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5201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cherokee Drumbeat continues against Elizabeth Warren: Stepping Stones on: July 16, 2012, 08:05:01 PM
In this case some beautiful flute music accompanies the Cherokee message to Warren:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnkHNqTdWhc&feature=player_embedded
5202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: A Tornado of Misinformation on: July 16, 2012, 07:55:07 PM
John Hinderaker of Powerline covering for BBG on Pathological Sdcience: 

A Tornado of Misinformation

No matter the season, weather is highly variable. So global warming alarmists never miss an opportunity to turn the latest bad weather into an argument for taxing carbon, or whatever. When tornadoes struck this spring, the alarmists and their minions in the press were quick to blame global warming. Just a few examples:

Think Progress: “Poisoned Weather: Global Warming Helped Fuel Killer Tornadoes.”

CNN: “That’s climate change we are seeing.”

Treehugger.com: “[T]ornado season doesn’t usually begin until April, leading climate scientists to link the warmer weather to earlier (and potentially longer) seasons.”

NBC News: “ANNE THOMPSON: Extreme weather blew March 2012 into the record books. It saw almost three times the average number of reported tornadoes. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says our the unusually warm weather created conditions favorable for twisters. And while there’s no one culprit to blame for the rising thermometer, there is a prime suspect.

TOM KARL [NOAA]: Right now, we have a climate on steroids. What we mean by that is green house gases continue to increase in the atmosphere.”

And there was even more alarmism about global warming and tornadoes last year. So, what are the facts? If someone is going to argue that atmospheric CO2 is causing an extraordinary number of tornadoes, the prerequisite is an extraordinary number of tornadoes. Unfortunately for the alarmists, there is no evidence that tornadoes are increasing in the U.S. or anywhere else. Paul Homewood at Watts Up With That has the data. This chart shows “strong to violent tornadoes” as classified by NOAA from 1950 to the present. As is immediately obvious, there is no upward trend, although 2011 happened to have a lot of major tornadoes:

How about 2012? Is there any evidence of an unusual number of tornadoes this year? No. In fact, 2012 is, so far, a below average year for tornadoes:

It would be bad enough if the alarmists merely capitalized on random increases in bad weather phenomena to support their case. But the fact that the alarmists try to blame global warming in years that are actually below average in adverse weather events illustrates why they have no credibility with the American people.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/a-tornado-of-misinformation.php
5203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post on why Obama is in panic mode in July on: July 16, 2012, 07:40:21 PM
July panic for Obama — for good reason
By Jennifer Rubin
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/july-panic-for-obama--for-good-reason/2012/07/15/gJQARQFXmW_blog.html%22

Why has the Obama team been publicly wailing about losing out to Mitt Romney in the money race? Why would the president accuse his opponent of not merely being wrong or unqualified but criminal? After all, the polls are tied, so why so much worry in Obamaland?

Like a mystery novel, the answer is in front of our noses: The candidates are still tied in the polls. Let’s go step by step with the most logical explanation of the Obama campaign’s conduct.

The Obama team knew months ago that the economy would not sufficiently improve before Election Day to justify his reelection. Its polling showed simply blaming President George W. Bush wouldn’t be sufficient. The president and his political hacks concluded that it was too late and too risky to adopt a whole new second-term agenda. (It would risk offending either the base or centrists and reveal his first-term agenda to have been entirely inadequate.) So what to do?

Extend the Republican primary by running ads hitting Romney and encouraging Democrats to vote against Romney in Michigan and elsewhere. Then, before Romney could fully get his bearings, unload a barrage of negative attacks, scare mongering and thinly disguised oppo attacks through the mainstream media, taking advantage of many political reporters’ relative ignorance about the private equity field and their inclination to accept whole-hog President Obama’s version of “facts.”

The extent of that effort is only now becoming clear. The Associated Press reports: “President Barack Obama’s campaign has spent nearly $100 million on television commercials in selected battleground states so far, unleashing a sustained early barrage designed to create lasting, negative impressions of Republican Mitt Romney before he and his allies ramp up for the fall.” Think of it like the Confederacy’s artillery barrage on the third day of Gettysburg before Pickett’s charge — you have to in essence disable the other side before the charge begins or its curtains.

Virtually all of the ads were viciously negative, and judging from the number of Pinocchios they’ve racked up, continually and materially false.

But it didn’t work. Romney and Obama are still deadlocked. (The AP quoted Republican operative Carl Forti: “I don’t think . . . [Obama’s] got a choice. He has to try to change the dynamic now, but the polling indicates it’s not working. He doesn’t appear to be making any headway in the polls.”)

Few Democratic pundits are as sharp or as honest as William Galston, who concedes:

    On the one hand, the last round of Bain attacks has clearly rattled the Romney campaign, and a smattering of survey evidence suggests that the sustained ad campaign in swing states has scored some points. On the other hand, the Pew survey found no shift since May in swing-state voter preference.

    But it’s not too early to say that Obama’s vital signs look dicey. Over the past 33 months, his job approval has been lower than George W. Bush’s at a comparable time in his presidency for all but one week. Bush averaged above 50 percent in the quarter before his successful reelection campaign, while Obama has been stuck in the 46-48 percent range for months. And the famous “wrong track” measure now stands at 63 percent, versus 55 percent in the days preceding the vote in 2004. If these two numbers don’t improve for Obama, his presidency will be in jeopardy. And they probably won’t — unless the economy perks up noticeably.

So the Obama team has shot its wad. Its opponent has more ammo and more money now. Romney hasn’t been mortally wounded. And there isn’t money from Obama to keep up the 4-to-1 spending barrage. In fact without it, Obama might well have fallen behind in the race. So the Obama team pleads for money and turns up the volume of the attacks. (After calling Romney a criminal in July, what’s left for September and October?)

Obama is now committed to a strategy that isn’t working. He’s left to unleash his attack dogs and to pray for a miracle. Maybe the economy will rebound. Perhaps Romney will implode or pick a Sarah-Palin-type for vice president.

The reason, you see, that Obama’s camp has become so frantic in July is that its ineffectiveness in the summer subjects its side to grave risks. Having to defend his record, rely on his debate prowess and be evaluated on the economy over the last three years is as risky as, well, as sending thousands across a vast, empty field as enemy fire rains down upon them.
5204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Taylor continued, Monetary Policy and the Next Crisis on: July 16, 2012, 07:21:50 PM
July 5, 2012 | Wall Street Journal
news » hoover daily report  Hoover Institution Stanford University
. . . ideas defining a free society
http://www.hoover.org/news/daily-report/121856

Monetary Policy and the Next Crisis
by John B. Taylor (George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics; Chair, Working Group on Economic Policy; and member of the Task Force on Energy Policy)

At its annual meeting of the world's central bankers in Switzerland last week, the Bank for International Settlements—the central bank of central banks—warned about the harmful "side effects" of current monetary policies "in the major advanced economies" where "policy rates remain very low and central bank balance sheets continue to expand." These policies "have been fueling credit and asset price booms in some emerging economies," the BIS reported, noting the "significant negative repercussions" unwinding these booms will have on advanced economies.

The BIS emphasizes the view that international capital flows stirred up by monetary policy were a primary factor leading to the preceding crisis and that these flows would lead to the next one. This is in stark contrast to the "global saving glut" hypothesis—which says that the funds pouring into the U.S. in the previous decade originated largely from the surplus of exports over imports in emerging market economies.

The BIS should be taken seriously. It warned long in advance about the monetary excesses that led to the financial crisis of 2008.

The capital-flow story starts during extended periods of low interest rates, as in the U.S. Federal Reserve's low rates from 2003 to 2005 and its current near-zero interest rate policy, which began in 2008 and is expected to last to 2014. These low interest rates cause investors to search elsewhere for yield, and they buy foreign securities—corporate as well as sovereign—for that reason. Global bond funds in the U.S. thus shift their portfolios to these higher-yielding foreign securities and investors move to funds that specialize in such securities.

Low U.S. interest rates also encourage foreign firms to borrow in dollars rather than in local currency. U.S. branch offices of foreign banks play a key part in this process: As of 2009, U.S. branches of over 150 foreign banks had raised $645 billion to make loans in their home countries, making special use of U.S. money-market funds, where about one half of these funds' assets are liabilities of foreign banks.

This increased flow of funds abroad—whether through direct securities purchases or through bank lending—puts upward pressure on the exchange rate in these countries, as the foreign firms sell their borrowed dollars and buy local currency to expand their operations and pay workers. That's when foreign central banks enter the story. Concerned about the negative impact of the appreciating currency on their country's exports or with the risky dollar borrowing of their firms, they respond in several ways.

First, they impose restrictions on their firms' overseas borrowing or on foreigners investing in their country. But the differences in yield provide strong incentives for market participants to circumvent the restrictions.

Second, central banks buy dollar assets, including mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasurys, to keep the value of their local currency from rising too much as against the dollar. One consequence of these purchases is a foreign government-induced bubble in U.S. securities markets, as we saw in mortgage markets leading up to the recent crisis, and as we may now be seeing in U.S. Treasurys.

The flow of loans from the U.S. to foreign borrowers is effectively matched by a flow of funds by central banks back into the U.S. There is no change in the current account, and no role for the so-called savings glut.

