Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Santa Claus Economics

I thought I was going to take a break until 2013.  Silly me...

As we inch closer to that day where a mythical fat man rides around Earth giving away free stuff, I wanted to share with you some parenting advice (if you have little kids or plan on creating some) and a video that shows Santa Claus economic philosophy that existed decades ago in our country.

First, the parenting stuff...

When my oldest son was a little fellow he came to me one day and said, "Dad, my friend __________ told me that there is some guy named Santa Claus who rides around in the sky on Christmas and gives us presents under our tree."

I looked down at this cute little dude and replied, "Boy, let me tell you something.  There is nobody flying around giving you anything.  Every gift you will see under our tree came from my getting up and going to work to make the money to buy them."

He seemed appreciative and relieved that his dad is generous and that he would not be woken up by reindeer stomping on our roof.

Which brings me to Santa Claus as politician. 

Say what you want about President Obama.  He fails miserably as the "Great Provider" when his openly stated beliefs are matched up with Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

Take a look at this brief clip from a speech FDR gave in 1944.

There you have it.  The Founders said we have a God-given right to life, liberty and property.  They could not add a fourth right without abrogating the rights of one person to give the fourth right to another.

FDR then and Mr. Obama now are of the grander view - the Santa Claus view - that we all deserve so much more - even if someone else has to pay for it.

Sometimes I wish Santa Claus was real.  At least he wouldn't tax me for my toys...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday: A Capitalist Tradition that I really, really dislike

This morning I got up, made some coffee, built a nice crackling fire and enjoyed a quiet hour or so reading the newspaper and visiting with my youngest son.
I spent this afternoon playing in an airsoft gun war in my backyard with both of my boys and their good friend from down the road.  After airsoft we played football.  After football I went up into my game room, watched some college football, took a really peaceful nap and then spent the evening playing ping pong and visiting with my family some more.
Oh, I also ate some great leftovers - compliments of our dear friends here in our little town - watched some Andy Griffith Show reruns and...well, you get the idea...
What I did not do was join the complete and total insanity that is called "Black Friday".  Let me be clear...
Living in Florida, where people would just as soon shoot a gun or their middle finger at you on a normal day, is just about the last place in the world you want to be when Wal-Mart is having a sale on DVD players.
I saw on the news today where some complete idiot got arrested for leaving his infant child in the car while he joined in the trampling and steep discounts at some electronics store.  I saw other upteen thousand people storm into a store like it was the running of the bulls.  In this case it was the running of the credit cards.
Assuming that there were very few atheists, Muslims or Jews mingled in with the herds of shoppers, it would be safe to assume most of these folks were stomping on each other, kicking and screaming in preparation of the celebration of Jesus' birth.
How painfully ironic, isn't it?  The man who taught the world about modesty, giving, love and sacrifice now has to watch as Americans all over the place try to kill one another in order to save 22% on some doll dressed like a prostitute.
I never - I mean NEVER - go Christmas shopping after about July 1st.  I have in a large room in my house some storage bins marked "gifts"  (don't try to steal them, they were mostly garage sale finds...) and a clipboard hidden from my family that is neatly broken into the names of family and friends, their birthdates and the occasion on which their name will be checked off and their gift given.
I look for bargains - community garage sales (where I am the first one into the gated community to buy the stuff spoiled rich people get rid of), thrift stores, Ebay, Craigslist, relatively clean dumpters and the occasional store that I buy only when prices are 80 - 123% off the normal discounted price.
Right now, on my clipboard, is one gift marked for my oldest son.  The heading above the gift?  Christmas 2016.  That's right.  I have projected his height and weight and have a jump start on Christmas 1,200 and something days from now.  He will be quite pleased, I am sure.
One horrible thing about Black Friday is that it gives people who hate capitalism (see Obama voters) some incredible room to say, "See, these dirty, profit grabbing, selfish, rich so and sos are making their workers come in to work on Thanksgiving and forcing people to leave their cranberry sauce early in order to fight like animals in the African plains to save money on Chinese pajamas"!!!
Hmmm...  Do they have a point?
One thing you learn early as an economist is that supply creates demand.  That means that first, the executives at stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy sit around in their nice suits and say, "Hey Chuck, do you think people would like to come in to our store and buy horror movie DVDS for their pre-school children at 8PM Thanksgiving, rather than wait, with their kids in the car, until Midnight"
"Gee, Bob, it is worth a shot, isn't it?  Let's give it a try!!"
"Chuck, what about our employees?  Do you think they will mind working Thanksgiving night?"
"To H.... with them!  If they want a job, they will show up."
So they open at 8PM, their $8 per hour workers leave their Thanksgiving dinner early, or eat it earlier, and customers (not me) prepare to stampede one another four hours earlier than last year.  If it is a success, next year it will be 7PM.   20 years from now Black Friday will be a week before Halloween.
Before some of you think I have gone over to the dark side and joined whining Socialists everywhere, let me say this.
First, the stores have a right to open whenever they want.  Private property, dude.
Second, the workers don't have to keep working at Wal-Mart.  They could go to work at some store that closes on Thanksgiving every year.  Pursuit of, not guarantee of, happiness, o.k?
Finally, if this is so terrible then customers have to be the ones to say, "Enough!"  If they love shopping more than eating their third plate of mashed potatoes, so be it.  Freedom, remember?
Fourth, you will never see me partake in this awful illustration of Capitalism at its best/worst.  I will be at home, relaxing and shaking my head at the maniac I just saw on Youtube hitting someone with a chair in order to get the next kid's toy that he will give to celebrate Jesus's birthday.
Have a great December!  With God's blessing I will be back next year - just in time to fall off the "Fiscal Cliff" with all the rest of you taxpayers...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am truly grateful and thankful for.....Clarity

