American Elephants

Memo to Peter E. Nordstrom & Janet Napolitano, Re: Human Nature 101 by The Elephant's Child

When confronted with young thugs ( I do observe the Che tee shirt and “We need Socialism”sign, and probably Mexican flag). In the case of the University of California at Berkeley, the Black Bloc who threaten to, or  do create havoc when you surrender immediately to their silly demands, you will get more of the same behavior. If they can bully you into dumping a supplier, what will they bully you into next, Mr. Nordstrom? Mrs. Napolitano, you have taught the Black Bloc that you are so frightened of them that you will stand down your police force and let them do whatever they want. Human Nature 101. They will.

Businesses who engage publicly in politics are apt to find that their customers are just as able, or even more, to engage in politics as well, and take their business elsewhere for a very long time.

This time the Black Bloc and Anarchists have learned that a little breaking of windows, setting fires and scrawling signs on buildings, or destroying banks will get little, if any response—they’ll be back to do even worse. It’s clear that they enjoy creating havoc.

In Seattle, the anarchists turned out to disrupt the World Trade Organization Meeting. They were successful. Now, every time there is something to protest—surprise, there they are again.

In his last hours as president, Barack Obama pardoned 78 federal prisoners and commuted the sentences of 153 others. Most were convicted of drug crimes —selling and trafficking, not being caught with a joint. At least one of them is already back behind bars, being found with a couple of pounds of cocaine. Nice going, Mr. President. Obviously, anyone convicted of a drug crime is convicted because of “racism,” not because of anything they did.

The reason we have laws, courts and prisons is not because we are a bunch of meanies. It’s because the bad behavior of a few hurts ordinary citizens, and we want to prevent more bad behavior, and hopefully teach those who behave badly not to do it again.

Incentives matter—because ordinary people respond to them. Plain human nature.  Wise to keep it in mind.

P.S. Probably not Nordstrom regulars. It’s the rest of us who are.

So Obama Is Lecturing Congress About Doing Their Jobs? by The Elephant's Child

President Obama made a little fiscal speech today, saying how hard he has worked, and lashed out at Congress for not giving him what he wants.

Ordinary folks, they do their jobs. They meet deadlines. They sit down and discuss things and then things happen. It there are disagreements they sort through the disagreements. The notion that our elected leadership can’t do the same thing is mind-boggling to them. It needs to stop. So I’m modestly optimistic that an agreement can be achieved. Nobody’s going to get 100% of what they want. But let’s make sure that middle class families and the American economy and in fact the world economy aren’t adversely impacted because people can’t do their jobs.

That sounds impressive, but he’s been in Hawaii golfing all week. And before that, it was pretty clear that he was neither involved nor willing to offer any compromise whatsoever. Nor is he willing to cut back on spending.

While he was giving his speech the Dow Jones industrial average dropped by 158 points to finish below the 13,000 threshold, at 12,938. It dropped nearly 70 points during the speech. And the Dow Futures dropped 226 points following the speech.

President Obama is interested in playing politics, and the Republicans are trying to save the economy from another recession. He wants the revenue from those who earn over $250,000 a year, he doesn’t have any intention of cutting back on spending. Spending is what he does, and his idea of “governing.” Twenty-four million Americans are out of work, want jobs, and can’t find them. The median U.S. household income has dropped $4,520 a year. So right in tune with the times, Obama has issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, giving everybody a raise. Poor Joe Biden only earned $225,521 last year , so he gets a $6,379 increase.

My hunch, and it’s only a hunch, is that his economic advisers have told him that the economy will recover naturally now, and he doesn’t need to worry about it.  That’s sort of what Christina Romer and his other economic advisers told him about  the effects of the stimulus.  Keynesian economic program. Pump-prime the economy with a big shot of cash and the economy will come right back— that was in 2008.  Didn’t matter where he put that $825 billion stimulus money, putting it into the economy would increase demand, just what was needed.  Didn’t work. Stimulus wasted.

Perhaps the economy just needed more time, more stimulus?  Nope. Didn’t work. Mr. Obama now wants more revenue — which he blames on “the rich” who are not paying “their fair share.” He also wants to do another stimulus.

Unfortunately, there are over 900,000 small businesses who file their taxes as individuals, who fall into that category whose taxes he wants to raise. And they are the small businesses whose rapid growth and expansion provides the engine of new employment— except they aren’t growing and expanding, because they are getting a gigantic hit from ObamaCare, and another hit from the flood of regulations emanating from the EPA and other government agencies, and with the expected sharp raise in taxes, they are letting workers go, not hiring.

President Obama does not believe that small businesses fall into this category, for he identifies small business as the neighborhood bookstore, coffee shop and barber. The Small Business Association, however, identifies “small business” as businesses with upwards of 50 employees. Obama has remarked any number of times that these are not small business. Republican lie, I guess.

Economist Stephen Moore suggested that Republicans in the House should just pass a bill extending the Bush Tax Cuts permanently for everyone, and then pass another bill giving Mr. Obama the tax hike on “the rich” that he so much desires, and pass both on to Harry Reid and let him deal with it.  Heh.

Obama has a big microphone and a compliant media, so he will probably be successful at blaming whatever happens on the Republicans, and then he will fly back to Hawaii for the rest of his vacation and more golf.


Brand New Chief of Staff, Same Old Spending Habit. by The Elephant's Child

William Daley has resigned as chief of staff to President Barack Obama. He is to be replaced by Obama’s current budget director Jack Lew.  William Daley, of the Chicago Daleys, replaced Rahm Emanuel who left to run for Mayor of Chicago, the office he now occupies.  Daley was supposed to bring about more cooperation with business interests, but Obama is now shaking up staff again.