Third, in order to discourage the inflow of funds seeking higher yields—which would drive up the exchange rate of their own currency—foreign central banks hold their interest rates lower than would be appropriate for domestic economic stability. There is much statistical evidence for this policy response, and, when you roam the halls of the BIS and talk to central bankers, as I did last week, you get even more convincing anecdotal evidence. Call it the lemming effect: Central banks tend to follow each other's interest rates down.

This is what happened in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis, and it has helped fuel Europe's current debt crisis. In the 2003-2005 period, low interest rates led to a flow of funds into U.S. mortgage markets as foreign central banks bought dollars, aggravating the housing boom and the subsequent bust.

Moreover, the European Central Bank's interest rate moves during 2003-2005 were influenced by the Fed's low rates. By my estimates, the interest rate set by the ECB was as much as two percentage points too low, which also had the effect of spurring housing booms in Greece, Ireland and Spain. Ironically, the European debt crisis, which originated in the booms and busts in Greece, Ireland and Spain, now has come around to threaten the U.S. economy.

The Fed's current near-zero interest rate policy, designed to stimulate the U.S. economy, has made it harder for other central banks to combat credit and asset price booms. A group of 18 emerging market central banks—including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Turkey—held their interest rates on average as much as five percentage points below widely used policy benchmarks—and global commodity prices doubled from 2009 to 2011, a boom rivaling the excesses leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. This global, loose monetary policy was likely a big factor pushing up commodity prices. The current sharp slowdown in most emerging markets coincides with an inevitable bust of this easy-money induced boom, and the decline of foreign demand for American goods is now feeding back to the U.S. economy.

The Fed needs to pay closer attention to global capital flows and the reactions of other central banks to its decision to set interest rates very low for long periods of time. This does not mean taking one's eye off the U.S. economy, but rather preventing booms and busts abroad from slowing growth at home precisely when we need it most.

Mr. Taylor, a professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of "First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity (Norton, 2012).
5205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: July 16, 2012, 07:16:34 PM
Headline writers are funny.  Republicans don't threaten the treaty, they oppose it - in numbers great enough to stop it.

"...anti-treaty advocates..."   a.k.a. pro-sovereignty advocates.

"Treaty opponents claim ratification would effectively tie the hands of the U.S. Navy to conduct operations worldwide, because those missions would have to be reviewed and approved by treaty members."    - Is that a claim or a fact?
5206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics - Road to Recovery by John B. Taylor, What would Hayek do? on: July 16, 2012, 07:08:30 PM
Read, learn, discuss and vote, please!   smiley

http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_3_friedrich-hayek.html

City Journal Summer 2012.
Table of Contents
A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Praise for City Journal.
ipad-vertical-ad-no-logo-01.jpg
   
John B. Taylor
The Road to Recovery
As Hayek taught, freedom and the rule of law drive prosperity.
Friedrich Hayek, second from left, at the London School of Economics in 1948
Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images
Friedrich Hayek, second from left, at the London School of Economics in 1948

Burdened by slow growth and high unemployment—especially long-term unemployment—the American economy faces an uncertain future. We have endured a painful financial crisis and recession, the recovery from which has been nearly nonexistent. Federal debt is exploding and threatening our children and grandchildren. In my view, the reason for this predicament is clear: we have deviated from the principles of economic freedom upon which America was founded.

Few thinkers of the past century understood the importance of economic freedom better than the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek did. As we confront our current situation, Hayek’s work has much to tell us, especially about policy rules, the rule of law, and the importance of predictability—topics that he discussed in his classic The Road to Serfdom (1944) and in greater detail in The Constitution of Liberty (1960). But his work in these areas goes beyond economics into fundamental issues of freedom and the role of government. That’s why reading Hayek is more important than ever.

As Hayek would insist, we need to be careful about what we mean by economic freedom. The basic idea is that people are free to decide what to produce, what to buy, where to work, and how to help others. The American vision, as I explain in my book First Principles, held that people would make these choices within a policy framework that was predictable and based on the rule of law, with strong incentives emanating from a reliance on markets and a limited role for government. Historically, America adhered to these principles more than most countries did, a major reason why the nation prospered and so many people came to these shores.

But we haven’t always followed the principles consistently. Leading up to the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve cut money growth sharply, deviating from a predictable policy framework. The federal government then worsened the Depression by raising tax rates and tariffs and by passing the National Industrial Recovery Act, which overrode market principles and went well beyond sensible limits on government. From the mid-1960s through the 1970s, federal policy again deviated from the principles of economic freedom: the era saw unpredictable short-term stimulus packages, discretionary “go-stop” monetary policies, and wage and price controls—the antithesis of an incentive-based market system. The results: double-digit unemployment, a severe slowdown in economic growth, and the Great Inflation. Well before that time, Hayek had rightly lamented such short-term approaches: “I cannot help regarding the increasing concentration on short-run effects . . . not only as a serious and dangerous intellectual error, but as a betrayal of the main duty of the economist and a grave menace to our civilization.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, America moved back toward its first principles, a restoration that lasted until recently. Temporary stimulus programs were out; permanent tax reform was in. Steady-as-you-go monetary policy replaced go-stop monetary policy. We removed the last vestiges of price controls and reduced inappropriate regulations. The major federal welfare program devolved to the states. The results this time: declining unemployment, lower inflation, and eventually a revival of economic growth.

Now we have tragically gone off the path again. Leading up to the latest downturn, the Federal Reserve held interest rates too low for too long, deviating from the rules-based monetary policy that had worked so well in the 1980s and 1990s. Government regulators failed to enforce existing rules on banks and other financial institutions, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The resulting crisis prompted the Wall Street bailouts, which soon extended beyond their original mission. The auto-company bailouts resulted in arbitrary infringements on creditors’ rights and interventions into business operations. Then came the return of the failed stimulus packages of the 1970s, the Fed’s quantitative easing, and the regulatory uncertainty associated with the 2010 health-care legislation and the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law—which gives government the discretionary authority to take over any failing financial firm and rescue its creditors.

One sign of the increase in policy uncertainty is that over the past 12 years, the number of provisions of the tax code expiring annually has increased tenfold. Another is that the number of federal workers engaged in regulatory activities (excluding those in the Transportation Security Administration) has grown by 25 percent from 2007 to 2012. Most emblematic of the deviation from our basic principles is the self-inflicted fiscal cliff that we face at the end of this year, when virtually the entire tax code will change. And the Fed has effectively replaced the money market with itself, setting a zero-percent interest-rate policy through 2014.

Government policy has largely caused these problems. It follows that we can restore prosperity by changing the policy and implementing a plan based on our core economic principles. We should reduce federal spending, as a share of GDP, to what it was in 2007, which would let us balance the budget and stop the debt explosion with revenue-neutral, pro-growth tax reform. We should unwind our monetary excesses and normalize monetary policy, using a rules-based system of the kind that worked well in the 1980s and 1990s. We should halt the rapid expansion of the entitlement state, keeping entitlement spending growth close to GDP growth and doing it in a way that gives decision-making responsibility to people and states, rather than to the federal government. And we should replace most of Dodd-Frank with bankruptcy reform and simpler regulations, with the goal of ending government bailouts.

In implementing this new economic strategy, policymakers should be guided by Hayek, especially by his emphasis on the rule of law and the predictability of policy. As he wrote in The Road to Serfdom, “Nothing distinguishes more clearly conditions in a free country from those in a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principles known as the Rule of Law. Stripped of all technicalities, this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand—rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge.”

Rules-based policies produce more stable economies and stronger economic growth. When people make decisions, they look to the future. Prices that convey information and provide incentives reflect the future. So good decisions as well as the prices that guide them depend on the predictability of future policy—and thus on clear policy rules.

But Hayek emphasized that rules for government policy do something more. The rule of law protects freedom, as the title of Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty suggests. Hayek traced this idea through the ages—first to Aristotle, then to Cicero, about whom Hayek wrote: “No other author shows more clearly . . . that freedom is dependent upon certain attributes of the law, its generality and certainty, and the restrictions it places on the discretion of authority.” Hayek also cited John Locke, who wrote that the purpose of the law was “not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. . . . Where there is no law, there is no freedom.” Finally, Hayek pointed to James Madison and other American statesmen who put these ideas into practice in a new nation. These thinkers distrusted government officials as protectors of freedom; the rule of law, they believed, was more reliable.

So rules have a dual purpose: encouraging economic growth and protecting freedom. The best way to understand the two advantages of rules is to examine what happens in their absence, as in the case of wage and price controls. Such controls are arbitrary: they require decisions by people at the top about virtually every price and wage; they distort economic signals and incentives; they create shortages and surpluses. These effects occur whether the price controls are imposed on the whole economy or on a particular sector, such as health care.

Many wonder how a system of rules can work in practice, with politicians and government officials continually pressured to “do something” about economic problems. Rules mean that you do nothing, say the skeptics, and that’s impossible in today’s charged political climate and hour-to-hour, even minute-to-minute, news cycle. My colleague George Shultz calls the problem “the urge to intervene.”

