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4401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: June 25, 2012, 10:16:43 AM
Cute story that a big Olympic star in a BIG money sport could get a break, but fhe unintended consequence of Title IX is that local girls here can no longer play for the University.
4402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 25, 2012, 09:56:26 AM
Update, AZ law partly upheld, partly struck down, healthcare ruling Thurs, resignations Friday. (?)
4403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed,Constitutional Law, Supreme Court watch on: June 25, 2012, 09:50:48 AM
3 big things: Obamacare strike down, AZ immigration law upheld?, and .will Breyer and or Ginsburg step down this week  before we head into 16 years of the Romney Rubio surge to limited govt greatness.

ACA: Maybe the ruling will be out before I finish typing into my handheld. I was hoping we could all get our armchair opinions posted first. Procrastination crept in because it is hard to find a constitutional issue. The power isn't authorized. A wise Latina can see that. ?

Proponents pretend there was no other way, but there are plenty, such as tax and spend more. They know how to do that. Or fee for service, works for every other industry.

Proponents compare to state car insurance laws, but that is state and you can opt out.

Proponents say it is no different than ths Mass mandate, but that would be true only if 49 states copied them, not a new federal mandate.

Proponents say it is no different than a federally mandated social security retirement plan, but that is very carefully framed in federal law as nothing more than a current account tax and spend law.

Obamacare is an expansion of federal powers that requires a new amendment to implement.  4 justices know  that. 5 will vote to strike down. J. Sotomayer faces the toughest choice of her life. Is she obligated to uphold that old document of limits on government or is she more beholden to symbolically stand with the people who got her there - to uphold the limits on government.

The suspense for me will be to read what utter nonsense on which the dissenters base their dissent.  I plan to read that section first.  What is their view on the limits of government, if not this, then what?

Other views?
4404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness Executive Privilege on: June 22, 2012, 10:22:07 AM
Thanks to BD for links provided. I will read those over the weekend.  I would rather thw Pres be an expert on this than me.

It is a delicate balance between separation and oversight.

I would settle as a matter of principle for Dems in the White House to govern with whatever princples they espoused when those roles were reversed.

How naive of me!

The response ads to a Romney the flipflopper charge keep gettimg easier.

I know about border agent Terry murder and 800 violent crimes inside Mexico, but who died and what taxpayer funds were sqaundered on Dick Cheney's energy task force?  I don't recall young Barack the constitutional scholar bucking his party to come to the previous administration's defense.

4405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness- Cleveland ecenomic speech on: June 22, 2012, 09:57:25 AM
More than a dozen I and me references, but one word missing was capital.

Labor without capital, in a word,.is  ...  unemployed.

Maybe we can discuss capital / capitalism during the Obama second term over on the crime and punishment thread.
4406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 21, 2012, 11:43:38 PM
Missing in the charming futile analysis is that the shoe is more often on the other foot.

if Executive Privilege is absolute, Cpngressional Oversight is non existent. EP has a specificpurpose. This isn't it.
4407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 21, 2012, 03:13:50 PM
The vulnerability learned about Romney in 2008 was the flip flop. He was known to be competent, informed, experienced, moderate, common sense centrist.

Obama in June 2012 is happy to give up the flip flop card for reasons unknown.
4408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: June 21, 2012, 03:05:13 PM
What would be the value of housing if not still subsidized by government?Significantly lower. Housing is distorted by govt - but tied to income. Housing can't recover until employment and personal income recovers.
4409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: June 19, 2012, 11:34:38 AM
JDN,  Where you find a couple of apparent contradictions in translation from the words written thousands of years ago, I notice you did not quote "Thou Shalt Not Kill" written / spoken with extreme clarity, the contradictions today are resolved in Judeo-Christianity 100% on the side of peace.  Islam needs to do that. I don't know how.

Either way, we are not at war with a billion people.  Only with those at war with us.
4410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters: Monarchy on: June 19, 2012, 11:18:02 AM
A strange comment I heard and will try to repeat / paraphrase
  On PBS a couple of weeks ago John McLaughlin asked Pat Buchanan during the Queen's celebration why Monarchy survives in Europe but not here:

'There was a time in Europe when all the adventurous, free-spirited people who sought out imdividual freedoms and self rule left (for the new world) and those who preferred to be ruled stayed.'

(The EU perhaps is another iteration of rule from afar somewhat lacking in consent of the governed.)

Maybe our European friends on the board have a different view...
4411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters, Wesbury: Should Germany leave the EMU? on: June 19, 2012, 10:48:05 AM
This proposition makes perfect sense. Brits don't want a monetary union. France just elected the far left. Greece, Portugal, Italy,Spain, even Ireland aren't proving worthy.    Eternal bailouts do not fix underlying problems.

The original aim of the monetary union as I understood it was that membership would cause fiscal responsibility because losing that status would be unthinkable.

That was worth a try but didn't work.
4412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 18, 2012, 03:12:58 PM
You say brilliant with repetition yet never address the objections raised or questions posed. 

Tedious is putting it kindly.
4413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 18, 2012, 11:10:44 AM
The question to me was not the Obama flip flop; that is most obvious.  The qestion was the legal merit and substance of what he said previously.  He presents himself to be a constitutional scholar.  So was he right that he cannot act unilaterally or was be wrong?
4414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 17, 2012, 11:20:34 PM
Lalalala, it is all so simple, but absolutely no comment on the fact that Obama 2011 and half of 2012 disagrees with Obama's June 2012 campaign decision.  If it is all so simple, so right, so obvious, why didn't he issue the executive order sooner?  Why did he make the 2011 statement?

"round up 12 million illegal immigrants and deport them all"

Is it fun or challenging to argue with straw?
4415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 17, 2012, 11:06:36 PM
I suppose the law and the punishment is the same whether you are spying for an enemy or spying for an ally, probably not contemplated in the law.

I don't have enough information to know what I think of the Jonathon Pollard case, but in that I hope we are in cooperation with Israel on intelligence and defense matters it would seem this is a case more suitable for a Presidential pardon than most of Hugh Rodham's bought friends.

If this were Russia, Communist China, Iran or VenezChavezuela, you know we would chomping at the bit to appease them.
4416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. How does the Housing fiasco of 'that decade' fit into the Presidential race? on: June 17, 2012, 06:56:56 PM
Crafty brings up a couple of good points on this. 

On the housing question, I would say  Romney is more inoculated than vulnerable.  Far left Mother Jones took their best shot at him here:

Romney was accused of being invested (to a very small extent) in the GSAs. Mother Jones says Romeny misled because the investment was in a mutual fund,  not truly a blind trust as Romney had stated in a debate exchange with Newt.  Either way it was others hired to invest a portion of his money into government backed securities that would not be fully diversified without touching the federally controlled mortgage market.

From the Boston Globe and Mother Jones again (  "On his financial disclosure statement filed last month, Romney reported owning between $250,001 and $500,000 (out of hundreds of millions) in a mutual fund that invests in debt notes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among other government entities."

Without trivializing $15,001 of interest that the rest of us would kill for (figuratively), that is not a close financial tie, inappropriate, bought off, or otherwise. Romney was 0.1% invested in GSAs with no say whatsoever in policy.

Now take a look at Barack Obama.  Crafty wrote: "Baraq is the #2 all time recipient of FM donations!  (and that was accomplished in a mere 18 months!)"

