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4901  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.
4902  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.
4903  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.
4904  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.
4905  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.

4906  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.
4907  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.
4908  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.
4909  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.

4910  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.
4911  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.
4912  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.
4913  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:
4914  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
4915  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)
4916  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.
4917  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
4918  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.
4919  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."

4920  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."
4921  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
4922  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.
4923  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."
4924  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.
4925  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.

4926  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.
4927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Marco Rubio earning respect in Senate for foreign-policy work on: June 05, 2012, 07:02:00 PM
On the previous point I agree with JDN.   grin  Madison Wisc is on a pace to hit 119% turnout.

Sen. Marco Rubio earning respect in Senate for foreign-policy work
Political pundits focus on Sen. Marco Rubio as a vice-presidential shortlister, but Senate colleagues from both parties say the freshman Republican is becoming a key foreign-policy player.

By Marc Caputo

Marco Rubio had just stepped off the plane from his first visit to Cuba, the homeland of his forebears, a land at the heart of his political identity.

Did he at least bring back a souvenir?

“No,” he said Tuesday evening.

No sand? No water? No rocks?

“No,” he smiled.

For Rubio, who traveled to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base as a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, the trip was all business. And that’s pretty typical for the Republican freshmen senator, according to colleagues like Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry and Rubio’s fellow foreign-policy hawk Sen. Joe Lieberman.

“Marco’s not a show horse,” Lieberman said. “He’s a workhorse.”

One day he’ll be giving a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington or the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday. Next, he’ll be lugging Henry Kissinger’s “Diplomacy” tome to a Munich conference, stopping along the way in Madrid to chat with Spain’s prime minister in Spanish as his unilingual Anglo colleagues twiddle their thumbs. He also has travelled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malta, Libya, Haiti and Colombia.

The nation’s political chattering class focuses most heavily on Rubio as a vice-presidential shortlister, but his Senate colleagues can’t help but talk about him becoming a key foreign-policy player as a member of the intelligence and foreign-relations committees.

Lieberman and Kerry are Senate experts both in foreign policy and running in a presidential election. Kerry was the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004; Lieberman the Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate in 2000 before becoming an independent.

Both say Rubio is able to handle the rigors of the national campaign trail and the Senate at the same time.

“I’ve been impressed by his thinking — doing the homework necessary to earn the credibility with respect to your approach to things. I think that’s constructive,” Kerry said.

“A lot of the colleagues around here, obviously, are interested in substance and interested in people who do the work and are not impressed by people who are prone to play the political end of something and hold a press conference and not do the work,” Kerry said. “They want to see someone buckle down and learn the ropes. And I think he’s clearly been doing that in a very positive way.”
(excerpt only, more at the link)

4928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney targets Hispanics on: June 05, 2012, 06:32:21 PM

"The Obama campaign recently released a Spanish-language web ad asserting that 'we're on the right path,'" the Romney campaign says with the release of this ad. "Mitt Romney disagrees and believes that rising unemployment and more Hispanics in poverty is not the 'right path' for our country. America can do better and, with Mitt Romney as president, we will."
4929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Phenomenon: The Pathetic Legacy of Barack Obama on: June 05, 2012, 02:02:59 PM
John Hinderaker, founder of Powerline, ends the media sugarcoating of the Obama record:

The Pathetic Legacy of Barack Obama

A week or so ago, an online liberal floated the absurd proposition that Barack Obama has been a fiscal conservative. He claimed that Obama has presided over the second-slowest increase in federal spending in recent history. Given that the Obama administration has run up $5 trillion in new debt while spending vastly more than any administration in history, how was this feat of legerdemain performed? We explained it here and here: (

Briefly, the claim depends on attributing all of FY 2009 spending to the Bush administration. FY 2009 represented the biggest increase in federal spending in history, by a very wide margin, and Bush had little or nothing to do with it. That was the year of the stimulus, and the Democratic Congress assiduously avoided passing a budget until Obama had been sworn in, in January 2009. Obama and the Democrats own FY 2009 spending lock, stock and barrel. The remarkable thing is that even though “stimulus” spending is over, the Democrats haven’t cut overall spending at all, but rather have increased it even further from the astronomical FY 2009 level. The attempt to paint Obama as a fiscal conservative was so transparently stupid that even the Washington Post and the Associated Press denounced it.

