With 3 months to go the election is coming down to a choice between President Obama's view that someone else broke it and he can't fix it and his opponents' view that the movement toward the policies of Obama that preceded his presidency brought the economy down and he can't fix it. At least we all agree that he can't fix it.
"Throughout election night, the national exit poll showed the Massachusetts senator leading President Bush by 51 percent to 48 percent. But when all the votes were counted, it was Bush who won by slightly less than three percentage points. Larger discrepancies between the exit poll estimates and the actual vote were found in exit polls conducted in several states. At the request of the media sponsors, Mitofsky and Lenski are continuing to examine exit polling in Ohio and Pennsylvania, two critical battleground states where the poll results were off." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22188-2005Jan19.html
"Following up on Doug's work:" - I appreciate knowing they (the WSJ) read and follow up on our posts here, and occasionally give credit.
“Indeed, if the participation rate were at 66%, which is around where it hovered for many years ahead of the recession, the headline unemployment rate would be a little more than 3pp higher than currently reported,”
Missing in the projections is that if we put an aggressive pro-growth mandate put in place, a turnaround that includes abundant opportunity and potential for real prosperity and economic freedom that counts entrepreneurs in the mix, a workforce participation rate higher than the past is possible.
There is some math to do, but if you put in place an array of positive incentives (Romney's 59 point plan comes to mind), a return of productive investment and enterprise could grow the workforce a couple of points above historic averages instead of a couple of points below historic averages. By the time we return the unemployment rate to near a pre-Dem-rule rates of 4.6% and elevate business start rates to new record highs, amazing amounts of income and wealth are possible if we quit fighting against it. This budget would be in balance in my estimation at that point and the world recession would be over.
"Has she done anything secretive or wrong?"... "And so far the answer is a resounding "NO".
- Uh, we don't know that. The question that was raised is how well was she vetted. I assume Sec State Clinton has extremely high security clearance. Huma I assume is in the room when the most secret of secrets is being revealed and discussed. She very innocently could be talking with these relatives in question about bithdays and graduations in the family from her cell phone in a car immediately after a high clearance meeting. She may very well be doing nothing wrong. But SOMEONE IS LEAKING. The point of the Bachmann et al letter is to pose the question, not the answer, about how well she was vetted and where is the firewall between her exposure to national secrets and her exposure one or two steps removed to national enemies. That is a rational and appropriate national security question.
Some of those who find this line of inquiry out of bounds publicly and repeatedly accused the Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney of having more loyalty to his former employer Haliburton than to his country that he was sworn to serve.
The question of how well she was vetted was asked in private. It was the opponents of the inquiry who made it public, as I understand it. Get back behind closed doors with congressional oversight and find out how well she was vetted. Go after the sources of the other leaks and stop the illegal and deceitful blockage of information to congressional oversight on other issues and maybe the clouds of suspicion would not be so thick. ------------ "Yeah, I bet Maj. Hussan in Texas was vetted too , , ,"
Yes. We are making mistakes in security and intelligence all the time, long before Obama. We should be re-visiting and re-checking these kinds of decisions all the time.
Who knew that a military base was a gun free zone. Everyone, especially Wikileaks and the NY Times, knows the State Dept. leaks like a sieve. Check it and check it again.
My guess (already posted) is that it is extreme liberalism, not ties to Islamic radicalism, that has caused us to side with our enemies instead of our allies on major foreign policy decisions of the last 3 1/2 years. We can only fix that at the ballot box.
Posted on July 31, 2012 by Steven Hayward in Conservatism, Economy Milton Friedman at 100
Today is Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday. It is one of the great privileges of my life to have known him some, and to have spent some time with him in San Francisco back in the 1990s. Driving with him up and down the hills of San Francisco was not for the faint of heart. All of his rational calculations of risk seemed to go out the window when he was behind the wheel of his Lexus. And one of my cherished possessions is the very kind note Milton sent to tell me how much he enjoyed the first volume of my Age of Reagan books, where he makes several appearances.
Thomas Sowell, a student of Milton’s at Chicago, recalls him here. My pal Steve Moore also recalls his importance in the Wall Street Journal today, calling him “The Man Who Saved Capitalism.”
In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from producers and workers in the private economy. There is no magical “multiplier effect” by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul. As obvious as that insight seems, it keeps being put to the test. Obamanomics may be the most expensive failed experiment in free-lunch economics in American history.
Equally illogical is the superstition that government can create prosperity by having Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke print more dollars. In the very short term, Friedman proved, excess money fools people with an illusion of prosperity. But the market quickly catches on, and there is no boost in output, just higher prices.
I might (but might not) quarrel slightly with Steve’ second paragraph here, as it seems velocity—one of the key terms of Friedman’s basic equation of monetarism (MV=PQ) fell sharply during the recession and may still be off, though it is hard for the layman to tell. We visited this subject once before, and it brings vividly to mind a dinner I once enjoyed with Milton and the president of a regional Fed bank in the early 1990s in San Francisco, and I was immediately in way over my head as they argued the virtues and defects of the M1, M2, and M3 measures of the money supply. Even among monetarist economists, there are serious and honest differences in evaluating the economy and prescribing the right monetary course. (Though one thing Milton was absolutely against was the gold standard. I learned that in my very first conversation with him way back in the 1980s.)
Easier to grasp is Milton’s piercing of the pretentions of things like Obama’s stimulus. My all time favorite Milton story involves the time he was motoring in Europe, and noticed a large group of men digging in a field with shovels. Milton asked someone why they didn’t use a steam shovel or earth mover, and was told that digging with shovels was an employment measure, and if they used an earth mover it would put people out of work. To which Milton naturally followed up: “Then why don’t you give them spoons?”
There are lots of good videos of Milton on YouTube, many of them drawn from his fabulous “Free to Choose” television series. But my favorite for today is this very short smackdown of Phil Donahue on the subject of “greed.” Enjoy! (UPDATE: A faithful correspondent reminds me about the Milton Friedman Choir, singing about the corporation, so I’ve added this one, too.)
By GLENN HUBBARD (Romney adviser, Dean of Columbia Business School)
We are currently in the most anemic economic recovery in the memory of most Americans. Declining consumer sentiment and business concerns over policy uncertainty weigh on the minds of all of us. We must fix our economy's growth and jobs machine.
We can do this. The U.S. economy has the talent, ideas, energy and capital for the robust economic growth that has characterized much of America's experience in our lifetimes. Our standard of living and the nation's standing as a world power depend on restoring that growth.
But to do so we must have vastly different policies aimed at stopping runaway federal spending and debt, reforming our tax code and entitlement programs, and scaling back costly regulations. Those policies cannot be found in the president's proposals. They are, however, the core of Gov. Mitt Romney's plan for economic recovery and renewal.
