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Settled matters outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

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John Trumbull: The Declaration of Independence painted by John Trumbull. Photograph by Thomas Cizauskas is in the public domain (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

 

Several statements in the opening of the Declaration of Independence are settled matters. The issues are resolved. They are final.

If those key issues are not final but are instead malleable or alterable or subject to revocation the consequences will be horrible.

A speech by Pres. Calvin Coolidge explained this idea back in the 1920s. Let’s expand the concept of those ideas being resolved issues.

Please consider President Calvin Coolidge’s Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1926.

He lists the three resolved issues:

“Three very definite propositions were set out in its (the Declaration of Independence) preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that

all men are created equal,

that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that

 therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” (emphasis added)

He explained these issues are settled, resolved, final.

We can expand on those ideas. We need to bring them into further fruition. We can dive deeper into their meaning.

Setting them aside or replacing them means we go backwards. Declaring they are no longer true is regression to the ancient past.

More eloquently than I could ever describe, the president said:

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Expanding those foundational concepts

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Written by Jim Ulvog

July 8, 2020, 8:39 am at 8:39 am

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

Happy 244th birthday America!

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American militia reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the 1770s and 1780s, a ragtag collection of citizen soldiers waged a war of independence against the most powerful empire on the planet…

British Army reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

…and defeated them.

 

Two hundred forty-four years ago today marked the start of this wonderful, aspirational, fantastic, heaven-blessed, messy, delightful, powerful, flawed, and glorious experiment called the United States of America which has delivered unimaginable levels of freedom to hundreds of millions of people here in the US of A and contributed massively to the freedom of hundreds and hundreds of millions more around the world.

That experiment had multiple severe flaws baked into the design which are taking a long time to correct, yet the aspirational dreams then drove and still drive that wonderful experiment to constant improvement.

Before our independence, anything resembling a democracy had been absent for so many long centuries. Apart from the ruling elite, ordinary people were merely the subjects of their ‘betters.’  Common folk only had the very few rights and freedoms that those born to power consented to give them, like crumbs thrown from the table.  You and I would only have been able to do what those controlling us allowed us to do.

And then came those rabble-rousing founding fathers.

The results of this grand experiment in self-government, not tried before, has produced fabulous results.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

July 4, 2020, 8:34 am at 8:34 am

Posted in Other stuff

Headline unemployment rate drops by two percentage points in June 2020.

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Wow, I sure don’t understand what is happening.  The headline unemployment rate declined 2.2% in June. That is a big drop.

At the same time, new claims for unemployment were 6.01 million for the four weeks ending 6/27/20. See previous post: New unemployment claims barely decline in week ending 6/27/20.

(How to put that information together? Well, the reason I’m blogging is to put my thoughts into writing, which forces me to think deeper in order to sort out what is going on around me.)

The U-3 unemployment rate in last four months with change from previous month:

march        4.4
april      14.7      10.3
may      13.3      (1.4)
june      11.1      (2.2)

 

That is a 2.6% drop in two months after a 10.3% rise in April.

Wow.

Graph above shows key unemployment rates since the start of 2019.

This discussion will be posted at several of my blogs.

For longer term perspective, consider the rates since before the Great Recession:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

July 2, 2020, 9:51 am at 9:51 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

New unemployment claims barely decline in week ending 6/27/20.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/27/20 were 1.427M, down slightly from 1.480M the previous week. That is five weeks of between 1.4M and 1.9M following ten weeks of between 2.1M and 6.9M new claims.

The impact of new claims is mitigated by the number of people getting rehired which leads to the calculation of ongoing payments for unemployment.

  • 20.29M revised down from 20.5M- 6/13/20
  • 19.23M revised down from 19.52M – 6/20/20
  • 19.29M – 6/27/20 (a rare and exquisitely unexpected typo refers to this as the 6/20 week)

That shows the number of people finding new jobs is running higher than the number of people losing their jobs.

This discussion will be posted at several of my blogs.

My tally of data:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

July 2, 2020, 9:44 am at 9:44 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

A few highlights from CalCPA’s Not-for-profit Conference.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Listened to CalCPA’s virtual Not-for-profit conference today.

