The examples I gave were of hate speech. The qualifier meaning 'lots of' in front of rich is not "filthy". Silver spoon is phrase about hatred, not about utensils. That you would hate and vote for him shows contradiction and nonsense. Given the disapprovals of both sides of congress, maybe hate is what people want to feel. If it informs you about how he will govern, inform us what you found out instead of the same repetition.
Housing cost is a per month or per year measure. You compare a one time investment that likely does not go down in value at all and say it is larger than a per year tax expense? You are not that stupid... GM, is he?
The feeling I and others hold toward President Obama is about how he IS governing us. I hate it, not him. I wish him private sector success, just like George McGovern who turned on a dime after he started in business and fought the red tape. Obama's association with these radicals told us in advance how he would govern. These terrorists were not free market advocates. ( The words you have expressed toward Gov. Romney are about ad hominem hatred - against the person. Did you oppose his health care plan, his tax plan more moderate than Huntsman's, his moderate view on climate change? No. His person.
Does one have to be poor to understand growth economics?
A different view is that to study poverty is to study nothing because poverty is the absence of something, not a quality in itself. Like studying particles in a vacuum. They aren't there. I don't want someone experience at being destitute. I want someone who knows the way out. If one accepts that wealth is good, one can study the conditions conducive to it growing and spreading it, not taking it. You in at least one side of your posting do not admit or accept that wealth is good. Without that acceptance, growing it or spreading it is of no value.
When I meet successful people I am overwhelmed with curiosity, not envy or hatred. The amount of wealth alone tells me NOTHING about how they will govern. Especially true for Romney for the reasons you suggest. He sort of grew up wealthy but his family started with nothing, made most of it after he grew up and he made his fortune on his own with of course the advantage that he was close kin with an important man.
Billy Carter beer brand, Neal Bush of Siverado S&L, Hugh Rodham of pardon fame, and Obama's aunt on food stamps all also came out of close kin with important people. It is an advantage of great potential but not determinative of your future. Nor any indication of how you will govern.
Romney is now the blank slate that Obama once was. Paint what you like on his canvas. Obama is inescapably tied to his record. He painted all over our canvas and people are finding it ugly.
Don't look at the President's presidency, his policies, his results.
The thing about your hatred of Romney, JDN, "filthy rich" "OPULENT" "silver spoon" etc is that it sheds light only on you; it tells us nothing about him or how he would govern.
Why would a loving family man want to be rich? So he is beholden to no one, so he can take care of his own, without anyone else's help, so he can go on to other activities etc. You fail to show a negative in it and amazingly keep saying "so what" to your own arguments!
Did Mitt Romney spend more on housing than he paid to the government? Did he spend more on housing than he gave to charity? Did he spend more on housing than the federal affordability guideline of spending roughly one third of your income on housing? No. No. And no. He spent more than you - that's about all we know. You link a picture but I've seen nice places before; I enjoy knowing successful people. Is 6 hours on his bed better than the 8-9 hours of deep sleep I got last night. I doubt it. He doesn't have to fix his own toilet flapper if it leaks but neither do my tenants. It looks like he gives his neighbors greenery and privacy out their door and windows. Unless he plays music too loud, there is not much at the Romney compound to complain about. How many workmen made how many dollars building his homes, to help pay for their own? He has a tennis court but also he has a wife, 5 sons, 5 daughter in laws and 15 grandchildren. I would have gone with at least 2 courts in his situation but it looks like they preferred to keep the trees and were a little cramped for space.
What kind of house SHOULD he live in? Should he have stopped making money when he had enough. Actually he is one of the few who did; that did not slow the hatred. When he is on the west coast, should he have to stay in hotels, cut rate hotels, if he can afford his own place? Should we have laws restricting second home ownership or second home size, further killing that market? If so, who does that hurt most? Or is this NOT about POLICY in the first place?
When we figure out what JDN really hates, maybe we could have a thread about that and stop muddling up the important political threads. There's going to be an important election this year. Someone should make a coherent argument why we should stay on the same course or else we should change course.
FIVE tries at the martian joke and still no one knows what JDN is talking about. Someone other than me should tell JDN we don't hear those voices. ------------- "Whatever his past, Ayers is now a respected member of the Chicago intelligentsia ... solid academic credentials and "passion for social justice.""
Whatever his past, you wanted Osama bin Laden dead or in the Islamist intelligentsia? ------------- "Barack was very well known in Chicago, and a highly respected legislator."
His signature piece was the right to kill babies AFTER they pop out the womb alive. Or as they say on the left: a "passion for social justice." ------------- What you JDN don't see or won't admit here is that we have been moving America in their direction every minute since the election of Nov 2006 and everything has gotten worse. It got worse for the rich. It got worse for the poor. It got worse for working people and it got worse for people looking for work. The prospects for the future from the unborn to the college seniors got worse. We all share ONE economy. It is not us vs. them; it is "we the people". It is policies for growth versus policies for decline. But saying they offer policies for decline doesn't sell, so again and again it is 'hey, look at this other shiny object - over here!' Romney's dog, Romney's wife, Romney's religion, Romney's house, Romney's other house.
With a slight correction in the CPI calculation, we are at 0.00% growth, equal to John Belushi's seven year GPA in Animal House. 0% growth at the bottom of the cliff AFTER FIVE TRILLION IN NEW DEBT. Obama's previous budget failed in a Dem Senate by a vote of 99-0. They asked his latest budget chief when this new budget balanced. He stuttered like seeing Obama trying to explain to the rest of America why he liked Rev. Wright's sermons. The answer for our economy repairing under their policies is never.
We grow out of this after we vote out these losers and their policies. Not one minute sooner.
Yes, blah, blah. What is the functional difference between flushing a million dollar toilet and a zillion dollar one. A tenfold difference, lol. Even Obama defines both lifestyles as the 1%, labeled and categorized, whereas I would call each of them the family home, unjudged by me except for the gangster origins of the one. Still no comparison to Kerry, Edwards, Gore or the Kennedys because that is different. Still even a preference for the gangster money versus the earned.
There is nothing to argue about in terms of how to move the country forward when we share no values or desired direction for the country in common. We are running against the if-I-wanted-America-to-fail braintrust and they are a clever bunch.
Compared to recent wealthy Dem candidates (Heinz-Kerry) for the same office? No. Does his opponent have a frugal or median style abode in contrast? No. (million and a half plus a gangster yard) Opulent? Yes. Our nation was opulent - - - prior to Nov 2006.
Mr. President, Do you remember when the country rallied around you in hope of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious. It's hard to be funny with the President of the United States right next to you, but somehow, day after day, Joe Biden manages to do it.
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 -----------------
Obama still has a goal of tying Romney to Bush, but the only thing missing above is that it was Obama not Romney who along with his Sec of State were the de facto leaders of the United States Senate during the exact period when the wheels fell off. He did not inherit a bad economy in Jan 2009; he had a hand in causing it. -----------------
Wall Street Journal today:
The Growth Deficit The slowest recovery plods along.
The weakest recovery on record continued in 2012's first quarter, with the Commerce Department's Friday report of 2.2% growth.
- Whoops! Slowest recovery, weakest recovery, worst recovery - That claim was the lead example of both Dana Milbank of the Washington Post and Rachel Maddow of NBC as to why Mitt Romney is such a LIAR; they were saying (a month ago) that was not true - yet. Either we have more data now or else Mitt has a pretty big co-conspirator in this lie.
The US has increased oil production 15% since 2009, from private sources on private lands, not because the feds opening up drilling leases and permits. The high price makes more types and grades of oil economic to produce, like shale oil from the Bakken formation. http://oilshalegas.com/bakkenshale.html
Meanwhile, the price of oil did not go down. Why not?
Oil is transportable. The market for oil is global. The US produces 11% of the world's oil. A 15% increase is only a 1.5% global increase while all other factors were not held constant.
Natural gas is less transportable. The market therefore is local. With natural gas, the dramatic increases in production resulted in noticeable decrease in price. The law of supply and demand in alive and well.
