American Elephants

Disinformation, Distortion, and Disillusion. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is having another bad week. Deservedly. The distortions in his Rose Garden jobs speech were interesting.  “If we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit…then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more.  We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor.”

The liberal theme — the “conventional wisdom” — says that the middle class has suffered over the past decade while the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy left the rich wallowing in their ill-gotten gains.  The constant theme from Obama has been that  middle class incomes have stagnated as the economic policies of the previous administration took their toll on the shrinking middle class.  Obama needs an in-house fact-checker.

In the seven years from 2001– 2007 not only did the middle class get their fair share, but the income gap between the rich and the middle class got smaller. You can, of course play with statistics to say true things that give false impressions.

The American calls attention to the March Supplement to the Current Population Survey offers two seemingly contradictory conclusions:

1. median household income “flatlined” underperforming the overall economy.

2. middle-class income growth outperformed that for the overall economy as well as that for the rich.

This returns us to the difference between “median household income” and “middle-class income”.  The median household is simply a statistical theoretical household that would sit in the middle of the entire income-ranked U.S. households.  The middle-class is either the center 3 income quintiles or the center of five income quintiles.  It is poorly defined, but includes most of us, and however defined is huge.  The words median, average, and middle always give us trouble because they sound the same and are very definitely not the same.

Obama is going after “millionaires and billionaires” because the ordinary, median, average, middle of us, are expected by liberals to be enormously envious of those who are rich. Those who are hurting in this economy are especially assumed to be angry and envious. Some are.  I’ve heard them on the radio, and known some who go through life making themselves miserable by  envying others.

The interesting thing to notice is that Obama’s definition of “millionaires and billionaires” includes every household that makes $250.000 or single person who makes $200,000.  In many parts of the country that is an enormous income, but in big metropolitan areas like New York, it can be barely scraping by with two incomes. You are supposed to concentrate on the “millionaires and billionaires” and fail to notice that Obama is reaching pretty far down into the middle class for his millionaires.

The dirty little secret is that there aren’t enough real millionaires and billionaires to make the slightest dent in the deficit. Even if you confiscated all their money, it still wouldn’t make the slightest dent in the deficit.Whenever you are talking about taxes, remember that all the money is in the middle-class, because that’s where all the great numbers of people are.

So that part of the speech was phony.  And the president’s “debt reduction” — his spending reductions that he claimed would provide $2 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases— were phony too.  He starts with items already enacted that he is counting twice.  He double counts the savings from the discretionary spending caps in Medicare savings for ObamaCare. Then there are the bogus war savings:  $1.084 trillion from winding down the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They start with the surge level of spending which then rises with inflation over the next 10 years — after the troops have come home — and then reduces that level of pretend copybook savings and calls it reductions.

As the administration claims become more preposterous, more people are finally noticing that the promises are hollow, the ‘new” ideas are the same old ones that didn’t work before, and Chicago-style pay-to-play is alive and well in the developing scandals.  Solyndra executives will take the fifth amendment and refuse to respond to questioning, LightSquared is being investigated. And the proposals to create jobs are simply a payback for the unions.  No help for the unemployed.

Even the Democrats are disillusioned.


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