Those Wonderful Reagan Years – Part I, The Economy

I write this with some trepidation.  There are Reagan lovers and haters.  I’m lean toward the side that there was an enormous gap between the Reagan promises and what actually happened.  One thing can not be denied- Reagan clobbered Mondale in 1984, so he was very popular, at least in 1984.

Part I will be the economy.  Reagan came through with his promise to take government off the backs of the American people.  Lower taxes allow more spending, so there’s more prosperity.

Sorry- but it really didn’t work that way at all.   Economists like to look at the debt to GDP numbers.  Remember Reagan was president from 1980 to 1988.

But you can look at it anyway you want, it still went up:

But, what about taxes, didn’t Reagan cut taxes.  He did, then imposed one of the largest tax increases in history:

Conversely, Congress passed and Reagan signed into law tax increases of some nature in every year from 1981 to 1987 to continue funding such government programs as Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), Social Security, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (DEFRA).[139][140] Despite the fact that TEFRA was the “largest peacetime tax increase in American history”,[140][141][142][143] gross domestic product (GDP) growth recovered strongly after the early 1980s recession ended in 1982, and grew during his eight years in office at an annual rate of 7.91% per year, with a high of 12.2% growth in 1981.[144]

While the deficit was increasing and taxes were going up,  so our economy was improving.  Reagan lovers by the way, do not accept this.

So, was Reagan a real tax cutter, or tax cutter phony?  The tax hikes took back about 1/2 to 1/3 of the tax cuts.

Reagan was a firm believer in keeping government out of business, except of course when business was collapsing.  The Savings and Loan collapse begins with deregulation laws passed when Carter was president, and more laws passed under Reagan.

The market share of S&Ls for single family mortgage loans went from 53% in 1975 to 30% in 1990.[40] U.S. General Accounting Office estimated cost of the crisis to around $160.1 billion, about $124.6 billion of which was directly paid for by the U.S. government from 1986 to 1996.[2] That figure does not include thrift insurance funds used before 1986 or after 1996. It also does not include state run thrift insurance funds or state bailouts.

Reagan the conservative, was the first with the billion dollar bailouts, followed by  President G.W. Bush.

It is certainly true, that economic trends take time to be recognized and then  changed, and  a lot depends on the will of Congress.  The collapse of the housing market in 2007-8, dates back to deregulation legislation signed into law by Clinton, just before leaving office.

The stock market crash of 1987  (Black Monday) was pretty bad.  I remember 1986-1987  well, as I was working for an oil company, and decided not to take any vacation, as I was scared I wouldn’t have a job if I took 2 weeks off.  Oil prices crashed in 1986, and it was a terrible time to work for an oil company.

I won’t win any friends from the Reagan lovers, but hopefully,  you won’t label me a Reagan hater.  If you look at  the economy from the day Reagan began to the day he left, the economy by most measures improved, but was this because of his conservative philosophy, or because he took action contrary to this philosophy?

I believe supply side economics is much better left as a theory, rather than a reality.  No one expands there business because they have receive a tax break.  They do it because there is more demand for whatever they are producing.

Stay tuned,

David Lord



Shell Oil’s Exit of the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic Circle


Wow- what just happened?     Shell Oil made 7 billion dollar investment in the Arctic Circle, drilled one well in 4 months, and poof,  then this week they announced   they didn’t find enough oil to justify further exploratory drilling.

With last week’s announcement,  Greenpeace can claim victory, I guess.   Well, if they want to.  Perhaps they were better off with the war against Shell.  I mean perhaps the average American can’t locate the Chukchi Sea,  but Shell gas stations are another story.

But,  let’s go back to the well and  Chukchi Sea.  It is above the Bering Straits, between Russia and Alaska.

Shell’s Burger J exploratory well is located 80 miles from the coast of Alaska.   This well was drilled strictly an exploratory well.   After drilling and logging the perspective hydrocarbon zones,  the well would be plugged and abandon.   The well was drilled to a depth of 6800 ft, encountered some hydrocarbon shows, and then plugged with cement.   This would all be done in accordance to the approved well plan.

It is impossible to produce oil except as test lasting a few days, without facilities.

So, how much oil is there in Chukchi?   When no well has yet to confirm a commercial discovery,  the reserves (proved oil) of the Chukchi sea are zero. But how much oil might there be- is an entirely different question.    The resources  value could be as much as 30 billion barrels.  See:

And also as low as zero.  Of course, Shell would likely have been happy with one billion barrels in recoverable oil,  if it was a light oil that could be produced at high rates.

Shell was the largest leaseholder, so it will be hard for smaller companies to take similar risks.

