Monday, October 31, 2011

Herman Cain and the attack of the racist left

The left in our country accuses the right and the Tea Party as being racist. Where is the evidence? I have spoken at Tea Party rallies. I know blacks who are leaders in the Tea Party. None of us has seen any manifestation of racism. How a bunch of citizens concerned with the growth of the government and the enormous burden of ever increasing deficits could be linked with racism is beyond me. The only link is that the leader of the party endorsing big and bigger government is black. However, some of the leading Tea Party advocates are also black, namely Allen West (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC) and of course Herman Cain. So it was only a matter of time that the leftist media would try to besmear Herman Cain. Their tactic was to use the racist stereotype regarding black male sexuality. In a sense it was reminiscent of the attack on Clarence Thomas who called it all quite correctly "a high tech lynching" of a black who didn't know his place and who refused to stay on the welfare plantation. The same can be said of Cain. The main difference is that in the case of Thomas, the left dredged up a live person - Anita Hill - to make the accusations. For Cain, its all innuendo, no named victims and generally shameful shabby journalism. The laughable thing is that both the accusations against Thomas and Cain seem tame. It is interesting to see all the headlines and lead stories when the same media all but gave Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner a pass for much more egregious escapades. Attacks like this on liberal blacks are unheard of. When black politicians on the left are cited for taking bribes, or violation of ethics they are defended and the accusers are accused of racism. Well please pardon me but let's call a spade a spade: the attack on Herman Cain is the latest example of racism on the left.

Obama: The Anti-American American President

I am really disturbed by the president's anti-wealthy rhetoric. His constantly harping on the rich "not paying their share" and the wealthiest one percent profiting at the expense of the other 99 percent is incendiary and dangerous. Having determined that he cannot run on his record, he has proceeded to forget his Gabrielle Giffords speech where he implored that American's should set aside partisan animosity and talk with each other "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds." He has declared that republicans only care about the rich and if elected will give us dirty air, dirty water and fewer people with health insurance. I don't recall a sitting president being this openly partisan while in office and not campaigning after the convention. His anti-wealthy mantra has been adopted by the occupy Wall Street crowd who seem to be increasingly violent. Before president's implored the country to strive toward greatness not begrudge the success of others. Instead of saying that all can pursue the American dream, this president says that the doors to success are closed to the 99 percent and the situation can only be changed with the help of the government. This president also seems to believe or at least get us to believe that the economic pie is fixed and that the only way the rich get richer is by stealing from the rest of us. This is sheer lunacy. The president has forgotten that people like Herman Cain, Bob Johnson, Steve Jobs, Jim Clayton, Jim Haslam and scores of successful Americans were not born into wealth. He has conveniently forgotten that the growth of the American pie has made our poor the envy of 99 percent of the rest of the world. When Giffords was shot, the media rushed to put the blame on Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. Hence Obama's inference in his speech. Now with Obama spewing out speech upon speech berating the rich and evoking class envy, what will the media say which the inevitable crazy inflicts bodily harm on someone rich?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So who is this Biden guy?

The dumbing of our children is nothing new. I'm a former professor whose students did not know Joe Biden, could not name their senators, had no idea of how the political process worked, did not know geography, had not read a book other than a text, could not compute, did not know history and had no basic skills. This is nothing new. My mother thought that although I took Latin and French in high school, she sniffed "Well we had to take Greek". (Note: this was in an all black school in the deep south!) I just noted that things are getting worse as technology is substituted for knowledge.To show that the dumbing down is nothing new consider the following written in 1986: "America's children need strong academic skills more than ever before. Yet, despite a decade of educational reforms, their achievement remains disappointing. In a 1986 assessment of 17-year-old juniors, students were asked when World War I occurred. A little more than 40% were unable to place the event "sometime between 1900 and 1950. Last year's National Assessment of Education Progress found that only 6% of American high school graduates are ready for college math. American students rank near the bottom of industrialized countries."

When I would tell my students that they had less basic knowledge than kids in the 1800s they scoffed. I then said that if they could pass an entrance exam to high school in 1885, I would increase their grade by one level. If they failed, I would reduce it my one level. When asked if they could see the exam first, I agreed. After showing them the exam not one ever took it. One student actually asked me why did he have to know anything? Why know math when there are calculators? Why know geography when there is mapquest? Why know anything when there is google? My answer was that all on google is not correct and while they are googling, the successful are doing things because they do not have to waste their time trying to acquire fundamental knowledge. The exam was printed in the Wall Street Journal in 1992 and is as follows:
The following is the Jersey City, NJ High School Entrance Examination for June 1885, reprinted in the Wall Street Journal in 1992. Keep in mind that this was a test given to children at about age 14 or 15 at most, and was based on what was determined to be important knowledge. Test yourself in algebra, arithmetic, geography, grammar and US history.