Lots of great stuff during the sessions. Three items were worth sharing on Twitter during the day. Thought I’d share them here as well:

How to account for PPP forgiveness.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 20, 2020, 17:23 pm at 5:23 pm

Posted in Accounting, Other stuff

Forgiveness of PPP loans.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

There are lots of details and nuances to the federal Paycheck Protection Program. I’m not up to speed on PPP so I won’t be commenting on the program, especially the forgiveness rules.

There is a growing volume of information on the ‘net describing the program. Here are some resources you can check out to learn more.

SBA forgiveness application

5/15/20 – Small Business Administration – Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application,” Small Business Administration, – The SBA published the text of the forgiveness application.

Commentary on forgiveness application

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 19, 2020, 8:03 am at 8:03 am

Posted in Accounting, Other stuff

U-3 and U-6 Unemployment rate.

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For a number of years I have been tracking the monthly unemployment data. That information is shown in the graph above. Included is monthly information back to April 2010. Prior to that I only picked up a few data points.

This graph shows the hit from the Great Recession and the painfully slow recovery which followed.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Six different ways to measure unemployment

There are actually six different ways to calculated labor underutilization, all provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economic devastation caused by the shutdown of the US economy means we need to start looking at these different indicators.

The above graph shows what is referred to as the U-3 and U-6 rates.

“What in the world are you talking about,” I hear you ask.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 9, 2020, 11:00 am at 11:00 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

Unemployment rate rises to 14.7% in April.

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Shutting down the economy has predictable, expected consequences. One that became visible on Friday was 20 million jobs vaporizing in the last month which resulted in an expected soaring unemployment rate.

A ban on everything other than immediate emergency medical care has cratered revenue of hospitals bringing layoffs to the entire industry.

Finally, making unemployment benefits higher than the earning capacity of a large portion of people has the fully expected consequence of making people hesitant to return to work.

This discussion will be posted across several of my blogs.

5/8/20 – Wall Street Journal – April Unemployment Rate Rose to a Record 14.7% – Thirty-three million people filing a first-time claim for unemployment drove the unemployment rate to 14.7%. Oh, lots of those new claims were filed after the cutoff for the April calculations.

A staggering 20.5 million jobs disappeared. Article points out the number of jobs destroyed are equal to all the job gains over the last decade.

Picture it this way – that is the equivalent of everybody who found a job over the last decade getting laid off.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 9, 2020, 8:05 am at 8:05 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

More big businesses failing. Revised budget forecast for state of California shows even governments are going to have a hard time when the economy is frozen. Maybe it is time to restart the economy.

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Even the state government in California may be starting to realize that putting the economy in a deep freezer for an extended and unknown period of time might have some adverse consequences.

Just a few of the business casualties over the last few days:

  • Neiman Marcus (bankruptcy filed)
  • Souplanation/Sweet Tomatoes restaurants (all 97 stores permanently closing)
  • Lord & Taylor (likely BK)
  • J. Crew (bankruptcy filed)
  • J. C. Penney (likely BK)

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

California budget deficit

5/7/20 – ABC news – California doom: Staggering $54 billion budget deficit looms 

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 8, 2020, 8:24 am at 8:24 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

3.2 million new claims for unemployment last week. Running out of negative words to describe the severity of job losses.

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Unemployment by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/2/20 are 3,169,000, seasonally adjusted.

The tally of new claims is 33.48 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

That means about 1 out of every 5 people in the civilian labor force back in February are out of a job today.

I’m running out of words to describe how horribly the economy has been hit. Seem to have exhausted the adjectives that apply. We have a terrible mess and it is going to take a long time to fully recover from the lost jobs and even longer to recover consumer and business confidence.

This discussion will be posted across several of my blogs.

Data:

Expectations from economists interviewed by the WSJ, or perhaps we should say their wild guesses, are the flood of new claims will taper off in May. Will likely be months before the new jobs exceed the new unemployment claims. Will likely be years before new jobs offset the tidal waves of job losses in March, April, and May.

Summary of new claims and running total

I have prepared a running tally of the new unemployment claims, which is shown below.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 7, 2020, 8:20 am at 8:20 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

Economic devastation from shutdown spreads. Signs showing of deteriorating health and increased deaths caused by shutdown.

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Indications of damage caused by the shutdown are getting stronger. First articles are appearing to describe the harm to health from the shutdown.

