The Political Conventions Are Over… How did we get into this mess and what does it mean for income inequality?

Hil-TrumpThe Republican and Democratic political conventions are over and the two champions of their parties have been selected. These two conventions were little more than a platform for a parade of speeches by various political hacks saying stuff we already know in hopes of grabbing some prime time TV attention.

Leading up to these conventions we knew who the two presidential nominees were going to be and we know exactly what they stand for.

And… Both candidates scare me right now.  A lot!

On one hand we have a Democratic presidential nominee who will probably promise us the world (things like free college tuition to start) but as the current president has found, its not so easy to actually run a government. Especially when everyone is at each other’s throats like they have been for the last seven and a half years.  Scary…

Mule ElepahntOn the other hand, we have a Republican presidential nominee that scares about everyone including most of the people in his own party. The unprecedented number of people who watched the televised Republican debates shows that Mr. Trump is fun to watch as a nominee but I’m not really sure he can lead the country in a rational, thoughtful, compassionate way. No matter what his wife says. Even if she is skillfully using Michelle Obama’s words from eight years ago.  It makes we sort of want to see a debate between this Slovenian fashion model and current first lady/former high powered attorney. In a fair fight I’m pretty sure I know who would win. But a cat fight worth watching.

All this convention political noise was just designed to get us to like these two hugely unlikable presidential candidates.

People said a lot of great things. Somewhere deep down we started to feel a little better about making a choice this November. At least that’s what the political party captains would like.

But I really don’t see much of a choice…

Especially when it comes to getting the country on the path to resolving the two ton guerrilla (I didn’t use elephant because of the political connotations) in the room. Income Inequality.

The unemployment numbers are telling us that a higher percentage of people than ever are working yet the economy seems to be in a weak sluggish position. This is simply because too many people are working too many hours for too little pay. At the end of the week they get a paycheck that barely covers their basic living costs and Obama-care premiums.

All this while people at the other end of the income spectrum are earning more income than ever and thanks to lenient Fed policies they are enjoying an unprecedented high valuation of their assets.

If you listen to one scary candidate, the solution is to tax the heck out of the big earners and find ways to transfer that cash to the people at the other end of the spectrum. Better known as a “Hand Out”.

If you listen to the other scary candidate, he is preaching a system with less government regulations, more opportunity and lower taxes. Better known as a “Hand Up”

Yes folks it is that simple… One system is a “Hand Out” and the other is a “Hand Up”.

What happens with a "Hand Out" system... The walls make people mad.

What happens with a “Hand Out” system… People just don’t like the walls!

We know for sure the Hand Out system does not work. At its extreme is looks like socialism. You know, that Soviet system where everyone gets education, a job, food, and a place to live. Not much choice but they do get the basics and everyone except a handful of “leaders” are very equal on the income scale. It’s works best for the Vodka companies since this system seems to really promote alcoholism. The most famous “virtually everyone equal system” collapsed years ago because it can only survive as long as someone is there to foot the bill. And when taxes go up or things get really bad people will leave unless you build a wall. And that wall will only keep people from leaving for so long.

If you don’t believe me… Ask the state of New Jersey about why a guy named David Tepper left the state because of its high income tax rate for a new home in Florida with a Zero percent income tax rate. The move saved him millions of dollars a year. Wouldn’t you do the same thing?

New Jersey may need to build a wall…

Tax and spend, Hand Outs, are no way to build a long term sustainable economy and try to chip away at Income Inequality. Higher taxes and rampant government spending will just make the problem worse for everyone in the end.

Who is this guy named "Rich"? It's everyone who earns a paycheck!

Who is this guy named “Rich”? It’s everyone who earns a paycheck!

In reality this Income Inequality problem we are in these days is most likely the result of an economy in transition. We are painfully moving from a union controlled manufacturing economy to a free agent services economy.

In the past, millions of workers enjoyed a middle class life while doing the hard work of making things like cars, TV sets, shoes, and furniture. Through the important work of labor unions salaries and benefits always kept pace with the needs of a middle class lifestyle. And that was in an amazing time when one wage earner could provide for a family. And they lived a nice life.

But… As we all experienced when the U.S. auto, steel, shoe, clothing and furniture manufactures collapsed this socialist type non-market driven pay/benefit system could not survive when no one was there to pay the bill. Now most cars, steel, shoes, clothing, and furniture still manufactured in the USA are done in non-union factories where pay/benefits are more in line with the actual value created.

