Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: American Innovation, Industries Die, Occupations Disappear
When I was growing up, our mountainous area was lumbering and ranching country. Most of the larger towns had lumber mills, and the roads were always full of logging trucks taking logs to the mills. That’s almost all gone. We used to count the cars of logs on the log trains. Times change. Industries die. Occupations disappear.
Democrats are all excited about raising the minimum wage because they assume hat the minimum wage has to support families and they are raising the living standards of the poor. Actually, most of those who receive the minimum wage are teenagers, the average family income of someone receiving the minimum wage is $50,000 or more.
They turned the proposal over to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) who make projections given on exactly what information they are given. President Obama’s proposed $10.10 by 2016 could cost half a million Americans their jobs, as “some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.” CBO says it could be as high as one million lost jobs. But they take 500,000 as a middling figure. To be added on to the 100 million now unemployed.
My grocery store has several aisles for self-checkout now, as do many other stores like Home Depot. Restaurants are replacing waiters and waitresses with electronic menu pads. Monumentum machines has created a hamburger-making robot, and is planning a chain of restaurants with a cook staff of robots.
The White House was pleased with the CBO report, they take the possibility that there would be no lost jobs more seriously because it is more pleasing. Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers came up with the usual blather about 7 Nobel prize winners and 600 other economists. Paying a better wage can improve productivity and reduce unit labor costs.” Or Businesses can just accept lower profit margins.”
This robot, the John Deere H414 harvester head, is new to me, though it has been around since 2008. When government comes up with one of its bad ideas or bad regulations, ingenious Americans find ways to get around it. Accepting lower profit margins is not one of them. Most companies’ profit margins are not very big, and if a company cannot make a profit, they go out of business. What the heck are they teaching in business school anyway?
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Global Warming, Junk Science, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, Science/Technology | Tags: Climate Data Scandal, Drought in California, Fictitious Temp Increase
A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
But once you get up over a billion dollars, or even before that, it’s hard to grasp just what we are really talking about.
The current administration was hoping that the Republicans would fail to raise the debt ceiling, so they could demonize the GOP for the rest of the year for not paying our country’s bills, for defaulting on the debt, destroying our credit-rating, for all the things they would be able to shut down to pay for the damage the nasty Republicans were doing to the country. But Republicans raised the limit, as had to be done anyway, and now the GOP is free to point at those who, so callously, could not stop spending.
The First Lady and the girls are in Aspen, skiing. The president has gone to California to play golf with Jay Carney, but dropped in on the Central Valley to publicize California’s drought — as a sign of global warming. It is a little preposterous to try to blame the East’s snow and ice on global warming, though some of media have valiantly tried to do so. It really doesn’t pass the laugh test. Ditto for the drought.
Another quiet story broke that didn’t make front-page headlines. “A newly-uncovered and monumental calculating error in official U.S. government climate data shows that climate scientists unjustifiably added on a whopping one degree of phantom warming to the official ‘raw’ temperature record. ” Independent data analyst Steven Goddard released his telling study of the officially adjusted and “homogenized” U.S. temperature records relied upon by NASA, NOAA, USHCN and scientists around the world to “prove” our climate has been warming dangerously. His evidence proves conclusively that the officially-claimed one-degree increase in temperatures is entirely fictitious. It also discredits the reliability of any assertion by such agencies to possess a reliable and robust temperature record.
So on his trip to California, President Obama is pitching a new $1 billion climate change resilience fund during a visit to Fresno and the Great Central Valley, devastated by government-caused drought. The President even hauled out his assistant to the president on science and technology, John Holdren, who said “Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change.”
The new fund—separate from Obama’s climate agenda announced in June — will be detailed in the president’s 2015 budget, set for release next month. Obama has said he will use his executive authority to push his climate agenda and other policies during his “year of action,” but the president would need approval from Congress for the fund.
In Europe, countries are backing away from renewable energy as they realize that they can’t afford the subsidies, and without subsidies the renewable energy goes away. Britain is having a flooding problem, blamed by some on global warming, but in reality, apparently the fault of government’s failure to dredge coastal rivers in order to protect a mollusc.
Victor Davis Hanson, a 3rd or 4th generation California farmer, explains the drought Mr, Obama wants to spend a billion on, as two droughts — nature’s and its man made twin.
Californians have not built a major reservoir since the New Melones Dam more than 30 years ago. As the state subsequently added almost 20 million people, it assumed that it was exempt from creating any more “unnatural” Sierra lakes and canals to store precious water during California’s rarer wet and snow-filled years.
