State of Indiana Reports Budget Surplus, Reserve Goes Over $2 Billion

Economic news rolled out of Indianapolis today showing the State of Indiana continuing stable policies from years past. Many states have taken to spending quite a bit more in the last decade whether it be good or bad times. Indiana has taken a more valued approach to fiscal spending and cutting. CNHI Statehouse Bureau had more on this:

As of June 30, the state had a $106 million operating surplus and reserves of $2 billion, Auditor Suzanne Crouch reported Monday. Crouch, a Republican and former state lawmaker, praised Pence for Indiana’s strong financial state, saying his wise management decisions kept the state in the black.  The state finished fiscal 2014 with a surplus after agencies cut spending by about $150 million from what the legislature allocated in the biennial budget crafted last year. Pence ordered those cuts last December, when tax collections were less than expected.

Governor Pence has continued on former Governor Daniel’s department cuts. Colleges had $34 Million cut. I really think colleges need drastically cut more as many of them are becoming wastelands of ideology that do not prepare teenagers coming out of highschool. How they are set up are very archaic and inefficient. The state has started pouring money into vocational training which will pay off in the coming decade. Five year trend that has popped up with dwindling tax revenue has been casinos. Ohio opening up casinos has taken a bite out of Indiana’s revenue in that area.

Democrats of course are not happy with the surplus. Here is what Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said in a statement:

“Let’s not congratulate ourselves for hoarding tax dollars while so many of those taxpayers continue to struggle.”



U.S. House Votes to Cut IRS Budget

While I personally would like to see Lois Lerner criminally arrested for lying to Congress and pulling her “my e-mails” disappeared, I will take this small victory being reported by the AP:

The GOP-controlled House has voted to slash the budget for the Internal Revenue Service’s tax enforcement division by $1.2 billion, a 25 percent cut that would mean fewer audits of taxpayers and make it more likely that people who cheat on their taxes will get away with it. The House approved the cuts by voice vote after little debate Monday night as it took up a $21 billion spending bill that sets the IRS budget.

The IRS doesn’t need reform, it needs to be gutted. The pipe dreams of little fixes hear and there is over. Replace the IRS with a new tax code like the Fairtax.

Unfortunately the Senate led by Harry Reid will not act on this and just table it. More bad news, in a few years the IRS will be full tilt Obamacare enforcement so I would expect more scandals of bigger proportion then Lois Lerner.

MLB All Star Game: Self-Serve Beer


With the MLB All Star Game about to begin, fans will be able to buy their beer at a self-serve beer machines. The idea has been attempted before, but this time around the technology is a lot of better. Here is how it works:

After an ID check — “Just because it’s self-serve doesn’t mean it’s unmonitored,” Twins spokesman Chris Iles said — fans buy a card pre-loaded with $10, $20 or $40. Then they hop in line for their beer of choice: Budweiser and Bud Light for 38 cents an ounce (a little over $6 for a pint), or Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale and Shock Top’s Lemon Shandy for 40 cents per ounce. The self-pouring is monitored, too, to stop anyone who may be overserving themselves.

There have been some issues…..

Target Field’s new machines have LCD screens with pouring instructions behind each set of taps, but Spike said they ran into a few hiccups with messy pours on a test run last week, especially after the machines sat idle. The stations will stay at Target Field for the rest of the season, and plans for expansion or changes will depend on fan feedback.

It will be interesting to see the reviews on this machine. Many ballparks are facing actual physical fan attendance issues and this machine would easily replace many beer vendors if it was successful.

U.S. “Student-to-Teacher” Ratio in Public Schools

If you ever debate public education with people you will sometimes hear the phrase “student-to-teacher” ratio as a source of need for more funding or for better teaching. released an e-mail with this question and the result may surprise you.

In 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the average student-to-teacher ratio in public schools during 2010 was 16:1.

The National Center for Education Statistics also has information on student to teacher ratio in education.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, public school enrollment decreased, while the number of teachers generally increased. For public schools, the number of pupils per teacher—that is, the pupil/teacher ratio—declined from 22.3 in 1970 to 17.9 in 1985. After enrollment started increasing in 1985, the public school pupil/teacher ratio continued to decline, reaching 17.2 in 1989. After a period of relative stability during the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, the ratio declined from 17.3 in 1995 to 15.4 in 2009. The public school pupil/teacher ratio increased to 16.0 in 2010. By comparison, the pupil/teacher ratio for private schools was estimated at 12.2 in 2010. The average class size in 2007–08 was 20.0 pupils for public elementary schools and 23.4 pupils for public secondary schools.

USDA Soybean and Corn Numbers

USDA released a lot of numbers on July 11th pertaining to farming conditions in the United States. A lot of numbers were thrown out today, but Indiana is now exporting both corn/soybean around the world in bigger numbers compared to ten years ago. USDA projected nice yields this year (Corn 165.3 bpa and Soybeans 45.2 bpa) but in reality this should come with major warning labels. Heavy rains in the cornbelt in June(beginning of pollination) have mostly meant lower yields come harvest.