But that hasn’t stopped Obama himself from going back to the well. Today he said, at a New York fundraiser with Bill Clinton:

    Even when it comes to their big issue, the deficit and the debt, as President Clinton just mentioned, you know, the truth is that the two presidents over the last 30 years, 40 years, who had the lowest increases in government spending, you are looking at them right here. They’re on this stage.

Forget for the moment how utterly dishonest this is, and how sad that Obama continues repeating the lie even when his own most loyal supporters in the media have deserted him. What I want to focus on here is how pathetic it is that Obama is now reduced to posing as a fiscal conservative. Did Obama run in 2008 on a platform of restraining federal spending? Of course not. He represents the left wing of the Democratic Party, whose main objective is increased federal spending. To the extent that he has influenced legislation, has it ever had the purpose of limiting federal spending? Don’t be ridiculous! His signature legislative “achievements,” the stimulus and Obamacare, entailed billions of dollars in new federal appropriations. Has he ever even proposed to limit spending in any meaningful way? No. On the contrary, his budgets have been so flamboyantly profligate that in the last two years, not a single Senator or Congressman has been willing to vote for them. Obama has never been, or tried to be, anything but a far-left spendthrift. So the fact that he now is reduced to posing as a green-eyeshade cost-cutter is simply pathetic.

The same thing has happened in foreign policy. Obama ran as a classic foreign policy leftist, skeptical of his own country’s history and interests. He denounced “torture,” a reference to the three hard-core terrorists who had been waterboarded years earlier, and vowed to close Guantanamo Bay. He thought he could influence the Muslim world by virtue of his middle name and his Indonesian boyhood. All of that is now ancient history. Obama’s proudest boast, as he runs for re-election, is that he didn’t prohibit the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Recently, the White House has leaked the claim that Obama himself chooses the terrorists to be killed by Predator missiles. In the 1960s, when the press reported that Lyndon Johnson was personally selecting bombing targets in Vietnam, it was one more nail in Johnson’s political coffin. Today, Barack Obama, having completely failed to achieve anything he intended when he took office, is so desperate that he has nothing better to offer: he presents himself as not just a skinflint, but a bloodthirsty one. It is, as I say, a pathetic legacy.
4930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MA Dem convention requiring voter ID on: June 05, 2012, 08:41:55 AM
Many states have Voter ID on the ballot this year.  Democrats vehemently oppose it; it will block people's right to vote.

Meanwhile quite humerous is that at the Mass. Dem convention this weekend endorsing Elizabeth Warren, the convention required voter id.  It seems that they wanted to be certain who each person was because the vote is important and they don't want any fraud.  Hmmm.  What about the disenfranchised.  Who looks out for them?

Voter ID is good for me, but not for thee.
4931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness- Wisconsin on: June 05, 2012, 08:35:37 AM
Followup to what I wrote 6/1, but it is mind-boggling that Pres Obama, who does all things political, is flying around Wisconsin air space trying to look like Wisconsin recall is not his fault.  The biggest vote short of Nov is today.  Who knows the outcome...  But if the recall effort fails and Obama didn't help, how is that better for him than if it fails and he did help?  What will he be saying when he finally does come to Wisconsin, Badger stadium in October: 'Wisconsin, I need your help.  I can't do this without you.'

Pres. Clinton gets it.  Came to Wisconsin.  Praised Romney's Sterling business career.

Magic touch or emperor has no clothes, Pres. Obama ever since delivering the presentation about himself to the Olympic committee can no longer say "Harry, I have a gift."
4932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: June 04, 2012, 05:29:57 PM
Budgets only take a simple majority and they haven't passed one of those either.  Blame Republicans all they want but Senators like Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Jim Demint, etc did not go to Washington to support Harry Reid's agenda.  The majority needs to find common ground and attract crossover votes.  A lot of that bridge was burned in the shenanigans of Pelosi-Obamacare where they sought out no Republican vote.

The most government we should (IMHO) ever have is what 60 Senators can agree on.

Wikipedia has a nice summary of the changes in cloture.  As I understand it, a real filibuster used to require someone actually continuing the debate while less than 60 support cutting off debate and calling the question.