Then, short-sightedness soon became conceit. Green utopians went further and demanded that an ailing three-inch bait fish in the San Francisco delta receive more fresh oxygenated water. In the last five years, they have successfully gone to court to force millions of acre-feet of contracted irrigation water to be diverted from farms to flow freely out to sea.
So there you have it. Government causes problems, president proposes billions in public money, congress appropriates, which doesn’t solve problems and creates more. You can’t fix problems by throwing money at them. A Political Problem cannot be solved by throwing money in it’s direction.
Filed under: Politics, Economy, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Capitalism | Tags: United Auto Workers, Volkswagen In America, Rejected 712 - 626
Workers at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant firmly rejected the United Auto Workers union’s bid to break into the right-to-work state on Friday.
The plant rejected the UAWs attempt to unionize the plant 712–626, in spite of an aggressive campaign by the union, and with the cooperation of Volkswagen. Union opponents, including Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, celebrated.
The rejection of a key Democrat Party ally came in spite of President Barack Obama’s improper personal support for the unionization drive. “Tennessee Republicans “are more concerned about German shareholders than American workers,” Obama said shortly before the vote was announced.
Previous failed UAW campaigns at Nissan and Honda plants were resisted by employers, but Volkswagen did not resist the union here. The company has said it favors the creation of a German-style “works council,” which gives workers a voice on a variety of product and other decisions. Under American law, a union must represent employees for a company to form a works council.
In Germany, high-school students are separated into vocational training programs early on. and I suspect that workers’ relations with German unions are quite different than workers’ relations with the UAW here. The United Auto Workers were stunned by the devastating defeat. They had hoped that with Volkswagen’s cooperation, they could break into the foreign-owned Southern factories, in spite of a region wary of organized labor. More and more states are becoming “right-to-work”as the example of Detroit competes with the pitches of union organizers.
Union’s incessant efforts to boost pay and benefits for workers seem less enticing when measured against shuttered factories, lost jobs and lost benefits in the examples so prominent in the news. Tennessee auto workers seem to be quite happy with their employer. It usually helps the union cause if workers hate their boss, and feel mistreated.
It would be interesting to know if President Obama’s constant efforts to push unions help or hurt his cause. He has certainly been involved, not the job of a president.
Filed under: Politics, News, The Constitution, History, Media Bias, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Freedom, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism | Tags: Press Freedom Index, No Longer a Free Press, Critical Information Needs?
As the Obama administration has degraded American and world trust in our institutions, each new downgrade seems more ordinary and unexceptional and less surprising. So it is that Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index the other day. Those of us who still believe in a strong, independent and above all a free press found it disheartening. Who would be surprised that China, Syria and North Korea inhabit the bottom layer at the rankings of press freedom? One would think that the explosion of new sources, and vast new channels of information would increase freedom.
The United States of America has slipped in the fifth year of Obama’s reign by thirteen spots to 46th in the world — right between Rumania and Haiti. That fall is based largely on the Obama administration’s remarkably determined efforts to curb dissent, to plug and track down leaks, and control the press.
Obama brought with him from Chicago a kind of governance to which we are unaccustomed. The Obama administration leaks profusely with the news they want out. This is normal, all administrations work at getting out that which they want to get out. But no president wants to hear surprises from the media. No administration in memory, however, has gone to such lengths to control the press, control leaks and punish those who are uncooperative.
The Democrats are facing an upcoming election this fall in the looming shadow of the ObamaCare Disaster. The Left is deeply involved, at every level, in pretending that all is well, or will be well — tomorrow. Obama’s signature achievement cannot fail. And they will go to whatever ends they must to make sure that it does work.
The Tea Party is deeply frightening to the Left. Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the IRS scandal of attempting to intimidate and derail conservative groups as merely some “bone-head decisions” by confused local agents, without even a “smidgen” of corruption. The president portrayed himself as a victim of Fox News’ efforts to harp on the case, to drive its own anti-administration agenda. Nine months back, he denounced the same affair as an outrage, and promised a thorough investigation.
Now that the media is firmly under control, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will launch this Spring a nationwide “study” of newsroom values, priorities and processes to see if they meet a list of government “critical information needs.” This will also involve print media over which the FCC has previously had no authority whatsoever under the Constitution.
The FCC will place “researchers” in U.S. newsrooms, supposedly to learn about how editorial decisions are made. They will invade radio, television and even newspaper newsrooms. It is called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.” They’re always good at coming up with innocuous-sounding names. I mean what could be more innocuous than “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?” And look where that’s gotten us.