I was on the phone with my mother the day after President Obama won re-election, congratulating her for her candidate winning another four years.  It was a hard thing to do for reasons that I have clearly spelled out in this blog, in my classes, in my home, on the street, in the wilderness (to any animals that might have voter registration cards..) and pretty much anywhere else ears might be perked up by a discussion on the nature of liberty and limited government.
I told my mother that much to my complete surprise I was actually relaxed and happy the day after America voted to re-hire the man who has inspired millions to dream of an America that does not look like anything we have ever witnessed before.
My happiness, I told her, came from this analogy.
Suppose you spend almost 25 years of your life pursuing a relationship with someone whom you are very passionate about.  During that 25 years you notice glimmers of hope that the person you are pursuing might be interested in you, but you also see signs that they might not like you very much.
Finally, one day the person looks at you and says, "Look, I hate you.  I want nothing to do with you and I never want to see you again."
Rather than being crushed after hearing this, you might find yourself completely relieved to finally have clarity in this relationnship so that you do not have to so desparately pursue them anymore.
I told my mother that I felt like America said (on election night), "Jack, to people like you, who share your peculiar zeal for the views of dead white guys from the 18th century, you can all go to hell because we don't agree with anything you believe in."
My mother's response?
"You are right, Jack."
And there it is...
As we head into Thanksgiving tomorrow I have been in the best mood imaginable for the past two weeks.  It is not because of the weather, or some time off with my family (although those things are always a treat), but rather because, for the first time in my 25 years as an economist and preacher of all things liberty, I have clarification about where I live - and whom it is that lives around me.
I finally know that unlike years past, where if the economy was garbage and the government was too big the American people would get around to saying, "Enough!!"  Today, we live in an America where if you look at someone on the street and tell them that unemployment is going to remain high for years to come, that our economy is not going to improve much over the next decade, that taxes are about to rise, that we are facing Greece-style bankruptcy within 20-30 years, that we no longer own ourselves for the purposes of making health care decisions, etc. etc., the average American will look at you and say, "O.K., but will my welfare check still arrive?  Will I still get food stamps?  Will Obamacare give me Medicaid that I did not get before?  Will I get Aid to Families with Dependent Children?  Will the government go after rich people to take there money and give it to me? 
My dad used to tell me back in the 1970s that too many Americans want, in his words, "Something for nothing."  He was right.
I am grateful that I finally realize how right he was.  Now I can go about my job, run my small business, write my books, give a few speeches, take care of my family and enjoy - with greater passion - everything I have to be thankful for, because I no longer feel obligated to desparately pursue people with this message of liberty.  Teach liberty?  Of course.  Give myself migraines and disrupted sleep every night over it - when I know that I am outnumbered by the masses of folks who want my property?  No way.
So, to all of you Americans who told liberty-lovers like me to "Go to hell", I thank you.  You have given me a gift of clarity that will add peace and tranquility to my life.
Happy Thanksgiving (even if I paid for your turkey...)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How the Pilgrims discovered Property Rights