In response to the recession, the Obama administration chose to emphasize costly, short-term fixes—ineffective stimulus programs, myriad housing programs that went nowhere, and a rush to invest in "green" companies.
As a consequence, uncertainty over policy—particularly over tax and regulatory policy—slowed the recovery and limited job creation. One recent study by Scott Baker and Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven Davis of the University of Chicago found that this uncertainty reduced GDP by 1.4% in 2011 alone, and that returning to pre-crisis levels of uncertainty would add about 2.3 million jobs in just 18 months.
The Obama administration's attempted short-term fixes, even with unprecedented monetary easing by the Federal Reserve, produced average GDP growth of just 2.2% over the past three years, and the consensus outlook appears no better for the year ahead.
Moreover, the Obama administration's large and sustained increases in debt raise the specter of another financial crisis and large future tax increases, further chilling business investment and job creation. A recent study by Ernst & Young finds that the administration's proposal to increase marginal tax rates on the wage, dividend and capital-gain income of upper-income Americans would reduce GDP by 1.3% (or $200 billion per year), kill 710,000 jobs, depress investment by 2.4%, and reduce wages and living standards by 1.8%. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, the large deficits codified in the president's budget would reduce GDP during 2018-2022 by between 0.5% and 2.2% compared to what would occur under current law.
President Obama has ignored or dismissed proposals that would address our anti-competitive tax code and unsustainable trajectory of federal debt—including his own bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—and submitted no plan for entitlement reform. In February, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner famously told congressional Republicans that this administration was putting forth no plan, but "we know we don't like yours."
Other needed reforms would emphasize opening global markets for U.S. goods and services—but the president has made no contribution to the global trade agenda, while being dragged to the support of individual trade agreements only recently.
The president's choices cannot be ascribed to a political tug of war with Republicans in Congress. He and Democratic congressional majorities had two years to tackle any priority they chose. They chose not growth and jobs but regulatory expansion. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act raised taxes, unleashed significant new spending, and raised hiring costs for workers. The Dodd-Frank Act missed the mark on housing and "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions but raised financing costs for households and small and mid-size businesses.
These economic errors and policy choices have consequences—record high long-term unemployment and growing ranks of discouraged workers. Sadly, at the present rate of job creation and projected labor-force growth, the nation will never return to full employment.
It doesn't have to be this way. The Romney economic plan would fundamentally change the direction of policy to increase GDP and job creation now and going forward. The governor's plan puts growth and recovery first, and it stands on four main pillars:
• Stop runaway federal spending and debt. The governor's plan would reduce federal spending as a share of GDP to 20%—its pre-crisis average—by 2016. This would dramatically reduce policy uncertainty over the need for future tax increases, thus increasing business and consumer confidence.
• Reform the nation's tax code to increase growth and job creation. The Romney plan would reduce individual marginal income tax rates across the board by 20%, while keeping current low tax rates on dividends and capital gains. The governor would also reduce the corporate income tax rate—the highest in the world—to 25%. In addition, he would broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral.
• Reform entitlement programs to ensure their viability. The Romney plan would gradually reduce growth in Social Security and Medicare benefits for more affluent seniors and give more choice in Medicare programs and benefits to improve value in health-care spending. It would also block grant the Medicaid program to states to enable experimentation that might better serve recipients.
• Make growth and cost-benefit analysis important features of regulation. The governor's plan would remove regulatory impediments to energy production and innovation that raise costs to consumers and limit new job creation. He would also work with Congress toward repealing and replacing the costly and burdensome Dodd–Frank legislation and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Romney alternatives will emphasize better financial regulation and market-oriented, patient-centered health-care reform.
In contrast to the sclerosis and joblessness of the past three years, the Romney plan offers an economic U-turn in ideas and choices. When bolstered by sound trade, education, energy and monetary policy, the Romney reform program is expected by the governor's economic advisers to increase GDP growth by between 0.5% and 1% per year over the next decade. It should also speed up the current recovery, enabling the private sector to create 200,000 to 300,000 jobs per month, or about 12 million new jobs in a Romney first term, and millions more after that due to the plan's long-run growth effects.
But these gains aren't just about numbers, as important as those numbers are. The Romney approach will restore confidence in America's economic future and make America once again a place to invest and grow.
You might recall, a claim similar to this was the centerpiece of Washington Post Dana Milbank's tirade that Mitt Romney was a liar http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/article_6c1810a0-71f7-5614-9cbb-8d0a63bd0a3f.html, repeated ad nauseum by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and the like. The number one 'lie' in his "The Facts vs. Mitt Romney" column was this: "He blamed President Barack Obama for the "weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression."..."That Romney resorts to such gratuitous falsehoods discredits his leadership more than his opponent's."
Turns out it was true?? ------------------------ Forbes Magazine: "Obama Wins The Gold For Worst Economic Recovery Ever"
If mismanaging an economic recovery were an Olympic event, President Obama would be standing on the middle platform right now, accepting the gold medal.
Deep recessions are supposed to be followed by strong recoveries, but, under Obama, the worst recession since the 1930s has been followed by the slowest economic recovery in the history of the republic. In a very real sense, there has been no recovery at all—things are still getting worse.
To win the gold for economic mismanagement, Obama had to beat out some very tough competitors, including the previous Olympic record holder, George W. Bush. Let’s look at how Obama pulled it off.
For those not familiar with the sport, the Olympic “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” event is a pentathlon—it’s composed of five individual trials.
The trials making up this pentathlon are as follows: 1) total employment growth; 2) unemployment rate reduction; 3) per capita GDP growth; 4) change in the Real Dow; and 5) change in real produced assets.
Because the goal is economic mismanagement, in the total employment growth event, the lowest number wins.
Obama was victorious in this trial by producing an increase in jobs during the first 36 months of his economic recovery of only 1.72%. This handily beat out Bush 43, who turned in a jobs gain of 2.93% during his recovery, and the team of Bush 41 and Bill Clinton, who delivered 3.64% more jobs during theirs. And, Obama absolutely creamed Ronald Reagan, who produced an increase in total jobs of 8.97% during the first three years of the economic recovery that he oversaw.
Obama struggled in the “reducing the unemployment rate” event. It was easy for Obama to do worse than Reagan, who had reduced the “headline” (U-3) unemployment rate by a massive 3.8 percentage points during the first three years of his recovery. However, in terms of turning in a bad unemployment performance, both the Bush 41 – Clinton team and Bush 43 had started with an unfair advantage.
