Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

Reality Check on the Debt Ceiling

Posted: May 31, 2023 by datechguy in economy

There are a lot of people making a lot of noise on the debt ceiling deal that was worked out between the House Leadership and the President, including a lot of conservatives who are savaging McCarthy who has done a pretty good job as speaker for making the deal.

Before everyone gets their knickers in an uproar let’s face reality.

  • Right now the Democrats control the White House
  • Right Now the Democrats control the Senate
  • Right now the GOP controls the house

That means the GOP has at best only 1/3 the leverage on any deal and thus if you’re going to make a deal the amount of what you want that you are going to get is going to be accordingly smaller than you want.

If the GOP finds this unacceptable the best solution is as follows:

  • Hold the GOP house in election 2024
  • Take over the Senate in election 2024
  • Elect a GOP candidate to the White House who believes in fiscal responsibility

When that happens you will have all the leverage and that’s when we’ll see who really believes in fiscal responsibility and who only believes in it when they can’t do much about it.

For now elections, even stolen ones, have consequences so if you want to put the house in order, let’s start by willing some election so you can exercise the power needed to make the changes necessary instead of whining about having to make a deal when you aren’t likely to get a better alternative passed.

And let’s note something, what is the incentive for this administration to give a better deal?

They can count on the media to push their narrative blaming us for the punitive measures they take on the debt and you can be sure they’re take ones that cause the maximum pain to voters in order to sell their message.

“But DaTechGuy”, you say, “the informed voter won’t fall for this.” Let me remind you the majority of voters don’t pay attention, they only know when a service they need is gone.

This deal is a win, it’s not a 7th game of the world series win or even a win that clinches a playoff spot. It’s analogous to a win on a rainy may day in front of 5,000 fans early in the season that nobody cares much about because everyone is paying attention to the NFL draft or the Stanley Cup or the NBA playoffs.

Let’s take the minor win and not shoot ourselves in the foot while working to win the election to actually get the power to do what needs to be done.

By John Ruberry

Some big news came out of Chicago on Tuesday. For the first time since 1996, and only the second time since the riotous year of 1968, the Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago next year.

But more consequential news arrived Tuesday as well. America’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced it was closing four of its Chicago stores, half of its city presence. These outlets lock their doors for good tonight.

Chicago’s relationship with the big box giant has been a hate-love-hate one. In the early 2000s, the term “food desert” came into use to describe areas without access to fresh food, but really, what theses apologists were talking about were neighborhoods where supermarkets pulled out because of high crime, mostly shoplifting. In their place sprang small stores, family-run operations usually owned by people from the Middle East, or south or east Asia. Of course, these merchants charge shoppers more for goods because, without the volume discounts that the retail behemoths enjoy, they have to. 

And it was in the early 2000s that Walmart, and its primary big box rival, Target, wanted to open stores in major cities like Chicago. Target, even though like Walmart is non-union, got a pass from the opposition–the Chicago City Council and its union allies–because Target is a creature of the left. Walmart’s corporate philosophy was decidedly conservative then. So the City Council, that failed body that sees one of its members convicted on corruption charges every eighteen months or so, passed an anti-big box retail store ordinance in 2006, which Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoed. I believe it was his only veto in his 22 years as mayor. 

So Walmart arrived in Chicago, opening eight stores, some of them in impoverished areas. That’s the love part. 

And now for more hate. 

Widespread looting during the George Floyd riots in 2020 hit Chicago retailers hard. North Michigan Avenue, one of America’s premier luxury shopping areas, was devastated by a second round or looting two months later, igniting a retail exodus. As for Walmart, all of its Chicago stores were shuttered, four for two months. Two other stores, including one of the outlets that closes tonight, in Chatham on the South Side, were shuttered for six months. The Chatham location, a supercenter, was also set on fire. On this weekend’s edition of Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, host Mike Flannery said of the Chatham outlet, “It was virtually destroyed.”

Now it and three other Walmarts are closing.

Late last year, Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, decrying shoplifting, particularly thefts conducted by organized gangs, issued a general warning. If local law enforcement didn’t do their job, “prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.” He added, “It’s just policy consistency and clarity so we can make capital investments with some vision.”

