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Willisms

« December 2009 | WILLisms.com | February 2010 »

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 735 -- The Obama Curse.

Obama Is A Socialist Hell-Bent On Tranforming America Into Chicago/California/Michigan/Rhode Island-

After just one year in office, Obama is already an albatross for Democrats running for Governor, Senator, and other positions:

obamacurse.gif
The party’s share of the gubernatorial vote in 2009 was down a dozen percentage points from Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential vote in each state. And in Massachusetts, the Democratic proportion of the Senate vote was down 15 points from Obama’s ‘08 showing. At no time during the presidency of George W. Bush did the Republican gubernatorial vote in Virginia and New Jersey decline more than 8 percentage points from the previous GOP presidential vote in the state.

Americans now have the most profound collective case of buyers' remorse in our nation's modern political history. People were upset by outrageous spending levels, bailouts, and other big government failures, so they elected something "different." They've quickly realized the "different" they chose was actually worse. Americans just want to be left alone to live the dream, without government's heavy debt burden, tax burden, and regulatory burden.

Brad Jackson noted that the Obama curse applies to more than politics. It apparently applies to college basketball as well:

At one point Obama said, “Man, I am honored to speak to the No. 1 team in the country.”

Not for long.

Later that evening, the number one Wildcats became another victim of the Obama curse, falling to South Carolina 68 – 62 behind the inspired play of the Game Cock’s Devan “Scott Brown” Downey. The Wildcats are no longer unbeaten and may not be number one again for next week’s poll. If you listen closely, you can almost here the groaning all the way back in Lexington, Kentucky, where someone is surely saying, “Thanks for nothing Obama.”

Obama still has time to turn things around, but right now he looks like a one termer and a failure, based on his own far-left ideological overreach.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Football..

Posted by Will Franklin · 29 January 2010 10:09 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 734 -- Football.

Lots Of Standing Around-

The Wall Street Journal analyzed four NFL games and found that most of the time in football games is spent standing around:

footballwsj.gif

I can almost see why foreigners hate American football so much, looking at it this way. Almost.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas #1 In Private Sector Job Creation..

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 January 2010 09:07 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 733 -- Texas #1 In Private Sector Job Creation.

A Lost Decade, Not Lost For Texas-

Many economists are calling the 2000s a "lost decade" for America's prosperity, because many of the gains made from 2002-2006 in terms of GDP and jobs were lost between 2007 and 2009, after the Democrats took back Congress.

Texas was hard hit by the national (and, really, global) recession as well, but even with that hit, Texas was one of the few states that did not have a "lost" decade (.pdf):

privatesectorjobgrowth.gif

Some tidbits for your digestion:

*Texas created more private sector jobs than any other state in the nation over the last 10 years and has the lowest unemployment rate among the 10 largest states in the nation.

*Texas created 724,300 more net private sector jobs as compared to December 1999, the largest private sector job gain nationwide over the last decade.

*Among the 10 largest states as ranked by civilian labor force size, Texas was well ahead of all other large states in private sector job growth with a percentage net gain of 9.30 percent as compared to December 1999.

*Florida was the only other large state to realize a net gain in private sector employment over the same period with 259,500 net jobs gained for a percentage net gain of 4.31 percent from December 1999 to December 2009. The other 8 large states showed a net loss of private sector jobs over the same period.

*Nationally, over the last decade, the private sector experienced a net employment loss of 1.408 percent or 1,549,000 jobs lost.

Don't mess with the Texas economy. Re-elect Governor Rick Perry. You can make your endorsement official here.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: State Government Debt In Texas.

Read More »


Posted by Will Franklin · 27 January 2010 08:54 AM · Comments (0)

Texan? Primary Voter Registration Deadline February 1, 2010.

Attention Texas voters who want to vote in the Republican primary on March 2, 2010!

You must be registered by February 1. Click here for all the documents and information on registering to vote.

If you aren't registered by February 1, you won't be able to vote. So register!

And then vote early. Find your Texas polling place here:



Get this widget for your website here.

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 January 2010 12:27 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 732 -- The Texas Debt Level Is Low.

Debt Low In Texas-

Despite what you may have heard from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and/or the other lady running for Governor, Texas is actually a great place to work, start a business, or otherwise engage in commerce.

Government debt is extremely low in Texas. In fact, the "bad" kind of government debt-- non-self-supporting debt-- has decreased by 16% (from $3.4 to $2.85 billion) in Texas over the past ten years.

Yes, you read that right: "bad" government debt in Texas has decreased substantially over the past decade. Moody's also upgraded Texas to its highest ever bond rating (AA+) this year.