So the Bottom line for these newly anointed presidential candidates is that one candidate is unelectable. And the other candidate promises us four more years of the same Washington gridlock we have had for the last eight years.

Scary… Especially if you are on the wrong end of the income inequality scale.

Only real innovation can fuel the demise of Income Inequality

Only real innovation can fuel the demise of Income Inequality

The simple solution is that the fine people we send to Washington to represent us in Congress pull together and create some policies that might have a little “Hand Out” component but be made up of largely sustainable growth oriented job-creating “Hand Up” policies.

The Fed has done their job with easy money and low interest rates but without the help of congress all those sacks of money just sit in bank vaults not helping anyone. Don’t be fooled by this media-generated presidential election horse race noise. The real culprits in this inequality gridlock situation is congress.

Congress needs to pull together and decide it’s time to get America back on track. Small business is what really fuels growth. Get out of the small business person’s way and you will be amazed what can be accomplished.

Remember… All of today’s big businesses started as small businesses in the past.  They all started with a motivated person with a great idea and a plan to get things going.

These two guys had an idea back in 1976. Now Apple directly employs over 66,000 people and over 627,000 people indirectly.

These two guys had an idea back in 1976. Now Apple directly employs over 66,000 people and over 627,000 people indirectly.

If Congress enacts a package of small business incentives, education initiatives, research/innovation credits, and reasonable regulations more people will move up the income ladder and large scale inequality will be a thing of the past.

Think it can’t be done?… We’ve done it before and that’s why America out-produced, out-grew, and had the fastest increase in standards of living back in the 1950’s. And the 1970’s weren’t so bad either.

Congress needs to bring back the good old days. No president can do that on their own.

Do We Really Know What To Expect From Mr. Trump At This Week’s Debate?

Since Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy on June 16th he has shaken things up on the political landscape like never before. He has single handedly taken a pretty boring time in the election cycle and given people a reason to read the news, watch television, and laugh at comedians.

Either we are waiting for Mr. Trump to shoot his mouth off again or succumb to party pressure to drop out of the race for some not so nice things he has said.  Everyone seems to have their own countdown clock to Mr. Trump’s candidacy implosion date.

TDPollsBut in the meantime… Even though he has said some questionable things about our neighbors to the south and attacked a former Republican Presidential standard bearer  Mr. Trump has rocketed to the top spot in all the polls with a 19% preference rating among Republican primary voters.

This is significant unless you believe that somehow Donald Trump has used some of his billions of dollars to buy the poll takers or that Democrats are secretly participating in the poll with designs on causing some sort of election day upheaval.

How could Mr. Trump’s poll success be true?…

Like a professional golfer Donald Trump has been promoting his message on his hat… “Make America Great Again!”

In a country heavily populated with politicians who really don’t communicate anything they obviously stand for because it may offend or scare even one potential voter , Mr. Trump may have ceased on a core message with some real impact.

Make America Great Again!DT1

Maybe it’s this theme that has carried Mr. Trump to the top of the polls. It’s simple. It resonates. It makes sense.

From our crumbling roads and railways to our laughable public education system and our forgotten middle class I don’t think many Americans feel as great as their parents or grandparents did.

At this week’s Republican debates while nine of the candidates try to say what keeps  them out of trouble with even the smallest special interest group, I think Mr.
Trump is going to pound on his “Make America Great Again!” theme and leave the others in a rubble of confusing electioneering rhetoric.

This is what crumbling infrastructure looks like

This is what crumbling infrastructure looks like

I’m sure Mr. Trump is going to shoot his mouth off at least once.  He is going to give the media at least one golden sound bite that will undoubtedly offend, insult, and slam someone.  The comedians will crack jokes about his hair. The Republican National Committee Chairman is going to hope it’s all a dream that he can escape by clicking his heals together and repeating, “There’s no place like home.”

But at the end of the debate…  viewers, republican primary voters, and the other candidates will probably realize one thing…

Like him or not, Mr. Trump’s candidacy is for real. The political game may be changing forever. Play by the old rules and be prepared to fall into obscurity in a world where voters are looking for something different.

Could this finally be the big night for the Republicans fighting it out for a chance to challenge Obama?

Super Tuesday is finally here and before we know it the day will be over.

In a matter of hours the airwaves will be alive with news reports on who is leading where and firm predictions on winners in some races.  And if you believe the candidates they all plan to stay in the race no matter what happens.

