Recovery Summer IV Results

Economy: After his embarrassing failure on the foreign policy front, President Obama decided to tout his success managing the U.S. economy — just as the historically weak recovery shows fresh signs of weakening further.

In a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Bros. collapse, Obama ticked off a laundry list of alleged accomplishments since taking office: I stopped another Great Depression, saved the auto industry, put people to work, etc.

“We cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis,” he said, “and we’ve begun to lay a new foundation for economic growth and prosperity.”

Unfortunately, it’s a foundation built on quicksand.

Just last week we learned that retail sales have softened, consumer sentiment hit a five-month low, job growth in August was still tepid and the number of job losers posted its biggest jump since 2010.

All are signs the economy isn’t going to live up to expectations in the final months of the year.

This comes after 50 months of sluggish growth that has left 4.3 million out of work long-term, helped drive 10 million out of the job market, pushed the labor participation rate to 35-year lows, boosted food stamp rolls by 14 million and pushed nearly 3 million into poverty.

Just 13 states have employment rates above their pre-recession peaks (all but four of them, by the way, voted against Obama in 2008).

Thanks to Obama’s sluggish growth, real median household income remains 4.4% below where it was when his “recovery” started.

The day Obama gave his remarks, the AP reported that the unemployment rate among low-income families is at Great Depression levels of 21%, but among upper-income households it’s 3.2%. That, AP’s analysis found, is the widest gap on record.

AP also found that middle-income workers are increasingly ending up with lower-wage jobs, forcing lower-skilled workers out of the job market.

Meanwhile, a survey out of the University of Chicago finds that a record 8.4% of Americans consider themselves “lower class.”

Here’s another way to look at it: Had Obama’s recovery merely been average, there would be 7.4 million more people gainfully employed today, and the economy would be $1.3 trillion bigger.

Even the left is noticing that, despite Obama’s endless blather about building prosperity from the ground up, his recovery has had the opposite effect — concentrating whatever gains there have been at the top.

The Huffington Post called it “the most uneven recovery in at least several decades” — which would include the Reagan, Clinton and Bush recoveries.

Among the evidence presented: Workers in the bottom 20% have seen their real average hourly wages decline steadily under Obama, compared with gains at the very top. And while 60% of the jobs lost in the recession paid mid-wages, only 22% of the jobs gained in Obama’s recovery did so.

Incredibly, amid all this, Obama claims to see “progress across the board.”  Then again, Obama thinks his foreign policy adventures have been a success, too. (IBD)

“Are some of these folks really so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they’re willing to tank the entire economy just because they can’t get their way on this issue?” Obama said in a speech at the White House. “Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points?” (Townhall)

WELL, we know HE IS. He’s been doing it for 5 years now! 🙂

Obama conceded the problems. “As any middle class family will tell you or anybody who’s striving to get in the middle class, we are not yet where we need to be,” he said.

And never will be, with Progressives in charge because they depend on making people poor and dependent on them and making rich people less rich and demonic to keep them them there.

“After all the progress that we’ve made over these last four and a half years, the idea of reversing that progress because of an unwillingness to compromise or because of some ideological agenda is the height of irresponsibility,” Obama said.

Which is why he won’t compromise on anything that has been done or will be done. But he’s not ideologically rigid… 🙂

After all, it’s “Congress” (Read: Republicans) Fault!

He’s not partisan. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

 

 

Been Here, Done This

Green Jobs Vs Reality: Green Jobs

President Obama is expected to seek another $250 billion or so in new stimulus funds next week, with plenty of money for clean energy and the creation of so-called green jobs.

Never mind that no one can seem to find many Americans who got green jobs as a result of the original stimulus spending. Consider two stories.

In the 2009 stimulus, the feds gave nearly $3.2 million in green-energy grants to my county of Arlington, Va., with almost $300,000 used to install solar paneling on the roof of our local library. (Don’t ask why the feds are giving one of the five wealthiest counties in America free money.)

