Sunday, September 9, 2012

Depends on the definition of "is"

The Argument for reelecting Obama

If we take Bill Clinton at his word, we should reelect Obama because the failures of the last four years aren’t hisfault.  No one could solve these problems in four short years.  That definitely is the argument of a loser.

Democrats answer “Are you better off today than four years ago?” with a hypothetical “Yes”

At first the Democrats were honest about it and tried to change the question.  But then Stephanie Cutter said, “Absolutely” and they change their meme.  People are not better off than they were four years ago, but the left wants you to imagine you are better off than you might have been.  Obama according to the Democrats saved the world from a great Depression.  Now I’m not sure how he did that since the recession was officially over in June 2009 before any spending from the stimulus took effect or any of the other programs he put into effect had a chance to take effect.  

Here’s the irony of their claim.  If there was a chance of a depression George W. Bush avoided it by passing the TARP program.  That is why the recession ended in June 2009 before any action by Obama took effect.  So the Democrats want to blame Bush for the recession while giving credit to Obama for what Bush did to address the recession.  Obama is responsible for the recovery which has been the worst recovery since World War II. 

Obama fails the interview

On Thursday night, Barack Obama interviewed with the hiring manager -- the American voters -- to keep his job for another four years.  Any hiring manager using the past behavioral event interviewing method -- a technique where experience triumphs over hope -- would conclude that Obama flunked.  And flunked miserably.

The ending was breathtakingly insulting as Obama ultimately blamed the hiring manager -- the American people -- for having elected him in the first place.  So you see, the election four years ago wasn't about me.  It was about you.  My fellow citizens, you were the change.

While Obama's stated vision for prosperity, equity, justice, security, and compassion might have been noble, he offered no plan to reach such a utopia, nor did he discuss how the nation would pay for it.

What the August Jobs Report said

Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 96,000 in August, the Labor Department said, versus expectations of 125,000 jobs or more. The manufacturing sector, much touted by the president in his convention speech, lost 15,000 jobs.

– Since the start of the year, job growth has averaged 139,000 per month vs. an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.

– While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1% from 8.3% in July, it was due to a big drop in the labor force participation rate (the share of Americans with a job or looking for one). If fewer Americans hadn’t given up looking for work, the unemployment rate would have risen.

– Reuters notes that the participation rate is now at its lowest level since September 1981.

– If the labor force participation rate was the same as when Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11.2%.

– If the participation rate had just stayed the same as last month, the unemployment rate would be 8.4%.

More about the Jobs numbers

How many people are out of work but not counted as unemployed because they hadn't sought work in the past four weeks? Eight million. This is the sort of distressing number that turns up when you look beyond the headline number. 

Here's another one: 96,000—that's how many new jobs were added last month, well short of the anemic 125,000 predicted by analysts, and dramatically less than the (still paltry) 139,000 the economy had been averaging in 2012.

The alarming numbers proliferate the deeper you look: 40.7% of the people counted as unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more—that's 5.2 million "long-term" unemployed. Fewer Americans are at work today than in April 2000, even though the population since then has grown by 31 million.

Klavan on Obamanomics

Something on the lighter side.

Top Democratic Candidate distancing himself from Obama

Democratic Senate candidate Bob Kerrey said Thursday that he hates the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act and that his own businesses might drop employee insurance and pay the federal fine for doing so if the mandate goes into effect in 2014.

Kerrey said wealthy Americans pay their fair share in taxes. And he said President Barack Obama made a big mistake by not following the recommendations of his own bipartisan budget deficit commission.
Is Kerry running as a Democrat or a Republican?

Fact Checking: It’s not just about the facts anymore

The fact checking industry has made a name for itself of late by “fact checking” not just the actual factual claims of particular candidates – usually conservative candidates – but by fact checking their supposed implications. And the fact checkers have almost universally been friends to the Obama campaign.  This is a big problem because the fact checkers to check implications have to assume what the speaker meant.  We are way far away from FACTS.

JINO—Journalists in Name Only

PolitiFact Ohio — the “fact-checking” wing of the Cleveland Plain Dealer — has been cited as an authority by all six of Ohio’s major papers, but now faces proof of staffer’s liberal bias.  And even after the outlet’s claim to objectivity was debunked in an Aug. 16 report from conservative watchdog Media Trackers Ohio, the Plain Dealer, The Columbus Dispatch and the Dayton Daily News continue treating PolitiFact Ohio as an objective source.

Media Trackers also reported that, based on voter registration records, PolitiFact Ohio editors Robert Higgs and Jane Kahoun are both Democrats. Prominent PolitiFact Ohio contributors Reginald Feran, Henry Gomez, Aaron Marshall and Fields are registered Democrats as well, but this has not prompted any skepticism at the state’s major newspapers.

Reminiscent of Nixon: Obama has a plan

Sounding like Nixon who had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam, President Obama yesterday said:  I’ve got a plan,” Obama said yesterday before a podium with a big blue square placard, “Forward,” on its front. “I’ve got a plan,” he said again, then ticked off all he’d like to do. Export more products. Recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers. Cut college tuitions, etc.

“We need to create more jobs faster,” he said. “We need to fill the hole left by this recession faster.”
Yes we do. Everybody knows that.  But the plan seems long on goals and short on answers. 

Josh Greenman grades the Conventions

An interesting and short review of both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
The Star: C-

President Obama’s Thursday night speech in Charlotte was a major missed opportunity. He should have have defended his economic decisions. He should have described, in vivid terms, what Obamacare is already doing for real people. Instead, he gave what amounted to 4,000 word rehash of his stump speech.

Is Connecticut in play?

Connecticut might be the last place you'd expect Republicans to pick up a U.S. Senate seat this November, but it may happen. In the race for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman's seat, Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the highly profitable World Wrestling Entertainment, leads Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy by three points, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. 

Those numbers terrify Democrats, so much so that at the party's convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week they frantically shuttled Mr. Murphy around town to meet deep-pocket Democratic donors.
Connecticut hasn't had a Republican senator in modern times—with the exception of Lowell Weicker, who was so liberal that the Democratic Mr. Lieberman unseated him in 1988 by running to his right. Barack Obama carried the state by 23 points in 2008. 

But Nutmeg State voters today are cranky, and even Mr. Obama is up only seven points on Mitt Romney in the latest Quinnipiac poll. One reason for their angst is tax-happy Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has raised income, sales and 70 other taxes and fees while insisting that taxpayers would be glad to pay the higher charges. They haven't been—in part because the budget remains steeped in red ink and the unemployment rate remains persistently above the national average. Barron's recently rated Connecticut the worst-run state in the country.

Obama’s Speech

Of course, reading through the speech, I didn’t see the word “jobs” mentioned once. In fact, though I could be wrong, I didn’t see the word “growth” mentioned once.

What I did see were constant references to government. Obama has taken to calling it “citizenship.” But it’s the same old, same old. Whether it’s more money for the teachers’ unions, or more Solyndra-like green energy, or more for infrastructure, it translates to more government spending and dependency in a second Obama term, all to somehow be financed with tax hikes on the rich.
Unfortunately, as former President Clinton mentioned in his convention speech, the arithmetic doesn’t add up.

Taxing successful, upper-end earners, investors, and small-business owners will generate less than half the revenue Team Obama expects. Maybe far less than half, since taxing capital gets you less capital, lower investment, fewer jobs, and slower growth. This will lead to a huge revenue shortfall, all while spending as a share of GDP continues to rise, perhaps to 25 or 26 percent.

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