Unfortunately for the Republicans this primary season has dragged on far too long. With every attack ad they look worse and Obama looks better. It’s too bad the only way these guys can differentiate themselves is by tearing down their opponents. How can voters make a decision when there is so much negativity flying around.

The human brain works in strange ways…

Once a leader emerges and the other candidates step back, Republicans will forget about all the mud that has been slung. Plus former foes will be on their best behavior in hopes of getting some plumb job if the guy they have been bashing for a year actually gets the top job.

Ah politics… Always fun to watch no matter how bloody it gets.

Michigan primary could end things for someone…
But who?

It seems like it could come down to next Tuesday on this Republican primary circus. This has definitely been one of the oddest primary seasons in history and whoever comes out as the winner of this process may not really be a winner. 

That person could emerge with so many scars they may not be able to do the job for their party in the general election.

Right now the media has been quoting polls that show Romney and Santorum in a dead heat. Interesting since this was a former home state for Mr. Romney.

Do you think Mr. Romney’s position that GM should not have been bailed out by the government is affecting his popularity in Michigan? Maybe he thought he was going to edge out his competitors before things got to the motor state. That would be a big whoops on someone’s part.  Sometimes I think these guys live in some alternate universe.

I’m surprized Romney is even allowed to set foot in Michigan with his position on the GM bailout. How many bazillion workers would have lost their jobs if the government would not have done the bailout?

Romney has said that the government should have let private investor groups bail out General Motors but smart people have said that no one was in line to make the save. The company, its parts suppliers and possibly the entire US auto industry could have evaporated over a weekend.

It’s easy to say it was good for the Government to bail out GM since at this point GM has either paid back most of the money or converted it to GM stock. It is looking like a three-way win for Washington.

Tuesday night all will be known.

Sometimes I think the media created these kind of “dead heat” situations to keep people interested.

 And… Why do we need more debates. This has been one of the most debated primaries of all time. I guess the good thing is that whoever comes out of this they will be ready to debate Obama.

Could Clint Eastwood really be the best choice for president?

Just before the super bowl halftime show the hoopla around the big screen TV last night was too much for me to hear the Clint Eastwood Chrysler ad. The picture were dark and I could tell the ad was not going down the more typical humorous road.

So in a more quiet moment today I watched the ad. If you missed it I suggest that you watch it too.

This was deffinitely the wrong ad for a superbowl. There was no way people were going to amp down enough to really listemn to what Clint was saying a really let the images sink in. This was probably the best ad all night but most people just didn’t know it at teh time. We do thing like watch football and drink beer to forget about what’s going on in our country right now.

But… Even though the ad was trying to sell Chryslers the message in the ad was that sure we as a country may be down now but we always seem to make things right. It’s the kind of hopefull message I sort of wish teh current crop of politicians could rally behind.

Maybe the ad should be mandatory viewing for our people in D.C.

What if Clint decided to run for President?  I think you might be surprised how many peopel would vot for him. It will probably take a Clint-sized person to get congress to work together. If someone ready to take some personal risks.

The ad was caleld “Halftime in America”… I hope it’s true. Too many people out there are rooting for us to fail.

Who is really creating all the jobs?

I heard Mitt Romney this morning on CNBC and he had some interesting and surprising things to say. Beside all the stuff we have been hearing for the last few years he talked more about Bain Capital where he was one of the guys at the top.

I guess some of the other prospective Republican contenders have been taking pot shots at Romney because of his past association with an actual company that made money for its investors. I guess Mr. Romney should get ready for more of this if he is the eventual guy up against Mr. Obama in November.

But the interesting thing Romney said was that when he worked for Bain Capital (A combined Venture Capital Firm and private equity company) he created more jobs than Mr. Obama has so far. I hope he has the numbers to back this one up. If not, expect some need for damage control.

Keep an eye on how Mr. Romney deals with these attacks on his private sector history. It will be very telling on how the next ten months could go for him.

Unfortunately all this proves is that once again it is very hard to get qualified people to run for President of the United States. What can they do to fix that? Offer a bigger pay package and stock options?

Are we all too excited about New Hampshire?

I’ve been to New Hampshire. Lots of trees and quaint small towns. And for about one week every four years we all watch the fine people of New Hampshire go out and vote. It’s makes for good T.V. but does it really matter?

Let me save you some time… It will probably be a Romney win but it will be close enough to keep the number tow guy in the race for a while… Sorry to spoil the surprise.