Arlington officials boast the project will save $14,000 in annual electricity costs, but the solar panels have a life span of no more than 10 to 15 years. So the feds spent $300,000 to shave at most $150,000 off the net present value of Arlington’s electric bills. Some 3,000 counties across the country received federal funds for the same kind of negative-return energy conservation “investments.” This is the kind of “clean energy” program the administration wants to expand.

Oh, and the Company that got $535 Million in Stimulus Money and was the golden boy of Obama’s plan, just went bankrupt and we lost all the money and the jobs!

Wind, waves, and solar which are all the hippie liberals will consider in their “all in” energy plans are not viable. But they don’t care. They will make them work and if you have to suffer for it until they do (or don’t)–well by god you’ll suffer!

Obama instead touted steps his administration has taken without Congress, including the new vehicle-fuel economy standards announced in recent weeks. (The one that some economics predict will make your next car cost $11,000 more and may not be technologically viable at this point without everyone being forced to by a hybrid or an electric car–gee I never thought of that… 🙂 ).

Think about it. That’s what we got done — and by the way, we didn’t go through Congress to do it,” Obama told workers at an advanced battery plant. “But we did use the tools of government — us working together — to help make it happen.” (The Hill)

Congress (aka The Republicans) are evil and get in his way!

“I think the White House continues to believe that oil politics are very important to the economy and the next election, and they are determined to enact whatever policies they can, especially those that have a populist bent,” Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center said. (The Hill)

Whether they work or not is inconsequential. They just have to sound good, feel good, and get him re-elected. So that when he’ not facing a re-election campaign from 2013-2016 he can do whatever the hell he wants and Congress can go pound sand!

Don’t doubt it.

Now for a good energy news story. I recently traveled to Wheeling, W.V., which is 45 minutes down the road from Pittsburgh along the Ohio River and smack in the heart of the old Rust Belt. Unlike most places you go to these days, the town is booming. Defying the national mood, people are optimistic about the future. Why? It’s what residents are calling the “West Virginia gold rush.”

Except it’s not gold, it’s natural gas. Wheeling sits atop the famous Marcellus shale formation—one of the biggest treasure troves of natural gas ever discovered in America. With recent breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology, that gas can be extracted at very affordable prices. A few years ago Wheeling farmers and land owners were getting about $50 to $100 an acre for drilling rights. Now they get up to $3,000, plus monthly royalties. What was once a dying town now has jobs and new funds for schools and roads, while West Virginian farmers and land owners are getting rich. The same story of economic revival can be told about counties in Pennsylvania and Ohio sitting atop the Marcellus bonanza.

Then there the oil in the Dakotas, possibly more than Saudi Arabia…

Even the White House acknowledges that the natural gas deposits in the Midwest and Texas contain potentially 100 years worth of cheap natural gas. Yet as far as I can tell, President Obama has never even uttered the words “Marcellus shale” in a major speech. Incredible.

In early August a Department of Energy advisory panel reported that fracking for natural gas poses risks to air and water quality and so should be subject to tighter regulations—hardly a ringing endorsement. The green movement wants it stopped completely because of dangers to water, even though continued technological progress will reduce these risks.

The White House’s hostility toward fossil fuels seems to know no bounds. Exxon has made some of the largest oil finds in a decade, in the Gulf of Mexico, and yet the Obama administration is holding up the leases and permitting process. In North Dakota, an Obama-appointed U.S attorney has brought criminal charges against seven oil companies (with penalties of up to six months in prison) for causing the deaths of 28 migratory birds found in oil waste pits.

According to data from the Federal Reserve Board’s Industrial Production Indexes, the oil and gas industry, which the Obama Energy Department loathes, has had more growth in output than any other manufacturing industry in the U.S. from 2005 through 2011. As a reward, the administration is proposing $35 billion in new taxes on the industry to slow it down. Even if we accept the dubious White House claim that all the oil and gas tax write-offs are unwarranted loopholes, a 2011 Congressional Research Service study finds that per unit of electricity produced, for every two cents of tax subsidy to Big Oil, Big Green (wind and solar) get closer to $1 in handouts.