Hayek had an answer to that challenge. In The Road to Serfdom, he pointed out the need to clear up a “confusion about the nature of this system” of formal rules: “the belief that its characteristic attitude is inaction of the state.” Offering one example of a rules-based system, he noted that “the state controlling weights and measures (or preventing fraud or deception in any other way) is certainly acting.” By contrast, a system in which the rule of law was flouted wasn’t necessarily characterized by action: “The state permitting the use of violence, for example, by strike pickets, is inactive.” Similarly, simple rules for monetary policy don’t mean that the central bank, in response to events, takes no action at all with interest rates or the money supply. The bank might provide loans in the case of a bank run, for instance. But these actions can be taken in a predictable manner. For that matter, deviation from the rules sometimes results in inaction. A decision by government regulators not to act when financial institutions take on unreasonable risks, for example, constitutes both inaction and a violation of the rule of law.

Some argue that crises like the present one force policymakers to deviate from rules and the rule of law. But a crisis may be the worst time to do so. In a crisis, what is vital is increased strategic clarity, not increased unpredictability. That fact became clear following the first bailout of the recent crisis, the Bear Stearns intervention: few knew what to expect the next time a financial institution wanted help, since no strategy had been articulated. The crisis worsened. The sooner people can make decisions with knowledge of the rules, the sooner recovery will come about.

To get America back on track, we must choose leaders who believe in the principles of economic freedom and will implement them. But here, Hayek issued a warning. In a chapter in The Road to Serfdom called “Why the Worst Get on Top,” he suggested that people with the ambition to become leaders, either by election or by appointment, are often interventionists, since their tendency is to do whatever it takes to succeed. Further, those who benefit directly from discretionary government interventions naturally support such officials. Industries and firms that benefit from bailouts will favor officials comfortable with bailouts, for example, and even academic research on economic policy will become biased toward interventionism. Perhaps the answer to Hayek’s warning is to elect or appoint people regarded as overly committed to the principles of economic freedom. Then, after experiencing the heavy pressure pushing them toward intervention, they may emerge with a sensible balance. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan took this tack, appointing many Ph.D.s from the University of Chicago’s free-market school of economics to positions of leadership.

John Maynard Keynes took a different view. In a famous letter to Hayek about The Road to Serfdom, Keynes expressed his preference for more interventionist appointees—but he wanted only those whom he viewed as beneficent interventionists. “What we want is not no planning, or even less planning, indeed I should say we almost certainly want more,” Keynes wrote. “But the planning should take place in a community in which as many people as possible, both leaders and followers, wholly share your own moral position.” Milton Friedman later cited this letter to illustrate Keynesianism’s defining characteristic: its focus on discretionary interventions taken by people in powerful government positions.

Even those who support the principles of economic freedom can sometimes get off track. One might argue that such deviations were needed in the fall of 2008; perhaps the actions taken then prevented a more serious panic. But that’s no reason to embrace the discretionary policies that led to the mess in the first place. Such an argument is like saying that the person who set fire to a house should be exonerated because he then put out the fire and saved a few rooms.

Is today’s departure from economic freedom any less serious than the assault on freedom that Hayek wrote about in The Road to Serfdom? Am I exaggerating when I say that the future of American prosperity—or even global prosperity—is at stake?

While central planning may not be the right term for it, consider the 2010 health-care law, which gave the federal government the power to mandate the terms of everyone’s health-insurance package and which created an Independent Payment Advisory Board to determine the price, quantity, and quality of the medical services—from number of MRIs to the necessary accuracy of CT scans—that a medical professional provides. Is that so different from the way centrally planned economies determine the price, quantity, and quality of livestock, wheat, or steel that can be produced? Or consider monetary policy. A few years ago, I coined the term “mondustrial policy” to describe the Fed’s practice of quantitative easing, which combined industrial policy (discretionary assistance to certain firms and industries) with monetary policy (printing money to finance that assistance). Since then, the Fed has purchased $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities. In fiscal year 2011, it purchased 77 percent of the newly issued federal debt, long after panic conditions had subsided.

Hayek argued that inflationary monetary policy undermines economic freedom, in part because it hits the elderly and the poor particularly hard, rationalizing more discretionary interventions. Though the inflation problem is less severe now than in the 1970s—at least so far—the impact of the Fed’s multiyear, zero-percent interest-rate policy resembles that of the Great Inflation era: it significantly cuts real incomes for those who have saved over a lifetime for retirement.

By moving away from the basic principles of economic freedom, government policy has caused our recent economic malaise. It should be no consolation that some of our friends in Europe are facing worse economic struggles, often because they moved even further away from those principles. The good news is that a change in government policy will alleviate the problems and help restore economic prosperity. Understanding Hayek’s work, written during similar circumstances, will help us greatly as we undertake that difficult task.

John B. Taylor is the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution. His article is adapted from the 2012 Friedrich Hayek Lecture, which he delivered on winning the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Prize.
5207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: July 16, 2012, 05:02:12 PM
"even Herman Cain who wrote the partisan piece..."

Democrat Obama is dismantling previous Dem Pres. Clinton's signature achievement - that Newt wrote and Bill with his zipper down took the credit.  Pointing that out is partisan?  Good grief.  Transfer payments are MOST of the federal budget.  We believe in states' rights and therefor are not entitled to comment on programs and requirements - that we are paying for??  Huh?  We lost that war FYI and we WILL comment!  Helpful might be if YOU put in YOUR post what YOU think about whether there should or should not be a federal work requirement in these pay to not work multi-trillion dollar federal programs that are destroying our country and our culture - instead of ad hominem on the others.

"All it is is a test if you will, for each state to do as it sees fit on how to handle the situation of welfare to work programs.  Sounds reasonable to me."

I agree these all should be state programs, but IS it a state program or is it a federal program?  Let's give states choices on other federal programs too, like whether or not to collect the federal income taxes, estate taxes or to allow abortions in their state as well.  Sound reasonable?  Maybe we could structure it all so that the central government had just limited powers in the first place, lol.
5208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races: Wisconsin Senate on: July 12, 2012, 09:37:34 AM
Very good coverage of the Wisconsin Senate race at the link, very interesting:

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.com/news/article/wisconsin-senate-race-will-be-test-of-political-mood

Dem retiring.  Dems picked a far left lesbian activist from the state's most liberal city.  R's have establishment candidate Tommy Thompson a 3 term Governor and former Health and Human Services Secretary plus 3 tea party types competing for an August primary win.

As with each close race, control of the Senate is presumed to be at stake.
5209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: July 12, 2012, 09:25:28 AM
The Democrats answer to illegal border intrusions was to decimate the job situation in our economy.  Got to hand it to 'em, it worked.

Illegals entering down, crime rate down.  Hmmmm.
5210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: July 12, 2012, 09:10:09 AM
EBay reputation tracking is a public market version of what Scott G posted for bond traders' reputations, keeping their word off a phone call and a hand written note.  I wouldn't argue for no regulation but I would guess that would be more effective than what we have now.
5211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: July 12, 2012, 09:04:46 AM
The boat is marked Texas Highway Patrol.  Don't let the facts get you off message.

Arizona doesn't blame immigrants for their problems.  What a bunch of Bullshit to intentional confuse armed robbers with invited guests.  Hard to say what the crime problems would be without Eric Holder arming them.
5212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues: Texas "Highway Patrol" Gunboats Patrolling the Rio Grande on: July 12, 2012, 12:49:18 AM
How long until Obama/Holder shut this operation down?

http://vimeo.com/45377841  (2 minute Houston television news, must see video)

http://standwitharizona.com/blog/2012/07/11/border-insecurity-heavily-armed-texas-gunboats-now-patrolling-the-rio-grande/

"Now, to deal with the Federal failure to secure the river and the drug and human smugglers who use it, Texas Department of Public Safety  has deployed gunboats on the river, armed with major firepower. DPS now has 4 shallow-water vessels (soon to increase to 6), each armed with six M-240, 30-caliber automatic machine guns that fire 900 rounds per minute.

Each of the boats, equipped with armor-plating, night vision equipment and a small arsenal of weaponry, costs about $580,000."
5213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: July 11, 2012, 05:39:39 PM
Always fun to see that famous people are picking up on the themes here in the forum.  Sometimes they credit us, sometimes they don't.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303740704577520890454878330.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

The Politics of Cognitive Dissonance
Why closed-mindedness is an imperative for the left.

By JAMES TARANTO  Editor of OpinionJournal.com and member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board

"Don't repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them."

That bit of advice, No. 1 on a list titled "The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know," comes from the promotional material for "The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic" by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling. (You may remember them from our June 12 column.) In a PJMedia.com essay, the anonymous blogger whose pen name is Zombie draws out the implications:

    Many politicians, pundits and talking heads have taken Lakoff's recommendation to heart. This is why conservatives and liberals can't seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative "moral frames," every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally [sic] out of left field.

    Thus, he is the progenitor of and primary advocate for the main reason why liberalism fails to win the public debate: Because it never directly confronts, disproves or negates conservative notions--it simply ignores them. . . .

By intentionally refusing to challenge, disprove, understand or even acknowledge the existence of the other side's argument, you allow that argument to grow in strength and win converts.

This is an important insight, not only into the way the left debates and otherwise communicates, but into the way the left thinks--or fails to think. The book's subtitle, after all, promises an instruction in "Thinking and Talking Democratic." Lakoff and Wehling command their readers not only to act as if opposing arguments are without merit, but to close their minds to those arguments. What comes across to conservatives as a maddening arrogance is actually willed ignorance.