Comments today:

  • Estimated 35 deaths from not getting cardiac care in Ontario, Canada
  • Indications people are not seeing doctors and not getting meds they need
  • Harsh impact on Jewish owned businesses
  • New vehicle sales collapsing
  • Temp layoffs transition to permanent
  • More students suing more universities, now claiming discount on tuition for missing out on the on-campus experience

Damage to health from shutdown

5/5/20 – Daily Wire – Dozens Dead After Lockdown Measures Delayed Their Heart Surgeries; Health Official: “Certainly Was Not Intended” – Count this as the first in what I predict will be an exquisitely long list of unintended consequences from putting the economy into an induced coma. The sad part is these unintended consequences were predictable and expected.

Thousands upon thousands of needed health procedures were canceled in Ontario, Canada in order to make room for the massive surge of coronavirus patients which never arrived.

New study in Ontario estimates that 35 people are dead because their heart surgeries were postponed. There were 12,200 surgeries and other procedures postponed each week.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 7, 2020, 6:05 am at 6:05 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

Three states tighten the shutdown while others start to revive their economy.

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Green line is the unemployment rate in every state of the country. Red line is the financial health of universities, restaurants, airlines, and every small business.  Sinkender roter und steigender grüner Pfeil symbolisieren das Auf und Ab des Aktienmarktes by Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

With extremely short notice, governors of Arizona and Tennessee extended the lockdown and economic shutdown in their states. California governor orders beaches closed in the county with lowest infection rate, leaving open beaches in county with three times higher rate.

Meanwhile, many other states are trying to allow their economies to re-start.

Arizona extends lockdown

4/29/20 – Fox 10 Phoenix – Gov. Doug Ducey extends Arizona’s stay-at-home order to May 15 – The shutdown and lock-in for Arizona was scheduled to expire in one day as the governor extended the economic catastrophe by 15 more days.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 3, 2020, 7:25 am at 7:25 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

Thunderbirds and Blue Angels joint appearance.

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UNITED STATES (April 28, 2020) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, honor frontline COVID-19 first responders and essential workers with formation flights over New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia, April 28, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Hicks/Released)

The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration teams ha a series of joint flyovers of multiple metropolitan areas as a tribute to all the health care providers and first responders.

Here are some photos of their appearance over New York. Since the only photos on either the Navy or USAF websites are from the Navy, I’ll guess that pursuit plane was Navy.

More pix:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 1, 2020, 17:34 pm at 5:34 pm

Posted in Other stuff

Economic stats show rapid disintegration of economy. Collapse in physical and emotional health won’t be this easy to calculate.

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The economic statistics are rolling out to show the initial impact of the shutdown of the economy.

The collateral effect the shutdown and isolation will have on deteriorating emotional and mental health along with increased mortality due to postponed or canceled medical treatment will take years to quantify.

New stats in last few days:

  • 3.8 million new unemployment claims this week
  • New unemployment claims in six weeks are now equal to 18% of the people who were working in February
  • CBO expects unemployment rate to average 11% for 2020
  • 4.8% annualized drop in GDP for first quarter

New claims for unemployment

4/30/20 – Department of Labor – Unemployment insurance weekly claims – Another 3,839,000 people filed an initial claim for unemployment in the week ending April 25.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 30, 2020, 7:47 am at 7:47 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

Massive hit to the aviation industry from the pandemic.

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Pictures in February 2016 at Minneapolis airport. Photo by James Ulvog.

The entire aviation industry, including airlines, plane manufacturers, engine producers, and maintenance, will be devastated from the pandemic and shutting down the economy.

4/27/20 – Wall Street Journal – ‘Welcome to Your Flight, Nathan.’ Traveling During a Pandemic Means Having the Plane to Yourself – My first, second, and third reaction was to chuckle when reading an article describing multiple commercial flights with only one passenger. The description of pilots making the standard welcoming announcement that greets the sole passenger by name is funny.

Then I shuddered in fear at the absolute devastation to the entire economy from most fights being almost empty. The financial destruction will require years of recovery.

Untold numbers of airline, ground transportation, hotel, restaurant, and food vendor companies are being shattered. Incalculable numbers of companies will not survive.

A lovely sight not many of us will get to see in the near future. Photo by James Ulvog.

Work that collapse back to the airplane manufacturers…

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 29, 2020, 11:15 am at 11:15 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff