Unemployment Rate Explained

Conservatives woke up two days after one of our best debates since Bush/Kerry to hear that despite slower job growth than economists were expecting, the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.8%.  This is magically .1% lower than it was when Obama took office.  Most Americans don’t understand the details of the jobs report, but they understand 7.8%.

If you’ve ever played the game “which of these is not like the other”, the 7.8% rate would qualify.  Economists expecting 142,000 new jobs (the actual number was 114,000 according to the Establishment Survey) expected the rate to stay the same or go up to 8.2%.  However, there are two surveys used to measure the rate as I will explain later.

This is pretty wonky stuff and I don’t want to lose you, so let me get to the point then we will discuss the details.  The reason the rate dropped is because the economy added 583,000 part-time jobs.  But the U-6, which measures unemployed and under employed remained unchanged at 14.7%.  In other words, 583,000 people got part-time jobs they didn’t want.  Why?

Now for the background.  In 2012 we saw some major changes to the way unemployment benefits are paid out.  First, for anyone who loses their job after the beginning of the year, states only pay for 26 weeks.  Second, in states with high unemployment the federal government cut back payments from 99 weeks to 73 weeks.  They cut to 63 weeks for low unemployment states.  So here is the question:

What do you do when your unemployment benefits run out and you still can’t get the job you want or need?  Well, in my family’s case when I was a kid, my Mom got two part-time jobs while my Dad kept looking.  We had to eat.

Can Obama take credit for the 7.8% unemployment rate?  Only if he wants to take credit for cutting off the government’s new pseudo-welfare program of never ending unemployment benefit extensions and forcing some of the 47% to get off the government dole, even if it means flipping burgers for the King during the day and the Clown at night.  How does that sound for the narrative of Obama’s soon to be released “I fixed jobs” ad.

Actually, based on many of the revisions up from previous months, government jobs make up the majority of the growth.  How about that, they can work for the King and the Clown at the same time.  But of course this time I’m not referring to fast food chains.

But even the part-time job growth leaves many rightfully scratching their heads.  Did unemployment really just have its biggest one month drop since 1983?  If the economy is really about to come roaring back, why did Bernanke just promise QE-Infinity where he prints $40 billion a month to pump job growth?  Perhaps Bernanke is a terrible economist and should be canned.

Well, there is one more discrepancy to be mentioned in this jobs report.  The 7.8% rate is based on two surveys.  The Establishment Survey asks 390,000+ businesses about their hiring and extrapolates a national figure based on that.  The Household Survey asks 50,000 households if they are employed, searching, or gave up looking.  The Establishment Survey gave us the 114,000 job number.

The Household Survey indicated that 873,000 more people are employed.  That’s a little bit of a variance.  So although the surge in part-time/temporary hires certainly makes sense, the 7.8% figure is still suspect.

The Trainwreck that is Obamanomics

The Economy is off the rails

American capitalism is the engine room of the global economy. Sadly, the guy in the engine room doesn’t know how the machine works. All he knows is how to toot his own horn. This is the real difficulty of the next four years if President Obama wins another term.

What should worry you is that Romney and Ryan are making little headway in the polls. Obama has the advantage of being the incumbent. George W. Bush had the same advantage, and in spite of negative perceptions abroad and demonization in the media at home, he still won in 2004. Obama has a lot less against him.

Romney needs to focus on the economic issues, not get himself embroiled and lost in skirmishes on foreign policy issues. He needs to do two things. First, he needs to clearly spell out the trajectory four more years of Obamanomics will take us through.

Spell it out:

Step by step.

Failure by failure.

Cent by cent.

The Fraser Institute in Vancouver points out that Canada is more economically free than America. Where is America? Between Qatar and Kuwait. If that is not a warning bell then I don’t know what it is.

Obama sold himself on the economic issues in 2008, which made the economy even worse. Investors and businesses took even more drastic decisions in response to the Obama gloom rhetoric. Having set up the premise that the global economy was in a more severe state than it actually was, he set himself up as savior. He promised he would come in on wings of angels, as Hilary herself told us, to save the world.

And it worked! As an election promise, as a selling point, it worked. As a presidency, it has failed miserably. He got four years and he’s blown it. The engine is going off the rails.

Does this look like a competent driver to you?

The debt piles up. The jobless are piling up. The government is bloated even more. People, as Romney rightly said, are increasingly dependent, and voting for Romney would feel to them like turkeys voting for Christmas.

If Obama stays in situ, then the engine will break down beyond repair. America cannot afford the load he is trying to pull, and nor can the global economy.

Romney and Ryan need to focus. If they can’t get this message home, and if they can’t inspire America to get this engine moving again, then they don’t deserve the job in the driving seat.

Fraser report can be found here: http://www.freetheworld.com/release.html

Is Mitt Romney a Bold Conservative?

