Scott's Blog

Forget Al Qaeda - It's China

We've spent trillions the past 9 years in the name of Al Qaeda - whether it's hiring thousands of TSA workers to frisk passengers at airports or fighting two wars, while at the same time, the biggest threat to America's future (other than reality television) continues to grow unabated with the blessing of the Obama Adminstration - and the Bush Administration before that.

That threat - China. In 1992 Ross Perot warned Americans about that giant sucking sound coming from Mexico, as in jobs would be sucked into Mexico due to the impending approval of NAFTA. Perot was half right. 20 years later the giant sucking sound is coming from China - where American companies like Apple are using the world's cheapest labor to build products that Americans would have built 20 years ago. Apple's contractor in China has over 400,000 on the payroll, many of whom are busy making Apple's latest creation, the iPad.

Why China? Because China is manipulating its currency, which allows companies like Apple to make their products for a fraction of what they would cost if made in the U.S., or even in Mexico. China artificially devalues their money, which makes everything they produce 30% to 40% cheaper than it should be. In July China's total trade surplus was $28 Billion. Can you guess how much of that surplus was with the U.S.? How about $26.8 Billion. (Mexico's monthly surplus with the U.S. is a comparatively paltry $6 Billion) Did I mention that China has no national minimum wage.

What's the result? Companies like Apple are making their products for pennies on the dollar and then selling them for huge profits. Apple is currently sitting on $40 Billion cash reserves, at least some of that is derived from embracing the chinese labor model. I don't blame Apple - companies like Apple are working within the current rules.

So why does this matter? Well, have you heard the term 'jobless recovery'? Welcome to the Chinese-driven U.S. economy. Cheap goods are great if you have people who have enough money to buy them. And that's the problem, if we don't begin creating jobs - eventually Americans will stop buying iPads.

What to do? The Obama Administration needs to enforce current trade rules and quit looking the other way. There has never been a better time to make this move. The naysayers remind us that China is our largest creditor and that upsetting them could cause China to stop buying up U.S. bonds. Don't buy that argument. The Euro is dropping against the dollar, so the Chinese should still continue to buy our debt for the foreseeable future.

It's time for the Obama Adminstration to step up and deal with China. Our future prosperity depends on it.

The Race To Define Alex Sink

It's a brave new world in Florida politics this morning. First time candidate Rick Scott is the Republican nominee for Governor and Bill McCollum is now a three-time loser. On the Democratic side, current CFO Alex Sink is vying to become the first women Governor of the Sunshine State.

Sink, who had no real primary opponent to speak of, now is in race to define herself before Rick Scott throws the kitchen sink (can't help myself) at her, as evidenced by Sink's roll out of her "It's the economy stupid" ad on this station barely 4 hours after her primary win was put to bed. Just ask Bill McCollum. McCollum failed to define himself at the outset of the primary season and then spent the rest of the campaign trying to change perceptions about his record created by Scott's media blitzkrieg.

Anyone who thinks this race is Sink's to lose is living in a parallel universe. This race is straight down middle at this point. Sure Scott has big time baggage. Most of the "experts" predicted his close personal relationship with nearly $2 Billion dollars in fraudulent healthcare claims would render his campaign a loser on primary day. They were wrong. Even a statewide push by Jeb Bush couldn't stop the Scott Express from rolling over McCollum. Sink is a banker - and the last time I checked - bankers are ranked just below lawyers, car salesman and insurance folks in the least admired poll. Both candidates are open to attack.

In Sink's corner, she has 400,000 more potential Democratic voters than fellow Democratic Jim Davis had when he lost by 340,000 votes to then-Republican Charlie Crist. (Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Florida by about 700,000 this election year) In Rick Scott's corner - another check from his personal account for $50 million.

The keys to the Florida Gubernatorial Kingdom will run through the 2.4 million independent voters in the Sunshine State this election season.

Dare To Be Great 


Gordon Gekko Would Be Proud

To paraphrase Michael Douglas' flawed character Gordon Gekko in 1985's Wall Street -Greed is Good...For Your Poll Numbers.  Let's face it, trading on your family name (Jeb Bush) or generating free publicity walking across Florida (Lawton Chiles) to win races is out in the Sunshine State - replaced by parachuting in with trunks of cash. 

Don't believe me - just look at the poll numbers.  Political unknown Rick Scott is 13 points up on the sitting Florida Attorney General in the race for the Republican nod for governor.  In the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, another political unknown Jeff Greene is neck and neck with a longtime South Florida congressman.  This swing in the polls could be due, in part, to the fact that their two opponents - Bill McCollum and Kendrick Meek - are both about as exciting as New Coke.  Still, it took gobs of money from both candidate's check books to get this point.

So why the Gekko connection?  Well, Scott is currently spending millions of dollars on political TV ad and mail that are financed, in great part, by money he made running a a company that admitted stealing nearly $2 billion dollars in medicare and medicaid money from the federal government.  Across the aisle, Democrat Jeff Greene is spending millions of dollars on political ads financed through investing that included betting that the financial industry would meltdown.

