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Just Say No To Mike DeWine, Finally

In Local News, Politics, State News on October 1, 2014 at 9:35 am

dih-logo-SEMike DeWine has been in the public eye since his days as a Greene County prosecutor.  Part of a high-profile and wealthy Greene County (Yellow Springs) family, DeWine is now seeking re-election as Attorney General of Ohio. While he’s been taking every possible photo-op he can, Ohioans have likely forgotten what he really stands for – which is exactly what he’s counting on.

Richard Michael DeWine was born in Springfield, grew up in Yellow Springs and now lives in Cedarville – reportedly on inherited land. DeWine worked as a Greene County prosecuting attorney during the late 1970’s and was elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1980. Since that time he has been in politics as Ohio’s lieutenant governor and spent two terms in the United States Senate from 1995 until 2007.

DeWine’s voting record from his time in congress shows that he believes in curtailing the individual rights of private citizens, particularly their right to own a firearm. Being so vocally against the right to bear arms is an odd position to take considering that gun control is such a hot button topic in Ohio, especially for a Republican. His time as the state’s senior lawyer has been less than stellar.

Given his background, Mike DeWine will continue his fight against the rights of individuals. According to multiple news sources, including CNN, in August of 2013, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, was finally forced to disclose that Ohio driver license photos had been uploaded to a facial recognition database for criminal identification.

According to his statement at the press conference revealing this program, DeWine said, “Misuse of the facial recognition system is a felony offense.” But how can he make a statement like that when there are currently no written rules to govern its use?

According to DeWine, the program allows police to quickly compare photographs of suspects or crime victims to an electronic pool of mug shots and driver license photos in the Ohio database. Comparisons are made of facial measurements from one image to the next in search of a match. The problem with all of this is that it’s been active since June – in secret.

No surprise really, since, while in Washington, he voted in favor of loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping and in opposition to a law preventing employers from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation. Any individual who is so obviously unopposed to deliberate discriminatory action has no business being attorney general.

Since his days as a county prosecutor, he has been against private individuals protecting themselves with any sort of fire arm. He has also constantly made it known that he wants firearm manufacturers to be held accountable for crimes committed using their products. All of this, and yet he is calling for a federal investigation in an effort to overturn the grand jury decision in the Beavercreek Walmart shooting, all to gain points with a African American voters. Shameful doesn’t even cover that kind of act.

If re-elected as the state’s highest ranking prosecutor, DeWine would also be charged with protecting the public against fraud and discriminatory activities. But, as of now, the slick, misleading activities of shell power companies such as Dayton Power & Light’s “DPL Energy” and others like it have gone unchecked. These shell billing companies are unregulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and regularly con the elderly and uninformed into buying into their scam. Dozens of news stories have been done on the problem and DeWine has taken no action whatsoever.

One of the most confusing positions DeWine has taken revolves around immigration. DeWine, who represented a senatorial district where migrant workers are common, voted for building a fence along the United States / Mexico border, while at the same time choosing in favor of giving guest workers an easier path to citizenship. Conveniently, during the incomprehensible process of naturalization, the latter would probably allow greedy, corporate-owned farms to continue paying pennies to immigrant workers while helping to fill DeWine’s campaign coffers.

The record also reveals that DeWine would prefer that people stay as ignorant as possible and that the financially underprivileged are undeserving of a college education. In 2001, he voted against increasing tax deductions for college students. With Ohio’s staggeringly high unemployment rate, one would think that the government would do everything possible to make it easier for people to improve their skills, not limit their potential through nickel and diming beaurocracy.

Any out of work Republicans in Ohio who vote across the party, regardless of the candidate’s qualifications or platform, should remember that Mike DeWine is a trust fund beneficiary (in other words, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth). According to financial statements from the 2004 fiscal year, his assets through DeWine Enterprises, Inc. – the family holdings – were valued up to $5 million and earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year in capital gains.

That would certainly explain why, in February of 2006, DeWine voted in favor of retaining reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends. The former senator is certainly one of very few people in the state who can sit around collecting this kind of “unearned” income. Everyone else has to work for a living – at least those who still have a job.