That tends to happen when a state government keeps spending growth roughly in line with population growth plus inflation, as is the case in Texas over the past several years.

Forbes ranked the states on their debt levels, and it is really not surprising at all that the best states tend to be low tax "red" states, and the worst states tend to be high tax "blue" states. Texas ranked 4th best on the debt scorecard, and #1 among the ten largest states:

bestworststatedebt.gif

Forbes also has this interactive scorecard one can click around on to see more state government debt data:

forbesdebtscorecard.gif

Texas has one of the best debt levels in the entire country, so when you hear certain negative politicians cherrypick stats or distort the figures, think about what else they must be misleading voters about.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Unions Equal Government.

Read More »


Posted by Will Franklin · 26 January 2010 10:10 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 731 -- Unions Equal Government.

Majority Of Union Members Are Government Employees-

"Union member" has become synonymous with "government employee."

Heritage has crunched the numbers:

uniondemographics.gif
The BLS's annual report on union membership shows the labor movement's decline in membership continued in 2009. While a full 23.0 percent of Americans belonged to labor unions in 1980, by 2008 only 12.4 percent did. In 2009, that figure dropped slightly to 12.3 percent. There are now 15.3 million union members in the United States, 770,000 fewer than in 2008.

I have written about this topic quite a bit over the years. See this post, this post, and this post for more info on unions in the private versus public sector.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Austin, Texas #1 For Small Business Vitality.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 January 2010 03:40 PM · Comments (0)

Perry Blogger Summit.

No Trivia Tidbit the rest of this week. I am working on putting together a blogger summit in Austin, Texas, with Rick Perry, several prominent bloggers from around the country, and some of my favorite Texas bloggers and prolific social media users, as well.

If you are interested, the event is at capacity, but we can always up-size to a bigger space if we have a flood of last-minute registrations.

Register here.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 January 2010 06:27 PM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 730 -- Small Business Vitality.

Texas On Top-

Austin Texas ranks number one on Portfolio.com's Small business Vitality 2010 index:

austinvivavitality.gif

More:

No major state has weathered the recession more successfully than Texas. So it’s logical that the best place to launch a new business would be a prominent Texas metropolitan area.

The nation’s top score for small-business vitality, according to a new Portfolio.com/bizjournals study, belongs to Austin, the state's capital and the center of a thriving metro with 1.7 million residents.

Hope. Change.

Texas should be the model for the nation's recovery, not Michigan/California/Rhode Island.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Medicaid.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 January 2010 10:09 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 729 -- Medicaid Expansion.

Unfunded Federal Mandates-

The Heritage Foundation explains that the health care bill will impose crazy costs on the states:

costofmedicareexpansionbystate.gif
Calculations of state costs, derived from the coverage and federal cost estimates prepared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), show that the Senate bill would increase state Medicaid spending--for both benefits and administration--by $32.6 billion for FY 2014 to FY 2019, while the increased Medicaid costs to states under the House bill would be $60 billion for FY 2013 to FY 2019.

Health care reform is neither health care nor reform. It's just big government nonsense.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Oil.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 January 2010 02:47 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 728 -- Oil.

Fossil Fuels Will Be Needed For Years To Come-

Carpe Diem correctly points out that imminent "peak oil" is not true:

oil.gif

Renewable energies are fine, especially if market forces can advance the ball on them, but let's not pretend that oil is going away anytime soon.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Leading Nation Economically.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 January 2010 02:40 PM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 727 -- Texas Leading Nation Economically.

Texas Dominating California, Other Large States, Economically-

Carpe Diem offers some interesting Texas versus California graphs:

texascalif1.jpg

Texas has weathered the current recession better than California for a lot of reasons, and it would be a huge mistake to attribute either all or none of that to the Democrat vs. Republican political divide of the states. Really, it's the ideas that matter. Texas looks more like the America that became the global economic superpower-- limited government. California, meanwhile, once governed by Ronald Reagan, and possessing so much natural wealth and beauty, is beginning to look like some sort of strange dystopian nightmare at the state government level.

Ideas matter, and look no further than the divergent unemployment rates for proof of that:

texascalif2.jpg

Indeed, Texas and California both have a lot of people voting with their feet. People leave both states each year. People move into both states each year. The net numbers are what is important, and Texas has a huge net surplus of people moving to Texas from other states:

alliedvanlinestexascalifornia.gif
Texas may be well known for its tasty barbeque, rowdy cowboys and friendly nature, but it also boasts a solid employment base, low tax rates and some of the nation’s most affordable housing. And in these challenging economic times, those qualities can look particularly attractive to families and businesses looking to move to a place where they can plant some roots. So it’s no surprise that more people chose to relocate to Texas in 2008 than any other state, according to Allied Van Lines’ 41st Annual Magnet States Report released today.