Do the laws of supply and demand apply to oil? Yes. But a 1% increase is like having a dollar and gaining a penny while your demands are changing. The question is not if increased production will lower prices, but how much increased production will it take to make a positive economic impact. To start with, we should be striving to double our production and then increase it some more until the US produces as much it consumes, and more. Then the US would still be only having a neutral effect on world oil prices. Meanwhile we could be shifting a good portion of our transportation usage over to cheaper and cleaner burning natural gas, further alleviating the demand for oil.
As they said 20 years ago opposing ANWR and the like, that would take 10 years. Yes it would have. The results would come faster today. But world market price is set in futures markets that are based on risks, trends and expectations. As the effort to double production becomes apparent, the impact on the oil futures market would come much sooner.
Seven Of The Most Disturbing Quotes From Members Of The Obama Administration
Birds of a feather flock together and so when we see Barack Obama stacking his cabinet with radicals, it tells us a lot about his mentality. Of course, the fact that his entire term in office has been nothing but a slow motion evisceration of the American dream should tell you a lot about how he thinks, too -- but a little more evidence is always welcome. Take a look at these quotes from members of Barack Obama's administration and then ask yourself what sort of man WANTS people like this to help him govern the American people?
1) "Somewhat more broadly, I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law." -- Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama Administration. Yes, we have someone in charge of regulations in D.C. who thinks pigs should be able to sue farmers and cats should be able to sue their owners. Do you think it's a coincidence that the cost of business keeps skyrocketing under Obama because of all the new regulations?
2) "Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you." -- Joe Biden, Vice President. When this is how the Vice President of the United States thinks, is it any wonder that this country may only be a decade away from defaulting on our debts and heading into an economic death spiral that we'll never recover from in the lifespan of anyone reading this column?
3) "There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer." -- Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State. Yes, the butcher of Syria is a real "reformer," isn't he? If you want to know why our foreign policy has been all bowing, "leading from behind," and chaos, look no further than our Secretary of State who knew nothing about foreign policy going in, but made a career out of being married to the right man.
4) "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." -- Eric Holder, Attorney General. Eric Holder is a throwback to the bad old days in America, when whether you got justice or not depended on the color of your skin. Is it any wonder he doesn't care about Mexicans or a white border patrol agent who lost his life because of Operation Fast and Furious? Is it a surprise that Holder turned a blind eye to the New Black Panthers engaging in voter intimidation and putting a bounty on George Zimmerman's head?
5) "When I became the NASA administrator — or before I became the NASA administrator — (Obama) charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering." -- Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, he said, "That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind." Well, while Obama goes on and on about "investment," "science," and "the future," we've actually taken one giant leap backwards since we no longer have a manned space program. Guess we needed to save that money to funnel into the businesses of people who contribute to Obama's campaign.
6) "One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption—especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone. If a single mother really wished to keep her baby, she might be obliged to go through adoption proceedings and demonstrate her ability to support and care for it. Adoption proceedings probably should remain more difficult for single people than for married couples, in recognition of the relative difficulty of raising children alone. It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society." -- John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. So, we have a man with the morals of Joseph Mengele advising the President on science. It also shouldn't be lost on anyone that while Obama is yammering on about a "war on women," he has someone on his staff who has come out in favor of FORCED ABORTIONS.
7) "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." -- Steven Chu, Energy Secretary. Ever wonder why gas prices are so high under Obama? Could it be because Obama's Energy Secretary wants to dramatically increase the price of gas? Gas is more than $8 a gallon in most of Western Europe. Guess that gives them something to shoot for if Obama gets a second term.
The nominal GDP is tweaked with the man made GDP deflator to calculate 'real' growth, if any. Some are saying that deflator that was lowered to 1.1% now, if corrected, would put real growth in Q1 2012 at 0.0%.
Is Tim Geithner the most politically partisan treasury secretary in history? Certainly sounds like it these days. As the government’s chief financial officer, he’s spending a lot of time firing campaign barbs at various Republicans and their policies.
Geithner has blasted Mitt Romney by name on several occasions. He frequently attacks Representative Paul Ryan and the GOP budget. And he recently fired a broadside at top-Romney economist Glenn Hubbard, who is presently dean of the Colombia Business School.
Responding to a Hubbard op-ed in the Wall Street Journal -- which calculated that the president’s spending plans would require an 11 percent tax increase on people earning less than $200,000 a year -- Geithner said, “That’s a completely made-up, remarkably hackish observation for an economist.”
Hubbard a hack?
Besides running a highly respected Ivy League business school, he was the chairman of President George W. Bush’s council of economic advisors. He also earned his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.
But Hubbard is advising Romney, and before that he counseled Bush, so the very political Mr. Geithner blasted him as a hack.
By the way, all Hubbard did was calculate that even after all of Obama’s proposed tax hikes on millionaires, investors, and upper-end business people, revenues would rise by about $150 billion a year. But Obama’s budget schedules spending to rise by $500 billion a year. So Hubbard concluded that an across-the-board tax hike of 11 percent for everybody -- including below-$200,000 earners -- would be required.
... the arithmetic gap between spending and revenues per year is unmistakable. It’s not a hackish statement. It’s an informed opinion.
The war on women is a uniquely Republican phenomenon... excerpt for the texting of Dem congressman Anthony's Weiner, the foul mouth of Obama financial supporter Bill Maher, now near-President and VP and Attorney General hopeful, former Dem Sen. John Edwards on trial:
"As for Annenberg, everyone knows they are first rate."
I was just reading at length in their current pieces and I was not impressed in the least. About a half a notch above Charles Blow with better disguise. Their conclusions are opinions and they are quite often misleading. MHO.
The board work for 45k was Michelle at the TreeHouse. The board work you attacked was of the candidate's wife. Barack's board was the incest with the thugs. He is clean in your book because he bought the house although he got the yard from a gangster. Suit yourself. I have no idea why you reply but can't read then come on with insults. But when you win an argument you really do make sure you have your t's dotted and your i's crossed. I'm impressed.
Looking at SNOPES I see their independence was verified by FactCheck of the Annenberg Project. Speaking of being on the Board of Directors, not being a job, isn't that where Barack Obama was the Chair? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Annenberg_Challenge An incestual profession. Just the facts is what JDN writes too. Maybe they all worked together over there on bringing us the truth, lol.
Yes GM it is a good example of what bullsh*tters SNOPES can be. They don't have ANY idea how much Barack Obama paid for college each year nor how much of his college cost the TAXPAYER paid or other benefactors paid but ready to put their full reptution on the lineconfirming whatever he said. They also don't have any knowledge of his college records to know what he got for the money he or we paid.
SNOPES: "It took them years to pay it off"
Is "years" a quantitative answer?? Why did it take years? Because it involved taxpayer subsidized interest rates with NO INCENTIVE to pay off any sooner.
SNOPES: "he understands the the challenge of student loan debt"
Really?? Debt burden is measured in percentages of SOMETHING. Not at SNOPES. I he was burdened, what was the burden? NUMBERS! Median income is less than 1/5 of their income. No he doesn't the challenge of the others.
"So does Michelle"
The wives are off-limits. Ooops. The wives are back in.
SNOPES: Michelle made 317k plus 45,000 from a Tree House where served on the Board
Just last week serving on a board IS NOT WORK and now it is worth as much as the median family income in America. Same poster posts. Attack one; defend the other. What a crock.
To SNOPES": Between Occidental and Columbia he took a trip around the world.
I guess they missed that part. The asked if it was true! On Federally subsidized student loans - or coke dealing money? They don't say.
To SNOPES: "even though he has a brilliant mind."
Unable to verify? Where are the records. Or was that the part where they said FALSE.
It turns out SNOPES is the blogger like "Twitchy". Who JDN is "Twitchy"?
We are in the student financial aid mess right now and they don't even offer the federally subsidized loans up to the full amount of private college tuition costs no matter your merit scholarship level.
They choose to keep these financial details private which is good and then they pretend they have given us all the information to know they are just like us which is a G*d Damned lie.