DeWine will do no more in the coming term than he did in the previous one and, like most career politicians, he spends a great deal of time talking out of both sides of it. He cares only about his thirst for publicity and political glory. It’s time for Mike DeWine to retire – let’s give him a proper send off. Ohio has had enough of him.

 

 Congressional voting records are available at http://www.ontheissues.org.  

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Reduce spending, the deficit and congress

In Economy, Education, Jobs, National News, Opinion, Politics on October 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm

DIH LOGOHow long can the national debt continue to increase before it finally collapses under its own weight? Congress seems to think it’s indefinite but when the debt is growing twice as fast as the economy, the country’s financial stability is so compromised it’s making the rest of the world nervous.

Just like having a credit card with an over-extended balance that racks up fees and penalties when defaults occur, the federal deficit grows exponentially with time. Even knocking a few billion off here and there won’t make much of a difference if the economy remains as stagnant as it has in the last several years. America cannot simply keep borrowing more money to cover debt that should have been reduced far earlier.

Photo Courtesy USA Today - www.usatoday.com

Photo Courtesy USA Today – http://www.usatoday.com

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it means to raise the debt ceiling. But continually increasing the amount of money the country is allowed to borrow will only add to the problem. Amid the congressional battles and strong-arming is a dance that averts the actual problem – the only way to reduce the deficit is to cut spending – period. That’s a tall order when all congress seems to want to do is sit by and watch the country hemorrhage money.

As the government shutdown enters a third week, congress is no closer to a solution than it was on October 1st. Government employees are still either furloughed or working without pay. Sure, they’ve been promised back pay, but how does that help when a family has mouths to feed and an upside-down mortgage to pay?

The real question is, apart from the small percentage of Americans who work for the federal government, who has really noticed the shutdown? Many experts say, very few. There are even those who say the park and memorial closures were done more as a publicity stunt to elicit public outrage towards the Republicans than to save money.

Looking at it objectively, that actually makes sense considering that government workers will receive back-pay for any and all days missed on furlough or unpaid time. If the shutdown of national parks services was really because “there was no money to pay them due to the fiscal crisis” during the shutdown, why would there be back pay to offer?

It has also been suggested that the shutdown has exposed another inherently expensive issue within the federal government – redundant or unnecessary employees. Excluding the military from the discussion for the moment, a certain level of redundancy is necessary for various reasons, but there is such a thing as overkill, even at the federal level. That overkill could be costing the taxpayers billions spent on unneeded civilian, contracted and other extraneous personnel.

After all, if you were running a small business and hired six employees when three would have sufficed, your business would soon be in financial distress. After a period of time, even large companies feel the effects of that kind of waste. It’s entirely possible that the government hires many more people than it needs (yeah – shocking, right?). This happens for a number of reasons from bad accounting to nepotism, but it does happen.

Which brings back the original point – Reduce spending and the deficit will come down. Clearly there are cuts that could be made without affecting the government’s overall operation or causing widespread layoffs. Reducing congressional salaries and perks would be a great place to start – particularly their perks. But the shutdown is proving that there are other areas of waste to be addressed. The trick is going to be finding the ones that are genuinely wasteful compared to those that need to be funded.

The difficulty exists in coming to an agreement about what needs to be cut and how much. Different sides have opposing ideas about the definition of “necessary” and required. Eventually they’ll have to come to some common ground and work it all out, but for now things still seem stalled.

The president’s approval rating, according to the Associated Press, is down to 37-percent and congress still lags behind at less than 20-percent. If people re-elect any of these people to congress they have only themselves to blame when this all happens again.

 

There’s No Place Like Home. Again.

In Business, Children and Family, Economy, Home Improvement, Jobs, Local News, Media, Opinion, psychology, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on November 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

Economists suggest that the Great Recession is over, but the aftereffects are still quite apparent. Along with record unemployment and a troubled political landscape the fiscal meltdown left one more frightening thing in its wake … junior, who came back home to live in your basement.

