Monday, January 7, 2013

Opposite Opinions

A personal note before I get into it. For some time now, I have been reading "Patriot Update" online. It is an excellent website that presents fine writers and thoughtful articles. I particularly recommend articles by Dr. David Goetsch. The nice folks at "Patriot Update" have asked me to write for them. I have agreed and my articles will be found on their site once or twice a week. The Cranky Conservative blog will continue as before.

I read news on line and often make comments about the articles that I read. I recently made a comment about the last four years under Obama and how I think the country is worse off. I received a semi-angry response from another reader who had an opposing view. I'll use only his first name to preserve his privacy. Ryan sent me a list of areas that he felt were radically better than they were four years ago.

The first item on Ryan's list is that the Dow has doubled in the past four years. That is sort of true. Four year ago when Obama was elected the Dow dipped to around 6,550 and did an almost immediate rebound. However, the year before that it reached almost 14,200. So we are actually lower than five years ago. And I always like to make the point that the Dow is not the economy. It does not represent what is going on in the average persons financial life.

His next point was that corporate profits have risen. Also true. But why? They have risen because corporations shed expenses. They are not selling more. Their profits per sale have not risen. They have laid off people and closed factories. Hence the higher profits.

Ryan said that we have gone from losing 700,000 jobs a month to adding several hundred thousand. I tried to check for accurate figures but there are just so many versions of the truth out there I couldn't guarantee any accuracy. So I will go back to unemployment numbers. Those are consistent. In July of 08 unemployment was at 5.8%. By October of 09 it was 10%. But there are still fewer people employed than in the last 30 years. The only reason unemployment numbers have improved at all is that people have given up and stopped looking for work. So they are no longer counted as unemployed. Also, the new private sector jobs are at lower pay levels.

His next point is that Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda's leadership is all but destroyed. OK, they say Bin Laden is dead. I accept that. But I still have a lingering doubt. As to the destruction of Al Qaeda's leadership. They are back. They are bigger, stronger, and less centralized than before. I give you Benghazi as an example.

Ryan said the GDP is up and growing. Growing at a rate of 1.3% in the last quarter. That is pathetic and will not sustain our economy.

Two more points to wrap this up. Ryan feels that foreign relations have improved. Not so. Our friends no longer trust us. Those that hated us hate us even more now. Those that would embarrass us do so without trepidation.

Finally, Ryan feels that the drop in family income is marginal. An average family making $44,000 per year is down $4,000. That is neither marginal nor trivial. That is a big chunk of their income.

Thank you Ryan. You made me work a little extra hard, but it was fun.

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