So far Greene has spent the bulk of his money introducing himself to Florida Democratic Primary Voters through puff piece TV ads and personalized mailers from his mom.  It's too early to tell if Greene's feel good theme will be enough to beat Meek. 

Scott has taken a different tack - choosing to spend a majority of his ad dollars attacking Bill McCollum for being too liberal.  And the latest poll shows its working.  Scott clearly believes in the theory that a good offense is the best defense -- commonly known in the industry as Swiftboating...

Scott has taken McCollum on in three areas - immigration, stem cells/abortion, and business.

The irony - Rick Scott is clearly vulnerable in all three areas.

Immigration - Can Scott swear that an illegal alien has never performed any services (cut the lawn, cleaned the buildings, done the laundry) at the more than 500 hospitals he ran?

Stem Cell/Abortion - How does Scott square his attack on McCollum with running a hospital chain that performed abortions.

Business Experience - Scott is most famous in business for running a company that admitted to defrauding the federal government (medicare and medicaid) out of nearly $2 Billion dollars.  

The first big question - will McCollum be able to overcome his money disadvantage to call Scott out on these issues?

The second big question - will Scott push McCollum so far to the right that independents and conservative Democrats will move to Alex Sink?

Riches are no guarantee of success - (see Ross Perot and Michael Huffington) - but riches with weak opponents and some luck (see NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg) can spell success. 

It's still early - but the latest poll numbers should send shudders through the McCollum and Meek camps.

And Greene and Scott ought to think about adopting the slogan - Money Can't Buy You Love - But It May Buy Florida 

Dare To Be Great!

Could Purported Sex Scandal Put Healthcare Over the Top?

D.C. has often been referred to as "Hollywood for Ugly People"  And why not, the Nation's Capital goes toe-to-toe with tinsel town when it comes to salacious stories of sex and power.  Now a low-watt scandal may actually lead to the passage of the most sweeping Healthcare reform in a generation. 

Seems a little-known Congressman from Upstate N.Y. - Eric Massa has been accused of having a Mark Foley Problem -- If you remember, Foley was the Republican Florida Congressman who resigned after it came to light that he was sending male staffers harassing texts and emails. 

So where's the twist? Well - Massa is aDemocrat, not a Republican - So how does this help Team Pelosi pass Healthcare?  Simple - Massa voted against the prior version of the bill.  So, at 5p today when Massa will reportedly tender his resignation, Pelosi will need 216 votes, not the 217 votes needed before Massa quit.  It's called addition by subtraction.  Remember, you only need a majority of sitting House members.

The airwaves have been filled with talk about the planned use of "reconciliation" to pass Healthcare.  Many Republicans have referred to its use as "dirty pool" by the Democratic Majority.   Clearly they have amnesia...  Reconciliation, which has been around since 1974, has been used 21 times since 1981.  Sixteen of those times it was used by a Republican President to pass legislation, including Reagan's tax increasesand the Bush tax cuts.  (that's roughly 76% of the time)

Here's the dirty little secret about Healthcare -- you can have two of the following - Quality, Access and Affordability in your Healthcare.  You can't have all three...

Have A Great Week.  Dare To Be Great!

Obama - Following the Reagan & Clinton Model?

Barack Obama's recent dip in job approval has Republicans hearts a twitter and Democrats claiming a political apocalypse is upon them.  Every pundit is calling Obama a one-term President. 

Paraphrasing Mark Twain - Reports of Obama political demise are premature...  Although, the same may not be said for many Democrats currently in the House of Representatives.

A quick look back at Gallup's Presidential Poll over the last 30 years shows that Obama is better shape than both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were at similar points in their first terms - both of whom rebounded to win re-election by wide margins. 

Today conservatives love to extol the virtues of Reagan and his enduring popularity.    The reality is that Reagan's popularity, or lack thereof, was stuck in the low 40's for most of his first term, and hit an all-time low of 35% at the beginning of 1983.  The Republicans in Congress, not Reagan, paid the price - losing 25 seats in the House in the 1982 midterm elections.

Clinton's popularity went south even earlier... Barely months into his Presidency Clinton's approval rating hit 37%.  Again, Democrats in Congress, not Clinton, paid the price  -- as Democrats lost 54 seats - ceding control to Gingrich and the Republicans.

On the flip-side - George Bush Sr. averaged a 61% approval rating during his entire 4 years and failed to win re-election.

The key to both second terms for Clinton and Reagan -- a bad economy turned around. 

It's high time the Obama folks placed a call to Bill Clinton and asked to borrow his "It's the Economy Stupid" slogan.

If not, Obama can call Jimmy Carter or George Bush Sr. get his membership card to the One-term Club.  

One last whack -- how dumb is it that new bullet train ends in Tampa and not St. Pete? ... Pretty dumb if you ask me...

Have a Great Week -- Dare To Be Great!


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