According to a February 14, 2012 story in Time magazine, more than 25 million adults returned to live with their parents because they are either unemployed or underemployed, or for a variety of other reasons, primarily economic. Another piece in a recent edition of USA Today quotes Paul Taylor, director of the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project.  “This is a case of families adapting to difficult circumstances,” he says. “Family is the ultimate social safety net.”

A temporary social safety net, yes, but it shouldn’t be indefinite. Most of the adults, single men and women between the ages of 22 and 34, moved back in with Mom and Dad because he or she could not find work in the same field or at a previous level of employment. With rent and other necessities becoming more difficult to manage, they end up on the doorstep of their family home hoping for a fresh start.

Unfortunately, because of lackluster employment growth in America, there seems to be very little light at the end of the tunnel for those empty nesters who invited kids back into the fold with open arms, but many of whom who were also ready to settle in and enjoy retirement. Instead, they’ve been returned to the days before the kids shipped off to the ivy covered walls of college.

Practical society places great importance on financial and personal independence and the idea that your job defines you. For most people moving back to the family home is a last resort and can often have a profound effect on the ego and the social life; a state to be avoided if at all possible.

For others, however, it’s just a cheap way to get out of having to actually look for a job. If you’re a parent whose children have returned to overstay their welcome, the main question now is when to show Maynard G. Krebs the door. Since you’re home with your adult kids, you can explain who he is after they read this.

It’s hard to say when it’s time to cut the purse strings. The lack of self-esteem brought on by unemployment and social rejection can really have a crushing effect on your child’s motivation to change a comfortable, safe situation.

After a time, gentle encouragement might be ineffective and you may need to use stronger, more direct measures. You might try saying something like, “Junior, it’s time for you to take whatever job you can and get back out there.” If that doesn’t work, try “Get out.” Just kidding; unless you think it would work then feel free to use the quote.

Kids, when you come back home, be respectful of the fact that it is still your parents’ house and you need to do whatever you can to make your stay effortless for them. Do your own laundry, cook, buy your own food, help with bills wherever possible and, by all means, be grateful!

Things will get better out there. There has been some improvement and there are jobs available. Sometimes it’s necessary to swallow one’s pride and take whatever work comes along, always striving to get back to wherever it is you want to be. Just keep at it and don’t give up.

 

People Treat You Like The Clothes You Wear

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, television, Uncategorized on September 11, 2012 at 9:59 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

How do you think people see You?

From the earliest of ages most people are taught not to judge the proverbial book by its cover. But, contrary to that advice, we all tend to treat people like the clothes they wear, even though we only see what they show us.

Each of us is judged every day by our friends, employers, customers, even those on the street who we don’t know. We are judged because of height, weight, hair color, skin color, clothes, shoes, the car we drive, what kind of dog we have and, especially during this election season, our political views.

Sometimes these assessments are socially motivated. If you are active in a particular political, social or economic circle, your sociopolitical survival may dependent solely on the perceptions of others. Your clothing, how you walk, how you speak and even the color of your eyes can affect whether people accept you into their clique.

Still, while most of us avoid calling such critical attention to ourselves, some people crave it or are naturally argumentative, choosing instead to invite a challenge to their choices. When you put a bumper sticker on your car or dye your hair blue, for example, the purpose for doing so couldn’t be clearer – you are trying to get a reaction from people.

Naturally, someone is reading this saying, “No, that’s wrong! I’m exercising my freedom of expression.” A valid point; but we express things so that people will hear us, otherwise why bother? So again, whatever the motivation, you’re seeking the attention and someone will be judging you for it.

Now, in an era of high-tech surveillance, even more people are watching and judging us. For those who actually thrive on such attention, reality television has set an unprecedented tone of exposing the worst in people.

Exposure seems to be the operative word here, with TV shows that exploit virtually anyone all in the name of ratings. Cable television, once dedicated to entertainment and news, now specializes in parading before us a sideshow that would have embarrassed even the likes of P.T. Barnum.

From little people and hyper-religious families with dozens of children to hog-hunting hill folk and spray-tanned uber-rich housewives, producers jockey for best train wreck for prime time. Why? Networks are raking in the advertising cash by feeding on the voyeuristic, excessively judgmental nature of the American public.