Sharpen Your Pencil, and Begin Now
Jersey City High School, June, 1885

1. Define Algebra, an algebraic expression, a polynomial.
2. Make a literal trinomial.
3. Write a homogeneous quadrinomial of the third degree. 4. Express the cube root of 10ax in two ways.
5. Find the sum and difference of 3x-4ay+7cd-4xy+16, and 10ay-3x-8xy+7cd-13.
6. Express the following in its simplest form by removing the parentheses and combining: 1-(1-a) + (1-a+a2)-(1-a+a2-a3).
7. Find the product of 3+4x+5x2-6x3 and 4-5x-6x2.
8. Expand each of the following expressions and give the theorem for each: [a+4] 2, [a2-10] 2, [a+4] [a-4].
9. Divide 6a4+4a3x-9a2x2-3ax3+2x4 by 2a2+2ax-x2.
10. Find the prime factors of x4-b4 and x3-l.
11. Find the G.C.D. of 6a2+11ax+3x2 and 6a2+7ax-3x2.
12. Divide (x2-2xy+y2)/ab by (x-y)/bc and give the answer in its lowest terms.
1. If a 60 days note of $840 is discounted at a bank at 4 1/2 % what are the proceeds?
2. Find the sum of the square root of 16.7281 and the square root of 72 1/4.
3. The interest of $50 from March 1st to July 1st is $2.50. What is the rate?
4. What is the cost of 19 cwt. 83 lb. of sugar at $98.50 a ton?
5. What is discount? A number?
6. Divide the difference between 37 hundredths and 95 thousandths by 25 hundred thousands and express the result in words.
7. The mason work on a building can be finished by 16 men in 24 days, working 10 hours a day. How long will it take 22 men working 8 hours a day?
8. A merchant sold a quantity of goods for $18,775. He deducts 5% for cash and then finds that he has made 10%. What did he pay for the goods?
9. A requires 10 days and B 15 days to do a certain piece of work. How long will it take A and B working together to do the work?
10. By selling goods it 12 1/2 % profit a man clears $800. What was the cost of the goods, and for what were they sold?
11. A merchant offered some goods for $1170.90 cash, or $1206 payable in 30 days. Which was the better offer for the customer, money being worth 10%?
1. What is the axis of the earth? What is the equator? 2. What is the distance from the equator to either pole in degrees, in miles?
3. Why is it warmer at the equator than near the poles?
4. Name four principal ranges of mountains in Asia, three in Europe, and three in Africa.
5. Name the capitals of the following countries: Portugal, Greece, Egypt, Persia, Japan, China, Canada, Hindostan, Thibet, Cuba.
6. Name the states on the west bank of the Mississippi and the capital of each.
7. Bound New Jersey and name six important cities in the state.
8. Tell the situation of the following: Detroit, Chicago, Portland, Rio Janeiro, Callao, Venice, Bombay, St. Louis Halifax, Vera Cruz.
9. Name 10 countries of South America and the capital of each.
10. Bound Russia and name its capital and largest river.
11. In what countries is coffee raised?
12. What are the principal exports of France? Of the West Indies?
13. New York is nearly 75 degrees west of London. When it is noon at the former, what time is it at the latter?
1. Analyze the following: Perseus ground his teeth with rage, for he saw that he had fallen into a trap.
a. Make a list of all the verbs in the sentence above, and give the principal parts of each of them.
b. Parse for, had fallen, that, saw.
2. Give two uses of the hyphen.
3. Copy the sentence and punctuate it properly. "Will you please to tell me boys, for what the reindeer is useful".?
4. Write a sentence containing a noun used as an attribute, a verb in the perfect tense potential mood, and a proper adjective.
5. Correct [a] It is only me. [b] Who did she invite? [c] Whenever my husband or son take an umbrella down town, they always leave it.
6. Write the declension of [a] bird, [b] man, [c] fly, [d] fox, [e] it
7. Write four lines of poetry, giving particular attention to the use of capitals, and to punctuation.
8. Make three sentences, using the plural of sheep [1] in the nominative case, [2] in the possessive, [3] in the objective.
9. Write a declarative sentence; change to an imperative, to an interrogative, to an exclamatory, and punctuate.
1. What people settled Massachusetts? Where did they land, and was their character?
2. Name four Spanish explorers and state what induced them to come to America.
3. What event do you connect with 1565, 1607, 1620, 1664, 1775?
4. Name the thirteen colonies that declared their independence in 1776.
5. Name three events of 1777. Which was the most important and why?
6. What caused the war of 1812? Who was president during that war? What was the result of it?
7. What form of government was established in 1789?
8. Into what three branches was the government divided? 9. What do the Senate and House of Representatives constitute?
10. What caused the Mexican War? What was the result? 11. What American general commanded at the capture of the City of Mexico?
12. What was the remote and the immediate cause of the great Civil War.
13. Who captured Fort Donelson?
14. Name three commanders of the Army of the Potomac. 15. In what battle was "Stonewall" Jackson killed? How?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Watch out DC fat cats!

The news is just out that the highest income MSA is Washington DC. Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show reports Bloomberg News. So its DC, not silicon valley, not Wall Street and yet the protestors have concentrated on financial centers when they need to be protesting government centers. There has been a rather feeble Occupy DC which is more like a sleep over by a couple hundred at McPherson Square but it has been targeting banks and "corporate greed". More relevant should be government greed where the government has the authority to line its own pockets with our money without our consent. Last year $719 billion went to anti-poverty programs and only 32 percent made it to the poor. Sen. Tom Coburn has pointed out that $340 billion a year is wasted on duplicative programs. Obama has said on many occasions that he is going to go after waste and fraud. Bur like on most issues he is simply lying. The reason is that these are among his most loyal constituents. Regardless of the administration, most federal employees are loyal democrats and he is not about to alienate them. So if Occupy DC wants to be relevant rather than being a hippie commune, they should target the fat cats in the federal government.

Occupy Wall Street: A creation of the media

What is the genesis of Occupy Wall Street? Perhaps it was the President’s constant demonizing of the wealthy. Perhaps it was his urging others such as the Congressional Black Caucus to put on their marching shoes – although few of the protestors are black. Are what are they protesting? Asking them is not particularly helpful and the media has simply summed it up as “unhappiness”. But why Wall Street? Most of the protestors haven’t a clue as to the function of Wall Street. If they did, they would find somewhere else to protest. So its not Wall Street that they are protesting but rather the achievement of wealth by a talented few. They could be protesting Apple, or Microsoft, or Warren Buffett, or Michael Moore, or Susan Sarandon, or most sports stars. But for whatever reason, these wealthy few are exempt from protestations. So what do the protestors want? There is the famous list of demands posted on their website that they disavow such as forgive all debt worldwide and free college education for all. Then there is the “proposed demands for congress” emanating from the “Sovereign People’s Movement” that reads like an Obama platform such as pass the Buffett rule and revamp the SEC Very very few of the Wall Street protestors would have a clue about any of these. It is ironic that when juxtaposed with the Tea Party, this motley crew is lacking. It is also ironic that when the left called the Tea Party racist and nazi, that the nazi party of the US would endorse Occupy Wall Street, along with the socialist party and the communist party. Where is the media outrage about that? So to sum up, these people do not have coherent common demands, they are wildly diverse, they are disaffected, unproductive and reminiscent of the flower children of the 60’s. However, they do have something in common: they hate capitalism and the ability of individuals to make choices via markets. Perhaps this is why their numbers are so small and why without the media coverage they would fade back into the holes that they have come from.