The Tragedy of the Commons  by John Stossel
Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. "Isn't sharing wonderful?" say the teachers.
They miss the point.
Because of sharing, the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn't happen.
The failure of Soviet communism is only the latest demonstration that freedom and property rights, not sharing, are essential to prosperity. The earliest European settlers in America had a dramatic demonstration of that lesson, but few people today know it.
When the Pilgrims first settled the Plymouth Colony, they organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share everything equally, work and produce.
They nearly all starved.
Why? When people can get the same return with a small amount of effort as with a large amount, most people will make little effort. Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property. Some even stole despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. Some ate rats, dogs, horses and cats. This went on for two years.
"So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented," wrote Gov. William Bradford in his diary. The colonists, he said, "began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, [I] (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. ... And so assigned to every family a parcel of land."
The people of Plymouth moved from socialism to private farming. The results were dramatic.
"This had very good success," Bradford wrote, "for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. ... By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many. ... "
Because of the change, the first Thanksgiving could be held in November 1623.
What Plymouth suffered under communalism was what economists today call the tragedy of the commons. But the problem has been known since ancient Greece. As Aristotle noted, "That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it."
When action is divorced from consequences, no one is happy with the ultimate outcome. If individuals can take from a common pot regardless of how much they put in it, each person has an incentive to be a free rider, to do as little as possible and take as much as possible because what one fails to take will be taken by someone else. Soon, the pot is empty and will not be refilled -- a bad situation even for the earlier takers.
What private property does -- as the Pilgrims discovered -- is connect effort to reward, creating an incentive for people to produce far more. Then, if there's a free market, people will trade their surpluses to others for the things they lack. Mutual exchange for mutual benefit makes the community richer.
Secure property rights are the key. When producers know that their future products are safe from confiscation, they will take risks and invest. But when they fear they will be deprived of the fruits of their labor, they will do as little as possible.
That's the lost lesson of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How an Obama Voter sees Thanksgiving Dinner

I had to come downstairs from my study to post this in order to keep from screaming.....
I am grading exams (always a miserable experience) this week.  This particular exam involves supply and demand analysis.
Essay question #3 asked my students to grapically illustrate and explain what the market for turkeys will look like this month and whether or not it would make sense for the federal government to impose a national lottery on turkeys so that "everyone could enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner."
Of course, many of you know that when government uses "non-price rationing" like a waiting list, waiting line or lottery, this causes two simple laws to kick in.  The first is called the law of demand.  Pushing down prices causes quantity demanded to increase.  The second is called the law of supply.  Pushing down prices causes suppliers to reduce their quantity supplied.  The result, of course, is a shortage and black markets. 
So, what did one student think about a turkey lottery?  Here is her answer, word for word, with no editing...
"I think it would make sense for the federal government to create a national lottery for turkeys simply because, the holiday is to really give thanks on what you have but not everyone could receive, some people didn't have the time to go to the store, or didn't have the money.  If the government were to do such a thing I think pigs will fly, for them to make sure every family receives a turkey or have, some kind of drawing so that someone or more than one could win.  It would make sense for them to do it because everyone deserves to eat, and be thankful for life, but you can put a strain on the market for turkeys.  Supply will be up but numbers of buyers will decrease, which makes prices decrease, but can cause for demand to increase because prices have decreased."
As I now go back upstairs to continue grading I am truly thankful that I live in a country where I am not expected to grade exams while I am eating my Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Republicans must embrace concepts they hate - like evolution

What follows is my Op-Ed piece in today's Orlando Sentinel.  Enjoy...

As a registered Libertarian, I do not often find myself voting for Republicans in presidential races. I do, though, often scratch my head and wonder why the Republican Party seems determined to arrive on the political endangered-species list.