People think it’s fun to watch and criticize those who have willingly thrown themselves out there to be fed upon by the vultures in the viewing audience. All of this comes from our inherent tendency towards prejudice and the underlying critical nature of humanity.

Something worth mentioning is that as I was writing this, I realized I had used the word “judgment” or “judge” more than I normally would in one essay. Reviewing several online thesauruses, I discovered there were no direct synonyms for the word “judgment” when it applies to forming an opinion or condemning someone based on personal opinion. It was the only word that fit. How’s that for a narrow-minded reality?

In the end we’re all judged and we all do the same to others. We might not act on those opinions, but we certainly have them. It’s a fact of society, and always has been. A person in a business suit will likely be treated differently than someone in dirty, torn jeans and a t-shirt. As inaccurate as it might be sometimes, people treat you like the clothes you wear.

Remember also, that all of this depends on your point of view, like the car missing two hubcaps on one side. If the observer is looking at the side of the car where the wheels are still covered, what difference does it make?

 

A Half-Century of Walmart. Economic Savior or Evil Empire?

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion, Politics, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on July 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Singer, songwriter Jessica Frech’s satirical music video, “People of Walmart” has attracted more than 6 million viewers, and probably offended just as many. (Jessica is in the upper left square of this screen shot from her video.)

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Most people don’t realize that Walmart is the world’s largest private employer. According to a recent article in Time magazine’s business section, only the U.S. Department of Defense andChina’s People’s Liberation Army employ more people than Sam Walton’s massive dynasty of discount. On July 2, Walmart turned the half-century mark of rolling back prices and shaking up the competition.

On that date in 1962, Sam opened the very first Walmart store inRogers,Arkansas. Fifty years and four-thousand, three-hundred-ninety-nine stores later, the chain employs more than 2.1 million people and sets the standard by which other budget retailers are measured.

Along with those who appreciate Walmart’s contributions toAmerica’s economy, there are equally as many who regard it as an evil, impersonal, corporate monster. And they may be correct, after all, it would have been impossible to become the discount retail leader without doing some damage to the competition and holding fast to as much of its own money as possible along the way to get there.

Impenetrable by unions and continually slammed by the liberal left, the bargain behemoth continues to rake in the cash, bringing in a whopping $443 billion last year. Revenue like that must please the company’s shareholders, who, ironically, are probably the last people to set foot in one of its stores (at least while someone’s looking).

But what is Walmart, really? Is it evil? Or, is this just the price that has to be paid for corporate efficiency and unprecedented business growth? Do small towns really dry up and blow away when Walmart moves in?

The pros and cons of Walmart are probably more a matter of perspective than fact. Walmart shoppers are hard to categorize, but the common image is the middle to lower class, interested in getting the lowest price possible on toilet paper while caring nothing about the environment in which it is sold to them.

Well if you believe singer, songwriter Jessica Frech’s point of view in her satirical YouTube music video, People of Walmart, shoppers simply cannot be categorized. They come in every shape, size, color and creed, from every socioeconomic background and lifestyle. They come at every hour of the day and night in search of, well, a great deal on whatever it is they need.

It’s worth mentioning also that many Wallyworlders found Jessica’s music video terrifically offensive because it uses actual photos of Walmart shoppers in their native habitat. Even so, People of Walmart has been watched by more than 6.1 million viewers. People of Walmart 2, released last November, already has more than 1.6 million views. Apparently people weren’t that offended.

The economic effects by Walmart on local communities are as mixed as its clientele, probably more so than people generally know. According to a 2009 study, most negatively affected by the big box giant are those mom-and-pop retailers selling products in direct competition, such as small, higher-priced grocery, clothing and dry-goods stores.

The research also indicated that retailers offering products and services not available from Walmart tend to do better if in close proximity because people are already prepared to spend the money.

As for Walmart’s overall effect on and property values, new research released by the National Bureau of Economic Research startled the company’s critics. A 2001-2006 study of 159 new Walmart stores found that homes within a half-mile of each actually increased in value as much as 3-percent. Local tax revenue also increases substantially.