The environmentalists are for any energy source unless it actually works,” notes Stephen Hayward, an energy expert at the American Enterprise Institute. A few years ago the Democrats were all in favor of natural gas at least as a “bridge” energy source. That abruptly changed when the extent of America’s abundant natural gas resources became fully known and more affordable drilling techniques opened up a superhighway to energy security. The irony of the green movement’s reactionary antifracking crusade is that one of the most important developments in cutting U.S. carbon emissions has come from replacing coal-burning fire plants with natural gas.

So we now have a national energy policy directing our resources away from cheap, efficient and increasingly abundant fuels like coal, oil and natural gas while we channel billions of tax dollars to 500-year-old energy technologies like wind power that can’t possibly scale up to power a modern-day industrial economy. That’s a shame. (Stephen Moore)

But it “feels” good.:) It’s all touchy feely…

For more than two years the president has been giving “important” jobs speeches — and no wonder. After an $830 billion stimulus and multiple “jobs” bills since, the employment picture has only deteriorated. The economy added zero jobs in August, and 2.4 million fewer people work today than when Obama took office.

Yet despite the advance billing on all those previous speeches, none was anything remotely “bold” or “imaginative,” something Democratic lawmakers and Obama’s liberal media cheerleaders are now hoping for with his next one.

Instead, in every speech, Obama simply dusted off the same crabbed list — more money for roads and “clean energy,” various temporary tax credits, more unemployment insurance, temporary payroll tax cuts — despite the fact that each has already been tried on his watch, and all proved to be expensive failures. A rundown:

• In December 2009, Obama’s big jobs speech called for billions more on roads, extended unemployment benefits, tax credits for weatherizing homes and some temporary help for small companies.

• In his 2010 State of the Union address, Obama said “jobs must be our No. 1 focus in 2010” and touted his “new jobs bill.” What was in it? Money for roads, a small-business tax credit, weatherization credits and investment in clean energy.

• On Labor Day that year, Obama delivered yet another jobs speech, but offered only one idea — $50 billion more for roads.

• His 2011 State of the Union speech was also supposed to focus on jobs, but all he had to offer was a vague “innovation agenda,” another push for clean energy and — you guessed it — more money for roads.

• And then in July 2011, Obama argued that once the debt-ceiling debate was finished, the country could turn again to jobs. His big ideas: extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, and spend more on roads.

Maybe this speech will be different. But unless Obama has kept some secret breakthrough job-creating idea hidden in his closet all this time, would it be a surprise if he just puts a fresh rhetorical gloss on these same proposals?

The problem isn’t just that these ideas aren’t “bold,” it’s that they’ve all been tried since Obama took office, and they’ve all failed. Among those he’s expected to include this time around:

More infrastructure spending. The stimulus bill spent nearly $100 billion on infrastructure. Yet when the bulk of that money started to get spent in the “Recovery Summer” of 2010, the economy shed 329,000 jobs.

A new-hire tax credit. Obama signed the $17.5 billion HIRE Act in March 2010 that offered companies up to $6,000 in credits and exemptions for hiring unemployed workers. Obama said this would “encourage businesses to hire and put Americans back to work.”

Employers apparently didn’t get that memo, since the number of private-sector jobs climbed a meager 0.6% by the end of the year.

More unemployment benefits. These have been extended several times in the past few years. The administration thinks they will create jobs. But every credible economic study says that extending unemployment benefits mainly extends unemployment as many workers wait until benefits run out before taking that next job.

Extending the payroll tax cut. In January, Vice President Biden claimed the one-year payroll tax cut that had just kicked in would “put $112 billion into the pockets of 155 million workers … spurring growth and creating jobs.”

The results so far this year: virtually no GDP growth and 104,000 more unemployed. Economist Bruce Bartlett summed it up: “There is no evidence that the lower payroll tax has done much of anything to stimulate either spending or hiring.”