For the fourth year in a row, Texas took the lead as the No. 1 destination state in 2008 based on Allied’s report, which tracks U.S. migration patterns.

Texas achieved the highest net relocation gain (inbound moves minus outbound moves performed by Allied Van Lines) of 1,903 in 2008.

Again, the net numbers are the only thing that really matter. Every state is constantly gaining and losing people, constantly gaining and losing jobs, etc.

The world still adds people even though people are dying every second of every day, all over the world. Profitable companies still earn net money, even though they are constantly paying out gobs of money toward salaries, rent, travel, materials, and other expenses. The ocean tide still comes in at night despite the fact that it also flows outward toward the sea every few seconds. That's a net gain of water on the beach. This is not rocket science, this net stuff.

Avoiding using net numbers for these kinds of measures doesn't make sense.

Job numbers use net figures for this very reason. If net numbers were not used, boom times could be made to look like economic collapses.

Even after the national recession began, sometime in 2007, Texas avoided declining in employment for roughly a full year. Examining states that created any net jobs at all, Texas added nearly 70% of those newly created net jobs from November 2007 to November 2008. If you include job-losing states in the equation, Texas added far more than 100% of the net jobs gained/lost in the country.

"More than 100%?", you ask. How does that even make sense?

If you're not including only the states that are adding net jobs, it means you have to include dozens of states that have lost net jobs. When the nation as a whole is losing jobs, and you are comparing job-adding Texas to the nation, the Texas number will look a little funny. [See this WILLisms.com post from June 23, 2008 for additional explanation.]

That's why economists typically limit their numbers to as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible.

That's also why official number crunchers working for an organization like the Texas Workforce Commission would actually downplay the true strength of the Texas economy by only comparing Texas job growth to the other dozen-or-so states that actually added jobs. Include the whole picture, and it turns out that Texas added far more than 70% of the jobs in America over that period from Nov. '07 to Nov. '08.

If anything, the frequent claim that Texas added 70% of the nation's jobs in 2008 is more far modest than it could have been.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Jobs, Jobs, & More Jobs.

Read More »


Posted by Will Franklin · 13 January 2010 06:39 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 726 -- Death Penalty Deterrence.

Death Penalty Means Fewer Murders-

Crime in America fell in 2009 across the board:

crimestats

There are a lot of explanations floating around, but I would offer the basic explanation that we are tougher and smarter on crime these days. Forensic evidence these days helps catch rapists before they become serial rapists, for example. And we put rapists away, for the most part, for a long, long time.

The death penalty also apparently works to deter crime:

HUNTSVILLE — As many as 60 people might be alive today in Texas because two dozen convicted killers were executed last year in the nation's most active capital punishment state, according to a study of death penalty deterrence by researchers from Sam Houston State University and Duke University.

A review of executions and homicides in Texas by criminologist Raymond Teske at Sam Houston in Huntsville and Duke sociologists Kenneth Land and Hui Zheng concludes that a monthly decline of 0.5 to 2.5 homicides in Texas follows each execution.

....

Researchers ran mathematical models that considered homicide figures from the Texas Department of Public Safety to see whether month-to-month fluctuations in executions could be associated with subsequent fluctuations in homicide counts.

Teske told The Associated Press that although the published study ended with 2005, the conclusions are valid for subsequent years.

He said some experts disliked the results: "I have a hard time getting people to understand that this reports a scientific analysis of an issue and is not a political statement."

The original piece can be found here.

The SuperFreakonomics also points out that when the ACLU successfully wins one of its lawsuits to release prisoners en masse, the crime rate goes up:

In recent decades, the ACLU has filed lawsuits against dozens of states to protest overcrowded prisons. Granted, the choice of states is hardly random. The ACLU sues where prisons are most crowded and where it has the best chance of winning. But the crime trends in states sued by the ACLU look very similar to trends in other states. The ACLU wins virtually all of these cases, after which the state is ordered to reduce overcrowding by letting some prisoners free.

In the three years after such court decisions, the prison population in these states falls by 15 percent relative to the rest of the country.

What do those freed prisoners do? A whole lot of crime. In the three years after the ACLU wins a case, violent crime rises by 10 percent and property crime by 5 percent in the affected states.