Like it or not, Walmart is here to stay. Anytime a business or an individual is successful, they will always have critics and even enemies. Fifty years ago, it’s doubtful that Sam Walton could have imagined what his small shop would eventually become.

Today his company provides jobs, affordable food and clothing, and the most unusually diverse array of patrons any retailer could imagine. So, happy birthday Walmart! Keep the rollbacks coming and, please, could someone fix the wheel on that one shopping cart that just won’t roll when you’re in a hurry?

The Key To Identity Theft Prevention Is Preparation

In Business, Economy, Education, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 at 7:35 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Apart from locks and security systems, one of the most basic things we can do to keep our homes and families secure is to take steps to prevent identity theft. When the bad guys get hold of critical private information it is not hard for them to start using your information to their benefit.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is the act of using personally identifying information, like name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The crime of identity theft may be perpetrated in various ways, from renting an apartment to opening a credit card. The thefts may actually go unnoticed for some time, often until the victim notes some kind of anomaly in his or her bank statement or credit report. Sometimes the victims do not find out until they are contacted by a debt collecting service.

So what can you do to prevent identity theft? Probably the single most effective weapon against this type of crime is knowledge. Knowledge of the methods used by these criminals to steal your information as well as a better awareness of your own records and personal financial information can help you beat many forms of this crime.

One thing you can do is to closely monitor your personal information, such as credit reports and monthly bills, to uncover any problems as soon as possible. Identity thieves depend on the inaction of their victims. Unless the total on a bill is outrageously high, often people just pay it, without scrutinizing the contents.

Another preventative measure against this kind of crime is to be mindful of where your old paperwork goes when it is thrown away. When disposing of any paperwork containing personal information, be sure to shred the documents completely – especially medical files, checks, and credit card statements.

Most people get credit card offers in the mail on a regular basis and just toss them into the trash. This is also something that could lead to an identity theft problem. Criminals will often scour trash for these papers and open credit cards in your name using those documents.

Also, be sure when buying online to use only secured websites and ask them about their security before buying anything if it seems questionable. If you notice anything suspicious on any credit reports, bank statements, or other critical documents, contact the creditor or company as soon as possible.

For those who enjoy making online purchases on a regular basis, create a ‘dummy’ email address at Yahoo or Gmail specifically to be used for these transactions. Retailers often sell email and other contact information to marketing companies which then flood inboxes with junk mail. Some of the incoming messages may come from illegitimate sellers using personal information to obtain passwords and credit card information. Using a different email address allows better control over incoming junk mail and limits the chances of clicking on a link that might inadvertently open the door to an identity thief.

If you have already been plagued by this kind of criminal action, you are not alone. First, contact the authorities. Most police departments now have an identity theft division or someone designated to help with this kind of crime.

Be ready! Keep, readily available, a complete list of all credit cards, online accounts, checking accounts, and so on, including any PIN numbers, passwords and customer service contact information. If something should happen, you can shut down these accounts quickly before more damage is done.

Stay diligent and continue to monitor your private information closely for several months. There is no way to really say how long the effects of identity theft can last.For more information on how to prevent identity theft or what to do if you think you may have been a victim, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at http://www.ftc.gov.

 

Has America Become A Babysitting State?

In Children and Family, Economy, Education, Entertainment, Health, Local News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, sociology, State News, television, Uncategorized on June 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

Did you ever wonder (thanks Andy Rooney) why we have so many laws designed to, “protect us from ourselves?” You know what I am referring to. Think about the laws requiring us to wear seat belts, no public drinking or smoking, fines for public profanity, mandatory motorcycle helmets, and so on.

With obvious exceptions, like distracted or drunken driving, very little of what we do affects anyone else. If I choose to risk my own death by not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle on the highway, who does that affect other than me? It may be incredibly inconsiderate to my family or the poor guy who has to clean my brains off the pavement after an accident, but other than that, who does it really injure?