Remember when the government seized Associated Press phone records, and tailed the mother of a Fox News reporter? That flared up for a bit, briefly, but there was “nothing to see there, just move along,” and it vanished down the memory hole.
The media has noticed that the administration can be somewhat assertive in waving around the vast power and majesty of the government of the United States of America. The media may not write about it, but they notice when the automobile industry is taken over by the federal government, and when Gibson Guitars is shut down and all their instruments and supplies are removed. Did you think there was pride in a free press? Not much and no courage.
The National Association of Broadcasters said the FCC “should reconsider” “qualitative” sections of its study, it wrote. Um, powerful statement.
Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the FCC, warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (pay-wall) that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses would seek “voluntary” compliance about how news stories are decided, as well as “wade into office politics” looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views. Pai questioned if such a study could really be voluntary given FCC’s conflict of interest.
News agencies ought to be screaming bloody murder, but the boat must not be rocked. The Obama administration has a record of going after its opponents. Race and minority status come in very handy. That’s why our press has dropped 13 places to a disgraceful 46th on the ranking of press freedom.
The Left is still seething over the failure of the defunct Fairness Doctrine. Their goal is to win. It’s that simple. They’ve had a taste of success and they won’t give up.
Filed under: Politics, The Constitution, Liberalism, Election 2008, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Statism | Tags: Lies and Corruption, Blaming Bush Forever, Faultless Lawless Obama
What politicians have not learned is that their words and faces will be preserved on YouTube or another of the many, many video sources, and the videos will be dug up, and when you say something really stupid, hoping people will believe it in spite of all evidence to the contrary — there you are, preserved for all time. Bwa-haha-ha-ha-ha.
Or Neener, Neener, Neener, whichever you prefer.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Progressivism, Regulation, Statism, Taxes | Tags: Absence of Thought, Misunderstanding Incentives, No Careful Research
• The members of the gang who constructed ObamaCare in the back rooms of Congress, do-gooders all, were anxious to see that ObamaCare made the people healthier. Problem — obesity. Lots of people were too fat. (Nevermind that overweight people are apt to live longer) The obvious solution was to tell the people how many calories the food they were eating contained. (Nevermind that there is no evidence that calorie labeling is effective in combating obesity. Multiple studies have shown that this simply is not the case. A study in Philadelphia showed that the regulation had no effect whatsoever on fast food consumption, and most people didn’t even notice the labels in McDonald’s.)
Common sense would indicate that pizzas, burritos and sandwiches are apt to have choices of many ingredients, each one of which requires a calorie count, that can be ordered in many combinations (hold the olives).
Although the law is designed to target corporate fast-food giants, in practice it will largely affect individual franchises that effectively operate as independent small businesses. For example, over 80 percent of McDonald’s locations are owned and operated by franchisees. Each of these franchisees will now be tasked with complying with the mandate–paying for new signage, removing profit-generating advertisements to make room for the calorie data, updating menus every time recipes change, and accommodating inspectors. Furthermore, it’s unclear what penalties restaurateurs will face if they inadvertently fail to comply.
The regulation is doomed to fail, because the do-gooders inability to keep its hands off our lunches outran thought and careful analysis.
• Consider the absurdity of developing a new government-run health care plan because health care costs too much — and coming up with a plan that actually raises the cost of health care and the cost of insurance policies — that increases the cost of each item used by the medical profession with a tax levied on “medical devices” — and then expects future costs to go down because of the medical innovation that is discouraged by a tax that forces many innovators out of business.
• Consider the absurdity of developing a new government-run health care plan because there are so many people who don’t have health insurance. We were told that 46 million Americans were in desperate need of health insurance. This was the reason for the Federal Government to take over 1/6th of the U.S. economy. After five months of ObamaCare a questionable 3 million people have enrolled, but not necessarily paid.
About 39 percent of the uninsured are in five states —Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. About 21 percent of the uninsured are not citizens. Up to 14 million are eligible for existing programs — Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, veterans benefits — but have not enrolled. 9.1 million have household incomes of at least $75,000 and could purchase insurance but don’t want to. Increasing numbers are signing up for concierge medicine outside the system.
• In the State of the Union address, President Obama received a standing ovation when he said “Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer.” This was not true in January, and it has not been true since Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996. That law required all individual insurance plans to have guaranteed renewability. It also prohibited all group health-insurance plans sold to businesses from denying coverage to individuals because of preexisting conditions. Medicare covered anyone age 65 or older regardless of preexisting conditions, ditto Medicaid. That wasn’t an intrinsic absurdity — just a plain lie.