Dems are hesitant to reduce the power of the minority in the Senate back just months before becoming the minority.
4933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: June 04, 2012, 02:03:36 PM
Unmarried, unemployed and 3 kids already, the man who had impregnated her had just been sent to jail for robbery.  She ought to have the freedom to kill off at least one of the others too.  Aren't they all equally unwanted?

Morally equal and far more effective might be to kill off the mother before it happens again.
4934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 02, 2012, 04:57:26 PM
"The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press yesterday released a survey indicating that public opinion of the high court is currently at a quarter-century low."

Give some credit to the President for calling them buffoons on camera in front of the nation and the world.  The recent audio coverage of the healthcare hearing with clips of it in the media was also a strange way for the layman to view their work.  They look and sound better behind closed doors.

"there is very little partisan divide as Republicans, Democrats and independents all responded with relatively unfavorable ratings"

Add the dissatisfaction of the left on Citizens United plus Bush v. Gore to how conservatives view the abortion and takings rulings and you have some discontent.  I suppose independents just see 4 hardened extremists on each side and one unpredictable justice deciding all close issues.   

Meanwhile a divided congress gets about a 14% approval.  You would think it would be zero, what is happening there for any side to approve? 

It is early June with a landmark decision on healthcare coming late this month.  I hope veryone who is interested will take the time to write their own healthcare decision.  What is the strongest argument of the other side to your decision and what is the crucial argument that trumps that.  Bigdog and others, I would love to hear from you, your students or from your readings prior to those 9 people getting the last word. 
4935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family - The single-mom catastrophe on: June 02, 2012, 03:54:55 PM
"The single-mom catastrophe
The demise of two-parent families in the U.S. has been an economic catastrophe for society."

Thanks JDN for a great post.  As a single parent with custody since almost birth I can tell you that while you play the hand that life deals you, you don't in fairness to the kid choose or plan a home environment that does not include a mom and a dad, married, in love, all under one roof.

Not only welfare programs, but also so-called feminism and liberalism in movies, television, schools etc that act to break down our society from its foundation.  Too bad. 
4936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races, Elizabeth Warren on: June 02, 2012, 12:59:46 PM
It should have been the smallest of meaningless mistakes but it builds and grows and spreads as she stubbornly sticks to it.  2 days ago the Boston Globe finally jumped in and said she needed address it.  Yesterday she was doubling down on her falsehood.  Today we see more from Brietbart, Crafty's post.  Her lips move and no truth comes out.  Also today she will be endorsed by her state party to run for the U.S. Senate, to seek truth and a more perfect union, ratify treaties and confirm Supreme Court Justices.  

It's only be a Massachusetts race and seat but these elections are national.  The story is about things broken in politics, like government, logic and honesty. 

Mass. Dems were thrilled to field a nationally prominent liberal with close ties to Obama to run for the 'Kennedy' senate seat.  It was the only obvious pickup in the senate for the Dems before Olympia Snowe announced she was leaving in Maine

Obama and Warren are both personally enthralled with their own personal stories.  Why would we care who their ancestors are, but Obama's must tell us his freed the Auschwitz camp - apparently fighting for the Soviets.  He put out the most autobiographies of any President in history, and that was before he was President and without even writing them.  She is at least 31/32nds Caucasian- white irish? anglo-saxon? protestant.  BORING.  The girl needed some color and a story to match it.  She needed to share old family recipes even if they just come from research aid plagiarists.

Assuming people have a short attention span and we need reform on every aspect of public policy, why would either of these people, Obama or Warren, spend a precious second talking about themselves instead of their ideas?

Did Harvard or anyone else rely on her false story to hire her, promote her, tenure her and raise her to national prominence?  We will get that information the same day we see President Obama's complete educational records.
4937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness, Rock the vote? on: June 02, 2012, 01:41:40 AM
It was nice to see the President in the neighborhood today.  You can see Wisconsin from here. Scott Walker is rolling to victory on Tuesday.  For some reason the President does not want to weigh in on a fundamental red vs. blue governing question in a strongly blue state. 

Obama won Wisc in 2008 by 14 points and had over 70% of the vote in both Milwaukee and Dane County (Madison).  Now its just flyover country for him.  If Obama loses Wisconsin in Nov it will mean Romney has won 40-44 states.
4938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, DB Poster GM kicks Wesbury 'below the Mendoza line' on: June 02, 2012, 01:22:39 AM
Mr. Obama, YOU are the "serous headwind" the US economy is heading into.

