Saturday, July 28, 2012

Obama Context: The Four Paragraphs

These four paragraphs provide the immediate context for President Obama's statement to people who think they have built businesses that, "you didn’t build that." The paragraphs are copied from the 5,533-word address given July 13 in Roanoke, Virginia. The entire text can be found at For "Press Office" and then go down the list by date.

In my column there wasn't space to deal with the sneering reference in the first paragraph... "it must be because I was just so smart." Remember that one from the playground. It went, "You think you're soooo smart." From the playground to the President in Roanoke, the line drips with contempt and arrogance.

"There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

"So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together."

Friday, July 27, 2012

No New News: NM Economy Trails Neighbors

The Labor Market Review, released this afternoon by the Department of Workforce Solutions, compared wage job growth rates, not seasonally adjusted, of the western states. With a 0.2% decline, New Mexico is the only one of the nine to have lost jobs between June 2011 and June 2012.

Two others, Wyoming and Nevada, were behind the national job growth of 1.3%.

Utah led the nine states with June to June job growth of 2.6%. Oklahoma followed with 2.5% with Arizona at 2.4%, Texas, 2.2%; California, 2%; and Colorado, 1.4%.

Friday, July 20, 2012

NM Leads Nation in June Job Loss

Between May and June, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “non-farm payroll employment” dropped 0.5% in New Mexico, which tied for the percentage loss lead with Vermont and Wisconsin. The month-over-month loss was 4,000 jobs. The state also lost 1,700 wage jobs between June 2011 and June 2012.

Wage jobs employed 804,800 New Mexicans during June. Over the month, non-farm payroll employment, also called wage jobs, grew in 29 states and dropped in 21. The BLS released the figures today.

“Employment,” a different measure from wage jobs, dropped 100 from May to be 866,800 without seasonal adjustment. Unemployment grew by 6,400, an event this time of year due to high school and university graduations.

All four state metro areas added employment between June 2011 and June 2012, a highly unusual happening the past few years. The Department of Workforce Services released seasonally unadjusted figures today. Employment in the Albuquerque metro area increased 1,821, year-over-year. Las Cruces employment grew by 1,857. Santa Fe employment was up 1,525. In Farmington, employment grew by 853.

Year-over-year sector seasonally unadjusted performance departed from past trends with 200 more jobs in construction and a nice 1,100-job, or 4%, increase in manufacturing.
Other than that, it was the usual suspects with the usual performance: professional and business services, down 4,100; and information and other services, both down 1,200.

Educational and health services, with 4,300 more wage jobs, as usual led the sectors adding jobs. Leisure and hospitality (i.e., tourism) added 2,100, with mining up 1,600, wholesale trade up 500 and finance up 300.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Eclipse Gets Wall Street Journal Report

Journalists and journalistic enterprises aren’t supposed to endorse companies and products. So maybe it wasn’t an endorsement. Maybe it was cold-hearted journalistic judgment. But Eclipse Aerospace Inc. got a very nice back-from-the-dead story today from the Wall Street Journal.

The story, on page B1, summarized the disaster that was Eclipse Aviation Inc., which promised a six-passenger jet costing less than $1 million. “The tiny jet’s vision was bold,” the WSJ said today. Also insane.

The WSJ story paralleled what we have heard in Albuquerque—a careful, cautious approach with control of the supply chain.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Home Sales, Prices Down From May, Up From 2011

After a series of month-over-month increases starting in January, the number of single family detached homes sold in metro Albuquerque dropped in June to 685 homes from 737 sold during May. That’s a 52-unit, or 7%, decline from May. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the June sales report late this afternoon.

The good news is that June closed sales continued the string of year-over-year increases from 2011 with a 27-unit, or 4.1% improvement from June 2011. Further good news is that June pending sales showed a 50-unit, or 5%, increase from May. June’s 1,047 pending sales were 13 units above April and 103 units, or 12.1%, above June 2011. The increase in June pending sales suggests that closed sales might improve during July.

Average and median sales prices dropped in June from May. The average price, $207,679, was down $3,534, or 2%, from May but increased slightly—$637, or 0.31%—from June 2011. The median sales price during June—$172,700—was down $2,300, or 1.3%, from May. The median price increased 3.7%, or $6,200, from May.

Townhouses and condominiums showed a 49% increase in closed sales in May to 85 units over May 2011. Sales of these attached homes went the other way during June with 39 sales, a 36% drop from June 2011.

The average metro home sold in June sold after 76 days on the market. That’s a ten day drop from the 86-day average sales period during May and down four days or 5% from June 2012.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

News Flash, Winston. Teacher Information Release Incredible

The idea that the Albuquerque Teachers Federation gets the contact information plus social security number for non-union member teachers is just incredible. That Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent is “OK” with releasing the contact information, as the Albuquerque Journal put it July 8 also is incredible.

Brooks’ acceptance of this invasion contained two elements. Other districts do it, he said. That everybody does it has to rank as just about the laziest, least valid excuse for anything. The second element brings the question of Brooks connection to the real world.

As the Journal quoted Brooks, he said, “I am less bothered by the name, address and phone number given that most of us who have a telephone get (our) name, address and phone number put in the phone book.” At least Brooks is bothered by the union getting the social security number.

Well, Winston, a whole bunch of us don’t. My phone number has been unlisted since 1990, the result of telephone harassment disturbing my then wife. My present wife (how to state that without awkwardness…) hasn’t had a listed number for decades. For her it was the whole issue of being a single woman.

For more than a year, we have been in the vanguard of change in telephony. We dumped our land line and only have cell phones.

Federation President Ellen Bernstein said unions “have an obligation and a right to inform and organize.” Another “I” word is in the equation—intimidate.

In the fifth paragraph of the story and still on page one, the Journal commendably noted that Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and Central New Mexico Community College do not provide access to teacher’s home contact information.