Money for clean-energy jobs. In January 2010, Obama announced a $2.3 billion clean-energy tax-credit plan that would, he said, “give a much needed boost” to this industry.

Today, the landscape is increasingly littered with failed clean-energy companies, including Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that got $535 million in stimulus-backed loans but which is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Will Obama go bold this time? What other options does he have? The nation’s in no mood for another massive “stimulus” plan after the last one mainly just doubled the nation’s debt.

But he’ll give us one anyways, he’ll just manipulate the words but the meaning will be the same. His ideological playbook doesn’t have any other pages in it.

And he and his economic advisers don’t appear ideologically capable of embracing genuine free-market solutions that would generate actual growth — real tax reform that cuts rates and dramatically simplifies the code, significant relief from Obama’s own out-of-control regulatory machinery, an end to the looming ObamaCare nightmare, major entitlement reform, among them.

Instead, the administration appears eternally wedded to the idea that endless government meddling and tinkering in the private sector with targeted spending, temporary tax credits, and eye-of-the-needle tax relief will somehow, someday miraculously combine to spark growth.

In a piece published almost exactly one year ago, Obama’s newly appointed chief economic adviser, Alan Krueger, boasted that the HIRE Act was “an example of the kind of temporary, targeted and responsible policy that has been the hallmark of this administration.”

We hope Obama has learned by now that this approach isn’t responsible at all, and that he would offer some truly bold proposals that break from his failed Keynesian past. But given what we’ve seen over the past 2 1/2 years, we’re not holding our breath. (IBD)

I wouldn’t. He’s too ideologically rigid to notice. If we just SPEND EVEN MORE  (“Infrastructure”) eventually banging our ideological head against the wall will break the wall! 🙂

Don’t doubt it.

Endless “Hope & Change”

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail


IDB-Economy: If you needed another metric by which to measure the failure of Obamanomics, new numbers released Friday show that two years after the recession ended the economy still hasn’t fully recovered.

I would argue the recession never ended to begin with. But that’s just me. 🙂

According to the revised gross domestic product data released Friday, the nation’s economy grew a paltry 1% in the second quarter, after eking out a barely noticeable 0.4% gain in the first.

As a result, two years after the recession ended, the economy still hasn’t made up the ground it lost, giving Obama the dubious distinction of presiding over the most prolonged economic recovery since the Great Depression.

This isn’t just slightly bad. It’s monumentally bad.

An IBD review of all the post-World War II recessions shows that, on average, it took just over two fiscal quarters for the economy to recover from a downturn and start expanding again.

In contrast, we’re eight quarters into the Obama recovery, and the expansion is somewhere off in the distance, with real GDP still $65.5 billion below the pre-recession peak. And if you take into account all the population growth that’s occurred over the past two years, we’re even further behind.

Obama likes to blame the depth of the downturn for the “painfully slow” recovery. “We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight. It’s going to take time,” he said — nearly a year ago.

The claim is bogus. This recession lasted only slightly longer than the 1981-82 contraction — 18 months vs. 16 — and wasn’t as severe when measured by peak unemployment.

But the economy came screaming out of that downturn, and in three quarters was already well into an expansion. The 1973-75 recession lasted 16 months, but also took only three quarters to fully recover.

Obama’s also fond of blaming the sluggish recovery on the fact the recession resulted from a “financial crisis,” alleging that something about that kind of recession makes for a longer recovery time. But it’s not like all the other slumps didn’t have any hint of financial crisis behind them.

Now he and his friends have taken to blaming bad luck and Republican bad faith for supposedly weakening what had been an improving economy.

“In 2010 … we were growing,” Obama’s former chief economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said Thursday. “Now, at the beginning of this year, we get earthquakes, tsunamis, revolutions in the Middle East, European financial crises. Now we got earthquakes outside of Washington, D.C.” (and undoubtedly Irene is coming)

But Obama’s recovery was vastly inferior to previous ones well before these alleged headwinds emerged. Plus, revised GDP numbers show that the recovery was softening throughout 2010, with GDP growth slowing in each successive quarter.