Unemployment up.  New jobs down.  Previous months new jobs revised down.  The number of long term unemployed up.  Worker participation rate down.  Average work week down.

Who could have seen this coming?

Wesbury has 2 days to put together his Monday morning outlook:  'After Fridays market collapse we see even greater buy opportunities?', 'we feel good about the worst recovery ever'
"The U.S. economy has “slipped back under the Mendoza line,” JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Chief U.S. Economist Michael Feroli said Thursday, before the jobs report came out but after another discouraging report—the news that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 percent in the first quarter. The Mendoza line is baseball lingo that has made the jump into business. It’s a reference to Mario Mendoza, a shortstop for Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Texas in the 1970s and 1980s whose batting average (below .200 in five of his nine seasons) has come to stand for the dividing line between mediocrity and badness."
"The economy bottomed out in Q2 of 2009, before a single Obama policy had taken hold.
The economy has been sputtering along that natural bottom ever since.
It now takes $2.52 in new debt to raise GDP by $1.00
 - from GM's post Apr 28 2012
A billion dollars of political ads doesn't make this look any different.

Economic decline was a political choice.

4939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: June 01, 2012, 09:49:21 AM
"With roughly 11% of the state’s budget dedicated to incarceration,"

There is a theory that the welfare culture plays a contributing role turning the lives of men in particular toward crime and incarceration.  See writings by Thomas Sowell, or books by George Gilder including 'Wealth and Poverty' and 'Men and Marriage'.   The government and the welfare system takes the place of what used to be the role of the husband and father as the provider.  Under our system it is primarily the female with child/children who get most assistance.  For every woman or girl with a baby who take public support, not as a temporary assist but as a way of life, the male is then free of that responsibility, free to impregnate elsewhere, and to pursue a life of survival, recreational drugs and crime on the streets.  He can shack up with a single woman on assistance and not be bound by rent, mortgage, healthcare payments, buying groceries and not have to get up and go to work on a regular basis.  The theory holds that the adult human male needs the responsibility of family or is otherwise prone to fill that void with less responsible pursuits. The people operating outside of our productive economy are available for other diversions like drug or gang activity which tend to be outside of the law and many eventually experience incarceration.

Of course we also incarcerate fully employed white collar criminals too, embezzlers, insider traders, etc. family men, but I don't think that is where the numbers are.  It would be interesting to know what portion of the 11%, a huge budget item in Calif, is indirectly an offshoot of our big hearted, good intentioned welfare system.

It is quite old fashioned, but there used to be a culture that the man did not get to have sex with the pretty girl unless he committed to take care of her and any young ones until death do they part.  Men would not only agree to that but be better off for it.  Not so much anymore.
4940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 01:54:10 PM
"It IS a subsidy.  You get the same public benefits/services as someone who buys their house this year, yet because you bought you home years ago, you pay much much less."

No.  You are playing with words here.  Your property tax is not a usage fee.   Property tax is theoretically based on your ability to pay.  Your school tax does not depend on whether or not you have school age children.  Your fire cost does not change with brick vs. wood construction, we don't charge welfare recipients for using welfare services, etc.  Arguably original purchase price is a better benchmark for ability to pay than current market value when market values run wild, and 'current market values' have proven to be grossly overinflated and false. 

The person paying on a 20 year old value is still probably paying in more than his cost for government services, just not more than his share of total costs.

All rates need to be lower so that equalizing the rates will not put families out of their homes.

It frankly would be fairer to base your tax assessment on the way you vote than where you live.
4941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 31, 2012, 01:39:00 PM
"Did Romney actually have a poor jobs record?"

In a high growth economy I believe the Perry people were saying Mass. was 47th best.  That is still more jobs growth (any positive number) than Obama got in all 50 states (slightly net-negative).

"And if MA's record during his term was poor, how much of that is due to MA being a arch-progressive state?"

That Romney's state was screwed up by Dems makes a lousy defense for Romney, but an even worse line of attack for Obama.  I suppose Romneycare impending was a job growth killer.  Which one of them wants to make that point?

With huge Dem majorities in both houses, there was not going to be a lot of supply side reform no matter what Mitt's view or effort was.  On that point I would add with certainty that Romney cannot solve our national problems either if sent to Washington with huge Dem majorities in congress to manage the status quo. 

