American Elephants


The Obama Economy By the Numbers by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is on the road again, talking about the middle class, and how the economy is recovering and how he wants every young person to go to college, and he wants to boost everyone into the middle class because — “Americans are gritty, resilient and work hard.” And they forge on against “forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades.”

Does anyone pay attention anymore? His voice has seemed to grow more hectoring; he lectures; it’s as if he is irritated that we are not cheering as much as we used to.

“This week,” he said, “I put forward common sense proposals for how we can create more jobs in manufacturing, in wind, solar and natural gas and by rebuilding America’s infrastructure.” He’s been saying the same thing for five years, and it still doesn’t work. His job approval ratings on the economy have dropped to 35 percent.

It’s about the Obama economy; Here it is by the numbers from Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse blog.

#1 When Barack Obama entered the White House, 60.6 percent of working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.7 percent of working age Americans have a job.
#2 Since Obama has been president, seven out of every eight jobs that have been “created” in the U.S. economy have been part-time jobs.
#3 The number of full-time workers in the United States is still nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.
#4 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers now make less than $30,000 a year.
#540 percent of all workers in the United States actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.
#6 When the Obama era began, the average duration of unemployment in this country was 19.8 weeks.  Today, it is 36.6 weeks.
#7 During the first four years of Obama, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” soared by an astounding 8,332,000.  That far exceeds any previous four year total.
#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
#9 When Obama was elected, the homeownership rate in the United States was 67.5 percent.  Today, it is 65.0 percent.  That is the lowest that it has been in 18 years.
#10 When Obama entered the White House, the mortgage delinquency rate was 7.85 percent.  Today, it is 9.72 percent.
#11 In 2008, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 268 billion dollars.  Last year, it was 315 billion dollars.
#12 When Obama first became president, 12.5 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.  Today, only 11.9 million Americans have manufacturing jobs.
#13 Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#14 The poverty rate has shot up to 16.1 percent.  That is actually higher than when the War on Poverty began in 1965.
#15 During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day.
#16 When Barack Obama entered the White House, there were about 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.
#17 At this point, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.
#18 When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.85.  Today, it is $3.53.
#19 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#20 Health insurance costs have risen by 29 percent since Barack Obama became president, and Obamacare is going to make things far worse.
#21 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
#22 According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration
Bush Sr.: 11.3   Clinton: 11.2    Bush Jr.: 10.8    Obama: 7.8
#23 In 2008, that total amount of student loan debt in this country was 440 billion dollars.  At this point, it has shot up to about a trillion dollars.
#24 According to one recent survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
#25 During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans collecting federal disability insurance rose by more than 18 percent.
#26 The total amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has grown by 32 percent since Barack Obama became president.
#27 According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.
#28 As I wrote about the other day, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
#29 Under Barack Obama, the velocity of money (a very important indicator of economic health) has plunged to a post-World War II low.
#30 At the end of 2008, the Federal Reserve held $475.9 billion worth of U.S. Treasury bonds.  Today, Fed holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds have skyrocketed past the 2 trillion dollar mark.
#31 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent.  Today, it is up to 101 percent.
#32 During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more new debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
#33 When you break it down, the amount of new debt accumulated by the U.S. government during Obama’s first term comes to approximately$50,521 for every single household in the United States.  Are you able to pay your share?
President Obama has run $1 Trillion deficits for each of the four years of his first term.


ObamaCare’s Clumsy Law Invites Fraud, Waste and Abuse! by The Elephant's Child

On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, HHS received authority from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to make as many as 1,814 new hires under an emergency “Direct Hiring Authority” order.  The administration ordered that expansion of employment despite a government-wide hiring freeze. The disdain for regulations and laws is of long-standing. 1,684 of those positions have been filled.