Such an attitude is the product of leftist intellectuals, not political professionals--and, as Zombie notes, the latter are foolish to follow it:

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, is an exemplary Lakoffite, relentlessly hammering home her own framing of each issue, and utterly ignoring the Republican frame, except on rare occasion to mock it. How effective is this? A quick survey of conservative sites shows that she is regarded as the Queen of Buffoons, a figure meriting gleeful derision and eliciting relief that the Democrats have selected the worst possible spokesperson. She certainly hasn't changed a single conservative mind, I can assure you. But has she converted "undecided" voters to the liberal cause?

    I posit that the answer is "No," and I'll explain why. . . . Lakoff has an authoritative "scientist" persona in addition to his partisan "activist" persona, but in order to lend gravitas to his arguments he must conflate the two and pretend to be an impartial scientist while in reality enunciating transparently partisan talking points. Yet people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz don't have that option, so that when she speaks, every single listener already knows that she is a partisan spewing partisan spin. She doesn't have an "authority hat" to put on which might give her statements the veneer of impartial truth.

This is one difference between an intellectual and a politician: When an intellectual haughtily dismisses opposing arguments, he does so in part by resting on his authority as an intellectual. This authority may give him a false sense of his own intellectual strength and that of his arguments.

Recall how lefty law professors thought mockery a sufficient response to the idea that Congress's Commerce Clause authority has limits. Lefty journalists and politicians joined in the mockery, made confident by the authoritative pronouncements of the scholars. The U.S. Supreme Court has now adopted a legal principle that elite law professors refused even to comprehend.

The other difference between an intellectual and a politician is that the latter's profession entails regular reality checks. If the Democrats do badly this fall, Barack Obama and the unwieldily named Wasserman Schultz will be understood to have failed. He will lose his job, and she will likely lose her prominence. Lakoff presumably has tenure, which shields him from reality. Barring a severe financial crisis in the higher education industry, he's set for life.
5214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: July 11, 2012, 05:25:19 PM
"What is your 2008 point?"

The winner ran on a couple of phony autobiographies and a sixth of a term as a junior senator.  We can check the record but I don't recall you or any other supporter pushing for more documents.  What a joke.

What part of your voting decision will hinge on his private tax returns?  None of it is my guess.  The Swiss known for their banking, what's the point of exposing a bank account that isn't where you and I bank?  Nothing except to embarrass him to the small minded.  Newt said it so it is an okay criticism?  Newt said quite a bit that isn't very flattering to Obama too, lol. 

"the clamor for him to do so will be become louder and louder and LOUDER"

Yes, the won't be clamoring about JOB GROWTH this election season.  Just shiny objects, over there!

5215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena, This is going to be a one-term Proposition on: July 11, 2012, 04:07:27 PM
The President in his own words says that if he can't deliver results he will be held accountable.  "If I don't have this done in 3 years, this is going to be a one term proposition."
5216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations, Morris: UN plot to tax US on: July 11, 2012, 04:00:40 PM
Just say NO!!

That is one beauty of this forum, a place to warn people about things like this!!

Doesn't the constitution require that bills to raise revenue MUST originate in the House?
http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/ss/clssorigcl.htm

Paraphrasing the President's favorite adviser Valerie: who cares about the constitution if you can just get the policy you want.
5217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: July 11, 2012, 03:47:27 PM
There isn't any reason to think something is wrong with his tax returns.  We have a federal agency that already went over them.  What is wrong is that people who won't vote for him anyway would love to get all the PRIVATE information they can to make more criticisms of his success and achievement.  What were the names you called him and his wealth? Filthy??

And it's a little late to get the records that candidate Obama refused.  He flunked his behind the wheel test.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CCN5-ovvFL0

If you don't need to show a birth certificate to be President, you don't need to show a tax return.  The double standard is pathetic.  If full disclosure was some kind of requirement, what happened in 2008?
5218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How Do You Get in to Hear Eric Holder Say That Voter ID Laws are racist? on: July 11, 2012, 09:31:28 AM
How Do You Get Into the NAACP Convention to Hear Eric Holder Say That Voter ID Laws Are Racist?

Of course: you have to present a “government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license).” You can’t make this stuff up...
July 10, 2012 — John Hinderaker, Powerlineblog.com

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/how-do-you-get-into-the-naacp-convention-to-hear-eric-holder-say-that-voter-id-laws-are-racist.php
5219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 11, 2012, 09:26:53 AM
In a related development, 'Meet The Press' Hits 20-Year Low

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/meet-the-press-ratings-low_n_1578306.html

I believe that show, with all the potential to be the most informative an television, used to be on primetime.  

They don't even ask permission to treat every Republican as a hostile witness.
5220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 11, 2012, 09:20:00 AM
This is a nice post by Bigdog:  "Congress doesn't tell people who they must employ. Congress tells employers who they can't exclude from employment based on characteristics that have nothing to do with merit."

I think it comes closer to describing how the laws ought to be (if congress was authorized that power in the constitution) than how they are.  Also it is the agencies, more so than congress, who write the devil into the details.
5221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: July 11, 2012, 09:13:42 AM
Thanks Crafty for the original post and the Scott Grannis reply, I was hoping someone like that would answer it.  I have not followed LIBOR but with other crises and scandals of the past, the worst situations seem to arise out of the botched regulation/ partial deregulation combinations.  S&L's in the past completely had their hands tied down to interest rates defined to the quarter of a point, then they had more discretion but still with their hands tied for failure.  The more recent banking collapse is a similar example.  Insist on lending for criteria other than creditworthiness, pass laws that disrupt investment and asset markets then watch them collapse.  Not really puzzling.

"How has it been possible for banks to grow from less than 4 per cent of the global economy to more than 12 per cent of the global economy without impoverishing others? "

I don't think it is the impoverished that pay most banking fees, but prices and fees get exorbitant when government blocks competition with all the licensing and regulations, some necessary and appropriate and some not.  I try to pay no direct fees to banks, but if you are trying to take your company public or entering into mergers and acquisitions, paying a bank a reasonable fee for competent handling of those transactions and for access to liquidity may add quite a lot of value.  Maybe you choose or require the best, a Morgan Stanley or whoever is still out there.  But if their fees are outrageous, doesn't that open the door to competition, newer smaller firms who can do the same service for less.  The question really is - why is the door closed to aggressive price competition that all real markets experience?  And the answer to that for sure is the government regulations and compliance complexities that go with them.

As Grannis suggests, the fees and scope of it all is so expensive because the regulations are so multi-layered and complex that only a few elite firms are able to handle the most complex transactions.

Note how at the end, after all that detail and expertise, the greater regulations solution is left totally vague: "...then we need some new models and some new rules."

Isn't that exactly how we got Dodd-Frank?  We needed new rules because we needed new rules so here they are, more and more layers of complexity and so what of the consequences.

What I don't exactly get in banking today is the collusion between the Fed and the private banks.  They aren't lending money that other people saved anymore.  They are lending nothing but manufactured or printed money.  Good luck putting that toothpaste back in the tube.
5222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 10, 2012, 05:34:22 PM
"...but there is correlation and causation, and for Sowell to seem to understand that is problematic."

Not sure if I followed you correctly and speaking for me not Sowell.  Changing the rules and moving the goal posts to save specific union Dem constituency jobs, that may well have come back redefined, coincided with a loss of about 2 million jobs generally in the economy.  If there is correlation/causation, it is that 'saving' those jobs from renegotiation coincided for sure and maybe caused net jobs lost.  The curve is clearly downward at that time, and those were the policies.

Sowell takes President Obama to task for job gain claims that are not net jobs and he also takes critics of Obama to task for jobs lost claims that are not net jobs numbers.  I think you underestimate Sowell to see him as partisan more than principled.  As one who has read his books that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND 'Basic Economics' and 'Applied Economics', I think he is using this rhetoric of the moment as a take off point to point out underlying principles he believes are crucial to successful operation of the economy.
http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Economics-Common-Sense-Economy/dp/0465022529
http://www.amazon.com/Applied-Economics-Thinking-Beyond-Stage/dp/0465003451

I think it was me more than Sowell forcing the auto industry example.  It just seems like a perfect example of the difference in views.  Sure the government can always create or save particular jobs, but at the the expense of not having the kind of system where scarce resources like manufacturing capacity and labor allowed to move freely to their most productive use.  We can move goal posts around during a soccer game to favor certain shooters or certain shots at certain times, but then what is left of the game?  Cronyism, like most third world and ash heap economies.  Crafty is right on auto jobs IMO.  Preventing a needed reorganization is not the same as saving jobs.  United Airlines and others were still flying passengers in the days, months and years after their bankruptcies. 

If you prop up every dead tree in a forest does that maximize its vitality or spur robust new growth underneath?  I think not.

Sowell continued, regarding Obamacare: "the Obama administration has made businesses reluctant to hire because of the huge uncertainties it has created for businesses as regards the cost of adding employees."

This is without a doubt true and of no fault whatsoever of the Republican House who provided zero votes to this anti-employment legislation and already voted to repeal.

A good supporting piece to that I think is a post slightly up the page called:
"Why France Has So Many 49-Employee Companies"
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-03/why-france-has-so-many-49-employee-companies

You can force 50 person companies do this and do that, whether it is healthcare, family leave, daycare, layoff notices, minimum benefits, maximum hours, excess profits taxes, you name it, but you can't (yet) force people to form 50 person companies.