I will confess that on Tuesday, for the first time in 12 years, I voted for the GOP to run the country. I am, after all, a free-market economist, and President Obama has not represented anything close to a belief in, or understanding of, simple freshman-level economics.

What Obama does understand — all too clearly — is that America has changed, and with it, the political landscape. The president perfectly unfolded an even larger tent to cover the folks the Republicans scare away.

Let's look at it.

First and foremost, there is the idiotic stance Republicans have taken on the issue of immigration. When will they ever learn how to do math? It is simple. Hispanics now make up 13 percent of the country and, for the first time ever, accounted for 10 percent of the voters.

The GOP keeps thinking, "OK, Hispanics are largely family-oriented Catholics who oppose abortion, so we should be attractive to them."

No, Hispanics are human beings who want jobs and opportunities to take care of their families. They have decided that they cannot do this in their native lands, so they rationally head for America — legally and illegally.

When Hispanics see how mean-spirited many Republicans and tea party folks are about their arrival in America, they naturally conclude that the Democrats will create a more favorable environment from which they can economically flourish.

Second, America has changed socially faster than Republicans can comprehend.

The country cares less and less about gay people getting married. Americans are not that bent out of shape over children born to single mothers. Abortion rights are popular as is the notion of legalized marijuana.

Moreover, when Republicans scream about national defense, the nation largely yawns. In essence, the voters told Republicans, "Osama is dead, and we aren't too concerned about the safety of Israel, but we do not have a job."

Finally, there is the long-awaited arrival of what we economists call the tipping point. The fiscal tipping point is when 50 percent of a population no longer pays income taxes, and 50 percent receive some form of taxpayer benefits every month.

Once a nation arrives at those key points, it becomes virtually impossible to get people excited about tax cuts or spending reductions.

We are now at the famous 47 percent mark on taxes and just more than 44 percent of Americans receive money from the forced confiscation of other people's money.

Yet, with all of this in front of them, Mitt Romney and other Republicans continued to talk about the self-deportation of Hispanics, the threat we face from Iran and tax cuts.

It is time for members of the Grand Old Party to wake up and embrace another concept they hate: That is Darwin's theory of evolution.

The political ecosystem has radically changed in our nation. If conservatives do not adapt to this change, they will face extinction in election after election.

Toward that end, I suggest some simple, common-sense modifications to their platform. Embrace immigration, shy away from radical proposals to the social-welfare network, and stop talking so much about social issues. This will be hard for them, I know.

Losing elections is harder. Isn't it?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

America's new National Anthem

As a post-script to my last blog entry I thought I would offer up a suggestion for a new national anthem for the United States of America.  Here it is.....

Perfect, right?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

America Deserves Barack Obama: Republicans are Facing Extinction

As I am writing this, the country is in the process of re-electing Barack Obama as President of our dying republic.
Now is a good time to let you know that I will be taking a break from my blog for awhile.  Like many of you, this election season has been very stressful for me and I could use some time to decompress.
Before I go, I would like to point out two immutable facts concerning what has just happened in America.
First, we need to establish a clear picture of just who voted for Barack Obama.  Then, we need to understand why the Republican party is now officially on the endangered species list.
Obama voters:
1.  Hispanic-Americans who were turned off by the Republican view of immigration.  Hispanics are the fastest-growing group of Americans.  Hispanics made up ten percent of the national vote for the first time and killed Romney in Florida, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina.
2. Young female voters who want to reserve the right to end the life of the unborn.  The Republican platform scares them.

3.  African-Americans who, according to The Wall Street Journal supported Mr. Obama with 97% of their votes.  In 2008 Mr. Obama won 95% of the African-American vote.  It is very much worth noting that African-American unemployment is higher now than in 2008.  It is not real clear exactly what Mr. Obama did to give black people a clearer path to good jobs over the past four years, but it did not matter to 97% of black voters.
4. Public sector unions.  This means public school teachers and other folks (not as much police officers) like utility workers, firefighters and more.  These folks want the right to retire young and live off of budget-busting pensions with no regard to the taxpayers who they think owe them something just because they chose to teach young people or put out fires.
5. Private sector unions.  What overpaid, underproductive member of our nation's unions would ever want to see a right to work-type businessman running our country.  Just because Toyota produces better cars than General Motors with non-union, less-expensive labor this does not mean we should adopt this model for other industries, does it?  I mean, why mess up a system where union workers in the Northest and upper Midwest can demand ever increasing pay and pensions and health care benefits even if it is no good for their companies or the nation?