Obama’s recovery came out of the blocks with an unemployment rate of 9.5%, which was far higher than where either the Bush 41 – Clinton team started (6.8%) or where Bush 43 began (5.5%). Accordingly, it was much harder for Obama to do worse than those two, because he would have to produce a smaller reduction in the unemployment rate than they did.
When the scores were first totaled, Obama (at 1.3 percentage points of reduction in the unemployment rate) was far behind both the Bush 41 – Clinton team (at 0.3 percentage points), and Bush 43 (at 0.1 percentage points).
However, Obama appealed to the judges, pointing out that, when measured by the more comprehensive “SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate” published by Shadow Government Statistics, he had actually managed to increase unemployment by 2.0 percentage points during his economic recovery. Meanwhile, the other three competitors had reduced their jobless rates, no matter how you measured them. The judges agreed, and they awarded first place in this event to Obama.
The officials then studied the replay tapes, and gave Obama extra credit for managing to push the U.S. 2.5 million jobs farther away from full employment during his economic recovery. The other three contestants could not match that.
Next up was the “real per capita GDP growth” event. Obama won this one decisively.
The total increase in real GDP per capita during the first three years of Obama’s recovery was only 4.34%. This was worse than Bush 43 (5.98%) and the Bush 41 – Clinton team (5.61%). Once again, Ronald Reagan brought up the rear in this important area of economic mismanagement. He produced a stunning 15.36% gain in real per capita GDP during the first three years of his economic recovery.
The last two trials in the Olympic “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” pentathlon relate to building a prosperous future for the U.S. economy.
The Real Dow is the Dow Jones Industrial Average divided by the price of gold. It is a proxy for the driving force to invest in economic growth, rather than to park capital in “safe” investments like gold and government bonds.
In the Real Dow event, Obama had to settle for second place. Bush 43 beat him soundly by managing to depress the Real Dow by a massive 35.6% during the first three years of the economic recovery that he oversaw. However, in terms of economic destruction, Obama turned in a creditable performance, pushing the Real Dow down by 11.6% during his first three years of economic recovery.
In this event, the Bush 41 – Clinton team did not seem to be clear on the concept. The Real Dow rose by 13.5% during their watch. And, once again, Ronald Reagan came in dead last, producing a massive 89.9% increase in the Real Dow during the first three years of his powerful economic recovery.
Obama finished strong by blowing away the competition in the “change in real produced assets” trial. Produced assets comprise the physical infrastructure of our economy, and economic progress depends upon building up our stock of produced assets.
During the first full year of Obama’s economic recovery (2010), real produced assets actually fell by 1.41%. This is the biggest drop during the 60 years for which data is available. It is also the only decline ever observed during an economic recovery.
Ronald Reagan finished second in this trial with a 0.16% increase in fixed assets during 1983. The Bush 41 – Clinton team and Bush 43 tied in this event. They both produced a 3.42% gain in real produced assets, in 1992 and 2002, respectively.
We should all be proud that Barack Obama has won the Olympic gold medal in the “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” event, and reward him accordingly in November.
Interesting Strat as usual. Missing it seems in the summary of the Obama record was the decision to cancel missile defense installations in Eastern Europe where it appeared that appeasement of the Russians trumped the commitments made to Czech, Poland, Belarus and our own security. Isn't that active regional unbalancing?
We were left to wonder what we received back for this major turnaround in strategy. The answer it appears was nothing. Just that he will have more flexibility to make even deeper disarmament concessions after the election.
Good question Obj (corrupt media comments on Pres 2012 thread) and I'm sure there is no great answer. I resent having to go to right wing sites to get basic news and analysis that should be more widely available. The market is making it's own correction but it's happening too slow and not in the way we might have expected. As you mention, the huge successes of Rush L and Fox News are examples of movement, yet the so-called mainstream seem unchanged in spite of market share they surrender.. Obviously the circulation of stories and facts, opinions and analyses through sites like this is our way of getting the information out.
A Russian immigrant observed that it is worse, in a way, here than in the old Soviet Union with the real Pravda. They have one state run media while we have a whole near-monopoly conspiracy of them, repeating and amplifying a message the rest of us find biased and deceitful.
One of the most insightful feature of the Rush L show now copied by others is the media montage. They aren't just telling the same story, they are using the same words. One of the first I picked up "gravitas" with the Cheney choice for VP. The point of course to them is that is what George Bush lacked at the top of the ticket. That word went from never used to in almost every sentence on every media outlet covering the choice. Since then there have been dozens and dozens more examples. Even Fox News on the radio is a parrot of the other networks IMO. The choice of words covering an issue can be crucial.
Places like Powerline and others take on institutions like the NY Times regularly. They got them today on the flaws in their poll and they've exposed them big time on a host of badly covered topics. Still their readership is small compared to the bankrupting newspaper. They also played a big part in taking down Dan Rather on his 'fake but true' story, but they did not take down the liberal bias of SeeBS. Microsoft pulled back from MSNBC.com but that didn't change the bias on cable. My thought was that these exposures of bias caused errors would lead to a shake up and a correction. Instead they take pride in their niche while their importance is diminishing.
I used to write opposition pieces for the local paper; my counterpoint ran across from the Mpls StarTribune (star and sickle) endorsement of Bill Clinton in 92. In their editing, they cut a key paragraph that tied in with other points I was making. After that I wrote 'no editing without my permission' on subsequent submissions and was never published there again.
Other conservatives advise not to write for them at all. Don't help them improve their product. Let it die and the best way to make them go away is to ignore them completely and get news from better sources.
I like to search for stories of interest from the accumulator sites, Real Clear Politics is one of the best, also Drudge, The Blaze, Free Republic and DBMA. ) Google News allows you to choose which outlet to read a current story. Powerlineblog keeps a running referral to about 6 picks of noteworthy stories current on the web. WSJ's James Taranto writes a Best of the Web piece every business afternoon, no subscription required, with excellent insights and humor. Add in the Huffington Post, might as well turn to left instead of pretend mainstream to know what they are thinking and reading. It is important to see and read the opponents in their own words, so don't leave those out no matter your view.
Seriously this forum is an excellent antidote because the posters here all share from their own unique reading lists on a wide range of topics and issues.
The Foreign Policy of David Axelrod by Fouad Ajami (Senior Fellow and cochair, Working Group on Islamism and the International Order) In the Obama administration, politics trumps grand strategy.
By latest count, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has logged 843,448 miles on the job: She is officially now the most traveled Secretary of State in U.S. history, 102 countries have seen her come and go. In one dispatch, it was breakfast in Vietnam, lunch in Laos, and dinner in Cambodia for our chief diplomat.
