My car has sensors in the front and back that are illustrated on the dashboard in a gradual system that lets me know when I'm getting closer to an object. In addition, there is a camera in the back of my car that allows to me to see where I'm going.
It's all very helpful, but I find when I drive my older jalopy that I've lost some ability to make decisions for myself without second-guessing. In this world it's becoming easier and easier to second guess yourself. I don't even know my mother's phone number because it's programmed into all the phones under her name. Thinking for ourselves is something the experts and our government must also think we can no longer achieve.
How else could we explain some of the nonsense we are seeing and hearing with our own eyes and ears and wallets? It is getting to the point where it's so disingenuous as to be insulting. Moreover, I think it's not working like it once did. I was pleased to read the Gallup poll on the Keystone Pipeline and had Frank Newport on Payne Nation. The majority of Americans, even Democrats, think the pipeline should be built. Of those that are really engaged with the issue, the number leaps to 78%. Nonetheless, the faulty reports and rhetoric never stop coming. It would be easy to give in and just accept at face value their facts.
It would be easy and, in fact, has become easy for so many people to just accept what they hear. They need to pause for a moment and just ask if the stuff they're being sold is for real or if it is damned lies and statistics.
For Real … Green Jobs are soaring?
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
Mark Twain's Autobiography
Last week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its first report ever on the number of green jobs in America. The report takes Mark Twain one step further where we could say there are lies, damned lies, statistics, and despicable dishonest lies from our government to sell an agenda that would bankrupt the nation while paying off political cronies and appeasing environmentalists. According to the report, in 2010 there were 3.1 million green goods and services jobs in America. That's 2.4% of total employment and more than the oil industry according to some proponents.
The thing is the report is riddled with lies. I can only pray I never hear the president quote this report at any time this campaign season. The BLS, which is also in charge of counting jobs data, uses a methodology to determine a green job that's not based on skill differences but instead that has an apparent benefit to the environment. This includes mass transit workers because they are providing a service that benefits the environment according to testimony from Hilda Solis who testified before congress last year. The rationale for this lunacy is that lots of people take the bus and not cars so it's saving the environment. I would say it's presumptuous to assume everyone on the bus had an option to drive a car.
But the absurdity of all this is you could actually drive a bus running on fossil fuel and still be considered a green worker.
You don't have to even go into the dubious descriptions for a so-called green job; just check out the BLS report. Under the heading of Utilities you get a real sense of true green jobs, or should I say lack thereof.
65,700 Total Utility Green Jobs breakdown
> 35,800 Nuclear jobs(and this is not part of an "all of the above" program)
> 3,700 Hydro electric jobs
> 2,200 Wind jobs
> 1,100 Biomass jobs
> 600 Geothermal jobs
> 400 Solar jobs
This report will be used to promote the green agenda with a focus on wind and solar jobs. Last week president Obama bragged incessantly about that solar project in Nevada where there are just 5 permanent jobs. By the way, the largest chunk of jobs according to the BLS report is construction at 372,077. These are temp jobs, and I'm not sure there are any new skill sets that could be transferred to future jobs. The bottom line is this green jobs report is a bold faced lie made worse by the fact it comes from our federal government.
For Real … the Housing market is back?
Coming into last week, the cover of Barron's suggested we had reached the bottom of the housing crash (the smaller print bought a twelve month window) which matched similar proclamations from a number of leading sources. But as the week wore on I began to wonder what the heck everyone was talking about. The data certainly didn't match the hype ahead of the slate of economic data, and by the end of the week there seemed to be a serious flaw in models and projections of those wearing rose-colored glasses.
Last week's trail of tears in housing:
* Monday-homebuilder sentiment missed consensus
* Tuesday-housing starts miss consensus
* Wednesday-mortgage applications tumbled 7.4% down four straight weeks
* Thursday-FHFA house price index unchanged previous month, revised to 0.1% from 0.7%
* Friday-new home sales were 313,000 against a consensus of 325,000
Then there was the earnings report from KB Homes (KBH). The company's revenues came in well below consensus and trying to find any silver linings were akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. For instance the southwest region saw higher deliveries and home prices at tremendous development completely nullified by a 28.5% decrease in net orders. Overall net orders dipped to 1,197 from 1,302. Then there is the alarming item pointed out by David Urani on Friday. The company reported net new orders were down 8% despite a 3% jump in gross new orders. Cancellations spiked to 36% from 29% which makes me wonder why?
I suspect at some point, soon, housing hits terra firma, but that hasn't happened yet—for real.
For Real ... No Inflation
A lot of people that know better have jumped on the no inflation bandwagon, which is fine if you are trying to justify buying stocks against your own model—it is called rationalization. But, it's not fine that official data is skewed in such a way as to promote a false reality. Last week corporate America offered a more honest assessment of the state of inflation. Nike saw its margins squeezed, FedEx (FDX) offered low assumptions for US GDP this year, and next but not least was news from General Mills (GIS) that raised the red flag.
"Our third-quarter results reflect strong worldwide sales growth for our business, but the 10-11 percent input cost inflation we're experiencing this year pressured our margins."
When food companies see an 11% spike in inflation, you can bet the average American household feels the pain in the pocketbook, too. This week we'll get consumer sentiment and confidence data, and it might reflect what the CPI and Federal Reserve (and now too many financial commentators) will not. There is a spike in inflation, and it's not fun—for real.
For Real ... Economic Impact of Obamacare
It begins today ... a decision on the constitutionality of certain aspects of the new healthcare law will be decided by the Supreme Court. It's just days after the two-year anniversary and the law is less popular now than ever. There are many reasons the law is unpopular from economic impact to individual rights. A piece from the Heritage Foundation says the tax impact alone is a whopping $502.0 billion between 2010 and through 2019.
Individual and Employer mandate penalties
Medicare hospital insurance taxes
Tax on investment income for high-wage earners
Tax on medical devices
Restrictions on HSA and FSA
Eight additional taxes