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Sunday, December 07, 2014 ISSUE #815

 Cheaper oil means more Christmas presents

           Did you know there was a race to 18? The stock market is approaching 18,000 for the Dow Jones. But our national debt got to 18 first; it hit $18,000,000,000,000 last week. Whether President Obama will claim credit for either one I’ve got my doubts.

     China replaced us as the world’s largest economy, proving you can’t grow your economy by borrowing money. If borrowed money counted, our $18 Trillion would put us so far ahead China would have to round up fifty other countries to top us.

     Our economy may be nothing to brag about, but it’s better than most. Yes, it sounds like a contradiction, but nobody except Germany and the US has climbed back up to levels before the Great Recession. Another 300,000 workers found jobs last month and the unemployment rate stayed below 6%. Still, if you ask ‘em, the majority of Americans think the recession is not over.

     One thing that is helping out is oil prices. Gasoline around here is about $2.50 and headed down. That can leave a few more dollars for presents under the Christmas tree.

            Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare economist who became famous for calling American voters “stupid” will testify to Congress this week.  The Supreme Court may be listening in because those nine justices are taking a second look at the health care law. If five of them decide Gruber was calling them stupid, they may shut down at least part of Obamacare.

       Seventy-three years ago Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor. The next day President Roosevelt and Congress declared war on Japan and Germany and Italy. Even though the country was totally unprepared in 1941 to wage war, it took us and our friends less than four years to defeat them. In 2001 we were attacked by Islamic terrorists, and thirteen years and two Presidents later we seem to be nowhere close to defeating them.

    What’s the difference between then and now? Well, back then winning that war was not only “Job One”, it was our only job. Nothing else mattered. Today, we’ve got a hundred different “jobs” and “killing Islamic terrorists” may rank no higher than fifty. It has to share time and resources with global warming, fighting Ebola, flying to Mars, common core math, retraining police not to shoot, and saving snails, minnows, turtles, hoot owls, and prairie chickens.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

            (The League of Nations appointed a delegation) “to go to Manchuria and see how much country Japan had captured. Well, Japan asked ‘em not to come till they had captured enough to make the trip worthwhile. If Japan keeps expanding, the delegation will meet the Japanese army at about Reno or Salt Lake.” DT #1728, Feb. 7, 1932

            “China has had a war. It was the usual modern war. Nobody knows who won.” Saturday Evening Post, May 12, 1928

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