Musings on the Republican candidates

Rick Perry: There are certain defining moments that influence my views of political candidates. Mine for Rick Perry was when he was asked on Fox's morning show what would he do about illegals currently in America. Now you would think that of all questions, he would be prepared to answer this one. Especially after being beat up on the out of state tuition waiver in Texas for illegals, Perry should have known that this was a logical follow up question. His answer was that we should first address the problem of illegals coming into the country. He explained why a continuous border fence was not practical and that other methods would be much more effective. He was then reminded that he did not answer the question which was what would he do with those currently in the country. He then repeated his non-answer evading the question. The Fox person gave up and said thank you. Certainly as governor of Texas, Perry has been implementing a policy regarding the 1.7 million illegals in Texas. That he was evasive on this issue is illuminating. On the basis of that one answer, Perry has moved to the bottom of my list of republican candidates.

Herman Cain: I have heard several talking heads and callers on talk shows saying that Herman Cain was on the Fed board. One even said that Cain was head of the Fed! Cain was a Kansas City Fed director and chairman. Just like I was an Atlanta Fed - Nashville branch - director and chairman. Neither I or Cain were ever on the Fed's Board of Governors. Fed directors are akin to advisors to the Fed regional banks and have virtually no influence on the actions of the Board of Governors. To say that Herman Cain was on the Fed is misleading and just plain wrong.

Whatever happened to Michele Bachmann?

I liked Rick Santorum when he was in the senate but someone who is an incumbent senator and loses a race for re-election by 20 points cannot be seriously considered for the presidency - regardless of how many people try to use to the Richard Nixon analogy.

Ron Paul is considered a libertarian - why else would he name is son Rand? However, his position on illegal immigration is in conflict with basic libertarian principles. Libertarians generally favor open borders with labor flowing freely in response to market forces. Paul on the other hand favors closed borders. My position is basically libertarian. I favor open borders but all "visitors" must be documented. With no documents they will be arrested and deported as soon as the law permits. While in the country non-citizens cannot avail themselves to entitlements which are reserved for citizens. As to healthcare, hospitals would still not turn down those in need of medical care but those without insurance would be billed for the services and pursued by debt collectors in the event of no pay. One interesting thing to consider is the possibility allowing state citizenship without national citizenship because these decisions are best made at the state level.

Who are Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson and why do they think we should vote for them? I guess they feel that the exposure will position them for the future.

I also like Newt Gingrich - except for his lobbying for ethanol. Gingrich is clearly the most articulate, informed, intelligent of all the candidates. His knowledge on both domestic issues and foreign policy is encyclopedic. Although trained as a historian, he is rare among that profession in his understanding of market forces and capitalism. I have thoroughly enjoyed his alternative history novels with Bill Fortschen. However, his main liability may be that he will not listen to the advice of his staff and cabinet if elected president.

Mit Romney: Romney keeps touting himself as a successful businessman. However, is he really? He was head of a hedge fund. Although hedge funds serve a vital role in the market of mainly keeping listed firms focused, hedge funds are certainly like what we generally consider as a business. Herman Cain came up through the traditional business world and managed a firm that provides goods and services to consumers rather than to other investors. Although both rely on market tests, they are not similar in scope or responsibility. I for one think that having to meet budgets, to market your products to the public and to be cognizant of the forces of supply and demand are qualities I would like to see in a president and on that basis Cain is superior to Romney. For me I would like to see a Cain-Romney ticket if one were to come from these candidates with Gingrich as Secretary of State.

Herman Cain versus Cornel West Part Deux

The dust up between Princeton professor Cornel West and Herman Cain is interesting from several aspects. Recall that West said that Cain was smoking a "symbolic crack pipe" by insisting that racism was no longer debilitating to blacks in America. Cain said that racism is overcome by hard work and diligence. Cain said to CNN's Cathy Crowley, “I have seen blacks in middle management move up to top management in some of the biggest corporations in America,” the candidate explained. “They weren’t held back because of racism. No, people sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.” West was then asked for his opinion and he said something to think that racism no longer held back people of color. “Well, black people have been working hard for decades. I think he needs to get off the symbolic crack pipe and acknowledge that the evidence is overwhelming. And I think he also knows that if brother Anthony Davis — a brother who was just put to death — were a white Wall Street banker brother, that the response in the nation would have been very different as opposed to a poor black brother. And that’s just one small example — one very small example of racism still at work holding people back.” Huh? What does the execution of Davis have to do with "racism holding people back"? Also West seems to have forgotten that conservative Georgia ex-congressman Bob Barr supported staying the execution of Davis. Nevertheless it is instructive to compare West and Cain and make your own decision about who is correct. West was the son of a Department of Defense contractor and a teacher. Cain's mother was a domestic and father a chauffeur, barber and janitor. West grew up in Sacramento and was educated at Harvard and Princeton. Cain grew up in segregated Atlanta (as did I with separate water fountains, restrooms and schools) and was educated at a black college - Morehouse and has a masters' degree from my brother's alma mater - Purdue. West is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, a Marxist, pro-Palestinian with his entire career in academia. Cain's business career is well documented. So here we have one individual growing up in the racist segregated south overcoming odds and becoming a successful businessman who understands markets and the power of capitalism saying from experience that racism is being used as an excuse by people like West. On the other hand we have someone who was by comparison a child of privilege, who goes to "elite" schools and becomes a dedicated socialist who opines on a system of which he is ignorant and only knows as a outside observer. Who would you believe?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I bet she isn't Italian

"When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples," wrote Kennedy School Principal Anne Foley.

