Archive from April, 2006
28 Apr
2006
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If New York only had a brain:

Everyday New Yorkers get one step closer to discovering who the new governor will be. For Republicans it’s one step closer to learning who will be the David to take on Goliath. Last night the Queens County Committee voted to endorse John Faso giving him a nice boost to his chance of getting to slay the dragon.

Despite endorsements within the party the real question is are New Yorkers smart enough to recognize the talent when they see it or have they been so blinded by the Rep. before the name to be able to make an informed decision. A couple of weeks ago John Faso outlined his proposed business plan to strengthen New York’s economy. With 200,000 people leaving the state a year a strong business plan would make sense. The plan, which focuses on workers comp reform, tort reform and tax cuts for businesses are really good. For economists and those familiar with how to grow an economy, his plan is nothing revolutionary but instead simple common sense to get this state going. Unfortunately common sense is something average New Yorkers are buckets short of.

John Faso and his plan are like the New York Yankees. On paper they look great and should take it all but that’s why you play the game. The question is can Faso or even Weld convince not just diehard republicans but also the clueless New Yorkers who make up the majority and by default vote for the Dem.

On May 9th John Faso will be speaking at a breakfast with Crain’s. I’ll be there with the rest of the business community to hear what he has to say but preaching to the choir is not going to win him votes. Winning votes and the election will require convincing people that Spitzer is more of a risk to the state then an asset. To do that he should start questioning the strenght of Spitzer’s relationship with big business, which like it or not are the ones that will create the jobs. Based on Spitzer’s attacks on industries of all sorts that shouldn’t be to hard, which if done right might even get brainless New Yorkers to think straight and look past the Rep.

27 Apr
2006
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Great. Maybe now the City Council will take down their partisan banner ad against the Governor:

About a month ago I wrote about how the City Council was using it’s tax payer funded website for partisan attacks against Governor Pataki to push their and their teacher union buddies agenda. The banner ads in both English and Spanish attacked the governor accusing him of holding money back from the school system. No matter who is correct on the issue, the City Council shouldn’t be using a taxpayer funded website for political attacks. The NYYRC even issued a press release to the press to see if they would bother to report it. Of course it never happened because liberal papers like the New York Times would never attack the hand that feeds them no matter how wrong. Thanks to the media’s inaction the City Council has continued to get away with using your tax dollars to attack the Governor.

Several days ago the City Council issued a press release celebrating “education funding in the State Executive Budget”. Speaker Quinn in the release stated how “Through the leadership of Governor Pataki and the State Legislature we now have the means to move forward in our five-year plan to lower class sizes, to create libraries and science labs, and to provide our children with an education that will make them the leaders for a new generation.” I know, I almost fell out of my chair too, hearing Quinn use the words “leadership” and “Governor Pataki” in the same sentence.

What I want to know is if speaker Quinn really means what she says, why does the taxpayer funded City Council website still have banner ads attacking the Governor. I also want to know why the press continues to let them get away with it (hint, hint, to any journalist who may be reading this).

Checkout the ads for yourself below and you decide if taxpayer money should go for such partisan attacks, especially since right next to it is a press release how happy Speaker Quinn is with the new funding. If you’re like me and think the Council is out of line, call your Rep. and while you’re at it, a newspaper and tell them these attacks on our dime need to stop!

25 Apr
2006
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Unforeseen consequences:

In this morning FT, Marc Levinson writes an article about the “most powerful law in economics”, the law of “unanticipated consequences”. Mr. Levinson’s article is about the invention and growth of the shipping container and its affect on the world. I found the article interesting but more important it go me rethinking about something I thought about last night.

Last night myself and several other YR’s from the club went to a reception and fundraiser for Pete Ricketts here in Manhattan. Pete Ricketts is running for Senator of Nebraska taking on the incumbent, Ben Nelson. Senator Nelson holds on to the most vulnerable seat for Democrats and stands a good chance to loose to Ricketts considering Nebraska is a conservative state where Republicans have a commanding lead in voter registration.

