Friday, December 14, 2012


Wall Street money managers report their performance regularly.  Public companies report their performance regularly.  Airlines file endless reports on maintenance and safety.  The EPA monitors pollution standards.  The Nuclear regulatory board studies the performance of nuclear reactors.

Isn't it time to study the performance of welfare recipients.  Let the government go back five, ten, fifteen and twenty years.  Let it then compile who the recipients were and where they are in life now.  What is their income, what is their education level, etc.

Just as so many of us are monitored by form or another of performance standards, so should be the welfare system.

After the welfare statistics are compiled, a real case for the long term value of government welfare will begin to emerge.

So many studies have been done on the outcome of high level college educations.  It would be beneficial to the country to do the same type of studies on the other end of the spectrum.  Then if the current system isn't producing at least average results newer methods should be examined.

Friday, December 7, 2012


During the Civil War there were less than 30 million people in the Country.  During the Civil War there were over one million dead and wounded.  Unbelievably this would be the equivalent of over 10 million on today's 300 million plus population.  Imagine the enormity and agony of that War.

If you saw the movie "Lincoln" there was a scene in which Lincoln was given the opportunity by the Confederacy to end the War.  The political and emotional pressure was on Lincoln to end the bloodshed without a resolution of the slavery issue and the maintenance of the United States as a union without slavery.

Lincoln believed the issue of the Union and slavery and the thirteenth amendment were more important than the immediate cessation of hostilities.  This was the hierarchy of Lincoln's convictions.  The death toll was put aside until the surrender of Lee at the Battle of Appomattox.

This is not a blog about the Civil War, Lincoln's credos, or the rightness or wrongness of Presidential convictions.  It is just about what issues Presidents are willing to draw the line on and stake their place in history upon.

"Today we are faced" with problems of much less severity than what would have been the equivalent of 10 million casualties today.

We are faced with something that has become known as the fiscal cliff, the fiscal war if you will.  I searched the Internet and had difficulty finding who invented the term fiscal cliff.  There is no cliff and both the tax increases proposed and spending allusions are not significant in any case.  The spending proposals are spread over so many years that absolutely no one knows if they will have any impact at all.  The idea that a tax increase on the top earners will help economic activity is one hundred percent false.  For every dollar that is taxed away from anyone, rich or whatever, they have one dollar less to spend on food, clothing and everything else.

During the Civil War Lincoln was fighting for the Union and the dignity of all human beings.  The position of the Republican party to not raise taxes is strictly a question of who gets to spend the increased taxes, the persons that made the money or the politicians.

Unfortunately the social desire by some for more and more so called safety nets will ultimately make it impossible for safety nets to be paid for at all.

President Obama knows all the above.  In the end will he make choices that actually lead us to an increased standard of living or will he sacrifice results for politics?  The exact opposite of Lincoln.  

Shepard Osherow. All Rights Reserved