Let me add one more exclamation point of my own:   ! 

With all due respect to the President of the United States running for reelection, this JERK blames everyone but himself for a mess he says he "inherited", but he not only voted present on failed policies and botched regulations but mostly voted NOT PRESENT out on the campaign.  At the most crucial moment of a federal housing market needing reform he was in fact ON THE TAKE to NOT REFORM the housing GSAs.

Crafty:  "... the authorship of the bubble is laid DIRECTLY at Baraq's door!   
I would focus on the housing bubble some more.   In my opinion, the housing bubble was the epicenter of everything else.   The FMs and the CRA caused misallocation of investment into housing and other real estate.  The loan guarantees of the FMs removed moral hazard from the system and surprise! banks acted badly!  Making loans without caring whether they were paid off (and being pressured to make them by the CRA) and then bundling them into products to sell downstream, which bought them thinking that because the mortagages were bundled they were buying a diversified product-- that was guaranteed by the FMs anyway-- the progresses solution of more regulation of the bad greedy banks misses the point entirely-- the FMs guarantee provoked and enabled the bad behavior.  Multiply the dynamic several fold by the Fed's deranged easy money, low interest rate policies and VOILA! a bubble was born!  The masses thought it real, and the stupid amongst them borrowed against it and spent it."

You are exactly right economically.  The politics of it is another story.  Pundits should jump in but I don't think Romney wants to play the 2008 collapse blame game.

Romney could blame Obama for what happened 'under Bush', but really Sen. Barack Obama chose to be a complete non-factor during his brief Senatorial time in Washington.  That partial Senate term was a squandered opportunity, just like his Presidency.

If the larger story line is that Obama is corrupt and on the take, then his tie to FNMA's donations at that crucial juncture is the silver bullet.  But the story line of this June 2012 is that things are broken and our incumbent, amateur in chief is in way over his head pretending he has some fix now after 3 1/2 years squandered.

I see this as a counterpunch opportunity for Romney.  Instead of 30 debates in the primaries there will likely be 2 in the finals.  Obama will most certainly make this tired, lame, blame everyone but himself excuse and leave Romney with a there-you-go-again table setting.  Here is my help for Romney to reply: 

'Alright Mr. President, let's talk about 'that decade' for a moment and both of our roles in it.  When our country needed to host the world for the first post-9/11 Olympics while security was in question and the Olympic committee was in shambles, I was honored to be chosen for a reputation of leadership competence, to assemble a team, to lead the effort from start to finish, to chase the corruption out and heightened security in.  By all accounts this major event was a total success.   And you were where?  Doing what?  With the most amazing oratory of a generation you rose from a state senator to become the leading voice of the left wing of the Democratic party in this country just as they were taking control of the US Congress 6 years ago.  That was when job growth hit 50 consecutive months, unemployment was 4.6% and the deficit was one tenth of what it is today.  Instead of taking your position of media attention to warn against the looming dangers of irresponsible lending as the federal housing bubble was expanding, it turns out you were one of the two politicians on their payroll, arguing for regulators to leave them alone and let them go even further down that reckless path.  Now, instead of apologizing, you have the AUDACITY to stand here today and tell us it was someone else's fault.  Mr. President, with all due respect, you didn't lead then, you didn't lead us out of this as President and you aren't going to fix things now.  Mr. President, for the good of the country, please step aside and let someone else lead this great country back on track.'
4417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 17, 2012, 02:31:42 PM
What I don't understand about the Obama/JDN plan is that if you repeal Article Two of the Constitution, who would be Commander in Chief?

Can you have a President just selectively choose which of his responsibilities he wants to do and then what, have well organized militias step in and do the rest?

Did you miss this link of the President making excuses to Hispanics one year ago? Please watch!  Obama the constitutionalist opposes Obama's policy:

George W Bush, McCain, Jeb Bush and other Republicans, Lugar I'm sure, favor some form of amnesty without using the a-word that polls so terribly.  Reagan signed a deal with the devil Nov 6 1986 trading some form of amnesty for border security later that never happened.

Crafty mentions unemployment of our youth, but the ease of gang and terrorist mobility is reason enough to ask the federal government to do their job.

Democrats want no ID check coming in, no ID check for voting and then the power to pass laws that apply to other people and not to yourself, like raising tax rates on only the wealthiest Americans.

Maybe after we remove the meaning of the word marriage from the dictionary we can get rid of the concept of sovereignty too.  All true libs want is one world government anyway.
Text of Pres. Obama from one year ago.  Read carefully.  Was he lying to us then or is he lying to us now?

 With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws.

There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.

4418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: June 16, 2012, 05:59:55 PM
"Marc:  I forget where, but I heard conversation recently that seemed reliable to me that pointed out that Assad has major chem-bio capabilities ready to use.  Whether he uses them or the Islamist fascist opposition gets ahold of them is a big deal-- something to think about."

From unreliable sources, the WMD that disappeared out of Iraq was trucked into Syria. 

Largely unreported was the followup story from the Israeli strike on an alleged Syrian nuclear weapon facility:,7340,L-4062001,00.html  If it takes 5 years to re-build, guess what, it has been 5 years.
4419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 16, 2012, 05:53:19 PM
[From Pres.2012]  "Contrary to his own previous statements on the subject, with his Executive Order BO today blew off his responsibilities under our Constitution to enforce the immigration laws. ... "

Note that this topic went dormant since Jan.  Illegal immigration is down because of the bad economy.  People instead are going home.  Still it needs to be solved - and mass deportation of otherwise law abiding citizens is mostly not going to happen.  

Reactions to Obama's move:

1) Already mentioned, it is abuse of power and a shirk of his constitutional responsibilities.

2) It is an Obama flip flop.  He already said it would be inappropriate for the executive branch to act unilaterally.  They had already done everything they could legally do.  Must see video link below.

3) Picking off the low hanging fruit first undermines a larger idea of acting comprehensively.

4) Roughly 100% of the voters are going to see this as a cynical political ploy to win votes though many with a direct family, neighbor or friend stake in it will see that as worth it.  The Hispanic vote was only 9% of the total 2008 vote and Obama won 67% of them.  Hispanics make a crucial difference in certain swing states.  Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona come to mind.

5)  Conservatives and people who respect our laws may have to in the end make concessions on some existing illegal immigrants.  If the end game is concessions, too bad to look like the enemy of Hispanics during the negotiations.  Romney and Rubio are mindful of this.  They need to win the election to have any power over this or anything else going forward.  But out of that caving and compromise should have come permanent border security, for one thing.  

6)  Romney risks perception of flip-flop-flip with his next move as he went pretty hardline on illegals during the chase for the Republican nomination.

7)  There are other areas of political/economic opportunity: expanding LEGAL immigration of scientists, engineers and business owners from around the world where Republicans still can lead.
Krauthammer, out and out lawlessness:

John Yoo, Executive overreach:

Romney: Obama immigration move makes long term fix harder

Shock Video: Obama Admits He Can’t Do What He Did Today
4420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants Nigel Farage and the Euro collapse on: June 16, 2012, 05:24:51 PM
Now this is a rant! 
Subject: The coming collapse of the Euro

Wow. Thanks for that post!  Does anyone feel like they were warned?