• They were sure that computerizing all medical records into a national high tech database would save the U.S. more than $81 billion annually. That turned out to be a flawed study. Evidence on efficiency and safety are mixed, errors widespread, and most medical centers developed their own systems at great expense, but they don’t necessarily talk to each other, let alone talk to the federal government, nor is it clear that to be desirable. The problem seems to be that the systems were developed by High tech engineers instead of developed by clinicians to develop what would work for them. In some cases the doctors are followed around by ‘scribes’ who record data so the doctor doesn’t have to. How many typos do you do each day?
Are you mad yet?
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Media Bias, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: All About ObamaCare, For Your Enjoyment, The Republican Response
Here are Six Answers to your Most Pressing Questions today, or they would be the most pressing if you’d thought of them.
- When Obama Rewrites ObamaCare, Why Doesn’t Anyone Sue Him? Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has a remarkable legal mind, and it pays to listen. “President Obama has repeatedly suspended parts of the Affordable Care Act without the consent of Congress. The latest unilateral action happened Monday night, when the administration announced another delay of the employer mandate, the law’s provision that businesses with more than 50 employees must provide their employees with insurance starting in 2014 or pay large fines.“
- Why is Janet Yellen so concerned and disturbed about income inequality? James Pethokoukis explains why “income inequality” is a flawed enthusiasm of the Left. “A ‘very concerned’ Janet Yellen told a congressional panel today that she thinks income inequality is “one of the most important issues and one of the most disturbing trends facing the nation at the present time.”
- Actually, We Won the War on Poverty, And sorry liberals; It was conservative ideas that did it. “After all, despite the alarm of the current debate about America’s poor, the country has actually reduced poverty more than we often appreciate—and that decline in poverty has been less about the liberal programs of the New Deal and Great Society and more about economic growth and center-right welfare reforms than is widely recognized.”
- Why I’m Getting Sick of Defending ObamaCare: Incompetence, politics, and delays frustrate advocates of health care reform. Waiting for a Democrat to notice that all is not well? Ron Fournier is beginning to have trouble with it. “It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.“
- HIT Apologia: Health Information Technology, promised by the Left to save all the costs racked up by ObamaCare, forced on the health care industry with a $20 billion appropriation from the HITECH law to upgrade information technology. A team of RAND Corporation researchers projected in 2005 that rapid adoption of HIT would save the U.S. more than $81 billion annually. Not the first time people got a little overexcited by the wonders of high tech. Seven years later, information on efficiency and safety are mixed and health care expenditures have grown by $800 billion. The evidence is overwhelmingly negative. You doctor probably has more interaction with his computer than he does with you. They gave the problem to engineers to solve instead of doctors to develop what would work for them.
- “ObamaCare both sucks and blows” John Podhoretz offers up full-throated outrage at the latest announcement that “the Obama administration is once again unilaterally delaying a key aspect of its health-care law and what this act of astonishing royalism suggests about the president and his fundamental disrespect for the American system of checks and balances.” For your enjoyment.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: DC Court of Appeals, Silencing Opponents!, The IRS Got Slapped Down
“The IRS may not unilaterally expand its authority through such an expansive, atextual and ahistorical reading of the law.” The Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit used these words in a February 11 ruling that struck down an Obama administration regulation on tax preparers.
In the same week, President Obama illegally delayed the employer mandate and out of thin air created a bizarre loyalty oath to administer to companies suffering from ObamaCare, a federal court unanimously smacked down his IRS for executive overreach.
Federal judges should use this phrase as a guideline and include it in future rulings, replacing “IRS” with “Health and Human Services” or “the President of the United States,” as the case in question requires.
The background: In 2009, Obama named former H&R Block CEO Mark Ernst as deputy IRS commissioner. He led the devising of new regulations for tax preparers. The new rules required paid tax preparers to be licensed, pay fees and undergo federally approved training every year. No big deal for the big Tax preparer outfits or those who did it full time, but it would drive out of business the Mom and Pop tax preparers who hang out a shingle once a year and make a few thousand helping people with their taxes.
There’s a federal law that Obama appointees were barred from participating in any matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.So Obama hired Ernst as a “civil servant” rather than as a political appointee. But Congress never gave the IRS any authority to regulate tax preparers — none. The administration dealt with that by pretending that federal law says something that it doesn’t. Didn’t work. The IRS can regulate tax attorneys, accountants or agents who represent taxpayers in battles with the IRS over audits, tax-court cases and appeals. Helping to prepare a tax return is not practice before the IRS.