"We can no longer do so. For many of us and our students celebrating this particular person is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well."

Poor Ms Foley. Someone needs to tell her that Columbus Day does not celebrate Christopher Columbus but rather Italian-American heritage. This is because the Icelandic-Americans did not have enough political clout to get a Leif Ericson Day.

True, Columbus was not a particularly good person – which was par for the course for ship’s captains of the day. But even if not viewed through today’s politically correct lens, he was not even a particularly good person in his day. He and his brothers were imprisoned in Spain due to their acts in the new world and on their ships. However, Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937 to celebrate Italian-American heritage. Several states do not observe Columbus Day and have substituted their own versions such as Hawaii’s Discoverers’ Day and South Dakota’s Native American Day. I think that it is interesting that the Italians have their own day. Only the addition of MLK Day celebrates another ethnic American group. What about St. Patrick’s Day, or the Chinese New Year, or Mardi Gras, or Cinco De Mayo as official US holidays? Why not Hanukkah because its for 8 days? Personally, I celebrate December 6 since the 13th amendment was adopted on December 6, 1865.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Well maybe it was Columbus, Mississippi

We have just observed Columbus Day which is as we all know the day that Columbus discovered Ohio.” In that vein, when I was talking with a group of very bright students at my alma mater – the University of Georgia – we fell into a discussion of history. One of the students said that he did not know that Columbus, Ohio had a harbor. I said, then why is the airport called “Port Columbus? I then asked “who discovered America?” Any educated person knows its not Columbus however most answers were some European. Then I asked them to define “discover”. Most then realized that you cannot discover something that has already been discovered, yet “the Indians” somehow did not get traction in our history books. I then asked “who freed the slaves?” All answered “Abraham Lincoln”. Really? How did he do that? “The Emancipation Proclamation.” When I told them that the Emancipation Proclamation was only valid in wartime and only “freed” the slaves in areas not at war with the union, then obviously Lincoln was not the correct answer. I then said “How about that homeboy East Tennessean Andrew Johnson who was president when the 13th amendment was ratified in December 1865?” Mostly they agreed. Then I told them that the president has no overt role in the ratification process. It is the congress and their two-thirds vote and the vote of three fourth of the states and not the president who ratify constitutional amendments. So who freed the slaves? The answer is the United States of America – all the states including those in the former confederacy – voted for the amendment. I did not know which was most egregious, bright students not knowing about the Emancipation Proclamation or their not knowing the Constitution of the United States.

This is a republic - right?

Thank goodness we do not have a democracy which is akin to mob rule. Rather the founding fathers decided upon a republic where the power is vested in the states with the power of the federal government limited. Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the powers of the congress. These are:
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The interpretation of the exercise (or abuse) of these powers has been one of the main tasks of the Supreme Court. However, one thing is clear. The states should be the laboratory where social policy is conducted and not at the Federal level. Therefore, I have no problem with Mitt Romney signing Romney care in Massachusetts, Romney defends his actions saying that any veto of the bill would have been overridden by the legislature. So he attempted to craft a less onerous bill. I have no problem with Rick Perry and the waiver of out of state tuition for illegals in Texas. As Perry points out, in state tuition is not waived. Since Texas is a no income tax state and is sales tax driven, illegals are paying for government just like legal residents through consumption. For me, the argument is that we are a republic and the states are free to craft policies and programs that may work for them. If they don't work then they can be re-crafted or repealed. Regardless, these are state specific. Therefore, I would expect Romney to say that Romney care is Massachusetts specific and no plan should be imposed on other states without their endorsement. The same is true with tuition waiver or with state immigration laws for that matter. If Arizona, Alabama and Georgia want to right state specific laws, then let them if they are constitutional. The same is true for health care and tuition waivers. Condemning Rick Perry on tuition or Mitt Romney on healthcare makes no sense unless they favor implementing those policies nationwide. Then condemn away!


After Herman Cain shot to the top of the polls, the other republican candidates started sniping at his 999 plan. Much like when Rick Perry was at the top and Mitt Romney - of all people - turned attack dog on Texas' waiver of out of state tuition for children of illegal immigrants, the republicans turned their sights on each other rather than President Obama - Newt excepted. The result is that the plan will be nit picked to death. Much time will be wasted and very little accomplished. Well Art Laffer who likely knows more macro economics than any of the candidates has embraced 999. Laffer says “Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would be a vast improvement over the current tax system and a boon to the U.S. economy,” Laffer told HUMAN EVENTS. “The goal of supply-side tax reform is always a broadening of the tax base and lowering of marginal tax rates. Cain’s plan is simple, transparent, neutral with respect to capital and labor, and savings and consumption, and also greatly decreases the hidden costs of tax compliance. There is no doubt that economic growth would surge upon implementation of 9-9-9.” Laffer is mostly correct. 999 is better than the Rube Goldberg machine that we have now and decreases the costs of tax compliance. It does broaden the tax base and lowers marginal tax rates. So what is not to love? First, it includes a national sales tax that hides the cost of government. Again a flat tax is far superior in that everyone knows how much government costs. Bur a consumption tax layered on top of an income tax even if that income tax is a flat 9 percent is inferior to a simple flat tax that eliminates the income tax altogether. As Rick Santorum pointed out in the debate, how many consumers would like to see their sales tax increased? In non-sales tax states like Delaware, this will be a shock. In high sales tax states like Tennessee, it will be a bigger shock especially on high ticket items. Let's go back to Econ 101 and see what will the impact be on supply and demand. First, the reduction in income taxes will shift demand curves for goods and services and for savings outward as net income increases. Cet. par., this means an increase in the prices of goods and services due to the increase in demand and a decrease in interest rates due to the increase in savings. The increase in demand will prompt an increase in the production of goods abetted by the decrease in interest rates. This, in turn leads to a decrease in prices as more supply comes on board. However, counter to this is the impact of an increase in all consumption goods caused by the consumption tax. The higher prices of goods and services will decrease the quantity demanded and works counter to the increase in net income. This may discourage consumption and encourage savings instead causing interest rates to decline further. However, given the decrease in demand, the additional savings will not generate real investment in plant and equipment. With deepest respect to Art Laffer, there is no way that a significant increase in prices can cause demand and production to increase. Thus, rather than mucking around with prices and wondering about the net effect of an increase in income and an increase in prices, the cleanest solution is to not have the government directly interfere with the prices set by the market for goods and services. Instead of 999, Herman Cain and the US would be better served by 18. That is an 18 percent flat tax on all earned income with no exceptions. no deductions and no IRS.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Herman Cain or Cornell West?

