Buzzer Beater

As we reach the end of March, it will soon be time for more monthly and quarterly data on jobs and the economy.  This election year, a lot will probably hinge on what we see from those reports.  A job now is likely to be a very happy voter by November, but a job later on may still leave some lingering anxiety when it comes time to vote.  The clock is running out.

Good thing Obama, an NCAA hoops fan, knows how to slam the buzzer-beater.  Or does he?

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Murder and Politics

The killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida has lit up legacy and new media as the cause of the month.  Speculation from afar about violent last moments on this earth are immoral and indecent, so you will not get that here.  A young life was ended with a bullet, and that is a tragedy.  Period.

Florida’s history of racially motivated outbursts of violence reverberates through this tragedy.  The lack of investigation fits easily into the stories from the bad old days when there was more or less an open season on black people and justice was not even a dream.   Where that becomes more than hot rhetoric is the realization that, under current Florida law, there is a good chance that this murder was, in fact, legal.

How did that happen?  The story of the “Stand Your Ground” law which fuels the nightmares from a dark past takes many people to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the apparent source.  The Left has long wanted to bring this group to light, and through Martin’s sanctioned murder they may have their chance.

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Compromise and Consensus

A local politician recently got into hot water over comments she made that appeared to compare public assistance to feeding stray animals.  The person in question is not important nor is the course of the furor over her remarks.  The situation is similar to what is happening throughout our broken, leaderless democratic republic on a nearly constant basis.  A “talking point” that appeared clever was used as a substitute for rational policy discussion.

In the follow-up on the outrage the politician in question sent a guest editorial that deflected criticism through a long, rambling discussion about “leadership” and “compromise” in the legislature.  It occurred to me that very few people understand that “compromise” itself is not an end, but a means to achieve an end – consensus, the way work is done in our system.

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Jobs War

There are many ways to create jobs.  The 2008 stimulus created some jobs directly at the local level at a cost of around $115k each, or an 18 year payback.  We can also simply wait for the “Recovery” that is supposed to occur and hope it all turns out well.  There are also steps that can be taken to transform the economy and speed up restructuring.

All of this would be minimal and possibly wasted according to Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup.  His book “The Coming Jobs War” (which came out last September) outlines how good, meaningful jobs are going to be scarce around the world – and subject to intense competition at all levels.  His proposal is not expensive or even likely to be controversial, but it does require new attention and care from everyone.  It also requires very dynamic leadership, an even scarcer commodity.

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Speculation and Certainty

There have been many stories in the news about the rising price of gasoline.  This was to be expected, given that it is the kind of story that people can relate to easily.  It’s the point where ordinary people meet a dark and strange part of the global marketplace, commodities futures.

The increase in these stories was predicted in Barataria, but that was an easy call.  The potential for this to not go the Republicans’ way was also obvious.  But this could be even more devastating as groups like Better Markets get the message out that unreasonable speculation is the real cause of the recent price spike.  It has the potential to very much change domestic politics completely.

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