Massachusetts may have other unique factors in that time.  I know they are a high-tech state, maybe they were slower to come out of the tech crash Clinton Gore recession.

In any case, it is Obama's people not Romney saying to take a closer look at Massachusetts.  If people do, they will find that he was not 'severely conservative', he was a pragmatic Massachusetts moderate, constrained by blue state realities, which will not fit the beholden to the far right picture they are otherwise trying to paint.

The attacks on Romney keep circling back to just judging Obama on his record.  Are you better off now than you were 6 trillion dollars of new debt ago?
4942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 12:00:26 PM
"Texans on average pay more than double CA's property tax rate.  A lot of states pay double our tax rate."

The argument pro and con over Prop 13 is important, but comparing property tax rates to a zero income tax state is quite a bit misguided IMO.  Also missing in the "double" argument is that property tax is roughly the same percentage of income in Texas (3.65%) as in California (3.59%) - and they have no income tax.

Tax issues are interesting but IMHO there is no tax rate solution for that level of excess spending.

"I bet if we raised our property taxes to the nations average, more important taxed every building the same percentage, we could lower our state income tax rate quite a bit."

No.  If you could tax more, spending would go up even further.  Look at the record.  State and local spending up 250% in the last 18 years?
4943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 31, 2012, 11:33:51 AM
"Also very much worth noting is that TARP, Stimulus 1, 2, etc were all supposed to be one time propositions, not permanent increases to federal spending-- which was 20% under Bush and is now 24% under Baraq."

Yes.  As much as any other force, the Pelosi-Reid-Obama caused the downturn.  They passed all the temporary emergency spending.  They score it all in the 'before inauguration' category, even the parts that weren't.  They went on to make temporary emergency spending levels permanent. (Who could have seen THAT coming??) Then claim they exercised spending restraint, blaming their predecessor.  But their predecessor WAS the Pelosi-Reid-Obama congress.  They were IN power before they took power. (Bush deserves blame too, but that has already been thoroughly accomplished!)

On top of all that, they describe the spending at 24% of GDP problem as temporary, a glitch in accounting just because GDP happens to be unusually low.  But lowered GDP was the policy choice, not some earthquake or meteor that hit us from somewhere unforeseen.  Fannie Mae, CRAp, the Fed, the debt, the bubble, the excessiver regulations, the impending tax increases, their fingerprints are all over all of it.

They expressly wanted to give up economic growth for fairness and they got us neither.
4944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 31, 2012, 11:14:08 AM
Team Obama keeps losing traction on its campaign initiatives starting with the Romney dog story trumped by the man eats dog story and comments on the flavor.  The bully story is matched with quite a book revealing a lot of Obama's youth, the interceptor, the total absorption method.

The Bain private equity story was trumped by the failures of the Obama public equities failures.

The latest attack is the mediocre record of Mitt Romney as a one-term Governor of Massachusetts. 

Funny thing is that compares quite favorably with Obama's partial term record as US Senator from Illinois.

Romney was elected to a 4 year term and left the state largely as head of the national governor's association, was focused on springboarding to the Presidency.  Obama left a 6 year term to announce and campaign for the Presidency.

Romney had a lousy job creation record.  Obama's record for 50 states is even worse.

Romney passed state healthcare with a mandate, now opposes national healthcare with a mandate.  Obama's passed national healthcare, perhaps violating the constitution - we will see.  Romneycare was passed within the constraints of the Mass. constitution.

Romney is a flip flopper, changed his view on abortion.  Obama changed his view on gay marriage - back to what it was before he changed it last time.

When the games chapter of the campaign is over, maybe we could compare the two different governing philosophies and choose one.
4945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / (Famous people reading this forum) The Obama Spending Record on: May 31, 2012, 10:56:51 AM
Also could be entitled famous people reading the forum.   wink

The Obama Spending Record

Every journalist not in the re-election tank has been shredding President Obama's recent claim that spending growth has been modest on his watch. But kudos in particular to the Associated Press for hitting several White House accounting gimmicks in a dispatch last week.