The problem (IMO) isn't the Euro, but the failure of the countries within the Euro to pursue responsible economic policies. 

I wonder if any of our 'members of Parliament' used their time on the floor here with that kind of passion and that level of clarity warning us about Fannie Mae, CRAp or ACA before they collapse(d) us.
4421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Economist writes about the US - India Alliance/Friendship on: June 16, 2012, 05:14:37 PM
Very worthwhile read IMO.

India and America
Less than allies, more than friends
America and India try to define a new sort of relationship

Jun 16th 2012 | DELHI | from the print edition  The Economist

“TWO cities where people rarely agree on much of anything” was how Robert Blake, an assistant secretary at the American State Department, described Washington and Delhi this month. It was a joke but, in context, was rather close to the bone. Touting a blossoming friendship, America and India still find plenty to bicker about.

His speech was looking forward to the third annual US-India “Strategic Dialogue”, which brought together senior figures from both countries in Washington, DC, on June 13th. This is a celebration of a partnership by which both countries set great store. Yet the list of issues on which they are at odds is dispiritingly long: Afghanistan, Iran, nuclear trade, climate change, market access, arms sales and more. If this is partnership, some in both capitals ask, what would rivalry look like?

The impetus seems to have gone out of a relationship in which America invested so much under George W Bush. His decision, in 2005, to press for international acceptance of India’s civil nuclear programme, ending a ban on foreign assistance imposed because of India’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was meant to usher in a new era of co-operation and trust. Some of that evaporated early in the presidency of Barack Obama. India resented and successfully resisted his appointment of an envoy with a brief to meddle in India’s dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. And it was alarmed by his effort to recast relations with China, and talk of a “G2”.

In America, meanwhile, the prizes won by Mr Bush’s huge concession to India can seem at best disappointing. Indian legislation about the liability for nuclear accidents in effect closes to American companies the very market Mr Bush sacrificed so much to prise open. Disgruntlement grew last year when American firms lost their bid to supply India with 126 jetfighters—India’s biggest-ever defence contract—to European competitors. Both sides have moved on, but still, says Daniel Twining, of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think-tank in Washington, “even the most ebullient supporters” of the partnership in America are “a bit depressed”.

Mr Twining, who worked on the partnership in the Bush administration, says that both sides remain confident in its long-term benefits—perhaps so confident that they neglect the mundane business of actually building it. Two factors, however, are pushing America to reinvigorate ties with India. The near-collapse in its relations with Pakistan gives India an even greater significance in America’s hopes for stability in Afghanistan when most NATO troops leave in 2014. And America’s aspirations for co-operative relations with China have degenerated into a more blatant if undeclared form of strategic competition, as America rebalances its entire military posture towards Asia.

So American leaders are again talking up the India relationship. In Delhi this month Leon Panetta, the defence secretary, called India a “linchpin” of the “rebalancing” strategy. After this week’s dialogue, Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, noted that “the strategic fundamentals of our relationship are pushing our two countries’ interests into closer convergence.”

But India fears being left in the lurch as NATO skedaddles out of Afghanistan. Its security priority is to receive credible reassurances on plans for stabilising Afghanistan and ensuring it never again becomes a Talibanised client of Pakistan.

America, for its part, wants to see India further reduce imports of oil from Iran, with which Indian leaders like to boast of their “civilisational” ties. But on the eve of the dialogue, Mrs Clinton announced that India, unlike China or even Singapore, had already done enough to earn a waiver from American sanctions.

Hopes that something concrete might emerge from the dialogue were largely invested in economics. The two sides agreed to work on a bilateral investment treaty to unlock the huge potential for co-operation. In fact the one area where ties are flourishing—the jetfighter disappointment aside —is defence. India has become the world’s largest arms importer, and American exporters are benefiting, with more than $8 billion in sales in recent years.

Overall, however, America’s economic ties with India do not come close to the huge, symbiotic relations it has with China. India itself now does more trade with China ($74 billion in 2011) than it does with America ($58 billion). American officials would like to see the balance tip more in their country’s favour.

The unstated logic in both America and India behind the drive for closer relations is as a warning to China not to overreach itself and drive them into a fully fledged military alliance. It is still far short of that—more like a mutual feeling that India and America are closer in strategic and political outlook to each other than they are to China. For that reason, America has no qualms about India’s “Look East” policy of engagement with the rest of Asia, or even with its contemplating membership of the China-led regional security grouping focused on Central Asia, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation.

Experience elsewhere in Asia suggests that America’s confidence in the long-term strength of its partnership with India need not be shaken even if China’s economic links with India continue to outpace its own. The great paradox of Asian strategy today is that the closer countries find themselves bound up with China economically, the more they seek the reassurance of American security.
4422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 16, 2012, 05:08:07 PM
Obj:  "even if he is replaced (and I believe he will be) our work has only begun."

Yes!  Isn't that the truth.

Crafty wrote:  "Question presented:  Can we focus attention on the housing bubble and its true causes or are we estopped from doing so by things in MR's record?"

I don't know any connection between Romney and the housing problem other than that plenty of other Republicans had their fingerprints all over it.  The point to me in housing is to be moving in a direction AWAY from government activism in markets.

Crafty continued:  "Idea:  I'm thinking that it might be effective to "abandon" the Bush rate cuts (which I am not persuaded were all that well desinged to begin with-- but at the moment I don't have the time to see what we have concerning them in the Tax thread) in the name of "lower rates, broader base with less loopholes". "

The country, even if it chooses well, has a timing problem.  IIRC the so-called Bush tax cuts expire this time on 12/31/2012.  Even Bill Clinton gets it that having that investment punishment marker looming will tank the economy further.  Also see Christina Romer's writings on that.  The Romney plan and Ryan plans are good enough IMO if fully implemented.  If growth minded Republicans sweep 2012 and IF these packages could get through a less than 60 vote majority QUICKLY, a much better tax plan as Crafty suggests could be made retroactive back to 1/1/2013.  Problem is that in the meantime the impending increases that never really materialize still will do serious economic damage during the period of uncertainty.  This needs to be fixed now.

We will see if famous people read the forum on that.

Obama believes George Bush screwed up left field so badly that no can play it.

Romney is saying that even if you concede that point to Obama, he is admitting he can't fix it. 

It was bad in the fall of 2008, and the investment collapse had an unemployment fallout.  But the Bush-Pelosi-Obama recession ended in June of 2009.  The 1.2% growth (?) record of the last 3 years since then is all on President Obama and his failed policies.  Growth should be five times greater right now IMO. 

Decline/stagnation was a policy choice.  That's enough of it.
4423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 15, 2012, 02:04:07 PM
"...competetive [because] people tend to see the choice between

a) the Bush policies that got us in this mess
b) the Baraq policies that keep us in this mess

In other words, Baraq's "It's Bush's fault" resonates.   Notions taken as common currency here (the Dems wanted the Bush policies to be even more reckless, the Dems controlled Congress starting in 2006 and therefore the measurement of the data should put the numbers since then on the Dem side of the ledger,  the Dems controlled both houses and the White House for two years and therefore the Rep obstinacy argument makes no sense, etc)  seem not to have cracked the platitudes of the pravdas in public perception.

Question presented:   What to do?"

Romney campaign sees themselves on message, looking forward, and does not want to be dragged into a discussion defending any part of the 2000's.  But "that decade" is the Obama attack line and needs to be answered.  (The what to do is answer it here and spread the answer.)