For that, Obama has only his own economic medicine to blame. His preferred treatment — huge hikes in federal spending, massive new environmental and financial regulations, ObamaCare, an out-of-control labor relations board, verbal attacks on businesses and the rich, etc. — just isn’t working to get the economy back on its feet.

If a patient were taking an unusually long time to recover from an illness, a responsible doctor would try a new treatment regimen, rather than simply administer larger doses of the same drugs. He might even consult other doctors to see if they’ve had better luck with different prescriptions.

But Dr. Obama gives no sign of doing anything other than pump more Keynesian medicine into the IV. It’s possible he’ll try a different approach in September, when he gives his much-anticipated jobs speech. If he doesn’t, it will be nothing short of malpractice.

ObamaCare Economics. 4 More years! 4 More years! 4 More years! 🙂

Common Sense

A vacationing President Barack Obama accused Congress on Saturday of holding back the U.S. economic recovery by blocking “common sense” measures he said would create jobs and help growth.

After all, it’s “common sense” that Liberals are always right and never to blame for ANYTHING. They only take credit for their overall superior intellect…The one that lashes out childishly if you question their superiority. 🙂

“The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back,”

Some= Republicans. Not the Democrats who haven’t passed a budget in 842 days. Or the Democrats who refuse to even discuss Republican proposals. Or Democrats who pass massive business-killing regulations or spend $4 trillion dollars and get nothing out of it except ideological gratification. .

Nope. It’s the Republicans fault. The Senate and the Presidency are controlled by the Democrats, but it’s the Republicans fault. And if that doesn’t work, it’s George Bush’s Fault!

“We’re going through a tough time right now. We’re coming through a terrible recession,” he said. “So we need folks in Washington — the people whose job it is to deal with the country’s problems, the people who you elected to serve — we need them to put aside their differences to get things done.”

Translation: Stop Blocking Democrat’s need to Tax and Spend like complete morons. If we just spend more money everything will be fine! Give us More Time!

Class Warfare is good for the country. So stop being “terrorists”.

Oh, just in case you were wondering about Obama’s new fuel economy standards (where we are supposed to use less foreign oil rather drill for our own because oil companies are evil):

The Obama Administration’s new fuel economy standards will cause the retail price of average motor vehicles to increase over $11,000, according to a study conducted by the Center for Automotive Research.

“A fuel economy standard of 37.6 mpg is associated with a price increase of $5,244, 18.1 percent higher than the 2009 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) average price of $28,966. A fuel economy standard of 40.8 mpg is associated with a price increase of $6,770, 23.4 percent higher than the 2009 NADA price,” says their report called, “The U.S. Automotive Market and Industry in 2025.”

“A fuel economy standard of 44.8 mpg is associated with a price increase of $8,214, 28.4 percent higher than the 2009 NADA price. The fourth fuel economy standard of 49.6 mpg is associated with an $11,290 increase in retail price. It is assumed that manufacturers and dealers will pass on the cost increase in fuel economy and safety technology to the consumer, at a retail price equivalent.”

The Obama administration’s new fuel economy standards would require automakers to produce cars and light trucks with an average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The Center for Automotive Research says their study is “the result of 11 months of effort and investigation by researchers at CAR in 2010-2011.”

Zoe Lipman, the National Wildlife Federation’s Senior Manager for Transportation and Global Warming Solutions argued on a conference call held Thursday that the estimated fuel savings due to these standards will outweigh the “modest” motor vehicle price increases for consumers.

And we can all afford such “modest” increases like $11,000 more for a car. It’s good for us. 🙂

Thomas Pyle, the president of the Institute for Energy Research disagrees with Lipman.

“The Obama administration’s latest fuel economy mandates are an aggressive step away from consumer choice and towards government control,” he said in a USA Today op-ed.

