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Barack Obama and the Problem of Proportion
Illinois Review ^ | March 25, 2012 A.D. | John F. Di Leo

Posted on 03/25/2012 5:29:47 PM PDT by jfd1776

Trying to make sense of a senseless administration:

Perhaps there are two kinds of people: gullible ones who listen to Barack H. Obama (D, Tupi, Brazil) and think his proposals make sense, and realistic ones who go into shock and outrage watching him misstate statistics on the television.

Back in my days in international freight forwarding, I worked for a company that had cooperative agreements with other freight forwarders all over the world. If we needed to arrange an inbound shipment from Europe or Asia, we would tell our partner the details and they’d start it on its way. If they needed to arrange an inbound from our region to theirs, they’d tell us, and we’d set it up. Obviously, enough details and time were always provided to ensure success.

Or maybe not quite always. As we were located in Chicago, with a national network of our own offices, we could handle any shipment in the United States. But we had one agent in our small island ally, Taiwan, R.O.C., who frequently failed to give us enough time. It takes five days by rail to ship cargo from Chicago to an east coast port and load it on a ship. It takes seven to ten from Chicago to Los Angeles, the biggest port on the west coast, when you allow for weekends and loading time on the 10,000-truckload megaships popular today.

And yet, this agent in little Taiwan would often send us a telex (yes, this was a while ago!) to happily announce on a Tuesday morning “New customer in Cleveland! Two containers. Pickup Wednesday and deliver to Los Angeles for Thursday loading. Ship sails Saturday.”

The agent wasn’t smoking any funny stuff in his office; this lifelong islander simply couldn’t grasp the size of the United States. He genuinely thought we could travel by land from Cleveland to California overnight! We sent him explanations, maps, transit time charts with averages to refer to when planning… nothing helped. I think we even sent him a globe once. It was just a lack of comprehension about size in general. He could go from coast to coast in his own country in a few hours; while he “knew” in his head that the USA is much bigger, he just couldn’t fathom how MUCH bigger it is. He couldn’t see the proportion.

A president with a blind spot:

Barack Obama has a similar failing. Again and again throughout his administration, he has favored policies and made comments that make a rational person’s jaw drop. He compares the big to the small with no recognition of the difference; he cites a drop in the bucket as a legitimate solution to huge problems. And he doesn’t seem to realize it at all.

Look at his recommendations on automobile maintenance, for example. Somewhere along the way, he heard that overinflating your tires improves your gas mileage by a few mpg. And that’s usually true, of course; it certainly can. If you go from 20 mpg to 23 mpg, that’s nice; a 15% increase in gas mileage. But gasoline prices have more than doubled on his watch; in some regions, they seem possibly on their way to tripling! Fifteen percent improvement is a drop in the bucket; the only solution for us is to take the necessary measures to make gasoline prices drop.

Or consider his love of solar energy: Once upon a time, he noticed that if you open a solar calculator, it can power itself without a battery, simply from the light in the room, whether natural or artificial. So he assumes that solar power could power the nation; all we have to do is switch over.

How can he not see that there’s a difference in energy use, between a tiny pocket calculator and a car, a furnace, an air conditioner, or a lawnmower? Solar power is indeed fine for some small things, and as science progresses, perhaps that list will expand. But at the current level of the technology, it simply cannot be a replacement for traditional power sources. That’s not to insult solar power; it’s just a statement of fact, one that the president appears not to grasp, though the rest of the world does, as we watch him with bafflement.

Shall we talk about algae? There have been countless jokes during the weeks since the president’s proposal that the cure for our nation’s ills lies in pond scum (though one must admit, if it did, his would be the right political party to manage it), but we should also view it seriously. Yes, there is power potential in algae. There is in fact power potential in all carbon-based life forms; that’s what wood and coal are, after all (though he hates the though of burning wood and coal; perhaps we need to paint the briquettes green first?). Every rational American watching him speak performs a quick rough calculation in his head, and says to himself A) there isn’t enough algae to make a blip in our nation’s energy usage, and B) even if there were, it’s plain as day that the processing cost would be far greater than the power potential for recovery.

Maybe the technology will get there someday. But until then, that research costs money, and uses power. And we can’t power the lights and the computers in the algae research labs without oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. Those are the sources that power the American economic engine, and that fact is not changing anytime soon.

Dollars and paychecks:

The president has made a very big deal over one particularly pernicious tax cut; the practice of cutting the Social Security tax by a little less than a sixth, resulting in a paycheck 2% fatter than before. He likes this tax because it applies to almost all workers – practically everyone in the country who has a job can benefit from this 2% improvement in his paycheck, rich and poor, blue collar and white, self-employed and corporate alike.