Those legislators and regulators are blind I think to the point of Feldstein in the Morris tax piece that people change their behavior to policy changes.  In that example it was to the tune of misjudging revenues by a factor of two thirds!

Obama's policies are job creation killing.  Why shouldn't he be singled out for a two million or so net loss of American jobs?  What are the policies that Republican kept President Obama from implementing during the Obamacare passage debacle?  Passing that massive tax increase during a recession was job one while he had the House and 60 Senators.  On the other side of the coin the Pelosi-Obama congress of '07-'08 most certainly neglected to force Fannie Mae and CRA reform and prevented the Bush administration from making temporary tax cuts permanent. 

Fairness over growth has brought us neither.
5223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 10, 2012, 10:56:56 AM
BD: "It is a good thing 5,000 jobs were saved. Otherwise there would have been a net loss of 31,000 jobs."

I think you either missed or disagree with his point.

Sowell: "5,000 jobs were saved in the American steel industry, 26,000 jobs were lost in American industries that produced products made of steel."

His point is that these companies had to pay more than foreign competitors did for steel. Saving steel by making US manufacturers pay more for it a) puts them at a competitive disadvantage and b) gives them reason to move their own manufacturing out.  These job losses under Sowell's logic are not additive, they are offsetting.

Saving auto jobs by changing the rules of capitalism assumes that the resource shifts and the unpredictability that causes has no other effect, negative effect, on the other participants, investors, lenders, job creators for example.  The auto industry bailout began in Dec 2008.  Net jobs saved on this BLS employment chart during the period following the auto rescue do not look very impressive, of course it is never the case that all other factors are held constant.


Economic freedom with a fairly level, predictable playing field, more than auto manufacturing, made the American economy great. There is no reason we can't have both IMHO.

Looking forward to examples of where central governments picking winners and losers outperform economic freedom.
5224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: July 10, 2012, 10:13:30 AM
 smiley

I stand corrected!  That must be just urban myth in NE.  Of course I also got the name of the stadium wrong but to me Nebraska is just drive-through country, and a place where control of the Senate in 2013 and the Supreme Court for the next three decades might be determined.

My second try at that point:  Combine the stadium attendance with the Nebraska football television audience and see how those towns compare.  
5225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Thomas Sowell, Jobs vs. Net Jobs on: July 10, 2012, 09:37:43 AM
More famous people reading the forum, Thomas Sowell helps me today to answer Bigdog's tough question posed recently: "You don't recognize the connection to building cars in the US and US jobs?"

Sowell: "Creating (saving in this case) particular jobs does not mean a net increase in jobs.

Jobs Versus Net Jobs

By Thomas Sowell - July 10, 2012
   
One of the reasons for the popularity of political rhetoric is that everybody can be right, in terms of their own rhetoric, no matter how much the rhetoric of one side contradicts the rhetoric of the other side.

President Obama constantly repeats how many millions of jobs have been created during his administration, while his critics constantly repeat how many millions of jobs have been lost during his administration. How can both of them be right -- or, at least, how can they both get away with what they are saying?

There are jobs and there are net jobs. This is true not only today but has been true in years past.

Back during the 1980s, when there were huge losses of jobs in the steel industry, the government restricted the importation of foreign steel. It has been estimated that this saved 5,000 jobs in the American steel industry.

But of course restriction of competition from lower-priced imported steel made steel more expensive to American producers of products containing steel. Therefore the price of these products rose, making them less in demand at these higher prices, causing losses of sales at home and in the world market.

The bottom line is that, while 5,000 jobs were saved in the American steel industry, 26,000 jobs were lost in American industries that produced products made of steel. On net balance, the country lost jobs by restricting the importation of steel.

None of this was peculiar to the steel industry. Restrictions on the importation of sugar are estimated to have cost three times as many jobs in the confection industry as they saved in the sugar industry. The artificially high price of sugar in the United States led some American producers of confections to relocate to Mexico and Canada, where the price of sugar is lower.

There is no free lunch in the job market, any more than there is anywhere else. The government can always create particular jobs or save particular jobs, but that does not mean that it is a net creation of jobs or a net saving of jobs.

The government can create a million jobs tomorrow, just by hiring that many people. But where does the government get the money to pay those people? From the private economy -- which loses the money that the government gains.

With less money in the private sector, the loss of jobs there can easily exceed the million jobs created in the government or in industries subsidized by the government. The Obama administration's creation of "green jobs" has turned out to cost far more money per job than the cost of creating a job in the private sector.

In addition to reducing jobs in the private sector by taking money out of the private sector to pay for government-subsidized jobs, the Obama administration has made businesses reluctant to hire because of the huge uncertainties it has created for businesses as regards the cost of adding employees. With thousands of regulations still being written to implement ObamaCare, no one knows how much this will add to the cost of hiring new employees.

In the face of this economic uncertainty, even businesses that have an increased demand for their products can meet that demand by working their existing employees overtime, instead of adding new employees. Many employers hire temporary workers, who are not legally entitled to benefits such as health insurance, and who will therefore not be affected by the cost of ObamaCare.

When President Obama boasts of the number of jobs created during his administration, the numbers he cites may be correct, but he doesn't count the other jobs that were lost during his administration. His critics cite the latter. Both can claim to be right because they are talking about different things.

What has been the net effect? During this administration, the proportion of the working age population that has a job has fallen to the lowest level in decades. The official unemployment rate does not count the millions of people who have simply given up looking for a job.

If everybody gave up looking for a job, the official unemployment rate would fall to zero. But that would hardly mean that the problem was solved or that the "stimulus" worked. Creating particular jobs does not mean a net increase in jobs.
 
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/07/10/jobs_versus_net_jobs_114746.html
5226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs - Rich Lowry on Food Stamps on: July 10, 2012, 09:29:44 AM
Expanding the program was easy.  Paying for it is forever.  Cutting it back is impossible.  As Bigdog wrote to me recently, "...Do you want children to starve?"

"Needless to say, there are destitute people who need help. But the goal should be to reduce dependence on food stamps to historic levels after the recession, and restore the asset test, re-establish a work requirement and implement a better system for income verification."

The Rise of Food-Stamp Nation

By Rich Lowry - July 10, 2012

Tom Vilsack is one of the most important welfare administrators in the nation. Oh, yeah — he’s also secretary of agriculture.

Two-thirds of the Agriculture Department’s budget is devoted to welfare programs. The biggest is food stamps, which is now the nation’s second-largest welfare program after Medicaid. Its inexorable growth during the past decade, through good times and bad, is a testament to government’s self-generating expansion.

Asked what labor wanted, the great 20th-century union leader Samuel Gompers answered, “More.” The modern welfare state lives by the same credo. About 17 million people received food stamps back in 2000. Some 30 million received them in 2008. Roughly 46 million people receive them today. From 1 in 50 Americans on food stamps at the program’s national inception in the 1970s, 1 in 7 Americans are on them now.

The grinding recession accounts for much of the increase the past few years, but not for its entirety. Spending on food stamps doubled between 2001 and 2006, even though unemployment was low in those years. Even when the economy is projected to improve in the future, usage of food stamps will remain elevated above historic norms. Food Stamp Nation is here to stay.

One of its pillars is so-called categorical eligibility, which means that if someone is eligible for another welfare program, he is presumptively eligible for food stamps. In 2000, the Clinton administration issued regulations saying that merely getting a non-cash welfare benefit could make someone eligible. Getting a welfare brochure or referred to an 800 number for services is enough to qualify in almost all the states.

Categorical eligibility effectively wiped out the program’s old asset test (i.e., you couldn’t have $30,000 in the bank and get food stamps), although income limits still apply. In the Obama stimulus, the work requirement was suspended, too, and hasn’t been restored. The requirement had discouraged young, able-bodied nonparents from utilizing the program; there are millions of them on food stamps. The bottom line is that government at all levels actively wants people on the program.

Newt Gingrich famously calls Barack Obama “the food-stamp president.” But the first president worthy of the moniker was George W. Bush. His administration brought a Madison Avenue element to the otherwise unreconstructed Great Society program. Not everyone who is eligible for food stamps knows it or wants to sign up. Bush began a recruitment campaign. In the same vein, the Obama administration is running radio ads hailing food stamps as a way to lose weight. At the local level, county governments spread the word and work to overcome residual cultural resistance to taking government benefits. The federal government pays $50 million in bonuses to states for signing people up.

That the food-stamps program is part of the farm bill (now up for debate in Congress) is itself a scam, an exercise in rural-urban logrolling that gives everyone an interest in seeing the bill pass.

As every level of government works to grow the program, attempts to scale it back are predictably savaged. When Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama, advocated reforms to save $20 billion out of a $770 billion budget for food stamps during the next decade, he was portrayed as a Dickensian villain. The New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand accused him of not caring about kids and insisted that food stamps are an engine of economic growth, since every $1 spent on the program allegedly generates $1.71 in economic activity. There’s nothing, apparently, that food stamps can’t do.

Needless to say, there are destitute people who need help. But the goal should be to reduce dependence on food stamps to historic levels after the recession, and restore the asset test, re-establish a work requirement and implement a better system for income verification. When almost 15 percent of Americans are on food stamps, the government should reacquaint itself with two words: “too much.”
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.