Mitt Romney is going to have a hard time selling his tax plan.  Not because it’s a bad plan, it is actually a very good plan which I have enthusiastically endorsed.  But it does call for tax cuts and guts special interest group power.  It also makes the tax code simpler.  I think Reagan would approve of Mitt Romney’s tax plan.  Then, Romney came out with his energy plan.  I think it is getting harder to deny that Mitt Romney is actually a bold conservative.

Let me contrast Obama and Romney on energy with two pictures.  These two pictures show practical economic common sense versus pure ideology.  They show why every person concerned about our economic future should vote for Mitt Romney and not Barack Obama.

Romney's energy plan

Mitt Romney’s energy plan is a real all of the above approach.  He lets states control the energy resources on federal land within their borders, effectively giving states the choice whether they want jobs, energy independence for their state, and vast economic growth, or they can continue with the failed Obama subsidized green energy idea.

The key to this graphic is the figure in the upper left hand corner.  3.6 million jobs.  Of course, that is solely based on the energy sector and doesn’t take into account economic multipliers and the effects of using energy to drop unemployment below 8%, the increased tax revenue involved, or the additional spending power of families who no longer have to pay close to $4 a gallon for gas so that Saudi princes and Libyan terrorists (who Obama tried to befriend) can get rich off of our commutes.

Romney also doesn’t forsake green energy, but includes it as part of his all of the above approach.  He also includes increased nuclear energy, which is clean and efficient.

Contrast this with Obama’s rebuttal.

Obama doesn’t like Romney’s energy plan because it would cost 37,000 jobs in the US Wind industry.  Can you see what the big problem is here with Obama’s ideology?  Romney’s plan would provide 3.6 million jobs.  Obama complains that in the process 37,000 wind energy jobs would be lost.  Do the math, should we abandon the Romney energy plan to save those 37,000 wind jobs?

Two more key problems with this graphic:

1. Was Obama concerned with saving energy jobs when he cancelled the Keystone Pipeline?  The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that Obama’s decision to cancel the Keystone Pipeline cost 250,000 jobs.

2. Notice the verbiage.  Obama-Biden supports 75,000 jobs.  In other words, Obama’s green energy plan is based on government subsidization of the industry.  Instead of the Romney plan that would create 3.6 million private sector jobs supported by private enterprise, Obama wants us to support his government program where taxpayer foot the bill and get 75,000 jobs.  That’s a pretty weak rebuttal, Mr. President.

In the meantime, we have already gone through four years of Obama’s energy plan and we know it doesn’t work.  We have actual, historical evidence that it doesn’t work.  Forget Solyndra for a moment, what about the jobs Obama has created through his green energy initiatives?  The Gateway Pundit estimates a pricetag of $4.8 million per permanent job.  That isn’t how much each employee makes, that is what the government has spent per new employee.  That is unsustainable.

Wouldn’t you prefer a plan where private companies invest the money to hire people to produce energy that actually works and has practical significance for the American consumer?  The Obama plan is to take tax dollars to produce energy we don’t use on a large scale so that we are stuck buying our gas from people in the Middle East who don’t particularly like us.  I’d much rather buy American.  For Obama, the environmental lobby make that an impossibility.

Mitt Romney has proven that he is not just the anti-Obama.  He is not just a status quo politician who will keep from making things worse.  The Romney-Ryan tax plan and energy plan are not tired RINO talking points.  They are bold change.

 

Obamacare Forces Company To Alter Expansion Plan

Cook Medical recently opened a new plant in Canton, IL. According to Pete Yonkman, executive vice president of strategic business units, the medical devise manufacturer has invested about $30 million renovating an abandoned facility. When it becomes fully operational, the plant should employ about 300 workers.

Pleased with the results, Cook Medical was going to use the new Canton plant as a model for expansion. The plan was to open five facilities in the mid-west, over 5 years with each of the new plants employing about 300 workers each. Score one for the private sector.

Except last week Cook Medical announced they tossed that plan into the wet bowl.

What the hell happened — why the briefing bummer? Obama-care, of course.

More specifically, within Obama-care there is a provision that hits medical devise manufacturing with this itsy bitsy, teeny-weeny little tax of 2.3% — so we can insure the healthy and give out free birth control prescriptions, don’t you know. After Cook’s bean counters counted the beans, the company realized this itsy bitsy, teeny-weeny little 2.3% tax was going to cost them $20-30 million per year. Again, that’s per year — before the expansion.

Well, Cook’s management, keenly aware of their itsy bitsy, teeny-weeny need for profit, decided they needed to pull the plug on the five plants because there just isn’t enough cash left after the tax man’s shakedown. So that’s two or three years of planning expenses, five shiny new facilities, and 1,500 workers — American workers — flushed.

Does that mean Cook won’t expand? Of course not. But it does mean Cook will transition into expansion “Plan-O” — as in Overseas. Some mumblings about Ireland, Denmark and Australia were heard during Cook’s disappointing announcement.

