American Elephants

The New Talking-Point Is “A Year of Action” by The Elephant's Child

Obama visits  Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas Day

President Obama’s Saturday addresses are sometimes more revealing than he intended them to be. Yesterday, he said:

Yesterday, we learned that in 2013, our businesses created 2.2 million new jobs – including 87,000 last month.  Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since October 2008.  And across our broader economy, there are signs of progress.  Our manufacturing and housing sectors are rebounding.  Our energy, technology, and auto sectors are booming.  Thanks in part to the reforms in the Affordable Care Act, health care costs now eat up less of our economy – over the past four years, costs have grown at the slowest rate on record.  And since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.

Our unemployment rate is so low only because our workforce, in spite of new high school and college graduates, new immigrants, has shrunk to the levels of 1978. Ninety-one million Americans have dropped out of the labor force. And according to the Labor Department the economy produced only 74,000 new net jobs in the month. (Mr. Obama must have ignored that ‘net’ part). Energy is doing fine in spite of the administration, and declining health care costs have nothing to do with reforms in the Affordable Care Act, which went into effect only on January 1.

As usual, the president tries to take credit for anything favorable and disassociate himself from anything unfavorable. Here’s the new phrase:

This will be a year of action.  I’ll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families – with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part.

President Obama has no idea how to create jobs. “Year of Action” indeed.

Working folks are looking for the kind of stable, secure jobs that went overseas in the past couple decades. So next week, I’ll join companies and colleges and take action to boost the high-tech manufacturing that attracts the kind of good new jobs a growing middle class requires.

So all the good jobs went overseas? And we have to send the unemployed back to college so they are qualified, but new college graduates are having a really hard time finding jobs? There is something wrong with this logic.

What is impossible for a ‘progressive’ president is to cut taxes or eliminate them for corporations to ease the cost of doing business. He has flatly rejected the idea that over-regulation or uncertainty causes business to refrain from hiring.

“Business owners are ready to play their part and hire more workers.” What I am reading is that business owners are reluctant to hire those who are long-term unemployed on the supposition that they are poorly qualified or they wouldn’t be unemployed. Business leaders are vigorously lobbying Congress to pass an immigration bill that will allow in many more foreign workers who will work for less and be more cooperative in their desire to stay  here. We need to reform our immigration policies, but vastly increasing the numbers of immigrant workers is not going to solve our unemployment problems.

You can’t keep giving the unemployed increasing amounts of other peoples’ money to make them more comfortable in being unemployed and expect them to struggle to find work. The recession, is not and never was the worst recession since the Great Depression. We have had other worse recessions. Obama’s recovery began in June 2009. Some recovery.

Investors created Obama’s Jobs Index to show how the Obama administration policies have failed to create adequate job growth. The remedy for unemployment is a growing economy. To make an economy grow, you need to make it easier for business to hire, to expand, to grow, by eliminating the policies that make it harder for them to do so.  Freedom is the fuel for a growing economy, not control.

*My original headline said The new Buzz-Word, but I was reminded that “A Year of Action” was a phrase,not a word. My Bad.


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Right, Obama…

Let’s see…

“Yesterday, we learned that in 2013, our businesses created 2.2 million new jobs – including 87,000 last month.”
Over 35% of which were part-time or seasonal.

“Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since October 2008.”
And our labor participation rate is the lowest it’s been since the Carter administration.

“Our manufacturing and housing sectors are rebounding.”
But still stagnant – some types of manufacturing are up (automotive, mainly), other types (durable goods) are down, and new construction starts are better than in 2009… by barely a percentage point.

“Our energy, technology, and auto sectors are booming.”
Fossil fuel is doing well, and could boom if you’d just get out of the way. The nuclear industry is stagnant (no new plants have come online, and three shut down in 2013), and the “renewable” sector is a disaster – a mess of incoherent ideas and crony funding.

“Thanks in part to the reforms in the Affordable Care Act, health care costs now eat up less of our economy – over the past four years, costs have grown at the slowest rate on record.”
Overlooking the simple fact that this statement, like most of the others he’s made about Obamacare, is easily proved to be a lie, healthcare costs were going down BEFORE HE WAS ELECTED… before he even made his speech at the 2004 Democrat Convention. The data manipulation here comes from the fact that he is only counting healthcare expenditures, and not including payments for insurance or HSA’s.

“And since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.”
And yet still spending more than any president in US history. And the deficit that he “cut in half” was his own.

“This will be a year of action.”
Really? After over 80,000 pages of bureaucratically imposed regulations, A lot of us think Obama has done enough.