Team Obama has lately been arguing that the astronomical spending blowout of fiscal 2009 was President Bush's fault and that outlays have since climbed only moderately. This means ignoring that Mr. Obama's $831 billion stimulus was enacted during that notorious fiscal year that straddles both presidencies. And AP cataloged various other distortions embedded in the Obama claim. For example, early in his term Mr. Obama signed an omnibus appropriations bill that also increased spending in fiscal 2009. This was less than a month after the stimulus.

Beyond the AP report, it's also worth noting that Mr. Obama endorsed other 2009 spending that he now blames for today's deficits. As a senator, Mr. Obama was habitually absent during significant votes. But one that he did show up for in 2008 was the Senate's vote on the 2009 budget resolution, and he voted "yes." Mr. Obama showed up again in the fall to vote for TARP. One can reasonably label this as Bush spending, but it occurred with an explicit Obama approval.

Where Senator Obama did oppose the spending patterns of the Bush years, it was often, as with Medicaid, because Mr. Obama wanted to spend more. Speaking of health care, and given all of this attention on the Obama spending history, it should not be forgotten that the big taxpayer bills generated by ObamaCare are still to come.

Is federal spending really the issue that Barack Obama wants at the center of this campaign?
4946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 10:48:27 AM
I leave the underlying problems of the inner city for another thread and my views are out there.  The analogy point was that in-migration / out-migration at the margin matter immensely at balancing a public budget.  You need all these factors moving in the right direction - and then some.  And they aren't.   I agree that Gov. Brown cannot solve problems without the electorate and the assembly on the right track.  I have not followed Brown closely, but my guess is that if all he has proposed were enacted it would not improve or solve things.

I don't know how to say it more persuasively, but another 2% tax (20% tax increase on job creators) won't bring in another 2%.  Experience says it will bring in about the same amount or less and if investment leaves, jobs leave. The rich adjust their behavior; they are already paying all of what they are willing to pay.

Both Brown and Schwarznegger were mavericks at one point in their own parties with the potential to do some straight talk and push for sweeping change.  None of that to my knowledge is happening.

You're entitled to your own state governance.  My problem is that I don't see how America gets healthy with California in hospice.
4947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 31, 2012, 10:07:29 AM
Okay, point taken.
4948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 09:57:38 AM
JDN, Of course Calif is beautiful, so is Greece.  Solving the economic problems is a matter of moving things in the right direction in terms of business climate and productive investment.  California needs robust growth going forward to survive, not a gradual erosion of its economic greatness, Silicon Valley, etc. Those other states are doing something right.  Calif, not Wisconsin or Iowa, leads this nation economically, at the moment it is in the wrong direction.  Calif can't survive having so many factors moving against them, lower workforce participation rates, out migration of workers, business investment out or down, (still) increasing regulations on business, failure to develop natural resources, inflationary capital gains taxed at very high ordinary income rates, the worst corporate tax rate in the developed world, etc. etc.

Remember the economic greatness of Japan and how it stalled.  At the start of the stall, it was said (WSJ I believe) that what Japan's economy needed was bold action on a number of policy fronts, and that what Japan's political system was incapable of is bold action.   

California's economic problems today are far worse.  Long term unemployment is undermeasured at 10-11%,  underemployment at 20%, workforce non-participation rate dropping toward 50%, and productive resources in a net-outflow direction?  What they need (MHO) and are incapable of is a sharp turn toward red-state style governing, Scott Walker style public sector reforms, sharp public spending cuts, sweeping deregulation (the excessive ones, not pollution, corruption etc.) and tax rates competitive with its neighbors and competitors.  JDN, you may support some of this but really these ideas are not even on the table.
Here is a different example of a net in-migration solving budget problems, my daughter's outer ring suburban school district.  They have conservative governing principles, a strong academic focus, a 99% graduation rate and a 93% on-to-college rate, and put out color glossy annual reports and advertising to tout it.  That shouldn't matter in the public sector but MN has a public school open enrollment policy so kids (parents) can choose their school district without moving if the district has the space to accept them.  Roughly 10k/year of state funding follows the kid to the district.  The net inflow to the good districts allows them to fully utilize existing resources and hold the line against new tax levies.  With a class size close to 30, $10,000 per kid per year is a revenue stream of close to 300k per classroom, enough to hire a teacher, a smartboard and pay for quite a bit of overhead (hockey arena, domed stadium, orchestras, foreign language immersions, college programs etc.  In Mpls OTOH, they probably have far better diversity training, Head Start participation and other programs, friendship camps etc. but the graduation rate is 50%, the outflow of students and money in massive, the cost is double at 20k/yr/student and the budget situation is a mess. When they closed North high, hardly anyone noticed because the enrollment was a fraction of what it once was.  It isn't just the out-migration that is killing them (or Calif), it is that the underlying causes of that movement keep going unaddressed and unsolved.
4949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 30, 2012, 10:05:38 PM
"some did hold thumbs up watching Jews pass by on trains to death camps" - comment below

"For centuries Poland was indeed tolerant of Jews."  - agree.