The 2000s had 3 segments economically.  Skipping the recession left behind by Clinton that erased much of his gains, there was robust growth and then there was an end to robust growth with investor panic.  Is it too wonkish to ask and answer, why did we have robust growth and what were investors seeing during the end of growth and the beginning of the great asset selloff of 2008? [Hint: They saw Obama coming.]

It is in the Senate races especially where the message I call '6 years since 2006' needs to be pressed.  Our meek little Amy, Sen Klobuchar D-MN, voted for and pressed for all the crap that caused the crash and all the anti-growth policies preventing recovery, yet enjoys 60% approval, (really it is likability).  So did a dozen other dems of 2006.  They need to be held accountable for their results and that should spill into the Presidential.  Wouldn't it be nice and easier if it could happen the other way around?  And do we want likability or a robust recovery - there is a difference.

Pres. Obama needs to be called out an two timeline lies in his message.  "When we got here" was Nov 2006 - that is when they took power.  There is no one alive who thought Bush was in charge of domestic policy after that moment and unemployment was at 4.6%, and now no one alive who will point it out now, except here.  Romney won't press it but I will.  wink

Secondly is his drivel about 'the logjam', meaning divided government, meaning Republican obstructionism.  Yes it has been divided ever since the 14 point swing in 2010 where the nation voted 'no confidence' in our likable President, but no party ever had more power than Dems in his first two years and really for the 4 years Nov 2006 until Nov 2010.  This wasn't divided govt, it was HIS government.  Those first two years 2009-2010 especially, but prior to that he and his current Secretary of State were the de facto leaders of the United States Senate reforming NOTHING of what was wrong and setting financial traps "before we arrived".

Crafty makes a very interesting point about how most of what was wrong in the 2000s (spending, bungled regulations etc.) Obama either supported or would have done worse.  This line of politics follows right out of HW Bush attack.  He was thrown out for breaking his no new taxes pledge by people who would have raised them sooner and greater.  Politics can be very strange.
4424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Europe caused our decline? on: June 14, 2012, 07:36:41 PM
Not from the speech, but his line (of BS) less than a week ago was that the "headwind" from Europe are inhibiting our growth at home.  After all, "Europe is our largest trading partner":

My question, is it not (also) the other way around, that exacerbating Europe's problem is the sluggish performance and mismanaged economy of THEIR largest trading partner, across the Atlantic?

The answer is no, and don't expect big media to follow up on it.  It only counts if it fits the script.
4425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Obama Economic Speech, Cleveland June 2012 on: June 14, 2012, 07:25:35 PM
This seems to be the best he can do:

52 minutes of your life you will never get back.

"That Decade" he now calls it.  It was called "the failed economic policies of the last 30 years" - until Bill Clinton took him out to the woodshed.

During 'that decade' of course he includes the recession left over by the Clinton administration.  And then it includes the 2 years of disaster when HE, Sen Obama, and Pelosi-Reid-Ellison et al took control of purse strings in congress.  If one looked at a growth curve, one would find more than 50 months continuous months of robust growth in between those Dem tainted end posts.

'That decade' brought us:

"huge tax cuts"    - Like my friend here, he fails to distinguish between tax RATE cuts which we had and tax revenue cuts that only happened under HIS plan.  Revenues in fact grew 35% in 3 years between 2003 and 2006, prior to the swearing in of the Pelosi-Obama congress.  That is double digit (almost 12%) annual growth over a sustained period - until voters were bored with growth and pursued loftier goals.  Obama:  "There is no data that the tax cuts paid for themselves".  Yes there is:

"Fewer Regulations"     - Really?  When were there fewer regulations?  The bubble and collapse were a direct result of BUNGLED regulations.  CRAp, Fannie Mae, war against domestic energy production etc.

"The wealthiest 1% Americans income grew 275% over the decade."     - No they didn't.  Income inequality data mixes in a new batch of rich people every year; it doesn't track at all how much any citizen's income rose.  Ten years later, FYI, successful people were selling their products and services into a larger and richer world economy.  Ten years later at the low end people were either contributing nothing or working plenty hard without increasing the value of what they were producing.  That is by definition.  If they had dramatically increased the value of what they were producing, they wouldn't be at the low end of income measurement.  The main increases in production and productivity come from CAPITAL INVESTMENT.  But the end point with the trick data is necessarily measured AFTER Obama and his colleagues had acted to destroy capital investment.

"The economy started to grow 6 months after I took Office and has grown continuously for 3 years since."    - That was BEFORE his policies went into effect.  Doesn't sound like they underestimated how bad it really was.  Unless you agree with he implication of 'Mission Accomplished', "the private sector is doing fine", he is admitting that he has absolutely no idea about how to grow the private sector any faster than 1.9% growth except more of the same and expect a different result.
4426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 14, 2012, 04:12:29 PM
"...reducing their net worth by almost 40%."

It's the middle class that seems to be paying the most.  The rich?"

JDN, It's hard to follow your implied logic or stated question, but I will answer you anyway.

This is not about paying taxes, but the policy that triggered the collapse was an impending tax increase aimed at the rich, code-named 'letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans'. 

Even though at year end the tax increase on the rich never in fact happened, it triggered an asset sell-off that we now know destroyed 40% of the wealth for people that were NOT targeted by the policies of the Pelosi-Reid congress and the incoming Obama administration in fall or 2008.

The 99% so to speak lost jobs, lost income and lost value in their existing investments including their homes, while the 1% who were targeted pulled back and are for the most still rich and doing okay.

Conclusion:  We live in an interconnected economy.  You can not target one group for punishment/confiscation, especially investors, capitalists, job creators without also hurting yourself and your family and your neighbors.

As to Buffet's meaningless words: "it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning":  NO.  These policies came from the elected class and they were (ill-advisedly) supported by 53% (roughly) of the lower income 99% in 2006 and 2008.  The 1% have great influence but no real political power in a representative republic.
4427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: June 12, 2012, 09:06:03 PM
One point to add to leakgate is that it seems to me that the President cannot leak.  The Commander in Chief always has the power to declassify.  So some top aide is in big trouble or else it is just another example of being sloppy with our national security.

If Fast and Furious had been dealt with quickly and decisively it wouldn't.feel. so much like scandals now.
4428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 12, 2012, 10:19:36 AM
Interesting is that the recall / public union movement lost in the Dem primary.   Telling are the polls big left money saw when they decided to sit out and the polls Obama saw when he decided to fly over and tweet it in.

Jim Messina is saying this (the Presidential race and cpngressional races) s a big series of local contests.  Looks like one big national referendum to me.
4429  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment on: June 12, 2012, 09:21:38 AM
 No mention of restoration of gunrights in most States and pro self defense laws being enacted.


Excellemt point PC.  Imagine the story if it was higher crime associated with states running wild with concealed carry.

Correlated? Yes.  Provable? Probably.

4430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Detroit is Liberalism's End Game on: June 10, 2012, 06:24:04 PM
Important piece IMO by Kevin Williamson at National Review.

Detroit: The Moral of the Story
By Kevin D. Williamson
June 8, 2012 3:18 P.M.