In the interim, campaign strategist David Axelrod has stayed close to home, Chicago and Washington, with one notable stop in Boston, where he sought to besmirch the gubernatorial record of Mitt Romney. But the foreign policy of Barack Obama is the foreign policy of David Axelrod. Gone is that hallowed past when the legendary George Marshall observed a strict separation between foreign policy and the political play at home: He had refused to cast a vote in presidential elections and he had bristled when the “political people” in President Truman’s circle of advisors intruded into the foreign policy domain.
We needn’t exalt the past—presidents always worried about the impact of foreign crises on their standing at home. Still, the subordination of foreign policy to the electoral needs of the Obama campaign stands apart in recent American history. Foreign policy has been masterfully neutralized in the Obamian world, taken off the board in this campaign.
Strategic Abdication in Afghanistan & Iraq
The meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the adoring crowds in Paris and Berlin, and the early dispatches from an Islamic world that looked upon him as a kindred spirit, concealed a political man with scant interest in foreign lands. Mr. Obama left the devotees to their own imagination; they read into him what they wished. He had come into office in the aftermath of an uncompromising American nationalist; he held aloft symbols of cosmopolitanism, and a supra-national elite took to him. But the animating drive of his foreign policy was his own quest for power.
Right from the start, he would play the foreign world safe. He had trumpeted Afghanistan as the “good war of necessity,” but he never gave the war his all. This was not Lyndon Johnson haunted by Vietnam, or George W. Bush pressing on in Iraq when all appeared lost in 2006–2007, defying the popular mood, launching a surge in the teeth of a hostile Congress, and a Republican party that had grown uncertain about Iraq.
Barack Obama came up with his own surge in Afghanistan, but he undercut the effort there by announcing a set date for American withdrawal in 2014—two safe years after his bid for reelection. There would be no “heat,” no soaring poetry about Afghanistan.
Early on, President Obama had talked of a “civilian surge” to go along with the additional military force he had dispatched—agricultural specialists, educators, engineers, and lawyers who would tackle the problems of the country from the bottom up in the provinces. By the second year of his presidency, Mr. Obama would say little if anything about the reform of Afghanistan. The early dream of “nation-building” was abandoned. It was well understood that this commander-in-chief was marking time in Afghanistan.
He had his Republican rivals on the horns of a dilemma: They could neither outflank him from the right by calling for more troops and a deeper commitment, nor urge writing off the entire venture as a doomed enterprise. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Obama had inoculated himself on Afghanistan.
The success of Mr. Obama’s (read: Axelrod’s) approach was made manifestly clear in the speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Governor Romney made on July 24. Hitherto, Mr. Romney had made the obligatory challenge to the Obama deadline. But he, too, now accepted 2014 as a set date for an American withdrawal. The Taliban needn’t worry: The electoral verdict in November 2012 is of no consequence to them. They could wait out the American presence. The Hamid Karzai reign of plunder and extortion would be ready for the plucking by then.
In the same vein, there were strategic gains secured in Iraq, but Mr. Obama headed for the exits. Politics clashed with strategic interests, and politics prevailed. It was well understood that the Iraqi government was eager for a residual American presence that would give it sufficient time to make its way in the region. Further, it was known that the Iraqis and the American military commanders on the scene had in mind an American force of roughly 20,000 military personnel, or close to it.
But Mr. Obama made the Iraqis an offer they were meant to refuse; a token force of less than 5,000, hardly enough to fend for itself, let alone offer the Iraqis any meaningful protection. Mr. Obama got the result he wanted. His surest applause line, in his acceptance speech this summer, will be the boast that he kept the promise to his base of bringing to an end the American campaign in Iraq.
A Fluke in Libya
Admittedly, Libya was the one exception to this foreign policy of strategic abdication. The Libyans were lucky: This was a solar-lunar eclipse. Mr. Obama had done his best to keep the struggle against Moammar Gaddafi at bay, but David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy had taken the plunge into Libya, and American power—decisive in the end—destroyed the Gaddafi dictatorship. Gaddafi had been particularly obtuse: He had stated for the world to hear his intention of bringing death and slaughter to the rebellious city of Benghazi.
Mr. Obama’s reputation was in the scales of history, a mini-Rwanda appeared to be in the offing. Mr. Obama did right by the Libyans. But he tipped his hand. The Obama administration steadfastly refused to celebrate or claim the victory in Libya. That country would be kept at arm’s length, even as a parliamentary election handed a defeat to the Islamists, and went the way of a big secular/tribal coalition headed by a technocrat with an American doctorate. Libya would not be repeated elsewhere, it was a fluke, not a template. No Obama doctrine at work here.
Syria: “We Miss Bush’s Audacity”
The Syrians would come to envy the luck of the Libyans. For seventeen remorseless months, the Syrian people would be subjected to all kinds of cruelties. More than two dozen “torture centers” would mete out to a suffering population unspeakable barbarisms. Over 1,200 children have perished in this pitiless war of a regime against its own population; young children would be brutalized, used as human shields by the convoys of the security forces; benign farming villages would become code names for heartlessness.
“Massacres have become like breakfast to us,” a political activist recently observed. In the face of all this, the Obama policy has been one of total abdication. The Secretary of State has carried out her president’s brief: She has been running out the clock, seeking cover behind the arcane doings of the United Nations Security Council, making it appear as though deliverance hinged on a change in the attitude of Russia at the United Nations. Any “Model UN” high school team would have foreseen the vetoes of Russia—and China—at the Security Council. Truth is that Russian diplomacy has been a convenient alibi for a quiescent American policy.
The sophistry that has gone into arguing that “Syria is not Libya” is unworthy of a great liberal power. Nor can the exquisitely tortured discussions of the “difficult” borders of Syria stand any scrutiny. If anything, those sensitive borders and the spillover of Syria’s troubles and pathologies into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, should have long tipped the scales in favor of an interventionist Syria policy. There is will—and there are resources—in the region to upend the Syrian dictatorship, for Bashar al-Assad has unleashed a full-scale sectarian war that has unnerved and antagonized his neighbors.
But the world is what it is, and the regional powers await an American green light that has never come. Plainly, an American president boastful that he had quit Iraq can not stand before his “progressive” base and proclaim the assumption of a new burden in Syria.
“The tide of war is receding” is one of the favorite mantras of this administration and its leaders. But what is receding before our eyes is the American influence in the world order. Mr. Obama has narrowed the horizons of a country with historically wide vistas. In the Obamian world, that which can’t be done with drones and the daring of our SEALs is left untended. In a note of exquisite irony, Barack Obama had made much of his predecessor’s poor standing in Islamic lands. Trumpet the polls, fall to them: Mr. Obama’s standing in Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Survey, is now lower than George W. Bush’s standing. A placard carried by a group of Syrian protesters tells it all: “We miss Bush’s audacity.”
