Average Congressman Speaks at a High School Level

May 21, 2012, 5:41 pm EDT
Average Congressman Speaks at a High School Level

It isn’t just you. Politicians are, in fact, getting dumber, if a recent study by the Sunlight Foundation is any indication. Since 2005, the average grade level a member of Congress speaks with has declined nearly a full school grade.

In 2005, the average member of Congress spoke at a grade level of 11.5. In analysis of speeches given this year by lawmakers, that average fell to 10.6.

Democrats speak at a slightly higher grade level than Republicans do — 10.8 for the former, 10.4 for the latter. However, analysis of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address by the University of Minnesota revealed it was given at an 8th grade comprehension level, the third lowest score for a State of the Union address since 1934. Read 

Obama Super PAC Lags Behind Romney’s

May 21, 2012, 11:27 am EDT
Obama Super PAC Lags Behind Romney’s

In the war of the Super PACs, it looks like the Republican Party still holds the advantage.

According to records released yesterday, the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action raised $1.6 million in April, its smallest take since the $59,000 it raised in January, when the election run-up had yet to start. This was $3 million less than Romney’s Super PAC, Restore Our Future, raised in April.

Not surprisingly, most of Priorities USA Action’s money comes from labor. The Air Traffic Controllers Association PAC contributed $1 million in April, while the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Pipe Fitting Industy gave another $250,000. Read 

For First Time, Majority of U.S. Births Are Nonwhite

May 17, 2012, 7:10 pm EDT
For First Time, Majority of U.S. Births Are Nonwhite

The United States has long been considering a melting pot, where immigrants and citizens of all races mix together as one nationality: Americans. The melting pot theory may now be more true than it has ever been at any other point in history, as the U.S. Census Bureau announced that for the first time, more nonwhite babies were born in 2011 than white babies.

In 2011, non-Hispanic whites made up 49.6% of all newborns, while 50.4% of newborns were not white. This reflects population trends of growth among minority groups. Since 2000, both Hispanic and Asian populations have seen a 40% increase. The black population also grew by 12.9% over that same time period. In contrast, the white population increased by just 1.5%, slower than the national growth rate of 9.7%.

An estimate from 2009 by the census bureau states that by the time the 2040 census is held, whites will be a minority of the population, with just 48.5% of the population being white by 2045. Four states — Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Texas — along with the District of Columbia already have so-called majority-minority populations, where nonwhites make up the majority of citizens. Read 

Rove-Backed Political Group Preparing $25M Ad Blitz

May 16, 2012, 5:43 pm EDT
Rove-Backed Political Group Preparing $25M Ad Blitz

A political group backed by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove has announced plans for a $25 million advertising campaign attacking Barack Obama that will run through the end of the month, starting tomorrow.

Crossroads GPS will start with an $8 million ad buy for a 60-second spot that characterizes Obama’s presidency as a disappointment, and says “[w]e need solutions, not just promises.” The group plans on running advertisements in states that Obama and his supporters have already been heavily advertising in — Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia, among others.

To combat this, Obama’s campaign announced its own $25 million ad buy last week, and the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities Action USA started a campaign Tuesday attacking Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital. Read 

Obama Worth At Least $2.6M

May 15, 2012, 6:55 pm EDT
Obama Worth At Least $2.6M

While Barack Obama has hammered on Mitt Romney for being a wealthy businessman out of touch with the middle class, the two do share something in common. According to financial disclosure reports released by the White House today, both men are millionaires.

One interesting thing about these reports is that they only require Barack and Michelle Obama to release the value of their assets as a wide range. For instance, the total value of the Obamas’ assets listed in the report is pegged at somewhere between $2.6 million and $8.3 million. Royalties from Barack Obama’s memoir “Dreams From My Father” are listed at somewhere between $100,000 and $1 million — a decline from the previous year’s proceeds, listed at between $1 million and $5 million.

Romney, by any estimate, dwarfs the president in net worth. According to his financial disclosure documents, his net worth is between $85 million and $264 million. Read 

How to Fix Financial Services Regulation

May 15, 2012, 10:00 am EDT

Want a very quick solution to the privatized gains and socialized losses of modern financial services…?

As I was reading of yet another spectacular mismatch between bank managers’ competence and their remuneration, and this time at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) no less, I realized there is a simple solution which really could be implemented.

Make the cost of regulation zero — or very nearly —  for unlimited liability partnerships. Then let judicious self-interest, exercised by the partners themselves, do the rest. Read 

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