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April 02, 2015

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Cruz and Paul: Republican agitators launch first. Cruz is first of the "my way or the highway" candidates for the Tea Party anti compromise group. He is this year's Newt. Sure to make all the solid candidates look bad. Paul is our version of the "leave the Foreign Policy to others" isolationists. He seems to believe no threat can possibly cross the oceans and would fit well in The President's cabinet if it weren't for the fact that he believes we need to eliminate Federal Government. Defense too, I suppose. Thank goodness most Americans are right center and can't take either party's base.

America's new role in the world: Seems to be exactly as the President said it would be when he took office. That is we will ignore our 70 year position of the world's dominant military power and replace it with a role as the world's leader in selectively organizing economic sanctions against regime's who we feel embark on programs that The President alone considers "out of line". Regime's can be held in line with sanctions as we proved in Cuba so long as they are no match for the US military and have no protector such as the USSR. Terrorist organizations composed of people who have nothing to lose economically are not easy to hold in line with economic warfare. And, as they prove to be more and more ruthless are more and more difficult to defeat militarily, something I thought we learned in Vietnam. ISIS, dispersed geographically and allowed to gain large territories before we acted in a limited military way, will keep the US focused for a long time.
Somehow it seems that agreeing to anything with Iran is folly. They have played the stall game since the President drew his line in the sand in 2009. Now we have a celebration of an agreement to agree in the future. An agreement no one knows will be ratified or consummated. Meanwhile we watch Putin play his games in Ukraine and Syria with Crimea solidly in his possession. Assad remains.
Yemen is erupting. Somalia supports terrorist attacks in Kenya. Iraq explores mass graves. Iran is engaged in Iraq.
There are no easy answers but leaving the field unattended is definitely worrisome. Israel is unlikely to leave their defense to the Jordanians, Saudis, Egyptians and Pakistanis.

A note on the US jobs:

I thought it was interesting to hear a guest yesterday on CNBC say that his data shows that of the 16 million people who have gone back to work since 2009 only 1 million have found permanent work. That is consistent with my data that show the lack of hiring in the permanent jobs through Executive Search firms. One of the reasons we are likely to see a struggling economy for a while longer despite the lower energy prices is that the oil industry supported the falling economy in nearly 25 states during the same period 2009-2014 creating millions of jobs directly and indirectly. Many of those jobs filled were contract jobs as employers were not willing to guess what the impact of Obamacare would be on their benefit packages. Now those jobs are disappearing as oil companies reduce staff in the upstream exploration and production departments. The impact of this will be felt longer term as the lower investment and employment will hit the regional economies and supporting services. This is basically a recovery of financial engineering. Whereby stock prices are artificially inflated through expense reductions, stock buybacks and dividend increases. There are signs that permanent hiring is coming as the business community feels less threat from the Democratic administration and Congress. However, growth and new investment is still low. America is based on a residential real estate industry and that is still not back. Until it is I believe it will be tough to get America back to full employment in full time jobs and wages increasing.

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