American Elephants


No More Keynesian Economics, Obama is Turning the Page! by The Elephant's Child

Obama’s State of the Union speech claimed 2014 as a “breakthrough year for America,”with a growing economy and job creation at the fastest pace since 1999. Clever word tricks. If you count only jobs created, which he does, and leave out the jobs destroyed, the people who are so discouraged that they have dropped out of the workforce and  the growth in the population — you can get some pretty good job creation numbers, but they are meaningless except to fool the folks who don’t pay attention.

At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.

It’s clear that all the happy talk did not resonate with the American people, who are seeing something different from the news of the day.

Mr Obama then began to make his pitch for “Middle Class Economics.” Unfortunately he tried to make it with Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis. Rebekah turned out to be a campaign staffer who he has used for “evidence” before.

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years.

Middle class economics, he said, is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone lays by the same set of rules. He really likes that phrase, it’s been in every speech for years. And it is meaningless. What is a “fair shot?” What is doing your “fair share?”

Apparently you don’t have to do anything, for the government will give you money. Paid sick leave, higher minimum wage, quality childcare, free community college, and if you have managed to save up for your kids’ college in a 529 plan (with money that has already been taxed) he plans to tax the distributions when you take it out to pay for the tuition.

It’s all a game of gotcha. Taxing 529 plan distributions is not going to pass Congress. The average account size of assets in 529 plans is $20,671. Saving that much up in a troubled economy is a real accomplishment. Why would you tax the same money once again?

So there you have “Middle Class Economics.” The right hand giveth and the left hand taketh away. It isn’t really supposed to accomplish anything, it’s just supposed to sound good.



The Boston Marathon Bombing Was Not an Act of Terrorism by The Elephant's Child

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As long as we’re talking about the careful parsing of language, according to the Boston Globe,“the Boston Marathon bombing attacks were not an “act of terrorism,” the U.S. Treasury Department has ruled, which conveniently means terrorism insurance claims need not be paid out in full.”

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which created federally backed insurance in cases of damage due to terrorism. Some Boston businesses were among those that bought the insurance.

Those purchases became relevant after the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Of the 160 companies located near the marathon’s finish line that submitted insurance claims, just 14 percent had purchased terrorism insurance, Insurance Journal reported.

And of course Major Hassan’s massacre of his fellow service-members is still designated “workplace violence,” without the slightest acknowledgment of reality. But then that simply deprives the wounded of medical care and purple hearts, and the recognition that they were wounded in the line of duty. They probably don’t particularly care about the medal, but the benefits matter.




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