Let me accept all the statistics others give about the poor. However, I have some numbers for you. Last year we spent $714 billion on anit-poverty programs. Thats $17,850 per person or $71,400 a year for a family of four. Note that the official povery line per person is $10,830. We could have just mailed every poor person a check and saved $210 billion. We are spending enough each year to make the poor middle class. Actually we would have spent less since only $3,000 is added on to the poverty level per child. That is why long ago when I started paying enough in taxes to support a family of four above the poverty level I suggested that the government just assign me a family. I would send them the money, give the kids birthday presents and visit them at christmas.
Do you know that the standard of living of America's poor is higher than that of the average European or Japanese? Poverty in America does not mean the devastating poverty seen in the rest of the world. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation points out that very few of America’s 40 million that live in poverty are actually impoverished suffering significant hardships. Rector notes such figures as 40 percent own their homes. 84 percent of the households are air conditioned. Two thirds have cable or satellite tv. 3-4 own a care. 98 percent own a color tv with 2/3 owning two or more color tvs. The typical poor American has more living space that the average european. Poor boys at 18 and 19 are an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
The problem is that we have programs that do not encourage the incentives that lead to a reduction in poverty. We have programs that do just the opposite. Those programs when implemented saw the black nuclear family little different that whites. Now disincentives translate to 70 percent of black babies being born to single mothers. I would heavily subsidize the poor nuclear family whose kids are not in trouble, who go to school and work hard. Surely we are smart enough to structure anti-poverty programs that encourage people not to be poor.
We are all ill served by black intellectuals and our spokesmen. I am looking forward to the day when we have no spokesmen. Who speaks for the Jews? Who speaks for the Asians? Who speaks for the Hispanics? Who is the white spokesman? In the main, black scholars are not comfortable analyzing the black business tradition. Black scholars almost uniformly condemn capitalism. Black scholars tend to be socialists rather than capitalists. This is due in part to their training. They did not major in business but in liberal arts. It was telling to hear the criticism of Herman Cain by Cornell West who resorted to name calling. Well Herman Cain has done more for black people than Cornell West ever has. Just what has Professor West accomplished other than profess? No positive solutions from him. Although they exist in growing numbers, haven’t you noticed that most of the black voices that are pro market and pro free enterprise are seldom heard? The media ignores them and runs to Cornell West, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton rather than Bob Woodson or Allen West or Tim Scott.
The media which in the main are also educated in liberal arts chose those who are like minded to speak for blacks. We are left therefore with apologists who blame every ill on racism and demand more handouts which reinforce poverty rather seeking positive solutions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street? Pity the poor parents of these kids

Have you noticed how the icons on the left are falling all over themselves to praise and sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street bunch? Both Obama and Joe Biden made sympathetic clucking noises. Nancy Pelosi said “I support the message to the establishment, whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen,” Robby Mook, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, wrote: “Protestors are assembling in New York and around the country to let billionaires, big oil and big bankers know that we’re not going to let the richest 1% force draconian economic policies and massive cuts to crucial programs on Main Street Americans.” While calling a turnout of middle class Americans as terrorists and racists (since someone said that they saw a racist sign and a swastika at a Tea Party rally - even if not verified) can you imagine what the Tea Party folks would be called if they acted even a wee bit like the Occupy Wall Streeters? Eric Cantor was kind and understated when he called them a mob. Somehow the dems and the press have ignored the anti-semetic undertones of the rally. There are signs a-plenty complaining about Jewish bankers. One even referred to nazi Jewish bankers! Go figure that one out. So here we have a group protesting the bail out of Wall Street while approving of the bail out of the UAW and General Motors and Chrysler. Also approving of the bailout of state and local governments who used the money to keep paying the teachers unions and the SEIU. So some bailouts are ok. The Tea Party would differ in that it opposes them all. I can't imagine seeing my children with the occupiers and I feel for those who see their kids filthy, attacking the police, trying to force their way into museums, parading around naked and copulating in public while not being able to articulate why they are there. Occupy Wall Street is just this generations Woodstock.

