The Congressional Budget Office did not exactly say Obamacare would cost the nation 2.5 million jobs.
But what it did say is vindication of what conservatives have preached since Barry Goldwater stood in the pulpit 50 years ago: The more liberal the welfare state, the greater the disincentive to work and the more ruinous the impact upon a nation's work ethic.
The CBO has just given us a statistical measure of that truth. The Obamacare subsidies, it said, will cause some to quit work, others to cut back on the hours they work, and others to hold off going to work, so as not to lose the benefits.
The cumulative impact of all these decisions will be equal to the loss of 2.5 million jobs by 2024. A devastating blow to an economy where the labor force participation is at a 30-year low.
The CBO has put a number of what everyone knows to be true: If people don't have to work to provide the needs of their daily lives, some will drop out and become permanent charges on the pubic purse, deadbeats.
The father of modern liberalism, FDR, never disputed this. As he warned in 1935, welfare is "a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit."
This used to be called common sense. Growing up, we all knew or read that those who inherited great wealth often ended up never holding a "real job" and spent their days in a life of self-indulgence.
However, a related and larger question is raised by the CBO: If Obamacare alone will cost the equivalent of 2.5 million lost jobs to the U.S. economy, what is the impact of our entire welfare state on the vitality and dynamism of the U.S. labor force? As Robert Rector of Heritage Foundation wrote in January, if we judge Lyndon Johnson's Great Society only by the dollars spent to improve the lives of the poor and near-poor, an astronomical $20 trillion, it was a success.
Rector describes its dimensions: "The federal government runs more than 80-means tested programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans. Government spent $916 billion on these programs in 2012 alone, and roughly 100 million Americans received aid from at least one of them, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. (That figure doesn't include Security or Medicare.) Federal and state welfare spending, adjusted for inflation, is 16 times greater than it was in 1964."
Yet, if we judge the Great Society by its goal, providing the poor with their basic family needs so they can go out into the marketplace and find jobs and join their fellow Americans, it has been, writes Rector, "a catastrophe." Scores of millions of Americans are today less able to achieve self-sufficiency through work than were their grandparents.
And by providing for all the needs that the father used to provide for his family, the Great Society has helped make fathers superfluous. We have created a system where a teenage girl who becomes pregnant can have all her basic needs met by government. This is a primary cause of the rise in illegitimacy in America from 6 percent of all births in 1963 to 41 percent today, and to 53 percent among Hispanics and 73 percent among African-Americans. And that record illegitimacy rate is directly tied to the drug use rate, the dropout rate, the crime rate and the incarceration rate.
If the goal of the Great Society was to turn America's tax consumers into taxpayers, it has been a total failure. We have now a vast underclass of scores of millions who are dependent upon government for most or all of their basic needs, a class among whom many, if not most, have lost the ability to survive without government money, food and shelter.
This is something new in America, something we did not know with the Irish boat people of the 1840s, the Okies in Dust Bowl days or during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Monday's New York Times reveals a relevant and startling fact. Only 8 percent of the cab and rental car drivers in New York City are native-born Americans. Three times as many yellow cabdrivers in New York were born in Bangladesh than in the USA.
What is happening in America is that the vast cohort of working men and women, immigrants, illegal and legal, who have come in recent decades, 30 to 40 million, have displaced, have dispossessed, the native-born. But we may be coming to the end of the line. From Detroit to Greece to Puerto Rico, government's ability to expand the benefits of the welfare class by taxing the working and middle class is reaching its limit.
Taxpayers are rebelling, budgets are falling dangerously out of balance, and the welfare state is beginning to buckle under the load.
Perhaps T. S. Eliot was right: "This is how the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper."
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
As of February 1, 2014 there were just 762 homes available in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered in this market report. That is pretty amazing to me as it is the lowest number I have seen in a long, long time. The current inventory level represents just an 8.8 month supply of homes on the market. That compares to an 11.5 month supply in February 2013, a 15 month supply in 2012, a 12 month supply in 2011, and 15 month's worth in February, 2010. We are approaching what would be considered a healthy inventory level rather than being awash in listings that are stagnating on the market. One can only hope that a good balance of supply and demand may be on the horizon!