The Left’s answer to the deficit: raise taxes to protect spending. The Left’s answer to the weak economy: raise taxes to enable new spending. The Left’s answer to the looming sovereign-debt crisis: raise taxes to pay off old spending. For the Left, every deficit is a revenue-side problem, not a spending-side problem, and the solution to every economic problem is more spending, necessitating more taxes. The problem with that way of looking at things is called Detroit, which looks to be running out of money in about one week. Detroit is what liberalism’s end-game looks like.

And Detroit does in fact have a revenue problem, as I argued in the May 14 National Review (“Let Detroit Fail”): “Revenues declined by more than $100 million between 2007 and 2011. Income-tax revenue dropped by 18 percent, utility-tax revenue by 17 percent, property-tax revenue by 2.3 percent. Seeking a quick fix to its revenue problems, Detroit chartered several casino-gambling operations, only to see taxes from them begin to decline (by 1.5 percent last year) after a period of early growth. Detroit, once the wealthiest city in the United States by per capita income, is today the second-poorest major U.S. city.”

Detroit is evidence for the fact that the economic limitations on tax increases sometimes kick in before the political limitations do. The relationship between tax rates, tax revenue, economic incentives, growth, and investment is complex, to say the least, and deeply dependent on the historical and economic facts of particular places at particular times. We have theories of growth, but no blueprint. But Detroit was not reduced to its present wretched circumstances by historical inevitabilities or the impersonal tides of economics. It did not have to end this way, but it did, and understanding why it did is essential if we are to avoid repeating Detroit’s municipal tragedy on a national scale.

One lesson to learn from Detroit is that investing unions with coercive powers does not ensure future private-sector employment or the preservation of private-sector wages, despite liberal fairy tales to the contrary, nor do protectionist measures strengthen the long-term prospects of domestic firms competing in highly integrated global markets. We cannot legislate away comparative advantage or other facts of life. But the problem of unions’ coercing distortions in the private sector is at this point a relatively small one, given the decline of unionization outside of government. Organized labor being a fundamentally predatory enterprise, its attention has turned to the public sector, where there are fatter and more stable rents to be collected.

The second important lesson to be learned from Detroit is that there are hard limits on real tax increases, a fact that will be of more immediate significance in the national debate as our deficit and debt problems reach crisis stage. Even those of us who are relatively open to tax increases as a component of a long-term debt-reduction strategy must keep in mind that our current spending trend is putting us on an unsustainable course in which our outlays will far outpace our ability to collect taxes to pay for them, no matter where we set our theoretical tax rates. The IMF calculates that to maintain present spending trend the United States will have to nearly double (88 percent increase) all federal taxes to maintain theoretical solvency. Those tax increases are sure to have real-world effects on everything from investing to immigration. At some point, the statutory tax increases will not increase actual revenue.

Even the best tax regimes are cannibalistic: Every tax is an incentive for the taxpayer to relocate to a more friendly jurisdiction. But tax rates are not the only incentive: Google is not going to set up shop in Somalia. Healthy governments create conditions that make it worth paying the taxes — which is to say, governments are a lot like participants in any other competitive market (with some obvious and important exceptions). The benefits of being in Detroit used to be worth the costs, but in recent decades millions of people and thousands of enterprises large and small have decided that is no longer the case. It is not as though one cannot profitably manufacture automobiles in the United States — Toyota does — you just can’t do it very well in Detroit. No one with eyes in his head could honestly think that the services provided by the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan are worth the costs.

The third lesson is moral. Detroit’s institutions have long been marked by corruption, venality, and self-serving. Healthy societies have high levels of trust. Who trusts Detroit? This is not angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin stuff. People do not invest in firms, industries, cities, or countries they do not trust. Corruption makes people poor.

What is true of Detroit is true of the country. Our national public sector not only is bloated and parasitic, it is less effective, less responsible, and less honest than that of many other developed countries, including New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Germany. I am not an unreserved admirer of Transparency International’s global corruption-perceptions index, but I believe that it is in broad outline accurate. Liberals are inclined to learn the wrong lessons from the relative success of countries such as Canada or New Zealand, concluding that what we need is a bigger welfare state, government-run health care, etc. (Conservatives, for our part, tend to overemphasize the role of comparatively low taxes and light regulation in the success of countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Those are important, but there are other equally important factors.) In reality, there is a great diversity of health-care arrangements and social-spending levels among the countries that have more effective institutions than ours, while many countries with the sorts of institutions liberals admire (take Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal for starters) are in crisis, in significant part because of plain corruption. What the more successful countries tend to have in common is a public sector that is less intent on looting the fisc.

Sure, Hong Kong and Singapore have lower levels of government spending (as a share of GDP) than does the United States. So do Switzerland and Australia. At 38.9 percent of GDP, our public-sector spending is indistinguishable from that of Canada (39.7 percent). It is not obvious that we have much to show for it.

The city fathers of Detroit inherited one of the richest and most productive cities in the world, and they ruined it in a generation. The gentlemen in Washington have been entrusted with the richest and most productive nation in the history of the world, and the trendline does not look good. Those of us seeking to radically reduce the footprint of government must remind ourselves from time to time that our case is as much ethical as economic, that the ethical and the economic are indeed closely intertwined.
4431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: GOP wins under 25 vote in June 2012 on: June 10, 2012, 06:17:41 PM
My new favorite Democrat and 2008 Obama voter Walter Russel Meade points out that Walker won the under 25 vote in the President's absence.  US News:

Could someone please post the LA Times report of this, lol.
4432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Medical Device Tax on: June 10, 2012, 06:04:51 PM
It's hard to believer that we have a special Obama sin tax on the manufacturing and sale of life saving medical devices in the United States.  huh  This is my congressmen, Erik Paulsen R-MN, authoring the repeal and delivering the GOP response address this weekend.
4433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 09, 2012, 06:47:28 PM
"Money matters; Walker spent almost ten times more."

If this was a bad time financially for Dems to have an election, why did they call one?

"Go Ugly Early."  (Begala's advice to Obama.)

Done.  Doesn't cover a bad record.

I have much simpler advice for Obama.  Govern like Walker and run on your record.

Too late.

My advice to Begala.  This isn't a fight.  It is a choice of governing philosophies.

Another important truth out of Wisconsin.  The angry public unions lost this race in the primary.  That is IMO why Obama did not visit Barrett.  I am still truly amazed that he flew over hundreds of miles of Wisconsin, the battle of the year, from Minneapolis to Chicago on June 1, from fund raiser to fund raiser and did not lift a finger or land a plane to offer a morsel of help to his party going down in embarrassment.  Next (I already wrote this) it will be Pres. Obama in Badger stadium in Oct saying, "I need your help Wisconsin, I can't do this without you!"  

Yet he left them to do it without him, hoping to save his own fragile reputation.

More free advice to the President.  Drop out now, admit you weren't ready, save your reputation, and you will still be eligible when you are ready.

4434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Private sector doing fine = Mission Accomplished? on: June 08, 2012, 07:04:25 PM
A comment that he may live to regret politically.  1.9% growth is not either acceptable or growth.

Obama might have done better to follow the advice of the Washington Post's Ed Rogers: "If you are president of the United States and you don't have anything to say, don't have a press conference to say it. If you're the president of the United States and by Thursday it's widely believed you've had one of the worst weeks of your presidency, take Friday off, and specifically avoid having a press conference."
Problem is that he still believes: "Harry, I have a gift."

