Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 7:57 am | Fair 53º


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 ThirdWorldTraveler.com 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, Opinionfest.com.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.