Economics


While waiting at my bank the other day (they were counting a jar of coins) I picked up a 4-page paper setting next to my chair. The bank is West Coast Bank and the “Economic Forecast” was by William B. Conerly, Ph.D. of Conerly Consulting LLC. The date of the paper was January/February 2010.

I have only a limited understanding of economics, although I did take a year of it while in college ever so long ago. One thing that caught my eye was the comparison of the value of the U.S. dollar side by side with the Oregon and Washington employment forecasts. As the employment numbers rose in the period 2006 into 2008, the value of the U.S. dollar dropped. When employment dropped in 2008 through 2009, the value rose; but then dropped again in the second half of 2009.

The forecast is that both Oregon and Washington employments have bottomed out as of the beginning of 2010 and will rise throughout this year (2010).

The second item that caught my eye was that the 10th largest Pacific Northwest Trading Partner is United Arab Emirates (UAE). It only took me a minute to grasp that this must be because they must have purchased a bunch of Boeing aircraft. A quick look through Google and I came upon this statement on a Boeing website: Emirates, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) main airlines, is the largest operator of Boeing’s 777. UAE has also ordered Boeing 6 C-17 cargo aircraft.

Let’s keep that oil money flowing back into our United States industries.

Mr. Conerly has quite a bit of information available on his site which you can get to HERE.

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The Kingston Fossil Plant, part of the Tennessee Valley Authority, is proud of its record in reducing certain emissions at this coal fired plant as expressed in their website. Yet, and a big yet, they have not reduced the emissions of CO2, that greenhouse gas that is the main culprit in global warming. Overall, in 2008, the plant produced 9,409,452 pounds of toxics as stated in their “Toxic Release Inventory.” This figure does not include the approximately 22,000,000 pounds of Carbon dioxide released. It also appears that the 20,000 pounds of Nitrogen oxides and 100,000 pounds of Sulfur dioxide are not included in the toxic release inventory.

There is an infrastructure in this country that supports the use of massive amounts of coal as the fuel source for much of our electrical generation. This is not going to change anytime soon. Yet for every bit of coal that is burned, we put toxics and other chemicals into our air, ground, and water. Yes, the coal industry is doing much to mitigate this problem; but the fact remains that these toxics and chemicals, even if properly sequestered, are still admitted into our environment.

The long-term solution is to leave the coal in the ground and find other non-hazardous methods of energy production. Solar and wind are the best long-term solutions we have right now. Nuclear fission is not the long-term solution. However, if nuclear fusion comes into play, it may become a viable option.

Once a solar generating site has been set up, train-loads of coal need not be shipped to it. Here is a link to a Google map image of 2 such locations a few miles east of Barstow, California.

Certainly there are maintenance costs associated with all generating costs; but solar and wind plants emit no toxic chemicals or CO2.

Think “Photovoltaic.” That’s direct conversion of solar energy to electrical energy. Pioneering relativity theorist Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 – but not for his famous theories of relativity and the iconic equation E=mc2. The prize was for his 1905 discovery of exactly how light caused what was then called the photoelectric effect (photovoltaics). This is the wave of the future, and the sooner we jump on that bandwagon, the sooner we get away from relying on coal.

I’m sorry Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and all the other states that dig coal. Start building plants to manufacture solar panels and wind generators. That’s the future.

My oh My! I got the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet in the mail today. There are around 75 pages of arguments for and against the measures. I was driving in rural Yamhill County yesterday and saw several signs in opposition to the measures. Elsewhere I have seen signs and statements for and against.

I will have to make up my mind on these; and hopefully it will be an informed decision.

If we are to have any level of government we need taxes to support it. Where are the moneys to come from and how much do we need? This is an eternal question. I hope that all voters will take a dispassionate approach to this important matter. Sewers, roads, schools, police, social services, building inspections, prisons, and so on, and so on; all supported by taxes. Once again: how much and from where does it come.

Become informed and vote.

Afghanistan has a population of about 28,000,000 which is slightly more than the State of Texas. Afghanistan and Texas are about the same area.

One of Afghanistan’s most telling statistics is not its area or population but its Infant Mortality Rate. It is the 3rd worst in the world; 151 deaths per 1000 live births. Let me pile on the negative facts. The fertility rate is 6.53 births per woman, the 4th highest in the world. China is at 1.79; India at 2.72; and the USA rate is at 2.05.

Literacy rate in Afghanistan is only 28% with male 43% and female 12%. The economy is 116th out of 228 countries in the world. GDP, Purchasing Power Parity per capita is $800 per year. The same figure in the Unites States is $47,000. The Afghan commercial bank prime lending rate is 14.92%. Electricity production and consumption are 150th and 145th of 228, respectively, in the world. In exports, Afghanistan is 173rd in the world.

This places Afghanistan in with the worst countries of Africa (the worst in economic and related matters).

Certainly we need to offer all the assistance we can to these people. We are partly to blame for their current situation. We must control Al Qaeda and keep the Taliban from regaining political control of the country. This won’t happen with troops alone.

The phrase “nation building” has been tossed around a lot; that is what is needed here.  It will do no good to keep fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban with troops. They will out last us and all the allies we can muster. We must solve these real problems of poverty, the abysmal economy, and infant mortality and fertility rates.

Maybe it is not possible to have success with any military commander at the head of this operation. These is no military victory to he had here.

The statistics are from the CIA World Factbook.

Turpitude was the first word that came to mind as I started to write this blog entry. The full title of the document I just read that caused that word to pop into my consciousness is:

Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusions. Meat vs. Rice. American Manhood against Asiatic Coolieism. Which Shall Survive?