5227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dems in close races buck Obama, Bob Kerrey's wife disses Nebraska on: July 10, 2012, 09:21:44 AM
Polico reports that "Embattled Dems buck President Obama on taxes".  Looks to me like they are just quibbling over details, wanting to make cuts permanent for all lower brackets instead of a one year extension and getting the soak the rich definition up higher than 250k.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78315.html

Bob Kerrey's wife disses Nebraska.  They are raising a 10 year old son in Greenwich Village, NYC.  She hates football.  Probably doesn't know that the largest city in Nebraska in Cornhusker Stadium on an October Saturday afternoon.

“The Midwest is a strange land for an Easterner of my ilk,”

She is "outraged...that he would choose his country over his family”

Don't worry Mrs. Kerrey (that's not her last name), he won't be representing Nebraska in the Senate, nor ever visit Nebraska if he were to win.  This will pass.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/post/bob-kerreys-wife-sarah-paley-rues-his-political-career-disses-nebraska-in-vogue-essay/2012/07/09/gJQAhWAzYW_blog.html
5228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Let's do more of the same on: July 10, 2012, 09:02:51 AM
Speaking of liberals well educated in something, art history maybe, to compensate for the shortage of liberals posting on the board I offer you the latest from the liberal media echo chamber in the Upper Midwest, today's Minneapolis StarTribune editorial taking the President to task for not turning further and sharper to the left.  What we really need right now, they argue, is more of the exact same policies that didn't work the first three and a half years in failed Barack Obama Presidency:

Editorial: Obama should call for new stimulus\

"June jobs numbers show that economy needs more juice."

They want him to do more on deficit reduction and offer a new fiscal spending stimulus.  Huh?

"Obama shouldn't wait for a full-blown recession to return. He should ask Congress for another dose of stimulus this summer..."

Read it at the link if you need a good dose of leftist confusion.  What they don't seem to get is that these results called fairness, "the June unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds was 13.7 percent, back up to where it was last fall", not economic growth, are exactly what you get from their policies. 

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/161853845.html
5229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American Creed (Constitutional Law) - Court Stakes in 2012 on: July 10, 2012, 08:46:41 AM
"...the power to control Supreme Court nominations is the grand prize in the coming presidential election. Long after Barack Obama and Mitt Romney fade in our memories, the Supreme Court justices one of them appoints will still be rendering the rulings that determine the future course of our nation."

Necessarily tied to 2012 Presidential and Senate thread, this piece includes a nice summary of some cases where the swing vote actually went conservative.  "Swing vote" to some of us means which conservative in name only takes his or her turn to vote with the totally predictable liberal bloc to continue to undermine the American Creed and feed the continuing expansion of government.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304141204577509250108648814.html

Clint Bolick: The Supreme Court Stakes in 2012
The replacement of a single conservative justice by President Obama in a second term would turn the court sharply to the left.

By CLINT BOLICK

Many conservatives are angry with Chief Justice John Roberts, whose decisive vote in late June not only sustained a disastrous health-care law. It also interpreted the Constitution to permit Congress to penalize behavior through its taxing power that it cannot control through its power to regulate commerce.

Magnifying the harm is a CBS News report—and informed suspicions from a number of sources—that Chief Justice Roberts initially voted to strike down the law but switched in the face of veiled threats from President Barack Obama and concerns about the court's reputation and his own.

Some conservatives were also disappointed that Chief Justice Roberts joined fellow conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy and the four liberal justices earlier in June in striking down portions of Arizona's immigration law. They considered the ruling a blow against federalism.

The upshot is that Chief Justice Roberts has become a "swing" justice on the Supreme Court—along with Justice Kennedy, who has occupied the swing position held by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor until she was replaced by conservative Justice Samuel Alito in 2006. The court now is composed of three solid conservatives and four solid liberals, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy leaning conservative.

Even that mixture makes the current court the most conservative in nearly a century. But it also means that the replacement of a single conservative justice by President Obama in a second term would turn the court sharply to the left.

The ObamaCare ruling highlights the stakes. Chief Justice Roberts joined the liberal justices in finding that the penalty imposed on individuals who refuse to sign up for government-prescribed health insurance is a permissible tax. But he sided with his fellow conservatives in holding that the mandate to buy insurance itself exceeded Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce. Inactivity, the court held, is not commerce.

By contrast, the liberal justices argued that anything that even indirectly affects commerce (which amounts to everything) can be regulated. With the replacement of one conservative justice by a liberal, congressional power under the Constitution's Commerce Clause will be boundless.

By holding the line in June, then, the conservative majority ensured, at least for now, that the power of the national government remains limited. That portion of the health-care decision continues an important trend in which the court has set boundaries on federal regulatory power that had been erased during the New Deal.

Over the past two decades of its conservative majority, in fact, the court has reined in government power and protected important individual rights in a number of areas, almost always in 5-4 votes divided along conservative/liberal lines. Among them:

• First Amendment. In its Citizens United decision in 2010 and its ruling the next year in Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett, which struck down Arizona's scheme providing public "matching funds" to candidates, the court has protected the right to vigorously participate in political campaigns.

• Second Amendment. The court has recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms, which the four liberal justices would have extinguished, and which now hangs by the thread of a single vote.

• School choice. Last month marked the 10th anniversary of the 5-4 Zelman v. Simmons-Harris ruling upholding the constitutionality of issuing school vouchers that can be used for tuition at parochial schools, among others. This was the case that the court's liberal dissenters preposterously predicted would unleash religious strife akin to that in Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

• Property rights. The conservative majority has ruled that some excessive property regulations—such as forced dedication requirements in return for development permits—are unconstitutional. It has also ruled that regulations that destroy property value—such as ones that essentially forbid development—require compensation. But Justice Kennedy joined the liberal majority in the infamous 2005 Kelo decision upholding the use of eminent domain for private purposes.

• Racial preferences. The court has restricted the use of racial preferences and may forbid them altogether in Fisher v. University of Texas, which will be argued before the court next term. The liberal justices recognize few limits on the use of race for social-engineering purposes.

• Federalism. In several cases, the conservative majority has expanded state autonomy and limited the federal government's power to regulate states. These include Horne v. Flores, upholding Arizona's English-only law in 2009; Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting in 2011, upholding Arizona's law penalizing employers who hire illegal immigrants; and Northwest Austin Utility District v. Holder, a 2009 decision allowing a Texas utility district to opt about of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires many states and local entities to obtain Justice Department permission to make any changes affecting voting.

The court's conservative majority so far has endured for 21 years, since Justice Clarence Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall. Since then, there have been six appointments to the court. None, however, has affected the court's balance, with two conservatives replacing conservatives and four liberals replacing liberals.

That may be about to change. Three justices—liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg and conservatives Antonin Scalia and Justice Kennedy—will reach their 80s during the next presidential administration. So whoever wins in November likely will have the chance either to reinforce the conservative majority, or to alter the court's balance for the first time in nearly a generation.

The stakes never have been higher. First, because as human longevity increases, lifetime tenure has grown increasingly valuable. The average tenure of a Supreme Court justice today is 25 years—spanning more than six presidential terms. And presidents are catching on, naming ever-younger justices. If the newest justice, Elena Kagan, serves for all of her current life expectancy, she will remain on the court until 2045.

Second, the science of nominating philosophically consistent justices has grown more precise. In the past, presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon tried to pack the court with reliable fellow-thinkers, with decidedly mixed success. Dwight Eisenhower famously remarked that his two biggest mistakes both served on the Supreme Court (Earl Warren and William Brennan). John F. Kennedy appointed Byron White, who turned conservative toward the end of his tenure, and George H.W. Bush appointed David Souter, who was liberal from day one.

These days, however, justices are carefully chosen on the basis of long philosophical track records. Indeed, most Supreme Court justices today remain more true to their principles than the presidents who appoint them.

A Republican president may spend like a drunken sailor or destroy capitalism in order to save it, and a Democrat may bail out Wall Street and fail to bring the troops home. But they will never disappoint their respective bases on Supreme Court nominations.

All of this underscores that in terms of lasting importance, the power to control Supreme Court nominations is the grand prize in the coming presidential election. Long after Barack Obama and Mitt Romney fade in our memories, the Supreme Court justices one of them appoints will still be rendering the rulings that determine the future course of our nation.

Mr. Bolick is vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute and author of "Two-Fer: Electing a President and a Supreme Court," published in April by the Hoover Institution.

5230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: July 10, 2012, 08:31:30 AM
Bumper sticker seen on a parked car in a nice, liberal neighborhood yesterday;

"Am I liberal or just well educated?"
5231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 09, 2012, 02:44:20 PM
"free choice with whom to associate"

Already asked another way, but to Crafty and to Bigdog, does that freedom of association include who you choose to work for your company and who you choose to live in your property (housing rental)? 

The President can form a group called African Americans for Obama but I cannot form a housing complex called Christian Housing.  Why and why not?
5232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: July 09, 2012, 02:25:44 PM
"Why is the Court so much better at stopping leaks than the government agencies entrusted with the country’s most critical secrets?"

Yes. I had that same thought, though not posted.  Quite impressive the secrecy of this opinion in particular. 

Jan Crawford had nice inside stories on the case buy there was no indication at all that she had them early.

"Lifetime job security?-- i.e. no need to seek political advantage to keep one's job?"