Much of Obama’s recent actions in revising laws to fit his agenda seem to be much more related to Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals than to whatever he learned or didn’t learn in law school.
Was Obama rewriting the rules for the employer mandate politically motivated? Is it possible that people who get their health insurance at work will be upset when they find they are losing their policies, or losing their doctors, or having the cost of their health insurance skyrocket? Is it possible that the rules will cause employers to let people go?
If medium-sized employers fire workers to get under the threshold for being required to offer insurance, these firms are now required to certify to the IRS, under penalty of perjury that ObamaCare is not a factor in the firings. ” To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs.“
Filed under: History, Law, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Governor Jay Inslee, Making Up The Law, President Barack Obama
Unintended consequences. Someone speaks, or takes an action, advocates a policy, and aside from the immediate political response, the world shifts a little, and all you can do is hope that if there are unintended consequences, they will not be too bad. President Obama famously said “he has a phone and he has a pen” and even today, announced at Monticello that “He is President of the United States and he can do whatever he wants to.”
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. There is the oath of office, and a long history of presidential terms in office, and the assumption that a president, any president, will struggle mightily to do the right thing for the people of the United States. Why else did he run for office? President Obama had something quite different in mind. He ran a nebulous campaign full of theatrics and empty words like “yes we can” and “we are the ones,” and people fell for it. But finding that now that he no longer has a Democrat-controlled Congress, but has to actually attempt to debate, discuss and compromise with Republicans in the House, like a petulant child, he announces that he will not compromise on anything, but will just act independently— with his pen and his phone.
Well, if the President of the United States can just act on his own, why not governors? Why do we need laws and customs and rules and tradition? Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, noted empty suit, has decided that while he is in office “During my term we will not be executing people.” He has the authority under RCW 10.10.120to commute a death sentence to life in prison at hard labor, and upon a petition from the offender, to pardon the offender, or to offer a reprieve which is to be issued “for good cause shown, and as the Governor thinks proper.”
Washington State does not have a particularly high murder rate with the exception of a couple of really bad serial killers. Ted Bundy’s case was famous. But the one that raised questions about the death penalty was that of the “Green River Killer,” Gary L. Ridgway. King County prosecutors gave up on capitol punishment in exchange for his cooperation with providing details that helped solve dozens of open murder cases. He pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first-degree murder in 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison. Forty-eight murders seemed like a good reason for a death penalty, though there were 48 families who deserved some kind of closure.
Governor Inslee’s actions are again reminiscent of President Obama’s efforts to escape blame for anything. Inslee doesn’t want to be blamed for any executions, and will shove them off on his successor.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Liberalism, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Economic Stress, The Essentials of Subsistence, The Value of Work
Kevin Williamson had a splendid essay in National Review on Saturday, entitled “Men at Work: Revisiting the alienation of labor.”
Unemployment at the individual level often is traumatic: Economic stress is difficult in and of itself, but it also can disturb family life, may lead to isolation from one’s friends and community, and may provide an occasion for shame, even when that shame is unjustified. Because we are the richest people that human civilization ever has seen, there is no reason for anyone to go wanting for the mere essentials of subsistence; because we are the richest people human civilization ever has seen, it is very difficult to be satisfied with the mere essentials of subsistence. …
If we assume that these workers can count, and we assume that they know their own affairs, then the conclusion is not simply — never simply! — that “more than 2 million people will decide not to work,” but that the wage paid by this particular manifestation of the welfare state (in the form of insurance subsidies) is better than the wage on offer for doing work.
With one hand, the state puts downward pressure on wages — especially for those at the bottom end of the earnings spectrum, who are, by economic definition, those regarded by their employers as most easily replaced, and who therefore bring relatively little negotiating power to the table. With the other hand, the same state inflates the wages of non-work, not only through the new health-care law but through various other manifestations of the welfare state, including the ever-longer extension of unemployment payments. We are sometimes scandalized to learn that these programs spend a great deal of money on people who do not really need them. That is the minor scandal. The major scandal is that so many people do need these programs. …
The diversity of human interests, human desires, and human abilities is in effect infinite, and so too, therefore, are the uses of labor and opportunities for employment. Surely there are many paths to a “right livelihood” waiting to be discovered. And yet there sits official Washington, along with its supramarginal gurus in the media, trying to figure out how to “create jobs” like an ape doing one of those monochromatic jigsaw puzzles with half the pieces missing, desperately working at “manipulating the world in order to get what we want from it,” forcing together pieces that do not fit.
