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3951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Redistribution Recession:How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Econom on: February 08, 2014, 08:40:47 AM
 The Redistribution Recession:How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy
(bringing a couple of posts over here by request)
3rd post regarding economist Casey Mulligan, someone getting it right.  Buy his book:

The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy Hardcover
by Casey B. Mulligan

Redistribution, or subsidies and regulations intended to help the poor, unemployed, and financially distressed, have changed in many ways since the onset of the recent financial crisis. The unemployed, for instance, can collect benefits longer and can receive bonuses, health subsidies, and tax deductions, and millions more people have became eligible for food stamps.

Economist Casey B. Mulligan argues that while many of these changes were intended to help people endure economic events and boost the economy, they had the unintended consequence of deepening-if not causing-the recession. By dulling incentives for people to maintain their own living standards, redistribution created employment losses according to age, skill, and family composition. Mulligan explains how elevated tax rates and binding minimum-wage laws reduced labor usage, consumption, and investment, and how they increased labor productivity. He points to entire industries that slashed payrolls while experiencing little or no decline in production or revenue, documenting the disconnect between employment and production that occurred during the recession. The book provides an authoritative, comprehensive economic analysis of the marginal tax rates implicit in public and private sector subsidy programs, and uses quantitative measures of incentives to work and their changes over time since 2007 to illustrate production and employment patterns. It reveals the startling amount of work incentives eroded by the labyrinth of new and existing social safety net program rules, and, using prior results from labor economics and public finance, estimates that the labor market contracted two to three times more than it would have if redistribution policies had remained constant.

In The Redistribution Recession, Casey B. Mulligan offers hard evidence to contradict the notion that work incentives suddenly stop mattering during a recession or when interest rates approach zero, and offers groundbreaking interpretations and precise explanations of the interplay between unemployment and financial markets.
3952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Global Inequality is Falling, Matt Ridley, Times of London on: February 08, 2014, 08:36:24 AM
"The category “poorest fifth” may not seem to show much change, but the people in it do. Income mobility is far from dead: 80 per cent of people born in households below the poverty line escape poverty when they reach adulthood."

Most of us think the poor stay poor and inequality is exploding. Wrong. The evidence is that these are times of plenty

The Swedish data impresario Hans Rosling recently asked some British people to estimate the average number of births per woman in Bangladesh and gave them four possible answers. Just 12 per cent got the right answer (2.5), whereas 25 per cent of chimpanzees would have got it right if the answers had been written on four bananas from which they could choose one at random. Remarkably, university-educated Britons did worse, not better, than non-graduates. It is not so much what you don’t know as what you know that isn’t so.

Hold that thought while I introduce you to Tom Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and former husband of the crime writer Danielle Steel, who stirred up fury in America when he wrote to The Wall Street Journal last month complaining about a rising tide of hatred against the very rich, and indirectly but crassly comparing it to Kristallnacht. A few days later President Obama used his State of the Union speech to take aim at inequality. In this country, too, inequality is one thing that much rankles with most people, as the 50 per cent tax rate row reveals.

The puzzling thing about this is that by any conceivable measure, absolute poverty has fallen dramatically over the past few decades, so why should it matter if the rich get richer? Today’s British poor spend half as much of their income on food and clothing as in the 1950s, while working many fewer hours, living about eight years longer and having access to phones, cars, medicines and budget airlines that would have amazed even the rich in the 1950s.

Moreover, here’s a question I’m willing to bet that chimpanzees would do better than people at: given that inequality has been rising recently in China, India, America and many other countries, is global inequality rising or falling?

The answer: it’s falling and has been for several decades, however you measure it. The reason is that people in poor countries are getting richer more quickly than people in rich countries are getting better off.

That fall in global inequality has accelerated since the start of the financial crisis. As Africa now experiences record rates of growth, the number of people trying to live on $1.25 a day is plummeting fast. Mr Rosling likes to show two charts in his talks: the graph of global income was once a two-humped camel; now it’s a one-humped dromedary, with the vast majority of the world’s people in the middle.

Here’s another question that I fancy the chimps would beat the people at: did poverty and inequality in Britain increase or decrease as a result of the recession? The answer is that both fell. Inequality has fallen to levels not seen since the mid 1990s, as it usually does during recessions, though it is still higher than it was in the 1970s. Meanwhile the Left’s favourite measure of poverty — those earning less than 60 per cent of the median income — has by definition gone down, because median income has gone down. Redefining poverty in this relative (and very inadequate) way has therefore rather backfired.

If you measure consumption inequality, it is far lower than pre-tax income inequality, because the top 40 per cent of earners pay more in than they get out, while the bottom 60 per cent get more out than they pay in. Indeed, in Britain the top 1 per cent generate about 30 per cent of the total income-tax haul. After such redistribution, the richest fifth of the population has only four times as much money to play with as the poorest fifth.

With big increases in housing benefit and other redistributions, consumption inequality may be as low as it has ever been. Add in the value of pensions (including the state pension), free healthcare, the fall in the price of food and clothing relative to wages, plus the dramatic fall in the cost of much technology and it is clear that for most basic needs, the country has never been less poor or less unequal. A smartphone’s search engine may be about as capable as a plutocrat’s full-time secretary was in 1960.

Imagine being told that one of the people in a meeting is a genuine billionaire (I owe this idea to Professor Don Boudreaux). How would you tell which one? His bodyguards, private jets and grouse moors are outside the room; his shirt and jeans are unlikely to give him away (as they would in 1900); his Rolex could be a cheap imitation; his teeth, girth and height are probably unremarkable (unlike in 1800); even his Diet Coke is the same as everybody else’s. Much more than in the past, most inequality in this country these days — though by no means all — is in luxuries, rather than necessities.

Here’s another question where my money is on the chimps: does income generally grow faster for people in the lowest fifth of the population or people in the highest? It’s the lowest, because many of those people are young, low-paid people just starting out on their careers, while many of the richest fifth are older people at the peak of their pay, about to retire. That is to say, the category “poorest fifth” may not seem to show much change, but the people in it do. Income mobility is far from dead: 80 per cent of people born in households below the poverty line escape poverty when they reach adulthood.

(More at:
3953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Redistribution Recession:How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy on: February 08, 2014, 07:58:07 AM
3rd post regarding economist Casey Mulligan, someone getting it right.  Buy his book:

The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy Hardcover
by Casey B. Mulligan

Redistribution, or subsidies and regulations intended to help the poor, unemployed, and financially distressed, have changed in many ways since the onset of the recent financial crisis. The unemployed, for instance, can collect benefits longer and can receive bonuses, health subsidies, and tax deductions, and millions more people have became eligible for food stamps.

Economist Casey B. Mulligan argues that while many of these changes were intended to help people endure economic events and boost the economy, they had the unintended consequence of deepening-if not causing-the recession. By dulling incentives for people to maintain their own living standards, redistribution created employment losses according to age, skill, and family composition. Mulligan explains how elevated tax rates and binding minimum-wage laws reduced labor usage, consumption, and investment, and how they increased labor productivity. He points to entire industries that slashed payrolls while experiencing little or no decline in production or revenue, documenting the disconnect between employment and production that occurred during the recession. The book provides an authoritative, comprehensive economic analysis of the marginal tax rates implicit in public and private sector subsidy programs, and uses quantitative measures of incentives to work and their changes over time since 2007 to illustrate production and employment patterns. It reveals the startling amount of work incentives eroded by the labyrinth of new and existing social safety net program rules, and, using prior results from labor economics and public finance, estimates that the labor market contracted two to three times more than it would have if redistribution policies had remained constant.

In The Redistribution Recession, Casey B. Mulligan offers hard evidence to contradict the notion that work incentives suddenly stop mattering during a recession or when interest rates approach zero, and offers groundbreaking interpretations and precise explanations of the interplay between unemployment and financial markets.
3954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Economics of the Affordable Care Act on: February 08, 2014, 07:53:47 AM
WSJ interview with Casey Mulligan, University of Chicago, National Bureau of Economic Research, the economist  who predicted ACA would contract the labor market by 3%.
"Taking away benefits has the same effect as a direct tax, so lower-income workers are discouraged from climbing the income ladder by working harder, logging extra hours, taking a promotion or investing in their future earnings through job training or education."

The Economist Who Exposed ObamaCare
The Chicago professor examined the law's incentives for the poor not to get a job or work harder, and this week Beltway budgeteers agreed.

In September, two weeks before the Affordable Care Act was due to launch, President Obama declared that "there's no serious evidence that the law . . . is holding back economic growth." As for repealing ObamaCare, he added, "That's not an agenda for economic growth. You're not going to meet an economist who says that that's a number-one priority in terms of boosting growth and jobs in this country—at least not a serious economist."

In a way, Mr. Obama had a point: "Never met him," says economist Casey Mulligan. If the unfamiliarity is mutual, the confusion is all presidential. Mr. Mulligan studies how government choices influence the incentives and rewards for work—and many more people may recognize the University of Chicago professor as a serious economist after this week. That's because, more than anyone, Mr. Mulligan is responsible for the still-raging furor over the Congressional Budget Office's conclusion that ObamaCare will, in fact, harm growth and jobs.
Enlarge Image

Rarely are political tempers so raw over an 11-page appendix to a dense budget projection for the next decade. But then the CBO—Congress's official fiscal scorekeeper, widely revered by Democrats and Republicans alike as the gold standard of economic analysis—reported that by 2024 the equivalent of 2.5 million Americans who were otherwise willing and able to work before ObamaCare will work less or not at all as a result of ObamaCare.

As the CBO admits, that's a "substantially larger" and "considerably higher" subtraction to the labor force than the mere 800,000 the budget office estimated in 2010. The overall level of labor will fall by 1.5% to 2% over the decade, the CBO figures.

Mr. Mulligan's empirical research puts the best estimate of the contraction at 3%. The CBO still has some of the economics wrong, he said in a phone interview Thursday, "but, boy, it's a lot better to be off by a factor of two than a factor of six."

The CBO's intellectual conversion is all the more notable for accepting Mr. Mulligan's premise, which is that what economists call "implicit marginal tax rates" in ObamaCare make work less financially valuable for lower-income Americans. Because the insurance subsidies are tied to income and phase out as cash wages rise, some people will have the incentive to remain poorer in order to continue capturing higher benefits. Another way of putting it is that taking away benefits has the same effect as a direct tax, so lower-income workers are discouraged from climbing the income ladder by working harder, logging extra hours, taking a promotion or investing in their future earnings through job training or education.

The CBO works in mysterious ways, but its commentary and a footnote suggest that two National Bureau of Economic Research papers Mr. Mulligan published last August were "roughly" the most important drivers of this revision to its model. In short, the CBO has pulled this economist's arguments and analysis from the fringes to center of the health-care debate.

For his part, Mr. Mulligan declines to take too much credit. "I'm not an expert in that town, Washington," he says, "but I showed them my work and I know they listened, carefully."

At a February 2013 hearing he pointed out several discrepancies between the CBO's marginal-tax-rate work and its health-care work, and, he says, "That couldn't persist forever. There would have to be a time where they would reconcile those two approaches somehow." More to the point, "I knew eventually it would be acknowledged that when you pay people for being low income you are going to have more low-income people."

Mr. Mulligan thinks the CBO deserves particular credit for learning and then revising the old 800,000 number, not least because so many liberals cited it to dispute the claims of ObamaCare's critics. The new finding might have prompted a debate about the marginal tax rates confronting the poor, but—well, it didn't.

Instead, liberals have turned to claiming that ObamaCare's missing workers will be a gift to society. Since employers aren't cutting jobs per se through layoffs or hourly take-backs, people are merely choosing rationally to supply less labor. Thanks to ObamaCare, we're told, Americans can finally quit the salt mines and blacking factories and retire early, or spend more time with the children, or become artists.