These 30 pages were published by the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, President; Frank Morrison, Secretary. For some unknown reason the document was printed in Washington by “Government Printing Office, 1902.” It is Document No. 137 from the Senate, 57th Congress, 1st Session.

Here is a short example of the wording of this document that raised my ire. It comes from page 15 of the document under a subheading of “Chinese Labor Degrades Labor Just as Slave Labor Did”:

“For many years it was impossible to get white persons to do the menial labor usually performed by Chinese. It was Chinamen’s labor, and not fit for white. In the agricultural districts a species of tramp has been created, known as the blanket man. White agricultural laborers seldom find permanent employment; the Chinese are preferred. During harvest time the white man is forced to wander from ranch to ranch and find employment here and there for short periods of time, with the privilege of sleeping in the barns or haystacks. He is looked upon as a vagabond, unfit to associate with his employer or to eat from the same table with him. The negro slave of the South was housed and fed, but the white trash of California is placed beneath the Chinese. “

Apparently the Chinese labors were responsible for the lot of the white transient farm labors.

Here is the link to the full document on the Internet Archive, and as scanned by Google.

The document is loaded with racial slurs, undocumented “facts”, and quotes from official documents. The last six pages are the document adopted by the Chinese exclusion convention at San Francisco, Cal., November 22, 1901. This was apparently run by the American Federation of Labor.

All this represents bleak days in our American History. We are once again faced with “cheap” Chinese labor affecting our American economy; and not just China, but India, Indonesia, and many other Asian countries. Twenty or thirty years ago it was imports from Japan that caused us problems. The American auto industry has reached its low point (hopefully) because Japan makes better cars that the American auto makers. The Chinese workers produce many cheaper (and cheap) goods than we do in America. We flock to Target and Wal-Mart to buy these goods; then we blame the Chinese for our economic problems.

While we are struggling to set out economic house in order, let’s not be tempted to revert to the kind of horrible and vile attitudes expressed by our fellow citizens of over 100 years ago. Hopefully our President Elect is the man we think he is and can lead us into a new prosperity. Let’s follow his vision for our future and give him all the support we can. He is our political leader for the next four years. He needs all the help we can give him.

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or having so come after the expiration of said ninety days to remain within the United States.”

Chinese laborers coming to the United States after the Civil War were working for fewer wages than white American workers. The Chinese were taking jobs away from American workers.

When gold was discovered in California, Chinese workers started arriving to work in the mines and later helping to build the Transcontinental Railroad. Most of the immigrants were male; usually they sent a portion of their wages back to their families in China.

The Exclusion Act was first enacted in 1882 and stayed in force until 1943 when it was finally repealed. It was replaced by a strict quota system. China, after all, was an ally of the United States during World War II and General Chiang Kai-shek was highly respected in this country.

To his credit, President Rutherford B. Hayes vetoed a version of a Chinese immigration limitation act in 1879.

Here is a link to a government website that has a transcript of the Act.

Strange reading for Christmas Day, don’t you think? I am rather the token liberal in my household; so my interest in the conversations of other members of my family wanes and head for my computer.

Come back tomorrow and I will have some comments on a document with the title: “Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion. Meat vs. Rice.”

My anger boiled over this morning. I didn’t slam a door and I didn’t throw a dish to the floor. But I did call Dr. Dobson a God Damned Hippocrate. Focus on the Family indeed. The top of “Mr.” Dobson’s agenda is to have everyone in the world think like him and have all those people give money to his kingdom. This is perversion of religion. Where does it say in the Bible that the likes of “Mr.” Dobson gets to live in the upper middle class and the people of Chad in Africa go hungry and live in ignorance?

Please read THIS ARTICLE from the Colorado Independent Newspaper and see if you don’t get angry, too. If you don’t, maybe you should.

What is next on “Mr.” Dobson’s agenda; having those who think differently than him ride at the back of the bus? See I can get hateful, too. The so called Focus on the Family organization is one of the worst things about America. It is a perversion of the intentions of the founding fathers of our country. It is a religious organization involved in political activity. Keep your religion to yourself, “Mr.” Dobson, and do not pervert all that is best in our country.

Their budget is well over $100,000,000. And what do they do with that money. Their first priority is to peddle their “agenda” of narrow minded so called religion to the world.

They are hippocrates because “Mr.” Dobson’s organization pumped over $600,000 of money and non-monetary support into California in support of Proposition 8, the anti-gay initiative. His organization is headquartered in Colorado. People who are of the same sex wish to have a legally recognized union; they want what “Mr.” Dobson and all his cronies and contributors have. They want the legal rights of property and to be able to enter the hospital room of their loved one and have a say in their care. They want what all married people want. Yes, that is a family, “Mr.” Dobson.

“Mr.” Dobson, you are perverting all that is best about religion in order to have everyone in the world think just like you. And I haven’t yet mentioned the tax-free empire you control. And can I mention again how you ignore the lowliest of your brothers and sisters, the poor of the World. Oh, sure. You may send a missionary to Chad or to Lesotho, but do you attempt to build a factory there or some other economic stimulus organization to help pull these people out of the bottom of the economic and health pile.

Here is a plan. “Mr.” Dobson, go and live in Africa for six months. Go to Oum Hadjer, Chad, and peddle your religion there. Live as those people do. Then come back and I might be inclined to listen to you. But for now, shut your mouth. Close down your hippocritical organization. Pay taxes on the $150,000,000 you would like your budget to be.

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