“Every day, Americans are seeing the negative consequences of the administration’s increasingly aggressive meddling in the economy—more government control and less consumer choice.” (CNS)

But it’s for you own good. And, after all, Government does know best…

That’s only “common sense” 😮

Living the Fantasy

The Recovery Summer II continues.

U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in June, with employers hiring the fewest number of workers in nine months, dampening hopes the economy was on the cusp of regaining momentum after stumbling in recent months.

Nonfarm payrolls rose only 18,000, the weakest reading since September, the abor Department said on Friday, well below economists’ expectations for a 90,000 rise.

Many economists raised their forecasts on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected reading on U.S. private hiring from payrolls processor ADP, and they expected gains of anywhere between 125,000 and 175,000.

The unemployment rate climbed to 9.2 percent, the highest since December, from 9.1 percent in May.

The government revised April and May payrolls to show 44,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported. The report shattered expectations that the economy was starting to accelerate after a soft patch in the first half of the year.

The private sector added 57,000, accounting for all the jobs created, with government employment shrinking 39,000 because of fiscal problems at local and state governments.

President Obama’s senior political adviser David Plouffe said Wednesday that people won’t vote in 2012 based on the unemployment rate.

Keep holding onto the fantasy guys!

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

On Thursday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Kristol said the Republicans were going to give in and agree to the terms set forth by the Obama administration.

“It sounds as if it’s heading towards a deal,” Kristol said. “It’s not a deal that I’m going to like I suspect, and think I it’s going to be a bad deal for conservatives and Republicans but I think they’re intimidated,” Kristol said. “The president has been running around talking about corporate jets and the rich, and how the sky is going to fall unless Republicans cave. And I think they’re getting ready to cave in a pretty big way on Sunday.”

Basing it on what Republicans leaders have said publicly, Kristol forecast that defense spending cuts, tax increases and other cuts would be dressed up to be more than they really are in the end. And that would lead to a conservative revolt against Republicans.

“So great, we have a Republican House, and they are going to agree to the huge defense cuts, tax increases, phony spending cuts and increased debt,” Kristol said. “I think there will be a huge rebellion among conservatives in the country if Republicans sign on to this deal.”

I agree. I’m am not hopeful that we’ll get anything more than lipstick on the debt pig.

The money drug addicted in both parties are not going to do it they just to make it look like it. That’s politics….

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Means What it Says

Time magazine editor Richard Stengel presented the cover of his new July 4 issue, which features the U.S. Constitution going through a paper shredder and asks if the document still matters. According to Stengel, it does, but not as much anymore.“Yes, of course it still matters but in some ways it matters less than people think,” Stengel said on “Morning Joe.” on MSNBC

Larry Elder: “When the chief justice read me the oath,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt said to a speechwriter, “and came to the words ‘support the Constitution of the United States,’ I felt like saying: ‘Yes, but it’s the Constitution as I understand it, flexible enough to meet any new problem of democracy — not the kind of Constitution your court has raised up as a barrier to progress and democracy.'”

FDR’s statement vividly illustrates the Big Divide between (most) Republicans and Democrats, free marketers and collectivists, Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman. It’s the line separating those who believe in the power of individuals from those who believe in the power of government — so long as they’re the ones in power. It’s the line that separates those who believe in the welfare state from those who not only believe that the federal government recklessly spends more than it takes in, but also spends it on things not permitted by the Constitution — and the country is worse off for having done so.

This is the tea party message (to the consternation of Democrats and squishy Republicans): The Constitution means what it says and says what it means. All this Constitution talk produces the inevitable backlash. Joy Behar, the learned Constitutional scholar, asked, “Do you think this Constitution-loving is getting out of hand?”

A Los Angeles Times columnist and I sat on a panel to analyze President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union speech. What, I asked, gives the President authority to place health care under the command and control of the federal government? She replied, that part of the Constitution that says to provide for the domestic tranquility.

She refers to a part of the preamble to the Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility … establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Many members of this “living, breathing” Constitution school claim authority for things like ObamaCare resides in the “promote the general welfare” part of the preamble. Using the “domestic tranquility” part was a first.