We are one month into the New Year and we've had skaters skating, ice fisherman fishing, and the sled dogs will be running next weekend. There are a lot of great activities in the Lakes Region to take part in or watch this time of year. If your winter activity includes house shopping, here's a look at some of the new listings that have come on since the first of the year that might just be the bargain you have been looking for. There's a bank owned 1,984 square foot, six room, three bedroom ranch on a 1.35 acre lot at 90 Cherry Valley Road in Gilford that is on the market for $195,000 with an assessed value of $247,740. It was built in 1980 and features a master suite, a fireplace in the living room, partially finished basement, two car garage, and an in ground pool. The pictures look like it will need some updating, but hey, it seems like the price is pretty good compared to its assessment and it is Gilford so it may well be worth a visit to see what it's like.
There's a 1980 vintage shingle style cape at 118 Seavey Road in Belmont that might also be a bargain. It is priced at $174,900 which is 77 percent of the assessed value of $228,400. This home was built in 1980 and sits on a nicely landscaped, 5 acre level lot. It has 2,195 square feet of living space with two bedrooms, one bath, hardwood floors, a family room with cathedral ceilings and a brick fireplace, and a walkout lower level with the potential of an additional bedroom. Looks like a good deal to me...
There's a nicely maintained 2,432 square foot, three bed, two bath, contemporary home at 949 Cherry Valley Road in Gilford that is on the market for $249,000 which is 87 percent of its assessed value of $287,130. This home was built in 1986 and has an open concept floor plan, nice mountain views, a first floor master suite with two more bedrooms in the lower level along with a family room, a spacious screened porch, and two car garage. It is definitely worth a look!
There are a couple of nice properties that I wanted to mention just because they look very appealing and I could see myself living in either one. There is a nice Winnipesaukee water access home at 11 Jeremiah Smith Road in Moultonborough that has great curb appeal. This 3,545 square foot colonial has three bedrooms including the master suite, three baths, and a family room with a fireplace, cathedral ceilings, and exposed beams. The eat-in country kitchen also has exposed beams and a wood stove to keep everyone cozy and warm. There's a formal dining room, a wonderful four season room, and a wrap around farmer's porch that's perfect to rocking away the night...in July that is. This home has a two car garage and sits on a 1.83 acre lot close to snowmobile trails and is just 2/10 of a mile to a sugar sand beach. It is being offered at $436,000. Check out the pictures on-line and you'll agree it looks pretty nice!
Another nice property that was previously listed but just came back on the market is up on top of the world at 215 Pinnacle Hill Road in New Hampton. This is a 2,762 square foot ranch that was built in 2002 on a gorgeous 4 acre lot with mountain views. The home has a master suite with whirlpool tub, separate shower, and a walk-in closet. There are two guest bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen with black cherry cabinetry and hardwood floors, a living room with a gas fireplace, a bonus room over the two car garage, a walk out basement, and two covered porches. This property has easy access to Route 93 so it is a great commuter location. It is being offered at $334,900. Is it a good deal? You'll need to find out for yourself so give your agent a call, stop by the fishing derby, and then go take a look!
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 2/1/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.
Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 09:24
Back in the early 1920s, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was promoting Eugenics as a way to improve the human race. Eugenics is the belief that the race can be purified by sterilizing or otherwise ridding the population of people who have some genetic defect. The Chancellor of Germany, who wreaked havoc on Europe in the 30s and 40s, and who caused the murder of over six million Jews, shared in that opinion.
By definition, an "oxymoron" is a contradictory term. One would think that the term "Planned Parenthood" would indicate an organization dedicated to helping people understand how to plan a family. Nature has instilled in every living creature the desire to mate. Without that desire, life forms as we know them would have ceased to exist long ago. If Planned Parenthood were truly devoted to "life", their time would be spent teaching young men and women things such as how to reasonably measure the chances that a woman is in a fertile state, what foods and drink should be consumed or avoided when the woman is pregnant, what exercises are helpful, what changes in the body are to be expected and what is normal or abnormal, and so on.
In teaching about family "planning", one would think that Planned Parenthood could also provide a variety of instructions, to both men and women, on how to avoid becoming pregnant. Such as, abstenance is not a life sentence, it's a temporary condition. For some, their family planning might include instructions on contraceptive options for either or both partners. It would seem that if a couple really wants help in "planning for parenthood", these steps would be commonplace.