Mr. Mulligan reserves particular scorn for the economists making this "eliminated from the drudgery of labor market" argument, which he views as a form of trahison des clercs. "I don't know what their intentions are," he says, choosing his words carefully, "but it looks like they're trying to leverage the lack of economic education in their audience by making these sorts of points."

A job, Mr. Mulligan explains, "is a transaction between buyers and sellers. When a transaction doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. We know that it doesn't matter on which side of the market you put the disincentives, the results are the same. . . . In this case you're putting an implicit tax on work for households, and employers aren't willing to compensate the households enough so they'll still work." Jobs can be destroyed by sellers (workers) as much as buyers (businesses).

He adds: "I can understand something like cigarettes and people believe that there's too much smoking, so we put a tax on cigarettes, so people smoke less, and we say that's a good thing. OK. But are we saying we were working too much before? Is that the new argument? I mean make up your mind. We've been complaining for six years now that there's not enough work being done. . . . Even before the recession there was too little work in the economy. Now all of a sudden we wake up and say we're glad that people are working less? We're pursuing our dreams?"

The larger betrayal, Mr. Mulligan argues, is that the same economists now praising the great shrinking workforce used to claim that ObamaCare would expand the labor market.

He points to a 2011 letter organized by Harvard's David Cutler and the University of Chicago's Harold Pollack, signed by dozens of left-leaning economists including Nobel laureates, stating "our strong conclusion" that ObamaCare will strengthen the economy and create 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually. (Mr. Cutler has since qualified and walked back some of his claims.)

"Why didn't they say, no, we didn't mean the labor market's going to get bigger. We mean it's going to get smaller in a good way," Mr. Mulligan wonders. "I'm unhappy with that, to be honest, as an American, as an economist. Those kind of conclusions are tarnishing the field of economics, which is a great, maybe the greatest, field. They're sure not making it look good by doing stuff like that."

Mr. Mulligan's investigation into the Affordable Care Act builds on his earlier work studying the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the stimulus.

The Keynesian economists who dominate Mr. Obama's Washington are preoccupied by demand, and their explanation for persistently high post-recession unemployment is weak demand for goods and thus demand for labor. Mr. Mulligan, by contrast, studies the supply of labor and attributes the state of the economy in large part to the expansion of the entitlement and welfare state, such as the surge in food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and other safety-net programs. As these benefits were enriched and extended to more people by the stimulus, he argues in his 2012 book "The Redistribution Recession," they were responsible for about half the drop in work hours since 2007, and possibly more.

The nearby chart tracks marginal tax rates over time for nonelderly household heads and spouses with median earnings. This index is a population-weighted average over various ages, jobs, employment decisions like full-time versus part-time. Basically, the chart shows the extra taxes paid and government benefits foregone as a result of earning an extra dollar of income.

The stimulus caused a spike in marginal rates, but at least it was temporary. ObamaCare will bring them permanently into the 47% range, or seven percentage points higher than in early 2007. Mr. Mulligan says the main response to his calculations is that people "didn't realize the cumulative effect of these things together as a package to discourage work."

Mr. Mulligan is uncomfortable speculating about whether the benefits of this shift outweigh the costs. Perhaps the public was willing to trade market efficiency for more income security after the 2008 crisis. "As an economist I can't argue with that," he says. "The thing that I argue with is the denial that there is a trade-off. I argue with the denial that if you pay unemployed people you're going to get more unemployed people. There are consequences of that. That doesn't mean the consequences aren't worth paying. But you can't deny the consequences for the labor market."

One major risk is slower economic growth over time as people leave the workforce and contribute less to national prosperity. Another is that social programs with high marginal rates end up perpetuating the problems they're supposed to be alleviating.

So amid the current wave of liberal ObamaCare denial about these realities, how did Mr. Mulligan end up conducting such "unconventional" research?

"Unconventional?" he asks with more than a little disbelief. "It's not unconventional at all. The critique I get is that it's not complicated enough."

Well, then how come the CBO's adoption of his insights is causing such a ruckus?

"I would phrase the question a little differently," Mr. Mulligan responds, "which is: Why didn't conventional economic analysis make its way to Washington? Why was I the only delivery boy? Why wasn't there a laundry list?" The charitable explanation, he says, is that there was "a general lack of awareness" and economists simply didn't realize everything that government was doing to undermine incentives for work. "You have to dig into it and see it," he explains. "The Affordable Care Act's not going to come and shake you out of your bed and say, 'Look what's in me.' "

Judging by their reaction to the CBO report, the less charitable explanation is that liberals would have preferred that the public never found out.
3955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 08, 2014, 07:32:15 AM
Marginal tax rates for Heads of Households and spouses with median earnings potential including forgone subsidies.

Note that the beginning of 2007 was when unemployment was at its low point (and when Democrats took control of Congress).

Tax something more, work in this case, and you will get less of it.
3956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Constitutional Law: The limits of Nullification on: February 08, 2014, 07:21:41 AM
Robert A. Levy, Chairman of Cato, wrote last year on the limits of nullification:

Are states required to enforce federal laws and enact regulatory programs that Congress mandates? The answer on both counts is “No.”

Since[Madison-Marbury], nullification attempts have failed on three occasions: In 1828, South Carolina tried to nullify two national tariffs. President Andrew Jackson proclaimed nullification to be treason; Congress authorized Jackson to send troops, and the state backed down. In 1859, the Supreme Court rejected nullification in Ableman v. Booth.

If a state deems a federal law to be unconstitutional... The remedy is a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the suspect federal regulation or statute.
3957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: 9 Years after Kelo, Seized Land Is Empty, Legalized Crony Governmentism on: February 07, 2014, 07:56:41 PM

From the article:

Nine years after the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision gutted the right of American property owners to resist eminent-domain seizures, the neighborhood at the center of the case remains a wasteland.

Fort Trumbull in New London, Conn., was bulldozed to fulfill the vision of politicians and developers eager to create a New Urbanist mixed-use “hub” for upscale living in the depressed town near the mouth of Long Island Sound.

But after nearly a decade, the land is nothing but vacant urban prairie. After homeowners were forced off their property for the sake of “economic development,” the city’s original development deal fell apart, and the urban-renewal corporation that ordered the destruction has not found a developer to use the land.

Thank you for the update on this.  This was a travesty before the planned development crashed.  Five U.S. Supreme Court Justices should have been impeached and removed for this.  Susette Kelo house

(From BD's link above)

Pfizer to Leave City That Won Land-Use Case

"Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently." - Connecticut Justice Richard N. Palmer
3958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The decline in numbers of abortions on: February 05, 2014, 09:44:55 PM
It's called the 'Roe effect'.  A lot of the women that would be likely to abort at this point in time were themselves aborted under the rights established in the Roe decision. 
3959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: February 03, 2014, 10:08:24 AM
I do not favor Huckabee. I note that Glenn Beck doesn't like him either.

Jindal would be fine with me.
3960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: February 03, 2014, 09:57:21 AM
My guess is that he refers to cuts to the US Department of Education (bureaucracy), not to education which is funded at the state and local level.

The 'cuts' restore spending to pre-crash levels.
3961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 02, 2014, 12:22:37 AM
From Crafty's link:  
"The average cost of a hip replacement in the US is $40,364."  
"The same operation in Spain costs an average of $7371."

"I don't have a good concise answer for that , , , and if I can't be concise, do I really understand?"

There are two aspects to this:  Why is healthcare here so expensive, and a specific example is cited of the same procedure performed in two different places.

If the price difference is more than a plane ticket, and the quality, availability, reliability etc. are identical, why would people not just go there?

Prices are not coming down because there is no competitive market to drive them down, before or after Obamacare.

From the NY Time piece: "hospital charges (for hip replacement) run $65,000, not including the surgeon’s fee".

If you asked the surgeon what exactly he needs in a hospital room to perform a hip replacement, I don't see how it comes to $65,000.  The surgical time for a hip replacement is 25 to 30 minutes.

US heathcare is a cartel, IMHO.  State law (MN) requires all hospitals to be "non-profit" which makes it worse.  Obamacare continues all those problems and adds a plethora more.  Everything we do in terms of public policy and healthcare policy, it seems to me, is designed to make things more expensive.

The non-profit requirement is a joke.  The NFL is a non-profit and the commissioner makes $30 million/yr.  Large hospitals take in and disburse hundreds of millions of dollars per year (or more).

Our system is flawed, and the Soviet-style, central-planned model is worse.

I'm sure that still did not answer your question.  But if you look into the Spanish system, I'm sure you will find they use their single payer clout to drive the cost down to only cover the variable cost to build the hip, like Canadians buying US medicines.  That doesn't work for the largest economy in the world because if someone did not pay for the fixed costs and development costs, the products never would be developed.  

3962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The D'Souza Indictment and Double Standards... on: January 31, 2014, 11:07:45 AM
Thanks for that, Obj.  This administration makes Nixon with his enemy list look restrained.  D'Souza made a mistake and should pay whatever penalty anyone and everyone else pays for a same or similar mistake.  But the mistake was the campaign law violation, not that he dared to exercise unflattering political speech about this President and this administration.
3963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2016 Presidential: CNN's S.E. Cupp covers Scott Walker on: January 31, 2014, 10:53:46 AM
I highly recommend this article, and especially for those thinking about not voting because of lousy, muddled choices.  Walker is winning (for Governor) in a state that has not gone Republican since 1984.  He won his state by 7.5% just before Obama won it 7%.  "What we found is, to win the center, which is the key to winning states like Wisconsin, you don't have to move to the center. That's the misnomer [in Washington] that suddenly you've got to change your core principles and move more to the center. It's just the opposite with voters who are independents or swing voters or undecided, persuadable voters. "They want leadership."

On whether Republicans need a woman on the 2016 ticket:  "Susana Martinez has done a wonderful job in a state that's clearly a blue state. Nikki Haley's doing a great job in South Carolina. Mary Fallin is doing a super job out there [in Oklahoma]. So I don't think you have to, but the beauty of any of those three names is that none of them would be token. They'd be three proven reformers and governors."

I think Walker would be a controversial VP pick.  Better at the top of the ticket.  He has moved recently from dark horse to contender for the Republican Presidential nominee.
A Republican with a message for 2016
By S.E. Cupp    Thu January 30, 2014

    S.E. Cupp: Republicans should give Scott Walker a serious look for 2016
    He says the candidate needs to build campaign around reform, not austerity
    Walker says Romney wrongly tried to win by focusing on what's wrong with incumbent
    Wisconsin governor says voters are looking for leaders who have a plan

(CNN) -- "The reason why Republicans I think sometimes get in trouble is ... they talk about cutting things. Too many people in our party talk about austerity and not about reform. There's a difference."

That was what Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker told me this past weekend when I sat down with him at a Washington hotel restaurant to discuss a broad range of topics, including the path forward for the GOP. Whether talking about entitlement reform, food stamps, unemployment benefits or social programs, his one word mantra? Emphasize "reform."

"The mistake I think we often make is," he continued, "if we're the party of no, and we're the party of austerity, the people of this country want more. The difference is, the left offers them more government, more benefits, more assistance. We should offer them more freedom, more opportunity, more prosperity."

Over the course of our interview, the word "reform" came up dozens of times -- in his assessment of Mitt Romney, his support for Chris Christie, his praise for Paul Ryan and his advice to Republican 2016 contenders. In fact, the advice was free-flowing all around. And why not?