That's a pretty good guess, but the aides don't stay for a lifetime.

Besides trying to understand why it happened, the secrecy of the Court proves it is possible.  Intelligence agencies and oversight and enforcement of classified secrets personnel could stand to learn from that.

Perhaps a public beheading (or legal equivalent) would persuade officials not to leak military secrets to the NY Times.  We could at least conduct an investigation and try to enforce our laws. 

Scooter Libby went to prison for not leaking.  Now THAT was an investigation.  They had the truth in the first 15 minutes and decided to run a year or so with the investigation. The zeal for getting at the truth and enforcing federal laws sadly depends upon the political implications.
5233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / USA Today Editorial: Food stamps expansion driven by politics on: July 09, 2012, 12:25:36 PM
Editorial: Food stamps expansion driven by politics

The United States is one of the richest countries in the world. And its economy is recovering from recession faster than those in most other industrialized nations. So why do the numbers of people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) keep surging?

The numbers are stark. In 1992, about 25 million Americans took part in the program. By 2000, thanks to an unusually strong economy and overly rigid restrictions on qualifying, the number had fallen to 17 million. But since then, they have been going straight up. As of April, 46 million Americans, more than one in seven, were receiving assistance. Its annual cost meanwhile has risen from $17 billion in 2000 to $78 billion as of last year.

The value of the program is not in doubt. People in need obviously should not be left without food. But numbers like these erode people's faith in the fairness of government anti-poverty programs. These numbers are not driven by a rise in hunger. Indeed they have come about at a time when Americans — particularly those on the lower-income rungs — are struggling with obesity.

Rather the growth in SNAP, as the program providing food assistance is called, is being driven by politics as usual. Rural and urban lawmakers form an odd alliance to scratch each other's back. The rural representatives support expanding SNAP in return for getting the latter's support on farm subsidies. And vice versa.

More at the link:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2012-07-04/SNAP-farm-bill-food-stamps/56020262/1
5234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Ends Justify Means, by Valerie Jarrett on: July 09, 2012, 12:22:26 PM
Who cares if its constitutional, we got healthcare:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/07/03/valerie_jarrett_on_obamacare_being_a_tax_we_will_take_it_any_way_we_can_get_it.html

“We will take it any way we can get it," Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said about the Supreme Court calling the individual mandate a tax in the majority opinion upholding ObamaCare. "I mean we argued both ways, but we thought that it fell within the commerce clause, the Court ruled it was a tax, we really look at it as a penalty."

"But whatever they want to call it, the fact of the matter is it was a historic day for the United States. A country as wealthy as ours is now going to provide health insurance for everyone," Jarrett said to Roland Martin on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
5235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: If you wanted to make 8-9% unemployment permanent... VDH on: July 09, 2012, 12:18:49 PM
First, excellent previous post by BD.  I continually impressed with his range of reading materials.  IEEE Spectrum is one of my old favorites.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A recent post of VDH on NRO The Corner:

"If one wanted to ensure permanent 8 percent to 9 percent unemployment, one might try the following:

1. Run up serial $1 trillion deficits

2. Add $5 trillion to the national debt in three and a half years

3. Impose a 2,400-page, trillion-dollar new federal takeover of health care, with layers of new taxation, much of it falling on the middle class and employers, even as favored concerns are given mass exemptions.

4. Scare employers with constant us/them class warfare rhetoric about a demonized one-percenter class and its undeserved profits; constantly talk about raising new taxes and imposing regulations, ensuring uncertainty and convincing employers of unpredictability in regulation and taxes. You cannot convince a country to go into permanent near-recession, but President Obama is doing his best to try."
5236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iraq says al Qaeda members crossing into Syria on: July 09, 2012, 12:08:27 PM
Iraq says al Qaeda members crossing into Syria

By Sylvia Westall

BAGHDAD | Thu Jul 5, 2012 2:09pm BST

(Reuters) - Iraq has "solid information" that al Qaeda militants are crossing from Iraq into Syria to carry out attacks and has sent reinforcements to the border, the foreign minister said on Thursday.  (More at link)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/05/uk-syria-crisis-iraq-qaeda-idUKBRE8640DK20120705
5237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: July 09, 2012, 10:47:35 AM
I was wrong about Supreme Court resignations.  I'm glad they are all feeling well though I don't think very highly of some of their opinions.
5238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - State of the Race, Jay Cost on: July 09, 2012, 10:41:27 AM
There is quite a contrast in polls out there, swing states and nationally.  Latest Rasmussen has Romney by 1% nationally, Gallup has Obama by 2%.

Intrade where people put money on their bet has Obama with 56% chance of winning at the moment.

Obama won 2008 by 7% nationally so Romney needs at least a 8-9% swing to be assured a victory.  One take is that Iowa is the dead center of the political nation.  Obama won Iowa by 9.54% in 2008.  Rasmussen had Romney up by 1 in late June, a 10.5% swing.

Another key state is Colorado, where 3 counties allegedly reflect the national swing in these elections: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/on-winning-colorado.php  http://www.denverpost.com/investigations/ci_21029334/census-registration-paint-picture-colorados-unaffiliated-voters?source=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dp-politics+%28Denver+Post%3A+Politics%3A+All+Political+News%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Jay Cost, now with Weekly Standard is one of the best analysts on polling and electoral politics.  He points out 4 factors running against Obama.  Cost maintains that Obama is 1) unpopular with approval consistently below 50%, 2) impressions are set, difficult to change. 3) The economy is hurting Obama, and 4) Romney still has plenty of time to define himself in a very positive sense.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/morning-jay-state-race-four-months-out_648277.html
5239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: July 09, 2012, 10:17:03 AM
Yes, a very odd report.  "I wonder what is going on beneath the surface here." 

Placating the opportunistic oppressors who backstab us around the globe it would appear, while elsewhere we backstab our real friends and allies.

From the article: "Calibrating a long-range China policy may be the greatest challenge for the U.S. administration’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region."

I would add that dealing effectively with the current, unelected regime of China is, to me, only a short term goal.

At what point in a nation's economic development do a billion plus people deserve the basic human right of consensual government?  That might have enormous foreign policy and defense implications for the U.S.  I haven't heard much from this administration on the world stage about that, no tear down this wall speech from the Nobel prize winner in chief, though he did report Arizona to the UN for oppression.
5240  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Elite athletes: Roger Federer at Wimbledon on: July 07, 2012, 12:57:12 AM
Interesting recap below of a historic Wimbledon match today, 16-time Grand Slam event winner Roger Federer defeated current world number one Novak Djokovic today in 4 sets.  Serving at around 130 mph, Federer had 12 aces and no double faults.  Hitting at full power on the run for four hours against the best in the world, his total unforced errors were in single digits.  I didn't watch but that is an amazing performance.  Finals are on Sunday morning US time.  http://www.realclearsports.com/articles/2012/07/07/federer_has_rendez-vous_with_history_97744.html
5241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness gives the Dem radio address in May 2004, Jobs gain was 4 times bigger! on: July 06, 2012, 10:37:17 PM
A MUST LISTEN audio.  Cognitive Dissonance is just putting it nicely.  Full of shit is a better description.   
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/07/06/obama_in_2004_dismisses_job_creation_of_310000_new_jobs_under_bush.html
------------------------------------------------
After the economy added 310,000 jobs in May 2004 and the unemployment rate was 5.6%, then-candidate Barack Obama used the Democrat weekly radio address to attack the Bush administration for citing good economic numbers.

“For the past few weeks, President Bush and members of his administration have traveled the nation to celebrate recent improved economic statistics. Well, I’ve been traveling too, all over this large and diverse state. In cities and suburbs, downstate and upstate, I’ve heard from people who say it’s way too early to claim victory when it comes to our economy,” Obama says in the Democrats’ radio address from June 26, 2004.

“After three dismal years of job-loss, we all welcome encouraging statistics,” Obama acknowledges in the 2004 address. “But for most Americans, the health of our economy is measured in a different and more personal way: If I lose my job, where will I find one that pays as well and offers real benefits? Can I afford health-care coverage on my own, or the cost of sending my children to college? Will I ever be able to save and retire with dignity and security? These are the questions I hear hardworking people asking. For them, the basic rewards of a middle-class life, rewards that we once took for granted, have become an elusive dream.”
5242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: More go on disability pay than take new jobs, IBD on: July 06, 2012, 10:29:51 PM


Disability Ranks Outpace New Jobs In Obama Recovery

By JOHN MERLINE, INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY

More workers joined the federal government's disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation's jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.
5243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What Romney Needs to Say About Romneycare, By Mona Charen on: July 06, 2012, 10:26:01 PM
What Romney Needs to Say About Romneycare

By Mona Charen - July 6, 2012
   
Email   Print   

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Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom's blunder -- telling an interviewer that Romney believes the individual mandate is not a tax -- was politically dumb, if revealing. It suggests that the Romney camp continues to struggle with the ghost of Romneycare. Romney's subsequent attempt at clarification, saying that it's a tax because the Supreme Court said it is, though, "I agreed with the dissent," succeeded only in further confusing matters.

The campaign desperately needs clarity on this issue. It needs also to shake that worrying tentativeness on Romneycare -- a timidity that suggests to voters that Romney has something to hide.