But it’s a small amount of money, at a huge cost. The stimulative contribution of a 2% tax cut is tepid – better something than nothing, certainly, but still tepid. And the cost of this reduction is enormous, theoretically at least. Social Security funds most of America’s retirees, plus lots of our disabled and otherwise down-on-their-luck segments. Aid to young families, non-workers with disability, etc. – all these programs eat into the larger pie, so that retirement benefits are no longer entirely for senior citizens. As we have grown the beneficiary list, we are cutting its funding. Does this seem wise? Especially since Social Security has been enjoying the bubble of the Baby Boomer generation for decades, a bubble that is fast correcting itself as Baby Boomers retire, leaving the ranks of the funders to join the ranks of the beneficiaries.

The president counts on people being grateful for this tiny tax cut, even as its temporary savings are dwarfed by the permanent price increases in fuel, tuition costs, food, and other goods and services. Does he believe that this $40 average monthly benefit for one class of workers, for example, will outweigh the hundreds of dollars per month his policies have cost them in raises, prices, and economic opportunity? He’s counting on it!

We in the public watch this, and understand. Why does our president fail to?

The Chevy Volt:

Like most car companies, Chevrolet was working on a concept car – electrically powered, with a regular gas engine for when the battery ran out. It was something to display at car shows, but it wasn’t yet ready for prime time. It needed more study; it needed a better battery.

Among the first priorities of the Obama presidency was to get America making “green” cars, so they took over GM so they could give the orders – destroying old low-mpg product lines that sell well, replacing them with new high-mpg product lines that won’t sell at all. No problem if people don’t like them, the government can just write tax rebate checks to make up the difference. The rebates won’t be enough (by some counts, the Chevy Volt’s federal tax rebates really total over $100,000 per vehicle, when you count not only what the government pays the buyer, but also what the government has paid Chevrolet and the battery manufacturers to produce it); even after all these rebates, the car is horrendously overpriced.

The car would allegedly go forty miles on a battery charge. In practice, real users report eighteen to twenty-five. The car would allegedly be good for people’s average commuting needs, but would be admittedly insufficient for vacation travel. And on top of it all, the car is small and uncomfortable, and must be plugged in overnight to power up from the nation’s coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear grid. Not for nothing is it nicknamed “the coal-powered car.”

But it doesn’t even meet the few needs that it promises to meet, perhaps partially because the president doesn’t understand how America works. Yes, some people have a two mile commute. But a huge percentage of Americans live in rural areas with a ten or twenty mile commute, or are suburbanites with even more (I live and work in the Chicago suburbs, seventeen miles each way; one night’s charge would get me to the office, and I’d be on gasoline the whole way back). We do errands on our lunch hour, or after work on the way home, adding a few miles. These details are none of the government’s business, but these general issues need to be considered by a manufacturer seeking to meet the needs of its consumers.

For all these reasons, Chevrolet knew that the car wasn’t ready for prime time, but the administration forced their hand, made them go into production on a car suitable only for further research. Why? Because the administration didn’t know what the automobile industry executives did: that all production vehicles have to fit some balance of pricing and practicality that will draw enough buyers to be worth producing. The huge Tahoe, midsized Taurus, and tiny Focus are very different vehicles, but each one produces a balance that works for some group of buyers. The Volt works for none, but the president ordered it into production anyway.

Four years of anguish:

The punditry has been given a plethora of statistics to use against this president. We hear that in three years, he built up more national debt than the preceding 43 presidents put together. We learn that unemployment is worse than ever, because of the way the administration plays with the counts; the publicly declared eight to nine percent unemployment level is really sixteen to eighteen, if we calculated it honestly, the way we used to. We know that we have some twenty percent of the world’s known oil available for recovery, more than the entire middle east, but the president botches even that simple statistic and lops off the zero, claiming repeatedly and ridiculously that we have only two percent of the world’s oil, so there’s no point in drilling for more of it. We all know better.

These four years have been an endless parade of misunderstood statistics, of misinterpretations and misjudgments. The president dismisses numbers as irrelevant, perhaps because he simply doesn’t understand them?

We know he was never challenged in school or career; he’s never shared his school records. Perhaps he never passed a math class in his life, or perhaps he received the social passes so popular in some schools, where the child’s self-esteem at the moment, however fictionally established, is considered more important to society than the student’s future responsibilities as a parent, employee, or (Heaven forbid) elected official.