Walker's frequently discussed in conservative circles as a 2016 contender himself, and after winning a bruising collective bargaining dispute and surviving a vicious recall effort in 2012, he's earned a reputation as a fighter -- and the political capital that comes along with it.

According to the most recent polling, 51% approve of his job as governor, in a blue state that hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984.

"We are, like most Midwestern battleground states, very evenly divided among parties. I won with 7.5% of the vote in the recall election. A few months later, Barack Obama carried the state by about the same margin, about 7 points."

What he calls the "Walker/Obama" voter might sound like a creature out of political mythology, but he believes it's the key to a Republican winning in 2016.

"What we found is, to win the center, which is the key to winning states like Wisconsin, you don't have to move to the center. That's the misnomer [in Washington] that suddenly you've got to change your core principles and move more to the center. It's just the opposite with voters who are independents or swing voters or undecided, persuadable voters.

"They want leadership. We've shown that the same people who voted for me, there's a significant number of those middle-of-the-road voters who then turned around and voted for Obama." (President Obama is visiting Wisconsin on Thursday as part of his post-State of the Union tour.)

And even though he disagrees with almost all of Obama's policies, he believes Republicans could stand to take a page from his book.

"The one thing I'll give him his due on, he's a committed liberal. He's leading, he's got big, bold ideas, Obamacare being a prime example. I think that's bad policy, but at least I won't fault him for leading."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the Republican message should be \
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the Republican message should be "reform."

After inheriting a $3.6 billion budget deficit in 2011, Walker now sits comfortably on a gross general fund balance of more than $1 billion, with $279 million in a rainy day fund. He's helped lower the unemployment rate to 6.2% from 7% in 2011, and this year he is proposing to give Wisconsinites $800 million back in income and property tax cuts and withholding changes. Personal income grew 4.4% over the past year.

"If you put more money back in the hands of the people, the hard-working taxpayers of your state, they will fuel the economy. If you put more and more of it in the hands of government, they'll take it in the opposite direction."

Despite his reputation among progressives as a union-busting "bully," who was often greeted by signs comparing him to Hitler during recall protests in Madison, Scott Walker is soft-spoken and unassuming.

In a crowded room, you might not notice the 47-year-old sitting governor, sipping hot tea as he was on Saturday. He's wonky and fluent with figures but speaks affably and quickly with a wide Wisconsin accent. "Get me going on the Packers or motorcycles and I can go all day," he says.

But when he believes a policy is deleterious, he doesn't labor to couch his rhetoric in polite Midwestern niceties.

On raising the minimum wage: "It is a cheap political stunt that may be well-intentioned by some, but it has an incredibly buzz saw type effect on the economy. And it's nothing more than a photo-op to pretend that people are doing something about creating jobs."

On Obamacare: "It's been a huge wet blanket that the federal government's thrown on employers who should otherwise be starting to hire more people."

On food stamps: "Last year, I proposed and have since done a program that says if you're an adult in my state without kids and you want to get food stamps, I'm not going to give you food stamps unless you're employed part time or enrolled in one of my employment training programs."
You can't win elections just by being against the other guy.
Scott Walker

It's this straight-forward, principled approach to economic issues that makes Walker a darling in many right-wing circles looking for a conservative candidate for 2016 whose vision is clear-eyed and concrete, unlike what some would say was Romney's confused message.

Walker readily admits Romney wasn't clear enough on his principles.

"I'm not telling tales here because I told him this for months. ... I think [Romney's] a good man, would have been a good president. But you can't win elections just by being against the other guy. You can't win elections with the premise that it's a referendum on your opposition.

"You've got to tell people why the country would be better under your leadership. Both my [recall] opponent and Mitt Romney said, 'My opponent's awful, he's a bad guy, you shouldn't vote for him.' The winners were the ones who actually told people where they were going."

But Walker also concedes there's a fine line between no-nonsense straight talk and the kind of undisciplined and undernuanced rhetoric that's gotten some other Republicans in trouble, especially when it comes to social issues.

Walker says he "obsesses" on fiscal issues because that's what voters elected him to do. He's principled and conservative on abortion and marriage, but hey says social issues simply aren't the centerpiece of his agenda. And he blames the media and Democrats for trying to make them the centerpiece of every Republican's agenda.

"The reason the left wants to talk about those other issues and obsess about those issues is because they can't cut it when it comes to the economy and fiscal issues. They want any sort of distraction to get off-topic, off-message to go on some tangent out there to have people be distracted from what the real issues are."

His advice to fellow conservatives is to talk less about social issues and, if forced to, "it's just a simple answer and move on."

"What I try to tell Republicans is, don't take the bait. Don't change your positions -- nobody in the center wants people to flip-flop just based on whatever they think conventional wisdom is at the time. They respect people who have deeply held convictions. But what they don't want is people going off on tangents on things that don't relate to what concerns them."

As for 2016, he not surprisingly prefers two governors on the Republican ticket. What might be surprising is the model for success he thinks Republicans can channel.
Why not send two proven reformers to Washington to shake things up and take on the establishment...
Scott Walker

"Kind of like Bill Clinton and Al Gore were a little unconventional in '92, but what they said that worked was, we're young, we're dynamic, we're the next generation and we're ready to go. And in this case why not send two proven reformers to Washington to shake things up and take on the establishment that Hillary Clinton's been a part of almost her entire adult life?"

One nongovernor he does like? He's partial to a young congressman from Janesville, Wisconsin.

"Paul Ryan to me is one of the few exceptions out there. I think here in D.C., he's someone that thinks like a governor. He pushes reform, he's bold and aggressive."

If Republicans looking to run in 2014 or 2016 need advice, they may want to listen to Walker, whose message of "reform" certainly has a nicer, smarter ring to it than "blame Obama." And they might want to obsess a little more over fiscal issues, despite the desire of the liberal media to make abortion and same-sex marriage a 24-hour news story.

Similarly, if voters are looking for a candidate in 2016 with proven executive experience, principled leadership and a simple mission to reform unruly and broken bureaucracy, they may just want to pay attention to Walker, too.


Here is Walker on some other key issues that have been making news:

On whether Chris Christie should step down from heading the Republican Governors Association:

"No, I think in the end, he'll be fine. He's going to have his hands full in the next few months. But I talked to him the day that he had his press conference, what two hours almost? Everything that was reported there he had told me privately. So I don't hear a different message.

"And assuming, obviously a qualifier, but I have every reason to believe what he's telling me is accurate, assuming that continues, any of us, not just in a situation like this, but any of us who are pushing big, bold reform, are going to be under attack. I get attacked all the time. Other governors get attacked. I think Chris is perfectly capable of handling that."

On whether Republicans need a woman on the 2016 ticket:

"Susana Martinez has done a wonderful job in a state that's clearly a blue state. Nikki Haley's doing a great job in South Carolina. Mary Fallin is doing a super job out there [in Oklahoma]. So I don't think you have to, but the beauty of any of those three names is that none of them would be token. They'd be three proven reformers and governors."

On legalizing marijuana:

"From my standpoint, I still have concerns about making it legal. I understand from the libertarian standpoint, the argument out there. I still have concerns. I'm not, unlike the President, I still have difficulty visualizing marijuana and alcohol in the same vein.

"I've never experienced this, but I can't imagine people socially smoking the way people have a beer or two at a wedding reception. There's a huge difference out there. So in the end, I understand why people make that argument, but in our state, I don't think we're ready for that."

On an Obamacare alternative:

"The better answer to me is go the reverse direction, to a patient-centered concept, where it's market-driven and patients are the ones in charge and the tax incentives offered by states and the federal government don't discriminate between those who have employer-paid insurance or people who choose to buy it individually or choose to use it for things like health savings accounts.

"Make it the same tax incentive across the board. And in the end, you can make this about controlling cost by people making decisions based on their own health and wellness and not about the mechanical bureaucratic system and trying to reign in costs."

On raising the minimum wage:

"What it really is is dumping a so-called fresh idea off of the heap of 20 or 30 years of bad ideas of the past. And sometimes because a poll here shows people are for it a lot of politicians are afraid to take it on. I say, if you explain it to people it's not hard for people to get. It's not enough to just say 'No, I'm not for the minimum wage.'

"The better answer is to say we should be promoting pro-growth policies that make it easier for employers to not only create more jobs but grow income."
3964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wash Post: Fact Checking 2014 State of the Union on: January 30, 2014, 02:45:25 PM
Mainstream media trying to toughen up for when Republicans take the White House.:

“The more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.”

  - the number of jobs in the economy still is about 1.2 million lower than when the recession began in December 2007

“A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.”

  - the number of manufacturing jobs is still 500,000 fewer than when Obama took office

“Our deficits — cut by more than half.”

  - The 2009 figure... reflects the impact of decisions, such as the $800 billion stimulus bill, enacted early in the president’s term.  The United States still has a deficit higher than it was in nominal terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product than it was in 2008 and a debt much greater as a percentage of the overall economy than it was prior to the recession.

“Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”

  - Close readers of the president’s speeches might have noticed an interesting shift in the president’s rhetoric. Just in December the president gave a speech on economic mobility in which he three times asserted that it was “declining” in the United States. But earlier this month, renowned economists Raj Chetty, Emmanuel Saez and colleagues published a paper based on tens of millions of tax records showing that upward mobility had not changed significantly over time. The rate essentially is the same now as it was 20 years ago.

“Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”

  - when such differences are accounted for, much of the hourly wage gap dwindled, to about 5 cents on the dollar.

“More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.”

  - no one really knows how many of the 6.3 million are in this expansion pool — or whether they are simply renewing or would have qualified for Medicaid before the new law. Indeed, the number also includes people joining Medicaid in states that chose not accept the expansion.  The private insurance numbers — about 3 million — are also open to question. The troubled federal exchange counts people as enrolled if an individual has selected a plan, but it does not know if a person enrolled and paid a premium because that part of the system has yet to be built.

Fact checking Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in her response:

“Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the president’s policies are making people’s lives harder.”

  - [True] but the decline in the labor participation rate started well before Obama.
3965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WhiteHouse.Gov: The last economic expansion ended when Democrats took congress on: January 30, 2014, 02:31:22 PM
I inherited this and I inherited that economic problem from the previous administration, he keeps saying, yet the White House's own website says the last economic expansion ended exactly as Democrats including Senator Obama took majority control of congress.

"the last economic expansion ended in 2007".

How about taking SOME responsibility for that!
3966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Income Inequality Far Worse under Obama than Bush on: January 30, 2014, 02:19:33 PM
Income inequality, a bogus, manufactured issue, measured by the Gini Coefficient with Census Bureau data, is far worse under Obama and Clinton than under George Bush.  Who knew?

(The only income growth under Obama is the Fed inflated stock market, owned disproportionately by rich people.)

If we want more income equality, we should return to the economy of George W. Bush. 

George W. Bush was the most successful of our recent past presidents in achieving very substantial increases in incomes for the poorest quintile (+18.4%).
3967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Income Mobility has not declined on: January 30, 2014, 02:05:24 PM
Raj Chetty, Bloomberg Professor of Economics at Harvard University
Nathaniel Hendren, Harvard University economist
Patrick Kline, Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley
Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley
Nicholas Turner, Economist, Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Cambridge, MA
January 2014

"We present new evidence on trends in intergenerational mobility in the U.S. using administrative earnings records. We find that percentile rank-based measures of intergenerational mobility have remained extremely stable for the 1971-1993 birth cohorts....[C]hildren entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution (relative to their parents) as children born in the 1970s."
3968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: 11 Facts About Minimum Wage Pres. Obama Forgot To Mention on: January 30, 2014, 01:13:47 PM
00.03% of the workforce consist of workers who live in a household below the poverty line and work full time earning minimum wage.  Raising the minimum wage will worsen the employment situation, especially for the newest workers in the workforce, but is polls well.   So Democrats (always) say, let's make raising it further the centerpiece of the political agenda.  Meanwhile we have the highest corporate taxes on the planet, the worst business regulatory climate in our nation's history, and a workforce participation rate in free fall.