6. Welfare recipients. During his first four years, Obama made it easier to collect food stamps, public housing assistance and 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. Fewer Americans are looking for work than at any time in the last several decades. Bastiat was right when he said, "In our natural state, man seeks to avoid pain and will live at the expense of someone else if he can." People on welfare see Obama as their collector of private property from the bank accounts of the greedy rich. This includes an inordinate number of women. 40% of American babies are born with no dad around. To these women, President Obama is the financial daddy to their offspring
7. Over-educated liberals.  Listen, I work with people like this.  The latte-drinking, New York Times reading elitists who have all the economic common sense of a tree stump.  These people actually drive nice cars, eat good food and wear nice clothes without a clue as to where these items come from.  They think that government is wonderful and that there should be more of it even though everything they own comes from the private sector. 
8.  The elderly who don't care much about their posterity.  I hear older Americans say, "I am just getting back what I paid in" when it comes to Social Security and Medicare.  Hogwash.  Many empirical studies prove that today's seniors, in less than five years on average, get back all of their taxes, adjusted for inflation, in retirement and health care benefits.  Everything after that is simply a transfer from their children and grandchildren.  Transfer is another word for welfare, which another word for stolen property.
9.  Young people with limited life experience and even more limited brain power.  Look, when you are 18 you are naturally pretty dumb as to how life works.  You have lived with Mommy and Daddy for 99% of your life so you are used to a form of government providing you with security.  You don't own much property, pay little to no taxes, do not own a business, do not have a mortgage or kids, etc.  Therefore, when some slick, American Idol candidate like Barack Obama asks for you vote in a smooth voice and radiant smile, you get really excited because he makes you feel good.  Then, when he does nothing to help your chances of having a job for the last four years, since all you do is text, mess around on Facebook and play videogames, you still do not have enough sense to figure out that the pretty guy with no economic knowledge whatsoever is still not going to help you for the next four years.
10. Crony capitalists.  Farmers, alternative energy companies and other companies that line their pockets with taxpayer dollars are also Obama voters.  Why should someone who picked corn farming vote for Romney, who might tell them, "Hey, sometimes it does not rain."  Why would a windmill company in Iowa tell its workers to vote for Romney after Romney says that if wind is a great source of energy, windmill companies don't need subsidies.  As more and more companies line the halls of Washington, D.C. to get your money, they won't want to see a real capitalist elected.
11.  Special interest groups who want special considerations, or money.  Gay people want government to leave them alone if they decide to engage in something they call marriage.  Global warming alarmists want government to push us towards wind-powered bicycles.  Drug addicts want an expansion in Supplemental Security Income.  Add to this group animal rights activists, rich actors and actresses, assorted athletes and Warren Buffett and you have the perfect ingredient for Obama's re-election.
12.  The ignorant, lazy masses. Ben Franklin said that the moment voters realize that they can vote for themselves money from the public treasury, it would "herald the end of the Republic".   Our country has simply decided that we want to live off of one another.  We want freedom without responsibility.  We do not care about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the meaning of true liberty and we do not understand economics and what it takes to make an economy grow.  We envy those who have worked hard and demand their property through legalized plunder.  We demand fairness without caring about unfair acts imposed on our fellowman.  We have, in short, become a nation of ignorant, selfish individuals who could care less about what our nation was supposed to be.
Now for the part on why the Republican party is facing extinction.
See 1-12 above.

Monday, November 5, 2012

America's Destiny?

A former student emailed me with a link to the following 1 minute clip on Youtube.  If you are an undecided voter, watch this clip before you vote.  If you are thinking about not voting, watch this, then vote.  If you know others who are undecided, or apathetic, have them watch this, then encourage them to vote.

Will Evangelical Christians help Destroy America's Future?