If he paid the loans off with money that came from when the book royalties escalated in public life as SNOPES says then he DOESN'T know the burden the others face. The definition of being the rock star is the guy on the stage, not the masses in the audience.
"Why does every statement about Buraq's personal history seem to be a lie?"
It used to be said of the Clintons: It isn't that they lie, but that they lie with such ease!
The challenge for Obama would be to post something he says that is just straight-up truth. What is the longest string of sentences on anything relevant he has uttered that was truthful? Personal history, energy, taxes, spending, defense, war, immigration, healthcare, student loans, Bush's fault, Republicans in congress, any of it?
Strange to me that in Egypt the ruler we helped take down was our ally. Not so for the thugs in Syria. There is no world leadership when the US is absent.
Krauthammer: "...a coherent case for hands off could be made. That would be an honest, straightforward policy. Instead, the president, basking in the sanctity of the Holocaust Museum, proclaims his solemn allegiance to a doctrine of responsibility — even as he stands by and watches Syria burn." --------------- While Syria Burns If the U.S. is not prepared to intervene, we should be candid about it.
By Charles Krauthammer
Last year, President Obama ordered U.S. intervention in Libya under the grand new doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” Moammar Gaddafi was threatening a massacre in Benghazi. To stand by and do nothing “would have been a betrayal of who we are,” explained the president.
In the year since, the government of Syria has more than threatened massacres. It has carried them out. Nothing hypothetical about the disappearances, executions, indiscriminate shelling of populated neighborhoods. More than 9,000 are dead.
Obama has said that we cannot stand idly by. And what has he done? Stand idly by.
Yes, we’ve imposed economic sanctions. But as with Iran, the economic squeeze has not altered the regime’s behavior. Monday’s announced travel and financial restrictions on those who use social media to track down dissidents is a pinprick. No Disney World trips for the chiefs of the Iranian and Syrian security agencies. And they might now have to park their money in Dubai instead of New York. That’ll stop ’em.
Obama’s other major announcement — at Washington’s Holocaust Museum, no less — was the creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board.
I kid you not. A board. Russia flies plane loads of weapons to Damascus. Iran supplies money, trainers, agents, more weapons. And what does America do? Supports a feckless U.N. peace mission that does nothing to stop the killing. (Indeed, some of the civilians who met with the peacekeepers were summarily executed.) And establishes an Atrocities Prevention Board.
With multi-agency participation, mind you. The liberal faith in the power of bureaucracy and flowcharts, of committees and reports, is legend. But this is parody.
Now, there’s an argument to be made that we do not have a duty to protect. That foreign policy is not social work. That you risk American lives only when national security and/or strategic interests are at stake, not merely to satisfy the humanitarian impulses of some of our leaders.
But Obama does not make this argument. On the contrary. He goes to the Holocaust Museum to commit himself and his country to defend the innocent, to affirm the moral imperative of rescue. And then does nothing of any consequence.
His case for passivity is buttressed by the implication that the only alternative to inaction is military intervention — bombing, boots on the ground.
But that’s false. It’s not the only alternative. Why aren’t we organizing, training, and arming the Syrian rebels in their sanctuaries in Turkey? Nothing unilateral here. Saudi Arabia is already planning to do so. Turkey has turned decisively against Assad. And the French are pushing for even more direct intervention.
Instead, Obama insists that we can only act with support of the “international community,” meaning the U.N. Security Council — where Russia and China have a permanent veto. By what logic does the moral legitimacy of U.S. action require the blessing of a thug like Vladimir Putin and the butchers of Tiananmen Square?
Our slavish, mindless self-subordination to “international legitimacy” does nothing but allow Russia — a pretend post-Soviet superpower — to extend a protective umbrella over whichever murderous client it chooses. Obama has all but announced that Russia (or China) has merely to veto international actions — sanctions, military assistance, direct intervention — and the U.S. will back off.
For what reason? Not even President Clinton, a confirmed internationalist, would acquiesce to such restraints. With Russia prepared to block U.N. intervention against its client, Serbia, Clinton saved Kosovo by summoning NATO to bomb the hell out of Serbia, the Russians be damned.
If Obama wants to stay out of Syria, fine. Make the case that it’s none of our business. That it’s too hard. That we have no security/national interests there.
In my view, the evidence argues against that, but at least a coherent case for hands off could be made. That would be an honest, straightforward policy. Instead, the president, basking in the sanctity of the Holocaust Museum, proclaims his solemn allegiance to a doctrine of responsibility — even as he stands by and watches Syria burn.
If we are not prepared to intervene, even indirectly by arming and training Syrians who want to liberate themselves, be candid. And then be quiet. Don’t pretend the U.N. is doing anything. Don’t pretend the U.S. is doing anything. And don’t embarrass the nation with an Atrocities Prevention Board. The tragedies of Rwanda, Darfur, and now Syria did not result from lack of information or lack of interagency coordination, but from lack of will.
There is a fear on the left that the GOP will shamelessly exploit the current scandals for political gain. Unfair because government was big and out of control under all administrations (and we only hold Republican administrations accountable)? FYI to the CinC, the political executive branch is above the bureaucracy in federal power just like the civilian leadership is above the joint chiefs in war. The party in Las Vegas happened under your watch. They got caught and you got caught not paying attention while setting the same example. Worse yet that was the President told private businesses not to waste money in Vegas! http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/feb/10/las-vegas-mayor-says-obama-owes-city-an-apology/
GSA for those outside of government is a monstrosity of an agency that, believe it or not, operates to make all the other agencies conform to a set of rules relating to efficiency and good government practices in areas like purchasing and contracting. They are the experts on spending taxpayer money. They don't defend our shores, they don't clean the environment, they don't enforce securities and exchange law, regulate interstate commerce, feed the poor or deliver meds to the elderly. They do NONE of it.
When Texas Gov. Rick Perry, then in the early stages of his short-lived quest for the Republican presidential nomination, referred to Social Security as "a Ponzi scheme," he was excoriated by the press, left and right, and by his fellow Republicans, as well. Earlier this week, government actuaries revealed that Perry was correct.
That revelation, which was greeted with a ho-hum by the media, basically announced that by 2033, 21 years from now, the so-called "Social Security trust fund" will be empty.
The only reason this was even announced is because we are approaching a presidential election campaign, and in response to Perry's much-derided claim, the government's actuaries, who originally told the Obama administration and the public that the fund would be solvent until 2036, re-examined their numbers and concluded that it will be in the red three years earlier than they thought.
This revelation should come as no surprise to those who monitor the government and its deceptive ways. When he first introduced Social Security, President Franklin D. Roosevelt argued that under Social Security the federal government would be holding your money for you. He deceptively fostered the idea that Social Security would be a savings account, into which employees and employers would make contributions and out of which guaranteed monies would be paid to those who reached the age of 65. Essentially, he claimed that you'd get your money back.
Eventually, the government would acknowledge that what it first called a savings account and then called old-age insurance and then said would be fortified by a trust fund did not even establish a contractual obligation to those who have paid the Social Security tax -- which would be all of us.
The politicians believed him, but the actuaries and the judiciary understood that the government would never hold anyone's money for him — as if it were the custodian of a bank account. In the first of several challenges to the constitutionality of Social Security, the Supreme Court found that the Social Security fund did not consist of your money. It was merely tax revenue.
Did you know that?
It also held that since Congress' law-making authority is limited to the 16 discrete delegated powers granted to it in the Constitution (a truism few in Congress accept as binding) but its spending authority is open-ended (a conclusion that must torment James Madison's ghost), Congress could collect funds, claim it was holding the funds in a savings account and then spend those funds as it saw fit — for those in need after age 65 or for any other purpose.
Did you know that?
And, in a curious yet revealing one-liner in the Supreme Court opinion upholding the constitutionality of Social Security, even the court recognized that there would be no trust fund in the traditional sense when it found that the tax dollars collected and supposedly designated for Social Security were "not earmarked in any way."