11 Facts About The Minimum Wage That President Obama Forgot To Mention

1) Only 1 Percent Of The U.S. Labor Force Earns The Minimum Wage

2) Teenagers Comprise The Single Largest Age Group Of Minimum Wage Workers

3) Most Minimum Wage Workers Are Under The Age Of 25

4) A Majority Of Those Who Earn The Minimum Wage Work In Food Preparation Or Sales

5) Less Than 5 Percent Of People Who Earn The Minimum Wage Work In Construction Or Manufacturing

6) A Majority Of Them Also Worked Less Than 30 Hours Per Week

7) Less Than One-Third Worked Full-Time

8.) A Full-Time Minimum Wage Worker In 2014 Will Make 24 Percent More Than The Federal Poverty Limit

9) One-Third Of Minimum Wage Workers Either Dropped Out Of Or Never Attended High School

10) There Are Nearly Six Times More Minimum Wage Workers Today Than In 2007

11) A Change In The Minimum Wage Often Triggers Union Wage Hikes And Benefit Renegotiations
3969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / (The Way Forward) John Stossel: SOTU, What Pres. Obama Should Have Said on: January 30, 2014, 11:58:03 AM

What Obama Should Have Said
John Stossel (2014.01.30 )

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday wasn’t what I wanted to hear. This is what the president should have said:

“I cannot imagine what I was thinking when I pushed Obamacare. I now see it is folly to entrust government, which cannot balance its books and routinely loses track of billions of dollars, with even greater power over health care.

“If something as simple as a website is too much for government to get right, imagine what government will do to complicated medical pricing and insurance plans.

“Foolishly, my plan destroyed many sensible insurance plans — some offering catastrophic-only coverage for a lower price — exactly the insurance so many people need.

“I see my fellow Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia, seated nearby. I take to heart his comments, which he can safely make now that he’s retiring from Congress, about how Obamacare is economically doomed, with few young people signing up but sick old people taking money out. The math doesn’t add up.

“Now that I think about it, it would be better to end government involvement in health care altogether and let people shop around for the best free-market plans, including catastrophe-only plans, depending on individual needs. Let’s try that. In fact, let’s see if I can revise other items in my agenda so they work better for consumers …

“Minimum wage laws, for example. Although a higher minimum is popular with people from both parties, minimums make no sense. The law cannot make an employee who a company values at $5 an hour become worth $10. Minimum wage laws just increase unemployment by eliminating some jobs. They don’t do the poor any favors. Let’s repeal them.

“And let’s get the feds out of the preschool business! Government does a bad job with K-12 education. Why would we think our central planning should expand? My education department funded studies of Head Start, and we were all astounded to learn that they have no effect. It’s insane to do more of something that our own research shows does not work. Education should be left to local governments and parents.

“Immigration: It’s odd that I’m seen as a friend to immigrants, given that I’ve deported more of them than the previous president did. But if we don’t want people breaking immigration laws, the best thing to do is simplify the law. Conservatives worry that people will come here to mooch off the welfare state or commit crimes. So how about letting people in with quick and simple procedures focused on checking for crime and terrorism, but saying no immigrant is eligible for welfare? That compromise makes sense.

“National Security Agency surveillance: After all the outrage over the Patriot Act, you must have been surprised, America, to discover that the NSA does even more snooping under my presidency. I will not abandon the basic governmental duty to keep citizens safe, but we should limit snooping to people whom we have probable cause to suspect might be terrorists.

“Climate: I think the greenhouse effect is real, but the evidence that humanity’s contribution to it will cause dire problems is debatable. Better to reduce Environmental Protection Agency micromanagement and let America get as rich as possible. This will help us cope with environmental side effects and afford the research necessary to find better sources of energy. Global warming is a theoretical problem. We have real problems, like reducing our debt and getting clean water to the world’s poor.
(more at link)
3970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Besides the frequent flyer miles , , , on: January 30, 2014, 10:06:57 AM
On the R side, we keep looking for the right combination of experience.  Hillary appears to have that.  She was a US Senator.  Has foreign policy experience.  Worked in the executive branch and was involved in it with her husband.  

Recently mentioned was her bald faced lying to the American people as their First Lady, excusing the predator while blaming the opposition.  Clever at the moment and proven wrong.  For another post, her dismal record as a US Senator.  Suffice it to say, they collapsed the US economy.  As Secretary of State, we should recall how it began and how it transpired.

It was a reach out to a hated rival that he chose Hillary Clinton and from then on they were such great friends, if you believe that.  Pres. Obama chose Hillary Clinton as Sec of State, then he diminished that job by appointing Special Envoys to the key trouble spots in the world,  George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East 'peace', and Richard Holbrooke as special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan.  President Obama appointed Rashad Hussain, an Indian-American Muslim, as the United States special envoy to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.  

In other words, Hillary held the title but the White House wanted to work through others in what they considered key areas.  So Hillary traveled and traveled and traveled - to everywhere else.  What did she accomplish?

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Politico's Maggie Haberman, who had just written a major fluff piece on Hillary Clinton in Oct 2013, to name her accomplishments as Secretary of State:  

"There is not a giant list that I think people can point to".

"The biggest achievements was, and you’ve seen this pointed to a lot, was the amount of travel time she logged...", the communications professional struggled to go any further:

Politico’s Maggie Haberman Struggles To List Any Accomplishments At State By Hillary Clinton
Monday, October 28, 2013  

HH: Joined now by Maggie Haberman of, who had a huge story this morning on Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 run. Maggie, welcome, it’s good to have you on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

MH: Thanks for having me.

HH: Did the reaction to your column flow in today and raise questions about whether or not she’s actually running? Or does everyone assume she’s running?

MH: I’ve heard a mixture of reactions. I think that most people think the preponderance of evidence is that she is running. I had actually been among those who had thought she wasn’t running, and I no longer think that. It’s hard to think it after some of the speeches she’s given recently. I think most people think that there is a chance that she won’t run, that those would be for, you know, mostly personal reasons, or the unforeseen. But that chance seems pretty small at the moment.

HH: Now this is a process story that turns primarily on the argument that the biggest complaint about Clinton in 2008, and I’m quoting now, was that she ran a campaign of entitlement, showing feistiness and emotion only after Obama had surged when it was already too late. Is that what you consider, or what your sources consider to be her biggest potential problem this time around? Or is it her record as secretary of State?

MH: Well, I think that there are two different issues. And I certainly think that her approach to a campaign will be very significant in terms of how she handles it. I think that her record as secretary of State is obviously her most recent, and it is one of the pieces of her curriculum vitae that have been the least looked at, certainly in terms of repeated, in terms of the crux of a campaign and the crucible of a campaign. And I think that it’s relevant. I think that it’s going to come up a lot. I think that people around her are certainly prepared for that, or at least prepared for it to be an issue. How they handle it remains to be seen.

HH: What is her biggest achievement as secretary of State?

MH: I think that the folks around her believe that among the biggest achievements was, and you’ve seen this pointed to a lot, was the amount of travel time she logged. They felt very good about the Chinese dissident, and how the disposition of that case went in 2012. I think that what they, and what most people are prepared for is a lot of questions about the aftermath of Benghazi, and I think there was a 60 Minutes piece about that, that went out yesterday. I think there’s going to be a lot more of that. I think that this is where the fact that most people believe she is running, but she has not set up a team of any kind in any meaningful way, potentially becomes problematic, because if her folks believe that they have something to say in response to that and they’re not, they’re sort of letting time slip away from them.

HH: But pause for a moment with me on the achievement side.

MH: Sure.

HH: Articulate further. What is it that people say is her achievement? That she logged a lot of miles? What, is she running for George Clooney’s role in Up In The Air?

MH: (laughing) That has been certainly one of the focuses that her folks have talked about. They’ve also talked about how she ran a functional effort at State. Look, I think that when you hear from her world about what her accomplishments were, I think that they genuinely believe that she had made progress in terms of how America was perceived. People can agree or disagree with that. I think that that is obviously been coming into question now, and this is again something I think she’s going to have to talk about more. She’s clearly aware of that, but she’s not saying much about it so far, on the NSA issue. It’s very, very difficult for a former Obama administration official to run a sort of smoke and mirrors campaign on foreign policy. She’s going to have a very hard time doing that.

HH: Well, I know all the critiques, because I’m a conservative talk show host. So I know what all the vulnerabilities are.

MH: Right.

HH: I’m just curious as to what they think her strengths are, other than, you know, frequent flyer miles.

MH: Look, they think that she was an effective diplomat. They think that she was good at helping America’s image globally. They have a couple of cases like the case of the Chinese dissident where they think that State played a very effective role. She was among those who was pressing for more action in Syria of a restricted type earlier on than what you saw the Obama administration ultimately do this year. But you know, look, she was not, she certainly was not part of the team that, say, was dealing with Israel. She was not integral in that way, and so I think for some of the issues that are the hottest right now, globally, she was not a key factor in them.\

HH: So a Chinese dissident? That’s it?

MH: Well, I think we will see what they issue as her biggest strength as secretary of State. That has not been a case they’ve been emphasizing so far. You’ve, I’m sure, read the New York Magazine piece, like everybody else, where they talked about again, her time as secretary of State which was largely mechanical, at least in the focus of that piece, and how they thought she had run an effective effort. Everything with Hillary Clinton gets looked at through the prism of how she manages whatever team she’s running, and that’s been where a lot of the focus has been.

HH: Well, it’s very interesting to me, though, as you report early on, they are going to try, Team Clinton is going to try and give you the talking points, which they hope then enter into the bloodstream, and into the circulatory system of Washington, D.C. that is Politico, and then out through the rest of the country. And what I’m hearing you say is they’ve got a Chinese dissident.

MH: No, I think, but I think that when you’ve asked me off the top of my head what are some of the things that her folks have pointed to over the last two years, that has certainly been one of the cases.

HH: Anything else, Maggie?

MH: Yes, there are others, but I’m just not coming up with them at the moment, but, and I’m not trying to avoid the question.

HH: Oh, I know you’re not. I just don’t think there’s anything there. I think, actually, her biggest problem is that there is no there there. She occupied the State Department, and there’s nothing to show for it. I guess there’s this Chinese dissident, but I’m, that’s not, that’s not a name that’s tripping off of my tongue right now. Do you know his name?

MH: I think that, no, at the moment, I actually cannot think of his name. I think that they’re, I think this is going to be an ongoing problem for her. I think that showing sort of a body of work at State is going to be something that she’s going to be pressed to do increasingly, and I think that running sort of a shadow campaign through paid speeches and free speeches over the course of the next year, I think is going to not cut it eventually, not just for conservative critics, but I think on the left. I think she’s going to have a problem.

HH: But doesn’t this sort of underscore the major problem? Here I am, a conservative critic, and I know the critique. And you’re a mainstream reporter, and as far as I know, you have no ideology. You’re one of the people at Politico that I don’t put on the left or the right, you’re just down the middle.

MH: Yeah.

HH: And neither of us can come up with any claim that she has to having succeeded at anything, and they are not able, they didn’t spin you, because they’ve got nothing to spin you with. It’s like the washing machine’s broke.

MH: Well, we’ll see. I mean, I think we need to see what they ultimately come up, to be fair. I think that since she’s not yet running, I think looking at how they present her and present what she did there is an open question.

