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Release the Brakes... Release the Taxes, Regulations, and Our Souls By: Charles Payne

While there has to be rules to maintain a semblance of order in everything from business to highways, there also has to be recognition that sometimes risks have to be taken. There is no way the West could have been won with the prevailing mindset of Washington, DC. There is no way America would have reached the moon with the prevailing mindset in the White House. There is no way America would have become the greatest nation in the world if it didn't take profit-motivated risks.

While private sector risk is being curbed and damned, we are moving toward government taking on non-stop risk in a bid to get money out of the hands of earners and job creators and into the hands of union workers. Those poor, unemployed folks not in unions will have no choice except to sign up, while those stuck in the ghetto will have to settle for crumbs, like higher minimum wage. This isn't the story of a modern day Robin Hood, or even Genghis Khan, who actually facilitated global commerce via the Silk Road. This is a story of a nation being told that those that risk it all for the big score deserve no applause or admiration. Instead, they should be portrayed as users and blood-suckers. It's a sad commentary. We need these people more than ever as government policies and Federal Reserve schemes aren't working and in fact, are ticking time bombs.

I fell in love with the photo on this report, and while it's obviously doctored it tells many stories. We would never carry a baby in a bucket but many times in the history of this great nation, families took equally hazardous risks. There are nations, and people, out there that want what America has and they are going to go full speed ahead to try and get it, or in many cases take it from us through pure hustle (and lopsided trading policies and artificial currency valuations) and determination. We don't hear much anymore of people trying to float to our shores on converted refrigerators. There is sizzling excitement abroad even in places where they are moving at breakneck speeds but can't take their foot off the gas. In the meantime, if we aren't careful our emission rules will become so arduous the only way to meet them will be to sell motorcycles and call them SUVs. If we release the foot on the neck of business and stop the war on success it will release the soul of the nation.

That's Rich

Capegemini released its annual report on high net worth individuals to mixed reactions. Some people are angry the number of millionaires jumped in big cities that also have high unemployment rates and bone-crushing poverty. The only connection between these millionaires and those in poverty is the latter finds ways to give its money to the former, voluntarily. It should be welcomed news that the dream still lives. It should serve as inspiration not a source of scorn that people are finding ways to make a lot of money.

You know what is most galling with this war on prosperity is that the people that disdain the wealthy the most often are the most hypocritical. Take Oakland mayor Ron Dellums, who decided not to run for another term in part, I suspect, because it turns out he hardly ever filed income tax returns. Hey, I get it, nobody likes paying them. But, this guy who served 13 terms in the House probably never saw a tax hike he didn't like or a spending program he didn't embrace. Moreover, he was the first admitted socialist representative in the House since WWII. (Now the place is crawling with them although many will not admit as much.) Dellums was a war hero and on the right side of the Apartheid debate, but his career is stained by his mistake, compounded by the hypocrisy of it all.

By the way, much is being made of the fact European nations are doing pretty good and riding out the recession better than America. The one nation pointed to the most is Norway. The narrative is we need to pool our booms and busts to ease the pain during hard times; similar to France, where people work fewer days rather than being laid off. Of course, it sounds more like a recipe for everyone to miss their mortgage payment rather than just those that are laid off. The debate is unlikely to pick up steam among regular folks but you can bet it was the topic of conversation at that $30,000 a plate shindig with Anna Wintour and company last week. The thing is when President Obama talks about getting rid of boom and bust cycles this is the dream: perpetual ordinariness. As for Norway, rich in natural resources including fish, it's too small to make an apples to apples comparison to the United States.

It's all about oil, and Norway is the sixth largest producer in the world. Norway's oil is 20% of its GDP of $382.0 billion. It might be wiser to compare the country to North Dakota. Sure, the Peace Garden State has a small population of 646,800 versus 4,890,000, and smaller GDP of $24.0 billion, but its fortunes are being driven in large part by a resurgence in their energy industry. Unemployment in North Dakota by the way is 4.1%, Norway 3.2%.
Romer Out

Christina Romer will become the second member of the White House economic team to leave. She has become infamous with her prediction that unemployment would be halted at 8% if lawmakers passed a massive stimulus plan. I hear she had major run-ins with Larry Summers and it's clear she wasn't up for playing the game. Often flustered in interviews, I asked her a question once and it seemed like she was just flabbergasted. There is talk she could replace Janet Yellen but I'm more concerned with who will take her place. One thing is for sure, her replacement is another expert with no real world experience.

The guy that runs the hotdog stand across the street from our building is no scholar of macroeconomics or expert on the Great Depression, but he has been a much better reader of the economy than the dream team has been.

When I heard the news this morning, I thought it didn't bode well for this morning's employment data.

When only government is taking risks the economy stalls, and we get jobs numbers like the one we got this morning.

Disclosure: None