Now it could be that the American people have been made weary by foreign engagements, and that the economic distress—our debt, our deficits, an anemic recovery, persisting high levels of unemployment—has made us reticent in the face of burdens abroad. That would be an irony all its own—a president who mismanaged the economy being rewarded for the lack of confidence his presidency itself has generated.
From the very beginning, Mr. Obama has been a herald of a “declinist” reading of America. We can’t aid the Syrians, our touch would sully them. We can’t identity ourselves with the democratic aspirations of the Iranians, for we must conciliate their rulers. We can’t defend the cause of liberty and freedom, for in that Obamian worldview, freedom is a fragile, uncertain bet the world over.
So our Secretary of State circles the globe, nine countries in thirteen days in one recent expedition. The bet of this president is that the American people will neither notice, nor care about, the erosion of the American ascendency that enabled this country to do good and to do well in the order of nations. Come November, the country will deliver its verdict on this stunted vision of its place in the world.
(Should be a Media Issue...) At a time when Pres. Obama couldn't buy a good news story, he didn't need to. The useful idiots in the biased polling business have stepped up to the plate to declare Obama with big leads in key states. The poll becomes the news story hopefully in their mind giving the President a lift. No .;can prove them wrong in July. By late October they have to shape up their numbers to protect their rotten reputations. Meanwhile these outliars will linger and figure into the most respected polling averages for some time to come.
What they do in Florida for example is oversample Dems by 13 points. In a best case year or 2008, Obama won Fla by 4. In the most recent statewide contest wide nationwide implications, Republican Marco Rubio won Florida by a million votes and second place was a Republican. So much for polling Dems at +13 to get a result of the Dem leading by 6.
"...Israel...a leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance. Tiny Israel stands behind only the United States in its contributions to the hi-tech economy. Israel has become the world's paramount example of the blessings of freedom." Then he backs it up with data and examples.
To JDN and Mr. Shrum, there IS a cultural difference.
I'll post the two excellent Romney speeches separately.
Must admit Shrum knows his losing Presidential campaigns though. He holds the all time record for running them. Pres. Gephart, Dukakis, Bob Kerrey, Al Gore, John Kerry, critics often point out a "curse" associated with the presidential campaigns that Shrum has worked on, since he has yet to claim victory for any of his candidates in eight presidential elections. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9895-2004Sep9.html
The Post’s View Facing election, Hugo Chávez ruthlessly consolidates his power
By Editorial Board, Published: July 26 Washington Post
Having the caudillo at the top of the ticket makes a big difference: While most polls show Mr. Chávez leading opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, they also indicate that the opposition would trounce any of Mr. Chávez’s potential successors. The president’s personal popularity lingers with some Venezuelans, who do not fault him for the soaring inflation, power and food shortages and world-beating murder rate that have emerged during his 13 years in office.
Mr. Chávez, however, is leaving little to chance. He is pouring tens of billions of dollars, much of it borrowed from China, into the economy, producing a preelection boomlet. More significantly, he is employing all the leverage of a legal system and mass media that he has politicized and subordinated to his personal control. Just how far that process of corruption has advanced is illuminated in a report by Human Rights Watch, which concludes that “the accumulation of power in the executive, the removal of institutional safeguards, and the erosion of human rights guarantees have given the Chávez government free rein to intimidate, censor and prosecute Venezuelans who criticize the president or thwart his political agenda.”
In Oakland, California, the president said "I’m also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well.”
ABC News: "This pitch on occasion has meant that President Obama at times sounds as if he’s claiming some ownership of the Clinton economy – referring to “our plan” "
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/obama-now-partly-running-on-bill-clintons-record-our-plan/ -------------------- Bill Clinton cut capital gains taxes, declared that the era of big government is over, ended welfare as we knew it, worked with Republicans co-opting much of their agenda, passed the Reagan-inspired hemisphere-wide free trade agreement, backed away from healthcare when the people rejected it, grew the economy and balanced the budget. What part of that reminds anyone of the Obama agenda or record?
Mitt Romney is not Bush and Obama is no Bill Clinton.
When you adjust the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reported unemployment to the unemployment rate if we were to hold the workforce participation rate constant, the 9 million that left the workforce during the Obama years already includes the 3.1 million workers that left for disability pay.
Here is the combined chart showing 20% unemployment for U6 assuming a constant workforce participation rate for the Obama years.
-------------------------------------------------------- Definitions for U-1, U-3, U-6 and all other BLS unemployment measures can be found here: http://bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm
The following chart shows around 9 million leaving the workforce during the Obama years:
Maybe more clear at this link: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DHhQMR8EhYY/T6aJDnHXF4I/AAAAAAAARdU/C0Nok_UgsGk/s1600/zero1.jpg
It should be noted that the declining labor force participation rate is not unique to Obama. The rate for males has been declining over a long period and the workforce participation rate for females peaked in 2000. The important point is that we cannot continue straight line decline unless we also lighten the public sector spending load at the same rate, sharing that burden with fewer and fewer workers - which simply is not going to happen. Instead it is logically and empirically the opposite; the higher the number of adults who don't work, the more that will receiver increasing benefits from our ever-expanding plethora of programs.
Obj, your points on Obama and his background and disdain for all that made America great are well-founded. More important though is to capture a significan number of the hearts and minds of the 69,456,897 people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. These people I think are more victims of a sort were experiencing disincentive denial. They believed for the moment you can attack the rich, stomp out wealth, handcuff employers and strangle businesses without hurting the economy overall or hurting working people. It's just not so and the evidence is all around us. Saying that the destruction of the republic and our economy was intentional is probably not the most attractive argument for bringing them back. There is no need to prove it was intentional, even if it was at the top, we only have to show it didn't work.
"forcibly taking over Jerusalem, giving no compensation, and calling land in the occupied territory your "capital" is illegitimate." - JDN from Glibness thread
Hate speech IMO if you won't back it up. Defense of your country is "illegal"? Please cite the law along with a complete list of countries who have broken it.
Singling out Israel while looking the other way for all others reeks of antisemitism. The same group that puts Assad and Khadafy on the Human Rights Commission lashes out constantly at Israel for committing acts of self defense.
The real question IMHO is this: Has our half-hearted, wishy-washy support for our best ally in the region* Israel featuring equal respect for the terrorists who attack them been helpful or counterproductive to Middle East peace?
* In your world, who is our best ally in the region? Which country seeks peace than Israel and more representative of our ideals?
Meanwhile we bow to unelected Arab royalty, Pres. Assad of Syria is a reformer, and Mrs. Arafat is oh so kissable.
