American Elephants

It’s Friday, And Time For More Spin From the White House. by The Elephant's Child

Friday’s jobs report, we are told, is evidence of slow and steady progress. The 155,000 new jobs created in December documents nothing so much as the continuing decline of the Obama economy.

The unemployment rate of 7.8% appears to be the same as when Obama took office, that’s good, isn’t it? It is only 7.8% because the size of the work force has declined so much. Millions have given up looking for work and aren’t being counted as unemployed. If you account for the enormous drop in labor participation, the real unemployment rate would be 10.7%.

Here’s how you tell that it is spin. To break even (not even to make progress), just to break even,  the economy would need to create 200,000 new jobs each and every month. So it isn’t slow progress, but slow decline.

The great pool of long-term unemployed was a staggering 4.8 million people in December. Average weekly earnings for working people has declined about 1% over the past two years. When the tab comes in from all the companies that are laying off people because they can’t afford to pay for their health insurance under ObamaCare rules, or switch them to part-time so they don’t have to, at the end of January, it’s not going to be pretty.

Democrats don’t understand incentives or consequences.  And Obama believes that he can just tell people that everything is getting better, the economy is looking up, just takes a little more time, and they will continue to believe him. Hey, it worked in the election. So with an economy that he must really know is faltering, what does he do?

He forced  tax hike through Congress that his very own favorite economists say will slow growth and cost jobs. He’s  continuing to push forward on ObamaCare even though it’s scaring prospective employers from adding new jobs out of fear of its exorbitant new costs. The EPA has a whole stack of expensive, unnecessary and economy damaging regulations about to be released. And he has no intention of cutting back on spending at all.  He said so. So he went back to Hawaii to finish his vacation. He’ll be back in time for his inauguration.


Drudge Does Juxtapositions by The Elephant's Child


Paranoia Persists: Pointing Fingers and Saying “Pow” Gets Suspension by The Elephant's Child

This last month, a six-year-old boy in Silver Spring, MD was suspended from a Montgomery County public school for pointing his finger like a gun and saying “pow.” This was an incident that school officials characterized in a disciplinary letter as a threat to “shoot a student.” Oh please.

I’ve done that, haven’t you? I have also fired weapons and know the difference. I’m a real dead-eye when it comes to woodrats.

The first-grader was suspended for one day. The family found it necessary to hire an attorney, asking that the incident be expunged from the child’s school record amid concerns about potential long-term fallout. (Smart parents, but this is the most alarming point about the whole incident).  Attorney Robin Ficker said:

The boy had no intention to shoot anyone. He is skinny and meek, In his words, he was playing. She described the child as soft-spoken.

Of course he had no intention to shoot anyone. A finger is not an assault weapon.  But similar incidents have taken place in Oklahoma and elsewhere. I don’t think I was ever instructed in how to align my fingers to represent a pistol. It comes pretty naturally. Also note water-pistols, cap-pistols, NERF guns and carbide cannons.

The child’s parents received a letter from an assistant principal saying that their son “threatened to shoot a student” and that he had been spoken to earlier about similar behavior. A counselor “had an extended conversation” with the child to emphasize “the inappropriateness of using objects to make shooting gestures,” and an assistant principal had talked to the boy about the “seriousness” of the issue, the letter said.

“Yet, after the meeting with the counselor and assistant principal [the boy] chose to point his finger at a female classmate and say “Pow,” wrote the school system’s attorney. OMG. Call the cops, send him right to juvenile detention. What is the matter with these people?

In the meantime, there seems to be a little common sense at the Maryland State Board of Education which is preparing for a final vote on a proposed regulation that would transform the use of out-of-school suspension for minor offenses. [Please define minor]. The new regulation ban zero-tolerance approach and require school systems to “adopt a rehabilitative philosophy toward discipline, with the goal of limiting suspensions and teaching positive behavior.” Sigh. There’s some nice bureaucratic language intended to absolve anyone from blame for anything.

Ridicule is still the best weapon. When our schools get all paranoid about such trivial stuff, you realize why our education system has fallen so far. These schools should be made national laughingstocks.  Just try a little common sense.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Departs the Battlefield. by The Elephant's Child


Bloomberg puts it delicately. “Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner finds himself in a familiar position: eager to resume life outside government and facing contentious negotiations with Congress over raising the federal debt ceiling.”

“The last time he was in this predicament, in June 2011, President Barack Obama persuaded him to stay. This time, Geithner has indicated to White House officials he wants to carry through with his plan to leave the administration by the end of this month, even if a deal on the debt limit isn’t in place, according to two people familiar with the matter.”

Over at Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden referred metaphorically to the Titanic and sinking ships.

Administration officials approached American Express Co. CEO Kenneth Chenault about joining Obama’s second-term cabinet, but he is not interested in leaving the private sector and has declined further comment.

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew remains the leading contender for the Treasury job according to the usual anonymous people. Lew did work as a managing director for Citigroup, and has served as director of the Office of Management and Budget for both Obama and President Clinton. Prior to that he was an aide to the late Tip O’Neill.

“Because Lew’s experience in financial markets is thin, Obama may seek to name a Wall Street executive as deputy Treasury Secretary,” the anonymous people said.

Obama has a lot of jobs to fill. He has already nominated Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is leaving, supposedly before charges can be filed about her use of illegal false-name emails. Obama will be choosing new secretaries of defense, commerce, and energy,  and a new U.S. trade representative and a new director of the CIA, and probably more.

Geithner told Congress on Dec. 31 that the U.S. hit its statutory debt limit, requiring emergency steps announced last week to keep funding government and avoid default. He said Treasury can create about $200 billion of “headroom” to avoid default.  He will stay through the inauguration, and then leave.

The negotiations over the debt ceiling will be contentious. Republicans will demand spending cuts. Obama insists that any spending cut be met with a rise in taxes. He’s still playing politics and trying to get the Republicans to raise taxes. Democrats have a fixed belief that the only arrow in the Republican quiver, so to speak, is tax cuts, and if they can make the Republicans surrender on tax cuts, then the Republicans are over as a political party.

Mr. Obama’s current word (undoubtedly focus-group tested) is “balance.” That simply means he gets his way.

They really don’t get the philosophical basis of the Republican party. At some point Democrats’ reason for existence became simply — winning. Their only goal is power, and to achieve power, they must win. They don’t like the Constitution because it is a restraint on what they can do. They don’t want to compete with the Republican party, they want to end it, permanently.

Republicans want to defeat Democrat’s bad ideas, and help them to see why specific ideas will not work. But I don’t know of any Republican, any time, who wanted to finish off the Democratic party, put them all in concentration camps, or execute them all. (Suggestions Democrats have frequently made). Republicans believe in free markets, free people and a society of growth and opportunity for all. There used to be Democrats who wanted that too, they just had different ideas about how to get there.

Big Government may mean power for the elite, but it means control and regulation and ever diminishing freedom for the people. Aside from that — it just doesn’t work.  History has plenty of lessons if we just pay attention.

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