Did you know that?
Eventually, the government would acknowledge that what it first called a savings account and then called old-age insurance and then said would be fortified by a trust fund did not even establish a contractual obligation to those who have paid the Social Security tax — which would be all of us.
Thus, the Feds have conceded and the courts have agreed that the money you have involuntarily contributed to the so-called trust fund is not yours and can be spent by the government as it pleases, just like any other revenue that the Feds collect.
Did you know that?
The trust fund is not money that the government "holds" for you, as FDR promised.
It is not money to which you have a lawful claim, as he claimed.
It is not a guarantee for you, as he led the public to believe.
The so-called "trust fund" is merely the difference between what is collected and what is paid out. And the Feds just acknowledged that in 21 years, they are likely to pay out more than they will collect.
Perry did not succeed this time in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. But he did succeed in articulating a hard truth: The same federal government that prosecutes people like Bernie Madoff for paying out more than they collect does the very same thing under the color of law.
Is a Ponzi scheme — which is basically theft by deception — lawful just because the government runs it? The Supreme Court has said yes. Perry has said no.
The Obama administration says it wants 300 ships, but it is reducing the number now while promising to build more far into the future, most after a second Obama term.
By JOHN LEHMAN
In recent weeks, the Pentagon leadership has been defending the indefensible before Congress. Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently on record deploring last year's budget cuts are now claiming that the Obama administration's latest—and still lower—defense budget is adequate. Really?
Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work, an experienced veteran, defended the president's goal of a 300-ship Navy in an interview last week with the website AOL Defense. He claimed it was equivalent to the Reagan administration's goal of a 600-ship Navy, on the grounds that newer ships are better than the ones they replace.
That is true in some cases, such as submarines. But it is not true for other ships such as the new LCS (littoral combat ship), which does not have the firepower of the older frigates. Moreover, our potential adversaries, from pirates to the Iranian Navy, have improved their ships as well.
But most important, numbers still count: The seas are great and our Navy is small. Mr. Work's statement to AOL Defense that "the United States Navy will be everywhere in the world that it has been, and it will be as much [present] as the 600-ship navy" is not persuasive.
The size of the Navy in the Reagan administration (it reached 594 ships in 1987) reflected a strategy to deter the Soviet Union's world-wide naval force. Today we face no such powerful naval adversary, but the world is just as large, and there is now greater American dependence on global trade and many more disturbers of the peace.
While we do not need 600 ships today, no naval experts believe a 300-ship Navy is large enough to guarantee freedom of the seas for American and allied trade, for supporting threatened allies, for deterring rogue states like Iran from closing vital straits, and for maintaining stability in areas like the western Pacific. For example, the bipartisan Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel led by Stephen Hadley and William Perry last year concluded that the Navy should have at least 346 vessels.
Last week, members of the House Armed Services Committee challenged the president's plan. In response to a question about whether the Navy was changing how it counts ships to prop up the size of the fleet, Mr. Work insisted that he was following the same rules for counting ships I established 30 years ago as President Reagan's secretary of the Navy. He is correct; while there are some differences, they are minor. The Navy has not fudged the numbers.
The more troubling problem is that the administration is counting ships that won't be built at all. Last year, the president's budget called for cuts of $487 billion over the next decade. Mr. Obama also supports the additional cuts growing out of the sequester that went into effect after last year's super committee failed to agree on savings in the overall budget. Unless the law is changed, this means an additional half-trillion dollars in mandatory defense reductions over the next decade—cuts that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said would be "devastating."
Naval readiness is already highly fragile. In order to meet current operational requirements, the shrunken fleet stays deployed longer and gets repaired less. There is now a serious shortage of Navy combat aircraft, and for the first time since World War II there are essentially no combat attrition reserves. But the biggest effect of budget cuts will be on naval shipbuilding.
Currently the Navy has 286 ships. In order to pay for current operations, Mr. Obama is retiring 11 modern combat ships (seven cruisers and four amphibious vessels) well before their useful life. In order to reach a 350-ship fleet in our lifetime, we will need to increase shipbuilding to an average of 15 ships every year. The latest budget the administration has advanced proposes buying just 41 ships over five years. It is anything but certain that the administration's budgets will sustain even that rate of only eight ships per year, but even if they do, the United States is headed for a Navy of 240-250 ships at best.
So how is the Obama administration getting to a 300-ship Navy? It projects a huge increase in naval shipbuilding beginning years down the road, most of which would come after a second Obama term. In other words, the administration is radically cutting the size and strength of the Navy now, while trying to avoid accountability by assuming that a future president will find the means to fix the problem in the future.
This compromises our national security. The Navy is the foundation of America's economic and political presence in the world. Other nations, like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, are watching what we do—and on the basis of the evidence, they are undoubtedly concluding that under Mr. Obama America is declining in power and resolution. Russia and China have each embarked on ambitious and enormously expensive naval buildups with weapons designed specifically against American carriers and submarines.
Under Ronald Reagan, the U.S. increased its naval strength to the point that it was a major factor in the decision of Soviet leaders to abandon the Cold War without firing a shot. The Navy under Mr. Obama is heading in the opposite direction.
This is not the fault of the senior Navy leadership, which has to operate within the limits set by the White House. During the Reagan years, those of us in leadership positions served a commander in chief who understood, completely and instinctively, the relationship between American strength and the protection of peace and freedom in an unstable world. Current Pentagon leaders do not have that advantage. And that is a compelling reason why a change at the top is vital for the future safety of the American people.
A pretty insightful Peggy Noonan piece today in the WSJ. She ties it to the election for relevance but the insightful parts IMO are about what is going on and not going on in this Presidency. ------------------------ Republicans feel an understandable anxiety about Mr. Obama's coming campaign: It will be all slice and dice, divide and conquer, break the country into little pieces and pick up as many as you can. He'll try to pick up college students one day and solidify environmentalist support the next, he'll valorize this group and demonize the other. He means to gather in and hold onto all the pieces he needs, and turn them into a jagged, jangly coalition that will win it for him in November and not begin making individual demands until December.
But it still matters that the president doesn't have a coherent agenda, or a political philosophy that is really clear to people. To the extent he has a philosophy it, tends to pop up furtively in stray comments and then go away. This is to a unique degree a presidency of inference, its overall meaning never vividly declared. In some eras, that may be a plus. In this one?
Republicans are worried about the power of incumbency, and it is a real power. Presidents command the airwaves, as they used to say. If they want to make something the focus of national discussion, they usually can, at least for a while. And this president is always out there, talking. But—and forgive me, because what I'm about to say is rude—has anyone noticed how boring he is? Plonking platitude after plonking platitude. To see Mr. Obama on the stump is to see a man at the podium who's constantly dribbling away the punch line. He looks pleasant but lacks joy; he's cool but lacks vigor. A lot of what he says could have been said by a president 12 or 20 years ago, little is anchored to the moment. As he makes his points he often seems distracted, as if he's holding a private conversation in his head, noticing crowd size, for instance, and wishing the front row would start fainting again, like they used to.
I listen to him closely and find myself daydreaming: This is the best-tailored president since JFK. His suits, shirts and ties are beautifully cut from fine material. This is an elegant man. But I shouldn't be thinking about that, I should be thinking about what a powerful case he's making for his leadership. I'm not because he's not.
It is still so surprising that a person who seems bored by politicking has risen to the highest political office in the land. Politics is a fleshly profession, it's all hugging, kissing, arm twisting, shaking hands. It involves contact. When you see politicians on C-Span, in the well of the House or the Senate after a vote, they're always touching each other's arms and shoulders. They touch each other more than actors! Bill Clinton was fleshly, and LBJ. How odd to have a Democratic president who doesn't seem to like humans all that much.
He's raised a lot of money, or so we keep reading. He has a sophisticated, wired, brilliant computer operation—they know how to mine Internet data and get the addresses of people who've never been reached by a campaign before, and how to approach them in a friendly and personal way. This is thought to be a secret weapon. I'm not so sure. All they can approach their new friends with is arguments that have already been made, the same attacks and assertions. If you have fabulous new ways to reach everyone in the world but you have little to say, does that really help you?