Frank Gaffney has some credibility with me. The line at the end looks a bit like a cheap shot, an avowedly gay man rooting for the wrong team, but it is quite odd and dangerous as he points out that gay activism is politically aligned in this country with Islamic extremism. No, we aren't going to pass an Islamic law tomorrow to stone all gays to death, but that is only because we do not accept the basic tenets of Islamic law in civilized society.
Interesting that Muslim congressman Keith Ellison supports gay marriage. That plays well in Minneapolis, but I did not hear him say that on his trip to Mecca.
You don't see that many Catholic pro-abortion activists. Maybe Islam is more tolerant.
Romney’s Remarkable Speech in Jerusalem By Daniel Pipes July 30, 2012
Mitt Romney, the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee, delivered a stem-winder of a speech to the Jerusalem Foundation yesterday, packing emotional support with frank policy statements. The contrast with Obama could hardly be more dramatic. Indeed, one could go through the speech and note the many refutations of Obama. For example, the opening comment that “To step foot into Israel is to step foot into a nation that began with an ancient promise made in this land” directly contrasts with Obama’s crabbed statement in Cairo about “the aspiration for a Jewish homeland [being] rooted in a tragic history.”
Also, in contrast to the nonsensical Obama administration stance on Jerusalem being Israel’s capital — sneaking into change captions that mistakenly identified it as that and going through verbal gymnastics to avoid calling it that — Romney came out and plainly called Jerusalem “the capital of Israel.”
Many of his statements are paeans to the Jewish state and its extraordinary ties to the United States. Some quotations, with my italics on the key words in each quotation:
Our two nations are separated by more than 5,000 miles. But for an American abroad, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel. . . .
It is my firm conviction that the security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States. . . .
We have seen the horrors of history. We will not stand by. We will not watch them play out again. It would be foolish not to take Iran’s leaders at their word. They are, after all, the product of a radical theocracy. … We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran’s leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions.
. . . our alliance runs deeper than the designs of strategy or the weighing of interests. The story of how America – a nation still so new to the world by the standards of this ancient region – rose up to become the dear friend of the people of Israel is among the finest and most hopeful in our nation’s history. Different as our paths have been, we see the same qualities in one another. Israel and America are in many respects reflections of one another.
. . . the enduring alliance between the State of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: it is a force for good in the world. America’s support of Israel should make every American proud. We should not allow the inevitable complexities of modern geopolitics to obscure fundamental touchstones. . . . A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel. . . .
By history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together. No individual, no nation, no world organization, will pry us apart. And as long as we stay together and stand together, there is no threat we cannot overcome and very little that we cannot achieve.
But of the whole speech, it is the final words that most struck me: “May God bless America, and may He bless and protect the Nation of Israel.” When last did a politician ask the Lord to protect another country?
Comments: (1) Obama and Romney stand as far apart on Israel as they do on the sources of economic growth. (2) Over and over again, Romney returned to the moral bonds between the two countries; yes, there are mutual benefits from our connection, but ultimately it reflects something higher and greater than any of us. (3) If he is elected, it will be fascinating to watch to what extent the outlook expressed today will translate to the workaday policy issues. I expect it will have a substantial effect.
If you already posted why my version of the facts is wrong or anything that supports your version of the facts, I missed it. Are the other 192 nations in the United Nations all legitimate and just Israel is illegitimate?
If your story is right and they are the worst of 193 nations, why stop at denying them a capital? Obama is bragging that he, in the first person, has given them record levels of aid. If they are an illegal nation, why have an embassy at all? Why not cut off trade? Cut off aid. Kick them out of the UN if they are illegitimate in borders and actions. But Obama proposes none of that. Why not? He wants it both ways. Being deceitful is complicated.
Here's Mrs. Clinton's fuller quote, from March 27, 2011, answering CBS's Bob Schieffer on why the U.S. was prepared to intervene against Moammar Gadhafi but not against Assad: "There's a different leader in Syria now," she explained. "Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he is a reformer." - Hillary Clinton, current Secretary of State, advancing that viewpoint to support validate her policy. Not surprising since she previously had quite a kiss with Mrs Arafat at the conclusion of a hate-Israel speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xddAUHvuSfI
In 2007, Nancy Pelosi enthused that "the road to Damascus is a road to peace." The lady wants to be Speaker of the House - again.
On March 16, 2011—the day after the first mass demonstration against the regime—John Kerry said Assad was a man of his word who had been "very generous with me." He added that under Assad "Syria will move; Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States." This is the man who might be our next secretary of state.
Bringing this GM post forward in the process of gathering info to answer Crafty's question. "The real unemployment rate actually rose in January to 11.5%". To this we might add the disability increase. Posting disability numbers separately. I will look deeper into it later.
Implied Unemployment Rate Rises To 11.5%, Spread To Propaganda Number Surges To 30 Year High Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2012 09:35 -0500
Sick of the BLS propaganda? Then do the following calculation with us: using BLS data, the US civilian non-institutional population was 242,269 in January, an increase of 1.7 million month over month: apply the long-term average labor force participation rate of 65.8% to this number (because as chart 2 below shows, people are not retiring as the popular propaganda goes: in fact labor participation in those aged 55 and over has been soaring as more and more old people have to work overtime, forget retiring), and you get 159.4 million: that is what the real labor force should be. The BLS reported one? 154.4 million: a tiny 5 million difference. Then add these people who the BLS is purposefully ignoring yet who most certainly are in dire need of labor and/or a job to the 12.758 million reported unemployed by the BLS and you get 17.776 million in real unemployed workers. What does this mean? That using just the BLS denominator in calculating the unemployed rate of 154.4 million, the real unemployment rate actually rose in January to 11.5%. Compare that with the BLS reported decline from 8.5% to 8.3%. It also means that the spread between the reported and implied unemployment rate just soared to a fresh 30 year high of 3.2%.
Obj, I also consider George Will an independent. His views are his own; they come out mostly conservative but not aligned with anyone or any movement. In the context of this thread, we have been reading a lot of analysis from Brian Wesbury for one, who is a great economist but works for an investment house and I think has been trying to put lipstick on a pig in terms of this economy. He says we are plowing forward but we really are standing still while multiplying our debt burden which means we are really moving backwards at an alarming rate.
By great economist I still mean that he is a economist who writes with the same conventions as the other economists, using misleading measures for things like growth rate, poverty rate, unemployment rate, among others, because that is the language they speak.
I tried to make a different point recently by questioning why they don't use a baseline growth rate where anything below that breakeven line would be considered a cut. With a more honest measurement IMO it might be easier to see or admit that we are in about the 5th year of man made recession. If we are not recovering it isn't a slow recovery or any other kind of recovery. I think GW is making that same point in his own way.