Mr. President, you have no gift (of oratory that substitutes for leadership).  You have policies that suck and people are seeing there is no deity-like figure running the ship.
4435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 08, 2012, 06:54:12 PM
Couple of comments.  On the homosexual question, I think the proportion is between 2 and 3%.  As Obj suggests, yes they deserve the right to empower each other for emergency decisions, inheritance, etc.  They deserve enough respect to at least possibly notice that it is the right side of politics actually offering them the most freedoms, not gay specific, but overall including economic freedoms etc.

"Crony capitalism should say Economic Fascism"

I think I will just say Cronyism.  Not capitalism or fascism.

Fascism is a term tied to Hitler and Nazis.  Under Pelosi-Obama et al we have way too many encroachments on our freedoms and too many burdens on our economy, but day to day even with all the Solyndra-like bullsh*t, we still mostly live our lives in a spirit of freedom.

Cronyism is not capitalism.  It is not a form of capitalism.  It is how things work in third world Kleptocracies and in fascist and other totalitarian states.  It is about who you know, who you bribe, who you have something on.  It is the opposite of equal protection under the law and consent of the governed.  The money going to Biden's buddy is a diversion from what it is we say we do in America.  The people didn't say they wanted that.  You and I don't get what they got.  We also don't get rounded up and incinerated either but we certain don't govern according to our own founding principles.

Whatever the terms are, let's keep fighting to stop it.
4436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: June 08, 2012, 06:35:31 PM
"We heard the "no blood for oil" refrain from the Left the entire time we were in Iraq, but the fact is that oil is a national security issue."

I believe the blood for oil argument was upside down.  The short term effect was the opposite.  Saddam was producing oil.  Doing what we thought was the right thing to do for humanity and for security involved a war and a disruption.  It never was any kind of attempt to take their oil fields for our own purposes as was suggested by opponents of the war.  We don't even buy their oil at market price but we benefit as everyone else does from them returning to the supply market - and no longer threatening to take over gulf states like Kuwait and Saudi.
4437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ash heap of history: Reagan - 30 years ago on: June 08, 2012, 12:02:13 PM
Credits to Wash Post and Steven Hayward at Powerline for covering this.

"Today is the 30th anniversary of Reagan’s famous address in Westminster Hall, London, where he outraged fashionable opinion with his argument that it was Communism that would end up “on the ash heap of history.”

Read it here:

Some video:
4438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Krugman v. Estonia on: June 08, 2012, 11:55:23 AM
Important to read this with the charts.  I will come back later and try to post it all:
By Daniel Mitchell, Cato Institute
4439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Phenomenon: Noonan - He could be president now if he wanted to be. on: June 08, 2012, 11:49:06 AM
    President Obama’s problem now isn’t what Wisconsin did, it’s how he looks each day—careening around, always in flight, a superfluous figure. No one even looks to him for leadership now. He doesn’t go to Wisconsin, where the fight is. He goes to Sarah Jessica Parker’s place, where the money is.

    There is, now, a house-of-cards feel about this administration. …

    Any president will, in a presidential election year, be political. But there is a startling sense with Mr. Obama that that’s all he is now, that he and his people are all politics, all the time, undeviatingly, on every issue. He isn’t even trying to lead, he’s just trying to win.

    Most ominously, there are the national-security leaks that are becoming a national scandal—the “avalanche of leaks,” according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, that are somehow and for some reason coming out of the administration. A terrorist “kill list,” reports of U.S. spies infiltrating Al Qaeda in Yemen, stories about Osama bin Laden’s DNA and how America got it, and U.S. involvement in the Stuxnet computer virus, used against Iranian nuclear facilities. These leaks, say the California Democrat, put “American lives in jeopardy,” put “our nation’s security in jeopardy.”

    This isn’t the usual—this is something different. A special counsel may be appointed.

    And where is the president in all this? On his way to Anna Wintour’s house. He’s busy. He’s running for president.

    But why? He could be president now if he wanted to be.
(just an excerpt, read it at the link: Peggy Noonan, House of Cards)
4440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Media - Close Elections on: June 07, 2012, 03:22:11 PM
Obama won in 2008 in a landslide election ... 7 point victory.

Walker won a close one.  ... 7 point victory.
The headline in the print edition of Washington Post June 6 2012:
“Wisc. governor Walker survives recall election: long lines and a close vote.”
"Scott Walker Retains Governorship in Close Recall Election"
Obama wins election in landslide to become first black president
Published November 5, 2008
"How close is close?"
I heard a Russian immigrant caller to the Rush L show comment that the old Soviet Union only had one network lying to them.  Here we seem to have a whole conspiracy of synchronized networks spewing out planned disinformation.
4441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: June 07, 2012, 03:05:31 PM
If the left's analysis of why the left went down in Wisconsin is correct, then the left is doomed.

The answer is money, she says (Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation ), reflecting a very widespread line of analysis. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the right is able to outspend the left ten to one, ensuring that the left can never win.

 - Walter Russel Mead
4442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 07, 2012, 12:25:41 PM
Translating the Wisconsin exit poll to the Presidential in rough terms.  Widely reported is that 17% of Walker voters say they plan to vote for Obama.  Not reported was that 5% of Barrett voters say they will vote Romney bringing that down to a net 12.  The exit poll predicting a tie was wrong to the Dem side by 7 points, so that means (to me) (all other things equal) Obama will do 5 points better in Nov than Barret's actual result, which (again) was losing by 7.

That is very rough analysis because I don't buy the idea that in a highly partisan contest pitting neighbor against neighbor that any Walker vote is a decided vote for Obama or any other Dem.

National politics are different than state politics? True, but businessman Ron Johnson beat popular hometown incumbent liberal Russ Feingold for the US Senate seat statewide in Wisc by 5 points  in 2010:  It can happen.

If Wisconsin is close, that means Romney already won about 40 other states.  We will see.
4443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Wesbury goes political on: June 07, 2012, 12:08:44 PM
Posted in Obama Phenomenon is an IBD rebuttal to any positive spin on the Obama record.  I was wondering what Wesbury might have said in his  Monday morning response to Friday's dismal economic news.  First some positive spin "acceleration in the household number suggests the job market is not as bad as it was made out to be", then a clarification on his "Plowhorse Economy" designation:

[The reasons we have a plowhorse economy are the] "the same reasons Europe had slow growth and a high unemployment rate for the past three decades: government spending, taxes, and regulation have been a huge burden."

"Government is a burden which slows growth and reduces job opportunities. The only way to get a permanent acceleration – in real GDP, incomes, and job growth – is to lighten the load. The good news for the US is that there is a four step plan to make this happen and we’re going to face all of them this year.
First is the recall election on Tuesday for Scott Walker as Governor of Wisconsin. Democrats in Massachusetts and Rhode Island – even Rahm Emanuel in Chicago – have also carried out reforms for government workers, but Walker’s efforts created a massive political backlash. A Walker victory would set the stage for more reforms in other states.
Second is the late June Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. Health insurance is an important issue and many reasonable people disagree about inequities in that market, but a government takeover would signal further growth in government spending and regulation, which would dampen the entrepreneurial spirit and increase uncertainty.
Third is the November 7th presidential election, when voters across the country get the chance to signal a desire to roll back the size and scope of government. “Core” government spending – outside of defense, TARP, interest and entitlements – has hit a record high in recent years. A change in leadership would mean a chance to greatly reduce the share of GDP controlled by Washington. Finally, the scheduled tax hike on income, capital gains, and dividends in 2013 has become a wall of uncertainty for business to overcome. If the first three steps happen, this one will too.
These steps will decide whether the US heads toward a European-like future or remains a bastion of free market capitalism. As each step unfolds, the momentum of the decisions will also become more visible. We remain confident America is a “center-right” country that respects its Constitution. If so, look out. The Plow Horse may turn into a thoroughbred."