HH: They’ll come up with something. What I’m getting at is, how long have you been with Politico, five years?

MH: Four years, three and a half years.

HH: Okay, so almost her entire tenure at State, and I’ve been on the air since 2000. And I can’t think of anything, and I’m giving you the floor. If you can come up with anything for her case, lay it out there. Just from the top of mine, it should be front shelf, right?

MH: It certainly is not, there is not a giant list that I think people can point to.

HH: There is no list.

MH: There are a couple, and I think there’s a couple of reasons for that like I said. With the major issue of dealing with Israel, she was not front and center. And she certainly received criticism early on in terms of how the U.S. dealt with Russia. I think these are all going to be issues that she is going to have to address, and I suspect she is going to get asked about them repeatedly, and by many, many outlets.

HH: I mean, it’s just a big, we’re done, but go around the bullpen at Politico and ask them what did she do, and it’s going to be a giant whiteboard, and there’s not going to be anything on it, Maggie.

MH: I like the invocation of whiteboard, though.

HH: It is a whiteboard. Maggie Haberman, great piece today, great process piece, but boy, she’s got problems if after writing it, you don’t have the list at the tip of the tongue. The Clintonistas had better come up with a list, because there’s nothing on it. Really, nothing.
3971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - SOTU on: January 30, 2014, 09:28:37 AM
The empty suit gave an empty speech, widely called "forgettable".  It didn't inspire a lot of comment on the board.

I was disappointed that he didn't use the speech as an opportunity to announce approval of the Keystone pipeline.  That would be reaching to the middle.  It would constructed largely with union construction jobs.  Republicans would have applauded.  Democrats use oil and gas.  Elite liberals like to jet around.  Public safety would be enhanced.  He probably has to approve it at some point.  Maybe he would have energized a second look at his other proposals. 

Instead it was just the anti-constitutional rhetoric, if I can't do this with congress, I will do it alone.  By 'year of action' he is referring to actions that kill more jobs and make energy less affordable to young people, blacks, Hispanics, women and children.
3972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Not since 1996 on: January 30, 2014, 09:13:18 AM

Remember how shocked people were that Pres. George H.W. Bush had not seen a grocery scanner in 1992?

Prior to Chappaqua house, the Clintons had barely owned a house, much less a car.  Like most, typical middle American couples, they lived in government mansions and were driven by government drivers.  It was state troopers who took Bill Clinton to his Gennifer Flowers affair.

3973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will: Four words in the ACA could spell its doom on: January 30, 2014, 08:41:29 AM
subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange “established by the state.”

Four words in the ACA could spell its doom

By George F. Will, Published: January 29
Someone you probably are not familiar with has filed a suit you probably have not heard about concerning a four-word phrase you should know about. The suit could blow to smithereens something everyone has heard altogether too much about, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hereafter, ACA).

Scott Pruitt and some kindred spirits might accelerate the ACA’s collapse by blocking another of the Obama administration’s lawless uses of the Internal Revenue Service. Pruitt was elected Oklahoma’s attorney general by promising to defend states’ prerogatives against federal encroachment, and today he and some properly litigious people elsewhere are defending a state prerogative that the ACA explicitly created. If they succeed, the ACA’s disintegration will accelerate.

Because under the ACA, insurance companies cannot refuse coverage because of an individual’s preexisting condition. Because many people might therefore wait to purchase insurance after they become sick, the ACA requires a mandate to compel people to buy insurance. And because many people cannot afford the insurance that satisfies the ACA’s criteria, the ACA mandate makes it necessary to provide subsidies for those people.

The four words that threaten disaster for the ACA say the subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange “established by the state.” But 34 states have chosen not to establish exchanges.

So the IRS, which is charged with enforcing the ACA, has ridden to the rescue of Barack Obama’s pride and joy. Taking time off from writing regulations to restrict the political speech of Obama’s critics, the IRS has said, with its breezy indifference to legality, that subsidies shall also be dispensed to those who purchase insurance through federal exchanges the government has established in those 34 states. Pruitt is challenging the IRS in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and there are similar challenges in Indiana, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The IRS says its “interpretation” — it actually is a revision — of the law is “consistent with,” and justified by, the “structure of” the ACA. The IRS means that without its rule, the ACA would be unworkable and that Congress could not have meant to allow this. The ACA’s legislative history, however, demonstrates that Congress clearly — and, one might say, with malice aforethought — wanted subsidies available only through state exchanges.

Some have suggested that the language limiting subsidies to state-run exchanges is a drafting error. Well.

Some of the ACA’s myriad defects do reflect its slapdash enactment, which presaged its chaotic implementation. But the four potentially lethal words were carefully considered and express Congress’s intent.

Congress made subsidies available only through state exchanges as a means of coercing states into setting up exchanges.

In Senate Finance Committee deliberations on the ACA, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the bill’s primary authors, suggested conditioning tax credits on state compliance because only by doing so could the federal government induce state cooperation with the ACA. Then the law’s insurance requirements could be imposed on states without running afoul of constitutional law precedents that prevent the federal government from commandeering state governments. The pertinent language originated in the committee and was clarified in the Senate. (See “Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule To Expand Tax Credits Under The PPACA,” by Jonathan H. Adler and Michael F. Cannon in Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine.)

Also, passage of the ACA required the vote of every Democratic senator. One, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, admirably opposed a federal exchange lest this become a steppingstone toward a single-payer system.

If courts, perhaps ultimately including the Supreme Court, disallow the IRS’s “interpretation” of the law, the ACA will not function as intended in 34 states with 65 percent of the nation’s population. If courts allow the IRS’s demarche, they will validate this:

By dispensing subsidies through federal exchanges, the IRS will spend tax revenues without congressional authorization. And by enforcing the employer mandate in states that have only federal exchanges, it will collect taxes — remember, Chief Justice John Roberts saved the ACA by declaring that the penalty enforcing the mandate is really just a tax on the act of not purchasing insurance — without congressional authorization.

If the IRS can do neither, it cannot impose penalties on employers who fail to offer ACA-approved insurance to employees.

If the IRS can do both, Congress can disband because it has become peripheral to American governance.
3974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, The Inequality Bogeyman, By Thomas Sowell on: January 28, 2014, 12:29:36 PM
The Inequality Bogeyman

By Thomas Sowell - January 28, 2014

During a recent lunch in a restaurant, someone complimented my wife on the perfume she was wearing. But I was wholly unaware that she was wearing perfume, even though we had been in a car together for about half an hour, driving to the restaurant.

My sense of smell is very poor. But there is one thing I can smell far better than most people -- gas escaping. During my years of living on the Stanford University campus, and walking back and forth to work at my office, I more than once passed a faculty house and smelled gas escaping. When there was nobody home, I would leave a note, warning them.

When walking past the same house again a few days later, I could see where the utility company had been digging in the yard -- and, after that, there was no more smell of gas escaping. But apparently the people who lived in these homes had not smelled anything.

These little episodes have much wider implications. Most of us are much better at some things than at others, and what we are good at can vary enormously from one person to another. Despite the preoccupation -- if not obsession -- of intellectuals with equality, we are all very unequal in what we do well and what we do badly.

It may not be innate, like a sense of smell, but differences in capabilities are inescapable, and they make a big difference in what and how much we can contribute to each other's economic and other well-being. If we all had the same capabilities and the same limitations, one individual's limitations would be the same as the limitations of the entire human species.

We are lucky that we are so different, so that the capabilities of many other people can cover our limitations.

One of the problems with so many discussions of income and wealth is that the intelligentsia are so obsessed with the money that people receive that they give little or no attention to what causes money to be paid to them, in the first place.

The money itself is not wealth. Otherwise the government could make us all rich just by printing more of it. From the standpoint of a society as a whole, money is just an artificial device to give us incentives to produce real things -- goods and services.

Those goods and services are the real "wealth of nations," as Adam Smith titled his treatise on economics in the 18th century.

Yet when the intelligentsia discuss such things as the historic fortunes of people like John D. Rockefeller, they usually pay little -- if any -- attention to what it was that caused so many millions of people to voluntarily turn their individually modest sums of money over to Rockefeller, adding up to his vast fortune.

What Rockefeller did first to earn their money was find ways to bring down the cost of producing and distributing kerosene to a fraction of what it had been before his innovations. This profoundly changed the lives of millions of working people.

Before Rockefeller came along in the 19th century, the ancient saying, "The night cometh when no man can work" still applied. There were not yet electric lights, and burning kerosene for hours every night was not something that ordinary working people could afford. For many millions of people, there was little to do after dark, except go to bed.

Too many discussions of large fortunes attribute them to "greed" -- as if wanting a lot of money is enough to cause other people to hand it over to you. It is a childish idea, when you stop and think about it -- but who stops and thinks these days?

The transfer of money was a zero-sum process. What increased the wealth of society was Rockefeller's cheap kerosene that added hundreds of hours of light to people's lives annually.

Edison, Ford, the Wright brothers, and innumerable others also created unprecedented expansions of the lives of ordinary people. The individual fortunes represented a fraction of the wealth created.

Even those of us who create goods and services in more mundane ways receive income that may be very important to us, but it is what we create for others, with our widely varying capabilities, that is the real wealth of nations.

Intellectuals' obsession with income statistics -- calling envy "social justice" -- ignores vast differences in productivity that are far more fundamental to everyone's well-being. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg has ruined many economies.
3975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Juanita Broaddrick and related matters on: January 28, 2014, 12:16:19 PM
From Rand Paul thread
Yesterday RP brought up Spermgate in the context of an interview about Hillary.  Error in my opinion.

As far as most people are concerned the issue has been presented to the American people and settled and bringing it up now is going to play poorly.

When hit with the "Rep War on Women" meme, a fair rejoinder could certainly include reference to Paula Jones, Juanita Broderick (wasn't she the one Bill groped against her will in the WH when she came to ask for a job?  on the very day that her husband, also a loyal Clintonite, was committing suicide?  or something like that?) but in this moment RP displayed a serious tin ear on an issue that is usually a seriously weak link politically for Reps.

No, Kathleen Willey was the one groped.  Juanita Broaddrick was the one raped and told: " 'You better get some ice for that.' And he put on his sunglasses and walked out the door," she recalled.,, if you are inclined to believe a Democrat volunteer victim of serial predator.  Paula Jones was the one summoned, intimidated, sexually harassed in the most vulgar way, and then tossed out and called white trash by his surrogates.  

Hillary was the enabler - all the way through.  Interview of Juanita Broaddrick in which she discloses (alleges) having been threatened by Hillary Clinton 2 weeks after (alleged) rape:  (below).  A''champions of women's rights' - right.

Rand Paul was bold and right, in my view, to bring the dark side of the Clinton Presidency back to public awareness.  As suggested by Crafty, there is plenty more to the story.  I doubt if they want to go there.

3976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: D’Souza indictment on: January 28, 2014, 11:43:41 AM
A good, well-written, and well-reasoned piece, but as best as I can tell it avoids dealing with the obvious rejoinder.  Apparently the man IS guilty of breaking the campaign finance laws in a stupid and obvious way.  The failure to address this point leaves me hesitant to spread this otherwise good piece forward.

None of us have any way of knowing if he is innocent or guilty.  After years of him fighting back, maybe we will discover he is innocent (and that the bundling Ambassador of Norway is guilty of that same charge).  The accusation (by Spencer) is enforcement targeting based on D’Souza's exercise of free speech.  If true, that offense is far worse, treason IMO, and not directly related to the merits of the D’Souza case.

Targeting of tea party organizations was worse because citizens were prevented from participating in the political process without being accused of doing anything wrong.