HHS started hiring in May 2010, and has hired 86 criminal investigators, and exactly two “consumer safety officers.” 261 ‘consumer safety officers’ were authorized, and 50 criminal investigators. Regulations, authorizations, what, at this point, does it matter? “We now have the Obamacare police” said the head of Judicial Watch, which has filed hundreds of FOIA requests. “Given the confusion and problems of the law’s implementation, we would need a small army to police all the waste, fraud, and abuse that is already evident.”

The delayed implementation of the employer mandate means that the IRS and the health insurance exchanges will be unable to determine whether individuals are eligible for taxpayer-funded subsidies and will instead rely on the honor system. Experts say this could result in billion of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse.

Forbes writer Avik Roy says the reason for moving ahead with the new scheme is obvious. The Obama administration is focused on making sure that enough Americans enroll in ObamaCare subsidized health insurance, because once they receive subsidies, it will be politically impossible for Republicans to re peal ObamaCare in the future.

Roy added: “Deliberately encouraging tens of billion of dollars of waste, fraud, and abuse in order to achieve a political objective is profoundly immoral.” But that has never bothered the administration. Ignoring key parts of the health care law is not even constitutional.

NCPA’s Health Policy Blog points out that a long-standing problem in the individual insurance market is collecting the premiums. The individual market is made up of people with tentative work histories, and money may be tight in a given month. Insurers attempt to compensate by requiring automatic  withdrawals from bank accounts or prepayment of premiums on a quarterly basis, but aside from a grace period of a week or so, failure to pay means cancellation of the policy.

The regulations allow for a 90 day grace period, but that is just asking for trouble. During the first month of delinquency, the insurer must 1) notify HHS of non-payment.2) notify providers of the possibility of denied claims 3) notify the insured that he is in trouble 4) continue to collect the advanced tax credit 5) return the tax credit to the Treasury 6) issue a termination notice to the insured at the end of the grace period, and 7) determine if the insured has a disability as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act, and make “reasonable accommodations” for such individuals.  This all adds to the costs.

NCPA suggests that most people will do this because you can get 12 months of coverage for 9 months of premiums with absolutely no premium.

But it’s all going to work, if badly, and people will be eager to transfer into a single-payer plan to fix the shortcomings of ObamaCare, won’t they?



The President Is Going to Fix Education By Rating Colleges: by The Elephant's Child

Harvard Economics professor Greg Mankiw recently shared an email he had received from an Adjunct Professor who has been teaching multiple sections of economics for ears at several colleges and Universities in the state of Indiana. This is not just a complaint about the perils of the life of a part-time professor,  and they have reason to complain. Do read the whole thing

With the implementation of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) these institutions are giving notification to their part-time faulty [sic] that their individual teaching schedules will now be limited to three sections. At the college this will likely result in the cancellation of 20-25% of the class sections in economics, and I would assume other areas will have a similar result. The students are not fully aware of the situation and many will be surprised that their desire to get a college education is now being impacted by the need to avoid the full implementation of the ACA.

Because of the huge increase in costs mandated by the ACA, one business after another is making sure that their low-wage or part-time workers work no more than 29 hours which the Obama administration has decided is the dividing line between those who get their health insurance paid for and those who don’t.

The consequences, fewer classes available to the student; more reliance on online classes; as previously mentioned — more reliance on robots, which means fewer jobs for teens, which means more young people living with parents for extended years, which means parents are unable to save as much for retirement, and so on.

The president, meanwhile is out campaigning again on a bus tour about fixing the cost of education: He wants the government to start rating colleges on their effectiveness, and if you are getting financial aid, they want to assure that you are doing your part to make progress towards a degree. Colleges will be rated on their tuition costs, rates of graduation and earnings of graduates. I wonder if he has ever asked himself why tuition coats are so high? For years, every time the government raises the amount a student can borrow in college loans, tuition goes up because the government has said that students can take on more debt.

The liberal assumption that if something needs be done, it must be done by government — is the source of much of the trouble in America today. There are very few things that government can do well — as we can see clearly in current policy.



Perpetuum Jazzile : True Colors by The Elephant's Child


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