The world is full of oil that will never be tapped, and it is a fact of life in the oil industry. There were billions of barrels of “resources” along the Eastern Atlantic coastline until a few exploratory wells  reduced these speculative estimates to zero.

Many  deposits are too small, or too remote, geologically too complex  and with environmental risks too great to be worth  being developed.

Stay tuned,

David Lord






Winning again

“Make America Great”

Trump’s theme.   Listen closely, it is more getting what we want as a country and the hell with everyone else.  You don’t tell a football team, to cut deals with the other team.

But, getting things done, whether passing bills in Congress or negotiating with other countries overseas,  it is a slow process to search for common ground and compromise.   Republicans, if they are going to solve problems,  they’ve got to work out solutions with Democrats.

It’s the big problems that require long term collaboration.    If Obama wants to get get North Korea to stop its aggressive nuclear weapons program,  then he’s got to get help from China and Russia.

Similarly with global warming.  It does exist and will require intense negotiations with hundreds of countries  to reduce carbon emissions.

Trump thought it was crazy that it took 18 months to work out a deal with Iran.   He’s not used to working with 5 other countries, with all the  complexities and the UN involvement.  He’s a one-on-one guy,  with here’s the deal, do you want it or not?   If it’s a hotel or golf course, he can walk away from a deal, with a “come back when you’re ready”  attitude.

Problem is no Republican can get on Fox News, and talk about compromising with Democrats, without looking like traitors to conservatism.  Even worse if they talk about collaborating with China and Russia on issues such as global warming and terrorism.    The big problems will not be solved by Republicans or Democrats, it will be solved by governments working around the world on common objectives.

Make America great by understanding the need for: compromise,  collaboration and diplomacy.   It is not just America will benefit because Iran is blocked from gaining nuclear weapons.  It will be the world that is great.

Stay tuned,

David Lord


George H.W. Bush and John Kerry

George H.W.  Bush jumped from a plane at 11:15 am, 2014 in Kennebunkport, ME  and parachuted down to the ground. It was his 90th birthday. WOW.  He did it because he can do it.   And it is an inspiration to everyone.

John Kerry is 73 years old.  He is an avid cyclist.  On May 31, 2015,  he had a bicycling accident in France. He bicycles because he can do it.

These are two outstanding examples of people with incredible energy-  not ready for the arm chair by any means.

Trump is way off base to call John Kerry stupid for bicycling in France.   Kerry is an athlete, but I honestly think Bush is even more spectacular. These are definitely two high energy,  tough guys.

I think both would agree that an occasional athletic activity or workout, relieves daily stress and improves mental health.   At advance age, it’s all about keeping the blood moving.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Debt ceiling and self inflicted wounds

Congress must pass a clean debt ceiling hike.  This is the real big one.

Don’t worry about October, and the spending bill.  Failure to pass the spending bill means essential government services are shut down.  There will be a lot of press coverage, and blaming who’s at fault.   Holding up the bill because of Planned Parenthood non-scandal, is silly.

Failure to raise the debt ceiling is catastrophic.  It might happen.  It means the US refuses to pay for spending already authorized by Congress.  Many economists have said debt ceiling authorization shouldn’t exist and doesn’t exist in almost all countries.

The failure to raise the debt ceiling will result in the lowering of US credit, a disaster for business and crashing stock market.

The change out of the Speaker of the House on Oct 30 has been worried.

If it does happen,  it is the fault of the Republicans.  And it is supremely dumb.

Stay tuned,

David Lord


Republicans remaining

In quick review, I eliminated 7 candidates because they didn’t have government experience or they were way too conservative.

The 7 candidates you should not vote far are Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Rubio, Cruz, Huckabee and Paul.  Graham, Jindal and Santorium are too far behind in the polls.  Might be the story for Christie and Kasich.  So, that leaves Bush which Trump is trashing at every opportunity.    And Bush never gets more than about 8% of the poll numbers.

At this point, only half of the top four republican candidates have any government service.  Shouldn’t this count?

Stay tuned,

David Lord




Radical Muslims and Americans

The Republicans pride themselves in using a word that Obama has avoided “Radical Muslim Ideology.”   The terrorists, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIL say this is their  ideology. Good descriptors for these groups are gangs,  terrorists or murderers.  ISIL took terrorism to a new level, with kidnappings and other crimes for profit.

At the core of our country,  is the separation of church and state.   But, it is fine for a political candidate to say, as Obama and others have done, that basic values are founded in their religious faith.   Dr. Carson went too far, in saying he would never vote for a Muslim.  Somehow his faith is better than others.  How can a man so smart be making statements like this?

My extended family is Buddhist,  Jewish, Catholic  and Protestant.   What every religion teaches is non-violence and respect for others.   There are no bad religions, just bad people.  