Of course, I’m exaggerating here. You’d have to be a complete idiot to ride without a helmet – sorry bikers, it’s just plain stupid – but it’s still your own choice and it shouldn’t be up to the government to decide. It can be argued that it costs the taxpayers more money to cover the medical charges of a rider who’s had a head injury without a helmet, but that point of view can be hard to quantify. Applying the same logic, however, tobacco should be made illegal for the same reasons.

Some laws don’t protect us from ourselves but are actually in place to pacify the moral majority. For example, no alcohol sales on Sunday, no cursing in public, television censors and so on. Decency laws require that every television network maintain a department of standards and practices whose sole duty is to ensure that no one says or does anything over broadcast TV or radio prior to 10 PM that might offend the religious right.

Many anti-drug laws, like those against the use of marijuana, are in place, not because of health risks but to satisfy the moral right. Tobacco use has immediate and long-term detrimental effects but is a regulated, taxable commodity. Marijuana, on the other hand, is said by experts to be no more dangerous than tobacco but is still classified as an illegal, Schedule I hallucinogen. Why? There are at least two possible explanations.

First, the obvious reason – hallucinogenic drugs are just bad. There’s no other way to say it. Long-term use of any substance like this is going to eventually be a health hazard. But the other reason is more sinister. The tobacco industry is huge, powerful, and wants complete control over your toxic addiction without competition from Mary Jane.

A great deal of money goes into congress from the tobacco big-wigs. They will always argue against legalized marijuana because it would eat into their profits, and therefore less cash would be available with which to line the pockets of public officials fighting their battle on Capitol Hill.

Understand clearly that I am in no way endorsing or advocating drug use. I think it’s idiotic and makes one stupid and unemployable. I’m simply pointing out that we are living amidst a realm of hopeless double-standards, of which alcohol and drug use is only a small example.

I don’t know whether these pointless and expensive regulations come from genuinely well-meaning people trying to help keep others from making dangerous mistakes or if they are the result of controlling, politically-motivated individuals. Either way, it really seems like we’re moving further into a babysitting state where the government controls everything down to what size soft drink I can buy at 7 Eleven.

There’s nothing wrong with regulating public issues – second-hand smoke is a health hazard to those around the smoker and the dangers of drunken driving are a no-brainer, but what these individuals do in their own home should be their own business – as with the pot smoker, the junk food junkie, or the watcher of reality television.

Personally, I think Americans spend far too much time worrying about what our neighbors doing and not enough time minding our own business. If they really want to regulate something to benefit the public, they should start by outlawing and reality television. Clearly the Kardashians are detrimental to society as a whole.

 

 

Empty Promises Headline 2012 Presidential Campaign

In Business, Economy, Education, Jobs, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on June 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines
 

Remember when good oratory skills and talk of “change” at least seemed like a good start? The concept might have made a great slogan for candidate Obama’s election run, but there’s very little about it that would apply to his presidency. But would Mitt Romney have been able to achieve any greater success given the same circumstances? Probably not.

The president’s dismal job performance numbers and Romney’s complete lack of connection with those bringing home anything less than a seven-figure salary leave both of them a mediocre choice in November. So far, even the media can’t figure out what to say about these two.

In recent weeks, some of the biggest campaign headlines focus on relatively pointless issues like how much Obama is outspending Romney in advertising or the former governor sending hecklers to an event where the president was campaigning. It’s all fluff and no substance – again.

If something doesn’t happen to really define these candidates, the country may see a repeat of the 2008 election when many Americans were just tired of “W” and hisWashingtoninsiders. Most were happy see him gone but neither did they want a left-wing, America-downing liberal or even another Republican crony. So, who better to put in the White House but an untested, junior senator from Illinois?

As they say at Wrigley Field, “Swing and a miss.” Instead of the hopeful changes promised by the Obama camp, the country slipped deeper into recession and near depression-level unemployment which, incidentally, has yet to return to pre-Obama numbers.

But wait, there’s more. Challenging the president this fall is another millionaire – yes President Obama is a millionaire several times over – the Massachusetts Mormon, former Governor Willard Mitt Romney. Here’s a man so rich and out of touch he seemed in one speech to actually believe that every housewife has two Cadillacs and a summer home inCalifornia.