And that is the perverse price of politics: that there are so few jobs to be had when there is so much work to be done.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Hurts American Incomes, January Jobs Numbers, ObamaCare Kills Jobs
Perhaps the gales of laughter have reached ears in the White House. Can you possibly believe that they didn’t know that people would find their insistence that losing a job was liberating and you would no longer be locked in a job and could write poems or make music. In any case, people do not seem to be feeling “liberated” by the lack of jobs.
The January job numbers were dismal. Spinning 113,000 gains in hiring is not too hard, because anything over 100,000 sounds like a positive, but back to back gains in hiring were the weakest in three years. The 48,000 rebound in construction probably reflects a bounce-back from weather-depressed readings in December. The fall in the unemployment rate reflects, not more people hired, but more people dropping out of the work force.
ObamaCare will reduce the incomes of most Americans. It will redistribute wealth, but the redistribution will be stunningly lopsided. According to a study from the liberal Bookings Institution ObamaCare will increase the income of Americans in the lowest 20 percent of the income scale — especially in the lowest 10 percent. But all other income groups, even those who make modest incomes in the $25,000 range will experience a decline in income because of ObamaCare. It will increase income by 9.2 percent for those in the lowest bracket. For everybody else, it will reduce their income by about 0.9 percent.
Republicans have argued all along that the ACA would end up costing the economy jobs, and the cost would be enormous. Previously the CBO’s cost estimate came to $848 billion over its first decade, but that has now grown to more than $2 trillion. The claimed deficit neutrality of ObamaCare was a myth which the GOP said it was all along. The CBO does not predict the number of job switchers or “free agents” It projects the net reduction in hours worked in the American economy — and that projects lower tax revenues— for a system that relies on tax revenues for the subsidies that keep their fantasy going.
A reduction of 2.5 million FTEs from ObamaCare would result in a reduction of $80.5 billion each year in gross compensation, even at the low-income average of $35,000 a year. That means less economic activity and lower tax revenues, thanks to the decrease in income that the loss of 2.5 million FTEs entail— no matter how they disappear. The greatest effect will be on the working middle class — just the folks Obama claims to want to help the most.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: "Left 3.0", Explaining the Mindset, Mental Morbitity
Tod Lindberg had been editor of the Hoover Institutions’ Policy Review since 1999, and important articles are a given. This piece from the last issue of Policy Review one year ago, which attempts to distinguish the current version of the Left from its previous iterations is particularly fascinating. He calls it Left 3.0. I’m always a ready-made audience for anything explaining the Left, because it seems so inexplicable that they can possibly think as they do.
Mr. Lindberg does not attempt a history of the Left. You’ve probably noticed the changes, but not really focused on what’s different.
The Left side of the American political spectrum has undergone an extraordinary transformation over the last dozen years. Perhaps because it remains a work in progress, the extent of this transformation has gone largely unremarked and seems underappreciated even among those who have been carrying it out. Forty years after the forces of the “New Left” managed to deliver the Democratic presidential nomination to their preferred candidate, George McGovern, only to see him lose the general election to Richard Nixon in a 49-state landslide, the United States is home to a newer Left. It’s political hopes repose not in a man able to muster less than 40 percent of the vote nationwide, but in the convincingly reelected president of the United States, Barack Obama. This newer Left is confident in itself, united both in its description of the problems the country faces and in how to go about addressing them. This Left is conscious of itself as a movement, and believes it is on the rise. It has already managed to reshape American politics, and its successes so far have hardly exhausted its promise. Policies are changing under its influence. And it opponents do not seem to have found an effective way to counter it politically. …
If classical liberalism emerged in part as a rebellion against hereditary privilege, modern American liberalism is foremost a rebellion against the privileges of wealth. The most important innovation of the Left, a principle held fast from the time of the French Revolution onward, has been its insistence that political rights could only be meaningful if accompanied by a degree of economic equality that systems based on political rights alone would not automatically create or protect. …
Implementation of the animating passion for equality requires the power of government. The Left shares the suspicion of government power at the hear of classical liberalism, but only up to a point. Individuals need rights to protect them from overweening government intrusion, true, but government power in the proper hands can do good, and indeed the proper hands must wield the power of government in order to do the good of pursuing equality. The proper hands are the Left’s, it hardly needs saying.
Mix yourself a good stiff drink, and take the time to figure out just what the Left is up to. Excellent article, altering and illuminating the other side of the political spectrum.