Most recently, extremely violent and hateful people calling themselves Radical Muslims and their aim is the creation of a new Islamic State.  They don’t deserve this title, as they are just criminals and murders. If America finds itself at war against Muslims, then it’s us against 1.6 billion people.  If America finds itself at war  against ISIL and Al-Qaeda, then there are less than 20,000 criminals to fight.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Debt ceiling increases

Congress is likely to shut down government by the end of October.  A lot of waste and confusion.  But in the end, a deal will be cut between Republicans and Democrats.  We shall survive a shutdown.

Much more ominous is raising the debt ceiling limit.  This is  coming due early November.  There is no second chance on this one. I am scared by the complacency.  Failure to raise the debt ceiling will have massive repercussions, as the US will be in sovereign default, not because we can’t pay our bills, but because Congress refuses to pass a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling.

Raising the debt ceiling is not like raising the limit on your credit card, so you can go crazy during the holiday sales at Brandsmart.  It is simply authorizing the executive branch to pay the bills and interest on the debt,  based on spending that was approved by Congress.

Sovereign default is not joke.  It is scary and the blame goes to the neoconservative  Republicans on this issue.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Planned Parenthood and Religious Freedoms

I’m sorry but this kind of gets personal.  My mother loved children.  I never saw her any more happy than when she held a baby in her arms.  She was for 35 years, a dedicated nurse, who really connected with people. She knew medicine, not only because she graduated from Colombia University School of Nursing, but because she kept up with all the latest medical information.   She was promoted to the position of infection control coordinator at her hospital.   She was a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, and counselled many young women.  

She counselled on safe sex practices, and dangers of STDs.   AIDS still is an epidemic. Planned Parenthood provides the needed information in the right way.  Mom’s comment to me is that this is really one organization that is really doing their job.   It treats young women with respect by telling them their options if they are pregnant,   “Only you can decide what is best for you”  is stated on their website.

“Where there is smoke, there is fire”,  but in this case,  “Where there is smoke, there are groups that knows how make it.”

If this is a country which believes in the separation of church and state, then there is no reason to discriminate against Planned Parenthood.   The US Government contribution is small.

Stay tuned,

David Lord



Iran again

Ok.  It’s almost like the Geico commercials.  Perhaps 99% of everyone has heard about enough.

But, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameni  made a speech yesterday,  about Israel not being around in another 25 years.    Lousy timing. “With Allah’s help, there will be no such thing as as a Zionist regime in 25 years,”  is what Khamenei said.   And the US is still the “Great Satan.”

The guy is 76 years old.   For sure, he’s not going to be around in another 25 years.   His hard line rhetoric  is contrasted with the President Rouhani and very importantly Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.  His title as “Supreme Leader” is a farce.  He  is all bark and no bite.  He is the spiritual leader of the past, not the real leader.

Next point- a lot of false statements were made by Republicans  about how Iran sponsored terrorism around the world.   But many of the speeches by House Republicans were ridiculous, because radical Islamic groups have thrived while the assets of Iran have been frozen and their economy is in dire straits.  This is a fact.

Where does most of the money for terrorism come from?   Experts will point first to Saudi Arabia, particularly in their aid to Hamas.  The worse group of terrorists in the world,   ISIL,  has many sources of income, ranging from the sale of artifacts and oil,  goods they acquire from looting of shops,  to selling of kidnapped foreigners, and private contributions.   Iran has supported the government of Syria and Hezbollah,  which are fighting both  ISIL and Al-Nusra (El Qaeda affiliated organization).

Bottom, bottom line- the sanctions were put in place because Iran was not complying with the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.   Lifting the Iranian sanctions  will  not help  ISIL  because Iran’s money is  going to organizations which are fighting  against ISIL.     The US is likely to put more troops in Iraq but has only limited options in Syria, if we don’t want to make things worse.

We can not economically wrestle countries to the floor and make them do what we want.  Sorry Dick Cheney, it doesn’t work.

Yes, the Iran deal will go through.  It is likely to strengthen the  moderates, who now run the country.   Forget the barking dog, please.  Time to move on.

Stay tuned,

David Lord






Bracing yourself for the debates

A lot of accomplishments will come from all candidates.  Nearly all have written books, boasting what they have personally accomplished.  On improving the economy,  all the governors will tell you how they slashed the budget of unnecessary expenses, and employment soared.

They slashed budgets in years 2008 and 2009 because the economy had gone bust.  It didn’t matter if they were true blue Republicans or Democrats.  There was enormous spending, however, at the Federal level, with Bush’s TARP program, followed by Obama’s stimulus programs.