Pete Ricketts is an impressive candidate; he’s a University of Chicago graduate and an executive at Ameritrade. His business experience is a great asset to the American people, as he understands what’s needed to continue to grow the economy. Also living through and surviving the Internet crash as an executive of an Internet company gives much needed experience at a time when our government has a major spending problem. As Pete Ricketts stated last nigh, “our government doesn’t have a tax receipt problem”, mentioning how tax receipts have gone up since the President’s tax cuts but instead it has a “spending problem”. A problem he plans on using his experience to fix.

Overall I was impressed with Pete Ricketts and thought his Q&A session with the crowd went really well. He answered all the questions as expected but did it with confidence and a belief in his eyes that he meant what he was saying. There was one answer though that had me thinking which relates to my opening paragraph above. One of the questions asked was about immigration. Pete Ricketts gave the usual response about how we need to secure our borders and start making it easier for people to come into this country the right way. He did give a little twist to the response mentioning how we need to exploit modern technology to make the process more efficient telling a story of a U.S. citizen who had to wait on line for four days at the U.S. Consulate in Mexico so he could get back into his own country.

What had me thinking about his answer and everyone else’s is that the response on immigration always stops at stopping the flow. In the spirit of “unforeseen consequences” there is something I wish our elected officials would answer. The reason for immigration in this country is not because employers are looking for cheap labor but they are looking for labor period. If you believe in free markets you would understand that wages are a reflection of education and the skill needed to do the job at hand. With that said, no one can expect someone who picks grapes to be paid the same as someone who spent $100K on a college education. Our unskilled labor force gets paid what they do because that’s how wages and labor works.

This leads to the problem at hand. Say our government was successful at stopping the flow of immigration, what is the governments plan to handle the possible “unforeseen consequence” of any labor shortage that may ensue in industries like agriculture. Our government can’t expect that if they stop immigration all of a sudden current Americans will line up and start taking jobs picking grapes in a field or busing tables at a local restaurant. On the surface it’s always easy to play politics and cater to the emotions of the American people who view immigration as a threat. The problem is the threat to the country economically is not having illegal immigration, it’s how would we handle it as a country without it. Maybe one day our elected officials will take the question one step further.

24 Apr
2006
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Our scheming government:

Generally I’m not one for conspiracy theories but every once and a while certain stars align that make you wonder. With prices at the pump going back over $3.00 a gallon and the summer driving season coming our leaders in the Senate are once again threatening to impose a windfall profit tax on oil companies. Here is why I think this is a big government scam.

First oil companies do not set the price of oil. Oil is a commodity and is traded on a free market where the price is decided by supply and demand. The first reason why oil has reached $75 a barrel is because the markets are concerned that supply is being threatened. What’s interesting is that the reason supply is being threatened is a result of factors that range from geopolitics to the upcoming hurricane season. These are events that oil companies have no control over and are instead at the mercy of.

Reasons why prices are up is because of things like unrest in Nigeria, a crazy Venezuelan President who is now threatening to nationalize oil after private firms spent billions building it, Iran nuclear concerns and the United States decision to force oil companies to convert to ethanol for MTBE.

Not only does our government know that oil companies have no control over the price they also know they are one of the big reasons for the rise. The governments decision to force companies to switch to ethanol at the beginning of the driving season instead of the end is head scratching. Further the Iraq war and our constant verbal attacks on Iran are not being made by Exxon but by politicians pushing prices even higher. Now that Washington has helped push prices nice and high they figure they can do the next best thing, take the money by lying to the American people. Our government is trying to shift the blame and demonize our oil industry by threatening to tax them.

It doesn’t matter that our oil industry only has about 9% profit margins the lowest of any industry, as a comparison the cable industry has margins closer to 35%. It doesn’t matter because they know figuring out percentages is something that gives the American people headaches. Politicians like Hillary Clinton and Arlen Specter know that they can throw large numbers around like $10 billion and get the American people to jump on board.

Is creating policies to get oil prices up a grand scheme to jilt the American people into letting big Gov steal money from the oil companies? I don’t know but the facts are hard to ignore. What I don know is that our government already taxes the American consumer on every gallon we purchase to the tune of 18 cents per gallon for federal taxes and varying amounts on the state level, with New York charging an additional 32 cents. If our government was not scheming and meant it when they said they were concerned about the American people they would let oil companies keep their 9% so they can invest it in more supply. Instead they should give a temporary reprieve on gas taxes to help out during the driving season. I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting but at least you now have some food for thought when the government really starts talking “windfall”.

21 Apr
2006
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NYYRC General Meeting

For Immediate Release April 21, 2006
Contact: Jen Saunders, Public Relations Chair
E-mail: pr@nyyrc.com

THE NEW YORK YOUNG REPUBLICAN CLUB, INC.
WELCOMED R.P. EDDY & KT MCFARLAND
TO APRIL GENERAL MEETING

New York, NY – The New York Young Republican Club held our general monthly meeting on Thursday, April 20 at the Union League Club. U.S. Senate Candidate KT McFarland and Manhattan Institute Fellow R.P. Eddy addressed the club. Newly elected club President Richard Brownell presided over the meeting.

Senatorial candidate KT McFarland gave members a history of her impressive government experience and explained how the events of September 11 prompted her to reenter public service. Ms. McFarland outlined her agenda and goals should she be elected to represent New York in the Senate.

“KT has a depth of experience in foreign policy that is head and shoulders above our current junior Senator from New York,” President Brownell said after the meeting. “We should be so lucky to have more people like her not only running for public office, but serving as well.”

R.P. Eddy, Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism at the Manhattan Institute, Executive Director of the Center for Policing Terrorism (CPT), which focuses on the role of police in the fight against terror, and Managing Director of Gerson Lehrman Group, the world’s leading primary research firm, gave an enlightening presentation on the risk of home-grown terrorists and Hezbollah.

“Mr. Eddy gave as clear a picture as anyone we’ve heard from in some time about the true state of affairs in the fight against terrorism,” President Brownell said. “We’ll need the kind of understanding he possesses in order to win the war against the radical Islamic fundamentalists.”

The Community Outreach Committee recently adopted a soldier in Iraq. At the meeting they collected items for a care package to send to the soldier and her unit. At the conclusion of the meeting, members gathered for a picture to include in the care package, and signed a card thanking her for her dedicated service. The club plans on regularly corresponding with the soldier and periodically sending care packages to Iraq.

The New York Young Republican Club, Inc., is a not-for-profit political organization that exists to bring Republicans aged 18-40 together to discuss the Republican Party platform and aid the Republican Party in the education of the public about the Republican agenda and the promotion of Republican candidates for office. To find out more about the New York Young Republican Club, Inc. please visit the Website at http://www.nyyrc.com.

21 Apr
2006
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Time to cover your George Bush short:

While the stock markets have been hitting multi-year highs, President Bush has been hitting multi-year lows when it comes to his approval ratings. Whether it’s a segment of the market or the Presidents declining popularity it’s always easy to jump on the bandwagon and try to catch the momentum to gain some profit. In the market when things get too hot, like Internet stocks in the late 90’s, there comes a point of capitulation where every single person is on board meaning there is only one place to go but in the opposite direction. When the reversal is about to occur there are always plenty of signs. Most of the time it’s when people who have no business being in that part of the market jump on the back of bus. They’re the late comers who couldn’t find a seat and are forced to hang on by their fingernails usually with the outcome being them falling off and getting run over by oncoming traffic.

This morning I saw the equivalent of this in politics when I went to purchase my NY Sun and on the counter was the latest issue of Rolling Stones Magazine. On the cover was a drawing of President Bush with a stupid looking face wearing a dunce cap. The headline in big letters asked if George Bush was the worst President ever and how a “historian” looks into the issue. In my opinion seeing that caused me to loose all respect for the magazine and the historian who would actually write in Rolling Stone. Rolling Stones job is to write about entertainment not politics (though politics could be viewed as such). They have no business even flirting the idea of trying to make such a claim but this is what happens when capitulation rears its ugly head.

After I got over my initial anger I actually was glad that they did it. In my opinion this is the sign that President Bush’s value has hit bottom and is ready for a sharp rebound. Rolling Stone writing about President Bush is like all those old ladies in March 2000 who couldn’t miss out and sold their CD’s to buy technology stocks only to loose it all. When you see people like that coming you know it’s time to leave the party. At this point there is no one left to jump on except maybe the people at Highlights. Based on this, I’m predicting for those short President Bush, it’s time to cover and get ready for the rise.

19 Apr
2006
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Chuck Schumer’s growing problem:

In the beginning it seemed Senator Schumer was making a great political move. With the American public’s lack of knowledge on trade and economics, getting on his soapbox in the Senate to champion a bill against China seemed like a good idea for his political future. With U.S. trade deficits at all time highs attacking China with their cheap labor and snails pace of currency reform made Schumer’s plan of placing 27% tariffs on Chinese goods look like he was fighting for the people. He did the TV rounds and gave speeches about how China needs to act or he would. Senator Schumer even took his saber rattling to the next level by taking a trip to China to show the American people he meant business.

Unfortunately for Schumer all his hard work appears to be coming back to bite him in the rear hurting his reputation not helping it. First as the months have passed the American public has become more educated on the topic. Thanks to the hundreds of economic experts that have been gracing the TV, the American public has learned that Senator Schumer’s plans would be a disaster for the U.S. economy and worse not change the U.S. trade deficit. Though the U.S. trade deficit is high, China account for less then 20%, which means even if China was to revalue their currency it would only lower the U.S. trade deficit by a mere 10%.

Worse then having no effect on the deficit it would open up the U.S. economy to problems. His tariffs would raise the cost of goods on thousands of products that many, including the poorest in the U.S. must consume everyday. This would mean fewer products would be consumed which would raise unemployment, as layoffs would ensue. What the American public is starting to learn is that we have tried this once before, it was called the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The Act in an attempt to help the U.S. economy raised import tariffs on thousands of goods, what followed was the great depression.

The problem for Schumer is that everyday now the talking heads are discussing China with part of that discussion being about the “Schumer Bill”. The discussion tough is never positive with all the parties in the group agreeing the “Schumer Bill” is bad. The signs that it’s taking its toll on Schumer is the fact that he has stopped making his rounds and came back from China backpedaling saying he would not act on his tariff scheme just yet.

As someone who is not a big fan of Senator Schumer I enjoy watching him flounder in his own ignorance though as a citizen of what is the capital of finance, it’s embarrassing that the state’s senator is 90 cents short of a dollar on the topic.

17 Apr
2006
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Playing Dumb:

The Wal-Mart issue has made it back into the news again as the chain continues to try and convince the New York City Council to please take their money. What I’m referring to is the fact that New York City continues to loose millions of tax dollars to New Jersey, Nassau, Connecticut and Westchester. On Thursday I posted how Wal-Mart was trying to find a space in Flushing, Queens. I mentioned how Wal-Mart knows City residents want Wal-Mart based on their collected credit card data that shows residents are leaving the city to shop in Wal-Mart’s elsewhere. My comments were confirmed this morning when the New York Sun reported that Wal-Mart will today release credit card data showing just how much money the city is loosing. My comments and the report had nothing to do with each other except pure coincidence and the fact that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what goes into a retail company deciding where to open up shop.