The answer to the question: "Wasn't Romneycare exactly the same thing as Obamacare?" is, to quote Nancy Pelosi, "Are you serious?" The Massachusetts law contained an individual mandate, which states -- unlike the federal government -- are allowed to impose. But it did not consist of 2,700 pages of new regulations; 159 new boards and commissions; and more than $500 billion in new taxes (and counting); the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a rationing board whose decisions are unreviewable by the courts and practically untouchable by Congress itself; restrictions on religious liberty; Medicare cuts; affirmative action mandates for medical and dental schools; huge new authority over one-seventh of the U.S. economy for the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and open-ended regulations of the way doctors and others perform their jobs.

Beyond that, a glance at the history of Romneycare in Massachusetts shows that Romney's instincts and initiatives were for free-market reforms. An 85 percent Democratic legislature thwarted his best efforts, and a Democratic successor as governor twisted the law's trajectory dramatically.

Before Romney's time, Massachusetts had enacted a number of laws that made its health care system needlessly expensive. All policies offered in the state were required to cover expensive treatments such as substance abuse counseling and infertility. In 1996, the state passed a law requiring "guaranteed issue" and "community rating" -- meaning people could wait until they got sick to purchase health insurance. Naturally, rates skyrocketed. In addition, a 1986 federal law required hospital emergency rooms to treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay.

Romney's idea was to permit Massachusetts insurers to sell catastrophic plans. As Avik Roy explained in Forbes, "Shorn of the costly mandates and restrictions originating in earlier state laws, these plans, called 'Commonwealth Care Basic,' could cost much less. Romney also proposed merging the non-group and small-group markets, so as to give individuals access to the more cost-effective plans available to small businesses." Romney's plan would also have involved a degree of cost sharing so that those receiving subsidies would have an incentive to minimize their consumption.

Romney agreed to the mandate, believing that Massachusetts citizens would get the opportunity to purchase inexpensive, catastrophic plans. But the legislature, together with Romney's successor as governor, Deval Patrick, changed the law to require insurers to offer three tiers of coverage -- all of them far beyond catastrophic care. Perhaps Romney ought to have foreseen what future legislatures and governors would do -- but that's a far cry from the accusation that Romneycare was indistinguishable from Obamacare.

Romney's proposed reforms included fraud prevention measures for Medicaid, requiring the income of both parents to be considered in children's Medicaid eligibility, medical malpractice tort reform, and giving individuals the same treatment as small businesses in the purchase of health plans. He envisioned a system of increased competition and choice.

The bill that passed the legislature contained a number of features Romney couldn't countenance. He opposed the mandate, preferring to permit individuals to post a $10,000 bond in lieu of insurance. The legislature overrode him. He vetoed the employer mandate, coverage for illegal aliens, the creation of a new bureaucracy to be called The Public Health Council, a provision limiting improvements to Medicaid, and one expanding Medicaid coverage to include dental care. His vetoes were overridden.

The health reform law Romney introduced -- as opposed to the one that was implemented by his successor -- stressed competition, reduced regulation and expanded choice for the consumer.

It was a mistake for Romney to sign the bill. As Avik Roy put it, "The individual mandate was a loaded gun that Romney handed to his opponents, who used it to force individuals to buy comprehensive insurance they didn't need." But Romney's bona fides as a free-market advocate and critic of Obamacare are not undermined by Romneycare. He can rightly claim that he foresaw, and attempted to prevent, the consequences of heavy-handed government control of the health care market.

www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/07/06/what_romney_needs_to_say_about_romneycare_114707.html
5244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Jobs Deficit from breakeven jobs growth on: July 06, 2012, 10:18:36 PM
Others follow up on a point I attempted to make yesterday.  I was writing about 'breakeven' real GDP growth.  This writer says the US economy must create 125,000 new jobs per month to break even.  Article below I(fox News) says that 191,000 new workers come here every month.  Roughly 92% of them need to find new jobs to keep our 8% unemployment rate at 'breakeven' levels.  80,000 jobs in a country of 310 million people does not do that!

Friday, July 6, 2012
U.S. Jobs Deficit Grows by 47,000 in June

Going Around in Circles

~ “If you're lost in the woods and you feel like you're walking in circles, you probably are.” ~ Discovery News

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the U.S. economy needs to create a minimum of 127,000 each month in order to keep pace with population growth. And based on today’s Employment Situation Report, the economy created just 80,000 jobs in June. That means the jobs deficit increased by another 47,000 last month. Yet, according to Barack Obama, "That's a step in the right direction.” However, according to economic common sense, it’s another step towards stagnation, then decay and dissolution.

He added, “We can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get back to where we were back in 2007.” So according to Obama, his goal was never to just keep working to get back to where we were in 2007, a day when we had 4,805,000 jobs more than we have currently. “I want to get back to a time when middle-class families and those working to get into the middle class have some basic security,” he said. We are left to wonder what time that was – the 1920’s, 50’s, 60’s, 80’s, 90’s, or the 2000’s. But based on the latest jobs report, that time could have been any year prior to Obama’s term.
http://larrymwalkerjr.blogspot.com/2012/07/us-jobs-deficit-grows-by-47000-in-june.html
--------------------------------

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/07/06/disappointing-jobs-picture-and-no-were-not-doing-better-than-europe/

Americans faced another disappointing jobs picture today. Of course, we could go through the numbers again. With the working age population growing by 191,000 last month, 80,000 more jobs doesn’t even come close to absorbing all these new workers, let alone employing those who have long been out of work. And then there’s the most important number of all: for 41 months, the unemployment rate has been above 8 percent.
5245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: July 05, 2012, 06:46:50 PM
Michael Barone also reports on the positive news of a successful national election held Sunday in Mexico. 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/07/05/what_if_they_held_an_election_and_nobody_came_114694.html

"...Pena will not bring back the old PRI system. He won based on his record as governor of the state of Mexico and his fame as the husband of a telenovela actress.

He has promised to get rid of the law prohibiting Pemex from making contracts with private oil service firms, one of the hallmarks of the old PRI system.

It's not clear whether he'll keep that promise, or whether he'll continue Calderon's aggressive fight against drug traffickers. As for immigration, it appears that the flow of Mexicans to the U.S. has been reversed since 2007.

What is clear is that Mexico has become a neighbor much easier to live with.
---------------

Also Brett Stephens/WSJ: Miracle in Mexico  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304708604577503213024949028.html

..."From the year Nafta came into force till the present, Mexico's GDP per capita (in purchasing power parity) more than doubled, to $15,000 from $7,000." ...
5246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics - John Taylor on: July 05, 2012, 06:13:48 PM
Excellent insights.  Please put Prof. Taylor on the short list for Bernancke replacement. 

5247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 05, 2012, 05:57:39 PM
Aren't we in fact moving backwards based on population growth and other factors when reported GDP 'growth' is this low.  If economists made the economic and demographic adjustments that government spending budgets are required to use, then Obamanomic growth would be at prolonged negative levels, fitting the rough definition of a recession we are allegedly not in.

My view is the economists with their generally accepted measurements and definitions are parsing words pretty carefully to say this backward moving economy is not in recession.  

Call it stagnation, malaise or stuck, but the tide is not rising, much less lifting all boats.  MHO.

Put it this way:  While we were mostly not in recession by these measurements, we lost 40% of our wealth!  There is something wrong with this picture.
5248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A legislative act repugnant to the constitution is void,Marshall in Marbury on: July 05, 2012, 05:39:29 PM
"The government of the United States is of the latter description. The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the Constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained? The distinction between a government with limited and unlimited powers is abolished if those limits do not confine the persons on whom they are imposed, and if acts prohibited and acts allowed are of equal obligation. It is a proposition too plain to be contested, that the Constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it; or, that the legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act."
  ...
"Certainly all those who have framed written constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and consequently, the theory of every such government must be, that an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void."

   - Chief Justice John Marshall writing in Marbury v. Madison 1803

http://www.constitution.org/ussc/005-137a.htm
5249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 05, 2012, 05:11:14 PM
Wesbury: 

"the indexes are consistent with other data suggesting real GDP growth of 1% to 1.5% in Q2."

"No sign of a recession in any of these numbers."


I notice that Brian Wesbury and all other economists or economic reporting firm or agency do not use CBO / OMB / Washington DC baseline budgeting rules for GDP reporting.  A question for Wesbury (or Scott Grannis etc.):  If they were required to adjust GDP reporting for 'baseline growth', then what would be magnitude of the economic growth or contraction we are currently experiencing?

My math:

Baseline (breakeven) growth  = 3.1%
Current 'real' GDP  = 1.9%  (or 1.0 or 1.5%)

Current growth deficit is between  1.2% and 2.1%.

At this rate of growth (contraction), we have full employment and a balanced budget ... ... ... NEVER!

Corrections to this and other opinions requested.
5250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: July 03, 2012, 05:28:59 PM
First, must celebrate that we agree on that golf swing. No big deal. I cant play violin, bt O dont go out and play it in frpmt of pepple every weekend before I learn. There is something delusional exposed there.

Not 13 acres but the 100 year old MacG compound has all the lakelife features. Y'all should come sometime. None of it revolves around money except the EXORBITANT property taxes. It is the government that wants only
 rich people at these places.

Pres Reagan was out of Washington a third of his Presidency?  GOOD!!
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