At some point, smoking guns will emerge on such widespread targeting abuse, along with the non-enforcement of everything on the other side.  The only person breaking this law happen to produce an anti-Obama documentary?

(Unfortunately, the unconstitutionality of the law being enforced on D'Souza is irrelevant.)

Meanwhile, illegal immigration is against federal law.  The sale and use of marijuana in Colo and Wash state is a violation of federal law.  Black Panther voter intimidation is a violation of federal law.  Fast and furious gun running was a violation of federal law.  IRS targeting is a violation of federal law.  Where is the enforcement? DOMA, as written, was a federal law?  The meaning of "the law of the land" depends on your political and/or governmental connection with those in power.

When do the indicted-innocent get back their good name?  Ask Tom DeLay.
Resigned 2006:
(The money laundering indictment of course was a key part of Republicans losing control of congress.)
Convicted 2010:
Overturned: 2011
Tom DeLay's Conviction Overturned On Appeal
The state's Third District Court of Appeals concluded: "the evidence presented does not support a conclusion that DeLay committed the crimes that were charged".
3977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - (Wendy Davis) We're All Single Moms Now on: January 28, 2014, 08:55:52 AM

We're All Single Moms Now

"Wendy Davis did make a mistake," according to the subheadline of an article by Liza Mundy.
"She thought that we were ready for a single mother." Mundy, author of "The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family," deems Davis "The Most Judged Woman in America."

Mundy turns out to want a transformation of the family beyond basic logic. She writes:

    [Davis's] the strategy is risky, in part because our notion of a single mother is rigid: Critics have been picking holes in her story, saying that she didn't live in that trailer long enough, or was too ambitious. We seem to have a pretty strict notion of who a single mother is and how she should live. Truth is, the lives of single mothers are multifaceted and hard to categorize.

It's not that hard to categorize Wendy Davis: She was among the category of "single mothers" who are married to rich dudes.

Heck, if you don't have to be single to be a single mother, it stands to reason, or whatever Mundy is substituting for it, that you don't have to be a mother either. That would make your humble columnist a single mother (James Taranto, WSJ).  So don't judge us.
3978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - "Equality" and the State of the Union on: January 28, 2014, 08:45:38 AM
Bret Stephens (WSJ) today, Updatuing a story about government-mandated absolute equality, begins with:

The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.  - Kurt Vonnegut, 1961

Stephens goes on to describe America under the equality policies that President Obama will describe tonight.

"Happily, none of this harmed the economy in the slightest. Higher minimum wages have "no discernible effect on employment" ( Schmitt, 2013). High marginal tax rates have no effect on productivity and business creation (Piketty-Saez, 2011). "
"the average height of NBA players for the 2007-08 season was just under 6 feet 7 inches. The average American male is 5 feet 9 inches. Patently unequal, patently unfair. ... demanded that the NBA establish an average-height rule that would require each team to offset taller players with shorter ones."
"More controversial was the Grassley-Gowdy De-Ivy Act of 2018, requiring all four-year colleges, public or private, to accept students by lottery."
3979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mussoslini and Clinton agree on Fascism, Crony Governmentism on: January 28, 2014, 08:18:23 AM

Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.  - Benito Mussolini

Bill Clinton:  We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think "we're all in this together" is a better philosophy than "you're on your own."

This comparison says it better than I ever could.  Run, hide, scream, cringe in fear when you hear about your government wanting to 'partner up' with private businesses.  It sounds so nice until you think about the implications.  Government picks the winners and losers.  In sports, the referee partners up with one of the teams.  This is a good idea?  Hint: it won't be your team they choose - unless you are the largest entrenched player with the biggest budget and behind-the-scenes operation to pay them off.  Business becomes the need to be in bed with the elected officials - or be destroyed.  Innovation, productivity gains and meeting the market needs will no longer matter.

Government has a role in business: to enforce a level playing field fair to the participants, and to capture and protect the public from the externalities - as Crafty has pointed out.  To regulate as necessary, but not to be a participate in he tcommerce, except, again, as absolutely necessary - such as to buy pens and desks for the government offices.  And then only in a fair and completely open and transparent public bidding process.

Remember the uproar over no bid contracts awarded to Haliburton, even when Cheney had no financial ties to their performance, and even though no other American company had the resources to fulfill those contracts.  Now Government Motors is the norm.  Cash for Clunkers in their industry but not yours.  Government managed health insurance companies, Solyndra, Tesla, etc. etc.  The President is out there bragging about private products coming out of public investments.  Beware!  It is such a flagrant violation of equal protection under the law for government to unnecessarily partner up with private participants in the market.  

Run, scream, hide when you hear that the government is stepping in to partner with private business.  It isn't your business they will choose.  And it is the destruction of equal treatment under the law.
3980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: January 28, 2014, 07:50:57 AM
History trivia:  15 years ago today Hillary said that Spermgate was a vast right wing conspiracy against her husband.

Yes, how is that for being able to analyze the available intelligence, draw the right conclusion and tell the American people the truth, no matter what it is.  One of the comforts people have with her is that Bill Clinton will be right there with her when the 3am call comes in.  Will he?  Liberal mainstream media conspiracists now admitting knew but didn't report on Bill Clinton's affairs during Hillary's previous, ill-fated run:   shocked

BTW, she already had the 3am phone call - Benghazi - and failed the test.  The right answer was that she hounded and drove the President for more security prior to the attack and for more assets to help during the attack and she didn't do it.  She didn't do anything, even make a return phone call (as far as we know).  If she did and has held back on telling us to protect the President, that would begin the separation she needs from this President.  She also needs to prove she has consistently opposed government botched healthcare as well.  Good luck with that.

Rand Paul called out Bill Clinton as a sexual predator on Meet the Press:  (Funny they didn't edit that out.) Bill Clinton could use his stock lowered a notch too.  Not exactly a role model.

I have previously predicted: 
a) She won't run. 
b) If she runs, she won't be the nominee.
c) If she is the nominee, she won't win.
d) When this proves true, it will appear so obvious in that I won't be able to brag about this prediction.

Try to imagine - packed crowds coming out in Iowa and New Hampshire, shrieking like 1963 Beattles fans, exciting for hope and change, like Hyde Park 2008, with thrills running up and down their legs - over a Hillary Rodham Clinton candidacy.  I don't see it.
3981  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Keystone Cop-out on: January 27, 2014, 11:27:42 AM
Tomorrow we talk about infrastructure and shovel ready jobs while wait and wait and wait for this Choom-gang victim to sort out the merits of an energy pipeline.

Charles Krauthammer wrote a good piece on this last week:
Obama should give Canada an answer, already.

See Forbes also with:
Five Reasons Obama May Cave On The Keystone Pipeline
1) The U.S. Midterm elections
2) Dissent in the ranks
3) Canada upping the ante
4) Growing dangers of rail
5) Jobs
Details and analysis at the link.
3982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Water on: January 27, 2014, 11:20:10 AM
Droughts come and go and people most certainly tamper with our water supplies.  More importantly IMHO: people in their prosperity are choosing to move away from abundant fresh water supplies.
3983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science: When Did Global Warming Begin? on: January 27, 2014, 11:16:18 AM
15,000 years ago, where I live was like Antarctica and I would be writing from under a 1/2 mile of glacial ice.  We have come so far, now it is sunny here with a high today in terms of wind chill of -31 F (-35 C).

Many charts at the link.  You can look at any time frame of measurement scheme that you choose.  The earth most certainly warms and cools.  There is no truth in denying it.

3984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level - Wisconsin Surplus on: January 27, 2014, 11:00:34 AM
Wisconsin had a $4 billion deficit in 2011 and has a $1 billion surplus now.  Hmmm.  I wonder if it is the policies?  How is California doing?  Detroit?

This could go under Presidential 2016, or Media Issues - where else have you read this, lol.

How Scott Walker and the conservatives saved Wisconsin. America, take note
Give the surplus back to Wisconsin taxpayers,  by Gov. Scott Walker
3985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stratfor: Panama Canal on: January 27, 2014, 10:54:28 AM
IIRC, we used to own and manage a canal there.
3986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / New Ambassador to Norway, Obama bundler, has never been there, knows nothing on: January 27, 2014, 10:52:34 AM

Norway is one of the most prosperous countries in the world.  One might think we would send someone there there as our Ambassador who knows quite a bit and wants to learn more.  Instead the President picked a Greek American, bumbling bundler.  Norway is not impressed.

The President, who has pissed off allies far greater than Norway, could not care less.
3987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ‘Face the Nation’ Edits Out Senator Cruz Condemning Obama’s ‘Abuse of Power' on: January 27, 2014, 10:33:42 AM
I'm sure it was a time constraint thing.

2 different videos at the link.  Not aired:

 SCHIEFFER: “Will you run for President?”

CRUZ: “My focus is on the abuse of power of this President. Let’s take something like the IRS scandal-“

SCHIEFFER: “Do I take that as a yes or a no?”

CRUZ: “What you can take is that my focus is standing and fighting right now in the Senate to bring back jobs and economic growth. Let me tell you something that is deeply concerning—the abuse of power from this Administration. We’ve seen multiple filmmakers prosecuted and the government’s gone after them. Whether it’s the poor fellow that did the film that the President blamed Benghazi and the terrorist attacks on, turns out that wasn’t the reason for the attack but the Administration went and put that poor fellow in jail on unrelated charges. Just this week it was broken that Dinesh D’Souza, who did a very big movie criticizing the president, is now being prosecuted by this Administration.”

SCHIEFFER: “Senator-“

CRUZ: “Can you image the reaction if the Bush Administration had went, gone and prosecuted Michael Moore and Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn?”
3988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Atlantic: Can Anyone Stop Hillary? Absolutely on: January 23, 2014, 01:27:38 PM
The Atlantic:  Can Anyone Stop Hillary? Absolutely
She hasn't done much to help her cause lately.
Politics has a way of surprising us.
3989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender Pay Equity on: January 23, 2014, 01:15:02 PM
Bringing this forward.  It doesn't seem like people are aware of it:

"In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more: 108 cents on a man's dollar."
In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more -- 108 cents on a man's dollar.

Comparing unmarried, childless women under 30: 
"the median full-time salaries of young women were 8% higher than for men in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, the median salary for women was 20% more than for men. In New York City, it was 17% more.

It's Time That We End the Equal Pay Myth
By Carrie Lukas

WSJ: There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap
A study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that women earned 8% more than men.
3990  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ann Coulter: The Heroism of Wendy Davis on: January 23, 2014, 12:51:27 PM
Is there something about leftists and lying?  Wendy Davis is the latest Hero of The Left and is running for Governor as a Democrat in Texas.  Ann Coulter is very much on point and funny all the way through.  Read it the end where Davis blames her paraplegic opponent for the news story and complains that he hasn't "walked a day in my shoes."

The Heroism of Wendy Davis

By Ann Coulter - January 23, 2014

Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator running for governor, became a liberal superhero last June when she filibustered a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. (This was the good filibuster, not that awful filibuster three months later by Ted Cruz -- that was just grandstanding.)

Apart from her enthusiasm for abortion (and you have to admit, abortion is really cool), the centerpiece of Davis' campaign is her life story. Also the fact that she's a progressive woman who doesn't look like Betty Friedan.

In a typical formulation, Time magazine said Davis was someone who could give the Democrats "'real people' credibility," based on "her own personal story -- an absent father, a sixth-grade-educated mother, a teen pregnancy, followed by life as a single mom in a mobile home, then community college and, at last, Harvard Law School."

