“What’s Up, Doc?”

By William L. Garvin

As the roller coaster year of 2010 comes rapidly to a close, what’s up and what’s down may give us a clue as to what 2011 will be like.  For instance, used car prices are up because Cash for Clunkers destroyed nearly 600,000 perfectly operable cars.  The donation of used vehicles to charity is way down.  What a surprise.

Spending to train the unemployed for five million green jobs is up to nearly $90 billion.  Unfortunately, the number of jobs actually available is down to 224,500 or less than 5% of the rose colored promises.   Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that despite a national recession, federal employment is way up from 2,739,000 in January, 2008 to 2,837,000 in November, 2010.  Attempts to disguise this 98,000 increase in federal employees (who probably make more than you do) are way up.  Facts are such stubborn things.  During this same period, private sector employment is down from 115,562,000 to 108,278,000.  You can “save or create” all you want but the bottom line is the private sector has lost 7.3 million jobs during the last year of the Bush administration and the first two years of the Obama administration.  That’s why unemployment remains at 9.8% or as the President likes to say “the new normal.”

You have probably noticed that gasoline prices are way up and approaching $3.35 per gallon.  Oil prices are now over $90 per barrel.  Joe Petrowski, Chief Executive at Gulf Oil and Cumberland Gulf Group predicts that it will top $100 in the first quarter of the new year and that there is a “one in four chance we’ll take out the $147 highs before Memorial Day.”  The complaints of Cheney-Halliburton cronyism and Bush oil connections seem to be way down this time for some reason.  Equally far down are the approvals of domestic oil and natural gas exploration by the Department of the Interior.  Naturally this keeps the dependence on foreign oil up.  Expect gasoline and electricity prices to “skyrocket” (another Obama word!) as cap and trade begins to take hold.

Health care premiums have increased for nearly everyone.  Do you know anyone whose premiums have been reduced?  The chances of the presidential promise of the family of four saving $2,400 per year is down to virtually zero.  Meanwhile, the number of exemptions to ObamaCare is up to 220 with 50 entities easily recognized as union exemptions.  Of course, Congress has already exempted themselves.  The number of doctors accepting Medicare patients is down and the number of doctors accepting Medicaid patients is seriously down.

After the first of the year, Social Security “contributions” will be down from 6.2% to 4.2%.  That will mean the Social Security Trust Fund will come up short approximately $112 billion.  Lame duck congressional concerns about this hastening the predicted demise of Social Security are absent along with the “pay as you go” promises of Nancy Pelosi.  We’ll also be borrowing another $56.5 billion from the Chinese to pay for the extension of unemployment benefits.  Naturally the unemployment insurance costs for employers will also have to go up so profits will have to go down.  Don’t be surprised when the number of employees also goes down.

The number of employees will also probably decrease when families have to liquidate their small businesses in order to meet the 35% death tax demands of the government grave robbers.  Not to worry.  According to the New York Times, more “end of life counseling” will be available under Medicare.  Doctors will now be paid to “…advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.”  This was contained in the House version of ObamaCare (Section 1233) but was not included in the final legislation because of public concern that “Granny would be encouraged to pull her own plug.”  The House provision called for the counseling every five years but the new regulations will pay for the “service” every year.

With a new Congress being seated in two weeks, the ability to enact Big Government programs will be severely restricted.  Without eternal vigilance, the liberal attempts at economic “strangulation by regulation” will continue unabated.

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