Comment by Lon Mead

Additionally, please note that in this “Year of Action” is absolutely nothing about Israel, or Iran, or North Korea, or al-Qaeda, or Russia, or China, or Syria, etc, etc,…

I’m guessing that there’s limits to “Action”.


Comment by Lon Mead

Heh… A friend of mine just noted that Obama hasn’t been able to stay on a single issue for more than about 2-2 1/2 weeks at a time (note all the “pivots” and “laser-like focus” from the past five years)… she just wondered how long it will be before the “Year of Action” becomes “Two Weeks of Busywork”.


Comment by Lon Mead

It was a pretty infuriating talk, wasn’t it? Does he know it’s all hooey? Is he surrounded by sycophants who tell him that it’s all getting better every day? I find myself constantly trying to understand the psychology. How can he act like this? How can he say these things? The excerpts from Secretary Gates’ book that have been released offer some clues, but Americans have such respect for the office that they are always more circumspect than really revealing.The White House staff is apparently completely in awe. Strange, strange. Perhaps next time we can get someone who actually likes the country.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

The Clinton White House was similar… not the sense of awe so much as everyone in lockstep, very few opposing ideas in evidence. Poppa Bush and Reagan both would actually seek out opposing viewpoints (I actually was the devil’s advocate for a couple of discussions with President Bush (41)). They both always wanted to know where the weak spots were, and they both realized that a single viewpoint wouldn’t always show them. What my sources tell me is that everything Obama hears gets filtered through a select set of ears. Reagan and Poppa Bush loved to debate; Clinton loved the opportunity to try and persuade you over to his side; W actually would discuss some policy ideas with interns just to get a fresh perspective. That doesn’t happen in the Obama White House.


Comment by Lon Mead

December only created 74,000 new jobs, far below payroll services company ADP estimate of 215,000. Hold on, I study economists, the Bureau of Labor Statistics number may well be revised upward later just as November was, adding an additional 38,000 jobs increasing the total from 203,000 to 241,000 jobs.

The Household Employment Survey unemployment rate showed a decline of three tenths to 6.7%. The rw talking point is that folks are discouraged from looking for work and thus aren’t counted anymore. Another talking point is that if unemployment is stopped they’ll all go out and find jobs. All those discouraged workers are not getting unemployment, or they would be required to look for work as a condition of ui, so… why isn’t the economy booming? Contradictory rw talking points, imagine that.

The Job Participation Rate continues to decline, the right makes much of lately, as if Obama was to blame for it. It declined all through the Bush Admin as the BabyBoomers began to retire. Every adult not in the Military or institutionalized is counted on the Participation Rate. So as long as your 90 year old grandparents stay out of prison they’re counted, no matter if they ever had a job or not.

A large number of family members of all ages have given up looking for work since their unemployment benefits have run out, simply to save their family money. With 5+ workers for every job opening, just giving up a fruitless hunt for work with costs involved may be the best option for the family as a whole.

It’s not to hard to figure out what the problem is, 2013 saw China pass the US as the world’s biggest trader with combined imports and exports of $4t. The entire US GDP is only $16t. Thanks to trickle down economics with no regulation on corporate mergers and disastrous trade policies the fate of the US gets increasingly hopeless. That is the jobs policy of the Conservatives, no jobs, everybody can just stay home. They believe you can just live off your trust fund, right?

Here’s a look at job creation under each president since the Labor Department started keeping payroll records in 1939. The counts are based on total payrolls between the start of the month the president took office (using the final payroll count for the end of the prior December) and his final December in office.

Remember all the cries from the Rightwing business pundits that hyper-inflation is just around the corner, or better yet that it’s already happening. This would mean that the government numbers on inflation are lies, all lies (lies, lies, I tell you). How many years do they think they can keep saying this without anybody catching on? Most people are starting to grasp that it’s nothing but ‘Horse Snip’.

The proof that the ‘untethered’ rw has been using throughout Obama’s two terms has been that steadily increasing gold price ‘proves’ inflation has been happening at a rampant pace. Kept saying this even as gold prices have fallen by a third. (oops) Now they’re proclaiming that ‘real’ gold, that is physical gold that you buy at the jewelry store or pawn hasn’t gone down, and it’s in short supply. Except that ‘real’ gold has gone down, the market is the market.

Oil is supposed to be the other harbinger of hyper-inflation, except oil hasn’t been going up either. Sure Bush taking Saddam’s massive oil production off the market did drive the price of oil from $18 a barrel to $140 a barrel until it collapsed the banking system, but that increase was incorporated into the price of everything like you’d expect, and has stabilized.

