American Elephants

Could Our Nation Survive If We Had Honesty and Straightforwardness in Washington D.C.? by The Elephant's Child

President Obama also made an official statement on Thursday. He said:

A couple of days ago I said that we are in a make-or-break moment when it comes to America’s middle class.  We either have a country where everybody fends for themselves, or we create a country where everybody does their fair share, everybody has got a fair chance, and we ensure that there’s fair play out there.

Now, to ensure fair play, one of the things that I talked about was the importance of making sure we implement financial reform, Wall Street reform that was passed last year.  And a key component of that was making sure that we have a consumer watchdog in place who can police what mortgage brokers and payday lenders and other non-bank financial entities are able to do when it comes to consumers.

This is a big deal.  About one-in-five people use these kinds of mechanisms to finance everything from buying a house to cashing their checks.  And we passed a law last year that said we need this consumer watchdog in place to make sure that people aren’t taken advantage of.

Obama is complaining about his nomination of Richard Cordray, former attorney general and treasurer of the State of Ohio to be the director of Obama’s new Consumer Finance Protection Board.  The problem is that the office inserts a board to oversee all consumer finance issues with no limits whatsoever on what the board may do. There are no legal controls, the board may do anything.  Congress,  particularly the Republicans, balk at that.  No one seems to object to Mr. Cordray. We do have way too extensive a grasp for power and control by this administration.  See how Mr. Obama twists the situation to fit his “fair play” theme.

The administration cut the “payroll tax” last year. It is not a tax on payrolls, it is the contribution (not a tax) to Social Security and Medicare. It may act like a tax, but it has since the beginning been defined as a contribution to your “old age insurance.” (But then it’s not an insurance policy either). Foregoing the standard contributions to Social Security have meant that Social Security cannot meet the payments to the old folks in their “Golden Years” out of revenue and the program is operating at a deficit. The “tax-cut” amounts to about $1,000 a year.

Could we survive as a nation if people spoke clearly and honestly about what the government is doing?  Harry Reid said this morning “millionaire job creators are like unicorns: they’re impossible to find and don’t exist.” which has to rank high among the sillier things he’s said.  Debbie Wasserman Schulz, (Democrat National Committee Chairman)also this morning,  absolutely denies that the unemployment rate has gone up under Obama.

  • Jobless rate in January 2009: 7.8%.  Jobless rate in November 2011: 8.6%.
  • Number of employed in January 2009, in thousands: 133,563.  In November 2011: 131,708
  • Civilian participation rate in January 2009: 65.7%.  In November 2011: 64.0%
  • Unemployment level in January 2009, in thousands: 11,984.  In November 2011: 13,303
  • Number of people not in labor force, January 2009, in thousands: 80,554.  In November 2011: 86,558

Aside from that there have been 3 million-plus people working-age adults who have joined the population during Obama’s term in office.  Last month, 315,000 workers left the workforce — quit looking for work — which is the only reason the unemployment rate declined last month.

Obama Is in Full Campaign Mode. You Can’t Believe Him Anymore Now Than You Could The Last Time. by The Elephant's Child

On Sunday, 60–Minutes’ Steve Kroft interviewed President Obama on a wide range of topics, including Obama’s performance in office, the U.S. economy, unemployment, congressional gridlock and the mounting deficit.

“After months of listening to attacks from Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders, President Obama took off the gloves this past week and emerged in full campaign mode. It began with a major speech in the nation’s heartland, with a vigorous defense of his economic policies, directed at the middle class.”

I was under the impression that President Obama had been in full campaign mode for months.  What was all that flying Airforce One all over the country for fundraising speeches, sometimes as many as three a day? Kroft said “I mean you were really talking [in your Kansas speech] about income inequality,which suggests redistribution of wealth.

Obama: Look, the problem is, is that our politics has gotten to the point, where we can’t have an honest conversation about the greatest income inequality since the 1920s. And we can’t have an honest conversation about the irresponsibility that resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, without somebody sayin’ that somehow we’re bein’ divisive. No, we’re bein’ honest about what happened and we’ve gotta be honest about how we move forward.

(Have you noticed that when Obama is in campaign mode—just talkin’ to the folks—he drops his ‘g’s all over the place, but doesn’t do it elsewhere? )

Kroft: Why do you think you deserve to be re-elected? What have you accomplished?

Obama: Not only saving this country from a Great Depression. Not only saving the auto industry. But putting in place a system in which we’re gonna start lowering health care costs and you’re never gonna go bankrupt because you get sick or somebody in your family gets sick. Makin’ sure that we have reformed the financial system, so we never again have taxpayer-funded bailouts and the system is more stable and secure.

Ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Decimating al Qaeda, including Bin Laden being taken off the field. But when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do. And we’re– we’re gonna keep on at it.

(There was one notable exchange:)

Obama: What happened was that [the Republicans] made overtures, where they were willing to raise about $200 billion in exchange for $2 trillion or so worth of cuts of core programs like Medicare that seniors depend on for their security in their golden years.  And what I said to them was a balanced approach means exactly what it says. It means it’s balanced.  What we haven’t seen is any serious movement on the other side.

Steve, the math is the math.  You can’t lower rates and raise revenue., unless you’re getting revenue from someplace else.  Now either it’s comin’ from middle class families or poor families or it’s comin’ from folks like you and me that can afford to pay a little more.

What Obama does not grasp is that the problem is a spending problem.  The government is spending way too much money. He is clinging desperately to his idea that Keynesian economics — putting a few taxpayer dollars into the hands of consumers will create demand— which will cause business to improve and in turn generate more jobs.  Trouble is, it doesn’t work.

The economists who established that were Christina Romer (Obama’s first Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors) and her husband in a celebrated study of what worked in recessions and what didn’t. (Not sure what happened there). What works, is making it as easy as possible for companies to hire — reducing the corporate tax to a level more equal to the rest of the world, reducing regulations.  Obama remains convinced that the reason for “the worst economy since the Great Depression” is that there weren’t enough regulations controlling business. Business was heavily regulated already , and the financial crisis was caused by the collapse of the housing bubble, not a lack of regulation.

The math may be the math, but Obama’s is incorrect. If you lower rates, you will raise revenue.  If you increase the opportunity for business to make a profit, business profits will improve and you will therefore get more in tax revenue. You won’t raise revenue enough from that, nor would you raise revenue enough from taxing ‘the rich’— even though they are rich, they don’t have enough money to fix the deficit.

I just don’t believe that most people are consumed with class envy. I keep trying to figure out how Bill Gates’ wealth, or Warren Buffett’s wealth, or even someone in the mere multi-millionaire class, has had the slightest negative effect on me. They didn’t take any of my money to become millionaires and billionaires. Well, I take that back, I’ve willingly paid for and enjoyed the benefits of many Microsoft products.  I got my money’s worth. Bill and Melinda Gates are making a huge effort to do good things for the world with their Microsoft wealth, and Warren Buffett admires their efforts so much that he’s adding much of his wealth to the effort. Good for them.

I just can’t think of anything which a millionaire or billionaire has done that affects me negatively in any way.  The idea of wealth as a pie — if Bill and Warren make more money then there is less left for the rest of us — is a myth. And it is the myth on which Obama’s class warfare depends. If millionaires and billionaires make more money, the economy grows to accommodate the increased money.  In other words, he’s counting on fooling people  once again.



Monday Morning Chuckle. by The Elephant's Child
December 12, 2011, 6:52 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law

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