In the past several weeks I have spoken to, or heard others speak about many people in the Christian community who do not plan to vote tomorrow because, in their words, "Mitt Romney is not a Christian" or because, "God is in control and whomever he wants in office he will put there."
Just in case there are any of you out there reading this - or know people who might be interested in reading this - who share the aforementioned sentiments, I would like to say one thing to you if I may be so bold...
You are making a big mistake.  A mistake so big that you could help destroy the very liberty that God wants all of us to enjoy.
Please go back and check your Bibles.  God wants us to be happy, free and prosperous while we are on this Earth.  He does not desire for us to live under growing tyranny, taxation and liberty-stifling rules.  The Bible is filled with verses that make this quite clear. 
If you do not vote because you think Mormons belong to a cult or because God does not care you are condemning your posterity, our posterity, to a future where the chains of big government will be riveted to their wallets, their choices and their pursuit of happiness.
Debate all you want about whether Mormons are "real Christians".  I know many Mormons from my years in the classroom and I find them to be exceedingly humble, kind, loving and great believers in human liberty and dignity.  They also tell me that they are Christians.  From the fruit I see in their lives and from my own ignorance of their faith, who am I to tell them they are not? 
Mitt Romney spent many of his years in mission work and ministry.  Barack Obama, a Christian according to him, spent his youth doing things that were far from mission work and ministry.  So did the evangelical Christian, George W. Bush.
Bush, with his unconstitutional wars and Obama with his unconsitutional socialism, strayed far from Christian principles while serving under an oath that said they had to defend our Constitution.  They even swore to God they would do it before killing 100,000 innocent Iraqis and forcing all of us to adhere to liberty-violating health care laws, taxes and regulations.
For my money, Mitt Romney is what he says he is.  I think he would govern in a manner consistent with his faith, which at this point I trust more than Mr. Obama's beliefs in what God would have him do.
If you Christians out there really care about our nation - a nation formed by mostly Christians who knew about sacrifice and honor and real liberty - you will get up tomorrow and go vote for a government that respects our rights to life, liberty and private property and you will vote in a way that ends 12 years of Republican and Democratic soft tyranny.
Don't blow it now....the stakes are too high.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why must so many Republicans be so stupid?

While having my morning cup of coffee with my local newspaper in hand, I read today where many conservative commentators have called New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, "Judas Christie".  Rush Limbaugh called Christie "fat and a fool".
That is pretty harsh - if these folks were talking about Democrat governor Chris Christie.
The problem is Christie is a Republican.
The dustup that has led to criticism of Governor Christie (a leading supporter of Mitt Romney) is over his reaction to President Obama's early "handling" of the post-Hurricane Sandy disaster.
Christie has been very complementary of the president, saying, "I cannot thank him enough..." while being seen warmly accepting Mr. Obama in hard-hit New Jersey.
Could you Republicans please tell me why so many of you must be so mean, heartless and stupid?
For crying out loud, one of the worst storms in our nation's history has left the Northeastern U.S. in serious trouble and all you can do is ride the governor New Jersey for being grateful to President Obama?  Do you people realize what this makes you - and other Republicans look like?  Did you know that human beings - including undecided voters - are emotional creatures and might be (will be) offended by your heartless display of partisan politics?  Rush Limbaugh...if you are reading this... do you really think you have helped Mitt Romney by saying such moronic things?
I have said for many years that Republicans just don't get it when it comes to relating to people on a level that common sense suggests - and decency demands - they should.  Ronald Reagan excluded (he had a huge, giving, gracious and bipartisan heart), Republicans these days more often than not come off as mean-spirited Scrooges.
I have a suggestion for you nitwits out there.  First, shut up.  Let the President show up in hiking boots with this disaster out there to deal with.  Sure, it helps President Obama look presidential and might help his vote total.  So what.  He is supposed to show that he cares and is expected to show leadership in the aftermath if this storm.
Second, have a brain and realize that Governor Christie needs to be nice to Mr. Obama since Mr. Obama holds the FEMA checkbook.  Should Mr. Christie (a politician, remember?????) show New Jersey residents that he cares more about shunning a Democrat president than he cares about helping them? 
Third, if you care about Mitt Romney you will let Governor Christie continue to show that some Republicans are nice guys who can be polite to Democrats.  This is helpful to your party and your cause.
Fourth, shut up.