The headlines capture the essence of Wendy-mania:

CNN: Wendy Davis: From Teen Mom to Harvard Law to Famous Filibuster

Bloomberg: Texas Filibuster Star Rose From Teen Mom to Harvard Law

The Independent (UK): Wendy Davis: Single Mother From Trailer Park Who Has Become Heroine of Pro-Choice Movement

Cosmopolitan: Find a Sugar Daddy to Put You Through Law School!

Actually, that last one I made up, but as we now know, it's more accurate than Davis' rags-to-riches life story.

The truth was gently revealed in the Dallas Morning News this week. Far from an attack, this was a puff-piece written by Wayne Slater, rabid partisan Democratic hack and co-author of the book, "Bush's Brain." (He is not an admirer of Bush's brain.) It would be like Sean Hannity breaking a scandal about Ted Cruz.

The first hint that Slater was trying to help Davis get ahead of the story and tilt it her way is his comment that Davis' life story is "more complicated" than her version -- i.e., completely the opposite -- adding, "as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves."

Actually, the truth is much simpler than her story. Also, be sure to look for that "as often happens" excuse the next time a Republican gets caught lying about his resume.

Slater's peculiar obsession with whether Davis was 19 or 21 when she got her first divorce, and exactly how long she lived in a trailer home, is meant to deflect attention from something much more problematic: the huge whoppers Davis told.

Her big lies were about the obstacles she had to overcome and how she overcame them, not about how old she was at the time of her first divorce.

She claims she was raised by a single mother, went to work at age 14 to support her family, became a single mother herself in her teens, and then -- by sheer pluck and determination -- pulled herself out of the trailer park to graduate from Harvard Law School!

The truth is less coal-miner's daughter than gold-digger who found a sugar daddy to raise her kids and pay for her education.

Point No. 1: Davis' family wasn't working-class. Her father owned a sandwich shop and a dinner theater, which puts Davis solidly into middle-class land.

Point No. 2: No one who works at MSNBC would know this, but everyone whose parents run a family business starts work at age 14, if not sooner.

Point No. 3: Her parents were separated, but that is not the commonly accepted meaning of "single mother."

Point No. 4: As for being a single mother at age 19 -- she wasn't a "single mother" in the traditional sense, either. She was married at age 18, had a child at 19 and divorced her first husband, a construction worker, at 21. (He couldn't afford tuition at Harvard.)

So she got married young? That isn't a hard-luck story. Well into the 1950s, nearly half of all first-born children were born to married women under the age of 20.

But Wendy Davis' harrowing nightmare of poverty and sacrifice wasn't over yet.

Just a few years after her first divorce, Wendy was on the make, asking to date Jeff Davis, a rich lawyer 13 years her senior, who frequented her father's dinner club. In short order, they married and had a child together.

The next thing Jeff Davis knew, he was paying off her college tuition, raising their kids by himself and taking out a loan to send her to Harvard Law School.

(Feminists rushed to the stores to buy the shoes Davis wore during her famous filibuster. I'd like the shoes she was wearing when she met her sugar daddy.)

Then Wendy left her kids with the sugar daddy in Texas -- even the daughter from her first marriage -- while she attended Harvard Law.

Slater says Davis' kids lived with Jeff Davis in Texas while she attended law school. Wendy Davis claims her girls lived with her during her first year of law school. Let's say that's true. Why not the other two years? And what was the matter with the University of Texas Law School?

Sorry, MSNBC, I know you want to fixate on how many months Davis spent in the trailer park and her precise age when the first divorce went through. And that would be an incredibly stupid thing for conservatives to obsess on, if they were, in fact, obsessing on it. But I'm still stuck on her leaving her kids behind while she headed off to a law school 1,500 miles away.

The reason Wendy Davis' apocryphal story was impressive is that single mothers have to run a household, take care of kids and provide for a family all by themselves. But Wendy was neither supporting her kids, nor raising them. If someone else is taking care of your kids and paying your tuition, that's not amazing.

Hey -- maybe Jeff Davis should run for governor! He's the one who raised two kids, including a stepdaughter, while holding down a job and paying for his wife's law school. There's a hard-luck story!

Mr. Davis told the Dallas Morning News that Wendy dumped him as soon as he had finished paying off her Harvard Law School loan. "It was ironic," he said. "I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left."

In his defense, a lot of people are confused about the meaning of "ironic." That's not "ironic." Rather, it's what we call: "entirely predictable."

It's ironic -- my car stopped running right after I ran out of gas.

It's ironic -- my house was broken into, and the next thing I knew all my valuables were missing.

It's ironic -- I was punched in the face right before my nose broke.

In his petition for divorce, Mr. Davis accused his wife of adultery. The court made no finding on infidelity, but awarded him full custody of their underage child and ordered Wendy to pay child support.

Wendy boasted to the Dallas Morning News: "I very willingly, as part of my divorce settlement, paid child support." Would a divorced dad get a medal for saying that?

In response to Wayne Slater's faux-"expose," naturally Davis put out a statement denouncing ... her probable Republican opponent, Greg Abbott. Again, Slater wrote the story. But Davis blathered on, blaming Abbott for the Dallas Morning News story and complaining that he hasn't "walked a day in my shoes."

About that she's certainly right. Greg Abbott could never walk a day in her shoes or anyone else's. He's a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair.

I guess Wendy could teach him a lot about suffering.

Davis also said these attacks "won't work, because my story is the story of millions of Texas women ..." Yes, for example, Anna Nicole Smith. Though at least Smith had the decency not to ask for a paid education.
3991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, pay equity on: January 23, 2014, 11:52:46 AM
ccp wrote:  "I am sick and tired of hearing how women don't get paid the same as men.  I can tell you in health care that is simply bogus.   Women may make less than men overall but that is by THEIR design.  There are NO conspiracies going on to KEEP WOMEN DOWN.  They get reimbursed the same from Medicare, Medicaid, insurers the same as the rest of us."

"In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more: 108 cents on a man's dollar."

3992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / So What Was The Point of Obamacare Again? on: January 23, 2014, 11:31:47 AM
Famous people are reading the forum, or maybe it's just that perplexed minds think alike.  
Last night, I wrote:
"what was the point of this legislation again?"

This morning on National Review:
So What Was The Point of Obamacare Again?  By Jonah Goldberg  January 23, 2014 7:40 AM

He also seems to have lifted a joke from G M.  Goldberg tweeted:
”They said if I voted for Mitt Romney, the ranks of the uninsured would continue to swell. And they were right!”  

From the National Review article:
"[Obamacare] created more uninsured people than it gave insurance to. And it promises to create even more."
3993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obamcare causing companies to drop employee health care plans on: January 23, 2014, 12:24:29 AM
Besides hope and change and finding out what's in it after 'we' pass it, what was the point of this legislation again?
The law may prompt some companies to drop coverage for their part-time workers and send them to public health insurance exchanges.   - AP / NBC News, Jan. 21, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS, MN  Jan. 22, 2014 (UPI) --
U.S. retail giant Target Corp. said that due to the healthcare law it would discontinue health insurance options for part-time workers.

Twin Cities Business magazine:,-Drops-Insurance-For
Target Cuts 475 Jobs, Drops Insurance For Part-Timers
Deloitte: One in 10 US Employers to Drop Health Coverage - WSJ  July 12, 2012
Sept. 30, 2010
McDonald's Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.
A February 2011 [McKinsey] survey of private sector employers offers a snapshot of attitudes that suggests the shift away from employer-provided health insurance could be greater than expected
Companies cutting health insurance cost may mean dropping coverage for spouses
Why Your Employer May Drop Your Health-Care Plan
March 08, 2013
Oct 21, 2013
Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies.
Trader Joe's To Drop Health Coverage For Part-Time Workers Under Obamacare
acorrding to new emploer surveys nearly 1 of every 10 midsized or big employers expect to stop offering health coverage to workers after insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014 as part of President Barack Obama's PPACA health legislation.
UPS cuts insurance to 15,000 spouses, blames Obamacare    August 22, 2013  CNBC  13 Feb 2013
Drop Coverage or Cut Hours? Big Companies Grapple With Obamacare
Forty percent of U.S. companies to alter health care plans, drop coverage, due to Obamacare
Arrival of Obamacare forcing insurers to drop customers with low coverage
List of companies that will drop health insurance under ObamaCare spreads to non-profits and public entities
A survey of 1,300 employers finds that 30 percent will “definitely or probably” stop offering health insurance to their employees due to new requirements imposed by the Obamacare health reform law.   June 7, 2011

Who knew?!  No, really, who knew?  Were the people who wrote and the people who passed it really too stupid or naive to know this would happen?  DO THEY STILL NOT KNOW??!!
3994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 22, 2014, 04:59:27 PM
I love Allen West, but he is not of the depth to go further than Congressman.
Herman Cain had a moment in the sun, but has done little WORK since then and appears to have been a johhny-one-note
Ben Carson has our attention, but has ZERO political experience, and essentially no executive experience, and is a cipher on foreign affairs.
Clarence Thomas is a Justice, not a political figure.
Condaleeza Rice was not a Secretary of State of note.  Other than that she is pure academic; she lacks political experience, executive experience, etc.
Of course I agree that all have been treated quite unfairly, but IMHO we need to keep looking.

I agree with the shortcomings presented but predict Ben Carson will be a contender if he runs.  He can make a valuable contribution to the debates.  

I prefer someone who served at least two terms as governor, a solid congressional record and an extensive foreign policy background.  And speaks English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian.  )   Mostly the job entails communication and decision making and I hope we pick the very best.

My first choice is still Marco Rubio.  Given Carson's limited political and foreign policy experience, he may be better suited to start as VP on the ticket, serving ambassador and spokesman for freedom seeking policies and breaking ties in the Senate.

"we need to keep looking"   - If the list provided offers no hope, we may be looking at a very narrow list.  The candidates with solid Governor-level executive experience mostly have no foreign policy experience.  The ones with foreign policy experience have mostly never run anything like state or nation.  Yet we will pick one candidate, and that one person will be the last person left to stand up to the Democrats and Candy Crowleys of the final stretch, and to stand up to congress, the federal bureacracy, the tax code, welfare system, Chi-comms, Putins, terror networks and other challenges of leading and governing the USA.
3995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer: A shocking demonstration of his strategic shallowness on: January 21, 2014, 09:17:23 AM
The pains that the administration has gone to differentiate between core al Qaeda and all of these splinter groups:

It's not only an excuse, a way to explain his way out of why he has failed on all these issues; it's also a demonstration, a shocking demonstration of his strategic shallowness. You know, it's the example of, you know, it's not the Lakers. The whole strategy of al Qaeda as explained by al-Zawahiri and Obama bin laden was to establish regional and local insurgencies to attack the Arab states who they saw as acting in the interest of the infidels, starting with Saudi Arabia. The whole idea was local insurgencies with a global perspective. I think Obama still to this day after half a decade doesn't understand at all who we are and who he is up against in the war on terror.
3996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michael Barone: Millennials Unhappy With Obama's War on the Young on: January 21, 2014, 09:12:20 AM

What do young Americans want? Something different from what they've been getting from the president they voted for by such large margins.  Evidence comes in from various polls. Voters under 30, the millennial generation, produced numbers for Barack Obama 13 percentage points above the national average in 2008 and 9 points above in 2012.

But in recent polls, Obama approval among those under 30 has been higher than the national average by only 1 percentage point (Quinnipiac), 2 points (ABC/Washington Post) and 3 points (YouGov/Economist).  Those differences are statistically significant. And that's politically significant, since a higher percentage of millennials than of the general population are Hispanic or black.

The reasons for Millennials' decreased approval of Obama become clear from a Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted in November.  That poll shows Obama's job approval dipping to 41 percent, down from 52 percent in April 2013 and the lowest rating in any HIOP survey.