Last week, in response to McMillon’s comments, WIND-AM’s Dan Proft remarked, “That is a very vanilla way of saying ‘We can’t do business in a place that doesn’t enforce the rule of law.'”

And in Chicago and elsewhere Walmarts are closing because leftist public officials refuse to enforce the rule of law. Two weeks ago Chicago elected a neo-Marxist leftist, Chicago Teachers Unions product Brandon Johnson, as mayor. What did Johnson, then a Cook County commissioner, say about looting in 2020? He refused to denounce it. In fact, Johnson minimized it because looted businesses have insurance.


The mayor-elect was a defund-the-police proponent, until this year, when he wasn’t. Johnson favors something he calls “Treatment not Trauma,” he wants to send social workers instead of cops to domestic disturbances.

In a press release announcing the closings, Walmart said, “The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago – these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years.” Hey, but at least, as Johnson pointed out, Walmart has insurance. Of course, insurance companies never lowball claims, they never raise rates, and they never cancel policies due to risk factors. Right?

As for Johnson, he’s off to a wretched start as mayor-elect. In his first national media interview after his runoff win over moderate Democrat Paul Vallas, Johnson blamed large companies for Chicago’s high crime and poverty rates. “We have large corporations,” Johnson replied when asked about criminality in the city, “seventy percent of large corporations in the city of Chicago — in the state of Illinois, did not pay a corporate tax.” That’s probably false–and while Chicago does have sales and property taxes, it doesn’t have a Detroit-style municipal income tax. Johnson claims he’s against a city income tax, but in a February Flannery Fired Up appearance, he repeatedly dodged questions on whether he supports one.

The day after the store closings were announced, Fox Chicago reported that six televisions were shoplifted from the Chatham Walmart. In a way, the five-finger-discounter was participating in a going out of business sale.

Chicago’s meddlesome priest, the obnoxious and bombastic Father Michael Pfleger, is one of the loudest voices condemning the Walmart closings. He is threatening to lead a boycott of a Walmart supercenter located just outside of Chicago’s city limits. Good lord, Pfleger is a bigger goof than I thought. If that suburban Walmart closes because of a boycott, it will mean one less shopping choice for Chicagoans–and an even larger food desert.

Tyson Foods, Boeing, Citadel, and Caterpillar are among the corporations who have recently closed offices in Chicago and its suburbs. As I mentioned earlier in this post, North Michigan Avenue is dying because stores are shutting down. Chicago’s population is declining.

The Chicago Exodus began in 2020. It’s accelerating now.

One more thought: On Saturday night a very large group of what the media called “teenagers,” thugs is a better word, descended on downtown Chicago. They smashed car windows, set some vehicles on fire, and two people were shot. I call that a riot. One woman watched helplessly as her husband was beaten by a mob. There was a similar gathering the night before at a South Side beach.

Chicago’s criminals are emboldened.

Hell has arrived. I’ve seen what an urban hell looks like. It’s called Detroit.

Let’s go Brandon!

John Ruberry is a regular suburban Chicago Walmart shopper who blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Hello parents! Do you want to raise children who will enter politics? Then keep reading.

Rather than bringing up kids to act responsibly, your politico children need to end up the complete opposite of that.

Unlike me. Which is why rather than claiming the idea for this blog post as entirely my own, I have to credit an old Mad Magazine article from decades ago. 

Here we go.

Your political children need to be proficient liars. Incoming Republican congressman George Santos of New York invented an entire past for himself. He lied about where he worked, what schools he attended, what religion he is, how much money he made, where and when his mother died, and possibly even his sexual preference. Apparently, Santos was more truthful when he ran for Congress in 2020. And what did that get him then? A defeat. 

Over on the Democratic side, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, all the way back to her academic career, claimed to be a Native American. In preparation for her 2020 presidential run, Warren released a DNA test that she claimed there was “strong evidence” that she had an Indian ancestor six to ten generations back, making her anywhere from 1/64th to 1/1024 indigenous American.

That lie led Donald Trump to dub Warren “Pocahantas.” As for the former president, he refused to release his tax returns after announcing his first run for president because the real estate mogul said we was undergoing in IRS audit. He wasn’t. 