A while back I talked to a young man who was developing a wonderful thing for a website, a kind of constant live TV show with anyone anywhere able to join in and share opinions live, on the screen. You're on your iPad in the train station, you log on and start talking. He was so excited at the technology, which seemed impressive. But I thought: Why do you think people will say anything interesting or important?
This is the problem of the world now: Big mic, no message. If you have nothing to say, does it matter that you have endless venues in which to say it?
The old Washington gossip was that the Obama campaign was too confident, now it is that they are nervous. The second seems true if you go by their inability, months after it was clear Mitt Romney would be running against them, to find and fix on a clear line of attack. Months ago he was the out-of-touch corporate raider. Then he was a flip-flopping weasel. They momentarily shifted to right-wing extremist. This week he seems to be a Bushite billionaire.
Will all this work? When you look at Romney you see a wealthy businessman, a Mormon of inherently moderate instinct, a person who is conservative in his personal sphere but who lives and hopes to rise in a world he well knows is not quite so tidy. He doesn't seem extreme.
It's interesting that the Obama campaign isn't using what incumbent presidents always sooner or later use, either straight out or subliminally. And that is "You know me. I've been president for almost four years, you don't know that other guy. In a high-stakes world do you really want someone new?"
You know why they're not using "You know me"? Because we know him, and it's not a plus.
Here's one reason why.
There is a growing air of incompetence around Mr. Obama's White House. It was seen again this week in Supreme Court arguments over the administration's challenge to Arizona's attempted crackdown on illegal immigration. As Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News wrote, the court seemed to be disagreeing with the administration's understanding of federal power: "Solicitor General Donald Verrilli . . . met resistance across ideological lines. . . . Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court's only Hispanic and an Obama appointee, told Verrilli his argument is 'not selling very well.' " This follows last month's embarrassing showing over the constitutionality of parts of ObamaCare.
All of this looks so bush league, so scattered. Add it to the General Services Administration, to Solyndra, to the other scandals, and you get a growing sense that no one's in charge, that the administration is paying attention to politics but not day-to-day governance. The two most public cabinet members are Eric Holder at Justice and Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security. He is overseeing the administration's Supreme Court cases. She is in charge of being unmoved by the daily stories of Transportation Security Administration incompetence and even cruelty at our airports. Those incidents and stories continue, but if you go to the Homeland Security website, there is no mention of them. It's as if they don't even exist. ***
Maybe the 2012 election is simpler than we think.
It will be about Mr. Obama.
Did you like the past four years? Good, you can get four more.
Do the president and his people strike you as competent? If so, you can renew his contract, and he will renew theirs.
If you don't want to rehire him, you will look at the other guy. Does he strike you as credible, a possible president? Then you can hire him.
To follow, not lead; to suffer, not prosper; to despair, not dream.
I would start with energy.
I’d cut off America’s supply of cheap, abundant energy. I couldn’t take it by force. So, I’d make Americans feel guilty for using the energy that heats their homes, fuels their cars, runs their businesses, and powers their economy.
I’d make cheap energy expensive, so that expensive energy would seem cheap.
I would empower unelected bureaucrats to all-but-outlaw America’s most abundant sources of energy. And after banning its use in America, I’d make it illegal for American companies to ship it overseas.
If I wanted America to fail …
I’d use our schools to teach one generation of Americans that our factories and our cars will cause a new Ice Age, and I’d muster a straight face so I could teach the next generation that they’re causing Global Warming.
And when it’s cold out, I’d call it Climate Change instead.
I’d imply that America’s cities and factories could run on wind power and wishes. I’d teach children how to ignore the hypocrisy of condemning logging, mining and farming — while having roofs over their heads, heat in their homes and food on their tables. I would never teach children that the free market is the only force in human history to uplift the poor, establish the middle class and create lasting prosperity.
Instead, I’d demonize prosperity itself, so that they will not miss what they will never have.
If I wanted America to fail …
I would create countless new regulations and seldom cancel old ones. They would be so complicated that only bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists could understand them. That way small businesses with big ideas wouldn’t stand a chance – and I would never have to worry about another Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs.
I would ridicule as “Flat Earthers” those who urge us to lower energy costs by increasing supply. And when the evangelists of commonsense try to remind people about the law of supply and demand, I’d enlist a sympathetic media to drown them out.
If I wanted America to fail …
I would empower unaccountable bureaucracies seated in a distant capitol to bully Americans out of their dreams and their property rights. I’d send federal agents to raid guitar factories for using the wrong kind of wood; I’d force homeowners to tear down the homes they built on their own land.
I’d make it almost impossible for farmers to farm, miners to mine, loggers to log, and builders to build.
And because I don’t believe in free markets, I’d invent false ones. I’d devise fictitious products—like carbon credits—and trade them in imaginary markets. I’d convince people that this would create jobs and be good for the economy.
If I wanted America to fail … For every concern, I’d invent a crisis; and for every crisis, I’d invent the cause; Like shutting down entire industries and killing tens of thousands of jobs in the name of saving spotted owls. And when everyone learned the stunning irony that the owls were victims of their larger cousins and not people, it would already be decades too late.
If I wanted America to fail … I’d make it easier to stop commerce than start it – easier to kill jobs than create them – more fashionable to resent success than to seek it. When industries seek to create jobs, I’d file lawsuits to stop them. And then I’d make taxpayers pay for my lawyers.
If I wanted America to fail … I would transform the environmental agenda from a document of conservation to an economic suicide pact. I would concede entire industries to our economic rivals by imposing regulations that cost trillions. I would celebrate those who preach environmental austerity in public while indulging a lavish lifestyle in private. I’d convince Americans that Europe has it right, and America has it wrong.
If I wanted America to fail … I would prey on the goodness and decency of ordinary Americans. I would only need to convince them … that all of this is for the greater good. If I wanted America to fail, I suppose I wouldn’t change a thing.
All he is missing is to say - all of the above -should compete evenly in a free market. ----------------- Solar? Wind? Oil and gas? All of the above in Colorado
By Gov. John Hickenlooper 04/24/2012
The gas station near our neighborhood has raised the price of a gallon of gas by nearly 20 cents in just one week. It's the same everywhere. Gas is climbing to nearly $4 per gallon — essentially a job-killing tax on consumers just as we are beginning to see the economy improve.
Like Yogi Berra said, "It's déj… vu all over again." We have seen this play before.
In 1973, responding to our first energy crisis, Gov. John Love left Colorado to become the nation's first "energy czar." His charge in Washington, D.C, was to develop a plan that would help America become energy independent.
Forty years and seven presidents later, our country is finally beginning to achieve domestic energy independence. But as Thomas Friedman said, "The biggest energy crisis we have in our country today is the energy to be serious — the energy to do big things, in a sustained, focused and intelligent way."
It is why the Obama administration is calling for an "all of the above" energy policy that promotes development of a diverse mix of energy resources, including solar, wind, biofuels, natural gas, oil and coal.
An "all of the above" energy strategy makes sense for the country. It also makes sense for Colorado, where we are already leading the way.
Colorado is recognized as a leader in wind, solar and geothermal energy, and for what former Gov. Bill Ritter called the "new energy economy." Colorado is also home to abundant supplies of natural gas and low-sulfur coal.
Colorado was the first state to pass a voter-approved renewable energy standard. We have an ambitious but achievable goal of using 30 percent renewable energy by 2020, giving Colorado one of the nation's strongest renewable energy standards. In 2010, a bipartisan group of legislators approved the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, legislation that will improve Colorado's air quality by using clean-burning natural gas to generate electricity.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of industry and the environmental community, Colorado now has the country's strongest public disclosure rule on the process of fracking.
We have partnered with Oklahoma to lead an effort aimed at creating a market for compressed natural gas vehicles, which run cleaner, cheaper and keep jobs and dollars in the U.S. rather than exporting them to foreign dictatorships. Eleven other states have joined in the effort to leverage the purchasing power of state fleets.
Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Democratic state Sen. Pat Steadman and Republican state Rep. Jon Becker, we have an opportunity in House Bill 1315 to expand the mission of the Governor's Energy Office and recast this agency as the Colorado Energy Office.
The new Colorado Energy Office will promote all types of energy that protect the environment, lower consumer costs and increase energy security. The Steadman-Becker bill will extend funding for the Colorado Energy Office for five years and focus the office on long-term energy projects that have broad job creation potential.
In short, this legislation creates an "all-of-the-above" Colorado Energy Office that builds upon our state's national brand as a leader in energy conservation and renewable clean energy. It will also enhance Colorado's reputation for energy innovation.
The Steadman-Becker bill focuses the state's energy work on promoting innovative energy technology, no matter if the fuel source is wind, gas or coal, as long as that energy can benefit the environment and save consumers money.
Tens of thousands of Coloradans are currently employed in the energy sector, and with sustained focus on promoting energy resources and technologies, the Colorado Energy Office can help grow this diverse industry.
We need this bipartisan legislation to pass the General Assembly this year. The Steadman-Becker bill will help Colorado's economy create jobs and buttress Colorado as a national leader in developing an energy strategy that is both environmentally sensitive and economically sound.
America’s false autism epidemic, by Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus at Duke University’s department of psychology
The apparent epidemic of autism is in fact the latest instance of the fads that litter the history of psychiatry.
We have a strong urge to find labels for disturbing behaviors; naming things gives us an (often false) feeling that we control them. So, time and again, an obscure diagnosis suddenly comes out of nowhere to achieve great popularity. It seems temporarily to explain a lot of previously confusing behavior — but then suddenly and mysteriously returns to obscurity.
Not so long ago, autism was the rarest of diagnoses, occurring in fewer than one in 2,000 people. Now the rate has skyrocketed to 1 in 88 in America (and to a remarkable 1 in 38 in Korea). And there is no end in sight.
Increasingly panicked, parents have become understandably vulnerable to quackery and conspiracy theories. The worst result has been a reluctance to vaccinate kids because of the thoroughly disproved and discredited suggestion that the shots can somehow cause autism.
There are also frantic (and probably futile) efforts to find environmental toxins that might be harming developing brains, explaining the sudden explosion of autism.
Anything is possible, but when rates rise this high and this fast, the best bet is always that there has been a change in diagnostic habits, not a real change in people or in the rate of illness.
So what is really going on to cause this “epidemic”?
Perhaps a third of the huge jump in rates can be explained by three factors: the much-increased public and provider awareness of autism, the much-reduced stigma associated with it and the fact that the definition of autism has been loosened to include milder cases.
Sixteen years ago, when we updated the DSM (the official manual of psych diagnoses) for the fourth edition, we expanded the definition of autism to include Aspergers. At the time, we expected this to triple the rate of diagnosed cases; instead, it has climbed 20 times higher.
That unexpected jump has three obvious causes. Most important, the diagnosis has become closely linked with eligibility for special school services.
Having the label can make the difference between being closely attended to in a class of four versus being lost in a class of 40. Kids who need special attention can often get it only if they are labeled autistic.
So the autism tent has been stretched to accommodate a wide variety of difficult learning, behavioral and social problems that certainly deserve help — but aren’t really autism. Probably as many as half of the kids labeled autistic wouldn’t really meet the DSM IV criteria if these were applied carefully.
Freeing autism from its too tight coupling with service provision would bring down its rates and end the “epidemic.” But that doesn’t mean that school services should also be reduced. The mislabeled problems are serious in their own right, and call out for help.
The second driver of the jump in diagnosis has been a remarkably active and successful consumer advocacy on autism, facilitated by the power of the Internet. This has had four big upsides: the identification of previously missed cases, better care and education for the identified cases, greatly expanded research and a huge reduction in stigma.
But there are two unfortunate downsides: Many people with the diagnosis don’t really meet the criteria for it, and the diagnosis has become so heterogeneous that it loses meaning and predictive value. This is why so many kids now outgrow their autism. They were never really autistic in the first place.
A third cause has been overstated claims coming from epidemiological research — studies of autism rates in the general population. For reasons of convenience and cost, the ratings in the studies always have to be done by lay interviewers, who aren’t trained as clinicians and so are unable to judge whether the elicited symptoms are severe and enduring enough to qualify as a mental disorder.
It’s important to understand that the rates reported in these studies are always upper limits, not true rates; they exaggerate the prevalence of autism by including people who’d be excluded by careful clinical interview. (This also explains why rates can change so quickly from year to year.)
So where do we stand, and what should we do? I am for a more careful and restricted diagnosis of autism that isn’t driven by service requirements. I am also for kids getting the school services they need.
The only way to achieve both goals is to reduce the inordinate power of the diagnosis of autism in determining who gets what educational service. Psychiatric diagnosis is devised for use in clinical settings, not educational ones. It may help contribute to educational decisions but should not determine them.
Human nature changes slowly, if at all, but the ways we label it can change fast and tend to follow fleeting fashions.
Dr. Allen Frances, now a professor emeritus at Duke University’s department of psychology, chaired the DSM IV task force.
"Without recourse, motivation to not breach may be missing , , ,"
Agree. As I gave out my birth date, ss no. and other details multiple times today, it is hard to say anymore what is private. How could anyone diagnose a knee without a social security number, birth date, driver's license, employer and next of kin? I would like them to quit requiring my information rather than to add layers of officers, lawyers, costs and red tape to protect it. All you would need is a radio shack recording device on one appointment phone line for one day to steal dozens of identities before they ever got into the system for encription.
What ever became of the credit card numbers lost by Stratfor? My feeling there was that they learned their lesson, admitted not taking good enough precautions and won't let it happen again. Would a federal law enabling civil (or criminal) penalties be helpful in that instance?
You guys have called Hannity a blowhard too, maybe repetitive and not enjoyable to listen to, but in his diatribe I hear him use valid examples to back up the larger points that he makes. Rush L is as partisan-right as they come; when he pens an op/ed in the WSJ** he includes arguably valid points to support his assertions. This piece did not contain one that I could find.
Is it really a coherent point that this election is a referendum on Mitt Romney? Romney spelled out with the greatest clarity yet the difference in the visions between the parties and the campaigns and Blow says it is about tactics? Okay, if so, how so? He doesn't say.
Blow writes: "as the 2010 midterm elections showed, economic issues are something of a Trojan horse for the right" - huh?
Yes a liberal columnist is legit to print - the search is still on for a good one. This column to me is just sloppy journalism. He was ostensibly covering and opining on the Romney speech and there is no indication that he even saw it or heard it, not a single quote though he did say it contained 'some punchy lines'. It reflects on the publication 2 days after they admitted to being a partisan shill for the President - the link is in my post. This could havegone on cognitive dissonance of the left (or better yet ignore it for having adding nothing of value to the discussion), but Blow is media unless one admits the left and the mainstream media are one and the same.
Washington Post's Dana Milbank did a hard hitting piece recently echoed by NBC's Rachel Maddow about Romney lying. The core accusation was that he is saying this is the worst recovery since... who knows when.. while their fact checkers tell them 1982 was worse when Tip Oneills congress delayed Reagan's tax cuts before policies kicked in 6+% robust at this point in Reagan's first term. But we are not in recession or in double dip or triple axel, we are growing, hahaha, it's just less than breakeven growth and no one without a magnifying glass can see it.
83% of Americans say we are still in a Recession (Fox poll, not Fox viewers). Included in the sample are the usual 45% or so who say they approve of President Obama.
I say either the economic numbers will improve (durable good orders down in March) or those approval numbers have peaked. This economy is barking like a duck no matter what the experts say.
Karl Rove was writing about Romney's upcoming decision with the ususal advice, but this part is historically notable:
"This was brought home to me in 2000, when then-Gov. George W. Bush was strongly leaning toward picking Dick Cheney as his VP. He knew I was opposed and invited me to make the case against his idea. I came to our meeting armed with eight political objections. Mr. Bush heard me out but with a twist: I explained my objections with Mr. Cheney sitting, mute and expressionless, next to the governor.
