Obamacare and the Great Shutdown of 2013

Obamacare and the Great Shutdown of 2013

In 2008 I voted for McCain for president. I was still a Republican.

Obamacare may be a poorly written law but it is something that was needed.

The GOP had a chance to make it a good or better law. During 2009 the GOP introduced 169 accepted amendments to the law while it was in committee. Yet when it came time to refine and to sell the law the GOP walked away without a single vote for it. Obamacare is a bad law courtesy of the GOP. Govern or get out.

In 2012 I voted Obama. Not out of love for Obama or the Democratic Party but because of the silliness constantly put forth by the GOP. Most of my other 2012 choices in 2012 were still Republican despite my vote for Obama.

2013 – Am completely soured on Republicans but will still vote for one or two in the upcoming Virginia election.

2014 – Am hoping that some sanity returns to the GOP … but if not I will be in good company pinching my nose and voting for that other party. And if craziness still seems to have the GOP in its grasp then I will just vote straight Democratic and hope that a GOP made up of thinking fiscal conservatives one day rises from the ashes.

Dear House GOP – Just do it! Push that BIG red button!

Dear House GOP,

You should stick to your guns in your showdown with President Obama.

Do not compromise. Do not delay the big fight for another day. Do not compromise and then come back two weeks later and start the fight anew over the national debt. Do not compromise and then come back in 12 months just before the election and turn the need for governing into election bulletpoints for the base — either your base or anyone else’s supporter base.

Just do it.

It will cause some pain. Probably some good will come out of it too.

Most importantly of all, you and WE need to get on with life. To move beyond the irrational. So just do it. We will all happily remember this episode in 2014 and vote for those that we believe were right … or less wrong.

English Contractions … down South

English Contractions … down South

Dad to daughter: So what happened to your date? … She sez: He never turnt up.

Mom to son: Your grades are awful. It would be good if you turnt up for class occasionally.

Mortician finding a body by the front door: WTH did he come from? .. IDK. He just turnt up, says the gravedigger.

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There is a reason that Scrabble has so many extra Es. They don’t get used in real life.

Armchair futurist on prudent men, lowering incomes, managing expenses and following the breadcrumbs

A Facebook pal posted this thought:

The prudent man does not lower his debt by lowering his income. Rather, he lowers his debt, first, and is then free to lower his income.

Being the armchair futurist that I am, my response:

I advise people to lower income expectations and expenses for several reasons.

The trend since the late 80s has generally been one of income stagflation. Most folks did not notice it because inflation was low, products became more plentiful and ever cheaper, plus more families moved to a two income model. We also supplemented our lifestyles with putting more expensive purchases on longer term buys and we maximized our equity. That does not change the fact that real income has been sliding for decades.

Since 1998 the labor market in the USA has consistently declined in the total percentage of folks with jobs and/or benefits. More people have become commoditized. Many workers bring little actual value to their employers that cannot be replaced within a very short time period.

Throughout the 1990s we talked about doing more with less. We could and sometimes did. But there was little incentive to accelerate the process because profits were good and disruption to organizations usually caused a short-term drop in profits within 2-4 years after these morale busting changes.

The great crash of 2008 changed that. We were no longer worried about chaos from change. Change visited us quarter after quarter.

Organizational change now represented survival and hope for making up for the lost $$$ of 2008-early 2010. The Top 1% did lose big. But that change investment paid off, which is why income and investments of the Top 1% (and Top 10%) increased their take by almost 19% over the last 24 months.

In the end we have learned that we can do more with less … FAR LESS … the recent return of one of the largest textile plants in North Carolina did so by cutting their workforce from 2000 to just 140, without any cut in production quality or quantity. Quality actually increased.

We live in a commoditized society where few can justify some inherent $$ value if and when we find a way to do more for less … or even the same.

For the future, we need to be talking about much more than just doing yesterday better.

Sometimes we need rethink the meaning of what it all means. The answers are not going to come from the left or the right, or even from the squeemish middle hoping to eek out some kind of good deal. Times have changed. We need to jettison some of our pride and doctrines and admit that we need new answers — answers which may violate our own dear cherished principles which are often broken and fail to deliver on answers for the future.

JOBS / MANUFACTURING / FUTURE – Manufacturing coming home but jobs are not

JOBS / MANUFACTURING / FUTURE  U.S. Textile Plants Return. Sales up 37% since 2012 … $22.7B in sales… Jobs are not returning. Factories are being highly automated. Before exporting jobs, one North Carolina factory had 2,000+ workers and now can do the same level of production with just 140.

The good news is that rapid changes in technology will create an ever greater flood of ‘Made in America’ products available at reasonable or just below premium cost.

The bad news is that not many Americans will be involved in actually making anything that is ‘Made in America’.

Read More: NY Times story on Textile Manufacuring | Impact of Technology on Manufacturing and Jobs (PDF Report)

I am not arguing that we should fight automation. It is a good thing on the whole: providing quality products at reasonable cost.

My concern is that we talk about jobs, jobs, jobs and yet seem to have overlooked that the world has changed. The overwhelming majority of the unemployed, or underemployed, are not in that status because they want to be. We cannot on the one hand tell people to ‘go get a job’ and then take away food asssistance when there are few jobs to be gotten. That is an outdated strategy that may have worked when we were an agrarian society … but as you have probably heard: times have changed.

We need to move to a conversation about what the future looks like, and what the future means for the average American.