Crafty, I don't know if I understand your question correctly but I think I would try to answer in a more simple manner:
There are how many adults in the USA? Of that number, how many work at least full time? How many don't.
Not in the numbers below, but more descriptive economically might be to measure how many adults work full time in the private sector, pulling the wagon, and how many do not. The answer I believe is that less than 30% work full time or more in the private sector pulling the load and more than 70% do not. --------------------
Less than half of working age Americans work full time, here is a source: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-01-24/markets/29974517_1_part-time-unemployment-labor-force
These numbers are about a year old:
Only 47% Of Working Age Americans Have Full Time Jobs
The total non institutional civilian labor force (Americans 16 years and older who are not in a institution -criminal, mental, or other types of facilities- or an active military duty) is reported as 238.889 million. Of these, we see:
Employed: 139.206 million people (58.3% of labor force)
Unemployed: 14.485 million people (6.1% of labor force)
Obviously, that can't be the total picture, we're only at 64.4%. This is why:
Part time employed for economic reasons: 8.931 million people. This concerns people who want a full-time job but can't get one.
Part time employed for non-economic reasons: 18.184 million people. Non-economic reasons include school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, but also childcare problems and family or personal obligations.
But the by far largest category "missing" from both the Employed and Unemployed statistics is the "Not In Labor Force": 85.2 Million people.
The BLS definition states: "Not in the labor force (NILF). A person who did not work last week, was not temporarily absent from a job, did not actively look for work in the previous 4 weeks, or looked but was unavailable for work during the reference week; in other words, a person who was neither employed nor unemployed." (Clearly, this does include lot of unemployed people).
To summarize: 108.616 million people in America are either unemployed, underemployed or "Not in the labor force". This represents 45.5% of working age Americans.
If you count the "Part time employed for non-economic reasons", you get 126.8 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, working part time or "Not in the labor force". That represents 53% of working age Americans.
So only 47% of working age Americans have full time jobs. While the official unemployment rate is 9.4%. Something's missing somewhere.
A few more factoids on the topic:
Today, the long term unemployed make up 42% of total unemployed. That is to say, of course, those who are actually counted as unemployed instead of "Not in the labor force".
43.2 million Americans receive foodstamps. That's 18.1% of all working age Americans. If they all have on average 1.5 dependents, which is probably a reasonable estimate, a full one third of the US population receives at least part of their food through this system.
Famous people reading the forum, this is George Will taking a stab at a point I have been trying to make. I was saying we are below the 'baseline' for 'breakeven' growth. It is really negative growth or a growth deficit.
George Will said today: "We're in a growth recession. That sounds like an oxymoron. It isn't. We're now in the 4th year of a recovery and we're growing but receding at the same time because we're not growing fast enough to create enough jobs to even take account of the natural growth of the workforce."
JDN, I agreed with you at the beginning, "Perhaps better to give it up". lol.
No, I don't have any best friends who broke into their neighbor's house, stole a major city, car, jewelry, whatever, and are still my best friend, and that isn't what happened, good grief. Why have these threads if you can't or won't read them. Enemies of Israel attacked Israel and lost land in the process. Which part of that was ILLEGAL? Did it happen some other way? Israel is occasionally accused of taking a disproportionate response. I hope so. If you (or Carney or Obama) side with Israel's enemies, just say so. I guess you did.
Israel to you and these others is an illegitimate nation, and the other 192 nations in the UN are fine. Unbelievable. We could pick dozens of examples to show how absurd that is. Why is North Korea a legitimate nation? Did they rightfully acquire the land under their capital? Did the US acquire the land under Washington D.C. through war? Why do we recognize our own country or capital. Considering the anti-border enforcement movement, maybe you don't. Why can't you see Israel is being singled as appeasement to the enemies of Israel, not because they are worse than all 192 others. Why is that right, it isn't, and what did we gain through that policy, nothing.
If you and others side with the enemies of Israel, fine, but then why do we have to hear all the BS about how they are our ally and we stand by them. They are but we don't.
If NK says somewhere other than Pyongyang or outside the country is the Capital of North Korea, it wouldn't be so.
If I have one dog and one cat but then I say my cat is a dog, how many dogs do I now have? Still just 1. Saying a cat is a dog doesn't make it so.
The official seat of the government of Israel is in Jerusalem. Is it not?
You think the President's spokesman does not know that?
"As for Jay Carney, perhaps Tel Aviv isn't the capital, but then neither is Jerusalem. So maybe he doesn't know; I don't know, but he knows and I know that the legitimate capital of Israel is not Jerusalem."
Wikipedia: "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel..."
Israel is not a legitimate country so where they locate the official seat of their government is not the capital? Is that what you're thinking? 193 countries in the UN, where else do we not recognize a capital?
Deception and distraction are what they sell. Economic disaster is what you buy if you buy it. At their very best they can accuse opponents of exactly what they are doing in plain sight, whether it is false context or refusing full disclosure.
There seems to b e a misconception, Romney is running for President of Bain Capital, been there done that. Were you going to reply on what is the minimum number of years of tax returns made public required by law to be President and their exact deadlines he seems to have missed? You've added Donna Bazille to the list of people who won't vote for him until he releases at least 4, 6 or was it 12 returns? Funny.
If Hillary went all the way back honestly without a statute of limitation she would be an options trading felon. And no one cares. Not running for President? Well she was.
"Romney could end these discussions overnight by releasing his tax returns"
That just isn't so, is it?
Romney's tax returns will tell you what tax policy was and some implications of it at the time of the returns. You should already know that or else that information is available elswhere. There is no reason to believe he hasn't followed all applicable laws or missed any reporting requirements to the various agencies.
Unlike the Senator who was the 60th vote to pass Obamacare, Al Franken, who owed taxes in 17 states amounting to over $50,000 or the Obama's Secretary of the Treasury who had filed wrong in 10 years of returns counting 4 years wrong twice.
Like the Registrar of Records for Hawaiian birth records, maybe some middle level IRS manger can certify that the former Governor is up to snuff on his returns and payments. Would that satisfy you? No.
He's running for POTUS. You have to be 40 and a natural born citizen. Do you have any questions of him as to what he might do as President?
Obama implies we should get the rich to pay their fair share and build some infrastructure. But with just the stimulus money spent so far we could have built the equivalent of 1567 Golden Gate Bridges in today's dollars. Instead it was squandered. With just the existing spending in our federal budget 2011 we could build 6788 Golden Gate Bridges. Instead we got what?