Soybean production is projected at a record 3,800 million bushels, up 165 million due to increased harvested area. Harvested area, forecast at 84.1 million acres in the June 30 Acreage report, is 3.6 million above the June forecast. The soybean yield is projected at 45.2 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month. Soybean supplies are 180 million bushels above last month’s forecast due to higher beginning stocks and production. Soybean crush is projected at 1,755 million bushels, up 40 million reflecting increased domestic soybean meal disappearance in line with adjustments for 2013/14 and higher

Corn production is projected 75 million bushels lower based on harvested acres from the June 30 Acreage report. The national average corn yield remains projected at a record 165.3 bushels per acre. Favorable early July crop conditions and weather support an outlook for record yields across most of the Corn Belt, however, for much of the crop, the critical pollination period will be during middle and late July. At the projected 13,860 million bushels, this year’s crop remains just 65 million bushels below last year’s record.

Margin Debt, Gold & Commodities

Here some quick hits of economic news that people who follow economics
and investors should like:

Margin debt: The most recent numbers show a decline, which is bearish.

Gold is starting to get noticed again by investors.

The latest data shows that money managers increased net-long positions for a fourth straight week through July 1 and holdings in exchange-traded products are climbing at the fastest pace since 2012. Holdings are rebounding after six straight quarterly declines that began before gold entered a bear market in April 2013.

Several months back due growing money supply from the Federal Reserve creating an artificial boom in stocks I plunged a lot of cash into oil and agriculture. I have not been disappointed. For example,  The Bloomberg Commodity Index, for example, rose 7.1 per cent in the first half of the year.

What is the American Red Cross Hiding?

Charity is wonderful feature of economics and free societies. For years the American Red Cross was seen as an American staple of society relating to charity. Unfortunately for several years now it has turned into a very secretive and untrustworthy organization when it comes to money.

Red Cross started to be questioned around the time frame of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Just that one event, they raised over $530 Million dollars and put $200 Million of that into “administrative & long-term” functions. Multiple media sources started catching onto the story and they finally started paying out to the victims.

Sharyl Attkisson in her new blog post has raised more questions of what the American Red Cross is doing with Hurricane Sandy funds. The following excerpts were taken through her blog from

Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy? The charity has hired a fancy law firm to fight a public request we filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a “trade secret.” The Red Cross’ “trade secret” argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it’s not clear yet how much since the documents haven’t yet been released.

And the main reason why the American Red Cross is claiming “Trade Secrets”….

If those details were disclosed, “the American Red Cross would suffer competitive harm because its competitors would be able to mimic the American Red Cross’s business model for an increased competitive advantage,”

I really cannot say what “trade secret” Red Cross would try to be protecting. Yes, organizations like this can protect logos and other identifying marks but people donating to charity is not a trade secret that has to be kept under wraps. Americans can now just sit on their couch and donate from their cell phones and computer devices if they so choose. The charitable donations were also on top of the $60 Billion the government gave to the hurricane stricken area. That money itself will also have to be probably be investigated.

Sharyl Attkisson herself investigated five major non for profits who received charitable contributions to help the Hati people after their major earthquake. This is what she found:

On May 12, 2010 I reported for CBS News on how 5 major nonprofits, including American Red Cross, had spent funds intended for Haiti earthquake victims four months after the disaster. I noted that enough aid had been raised to give each displaced family a check for $37,000 but thousands of Haitians were still going hungry and living under flimsy shelters. I learned that, to a large degree, the charities can’t tell anyone with specificity where exactly all the money goes. They can give general figures such as, ‘we’ve given out 10,000 meals’ or ‘we’ve distributed 10,000 bottles of water,’ but I wondered why there wasn’t a spreadsheet that explains how many bottles or meals were shipped to which refugee camp and when. It seems pretty basic. After all, somebody has to know. A lot of the funds that donors intended for “emergency relief” were, in fact, still sitting in funds unspent. Some charity officials privately acknowledged that many charities receiving a giant influx of donations in the wake of a giant disaster are ill-equipped to produce long term recovery programs. They sometimes find themselves frantically trying to figure out how to spend all the money in a responsible way that serves the mission.

Myself, this is why I have been strictly going with local charities of affected areas or if a national charity, one that does not hesitate to provide data on their sites.

Illegal Immigrant Children: How Many Will End Up Staying In the U.S.?

The border crisis of minors is not a political issue that will soon go away. Many questions remain open ended about the processing of illegal immigrants from other countries that don’t fall under the title “empathy”. One question that is answered but no one in government leadership positions will truthfully state in the media is how long these children from other countries will be staying.

According to Congressional testimony given this week by Tom Homan, the Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations with ICE, 87% of these individuals are still in the U.S. This answer was in response to how many unaccompanied minors who were apprehended illegally entering the U.S. over the past five years are still in the U.S.