Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 1:04 am | Overcast 56º


Harris Sherline: Musings From Me, And Others

The hypocrisy of our politicians' actions continues to take my breath away

The media not only report but often hype statistics about unemployment and other matters without troubling to put the information into context. For example, a recent unemployment number of more than 600,000 who lost their jobs in one month was reported to be the worst in more than 40 years.

Harris Sherline
Harris Sherline

No one seemed to put this into any sort of perspective by comparing it to the increase in population or the size of the labor force since the 1960s. In 1960, the total U.S. population was about 189 million, the labor force was around 69 million and the unemployment rate was 5.54 percent. In 2008, the unemployment rate was 5.76 percent but the population had increased more than 60 percent to approximately 303 million.

This translates to an increase of more than 5 million in the number of unemployed although there was not much increase in the percentage of unemployed. So, without “context” and at least a modicum of analysis, the notion that the unemployment numbers in any given month are the worst in more than 40 years, is a meaningless observation.

President Obama’s naïve overture to Russia, offering to give up the proposed missile defense shield in Eastern Europe as a tradeoff for Russia helping to keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon, can only serve to signal his weakness in foreign affairs. He also didn’t help that perception by bowing from the waist to the king of Saudi Arabia at the G-20 Summit in London, which was described as a violation of protocol that was not appropriate for the president of the United States.

TV programs like The Bachelor illustrate the juvenile nature of many Americans, who seem to love watching immature people who don’t know one another court and propose marriage in just a few weeks. Does anyone really believe these relationships are real or sincere or can last after the cameras stop rolling?

Joe Armendariz, former executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, recently observed: “How much did it cost taxpayers for (Santa Barbara City Councilman) Das Williams to fly over 4,000 miles (round trip) to meet with (Rep.) Lois Capps? Doesn’t Lois have an office right here in Santa Barbara? And as for him meeting with the other Rep. from “Northern California,” why does an elected official from Southern California need to fly to Washington, D.C., to meet with a congressman from Northern California? Is California’s congressional delegation (north and south) that weak and ineffective that now we need to spend taxpayer money we don’t have to send part-time city council members on junkets to Washington, D.C., so they can lobby our own representatives for their areas’ share of the government cheese???”

The hypocrisy of our politicians continues to be breathtaking. In what parallel universe can Obama say that he will not accept any “earmark” expenditures in the federal budget, then sign a bill with some 8,500 earmarks?

Randy Alcorn, writing in the Santa Barbara Independent, said: “But if (Santa Barbara County CEO Mike) Brown is truly ineffective or incompetent, then replace him. His severance pay is relatively modest. Do not, however, dismantle a sound management structure, as some county supervisors are now proposing, in order to undermine one man ... With an annual budget of over $750 million, county government is a huge operation. It employs more than 4,000 people, scattered throughout two dozen departments that provide services ranging from public safety and infrastructure, to justice and social welfare. Eventually, all county residents rely on the services of county government ... Whether in the public or private sector, organizations that fail to adhere to a coherent chain of command suffer diminished efficiency, lowered morale and disunity of purpose.” Amen to that!

Obama’s budget provides an insight into the goals and objectives of his administration, which are clearly intended to increase the size and power of government. His leadership to date raises the specter of fascism, which is defined by as “A totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.”

Sheldon Richman, editor of The Freeman, describes fascism as government domination of nominally private owners of the means of production. We don’t have to look much beyond the Obama administration’s takeover of the banks, including refusing to accept repayment from those institutions that don’t want or need TARP money, and forcing the CEO of GM to resign, to see where Obama is taking our society. I’m not at all convinced that those who voted for Obama would agree this is where they want the country to go.

— Harris R. Sherline is a retired CPA and former chairman and CEO of Santa Ynez Valley Hospital who has lived in Santa Barbara County for more than 30 years. He stays active writing opinion columns and his own blog,

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