4444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? on: June 07, 2012, 12:00:42 PM
Responding to BD's previous post in the thread, that is a very important question and sounds like a great book suggestion.  I find the points made in the review extremely valid.

Within the question of rich or poor countries I think are two questions, why do great nations fall and how come most places never develop any wealth in the first place.

Two other books of note on this topic:

"Conquests And Cultures: An International History" by Thomas Sowell
Detailed studies and wisdom from across the globe and throughout history.

Also a 14th century Arabic book by Ibn Khaldun that I searched out after Arthur Laffer called him the first supply side economist.  'The Muqaddimah' (introduction to history) covers timeless economic principles from 1377, now published at

This is an excerpt in translation that I picked out his economic observations:

"In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation."
4445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Obama Record - Another look at the pathetic legacy - this one from IBD on: June 07, 2012, 11:33:13 AM
Investors Business Daily takes a try at summarizing the Obama economic record with data from a number of reliable sources.  Sad but true:

The Obama Record

The Obama Record: May's weak jobs report further confirms the president's policies are failing to help the economy. This is, indeed, the worst recovery since the Depression.

Negative superlatives associated with this presidency keep piling up. The toll so far:

• The share of Americans who've been out of work a long time — now at 42% of the unemployed — is the highest since the Great Depression (source: Labor Department).

• The proportion of the civilian working-age population actually working, at 58%, is the smallest since the Carter era (Labor Department).

• Growth in nonfarm payroll jobs since the recovery began in June 2009 is the slowest of any comparable recovery since World War II (Hoover Institution).

• The rate of new business startups — the engine of job growth — has plunged to an all-time low of 7.87% of all businesses (Census Bureau).

• 3 in 10 young adults can't find jobs and live with their parents, highest since the 1950s (Pew Research).
mp3Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast

• 54% of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 are jobless or underemployed, the highest share in decades (Northeastern University).

• Black teen unemployment, now at 37%, is near Depression-era highs (Labor Department).

• Almost 1 in 6 Americans are now poor — the highest ratio in 30 years — and the total number of poor, at 49.1 million, is the largest on record (Census).

• The share of Hispanics in poverty has topped that of blacks for the first time, 28.2% to 25.4% (Census).

• The number of Americans on food stamps — 45 million recipients, or 1 in 7 residents — also is the highest on record (Congressional Budget Office).

• Total government dependency — defined as the share of Americans receiving one or more federal benefit payments — is now at 47%, highest ever (Hoover).

• The share of Americans paying no income tax, at 49.5%, is the highest ever (Heritage Foundation, IRS).

• The national homeownership rate, now at 65.4%, is the lowest in 15 years (Census).

• The 30-point gap between black and white Americans who own their own homes is the widest in two decades and one of the widest on record (Census).

• Federal spending, now at 23.4% of GDP, is the highest since WWII (CBO).

• Excluding defense and interest payments, spending is the highest in American history, at 17.6% of the economy (First Trust Economics).

• The federal debt, at 69% of GDP, is the highest since just after WWII (CBO).

• The U.S. budget deficit, now at 9.5% of the economy, is the highest since WWII (CBO).

• U.S. Treasury debt has been downgraded for the first time in history, meaning the U.S. government no longer ranks among risk-free borrowers (S&P).

This is what Obamanomics has wrought. Fiscal promiscuity. Trickle-up poverty. Shared misery.
  - but we're on the right track and need to do more of the same...   huh
4446  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: June 07, 2012, 11:23:26 AM
Broken record, but "... sometimes additional money is necessary" is true but additional money means raising tax revenues which are tied to growing the economy, not raising nominal, marginal tax rates on some guy hiding behind a tree.

Growing the economy also would alleviate some spending burdens. 

I've yet to see a study even out of California that ties disinvestment to positive economic growth.
4447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics: John B Taylor, The problem is Policy on: June 06, 2012, 10:13:44 AM

(Video at the link)

John B. Taylor On Economy: "The Problem Is Policy"

John B. Taylor, the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics at Stanford's Hoover Institute, delivers the Manhattan Institute's Eighth Annual Hayek Lecture.

(Transcript begins at 2:10)

"Let me start and talk a little bit about this book, 'First Principles.' It starts with the fact that the American economy is just not doing very well. That's pretty obvious. We had a growth rate of just 1.9 percent [according to] the most recent data, unemployment is very high, long-term unemployment astronomically high. We've just gone through a deep financial crisis and a very serious recession, and the recovery is by any definition unprecedentedly weak compared to American history. So, we've got a problem here. And, also, as Paul [Gigot] mentioned in his introduction, our debt is exploding.

"And my view, looking at this and thinking of alternative explanations, I think the problem is policy. And the way I put it simply is that policy has deviated from the basic principles of economic freedom. Now, if Hayek were here, he'd be saying, 'Tell us what you mean. What do you mean by economic freedom, Taylor?' What I mean is the situation where individuals, families decide what to buy, what to produce -- they decide where they will work, they decide how they're going to help other people. But they do this within a framework. It's kind of the American vision, if you like. And that framework involves five things: 1) predictable policy, 2) rule of law, 3) a reliance on markets, which generates 4) good incentives, and 5) a limited role of government.

"And when you think about America, those five principles have pretty much defined the country since its founding, and I think that's why it's done well. That's why so many people have come here and how so many people have done well by coming here. And we're certainly, over the long span of time, much better than any other country. But we've had our ebbs and flows in the degree to which we adhere to these principles of economic freedom. And I think we can learn a lot from those ebbs and flows, see what happens when you move one way or the other in terms of policy.

"So, just think of it, just think of history. The Great Depression. We deviated from a reasonably predictable policy by cutting money growth. The Federal Reserve did that. Friedman and Schwartz pointed that out long ago. Started things off, made what may have been a minor downturn much worse. So, that's the first deviation, if you like, from good principles. We raised taxes, we raised tariffs big time, and then we put in place this National Industrial Recovery Act, which was price controls, discouraging competition by allowing collusion, all the things that you would define, I would define, based on that definition, as deviations from basic economic freedom. Well, what's happened? Of course, we don't have to repeat that mess in describing it.

"Another example: In the mid-60s all through the 70s, policy also deviated from these principles. We started these kind of temporary stimulus packages, the Federal Reserve was go-stop, go-stop, we had wage and price controls for this entire economy. The performance was terrible. Double-digit inflation came, double-digit unemployment came, growth slowed down dramatically. Of course, interest rates were astronomical.

