American Elephants

The Facts Are Clear. by The Elephant's Child

The Facts, The Facts: Can We Get Our Facts Straight? by The Elephant's Child
October 5, 2012, 5:45 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Yesterday, David Axlerod, Obama’s campaign guru, was out early on a conference call with the compliant left-leaning media, asking them to help the Obama campaign to overcome the disastrous debate.

“What the president hoped to avoid was a situation where you had two politicians standing there insulting each other instead of offering ideas for the future of the country, but you know, you have to strike a balance,” Axelrod said in a conference call with reporters. “You can’t allow someone to stand there and basically manhandle the truth about their own record and ideas and about yours and not deal with that. I’m sure that is a takeaway from this debate.”

“This was the first chance for the president to see how Gov. Romney operates in these debates first hand,” he said. “You have to make some adjustments to the fact that, you know, he is kind of a serial…artful dodger. That makes it a more challenging kind of event.”

Wow. You just go direct to the media and ask them to help out? That must be that bias they keep denying that they have.

I think Obama has two major movies running in his head. One is The Story of Obama, as told by Obama. The other movie is What I Want the Public to Hear, which is more “what can I get away with saying” than anything factual. Obama clearly doesn’t care whether his statements are true, he only cares if he can make people believe it.

He makes his case for reelection based on claims that are just not true, but he thinks he can get away with them. • Bush tax cuts and deregulation caused the recession. Once the Bush tax cuts took effect in 2003, they generated more than 8 million new jobs over the next four years and GDP growth averaging close to 3%.

I stopped a second Great Depression. The economy had pretty much hit bottom by the time Obama was inaugurated, and the recession had officially ended by June 2009, Economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi said President Bush’s TARP program and actions by the Federal Reserve were “substantially more effective” than anything Obama had done.

My policies are working. The economy has grown slightly, but other indicators have gone backward. Median household incomes have dropped $3,000, there are 659,000 more long-term unemployed than there were in June 2009, and the share of people working has dropped to levels not seen in 30 years.

A slow recovery was inevitable. Historically, deeper recessions have been followed by faster recoveries. Obama has presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression — which isn’t anything to brag about. The Great Depression was far longer than it needed to be, because of FDR’s misguided efforts. The most notable thing about Obama’s recovery is how frequently it has “unexpectedly” underperformed economist’s projections. Well, you win some, you lose some. It helps if you have some expertise in the private sector, or at least respect for those who create an economy.

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Good example: Obama is out on the campaign trail trumpeting the new jobs rate, which declined to 7.8 percent from the previous 8.1 percent. Sounds good, until you recognize that we only created a measly 114,000 jobs in September, but so many people dropped out of the labor force that if the same numbers of people were actually participating in the labor force when Obama took office, the rate would be 10.7 percent.

We are adding fewer jobs on average per month than we did last year. Way too many new jobs are low-pay part-time work.  • Net new full-time jobs: 114,000.      • Net 456,000 people who left the labor force. • Net 600,000 people added to part-time workers. The media is helping by celebrating the meaningless jobs number as if it were the second coming.

We can do better. We can do lots better.

Obama, Can You Spare a Dime? by The Elephant's Child

Vanderleun found an overlooked video from 2009, It packs a lot more punch today.

Education Is Not Spelled J-O-B-S* by The Elephant's Child

Education is always one of the first answers President Obama has for the problem of unemployment. How to create jobs? His response is improving education and hiring more teachers. Yet this is the president who refused to continue the District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarships until absolutely forced into it.

He brought it up again in the debate last night. And he said he intended to hire hundreds more teachers. Always more teachers, yet since 1970, the public school workforce has doubled — to 5.4 million from 3.3 million. Two-thirds of those new hires are teachers or teachers’ aides. School enrollment over the same period — numbers of students — has grown only 8.5 percent. Employment of teachers has grown 11 times faster than enrollment.  We have too many teachers.

The Washington DC schools are usually rated as the worst in the country.  The capitol city spends $30,000 per student, and poor black children are suffering. Our kids remain high in self-esteem and lousy in math and science.

Young people are the losers in today’s economy. In the past four years the unemployment rate for Americans age 16 to 24 has been twice the rate for the general population.  It’s currently around 17%.  For young blacks, it’s 33%. Black workers, statistically less likely than whites to have a college degree, suffered as the economy shed lower-skilled manufacturing and construction jobs. Minority-owned small businesses are often the first to feel the pinch as corporations retrench.