That leads us to the "oxymoron issue". Planned Parenthood annually provides about one third of all abortions that occur in the United States. That is about 350,000 of the over one million babies that have been aborted in this country, every single year since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, have been done by that organization. Is planning to abort "family planning", or is it a sad answer to having failed to plan?
Money is "fungible" . . . it can be used for any number of things. If you receive a gift of money to buy a new sweater or blouse, you may decide to use that money to get an oil change for your automobile . . . because money is fungible. The Congressional Hyde Amendment, authored by the late Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde and enacted into law in 1977, prevents the use of federal funds for abortions. Countless pro-abortion activist organizations have railed against this amendment ever since, calling for it to be removed, even though money's fungibility virtually makes the issue moot.
In the case of Planned Parenthood, the Federal government grant to them in 2013 was slightly more that $540 million, which amounted to 45 percent of the organizations $1.2 billion budget for the year. Think of fungibility, and the over 350,000 abortions in this country that are performed by Planned Parenthood every year. Yet, Planned Parenthood disingenuously claims that only 3 percent of its activity is for abortion services. That organization equates a clerk answering a question, or a referral to a doctor, or some such thing, as having the same weight as a baby being aborted. The fact that they would be so devious in misrepresenting the weighting of the different functions is outrageous. In their terms, they're claiming that Planned Parenthood's performing of over ten million mostly administrative functions are each comparable to the termination of life for about 350,000 unborn children. Outrageous!
The leader of this country's Chamber of Commerce recently stated, "Demographics is destiny". He is correct. What he didn't say though, is that we have the ability to control demographics as we choose to birth or to abort. Since Roe v. Wade, we have denied citizenship to over fifty million people. Social systems have been built here and around the world that are dependent on positive birth rates to survive, and as those birth rates diminish, so too does society flounder. In addition to the demise of the social structures, how many of those who have been and are yet to be aborted would have had the skills and abilities to find the cures for debilitating diseases . . . alzheimers, cancers, multiple sclerosis, and on, and on. Was the next Bill Gates the expendable price for a night of pleasure? Or a Jonas Salk? Or a Luciano Pavroti. How much potential brilliance went into the disposal?
We now have people arguing over whether or not poverty is the result of single parenting, as we mistakenly replace the value of marriage with a trust in government to make our boo-boo's all better. And, we have people pleading for votes for candidates based on the candidates willingness to abort the defenseless child. Look back at our history. This country was built on hard work, strong family units, and morality. Respect and religion went hand in hand. Now we eschew those things based on empty political promises and people ask us to vote for politicians based on their willingness to literally, throw the unborn under the proverbial bus.
Yes, demographics is destiny and right now . . . it's not looking too good.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:47
Condominiums are a big part of our real estate market in the Lakes Region of NH. Condos provide care free living for many year round residents as well as a more affordable get-a-way for those looking for a second home. We are fortunate to have many condo associations that offer great amenities like water access, docks, moorings, beaches, tennis courts, and exercise facilities. When you combine these amenities with the fact that exterior maintenance, snowplowing, mowing, and landscaping tasks are taken care of for you, condo living looks pretty darn good. After all, you do want to spend more time on the boat, golf course, or ski slope don't you?
The Lakes Region has a wide range of condo associations from cottage colony conversions to gated communities like South Down Shores in Laconia and Grouse Point in Meredith. And, there is a wide range of prices so there is something to suit everyone's budget. Sale prices this year ranged from just $31,500 for a studio style condo at 937 Weirs Boulevard to $667,900 for a brand new lakefront unit at the Townhomes at Meredith Bay at 595 Scenic Road in Laconia.
There were 122 condo sales in Laconia in 2013 at an average price of $186,697. That total is up 29 percent over 2012 when there were 96 transactions with an average sales price of $185,055. That's a pretty impressive increase! It should be noted that about one quarter of those condo sales in Laconia were in South Down Shores.
There were ten condominium sales in Meredith in both 2012 and 2013. The average sales price was $246,000 in 2012 with a slight increase to $267,850 in 2013. Gilford finished 2013 with 42 transactions at an average sale price of $150,881 compared to 39 in 2012 at an average of $180,374.