So it takes some work, but using indirect approaches like natural experiments can help us look back at the dramatic crime increase of the 1960s and find some explanations. One major factor was the criminal-justice system itself. The ratio of arrests per crime fell dramatically during the 1960s, for both property and violent crime. But not only were the police catching a smaller share of the criminals; the courts were less likely to lock up those who were caught.

In 1970, a criminal could expect to spend an astonishing 60 percent less time behind bars than he would have for the same crime committed a decade earlier. Overall, the decrease in punishment during the 1960s seems to be responsible for roughly 30 percent of the rise in crime.

Imagine that. You put criminals behind bars, they don't commit crimes. You release them, they commit crimes.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Jobs, Jobs, & More Jobs.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 January 2010 03:12 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 725 -- Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

Jobs Decline in December as Obama Jobs Deficit Continues to Climb-

Despite some rumblings last week that the jobs number on Friday for the month of December would actually be positive, it wasn't so. Obama continues to build up a serious jobs deficit:

janjobsgap.jpg
Barack Obama promised that if elected he would create 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 through new economic policies, beginning with the enactment of a massive economic stimulus package. So far in his term in office, employment has dropped by about 3.4 million jobs, while the unemployment rate remains stuck at 10 percent. Accompanying his jobs promise, the President also emphasized accountability and measuring his presidency by results. The President’s jobs promise means total employment should be at least 138.6 million by 2010. Actual employment as of December was reported to be 130.9 million, leaving the Obama jobs deficit at 7.7 million.

In the past couple of months, Texas and a small number of other states have again been adding jobs, even as the national economy continues its decline.

Again, why is Obama using the Michigan/California playbook and not the Texas/Wyoming playbook?

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Bankruptcy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 January 2010 09:13 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 724 -- Bankruptcy.

Economy Struggles In 2009-

Bankruptcy is a terrible thing, and it is on the rise:

NA-BD183_BANKRU_NS_20100104195953.gif
Overall, personal bankruptcy filings hit 1.41 million last year, up 32% from 2008, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center, which compiles and analyzes bankruptcy data. It is the highest level of consumer-bankruptcy fillings since 2005. Consumers rushed to file in 2005 before the new bankruptcy laws took effect in October of that year.

Chapter 7 filings were up more than 42% as of November 2009, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the research center. November is the most recent month with analyzed data available. Chapter 13 filings rose by 12% and made up less than a third of 2009 filings as of November.

I hope we can see these numbers begin to fall soon, along with unemployment rates, but they both may remain high until we get some real Reaganesque hope and change back in America.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Jobs, 2010.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 January 2010 01:21 PM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 723 -- Texas Jobs, 2010.

Texas Leading In Jobs For 2010-

Moody's Economy is forecasting, based on hard numbers, that Texas will create more jobs in 2010 than any other state, by far:

jobs2010.gif

This map is somewhat demoralizing, but does offer a glimmer of hope to those who believe that ideas matter. Although Texas is being dragged down by the national decline, it remains relatively strong-- proof that free markets and limited government work-- and matter.

I am not what you would call a "fan" of Pat Buchanan, but the stats he rattles off are fairly startling:

According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States began the century producing 32 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. We ended the decade producing 24 percent. No nation in modern history, save for the late Soviet Union, has seen so precipitous a decline in relative power in a single decade.

Most of the modest decline from 2001-2002 was made up and then-some until the Democrats took over Congress in 2006. From 2007 until now was when we really lost the bulk of the economic progress we made during the middle part of the decade.

Pessimism and defeatism are not really integral parts of the American experience, so the good news is that Americans will resoundingly defeat the defeatist Democrats in 2010. The bad news is that Democrats currently have such large leads that it is still unlikely Republicans will gain enough seats to take back the U.S. Senate or House.

Still, conservative Republicans are energized again after feeling down in the dumps for the past few years, and once some of our conservative national leaders can find a positive message, 2006 and 2008 may look like anomalous left-wing blips in the political history of the country.

The December job numbers for the country come out on Friday, and the word on the street is that America will have actually gained jobs for the first time in a long time during December. It is a difficult case to make that the nation needs to be more like Texas after 8 years of having a Texan in the White House, but clearly the Texas model is working. Maybe instead of trying to shape the nation in the image of Michigan, it's time to let states compete. When states are competing and not so dependent on one-size-fits-all federal policies, you'll see every state becoming more fiscally conservative to keep up with the Joneses.

Right now, Texas is the Joneses.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Banks Outperforming Nation's Banks.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 January 2010 10:07 AM · Comments (1)