Back in February of 2011, Mr. Lew appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and said of Mr. Obama’s proposed budget:

Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore; we’re spending money that we have ech year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt.

Must be something in the water at the White House. Austan Goolsbee, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago was chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2010 to 2011. Mr. Goolsbee wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week that  “Washington isn’t spending too much; it’s normal for deficits to rise during a downturn, the real fiscal challenge is decades down the road.”

In USA Today, the headline is “U.S. Debt is now equal to economy

The amount of money the federal government owes to its creditors, combined with IOUs to government retirement and other programs, now tops $15.23 trillion.

That’s roughly equal to the value of all goods and services the U.S. economy produces in one year: $15.17 trillion as of September, the latest estimate. Private projections show the economy likely grew to about $15.3 trillion by December — a level the debt is likely to surpass this month.

Among advanced economies, only Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Portugal have debts larger than their economies.  And we’re told that President Obama wants to borrow another trillion or so to “stimulate” the economy again.

Economist Daniel J. Mitchell says thatAustan Goolsbee’s Budget Math is Wrong — More than 100 percent of Long-Term Fiscal Challenge is Government Spending. If you keep borrowing, you have to pay interest on what you borrow, and if you are not paying it back, it keeps growing and growing.  Not only that, but it’s those darn baby boomers.  Entitlement spending is exploding because of ObamaCare, because of increasing numbers of baby boomers retiring each year for the next thirteen years.

How are we supposed to understand this if Obama’s new chief of staff can’t and his former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers’ budget math is wrong?  This isn’t a minor matter, and somebody’s trying to fool us with their words. I’m with Senator Sessions. PolitiFact agreed.


The Obama Fiscal Record —Exposed! by The Elephant's Child

The political rhetoric is escalating.  Everyone has been warning for some time of the consequences of a debt default. President Obama, who has said that the public is not paying attention, is associating default with all spending reductions — which he describes as not paying the bills.

Whoa!  This is trying to dazzle with footwork. When you start calling taxes “revenue,” and spending “investments,” then you claim that reducing spending is “failing to pay the bills”— you are deliberately and despicably are trying to misinform the public to garner favor and shift the blame.  The President, unwilling to give up any of his spending, is now calling House Republicans “irresponsible.”

January 20. 2009: President Obama sworn into office.
— In the Inaugural Address “Those of us who manage the public account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because of the vital trust between a people and their government.”
Debt held by public = $6.31 trillion

February 17, 2009: President signs Spending Stimulus into Law.
— Stimulus adds $821 billion  in new spending (CBO)
— The White House promises this infusion of spending and
borrowing would keep unemployment rate below 8%.
That didn’t work.
Debt held by public = $6.48 trillion

February 26, 2009: President issues FY 2010 Budget.
— The President’s budget adds $2.7 trillion in new debt in FY 2010
and adds $1.4 trillion in new taxes.
Debt held by public = $6.58 trillion

March 11, 2009: President signs FY Omnibus Appropriations Act.
— Appropriations Act includes 8,906 earmarks at cost of $11 billion.
— Act adds $19 billion in new spending, an 8.6% spending increase.
Debt held by public = $6.66 trillion

April 29, 2009: Congressional Democrats pass FY 2010 Budget.
— Congressional budget calls for $2 billion increase in 2010 and
another 8.9% increase in non-defense discretionary spending.
— This is last budget from Congressional Democrats
Debt held by public = $6.85 trillion

February 2, 2010: President issues FY 2011 Budget.
— President’s budget more than doubles the debt. FY2011 deficit is
a new record of $1.6 trillion,  spending to new record of $3.8 trillion
and raises taxes by more than $2 trillion by administration estimates.
Debt held by public = $7.85 trillion

March 23, 2010: President signs ObamaCare into Law.
— ObamaCare Law adds $1.4 trillion in new spending over next
decade, and over $2.5 trillion once law is implemented.
Debt held by public = $8.18 trillion

July 21, 2010: President signs Financial Regulatory Overhaul int Law
— Massive new law adds $10.2 billion new spending.
Debt held by public = $8.69 trillion

February 14, 2011: President issues FY 2012 Budget.
— President’s budget calls for doubling the debt in 5 years, tripling
the debt in 10 years. Spends 47 trillion over next decade + $1 trillion
in new taxes. Fails to address drivers of debt.
Debt held by public = $9.45 trillion

April 15, 2011: House passes FY 2012 Budget Resolution.
— House passed budget cuts $6.2 trillion in government spending
over nest decade, saves Medicare, strengthens social safety net,
spurs economic growth and job creation.
— Senate fails to meet legal requirement to pass a budget by
April 15.
Debt held by public = $9.68 trillion

May 25, 2011: Senate unanimously rejects President’s FY 2012 Budget
Vote is 97-0.
— S&P Issues Credit Warning on U.. Debt, April 18. Medicare and
Social Security Trustees issue warning of Looming Insolvency.
— Still no budget from Senate Democrats.
Debt held by public = $9.72 trillion

July 8, 2011: Unemployment hits 9.2%, 800 days since
Senate Democrats passed a budget.
Debt held by public = $9.75 trillion

July 15, 2011; President holds Press Conference: “We’re running
out of time” to deal with debt.
— President tells press “I’ve got reams of paper and printouts and
spreadsheets on my desk, as so we know how we can create a
package that solves the deficits and debt or a significant period
of time, but in order to do it we got to get started now.”
— American people have seen no paper, no printouts and no
spreadsheets, no plan to reduce deficit.
Debt held by public = $9,75 trillion

This brief history of  President Obama’s fiscal record comes from the United States House of Representatives Budget Committee.  $975 trillion – $6.31 trillion = $3.44 trillion, Obama’s record.  He’s campaigning while the country declines.

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