But that’s not the cause for alarm. If a political candidate is clueless, there’s a simple solution: the voters just won’t elect him.

Is our nation’s grasp of the most basic mathematics so weak that a majority would re-elect someone this out of touch, this unable to comprehend the effects of his decisions? Is our electorate unable to understand the damage that double-digit unemployment and geometric increases in debt are doing to our nation’s future?

We’ll find out in November. That’s just months away… or hundreds of days away… or an eternity away, depending on how you look at it. It’s all a matter of proportion.

Copyright 2012 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade lecturer. Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included. Follow me on LinkedIn or Facebook!

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Miscellaneous; Politics
KEYWORDS: energy; obama; payrolltax

1 posted on 03/25/2012 5:30:04 PM PDT by jfd1776
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To: jfd1776
Solar power is indeed fine for some small things, and as science progresses, perhaps that list will expand. But at the current level of the technology, it simply cannot be a replacement for traditional power sources.

Actually, aside from niche uses it is pointless. Solar power at least in theory replaces coal and natgas, two fuels in which we are already independent.

All it does is take jobs from American gas production workers and coal miners and send them to China or Mexico where the solar panels are made. Or, thats what would happen if solar power actually replaced them, but they don't since you still need coal and natgas plants to back them up over night.

Solar power does nothing, not even in theory, to reduce our use of OPEC oil. Nothing at all. Which, if you assume as I do that the O is a shill for OPEC, is a plus in his eyes. I suppose it depends if you think he likes solar because he's dumb, or he likes it because he is in someone's pocket.

2 posted on 03/25/2012 5:48:07 PM PDT by marron
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To: jfd1776

Mr. DiLeo does not understand that owebama is doing all of this on purpose to destroy the capitalist system and the USA.

3 posted on 03/25/2012 7:21:09 PM PDT by 43north (BHO: 50% black, 50% white, 100% RED)
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To: 43north

Well, yes, that’s certainly possible. Even likely.

I usually write to support the theory that Obama is terribly wrong, terribly foolish, terribly incompetent, because as soon as you say that he’s intentionally destroying the country, you lose half the public.

Not just Democrats, but independents too, want to defend him. And we can’t afford that in 2012. We can’t afford to lose.

So I try to force myself to write as though we’re giving the commie the benefit of the doubt... but even judged under those standards, he’s still awful and must be replaced.

I think that if we treat it otherwise, we’ll lose in November.

The middle voters are willing to accept that he’s a well-intentioned idiot like Carter. They’re not willing to accept that he’s a consciously destructive influence.

We can afford to let the history books take care of that, AFTER he’s out of office.

4 posted on 03/25/2012 7:40:56 PM PDT by jfd1776
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To: jfd1776

I agree, I just say they are a pack of clowns, lacking real world experience.

This gets head nods in agreement.

5 posted on 03/25/2012 7:46:21 PM PDT by razorback-bert (Some days it's not worth chewing through the straps.)
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To: jfd1776

Dictator Baby-Doc Barack has ALWAYS ignored The US Constitution, ESPECIALLY with Obama”care.”

The cancer of Obama”care” now extends to Obama last week choosing a “Public health expert” for the World Bank Presidency.

The major problem with THE NINE SUPREMES is that they are chosen for political reasons by the POTUS, and then they vote as an un-accountable democracy, for a Nation that is NOT a Democracy, but a REPUBLIC.

As a result, THE NINE SUPREMES commonly vote 5 to 4 on most issues. Constitutionality is seldom a consideration, and their up-coming ruling on Obama”care” will prove my point.

Now is the time to stand and deliver to address our grievances to the dictates of the Left.

Oppose the dictates of Dictator Baby-Doc Barack!

Our ONLY chance to ABOLISH Obama”care” rests with THE NINE SUPREMES, because Romney will be defeated by Obama.

IMHO, if Romney is anointed as the RNC Nominee, THE main issue in the National Election, Obama”care,” will be taken off the campaign table. Hence, Romney will not only lose, but suffer another crushing, and sadly typical, RINO defeat.

To those who want poster ideas, here are a few ideas for demonstration posters:

Obama”care” was robo-signed by Congress, and is therefore illegal.

Obama”care” was 2700 pages long, and is still being written, but not by Congress: witness the forced contraception coverage recently added by HHS Regulators.

Obama”care” has caused “The Catholic Spring.”

Obama”care” reduces competition, and therefore is illegal by the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Law.

