Can you believe the gutless wonders we have as legislators? None of us opposes helping the people whose lives have been forever altered by Hurricane Sandy. We are Americans. That is what we do for our fellowmen (and women and children, lest I be politically incorrect) in times of need.

What I do not like is that after holding up the vote to dispense aid in order to have the opportunity to read through the legislation to see what was in it, the billions of dollars which were identified (revisit the View from 1/4/2013) as pork and UNRELATED to helping those affected, they passed the bill in its entirety anyway – $60 billion. These people do not know when to stop.

Regarding the debt ceiling, the president this week said that social security payments (among other things) would be curtailed if the Congress did not act to increase their spending authority. How is it that I (all American workers) have been paying into the social security fund all of my working career, my employers have matched what I put into the fund throughout my working career. The government puts NOTHING into the fund (they have no problem taking out plenty) but they threaten to withhold payments? How is that possible? It’s not their money to withhold. Or am I wrong? All they do is steal our money to further their own self interests. The pot is starting to boil in the United States.

The Second Amendment
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
If we allow the regulations on firearms to increase unabated, at some point, the government will attempt to eliminate altogether the possession of firearms by the people. It’s a natural progression; the more the government takes away, the less individual freedom you enjoy. This is the breeding ground of tyranny. Check your history. How can there be a well regulated Militia with unarmed militiamen?

Yes, these tragedies are just that-horrible tragedies. We all want acts of violence to cease but that is not likely to happen. Face it; there are some bad people on the planet. So, what can be done? Identifying members of society with mental issues or disabilities would be a good start. Gun registration, banning certain types of weapons, banning certain types of ammunition or limiting clip size will only affect law abiding citizens. Unless you eliminate the manufacture of weapons the bad guys will always find ways to arm themselves and those bent on murder and mayhem will find a way to execute their plans.

Anyway, just a few rants on the week’s news….

From the Metal Service Center Institute ( weekly advocacy news:

“The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) released its quarterly survey of manufacturers last week. The news was positive. According to the release,

  • 17% of the 42 U.S. companies that were surveyed that have manufacturing outlets overseas brought at least some of those operations back to the U.S. over the last two years.
  • Most of it came from China. Increased shipping and labor costs were cited.
  • Despite the positive news for 2012, only a handful of companies said the reshoring trend would continue (for them) in 2013.”

According to the Commerce Department  factory orders increased slightly between October and November.

The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index increased in December but is still near its three year low. Despite the slight increase, the number of small businesses who expect economic conditions to improve over the next 6 months is the lowest since the NFIB started its survey in 1999.

Industrial production increased 0.3 percent in December after having risen 1.0 percent in November when production rebounded in the industries negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy in late October.

From Bloomberg News reporting on the Fed’s Beige Book:

The U. S. economy picked up across much of the country last month boosted by auto and home sales even as the outlook for unemployment showed few signs of improvement, the Federal Reserve said.
“Economic activity has expanded since the previous Beige Book report with all 12 districts characterizing the pace of growth as either modest or moderate.

Wednesday’s report said manufacturing was “mixed” and that the outlook of manufacturers was generally “optimistic.”

In the Cleveland District, where we are, the Fed reports business activity expanded at a modest pace during the past 6 weeks. Many reported their outlook for the New Year is uncertain because of unresolved fiscal matters.

Manufacturing orders and production were mainly flat or down slightly.
Residential and non-residential construction activity rose.
Shale gas activity continues at a robust pace though coal production trended lower.

We have noticed a firm pickup in order activity in general since the beginning of the New Year, from all over the country. Could be seasonal re-stocking, could be things have turned a corner. Time will tell.

God Bless America