The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, anticipated the preamble-gives-government-permission-to-do-all-sorts-of-things-for-which-it-lacks-authority argument. In 1794, Congress appropriated money for charitable purposes. An incensed Madison said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

Time Magazine’s recent Constitution cover story asks: “Does It Still Matter?” Its answer? Well, yeah, it sort of does, but then again, you know, not so much. After all, the Founding Fathers could neither foresee computers nor Twitter nor predict that Rep. Anthony Weiner would use both to implode his career. So, really, in the modern day, what’s the relevance of the old document crafted by well-to-do, slave-owning white males?

As the federal government got bigger over the next 200 years, and assumed responsibilities the Founding Fathers considered the job of individuals, families and communities — or of the separate states — Madison’s position withered. It’s now fighting for its life.

Soon, the 50 percent of voters who pay little or no taxes will march into the polling booth, many pulling levers, pushing buttons and punching chads to vote themselves a raise — at somebody’s else’s expense. If the Supreme Court permits the ObamaCare mandate, anything goes.

Constitution-shredders point not to our bloated federal government, the entitlement mentality or to the desire of politicians on both sides to promise things that the Founders feared would eventually produce an electorate with little or no financial skin in the game. No, the real villain is the dastardly Bush tax cuts! If only they had not been enacted, they tell us!

Why not blame the tax cuts signed by other presidents? President John Kennedy’s plan reduced the top marginal income tax rate from 91 percent to 70 percent. President Ronald Reagan reduced the top marginal tax rate from 70 to 28 percent. President George W. Bush, by contrast, reduced the top rate from 39.6 to 35 percent, making him Scrooge-like in comparison.

The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” says the two Bush tax cuts, in 2001 and 2003, “cost” $2.8 trillion over 10 years (an average of $280 billion per year). In the last two and a half years alone, Obama has presided over the addition of almost $4 trillion in new debt, and this year’s deficit is an estimated $1.6 trillion.

Besides, liberals like the Bush tax cuts — at least for the lower 98 percent of workers. Since most Democrats want to preserve the Bush-era tax rates for all but the top 2 percent, the objectionable “cost” of the cuts becomes even more inconsequential to dealing with budget, deficit and debt problems.

So now what? We drifted away from the Constitution in fits and starts. It is how we must return to it. Voters must remember who talked the talk and walked the walk. This is a time when we change course, when people rediscover American exceptionalism and the wisdom of the Constitution and say, “Enough.”

If not, Greece awaits.

It’s all Greek to Washington… 😦

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

The Ghost of Depressions Past

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Two years into a “recovery,” the unemployment rate leaps to 9.1% and just 54,000 new jobs are created. Is this just “bumps on the road to recovery,” as the White House insists, or something more dangerous?

This has been the most miserable recovery in modern history. Not only are there not enough jobs being created, but also the economy itself looks to be stalling.

Yet the Obama administration is crowing about its accomplishments as if slowing growth and rising joblessness have nothing to do with its bad policies.

“The initiatives put in place by this administration — such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment — have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain,” said Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s top economic adviser.

“Solid employment growth”? Since the end of last year, job growth has averaged 130,500 a month — about the number of people who enter the workforce each month. That’s not “solid” enough.

By the way, the unemployment rate has been below 9% for just five months since Obama took office — and three of those months were in the first 12 weeks of his presidency, before his policies took effect. (IBD)

The Democrats are focused on NOT passing a budget. They are not concerned with China dumping out debt. They are just attacking like angry bees anyone who might disagree with them.

“Throw grandma off a cliff” “End / Kill Medicare” et al.

And what are the Republicans doing about it? Not much.

But we can obsess about Wiener’s Weiner! 😦

And today is the anniversary D-Day.

But at least they spent $2 million to produce a new “food pyramid” so the stupid morons who don’t know that chips and beer is not a food group can ignore this too.