The income inequality nonsense

The occupy Wall Street rabble have brought to the fore the old mantra of the badness of income inequality. Of course they have no idea of what is "equitable" because even few of this bunch would argue that everyone should have the same income. But let us imagine that everyone had the same income. Would this mean that wealth would also be equal? Of course not. My favorite example is the economics of a prisoner of war camp ( Essentially all the prisoners start out the same. They have equal income. They are issued the same clothes and other goods. Monthly they all get the same package from the Red Cross. Thus, all incomes are the same. Complete income equality. Yet before long, the wealth distribution is skewed. Some prisoners are wealthy while others are poor even though their income is the same per month. How can this be? Well tastes and preferences differ. Some smoke and others don't. Barter takes place for cigarettes. Some gamble and lose. Some gamble and win. Some incur debts to others. Soon when the prisoners receive their monthly package, some have to give it or parts of it to those they owe. Some accumulate wealth while others go lacking. As a consequence even if you could start out in perfect socialist heaven, it will quickly become full blown capitalism if left to its own devices. Socialism simply does not work because it goes against basic human nature. The only way to make it work is to have the state enforce it through coercion. And be honest, would you want to share your wealth with society's dregs who don't have a life and are occupying Wall Street?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Go Dawgs! Fran Tarkenton on our teachers

In his blog Professor Bainbridge asks "What happens if the NCAA adopted Dodd-Frank"? In the same vein, the great Fran Tarkenton - an alumnus of my alma mater as is Bob McTeer - in the Wall Street Journal asks what would happen if pro football was modeled after our public school teachers. It appears in the Wall Street Journal today (October 3, 2011). Its a great piece.

* The Wall Street Journal

* OCTOBER 3, 2011

What if the NFL Played by Teachers' Rules?
Imagine a league where players who make it through three seasons could never be cut from the roster.


Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player's salary is based on how long he's been in the league. It's about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he's an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player's been in this NFL, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases. And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct.

Let's face the truth about this alternate reality: The on-field product would steadily decline. Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt?

No matter how much money was poured into the league, it wouldn't get better. In fact, in many ways the disincentive to play harder or to try to stand out would be even stronger with more money.

Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward better results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: "They hate football. They hate the players. They hate the fans." The only thing that might get done would be building bigger, more expensive stadiums and installing more state-of-the-art technology. But that just wouldn't help.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the NFL in this alternate reality is the real -life American public education system. Teachers' salaries have no relation to whether teachers are actually good at their job—excellence isn't rewarded, and neither is extra effort. Pay is almost solely determined by how many years they've been teaching. That's it. After a teacher earns tenure, which is often essentially automatic, firing him or her becomes almost impossible, no matter how bad the performance might be. And if you criticize the system, you're demonized for hating teachers and not believing in our nation's children.

Inflation-adjusted spending per student in the United States has nearly tripled since 1970. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, we spend more per student than any nation except Switzerland, with only middling results to show for it.

Over the past 20 years, we've been told that a big part of the problem is crumbling schools—that with new buildings and computers in every classroom, everything would improve. But even though spending on facilities and equipment has more than doubled since 1989 (again adjusted for inflation), we're still not seeing results, and officials assume the answer is that we haven't spent enough.

These same misguided beliefs are front and center in President Obama's jobs plan, which includes billions for "public school modernization." The popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. We've been spending billions of dollars on school modernization for decades, and I suspect we could keep on doing it until the end of the world, without much in the way of academic results. The only beneficiaries are the teachers unions.

Some reformers, including Bill Gates, are finally catching on that our federally centralized, union-created system provides no incentive for better performance. If anything, it penalizes those who work hard because they spend time, energy and their own money to help students, only to get the same check each month as the worst teacher in the district (or an even smaller one, if that teacher has been there longer). Is it any surprise, then, that so many good teachers burn out or become disenchanted?

Perhaps no other sector of American society so demonstrates the failure of government spending and interference. We've destroyed individual initiative, individual innovation and personal achievement, and marginalized anyone willing to point it out. As one of my coaches used to say, "You don't get vast results with half-vast efforts!"

The results we're looking for are students learning, so we need to reward great teachers who show they can make that happen—and get rid of bad teachers who don't get the job done. It's what we do in every other profession: If you're good, you get rewarded, and if you're not, then you look for other work. It's fine to look for ways to improve the measuring tools, but don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Our rigid, top-down, union-dictated system isn't working. If results are the objective, then we need to loosen the reins, giving teachers the ability to fulfill their responsibilities to students to the best of their abilities, not to the letter of the union contract and federal standards.

Mr. Tarkenton, an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback with the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants from 1961 to 1978, is an entrepreneur who runs two websites devoted to small business education.

Saying Bev Perdue is a bird brain insults chickens

Was I the only one puzzled by the reaction over North Carolina governor's Bev Perdue's comment? You may recall that she said “I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. You want people who don't worry about the next election.” The conservative talkers went ballistic arguing that she should be impeached for suggesting this. This would be a first: impeachment due to stupidity. Naturally most think that a governor should have some modicum of intelligence, However, being raised in the south during the civil rights era and seeing Lester Maddox, Ross Barnett, Herman and Gene Talmadge among others, an ignorant governor comes as no surprise. One of my dearest friends who is an Obama supporter (yes even now) lives in North Carolina and says that Perdue is simply stupid. So why we should be outraged over comments that carry little weight and reflect more on the ignorance of the people who voted for her rather than on the ignorant governor herself is beyond me. All of us (except the governor) know that the only way to suspend a congressional election is via a constitutional amendment and not by simple fiat. Perhaps the governor was engaged in wistful thinking given her dim prospects for reelection. For the talking heads to waste an entire day on this dolt simply shows that it was a slow news day.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Random Thoughts

Drudge ( reported something truly astounding. The EPA says that its new regulations on green house emissions (the back door to implement cap and trade) will require 230,000 new employees at a cost of $21 billion. That has got to be a misprint. Surely, congress will stop this by not funding the increase. Well Obama said that he would create jobs so I guess this is how. By the way, the republican candidates have fallen into the trap of saying how they would create jobs. Remember, the government does not create jobs - even if it is a republican one. Jobs are created by the market. The government can hamper job creation (see the current administration) or it can create an environment in which the market will create the jobs.