Why is Romney so out of touch? It might have something to do with that silver spoon sticking he always seems to be gagging on. Despite his profession of “humble beginnings” and being a “self-made man,” he attended Stanford, Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and finally Harvard.

Given that kind of background, it’s highly unlikely he has any idea what it would be like to have to stand in an unemployment office or apply for some kind of welfare assistance after a layoff. But financial extremism is a problem for both parties in this election.

While the liberal left whines about conservative campaign funding from big business, the president is filling his war chest with least as much from the millionaire actors and studio execs inHollywood. Well, at least both parties are getting their cash from people who make a living off the public while pretending to be what they’re not.

 It’s likely that the 2012 election will come down to two things – the economy and jobs – something neither candidate has much to crow about. However, no one can really be congratulated for that. Many experts suggest that the economy would have eventually recovered in a natural progression without sinking billions of tax dollars into the problem.

However it plays out, in order to reach the voters, Obama and Romney will each need to stop the mud-slinging campaigns and tell the public how they will make things better. So far, all they’ve done is rail against each other. Without some real substance and a plan to get behind, the undecided voter will be stepping into the polls simply to choose the lesser of “who cares.”

Beware Sunny Government Statistics

In Business, Economy, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion on December 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

According to government reports, unemployment and foreclosure figures are showing all the signs of an improving economy. In November, USA Today reported the national unemployment average fell to 8.6 percent, down from 9 percent in October. Similarly, according to government accounts, foreclosure filings appear to have decreased over the last year as well. Those numbers seem to vary, depending on the source.

The problem with these statistics is that they often ignore important information showing that, what looks like economic recovery is actually a lie of omission. Take the unemployment reports, for example.

As the economy worsened and more people lost jobs those already unemployed became less hopeful of finding work. Many simply stopped reporting their unemployment status for whatever reason and at that point were no longer included in the statistics.

Over time, more and more people who have been out of work for a long period of time stop going back to the unemployment office. As benefits come to an end and with no job potential on the horizon, people either just stop filing or take part time work to put food on the table.

The underemployed are also omitted from the statistics. Underemployed people are those who have taken whatever work they can find but who may have once earned a higher salary in a more suitable position. An underemployed person could be an architect, for example, who takes a seasonal, general labor job on a construction crew.

Housing statistics can be manipulated in a similar fashion, to show improvement where none yet exists. Listen carefully to how this data is reported. Generally the wording is something like, “The White House reported today that foreclosure filings were down last month …” and so on. The number of filings may have decreased but there are many reasons for that.

According to the real estate website, RealtyTrac.Com, an average of one in every 500Ohiohousing units is in foreclosure. In most states, foreclosure filings are expected to increase, not drop, as the government stats seem to report. Some homes, purchased as foreclosed properties over the last couple of years are in foreclosure again, adding to the problem.

Additionally, within a given region, usually there is a finite number of pre-existing homes, and a particular segment of those whose mortgages have fallen into default. At some point, the market hits a peak where there are no more homes to foreclose on and the number of filings actually drops, but the problem still exists.

Then, while the White House reports “fudged” housing figures, one of the government’s pinnacle villains in the housing crisis is talking out of the other side of its mouth. Freddie Mac reported a noted increase in foreclosure filings in November. The agency estimates that it will take more than 15 years to relieve the burden of foreclosed property inventory.

The point here is that, especially in an election year, government officials will “spin” facts and figures to paint as positive a picture as possible to help keep everyone in their offices. “Spin,” is when the communications officers and public relations directors word the facts in a way that benefits the originator in some way.

Everyone wants credit for making things better and getting people back to work. Unfortunately, short of drafting people and creating more beaurocratic offices, the government doesn’t create jobs – only private industry can do that.

For the public, the only way to be certain of the facts is to go look them up at the source. Looking at the data in its raw form can help shed light on the facts, without the media hype and government spin.

Gery L. Deer is an independent business writer and columnist based in Jamestown, Ohio. Read more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com.