What is Hyper-Inflation really? It is the printing of massive amounts of money, and distributing it to people who will spend it to buy goods and services that are in ever shorter supply. This drives up prices in a fantastic way, but only if you keep printing money in ever increasing amounts. That problem we don’t have. There is really downward pressure on wages and that inhibits spending even if the workers have some money. We have far more goods than people can buy, you should expect prices to actually fall some before long. When you start seeing empty shelves at big box stores then you can worry.

Most of the $75b (was 85b) per month in new money that the Federal Reserve (a private bank) is printing is going to people that already spend millions each month to maintain their ‘lifestyle’. Buying a new large Italian yacht or new French helicopter isn’t going to produce any inflation. Most likely the rich just launder their increased cash flow through a Cayman Islands bank that they may even own & that is really held in New York so as to not pay any taxes, but not actually buy anything.

The real goal of the Fed is to convince the super rich that the Fed is printing sufficient money so that it will lead to inflation and cause their wealth decline in real terms. The idea being that the rich will need to actually get out and ‘make’ some money, to engage in some sort of real commerce that will ‘inadvertently’ do us ‘little people’ some good. There have been some signs of this in inventory builds, primarily in the easing of mortgage requirements so that a few more people can buy homes. Thus the taper test.

In short, you can forget about buying a wheelbarrow to carry your loaf of bread money, but being prepared to transport your hoard of canned goods while you still have some money might be prudent. Deflation is still the real fear, this is what has always defined a Depression, and we’re going to have another, no ifs ands about it. Why? Because billionaires flush with cash love a good bout of deflation so as to buy up your assets for 10 cents on the dollar, they still hold sway.

Most of the really vast fortunes that old white wealthy are sitting on today came from their daddies taking advantage of the last massive deflation in 1930. In short, we can take control our future, but only if a significant fraction of people come to understand the things the rich don’t want you to know anything about.

Bill Clinton says Democratic presidents top Republican presidents in job creation | PolitiFact

Clinton’s claim at the convention was worded differently, so we quickly re-crunched the numbers based on his specifications.

Let’s cut to the chase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the net increases in private-sector employment under each president, chronologically by party:


Richard Nixon: Increase of 7.1 million jobs
Gerald Ford: Increase of 1.3 million jobs
Ronald Reagan: Increase of 14.7 million jobs
George H.W. Bush: Increase of 1.5 million jobs
George W. Bush: Decline of 646,000 jobs

Total: Increase of 23.9 million jobs under Republican presidents


John F. Kennedy: Increase of 2.7 million jobs
Lyndon B. Johnson: Increase of 9.5 million jobs
Jimmy Carter: Increase of 9.0 million jobs
Bill Clinton: Increase of 20.8 million jobs
Barack Obama: Increase of 332,000 jobs

Total: Increase of 42.3 million jobs.

So Clinton is right. But we’ll bring up a few points worth noting.

This does not include government jobs

The combination of private-sector jobs and public-sector jobs is a broader measurement of job creation than private-sector alone. But excluding government jobs would presumably hurt Democrats more than Republicans, given the two parties’ historical stances toward the role of government. The fact that Democrats finished so far ahead despite taking government jobs off the table makes it a more impressive accomplishment.

The Democrats didn’t benefit from population growth

For our previous story, Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless calculated that the U.S. working-age population actually grew slightly faster under Republican
presidents, also making the Democratic accomplishment more impressive. …

Republicans are just horrible at creating jobs.


Comment by Eddie Mertin

So, Eddie, the point of your long, incoherent rant is… what? That like so many others, you can cherry-pick data to reach the conclusion you like? That you ignore underlying causes and try to tout raw data as proof? And your class warfare bunk is just that… nonsense. The Fed isn’t printing money to give to the “super-rich” (most of whom seem to be supporters of the Democrat party, surveys tell us), it’s doing it to try and keep interest rates low to prop up the stock market. Since you “study economists” (whatever that means) I’m surprised you didn’t know that. The Fed has been admitting since the first round of quantitative easing that that’s what it’s for. And that whole income inequality thing? You were aware that average household incomes declined over the past few years by around $4000, and that incomes at all levels have been in decline for the past two years (yes, even the rich are getting poorer under Obama, which is what he wanted, but then so is everyone else).

Yeah, labor participation was going down before Obama took office, but the number of people dropping out of the labor force has spiked over the past four years (not just an “rw talking point”. the BLS has reported this every month in the same report the unemployment numbers are found in). Since Obama’s “recovery” started, growth has barely cracked 2%, and has been lower than that over most of that period of time.

And 2014 is when the real load of Obamacare issues are going to happen, as well as when the rest of the Dodd-Frank “reforms” kick in. Obama is driving this economy into the toilet, and his administration is covering for this by using accounting tricks that would get someone in the private sector thrown in jail.

But thanks for playing!


Comment by Lon Mead

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