Considering it doesn’t take a rocket scientist it continues to blow my mind how the City Council ignores all the obvious facts surrounding the issue. Facts like, it is known that New York City losses millions of dollars in tax receipts to surrounding areas because Wal-Mart is not here. This isn’t theory. If a Wal-Mart in Nassau takes in a credit card sale from a Queens resident we know that money would have been spent in Queens if Wal-Mart were located there. Another fact is that the city looses additional tax money through the businesses people like John Liu on the City Council are claiming to protect. They claim Wal-Mart would hurt small businesses but these businesses skim the city everyday of the week. We all have been to stores in this city where the owner told us if we pay in cash the tax would be waved. These businesses skim the city of millions of dollars every year, something Wal-Mart can’t do. Further these small businesses violate every labor law on the books by paying workers off the books, evading income taxes. Many also violate child labor laws hiring teenagers off the books without working papers. Again something Wal-Mart could never get away with.

When all the data is put on the table it becomes obvious that the city councils constant attacks against the company are ridiculous and shine a light on what the real issue is. The real issue is that the unions who view Wal-Mart as a threat control the city council. The council being the lowest people on the totem pole when it comes to politics have more strings attached to it then a wooden puppet. Even though people like John Liu and Christine Quinn know Wal-Mart would do wonders economically for the city’s cash strapped accounts they have to play dumb. Then again for the city council I guess that’s not too hard.

14 Apr
2006
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Cindy Sheehan Still Has No Life (Or a clue)

While she could be spending time with family over the Easter holiday, Anti-War Protestor Extraordinaire Cindy Sheehan has decided to camp out in Crawford, Texas, near the Bush ranch to protest the war in Iraq. Along with a small group of protestors, Sheehan will again skew the facts of the war and continue to besmirch the memory of her son, Casey, who died in combat in 2004.

Sheehan and her gaggle had vowed to gather in Crawford every time Bush is in town because they generally have nothing more constructive to do than to disrupt the lives of citizens of that sleepy little Texas hideaway. Bush has spent virtually every Easter in Crawford since he became president, but this year had decided to travel to Camp David instead. Naturally Sheehan says he is hiding from her. And it seems that so is much of the press these days, as Sheehan’s celebrity status among the Hollywood left and the liberal media has diminished considerably. I guess her brand of crazy just went out of style.

13 Apr
2006
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Sorry We’re Closed:

Yesterday Wal-Mart made news when it revealed that it was looking to place a store in Flushing in a large location that has been abandoned for years. As a resident of Flushing for 30 years I immediately knew where Wal-Mart was referring too. The location, on Roosevelt Ave off of Main Street, use to be Macy’s before they closed. I remember many of days shopping with my mom there as a little kid. The location then became a Caldor before they too packed up and left. Knowing the location I don’t know if the space would have been good for Wal-Mart for the simple reason that it’s a little small for what Wal-Mart is use too. Wal-Mart took a look anyway because their studies, not the politicians, tells them New Yorkers want Wal-Mart. They know this because their credit card receipts from stores in Long Island and New Jersey tell them people are coming from the City to shop there.

Despite the data that shows Wal-Mart would be great for the City our representatives still fight hard to keep them out. This time it was Flushing’s City Council member Democrat John Liu. John Liu after hearing the report told the New York Sun “Wal-Mart is not welcome in Flushing”. As a resident of Flushing his comments make sense. Flushing has become a stronghold for Asian nationalism in the City and John Liu is its result. He has fought hard to make sure more than just Wal-Mart isn’t welcomed as he has consistently fought local groups to make sure signs for local businesses don’t have to have English. This creates an unfriendly environment for anyone who can’t read them. The business owners also do their part for when you try to patronize their stores; many treat you poorly making you feel not welcomed. It’s also well known and something I have experienced personally, that if you attempt to call one of the real-estate offices in the neighborhood, if you’re not Asian you don’t get your call returned.

It’s funny watching John Liu attempt to get on his high horse and act as if he’s concerned about Wal-Mart bringing down this great town. Considering John Liu had no problem tearing down landmarks like 100-year-old buildings like the old Queens County Bank to build a crappy little mall, it’s amazing he would think Wal-Mart is a detriment to the town. I think Wal-Mart should try the location again but this time tell Liu they’ll put their sign in Chinese.