Obama”care” is designed to be a US Federal Government monopoly, with no competition.

Obama”care” also is illegal according to the US Constitution, because it violates our freedom of choice.

Will THE NINE SUPREMES notice any of these three violations? I seriously doubt it.

Impeached Bill Clinton proved that the US President is above US Federal Law, so anything that the President wants he gets, regardless of the Federal Laws that he has violated.

6 posted on 03/25/2012 8:03:52 PM PDT by Graewoulf (( obama"care" violates the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND is illegal by the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: jfd1776

The president also, while stumbling in a speech and trying to connect, cited ATM fees as having a negative impact on the economy. Would driving to the bank be worth more than $2.25 to $2.50 worth of fuel/effort/time? No! Of coarse, if you only withdraw 20 dollars that’s quite a steep fee, but then if your headed to the bank to withdraw $20...with that fuel/effort/time what’s the difference.

Obama’s audience is stupid people and his minions snicker at the folly of it all -they know they are winning.

And, so...through the 2010 ADA bill the DOJ has lauched a jihad of sorts against ATM operators with agressive upgrade requirements...with the hallmark cut outs and exemptions for big bank ATM operators -no suprise there.

More folly.

7 posted on 03/25/2012 8:15:59 PM PDT by Fitzy_888 ("ownership society")
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To: razorback-bert

“..because as soon as you say that he’s intentionally destroying the country, you lose half the public.”

Huh. Maybe. I think the case can be made (not by the sane, but by the die-hard apologists) that if he’s inexperienced and incompetent then he deserves a second term. Because, you know, all those years of oppression.

There are any number of “forks in the road” in the story here. There is IMO no way this Zimmerman case would be achieving its depth of juiciness without tacit, even covert admin support. The Potemkin appearance at Cushing in front of an oil well. I mean, there are simpletons who will believe that 0bama snapped his fingers and an oil well or thirteen just magically popped up.

Hard to say. Unthinking idiots who support his “standing up for the little guy” will support him until they’re standing in a line waiting for their next bowl of soup. That group is beyond reach, IMO.

But given that the cards appear to have been dealt such that voters have a choice between 0bama and Romney, a seriously flawed and not very appealing candidate, I believe some effort is going to have to be expended to invoke a voting movement for “not 0bama”. I think the electorate is going to have be given very strong and serious reasons to de-elect this twerp we have in office. And the argument for him being a destructive actor is not weak. Yes, of course, he is going to incite racial hatred and it should surprise nobody if serious race rioting breaks out this summer, and then 0bama climbs up on a self-erected pedestal to calm the masses. Count on it.

I have spoken to many about where they think things stand, and some very intelligent folks have reduced and “de-nuanced” the argument to $4 gasoline being the all-controlling factor. Could be.

I’m not hard-disagreeing with you, I see your point. I disgaree more than agree. I do not think that the case of 0bama being vehemently for the destruction of America is a weak one. I think it’s pretty much a matter of record that once this putz is done with you, you’re chucked overboard. Middle class whites are apparently abandoned. There are some other shining examples, and I for one do not see how those among his core constituents expect the unicorn skittles he promised. Union member, sure, maybe, but that is turning. Blacks? Maybe they think they are getting back at whitey, but if they go to the next synapse in line, how they are expecting to benefit from whacking whitey escapes me.

8 posted on 03/25/2012 8:17:50 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (The only economic certainty: When it all blows up, Krugman will say we didn't spend enough.)
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To: jfd1776


9 posted on 03/25/2012 8:35:07 PM PDT by Christian4Bush (PSA. As of 3/25/12, 226/301 days 'til we vote out/take out the trash. (11/6/12, 1/20/13))
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To: jfd1776

Barak Husain Obama...first US president without any tacit knowledge of the USA

10 posted on 03/25/2012 8:35:44 PM PDT by spokeshave (Dole/McCain/Romney losers all....NEWT is da Man)
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To: jfd1776
Thank you. I think you've hit the nail on the head about him being really clueless about what makes America tick. I recall the mirth and guffaws that erupted when Poppy Bush visited a grocery store and was purely amazed at the laser-scanner checkout, something he'd never seen or had any inkling of that we'd been using for a decade or more. He's had everything handed to him on a silver platter - along with boat-loads of cash - that he has no concept of how to acquire any of it by his own toil, other than to connive it from someone else.

He really is a stranger in a strange land.

11 posted on 03/25/2012 10:03:46 PM PDT by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional !!)
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