Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Prosperity Index

There's this thing called the Legatum Prosperity Index.  Basically, it's a bunch of economic experts who go and analyze the countries around the world and rank them.  There's eight things that they look at: the local economy, entrepreneurship trends, health aspects of the society, the way that the local government works, education, safety and security, general freedom within the country, and finally....social capital.

Naturally, you'd pause over social capital and ask what the heck it means?  Well....it's not really a precise term, and so it gets misused and abused.  Basically, my definition would be.....a bunch of diverse folks take advantage of their society and progress toward their goals in life.  If you offered everyone free bananas and ice cream....then their social capital would be that they'd all have banana splits, if they could just take advantage of what you offered them.  I'm guessing my definition will upset some folks, but then they can't readily explain the term.

So this prosperity index is shaken up, and out comes a list of the top ten countries.  The US isn't listed on those ten.  We come up number twelve, between the UK and Luxembourg.  The top three?  Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

How did we fall out of the top of the rankings?  Well....some folks analyzed the heck out of this and came to this conclusion....the American dream basically flipped.  The American dream is in trouble, and not working for society.

The odds of the prosperity index changing over the next five years?  I'd take a pretty good guess that we aren't likely to change much.  Economically, we are locked into a stagnant period and we have to accept the fact that we might be staying there between Luxembourg and the UK for a while.

Should it worry us?  No.  A guy can feel pretty prosperous....with a new Ford F-150 pick-up, a new 50-inch TV, and a fancy gas grill.  I'm not sure if the economic experts ever measure life with reality.


What Should You Take Out of the Election?

There are twelve things you ought to consider:

1.  Paul Ryan will be the Republican contender in 2016.  Throughout the next four years, the White House will be stuck having to attempt budget compromises, and Ryan will be the center point of the House for any budget construction effort.  As much as the White House would like to say they are done with Ryan.....they are merely starting with him.

2.  Thankfully, VP Joe will be around for four more years.  He's given us daily bits of humor.  We need a guy like him around.

3.  Whether folks like the idea or not....the White House will awaken tomorrow in a lame-duck presidency.  It's a four-year period where little to no real legislative efforts will occur to benefit the White House or it's legacy.  Most of what the President does accomplish....will be strictly internal matters...nuke talks with Russia, treaties with Mexico, and new EPA powers handed down without any legislative support.

4.  This election was basically decided by the independent voters.  It could be one single negative ad that caught a guy's attention, or some interview by Letterman with the President.  It's as simple as that.

5.  When the final numbers are tallied.....it may be absolutely true that Mitt Romney took a majority of the popular vote, but the Electoral College is what matters.  But on the international front....typically a winner with a second-place vote....is the loser, so this may be brought up in conversation with various foreign leaders.

6.  From my home state of Bama....the local town had the alcohol sales vote (they were dry for roughly a hundred years).  Four years ago....the dry folks won by a vote or two.  This time....the wet guys won (290-213).  I'm guessing that some of the local church crowd will be praying hard this Sunday over this terrible wicked situation.

7.  Again from my home state of Bama....the Public Service President position was won by Twinkle Cavanaugh.....a Republican no less.  I'm guessing with the name of Twinkle....it was one of those odd things that you walk into the voting booth and get charmed over the name.  I'd personally recommend to Twinkle that she ought to stay legit, and in four years....run for Lt Governor of Bama.  She might have the inside track...just by her name.

8.  With a six-point margin, Colorado becomes the first state in the US to legalize the use of mary-j-u-wanna.  Course, the fed guys will tell you that it's still against federal law.  The law allows a guy to grow up to six plants....safely....in his private residence.  Note, they also said in the law that the plants have to be secure....which leaves one to wonder if they have to be child-proof or locked up.

9.  My own humble opinion is that we will find at least three hundred folks who voted but were actually dead (not hours dead, but literally weeks and months dead) at the end of this mess.  I'm also thinking that registration lists will be shared out, and at least five hundred people over the next year will be found to have double-voted.  Some will go on serious probation with a hefty fine, and some will go spend sixty days in some jail.  It will be a shocking result for some folks.

10.  There were two million less votes for Romney...than for McCain.  Shocking?  But there were eleven million less votes for Obama, since 2008.  A lot of folks stayed home.  It wasn't the same election as 2008.  Charged up?  Maybe not.

11.  If you pull out the county by county results....you end up realizing that the nation at large did vote a bunch of House Republicans back into office.  There are urban areas that got their Democrat in....but the nation as a whole decided they wanted Republican House members.  This might draw a number of questions over what direction we will end up going.

12.  Finally, sequestration is now roughly 55 days away.  Odds of a deal?  Zero.  Extension?  Probably the Senate will work out an extension to the end of March.  Chances of a budget compromise worked up by the House and Senate, then signed by President Obama?  I'm giving it a five-percent chance of happening.  Sequestration will flip into effect, with some significant economic downfall for the US in 2013.  Nothing about this election fixed the sequestration mess, and we may all be asking how the election didn't solve anything.