The next day, Mr. Bush called to say I was right. There would be real political problems if he chose Mr. Cheney. So solve them."
Reading it I learned all about clueless liberal columnists and the papers will to publish them and nothing about Romney.
"Mitt Romney has made clear during this primary season that he was willing to be neither moderate nor independent — but rather “severely conservative” — in seeking the Republican nomination."
Mr. Blow, you are writing about a GENERAL ELECTION speech you moron. With no opponents left he is no longer seeking the endorsement. And the issue of the election isn't "regressivity" and "social direction" unless you are shamelessly in the ideological tank, it is about jobs, recovery, growth and American strength.
CCP, I don't know the numbers but one problem with solvency is that we already took 2 points off the pay in amount - temporarily. The other problem is that the funds are all co-mingled with the way out of balance other funds.
Dems propose ending the income cap, taxing it all the up, and tax the payout or cap or end the payout to 'wealthy' recipients, ending the insurance 'I' in FICA and converting it into just one more tax and spend welfare program.
Taxing it all the way up opens it up to lowering the rates. Means testing the payouts ends the sacred but phony that is my money mentality that protected the program all these decades. It becomes just another run of the mill general welfare program subject up to normal budget negotiations like everything else.
For how long were people going to believe there was a lockbox?
Social security on its current path is not the third rail of politics that it was 10 or 20 years ago IMHO. The reformers keep saying no one over 55 will be affected. Everyone else is currently on the pay in side of the ledger.
Yes, I agree with both of you. The FDR starting tax rate of 1% each on the employer and the employee on the first $3,000 of earnings, never to surpass a $90 total contribution per employee per year was enough to pay out small amounts to people who retire and live beyond life expectancy.
CCP, I was going to post this video and see you already posted it. Jon Lovitz formerly of SNL.
Is this a bit?? People are laughing at his lines but the attack sure sounds sincere and true. He is a Democrat who voted for Obama ripping Obama. Full of profanity and passion!
What's wrong with making money, making a success of yourself, earning it. Isn't that what we wanted you to do?
'This is the United States of America, they tell you you can do anything you want - so go for it. You go for it and you make it and they're like Fuck You. (hahahahaha from the audience) What the fuck was that, you just said go for it..."
JDN: "I like the idea of a base medical plan with the right to a deluxe private insurance plan supplementing the base plan....no one should go without a basic Health Care plan.
Crafty: "A sound offering from JDN!"
It could be a tax on the base of income like SS, and a tax credit for buying the base policy, not a new power, private purchase mandate. Regressive, but so is Obamacare.
What is interesting is that IF the JDN plan was what the Pelosi-Reid-Obama conspiracy had done in the first place, then the argument they were making to the Supreme Court would be true. Force the able bodied to pay their own way, one way or another, for the unexpected emergency services they will most certainly consume. Instead they went for the cradle to grave, social engineering, one size fits all, like it or not route, making the people who don't want to pay the 1/6th of what they consume pay the whole thing that the others consume for healthcare.
I made a trip to the emergency room recently, an interesting experience, my first time in since losing a pedestrian vs. car fight as a kid.
I went into an inner city ER and it was packed with people waiting and I walked out. Drove way out past my home to an exurban hospital and found the place empty with a ready and waiting entry clerk. In screaming pain she had me sit to answer a few questions - quite a few questions - and sign a few forms.
It seems to me, two things: 1) The poor already get free, taxpayer paid health care with or without Obamacare, and 2) if I was not poor but not insured they could have me sign one more form, essentially a patient loan acceptance like a student loan or home mortgage that would ever be forgiven, not even in bankruptcy, until paid. If you are financially able, you are financially responsible. (Imagine that.) Then if young people know these debts will stay with them the rest of their lives, some might choose to buy an affordable, emergency care policy.
You should not have to (by federal law) buy coverage for afflictions that do not apply to you, elective surgeries, routine care that could be fee for service, gender changes and the like, even for heroically expensive efforts to save your life against thin odds like transplants etc. Those could be based on 'choice' or based in the tax system if we so choose. Those rich enough or sufficient in financial responsibility could pledge assets up to the minimum so that doing business with the evil private insurance company is not a universal citizen mandate. You could work, earn, save your way out of it.
JDN bucks the liberal mantra (for just a moment) that whatever the most exotic, expensive medical procedure that any rich person is allowed to buy for themselves must then be extended to all. Two Americas?
A few SS posts on the health care thread because Obamacare advocates argue the similarity. Question was posed, Why is it NOT optional?
JDN's answer is pretty good: the government doesn't want people to be on the dole any more than they are because they opted out of Social Security, but didn't save their money, and/or lost it in the stock market and therefore at age 65 have absolutely zero.
More simply, it would not exist if it was optional.
What we call Social Security has two different meanings. What the voters were sold or think of it as is a long term contract with the government where we pay in as we work and take payments back when we retire. They hold it in that lockbox for safekeeping and compounding on our behalf. Of course none of that is true and if it were true it would NOT be constitutional. The congress of 1935 like the congress of 2013 has no power to bind future congresses - in my reading of consent of the governed.
More accurately, social security is a single time-frame, tax and spend program with the formulas changed at will by congress. If you earn income you pay into the federal government according to the formula of the current tax, like an income tax - okay it IS an income tax. If you are eligible/ 'entitled' you receive a check in the amount according to the program formula, like a spending program - okay, it IS a government spending program completely separate from the tax. No lockbox, no compounding, no balancing.
There is nothing constitutionally controversial about the taxing income, it was specifically authorized in an amendment. And there is nothing controversial about spending money, we do $4trillion of that a year. And there is no long term contract.
If you make the program optional, the recipients opt in and the payers opt out.
If you make the program optional, it is commerce - a private, consensual, financial contract. We have entire industries already doing that.
If the contract was consensual you would not need the confiscatory, prosecutorial or threat of incarceration powers of the federal government to administer it.
Newt gave Romney the gift that will take him through the general election, the label "Massachusetts Moderate", while Obama was watching the Republican primary circus foaming at the mouth to call whoever came out of it a right wing zealot. Now what, they will call him incompetent? Like Jimmy Carter calling ANYONE incompetent. Or argue their own policies are working, we are on a glide-path, lol.
Post-mortem on the Gingrich candidacy - I hate to say this but the first indicator that he had not learned self-discipline while out of power was that he showed up for the race looking out of shape.
They said of the last overweight President 100 years ago: “Taft is the most polite man in Washington,” “He gave up his seat on a streetcar to three women.”
Hey GM, Crafty's donations helped give Newt the confidence to borrow the other 4.5 million. If Newt had turned out to be the real deal, we wanted him to win. For me, same for Rick Perry. I was hoping to see in him exactly what the country was needing. That didn't go very well either.
Running for President and being in the spotlight over a sustained period is hard. Forget about being likable or connecting with voters, we are only asking Mitt Romney to still look competent on Nov. 6, and then govern that way.
Very interesting. It's not my job to help them, but if true they should put him at second chair right now.
I remember that in 1984 Mario Cuomo was the Barack Obama of his day with his gift of oratory on display in the keynote Dem convention address that would send Walter Mondale to the White House and end the Reagan debacle. He was the moment and then somehow he fizzled out. So did Mondale - one day later.
Reagan went on to win 49 states, lol. The whole soup-line-America message was way off track. We were growing at an unprecedented rate at that time and he was clueless to it. The economic doldrums then really were from his predecessor. The ridiculed shining city on a hill became more true than ever imagined as the Soviet republics and East bloc all reached to copy our freedoms. No one in America who wanted in to the prodiuctive economy was left behind. It wasn't trickle down, it was all around. Just a bunch of BS. Really Cuomo was one or two years too late to say that Reaganomics would not work. By 1984, it already had.
As I listen again, any chance John Edwards stole the failed message of 'The Tale of Two Cities'?
