dollars you are being paid with are losing their purchasing power over time so you can buy less goods or services with each dollar that you make which again, makes the economy sluggish.  It’s a vicious cycle – and one that normally precedes serious economic difficulty for any nation.