Stimulus programs are emergency room tactics and it is reasonable to get rid of them once the economy is in better shape.

On economics:   Every administration in recent time has increased the deficit.  It doesn’t matter if it is Republican or Democrat.  Debts do not destroy an economy.   A country is in bad shape when nobody wants to buy its debt or trusts its banking system.   This causes increased interest rates.  Our interest rate is extremely low, meaning and our dollar is making all time highs against other currency, indicating the strength of our economy. 

When an economy is in bad shape, the stock market tanks.  Our stock market has large price swings, but the last 6 years, there market averages (Dow Average) has doubled, proving the recovery is occurring.

Finally,  employment will never go to zero.  Employment at the low end is rapidly being replaced by technology.   Those who want to stay employed better upgrade their skills.

Zero employment is the ultimate in a tight labor market, resulting in inflation.  So, everyone is working, but the money they make isn’t worth as much.

Stay tune,

David Lord



Who not to vote for (Republicans)

There are 11 front runners in the upcoming CNN debate.  Following rules 1 and 2, this narrows the field down to a manageable 4 candidates:

Bush, Walker, Kasich and Christie.

Each has served or is serving as governor of a state.  If you don’t know who Walker and Kasich are, you can find out on the internet.  If you enter Walker into Google, you will find images of walkers (not people named Walker, but the thing with wheels).   There is also a movie named Walker.   It looked pretty interesting, as were the walkers.   I did also look for images of people named Walker, and Ally Walker, an actress was pretty interesting.

Ok, the guy that’s running, his first name is Scott.  Apparently, he’s dropping in the polls, so he might not be worth following.

Of our reduced list, both Kasich and Christie are at the bottom, so this pretty much leaves Jeb.  Each candidate will say how they did great things for their economy.   After the 2008 real estate crash,  the federal government was taking really massive steps to revive the economy, and most states benefited.

So, the next round of debates, look for Trump duking it out with Bush.

I’m not saying Jeb is the one to vote for- not by a long shot.  All but one has to be eliminated as the Republican Candidate.   Just trying to narrow down the field.  Guess that’s enough for now.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Mars Exploration and Charles Bolden

Space exportation is to gain knowledge, not headlines.   Attempts to land on Mars and send back images  proved to be extremely challenging, but we did it.  The best estimates so far on the time travel is 9 months.

The question should not be whether we explore Mars, but whether we should do it with manned or unmanned spacecraft.

Recently, on CNN GPS, with Fareed Zacharia’s interview with Charlie Bolden,  Fareed started off by saying a manned mission would be costly and challenging.   Charlie Bolden responded, “Because we have to.  We have to send humans somewhere if we want to find difficult answers.”

He goes on to talk about knowing whether  life exists  in our universe.   But unmanned missions can cover a much larger area and provide much more information.  This is why drones are used today.  Land rovers are a lot like drones.

Then he starts talking like Elon Musk, saying how we must evolve into a multi-planet species that will live on in perpetuity, while a single planet species will die out.

Sorry but the Mars settlement  idea is just wacko, because the people we send into space, either on a two-way or one-way trip  are in a cage, and what you see every day is dust.  Basic supplies will run out.   If earth goes, so will the few people on Mars with temperatures that will melt lead. That is the reality.

Being the first citizen of Mars is romantic, but one should spend about a year or two  in jail, to lose all notions of romance.

I fear we could lose an entire crew, on a science mission better done by land rovers.  I fear an enormous waste of money in a time where there is so much good we can do around the world.  The diversion of funds from worthwhile projects is likely to be enormous.

I am really an optimist, because I think there are fantastic opportunities for the US to explore new worlds,  be it in space exploration, bio-technology or the environment.   All the other ideas on CNN GPS were fantastic, particular the 3D printing of the human heart.   This is terrific bio-engineering  that the private sector and universities can participate in.  But it doesn’t grab headlines quite like a rocket shooting off in space.

I would rather the US find out how to fund Medicare for the next 30 years rather than spend billions on the  “New Dawn of Orion.” Lower your objectives  and start looking to get answers with a reasonable budget without a real risk  risk to human lives, Mr.  Bolden.

Stay tuned,

David Lord




Who not to vote for

Rule #2:  Don’t vote for ultra-conservatives or libertarians

Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio.

Marco Rubio is a junior senator from Florida.  Look at the bill he voted for when he was a congressman in the state legislature:

And his comments on disobeying a Supreme Court ruling:

The second new story shows how far Rubio will go.   What happens if Rubio becomes president – is he also entitled to ignore a Supreme Court ruling if he feels for religious reasons, he must?

Rubio is trained as a lawyer, so he knows better.

Stay tuned,

David Lord