So is condo living right for you? There are a lot of pluses, including those listed above, along with the fact that major costs and repairs are shared among all of the unit owners. But, there are also issues that some people shy away from. There are the monthly condo association fees to cover all the maintenance you chose not to do and, like taxes, they never seem to go down. And there can be special assessments from time to time when unexpected and unbudgeted repairs come up. Of course, as with any association, there are the politics of running the place with meetings, elections, and decisions to be made on expenditures and rules. You need to be able to play well with others and accept the will of the majority in order to enjoy condo living and almost invariably there are one or two unit owners that don't.
Rules and regulations will differ for each association so you need to investigate each one. Probably the biggest issue for vacation home buyers relates to the availability and assignment of docks and moorings, especially when there are fewer spaces than there are unit owners. Each association can handle this situation differently. Another big issue is whether your unit can be sublet. Many owners like to rent their units out occasionally in order to defray some costs, but not all associations allow short term rentals so you need to do your homework.
If you are thinking of purchasing a condo, now is a great time to get out at look at the available inventory. Right now there are over 180 units available in Belknap County! Your realtor will be able to help you sort out the details and find a unit that fits your budget and lifestyle requirements.
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 08:09
"The not so Golden State" is how a recent issue of The Economist magazine tags California's business climate. It's the latest in a trove of conservative literature trying to dance around the fact that high-tax, highly regulated, bureaucratic states can be economic powerhouses. The writers deal with the "problem" by burying reality under a pile of "buts" and "howevers."
In recent years, California has indeed suffered from gridlocked government, punishing pension obligations and debt — plus the housing meltdown. It's been addressing these challenges. And though one cannot vouch for the wisdom of every regulation, the state's environmental ethic is a big reason smart people put up with the warts.
But only Silicon Valley is doing well, The Economist says. Manufacturing stinks. "IPhones are 'designed by Apple in California,'" the article notes, "but made in Shenzhen."
Apple nonetheless employs 16,000 Californians in and around Cupertino and plans to expand that number to 24,000. The Apple workers reportedly earn an average of $125,000. There must be something going for Apple in California.
There's this fantasy that if our environmental regulations just went lax, America would have some renaissance in factory employment. Thing is, manufacturing output in this country has actually tripled in the last 60 years, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
U.S. factories are simply being run with fewer, well-trained people operating computers. The low-skilled, low-wage, labor-intensive factory jobs are not coming back, and why should we want them?
The Economist seems vexed that Gov. Jerry Brown would sign a bill raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2016 — as though Wendy's could sell burgers in Bakersfield from a store in Nevada. By the way, in 1968, the national minimum wage was $10.77 in today's dollars.
Only Silicon Valley?! Check out The Wall Street Journal's new "Billion-Dollar Startup Club." These are companies valued at $1 billion or more by venture capital firms.
Of the 37 billion-dollar startups, 26 are based in the U.S. — 22 of them in California. Of the four U.S. startups not located in California, three are in New York City — not exactly your low-tax haven and, at the moment, freezing cold. The other one is in Jacksonville, Fla.
Those who strike it rich will do tax planning, and that may include buying homes in low-tax places. But the big tech innovators are still building their companies where their brainiacs want to be. Kings of the creative class demand the stimulation found in great urban neighborhoods. And they want a nice countryside to hike in.
Two years ago, The Wall Street Journal published an emotional essay titled "California Declares War on Suburbia." The writer was especially upset that the Association of Bay Area Governments had proposed limiting new housing beyond the San Francisco and San Jose "urban fringe" to 3 percent of the total. Most new building would be multifamily homes.
Boy, do they hate San Francisco. But the strict building rules have kept San Francisco — and its environs — a beautiful place. That's why tech people working in surrounding areas insist on making their nests in San Francisco when they could live cheaper, bigger and closer to work.
Universities are another magnet and incubator for new companies. They tend to spawn the liberal, active-government cultures in which innovation thrives. There's some irony that the premier tech center of Texas is progressive Austin, thanks in great part to the University of Texas, a creature of state government.
To the states with good education, an open-minded community and an attractive environment go the tech spoils. Taxation does matter, and there's such a thing as dumb regulations. But for the knowledge economy, that's not everything or even, it seems, the big thing. California shows how.
(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)
Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 09:47