American Elephants

Talking to Aliens From Another Planet. by The Elephant's Child

Poverty. Headlines announce that fifty million Americans are living below the poverty line. What does that mean? The official poverty line is defined as earnings of less than $23,021 a year for a family of four. This comes not from the New York Times or Washington Post, but is found in a report from the British Daily Mail. This is the result of Obama’s claimed “accelerating recovery”. Why should we have to learn this from a U.K. newspaper? Unemployment is officially 7.7% but that isn’t right either. It is really 11.6%.

How about our gross domestic product (GDP)? Obama’s average has been less than 2% per quarter,  annualized.  In the last quarter of 2012 it was a miserable 0.4%. For all of 2011, GDP growth was 1.8%, and in 2012 it was 2.2%. The White House forecast 4% in each of these periods. Remember that the recession officially ended in June of 2009— before Obama’s economic policies could take effect. The jobless recovery, the economic stagnation and the increase in those living in poverty— that’s Obama’s record.

In 2009, the poverty rate was 14.3%, in 2010 it was 15.1%, fell to 15% in 2011 and now just short of 17%. The poverty line income does not include food stamps, or welfare benefits or other government benefit.

Last month 81,804 workers left the workforce to join the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Over the past four years, 4 million have left the workforce to go on disability. The ranks of the disabled have shot up more than 1.4 million under Obama. It is easier to get on Disability than welfare. When opportunities for employment are plentiful, some who could qualify for disability insurance find working more attractive.The problem with disability is that almost none of the people end up returning to the workforce.

Record numbers of Americansreceived food stamps in 2012. Food stamp participation was at an average of 46,609,072 every month of 2012. In 2009, as part of his stimulus package, Obama suspended the work requirement for able-bodied adults. Good stamp participation doubled from roughly 2 million in 2008 to nearly 4 million in 2010. Investors reported:

The media consensus was that the economy was finally in high gear after four years stuck in neutral. Obamanomics, so the story went, was finally paying promised dividends.

The Associated Press, for one, claimed employers went on a post-election “hiring spree.” With little evidence, the wire service breathlessly described the job market as “accelerating.”

The New York Times quoted White House economist Alan Krueger chirping about the recovery “gaining traction,” while warning Republicans not to screw things up.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, meanwhile, lambasted Republicans for not giving Obama “credit for this amazing economy that’s coming back. … If you want to live like a Republican, vote like a Democrat,” Matthews blathered on. “It’s not true that people have better times, better life existences under Republicans.”

I am not attempting here to provide you with a major downer for the weekend. It’s not like we don’t have enough to worry about anyway. But the disparity of views and the disparity of understanding are more extreme than I have ever known.

It has been widely reported that the red states, those with reforming Republican governors, are recovering nicely, thriving.  States with Democrat governors are losing businesses and citizens to the red states where there is a more welcoming business climate, lower taxes, and less regulation, and even balanced budgets. Though the exodus is major, the blue states remain blissfully unconcerned.

The same thing is happening on an international basis. Countries that cut debt, taxes and spending are thriving, in contrast to those who have allowed government spending to increase dramatically. We are talking to aliens who speak a different and unintelligible language. We don’t even share a common history. There are our facts and their facts. Our statistics and their statistics. Our beliefs and their beliefs.

We try steadily to explain the history, the facts, the numbers, but they are usually rejected. They return insults, foul language, and death threats. They don’t want to work with us, they want us to go away, cease to be there disagreeing with them. They want us defeated, utterly, so they can keep on playing the movie that is so exciting and has such a glorious ending. They never get tired of playing it over and over.

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