The upcoming election may become less about candidates and more about whether enough voters believe America faces a looming collapse that must be addressed now. Democrats minimize the threat of unfunded entitlements and our growing debt and promise to stay the course to “protect” those who depend on government support. Republicans, pointing to a looming crisis brought on by our unsustainable entitlement culture, the exploding deficit, and an anemic economic recovery, propose an austere budget and program changes that can easily be demagogued as severe and uncaring. One party campaigns on “caring enough to give you what you want” while the other campaigns on “caring enough to confront America’s unsustainable path.” As a result, the 2012 election may be the most important choice Americans have faced in decades.

With apologies to Charles Dickens’ beloved family classic, A Christmas Carol, what some voters need is a midnight visit by the ghosts of elections past, present and future to break through the denial that so many exhibit.

The Ghost of Elections Past might show voters how Roosevelt’s New Deal, designed to combat the Great Depression, actually suppressed economic growth and prolonged the depression and high unemployment. He’d point to President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” Designed to wage war against poverty, Johnson launched costly entitlements that expanded the reach and cost of government—expanded welfare, low-income housing, Head Start, and Medicare. Over the next thirty years, over 5 trillion dollars was spent on the “war on poverty,” but the number of Americans in poverty remained the same. Worse yet, more Americans were now dependent on expensive government programs, and responsible taxpayers were feeling the strain on their pocketbooks.

The ghost could note that when the Social Security Act of 1935 was being debated, it was estimated that Social Security payments would total $4 billion in 1980. In fact, government paid out a staggering $108 billion—off by a massive 2,600%. When Medicare was instituted in 1965, the House Ways and Means analysts predicted it would cost $12 billion in 1990; the actual cost topped $110 billion. They estimated that Medicare Part A would cost $9 billion in 1990—the actual cost $67 billion. Washington entitlements always cost more than projected!

The Ghost of Elections Present would point to the stark contrast about what was promised in President Obama’s “Hope and Change” campaign and the economic results after two years of his administration. The ghost could show the empty storefronts indicative of our anemic “recovery,” the continuing housing defaults and dropping price index, the long unemployment lines, the exploding gas prices at the pump, and end with a face-to-face encounter with the rapidly advancing U.S. Debt Clock.

But it’s the Ghost of Elections Future who could bring home the implications of the upcoming election. Four more years of President Obama means home prices continue on their downward spiral and bankruptcies grow with no relief in sight. The private sector responds to increased taxes, regulations and healthcare costs by refusing to hire more workers. Layoffs continue and real unemployment approaches 20%. The Fed continues to print dollars and buy debt, bringing creditors to the realization that they’ll never be repaid in anything other than a massively devalued dollar.

Reacting to the loss of confidence in the dollar, the IMF and WTO choose to no longer use the U.S. dollar as the standard currency of exchange. With the dollar nothing more than the obligation of a bankrupt government, a new round of double-digit inflation is unleashed. The cost of imported oil skyrockets. With over half of Americans receiving some form of direct government payments and the top 10% of wage earners unable to carry the load, state and federal governments are forced to make severe austerity cuts. With the cuts and the devalued dollar, the poor and middle class are hit with a devastating blow. Millions take to the street in protest, but the government cupboards are bare, and no one is willing to fund America’s debt.

Rather than being caught in America’s collapse, companies that can…leave. Those with wealth have long since moved to gold and strategic commodities. The ghost ends his warning pointing to a cavernous cliff a mile in the distance where young and old alike are forced off a cliff of no return for America.

Have you had enough of my ghosts? Get past the denial; we can’t borrow forever! As citizens, we must face the problems our current president refuses to address. Be prepared. Demand both parties to provide viable answers instead of campaign rhetoric. If we don’t, get ready to face three ghosts in your dreams…or, even worse, a nightmare that becomes reality! (Terry Paulson)

Ams for the poor?

Sorry, we are supposed to have Hope and Change and Win the (Socialist) Future for the Annoited One?

Ignore the Debt behind the curtain!

isn’t he just so wonderful…. 😦

Political Cartoons by Gary McCoy