Note that when Warren Buffett said that he was taxed a a lower rate than his secretary, everyone including conservatives danced around the obvious question "Is Buffett senile?" Perhaps he was simply mistaken and everyone was too polite to correct him. Since we have a progressive tax system, he might have meant that net of deductions, his rate was lower. Perhaps he was referring to the capital gains tax being lower than the income tax rate. But this would assume that he did not pay taxes on the income used to purchase stocks and bonds. Since Buffett has not released his tax returns we can't actually know what he meant. However, if he is feeling guilty, he could always declare his capital gains as ordinary income and pay the higher rate. Surely he is not advocating the taxing of capital gains as ordinary income? Alternatively, he could just write the government a check for a few billion dollars. OK. I give up. He is senile. Nevertheless, he has turned out to be an ordinary liberal wanting to impose his own views on others rather than on himself.

First its Obama, then Maxine Waters, Andre Cason, NPR executive Ron Schiller, and now Morgan Freeman among slews of libs calling the tea party racist. Well how do they reconcile that obvious lie over the fact that the two black tea party backed congressional representatives Allen West (Fl) and Tim Scott (SC) are black and Scott defeated the grandson of old Dixiecrat legend Strom Thurmond? And then there is Herman Cain who won the Florida straw poll besting Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. I guess they think the rest of us are blind or are fools.

Do you remember when Hillary Clinton was in the senate, she said that the republicans were heavy handed and rammed through legislation without debate? I wonder how she felt about health care, Dodd-Frank and TARP2. With health care debate was limited and no amendments were allowed. I don't recall Clinton protesting the heavy handedness then.

Elizabeth Warren, Metropulse and the Progressive mumbo jumbo

The quote by Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law professor and maven of the Consumer Protection Agency, who is running for Scott Brown's Senate seat in Massachusetts has been making the rounds. She says that nobody got rich on their own. That the rest of us paid for the roads on which the goods went to market. We paid for the police and fire protection, we paid for the education of the workers who were hired to produce the product and that "part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid that comes along". This was essentially what the editor of Knoxville's alternative newspaper Metropulse said to me during a local radio talk show. I said that it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. It turns out that this is basic Progressive mantra. It is stupid at is very core. It is assuming that the rich and the rich before them did not contribute to the social infrastructure. Of course this is nonsense because in our "progressive" tax system, those with the highest incomes pay the greatest proportion of the taxes. It is also assuming that there are no net benefits to society coming from the activities of business - that business only takes and not gives. Wrong. The only expropriators in society is the government. Business must pay all sorts of taxes, by employing workers they provide wages, they educate further their workers, provide all sorts of benefits directly and indirectly to both workers and society. The progressive mantra ignores all of this. It is truly amazing that well educated people actually believe this nonsense.

Let the sun shine in

The bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra has raised interesting questions concerning government loan guarantees, the picking of winners and losers and of course the possibility of scandal. First off the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program for renewable technology was enacted in 2005 with wide majorities. The senate vote was 85 ayes, 12 nays and 3 present. The House vote was 249 ayes, 183 nays and 3 present. DOE was authorized to guarantee $38 billion in loans. This means the bill received support from both republicans and democrats. That the republicans basically supported this bill shows that precious few seek market solutions to our problems.. Remember one of Harold Black's laws is that if it is subsidized it is bad. Some have said that this demonstrates that the government is picking winners and losers. Wrong or else Solyndra would be a winner. That it is a loser means that the market still picks the winners and losers. In order for the government to guarantee that Solyndra is a winner, it would have to do more than just guarantee its loans. It would have to buy its soar panels and then put them on all government buildings, or put them in a warehouse somewhere or perhaps even mandate that we must buy them (health care anyone) all put them on our homes. Regardless, the discussion has not been about repealing or not renewing (pun) the guarantee program but rather looking into only Solyndra. What about the other loans guarantees? By the way, it turns out that the biggest single loan has ironically been an $8 billion guarantee for a nuclear power plant in Georgia! Personally, I think that the renewable energy industry is in its infant stage and that its costs will go down over time as the technology advances. The mistake the president and all the greenies are making is to try to make it replace fossil fuels. Wrong. It won't. It will always at best complement fossil fuels rather than replace it. It will be a niche product serving the demands of those who desire it and are willing to pay a premium for it. To try to use it to replace fossil fuels is a mistake, a big mistake that only the government can afford to make.

Obama prevents job creation


How North Dakota Became Saudi Arabia

Harold Hamm, discoverer of the Bakken fields of the northern Great Plains, on America's oil future and why OPEC's days are numbered.

Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America, is a man who thinks big. He came to Washington last month to spread a needed message of economic optimism: With the right set of national energy policies, the United States could be "completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century."

"President Obama is riding the wrong horse on energy," he adds. We can't come anywhere near the scale of energy production to achieve energy independence by pouring tax dollars into "green energy" sources like wind and solar, he argues. It has to come from oil and gas.

You'd expect an oilman to make the "drill, baby, drill" pitch. But since 2005 America truly has been in the midst of a revolution in oil and natural gas, which is the nation's fastest-growing manufacturing sector. No one is more responsible for that resurgence than Mr. Hamm. He was the original discoverer of the gigantic and prolific Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota that have already helped move the U.S. into third place among world oil producers.

How much oil does Bakken have? The official estimate of the U.S. Geological Survey a few years ago was between four and five billion barrels. Mr. Hamm disagrees: "No way. We estimate that the entire field, fully developed, in Bakken is 24 billion barrels."

If he's right, that'll double America's proven oil reserves. "Bakken is almost twice as big as the oil reserve in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska," he continues. According to Department of Energy data, North Dakota is on pace to surpass California in oil production in the next few years. Mr. Hamm explains over lunch in Washington, D.C., that the more his company drills, the more oil it finds. Continental Resources has seen its "proved reserves" of oil and natural gas (mostly in North Dakota) skyrocket to 421 million barrels this summer from 118 million barrels in 2006.