"OK? Next period: The 1980s, 90s until recently, we seemed to move back, if you like, towards these principles. Temporary stimulus packages of the unpredictable variety, discretionary variety were out. Long-term tax reduction, tax reform was in. Go-stop monetary policy was out. Steady as you go monetary policy came in, focused on price stability, largely under [Paul] Volcker. The remnants of price controls were removed. A major federal welfare program was devolved to the states, a reflection on more limited federal government power. The performance was unbelievably good. Unemployment trickled down all that period, inflation came down, growth started to pick up pretty dramatically, productivity growth. Economists call it the Great Moderation. It was such a good time for performance.

"Unfortunately, now, we've drifted back, in my view, away from these principles. And I can go on with a long, long list in this case. The Federal Reserve, I think, in leading up to the crisis deviated from the kind of rules it was using by and large for most of the 80s and 90s. And they held interest rates too low. The mantra these days is 'too low for too long.' That set off some of the excesses, the housing boom, in my view, particularly. Regulators, I think, of financial institutions failed to enforce the rules. That's a deviation from a rule. On the major financial institutions, risk-taking rules, and especially on institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"Then the crisis came, and we had massive deviations from predictable policy with the bailouts. I'll come back to the bailouts in a few minutes, but whatever what you think about those, they were massive deviations from predictable kinds of policies. Then we had the stimulus packages. We had one in 2009, but don't forget, we had one in 2008. We had 'cash for clunkers' and first-time home buyers. And we had temporary reductions in the payroll tax…for two months. We had quantitative easing, unprecedented amount of intervention by the Federal Reserve. And policies which will apparently try to hold interest rates to zero through 2014.

"If you look at just some data here, in the three years around 2000, there were 11 provisions in the tax code that were up for grabs, up for a change. Now, there's 131, a massive amount of increase in unpredictability, if you like. And just think of this 'fiscal cliff' everyone's talking about. That just wasn't dropped on us. That is a self-inflicted policy. That is sort of the epitome of unpredictable policy put in place, and rightly, people are concerned about that.

"So, as I look at this situation, it seems to me the evidence is pretty clear, and you can debate this and go back and forth, but I just think it's so powerful, the evidence. And the implications are very clear, aren't they? We should apply those principles, and we should apply them to the current circumstances that we're in."
4448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: June 06, 2012, 10:04:31 AM
Very interesting series of posts, many valid points going in all directions.  I don't buy that there is some currency to take the place of the dollar, IMF special drawing rights or anything else.  The world IMO does not have an economic plan that does not include a safe, strong America leading.  A short term chart of the dollar gaining strength against the Euro while the EU implodes is very unpersuasive.  Same for Crafty's point that gold has retreated but from what levels.

I see things more simply.  Fix what we know is wrong and quit trying to figure how far we can drive with a broken engine and a missing suspension.  A couple of years ago it was agreed widely on the board that this is a two election fix.  Grannis sees the second leg of that coming, even uses the L-word (landslide).  I see that too but my certainty level is way too low.

Interesting that the deficit to GDP ratio shrank, but the debt of the earlier years is still there along with the trillion a year plus still accumulating.  Borrowing 7.4% of GDP on top of our tax burden is still outrageous.  What is the debt burden of the current projection after interest rates return to 5-6% if not 13%.

Beyond whether the policy arrow can shift in Nov, the question becomes what kind of medium growth policies can follow in a still bitterly divided country and a closely divided Senate? 

On the regulatory front, repeal of Obamacare is one big piece but only gets us back to where we were when we imploded.  What other regulatory changes can happen on the employment front? None?  Some movement on energy is about all that I see and maybe repeal of the administrative ruling that CO2 is a poison.

On the spending front, the Ryan plan is getting badly demagogued.  Maybe holding spending at record high levels is what we will call victory on 'spending restraint' and the rest comes down to growing our way back to sane ratios.

On the tax side, is there going to be a consensus for sweeping reforms that come out of this election?  Is there going to a lowering of marginal rates, removal of loopholes and an end to this terrible tradition of making tax rates temporary and uncertain?  I don't know. 

What about the other electoral outcome.  Obama is still ahead in polls; Dems could take the House and hold pretty steady in the Senate.  How do we survive this then?
This following exchange excerpt was particularly interesting, excellent question Crafty!

"...If I have my numbers right, the Feds borrow 40% of what they spend and get 60-70% of that by printing it!..."

SG: "To begin with, the Fed has not been printing money, contrary to what everyone seems to believe. The Fed has bought $1.6 trillion of notes and bonds, but they have paid for them not with printed-up dollar bills, but with bank reserves. The vast majority of those reserves have never seen the light of day (in the form of actual money used to run the economy). They are sitting on the Fed's balance sheet. What the Fed has effectively done is to to a massive swap with the rest of the world: the Fed has handed out massive amounts of T-bill substitutes (i.e., reserves that pay interest equivalent to T-bills) in exchange for an equal amount of notes and bonds. Since the dollar has not collapsed and inflation has not gone to the moon and the M2 money supply has not exploded to the upside, we can pretty confidently conclude that the Fed's actions were almost exactly what the world demanded. In short, the Fed expanded the supply of safe-haven dollar liquidity in order to accommodate the world's almost insatiable desire for such liquidity. When money supply rises in line with money demand, this is not inflationary.

In that he knows more than me that is partly reassuring.  My theory is that when we are not taxing 40% of what we spend, there is no monetary policy that covers for that kind of fiscal irresponsibility.  It sounds like they did as well as they could, though that is very hard to follow.  We are now invested in Europe's failure too, so one currency is no longer much of a hedge against the other?  My theory further is to judge things like gas prices, interest rates and inflation after demand is restored.  If gas is $4 while people are not working or buying it, what will be the price at these levels of supply in a fully functioning economy?  The amount of liquidity injected matched the shortfall in a disastrous downturn.  How will those expansions look later, assuming we correct our other problems and re-start robust growth? 

One of Crafty's points remains unaddressed, the whole concept of saving has been destroyed for a generation if not forever.  Money to loan doesn't come from savers anymore, it comes from something like that paragraph above of Scott's, "the Fed has handed out massive amounts of T-bill substitutes", etc.  Another consequence of artificially low interest rates is that home mortgages are still being Fed subsidized.  The bubble is far less inflated than it was, but still these phenomena are not free markets but public policy constructs with no end or phase out in sight.
4449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 05, 2012, 11:40:31 PM
All (partially) true.  Except that it was Dems who first nationalized the issue and the race and are you really a real Dem voter if you voted for Walker?  Maybe you are a former Dem voter.

"many Dem voters didn't think a recall was called for"

Yes.  He turned a $3B deficit into a surplus without a tax increase.

True that Obama polls better in Wisc than Barret.  Also possibly true that Obama polls better than his own future vote count. 

Coming into 2010, the Gov races in Virginia, New Jersey and the Scott Brown senate race were all unique, not a certain indicator of times to come.  All you can say is that it's a start - and a lot better than losing.

4450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics- Networks calls Wisconsin for Walker, recall loses on: June 05, 2012, 10:36:29 PM

Up 9 points with 83% reporting at the moment.

Quite a defeat for thepublic union lobbies.  Quite a defeat for the Pres. who mailed his support in the night before via tweat:


"It's Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I'm standing by Tom Barrett. He'd make an outstanding governor. -bo"

In fact, the Pres. was not standing by Tom Barrett and isn't 'bo' the White House dog?  Woof!

12% of sconis considered restoring public sector union rules their main concern.  Maybe some other states can balance their budgets too.
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