It was just movie but one thing I took from Schindler's List was that even people in the line were not fully aware of what was happening.  The crime was so horrendous the victims couldn't comprehend it.  Who knows what an outward sign of approval meant.
4950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 30, 2012, 05:12:38 PM
"I can't imagine moving to Iowa from CA"

The post was empirical, not imaginary.  It didn't say you would move; it said others already have.  A serious rebuttal would be to quote a study to the contrary or point out what is wrong with their methodology.  Nothing but silence on those scores.

JDN's reaction to be called out on condescension for the heartland is to pile on more of it.  What a shame.  Iowa jokes are big here.  Keyword is joke, not just snobbery - like you and the bitter clingers guy.  What part of half the unemployment rate and friendlier to business (and cleaner air, cleaner water, better education and lower crime rate) don't you get? That only applies to people out of work?  Okay, but by that definition it still applies to millions of people.  Of course they are too poor or too stupid to matter?  What wealth do unemployed people have is just more snobbery.  One thing each unemployed, willing-to-work person has is perhaps 1-5 million dollars or more of future earnings.

It is no joke here in the Twin Cities that the income tax rate across the border in South Dakota is zero.  Look at what they don't have culturally that we do... still jobs leave.  Not all jobs leave but some do.  3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) fought for years with the state government over taxes, then expanded in a lower tax state:

We've had this discussion before.  That you won't admit what happens at the margin is CRUCIAL in economics, doesn't mean it isn't so.  There is a force pulling economic activity out of California.  That doesn't mean all economic activity leaves.  But a net out-migration of productive human resources is a force large enough to prevent you from solving your state budget mess without having to do even more painful root canal work.  Keep in mind you do not have to leave Calif to make some of your US income taxable in other states.

Another choice for Californians besides leaving or ignoring what is wrong or mocking those who govern responsibly would be to fix what is broken.  Good luck solving your problems without admitting them, or caring.

Unemployment rates by state, April 2012, BLS, link above
Rank   State   Rate
1    NORTH DAKOTA    3.0
2    NEBRASKA    3.9
3    SOUTH DAKOTA    4.3
4    VERMONT    4.6
5    NEW HAMPSHIRE    5.0
5    OKLAHOMA    5.0
7    IOWA    5.1
8    WYOMING    5.3
9    MINNESOTA    5.6
9    VIRGINIA    5.6
11    UTAH    6.0
12    KANSAS    6.1
12    MONTANA    6.1
14    HAWAII    6.3
14    MASSACHUSETTS    6.3
16    MARYLAND    6.7
16    WEST VIRGINIA    6.7
16    WISCONSIN    6.7
19    DELAWARE    6.8
20    ALASKA    6.9
20    NEW MEXICO    6.9
20    TEXAS    6.9
23    LOUISIANA    7.1
24    ALABAMA    7.2
24    ARKANSAS    7.2
24    MAINE    7.2
27    MISSOURI    7.3
28    OHIO    7.4
28    PENNSYLVANIA    7.4
30    CONNECTICUT    7.7
30    IDAHO    7.7
32    TENNESSEE    7.8
33    COLORADO    7.9
33    INDIANA    7.9
35    WASHINGTON    8.1
36    ARIZONA    8.2
37    KENTUCKY    8.3
37    MICHIGAN    8.3
39    NEW YORK    8.5
39    OREGON    8.5
41    FLORIDA    8.7
41    ILLINOIS    8.7
41    MISSISSIPPI    8.7
44    SOUTH CAROLINA    8.8
45    GEORGIA    8.9
46    NEW JERSEY    9.1
47    NORTH CAROLINA    9.4
49    CALIFORNIA    10.9
50    RHODE ISLAND    11.2
51    NEVADA    11.7
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