Interesting points from a Thomas Sowell race post requested to be copied here: ------------ "The last line in most of the transcripts shown on TV was that of the police dispatcher telling Zimmerman not to continue following Trayvon Martin.
That became the basis of many media criticisms of Zimmerman for continuing to follow him. Only later did I see a transcript of that conversation on the Sean Hannity program that included Zimmerman's reply to the police dispatcher: "O.K."
That reply removed the only basis for assuming that Zimmerman did in fact continue to follow Trayvon Martin. At this point, neither I nor the people who assumed that he continued to follow the teenager have any basis in fact for believing that he did or didn't.
Palestinian Sentenced to Death for Selling a Home to Jews
“According to various news agencies, Mr. Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former intelligence agent for the Palestinian Authority, has been sentenced to death, following a hurried trial. His crime: selling property to Jews in Hebron,” -------------- I'm sure the Obama EEOC is outraged. I can't seem to find our beer guzzling Sec of State's speech denouncing this.
"Imagine Obama winning and the Dems getting back the House. Now that's exciting."
Yes. Exciting. Like a bungee jump into the canyon without a cord.
Actually Republicans will be taking the Senate so it would be more of the same in terms of divided government and deadlock.
More of the same on a path to disaster is disaster. Exciting.
I would consider a financial wager with you on this scenario you find possible, the likelihood of the American people sending Barack Obama a new term and a mandate to do more of the same. Meaningless though I guess because neither of us would have in that circumstance the ability to pay.
After serving in the Senate and Sec of State and having been the most recent runner up, she is no longer what she was, a woman who only got what where she did on the coattails of her husband - and that criticism never stopped her either. Nor did the fact that she is a felon in the commodities case except for the expiration of the statute of limitations and was the center of the corruption in Arkansas for all those years where everyone except the Clintons went to prison for her business dealings.
She is as qualified as Condoleeza Rice and more, certainly enough to be VP. Yes that would add change and excitement (for someone) to the ticket. Joe Biden, though stupid, may know enough about the Chicago way to know that if that is what they want, he must step down. There is an Ambassador job open somewhere or he could 'spend more time with family'. OTOH, Biden is the least of Obama's problems right now.
And maybe Dems will remember why they turned her away last time. Her speeches will be mostly vacuous in content as she will be stuck with defending Barack Obama's economic record. Loose and relaxed (and prone to steal the show) may not be the level of discipline the masterminds of the reelection are looking for. Her job in the reelection will be attack dog so the new relaxed look would turn ugly quickly. After 4 years of failure she wouldn't be allowed to say a word about how she would have done things differently.
She might be better positioned in 2016 if she can start distancing herself from the domestic side of this tragic chapter in our history. Link back instead to the more center-left governing of the 90s, balanced budgets, etc.
Too bad that with either Hillary or Biden that they are not grooming any new leaders with more traditional Dem values for the future.
Thomas Sowell, black conservative, on a roll again about race and the Zimmerman Trayvon story. (Could also go under Media Issues) Two excerpts:
"the repeated references to Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic." Zimmerman is half-white. So is Barack Obama. But does anyone refer to Obama as a "white African"?
All these verbal games grow out of the notion that complexion tells you who is to be blamed and who is not. It is a dangerous game because race is no game." ....
"The last line in most of the transcripts shown on TV was that of the police dispatcher telling Zimmerman not to continue following Trayvon Martin.
That became the basis of many media criticisms of Zimmerman for continuing to follow him. Only later did I see a transcript of that conversation on the Sean Hannity program that included Zimmerman's reply to the police dispatcher: "O.K."
That reply removed the only basis for assuming that Zimmerman did in fact continue to follow Trayvon Martin. At this point, neither I nor the people who assumed that he continued to follow the teenager have any basis in fact for believing that he did or didn't.
This story if true is amazingly scary. That Obama won by 7 points and the cheating if true was unnecessary is irrelevant to the crimes. That John McCain said nothing is also irrelevant. Nixon won 49 states in 1972 and did not need any of the wrongdoing either.
Each fraudulent vote is a felony (?) and if the corruption reaches the top, or wherever it reaches, it is treason IMO to systematically undermine our electoral system.
OTOH, hard to believe they are sitting on "proof" and don't come forward.
How do you go from getting elected by saying to the voters:
"You pay as you go. If you want to start a new program, then you've gotta cut an old program that doesn't work" ...
to governing like he did...
to even running for reelection.
Why would anyone take him seriously?
(Republicans in name only spent way too much in the 2000s, but the deficit was $161 billion in the year that Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden-Clinton and a number of currently vulnerable Senators took power in Washington by sweeping both chambers of congress and it has averaged 1.3 Trillion during the Obama Presidency.) http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_deficit
"...keep in mind that when the DOW was at 6500 GM and I were predicting 6000. We have missed on that one by over 100%. That is a rather big miss!!!"
Good points. Also keep in mind that the DOW consists of 30 named companies who operate globally and can improve profitability by closing a store in your neighborhood, open one in Brazil and build it all in China. The exchange Crafty and JDN had a couple of days ago over NASDAQ was telling. Using the exuberance of it hitting an eleven year high is mathematically the same as saying that every dollar invested those entire 11 years returned a 0% return. We added 30 million people and our technology sector grew by zero? Did we make it all up in factory jobs?
While GM and Wesbury were arguing over the optimism in the US economy last year, Wesbury is now conceding that growth was 1.1%. That is not lethargic, that is pathetic. The DOW companies are up globally but in the US we are starting 600,000 fewer new companies a year than what is needed for vigorous growth (a statistic not shown in the DOW or S&P listings of existing companies) while budding entrepreneurs look at this business climate and new regulations coming and say: why bother.
Wesbury posts great data and analysis (no, let's not start snarking Scott who is more likely to read or post here) but Wesbury is read best here on the forum with the accompanying snark and criticisms for context and perspective.
I judge economists by how well they are able to explain what has already happened, not for their fortune telling capabilities and Wesbury is very good. PP ripped him the worst one time over housing data but that is a good reminder that all these economic measures have flaws.
Wesbury has put (IMO) some nice lipstick on a pig at times and I am regretful to say that GM in his pessimism has been at least partly right - 1.1% growth through most of last year?? For example, if we point out a 3% increase in housing starts for single family homes that needs to be in the context that they were recently almost at zero with the entire homebuilding industry shut down. They are growing nowhere near fast enough to employ back hardly any of the former construction workers, electricians and plumbers that used to build those homes. If the new starts are now apartments being constructed it means that many of the existing foreclosed or vacant homes will never come back. There are banking, budget and housing value consequences that come with that.
In Detroit, formerly America's 5th largest city larger than Chicago now smaller than San Jose, I imagine there are more homes gone than remaining and a city in bankruptcy. Other neighborhoods in other American inner cities have similar problems. McDonalds and Coca Cola are selling well in China, that does not mask the fact that not one significant product is manufactured in the population centers of North Minneapolis, the Southside of Chicago or East LA.
In an election year I am not inclined to accept sugar coating over what is currently not getting fixed with our man made economic problems. We have growth but it is below breakeven levels and at least close to the worst case in our lifetime for not growing our way back out of the mess that we made. One reason this badly managed economy doesn't fall off the cliff right now is because we are still sitting at the bottom of the cliff. Just my two cents.
"GM, can you predict the next one?" The "Walking Dead"?
I knew you could do it! Now we wait for the next 1% growth quarterly report and check the Wesbury July outlook (pre-written below) and see if you got it right.
'The Walking Dead' Growth in the Obama economy for the second quarter of 2012 was reported at 0.00% by the US Dept of stagflation, coincidentally the same as John Belushi's 7 year GPA in Animal House. I am Brian Wesbury looking out for your investments. We are nowhere near recession or double dip, much less a triple axel with an ACL tear on the landing. The outlook we see is for nothing but more smooth sailing ahead. Some encouraging news in housing starts which tripled last month from 0.1 to 0.3 starts. See you next month with more good news.