Steyn says: "Instead of roads and bridges, Obama-sized government funds stasis and sclerosis: The Hoover Dam of regulatory obstruction, the Golden Gateway to dependency." ... "In Obama's "visions," he builds roads and bridges. In reality, the President of Dependistan has put nothing but roadblocks in the path to opportunity and growth."
From WRM's American Interest website, selected as 'notable and quotable' in the WSJ:
[The University of Missouri] has just announced that it is closing its university press after losing its annual subsidy of $400,000. Now professors and students are up in arms over the closure, decrying the move as an attack on scholarly discourse and taking to Facebook petitions to protest the decision.
Look past the uproar, however, and it is clear that this is part of a wider trend. A number of other universities, including prestigious schools like Rice, have shuttered their presses, and six more have joined it in the past three years alone. As state budgets contract, and as private universities face higher costs, schools across the country are all finding out the same thing—the money just isn't there.
Fewer university presses with higher standards would probably serve humanity better than the current system. Some of the problem stems from the nature of the tenure system, in which every academic in the country is under pressure to publish books whether he or she has anything worth saying or not. In that sense the university press problem is a symptom rather than a cause of academia's woes. Parts of the university press system work like vanity presses, where the driving force in the system is the author's need to be published rather than the reader's need to know.
What's going on here, however, is less about quality than it is about money and the outmoded foundations of American institutions and practices built in the post World War Two era. The baroque inefficiency of the academic enterprise—and especially the research model university, which . . . has built a system that demands enormous outside resources to continue to function.
In a handful of cases, notably the best endowed private universities, there is enough money on hand to make this system work. But less affluent private universities and virtually all public universities face a harsher climate. And as state governments in particular face claims on their tight revenues from more powerful constituencies than university faculty and staff, the public universities are being systematically starved of cash.
There are two ways for the system to respond. One is by cheese paring: cutting costs on "extraneous" or "non-core" activities while trying to preserve the heart of the old model. This looks like simple common sense to most administrators, and it is often the thinking that leads to the closure of university presses as well as other activities that, in the cold light of a budget crunch, suddenly look like frills.
The second way is more difficult, but it is ultimately what the academy must do: it must reinvent itself and radically restructure. This would involve not merely closing down an expensive university press but rethinking the relationship of scholarship to teaching, and re-examining the relevance of the "publish or perish" system for the large group of disciplines and institutions where it doesn't really make sense.
Good data presented here by Ari Fleischer in the WSJ a few days ago taken from the latest CBO study. The top 20% make 50% and pay 70% of federal taxes, while the middle quintile pays 9% of the burden and the lowest pay essentially nothing and receive the most back. The wealthy "haven't been asked to do their fair share"?? What a crock.
Ari Fleischer: The Latest News on Tax Fairness A new Congressional Budget Office reports shows the share of taxes paid by the top 20% has gone up over the last 30 years, while the share of taxes paid by everyone else has gone down.
By ARI FLEISCHER
If fairness in paying taxes means the amount you pay is based on the amount you make, then the only group in America paying at least a "fair share" is the top 20%—people who make more than $74,000. For everyone else, the tax code is a bargain.
You wouldn't know this from President Obama's rhetoric, but our tax system, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), is incredibly progressive. Consider: The top 1% of income earners pay an average federal tax rate of 28.9%. (See the nearby table.) The average federal tax rate on the top 20% is 23.2%. The 20% of taxpayers earning between $50,100 and $73,999 pay an average 15.1%, and so on down the line. The CBO report includes payroll as well as income taxes paid.
There's also another way of looking at fairness, and that's the tax burden. Here, consider the top 20% of income earners (over $74,000). They make 50% of the nation's income but pay nearly 70% of all federal taxes.
The remaining 30% of the tax burden is borne by 80% of the taxpayers, those who make less than $74,000. In short, this group's share of taxes paid, 30%, is lower than the share of income they earn, 50%.
Yet President Obama says that "for some time now, when compared to the middle class," the wealthy "haven't been asked to do their fair share."
He's right that the system isn't fair, but not because the top 1% pay too little. It is because they pay too much.
Mr. Obama has said that some wealthy employers pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries. True, some are able to lower their effective federal tax rate by giving millions to charity. Or because they derive much of their income as capital gains or from tax-free municipal bonds.
But middle- and low-income Americans who do not invest also pay lower rates thanks to the deductions they receive, such as a $1,000 per child tax credit (which phases out for couples who make more than $110,000), or the Earned Income Tax Credit, which no one making more than $50,000 is supposed to receive.
The CBO report ("The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009") covers the years 1979-2009. It makes plain that the impression conveyed by the president about what upper-income Americans pay in taxes does not hold up to scrutiny.
First of all, the share of taxes paid by the top 20% has gone up over the last 30 years, while the share of taxes paid by everyone else has gone down. It has gone up despite the tax cuts enacted by President Clinton in 1997 and by President Bush in 2001 and 2003. But that makes no difference to the president. The only group of taxpayers he calls on to "sacrifice" are those already doing all the tax sacrificing.
The top 20% in 1979 made 44.9% of the nation's income and paid 55.3% of all federal taxes. Thirty years later, the top 20% made 50.8% of the nation's income and their share of federal taxes paid had jumped to 67.9%.
And the top 1%? In 1979, this group earned 8.9% of the nation's income and paid 14.2% of all federal taxes. In 2009, they earned 13.4% of the nation's income but their share of the federal tax burden rose to 22.3%.
Meanwhile, the federal tax burden on middle- and lower-income earners is lighter. In 1979, the bottom 20% paid barely any taxes at all, just 2.1%. Now their share of taxes is a minuscule 0.3%. The burden on the middle-income earners ($34,900 to $50,100) has dropped too. In 1979, they paid 13.6% of all federal taxes; in 2009 they paid 9.4%.
One reason our country is so divided is because the president keeps dividing us. If taxes need to be raised to fight a war or fund a cause, the president should ask everyone to pitch in. If the need is national, the solution should be national—and that includes all of us.
But that's not how Mr. Obama governs. We learned during the 2008 campaign that he believes in spreading the wealth around. And recently we learned he doesn't believe that successful people made it on their own. Without the government, the president tells us, job creators and entrepreneurs would not be able to make it in America.
It's really the other way around. Without job creators and the successful, the government wouldn't have any money. So next time Mr. Obama meets someone in the top 1% or even the top 20%, instead of saying they're not paying their fair share, he should simply say thank you.
"The mistake of my first term—couple of years," the president allowed, "was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right." At times, Obama confessed, he'd forgotten that "the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times." http://reason.com/archives/2012/07/17/obama-descends-into-self-parody
No, Mr. President. The mistake of your first term was policy; you got it wrong.