But our current president, Joe Biden, is a Baron Munchausen-level fabulist. Some of his lies are humorous, such as the tale, which has been debunked numerous times, about Biden being told in the 2010s that he traveled over one million miles on Amtrak by an on-duty conductor who retired twenty-years earlier. Other lies, such as Biden the blaming the rise in gasoline prices since he took office two years ago solely on the war in Ukraine, betray a lack of emotional maturity. 

Just last month, Biden claimed to have been the impetus for the awarding a Purple Heart to an uncle, a World War II veteran. That didn’t happen

And the Inflation Reduction Act is simply an expensive falsehood.

Your political children need to blame others for their mistakes. In addition to blaming Putin for high energy prices, Biden and his administration pointed their collective finger at Trump for the highest inflation America has suffered in four decades. Rather, it was Biden’s anti-energy policies and his pork-laden $1.9 trillion stimulus bill of 2021 that were the culprits. The American economy was well on its way to recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown by then, the bill was not only unnecessary, but also harmful. 

Your political children need to procrastinate. Just a few days ago, as a government shutdown loomed, Joe Biden signed into law a massive spending bill, one that will almost certainly add oxygen to our roaring inflation fire. Spending bills are due annually before October 1, but not since 1996 has a spending bill has been signed into law before that date.

So when one of your children drops a bomb on you that urgent help is needed on a ten-page term paper–which is due the next morning–you should be proud. You are raising a politician. Which brings me to my next recommendation.

Your political children need to ignore their homework assignments. Here’s one more item about that most recent spending bill. It’s over 4,000 pages long. Few if any members of Congress read it before voting on it. And I am certain that man who signed it into law, Joe Biden, didn’t read it either.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Every time Americans shop at a supermarket, they are reminded of a de facto tax on their spending power–inflation. The classic definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods, which, President Joe Biden and his apologists, jumped on last year when they deemed inflation as “transitory,” pointing at the supply-chain crisis and the backlog of freighters at America’s major seaports. Left out of Biden and Company’s explanation was his $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which the president signed into law in early 2021, when the economy was clearly already recovering from the COVID lockdown.

But the supply-chain crisis was in fact a couple-months long hiccup. After all, if the supply-chain crisis was such a concern, why did we only find out after the media began asking questions on the whereabouts of the person in charge of our ports, secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg? Only then was it revealed that Buttigieg was on paternity leave

The semiconductor chip shortage has driven up the price of new automobiles. The lack of chips is tied to the worldwide COVID lockdown. I’ll discuss cars in a bit. 

Over the past 12 months, according to the September figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation soared, again, to a level not seen in four decades, at a rate of 8.2 percent. Despite what appears to be, for real, a transitory drop in gasoline prices. But fuel prices are dramatically higher than when Donald Trump was president because of the Biden administration’s anti-fossil fuel polices. Food and housing prices are way up. Agriculture is a major user of energy, and many fertilizers are derived from fossil fuels. And those increasingly expensive loaves of bread you see on the shelves of your local supermarket don’t arrive there by way of osmosis, nor by electric trucks.

But don’t worry, Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. Insert The Simpsons’ Nelson Muntz “haw-haw” here.

The new car shortage has led to a used car shortage. All vehicles are more expensive. To fight inflation, the Federal Reserve, continues to hike its key interest rate, which drives up all lending. Most people don’t pay cash for cars, they finance. 

Then there is housing. Maria Bartiromo, on Fox and Friends this morning, laid the truth on the line when she said, “People who are going to buy a home are realizing that their mortgage payment now going to be going to be hundreds and hundreds of dollars more than they thought every month.”

Okay, no big deal, you might say, “I can always rent a place to live.” But rents are up too.

Now, if you are a Beltway insider, then you need not worry. Washington is recession proof. And the capital’s response, particularly when Democrats are in charge, is always more government. If you are a DC insider, you are well paid. You’re not sweating about food prices going up and you can afford an electric vehicle and the expense of installing a car charger in your garage.

The only known cure for high inflation is a recession. Despite Democrats’ creative denials, we are in one already.

Expect our economy to get even worse.  

But to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Joe Biden loses his.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.