"We expect our reserves and production to triple over the next five years." And for those who think this oil find is only making Mr. Hamm rich, he notes that today in America "there are 10 million royalty owners across the country" who receive payments for the oil drilled on their land. "The wealth is being widely shared."

One reason for the renaissance has been OPEC's erosion of market power. "For nearly 50 years in this country nobody looked for oil here and drilling was in steady decline. Every time the domestic industry picked itself up, the Saudis would open the taps and drown us with cheap oil," he recalls. "They had unlimited production capacity, and company after company would go bust."

Zina Saunders
Today OPEC's market share is falling and no longer dictates the world price. This is huge, Mr. Hamm says. "Finally we have an opportunity to go out and explore for oil and drill without fear of price collapse." When OPEC was at its peak in the 1990s, the U.S. imported about two-thirds of its oil. Now we import less than half of it, and about 40% of what we do import comes from Mexico and Canada. That's why Mr. Hamm thinks North America can achieve oil independence.

The other reason for America's abundant supply of oil and natural gas has been the development of new drilling techniques. "Horizontal drilling" allows rigs to reach two miles into the ground and then spread horizontally by thousands of feet. Mr. Hamm was one of the pioneers of this method in the 1990s, and it has done for the oil industry what hydraulic fracturing has done for natural gas drilling in places like the Marcellus Shale in the Northeast. Both innovations have unlocked decades worth of new sources of domestic fossil fuels that previously couldn't be extracted at affordable cost.

Mr. Hamm's rags to riches success is the quintessential "only in America" story. He was the last of 13 kids, growing up in rural Oklahoma "the son of sharecroppers who never owned land." He didn't have money to go to college, so as a teenager he went to work in the oil fields and developed a passion. "I always wanted to find oil. It was always an irresistible calling."

He became a wildcat driller and his success rate became legendary in the industry. "People started to say I have ESP," he remarks. "I was fortunate, I guess. Next year it will be 45 years in the business."

Mr. Hamm ranks 33rd on the Forbes wealth list for America, but given the massive amount of oil that he owns, much still in the ground, and the dizzying growth of Continental's output and profits (up 34% last year alone), his wealth could rise above $20 billion and he could soon be rubbing elbows with the likes of Warren Buffett.

His only beef these days is with Washington. Mr. Hamm was invited to the White House for a "giving summit" with wealthy Americans who have pledged to donate at least half their wealth to charity. (He's given tens of millions of dollars already to schools like Oklahoma State and for diabetes research.) "Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, they were all there," he recalls.

When it was Mr. Hamm's turn to talk briefly with President Obama, "I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this."

The president's reaction? "He turned to me and said, 'Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.'" Mr. Hamm holds his head in his hands and says, "Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing."

Washington keeps "sticking a regulatory boot at our necks and then turns around and asks: 'Why aren't you creating more jobs,'" he says. He roils at the Interior Department delays of months and sometimes years to get permits for drilling. "These delays kill projects," he says. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission is now tightening the screws on the oil industry, requiring companies like Continental to report their production and federal royalties on thousands of individual leases under the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules. "I could go to jail because a local operator misreported the production in the field," he says.

The White House proposal to raise $40 billion of taxes on oil and gas—by excluding those industries from credits that go to all domestic manufacturers—is also a major hindrance to exploration and drilling. "That just stops the drilling," Mr. Hamm believes. "I've seen these things come about before, like [Jimmy] Carter's windfall profits tax." He says America's rig count on active wells went from 4,500 to less than 55 in a matter of months. "That was a dumb idea. Thank God, Reagan got rid of that."

A few months ago the Obama Justice Department brought charges against Continental and six other oil companies in North Dakota for causing the death of 28 migratory birds, in violation of the Migratory Bird Act. Continental's crime was killing one bird "the size of a sparrow" in its oil pits. The charges carry criminal penalties of up to six months in jail. "It's not even a rare bird. There're jillions of them," he explains. He says that "people in North Dakota are really outraged by these legal actions," which he views as "completely discriminatory" because the feds have rarely if ever prosecuted the Obama administration's beloved wind industry, which kills hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

Continental pleaded not guilty to the charges last week in federal court. For Mr. Hamm the whole incident is tantamount to harassment. "This shouldn't happen in America," he says. To him the case is further proof that Washington "is out to get us."

Mr. Hamm believes that if Mr. Obama truly wants more job creation, he should study North Dakota, the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.5%. He swears that number is overstated: "We can't find any unemployed people up there. The state has 18,000 unfilled jobs," Mr. Hamm insists. "And these are jobs that pay $60,000 to $80,000 a year." The economy is expanding so fast that North Dakota has a housing shortage. Thanks to the oil boom—Continental pays more than $50 million in state taxes a year—the state has a budget surplus and is considering ending income and property taxes.

It's hard to disagree with Mr. Hamm's assessment that Barack Obama has the energy story in America wrong. The government floods green energy—a niche market that supplies 2.5% of our energy needs—with billions of dollars of subsidies a year. "Wind isn't commercially feasible with natural gas prices below $6" per thousand cubic feet, notes Mr. Hamm. Right now its price is below $4. This may explain the administration's hostility to the fossil-fuel renaissance.

Mr. Hamm calculates that if Washington would allow more drilling permits for oil and natural gas on federal lands and federal waters, "I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties." That's more than the U.S. national debt, I say. He smiles.

This estimate sounds implausibly high, but Mr. Hamm has a lifelong habit of proving skeptics wrong. And even if he's wrong by half, it's a stunning number to think about. So this America-first energy story isn't just about jobs and economic revival. It's also about repairing America's battered balance sheet. Someone should get this man in front of the congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee.

Mr. Moore is a member of the Journal's editorial board.