These last statistics explain why President Obama answers the “Jobs question” with “education.” He wants young blacks to be college graduates so they can be successful. Yet this same president refused to continue the Opportunity Scholarships as we understand because the teachers’ union was opposed to them. This is the conundrum that liberals face. They divide people up into voting blocks to get their vote, promise goodies for that group, and then the needs of one group begin to conflict with what is promised to another. Obama has confidence that he has the black vote, for the election of the first black President is a source of intense pride for millions of blacks. But as Bloomberg’s David Lynch said: “The nation’s first African-American president hasn’t done much for African-Americans.”

Accuracy in Academia has developed a “Youth Misery Index,” which adds together youth unemployment, average graduating student debt (in thousands) and national debt per capita (in thousands).

Youth unemployment is at 17.4 percent—one of the highest levels since World War II. Average graduating student debt has reached a record-breaking $26,300. National debt per capita is $46,900—the highest ever. Add it up, and the Youth Misery Index comes out to 90.6 (17.4 + 26.3 + 46.9 = 90.6).”

Nick Schulz of AEI wrote recently of a recent dinner with representatives from major manufacturing companies. “I listened as the talk turned to how hard it is to find qualified applicants for jobs. What exactly are the skills you can’t find?” Schulz asked some of the captains of industry. “One of the representatives looked sheepishly around the room and responded: ‘To be perfectly honest…we have a hard time finding people who can pass the drug test.’ Several other reps gave a knowing nod. Applicants were often so underqualified, they said, that simply finding someone who could properly answer the telephone was sometimes a challenge.”

Even college graduates seldom have the skills that a new job requires — that’s why employers always ask for experience, and usually experience in a similar job. Large companies used to have training programs, some helped employees with potential to complete degrees. I suspect that in the current economy, educational help and training programs are less common.

Government job-training programs have been a flop.  Nine federal agencies are in charge of 47 employment and job-training programs. A report  found that with one exception, none of the programs are effective in helping unemployed workers find new jobs, and most overlap with similar programs.

Sounds to me as if after-school classes are needed to teach young people the basic workplace skills. Is that a job the black churches can take on? And for the economy in general, a rising tide raises all boats. A healthy economy will provide jobs. We need to worry less about job-training and more about getting the whole economy moving.

*Headline shamelessly borrowed from Accuracy in Academia.

Obama’s “Trickle Down Government.” by The Elephant's Child

For some time in the campaign, Barack Obama has sneeringly referred to “trickle down snake oil” and to “trickle down theory” as something that Romney wants to do and is what caused all our problems in the first place. Democrats have long used the “trickle down economics” claim to denigrate supply-side economics. The latter has nothing to do with the former, which has never existed in theory or economic thought. “Trickle Down Theory is simply a tool,” as economist Walter Williams said yesterday, “of charlatans and political hustlers.”

Last night, Mitt Romney successfully skewered that tool of Obama’s by calling Obama’s policies as “trickle down government.” Wonderful. It is exactly descriptive of the Obama administration policies.  There is lots of evidence about the effect of tax cuts. Way back in the Harding administration, in 1921, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon advocated tax rate cuts, which Congress enacted into law.  As a result there was rising output, unemployment went down sharply, and the resulting higher income produced higher federal tax revenues. When more people are working, more people are paying taxes which means higher revenues even though rates have been lowered. Similar results were obtained in the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush when high tax rates were cut.

In 1921 the tax rate on people earning more than $100,000 a year was 73%., the federal government collected a little more than $700 million in income taxes, of which 30 percent was paid by those who earned more than $100,000. By 1929, after the tax rate had been cut to 24 percent on incomes higher than $100,000, the federal government collected more than $1 billion in income taxes, of which 65 percent was collected from those with incomes higher than $100,000. This is all explained in a short paper from Dr. Thomas Sowell from the Hoover Institution: “Trickle Down Theory and Tax Cuts for the Rich.”

One part of Dr. Sowell’s paper is a discussion of what Mellon called the “gesture of taxing the rich.” He tried unsuccessfully to put an end to the tax-exempt securities. Tax exempt securities and other tax breaks are valuable tools in envy and class warfare. Politicians get votes by raising taxes on the wealthy, while at the same time providing the wealthy a way out of high taxes through tax-exempt securities. This explains how President Obama can raise tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from Hollywood millionaires and Wall Street tycoons. “Tax cuts for the rich” demagoguery is deception perpetrated on the gullible and useful idiots.

We’ll see if Romney’s “trickle down government” has ended Obama’s use of the deceitful tool. Great term for Republicans to use at every opportunity.

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