One reason for the decline is Obamacare. Only 38 percent approved of Obamacare (39 percent approved of "the Affordable Care Act"). Only 29 percent of those who were uninsured said they would definitely or probably enroll in the health insurance exchanges.  Those results were registered five to nine weeks after the Oct. 1 rollout. Tech-savvy millennials must have been astonished that government produced a website that didn't work.  They also perceived, accurately, that Obamacare health insurance would cost them a lot. The law passed by Democrats elected in large part with millennial votes was designed to have people under 30 subsidize the insurance premiums of those older, less healthy people over 50.

The old tend to have significant net worth, and the young -- with credit card and student loan debt -- tend to owe more than they own. Evidently, the Obama Democrats think it's progressive for the young to subsidize the working-age old.  That, after all, is the essence of Social Security, whose benefits some left-wing Democrats want to increase.

But millennials, whose penchant for volunteering is admirably high, are not being simply selfish. The Harvard survey also finds that they tend to believe, by a 44- to 17-percent margin, that the quality of their health care will get worse under Obamacare.  That's speculation, of course. But it suggests a healthy skepticism about the ability of a government, a government that lied about whether you could keep your insurance and your doctor, and couldn't construct a workable website, to produce a system that will improve service delivery.

That skepticism may owe something to young Americans' experience with student loans. Some 57 percent of the Harvard study millennials say that student loan debt is a major problem for young people. The responses don't vary much by political party identification.

Once again, the millennials have a point. The Obama administration did not initiate government student loans, but it continues to speak of them approvingly.  Yet it's obvious that the vast sums government-subsidized student loans have pumped into higher education over the last three decades have been largely captured by colleges and universities and transformed into administrative bloat.

Economics blogger Timothy Taylor notes that if you count prices in 1982-84 as 100, the average cost of all items in the consumer price index increased to 231 in September 2012. Energy, housing and transportation all increased about that much.

But college and tuition fees increased to 706 -- seven times the level when the government started pumping money into higher ed. Medical care increased to more than 400.

Some things that young people buy increased much less -- apparel (127), toys (53) and televisions (5, thanks to quality improvement).

But suddenly, in their early adult years, millennials find themselves socked with the inflated costs of higher education and, thanks to Obamacare, those of older people's health care.

In the meantime, in the Obama new normal economy, they aren't finding jobs -- and may be giving up on looking for them.  Labor force participation among those 55 and over has held steady since 2009. But labor force participation among those younger has been declining, as have earnings of college graduates.  The combination of higher education and health care costs and the new normal economy amount to what analyst Walter Russell Mead calls "the war on the young."

No wonder they're unhappy with the president who promised hope and change. Maybe they're in the market for an alternative.
3997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Marco Rubio on: January 21, 2014, 09:06:50 AM
Keeping up with the Senator who won swing state Florida by more than a million votes.  Like Abraham Lincoln (and Barack Obama), he has no executive experience.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee, shakes hand with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their talks in Tokyo, Jan. 21, 2014 (today).

Sen. Rubio Proposes Consolidating Poverty Funding
January 8, 2014
Sen. Marco Rubio, considered a leading GOP presidential candidate in 2016, called for the federal government to consolidate all of its antipoverty funding into one agency, which would then direct money to states so that its use can be tailored for local needs.

Rubio PAC Jumps In Big to Aid Tom Cotton in Arkansas
December 4, 2013
Sen. Marco Rubio plans to come to the aid of a House Republican colleague this week with an oversized TV ad buy in Arkansas supporting the Senate campaign of Rep. Tom Cotton.

Rubio Says He'll Oppose Yellen to Head the Fed
November 21, 2013
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said he will oppose Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee to lead the Federal
The Florida Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate criticized the economic effects of the Fed’s recent stimulus efforts, which have been supported by Ms. Yellen, currently the vice chairwoman of its Board of Governors.
“Altogether, she has championed policies that have diminished people’s purchasing power by weakening the dollar, made long-term savings less attractive by diminishing returns on this important behavior, and put the U.S. economy at increased risk of higher inflation and another future boom-bust,” Mr. Rubio wrote in a statement Thursday. “I don’t have the confidence that she is the best choice to lead this independent institution in the years to come.”

Marco Rubio: No Bailouts for ObamaCare
November 18, 2013
The health-care law's 'risk corridors' could result in a huge taxpayer burden.
Rubio: "It is a damning indictment of ObamaCare's viability when the president's only response to people losing their health insurance plans entails putting them on the hook for bailing out insurance companies. The American people are already being directly hurt by ObamaCare's early failures, and it is unconscionable that they be expected to bail out companies when more failures emerge."
3998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: What Scott Walker Learned Surviving the Recall on: January 21, 2014, 08:52:07 AM
This could go under 2016 Presidential but most certainly (IMO) goes under 'the way forward' for whomever wants to take the lessons learned reforming swing state Wisconsin on to national reform.

During the uproar over his reforms to Wisconsin's labor laws, Republican Gov. Scott Walker got used to shrugging off bad polls. He was jarred out of his complacency one day though when a woman asked him, “Scott, why are you doing this?”

That was because the woman was his wife, Tonette. He had assumed she understood what he was doing, only to learn that she was skeptical, too.

“If my own wife didn’t see why we needed to change collective bargaining, how could I expect the voters of Wisconsin to see it?” he recalled. He then redoubled his efforts to explain his reforms.

The anecdote comes from Walker's recently-published account of his epic 2011 legislative showdown and subsequent recall election, Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge. It isn't the definitive account -- that would be last year's More Than They Bargained For: Scott Walker: Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin, by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Jason Stein and Patrick Marley -- but it is a candid, inside look at Walker's trials.

He draws a lot of lessons from the experience, and not always ones other conservatives will automatically agree with. He is simultaneously a bold, swing-for-the-fences guy and a pragmatic leader mindful that he governs a swing state.

Walker makes clear that he believes public-sector unionism is incompatible with good, effective government. He argues it is inherently corrupt because the unions' political clout makes elected officials indebted to them.

His initial plan was to simply end it in the Badger State altogether. But Republican statehouse leaders nixed this, cautioning that many would see it as an attack on the workers themselves.

Instead, their compromise allowed collective bargaining, but ended automatic dues deduction from workers’ paychecks, required annual union recertification votes and limited bargaining mainly to wages.

“The changes actually improved our bill because they put the unions’ fate in the hands of their own members,” Walker wrote. Many union members apparently appreciated this. Walker won 25 percent of their vote in the 2012 recall.

He warns that “austerity is not the answer.” Simply cutting government is not enough and will actually drive people away in hard times. Walker consistently made the case that his reforms would free up money to prevent government worker layoffs or drastic cuts in services. For example, they enabled Wisconsin schools to competitively bid for health insurance rather than using a union-affiliated company, saving millions.

Picking your battles wisely is another theme. Walker’s reforms were audacious but doable. Republicans had majorities in both statehouse chambers at the time. Even after 14 Democrats fled the state to deprive the GOP of a quorum, all that was needed was a little tweaking to push the bill through.

Turning the other cheek is also advocated. The governor was subjected to a torrent of abuse in 2011-12, but never responded in kind. This enabled him to claim the moral high ground. When he won the recall, he was tempted to use the protester’s chant, “This is what democracy looks like,” in his victory speech — but didn’t. He didn’t want to rub their noses in it.

And finally, Walker was, by his own admission, simply lucky. The state only allowed recall elections after the targeted official had been in office for a year, which gave him time to argue his reforms were working. He would have lost otherwise, he writes. A bitter split between the Democrats and the unions over who would challenge him also helped.

Conservative principles don’t automatically equate to electoral success. To win, he argues, Republicans must present themselves as forward-thinking reformers addressing real problems — and beholden only to the people: “When you set the pace of reform, voters will see you as someone who is constantly trying to make things better. And your opponents will be forced to respond to your agenda rather than setting one for you.”
3999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Thomas Sowell: Fact Free Liberals on: January 21, 2014, 08:47:22 AM
Thomas Sowell, pointing out truths with clarity:

Fact-Free Liberals

By Thomas Sowell - January 21, 2014

Someone summarized Barack Obama in three words -- "educated," "smart" and "ignorant." Unfortunately, those same three words would describe all too many of the people who come out of our most prestigious colleges and universities today.

President Obama seems completely unaware of how many of the policies he is trying to impose have been tried before, in many times and places around the world, and have failed time and again. Economic equality?

That was tried in the 19th century, in communities set up by Robert Owen, the man who coined the term "socialism." Those communities all collapsed.

It was tried even earlier, in 18th century Georgia, when that was a British colony. People in Georgia ended up fleeing to other colonies, as many other people would vote with their feet in the 20th century, by fleeing many other societies around the world that were established in the name of economic equality.

But who reads history these days? Moreover, those parts of history that would undermine the vision of the left -- which prevails in our education system from elementary school to postgraduate study -- are not likely to get much attention.

The net results are bright people, with impressive degrees, who have been told for years how brilliant they are, but who are often ignorant of facts that might cause them to question what they have been indoctrinated with in schools and colleges.

Recently Kirsten Powers repeated on Fox News Channel the discredited claim that women are paid only about three-quarters of what a man is paid for doing the same work.

But there have been empirical studies, going back for decades, showing that there is no such gap when the women and men are in the same occupation, with the same skills, experience, education, hours of work and continuous years of full-time work.

Income differences between the sexes reflect the fact that women and men differ in all these things -- and more. Young male doctors earn much more than young female doctors. But young male doctors work over 500 hours a year more than young female doctors.

Then there is the current hysteria which claims that people in the famous "top one percent" have incomes that are rising sharply and absorbing a wholly disproportionate share of all the income in the country.

But check out a Treasury Department study titled "Income Mobility in the U.S. from 1996 to 2005." It uses income tax data, showing that people who were in the top one percent in 1996 had their incomes fall -- repeat, fall -- by 26 percent by 2005.

What about the other studies that seem to say the opposite? Those are studies of income brackets, not studies of the flesh-and-blood human beings who are moving from one bracket to another over time. More than half the people who were in the top one percent in 1996 were no longer there in 2005.

This is hardly surprising when you consider that their incomes were going down while there was widespread hysteria over the belief that their incomes were going up.

Empirical studies that follow income brackets over time repeatedly reach opposite conclusions from studies that follow individuals. But people in the media, in politics and even in academia, cite statistics about income brackets as if they are discussing what happens to actual human beings over time.

All too often when liberals cite statistics, they forget the statisticians' warning that correlation is not causation.

For example the New York Times crusaded for government-provided prenatal care, citing the fact that black mothers had prenatal care less often than white mothers -- and that there were higher rates of infant mortality among blacks.

But was correlation causation? American women of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino ancestry also had less prenatal care than whites -- and lower rates of infant mortality than either blacks or whites.

When statistics showed that black applicants for conventional mortgage loans were turned down at twice the rate for white applicants, the media went ballistic crying racial discrimination. But whites were turned down almost twice as often as Asian Americans -- and no one thinks that is racial discrimination.

Facts are not liberals' strong suit. Rhetoric is.
4000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Divided Democrats on: January 21, 2014, 08:41:16 AM
Divided Democrats Put Obama in a State of the Union Squeeze
Liberals want the president to tackle income inequality; moderates want him to focus on economic growth.

Of course pursuing policies that 'tackle income inequality' is the exact opposite of pursuing policies that focus on positive economic growth.

And 'moderate Dem' is a term not seen since the rising of Pelosi-Reid-Obama.  Moderates who "want him [Obama] to focus on economic growth" sound like former Dems and likely 2014/2016 Republican voters.

News Flash:  The Democratic party is not the party of economic growth and opportunity.
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