But remember, as Democrats like to preach, taxes don’t drive the rich from cities and don’t drive businesses overseas.

Yeah, right.

Follow I.M. Citizen at IMCitizen.net

A Contrast in Style

In a desperate move to shift American politics away from the economy, Obama took a controversial idea from Sen. Marco Rubio and made it his own.  In fact, he made it so much his own that he decided to leave Congress out of the law making process altogether.  Obama enacted the Dream Act by Presidential, unconstitutional executive order.  But the real story in the President’s announcement was the blunder of a press conference where a reporter shouted out a question and was quickly shut down by Obama.

The question was whether this unilateral decision, dubbed the right thing to do by Obama, was right for the American workers.  Obama was visibly upset about the question and asserted his right to speak without interruption.  Meanwhile, MSNBC reporters wet themselves with excitement at the opportunity to declare Obama to be the only President to have ever been heckled, and of course to tie it in to his race.

But of course we know that other Presidents and candidates have been heckled.  George W. Bush saw it as evidence of a free society that treasures the freedom of expression and dissent.  I thought it was an interesting contrast to watch Bush’s reaction to two shoes being thrown at him by a foreign reporter in Iraq compared to Obama being questioned while passing down dictates from on high.  I’ve posted them both here.  You can decide which President handled it with more class.

 

Obama’s Popularity Problem

Facebook, the popular IPO that was going to turn millions of online junkies into billionaires overnight, has turned out to be a bust.  Obama could be heading in the same direction.

In 2008, one of the things that drove voters to the polls was Obama’s slick ad campaign and pure popularity.  He was like the cheerleading captain on prom night.  The title was wrapped up before the campaign even began.  But this time around, there is rumbling in the clique and Obama is in danger of losing that edge.

In Kentucky, Obama nearly lost his primary battle to nobody.  The finally tally came in as Obama 58%, nobody 42%.  Even for a Democrat in Kentucky, that’s a pretty sad showing for an incumbent.  In Arkansas, Obama lost a significant share of the vote to Democrat John Wolfe who ran on repealing Obamacare.  Wolfe should have some convention delegates from his performance, but embarrassed Democrats have already threatened to strip the delegates.  It would be kinda like if the quarterback was caught kissing the girl at the library.

Obama is so unpopular that even populist RINOs like Colin Powell haven’t decided to support him yet in 2012.

Obama still runs a pretty good and slick ad campaign.  Although as I’ve highlighted previously, he must lie profusely to find anything that doesn’t sound completely embarrassing to say.  For example, he found a way to turn 2.5 million jobs lost into millions of jobs gained.  I can’t blame him for making up his record instead of running on reality.  If being born Kenyan sells more copies to his racist liberal friends, then I suppose he won’t hesitate to be a tax cutting, job creating President in his ads if it will win more votes.

One final note, and on a somewhat different subject, I’d like to give a shout out to Bill Maher.  Maher, one of Obama’s biggest donors, is a comedian with a BA from Cornell in English and History.  I guess that’s better than the fake school I graduated from (Liberty University) where they only teach one side of every issue and the students are mind numbed robots.  I guess that’s why the Liberty debate team has claimed their fourth national CEDA championship in a row after taking nine consecutive ADA championships. I don’t think Cornell even placed.  Bill, saying that Liberty is not really a college because it is a private Christian university was basically the equivalent of saying the University of Florida hasn’t had a football program because Tebow was their quarterback.  Oops.

Debunking Obama’s First Ad

With Obama’s first campaign ad of 2012, he has made one thing clear.  He cannot win by being honest about his record.  In his new ad, Obama makes four dubious claims that can easily be debunked.  The ad makes Obama sound like some sort of super President who has changed the country for the better, but it accomplishes this with misrepresentations and outright lies.

Here is the ad:

Go

The first claim that Obama makes is that “some said our best days were behind us”.  This is an easy and unverifiable claim to make.  Who said that?  “Some”.  Actually, no one has said that.  Obama’s deceitful ad shows a picture of the TEA Party, but offers no sources.  Why?  Because there are none.  Obama could have said “Some say blacks are inferior” and showed a picture of the TEA Party and it would be just as dishonest as what he has portrayed here.  This lie is an unfair, intentional smear against his perceived enemies.  The President of the United States is treating an American political group as his enemies.  Frankly, it is the sort of thing one would expect from a Central American dictator, not the President of the United States.

“Today the auto industry is back”.  If by back he means relocated to Italy, that would explain his positive portrayal of what he did with Chrysler.  If by back he means that the taxpayer investment into GM and Chrysler has somehow been paid back, then this too is pure dishonesty.  Yes, the heavily subsidized industry may be pumping out vehicles again, but what about the amount of debt it took to get them there?  This claim is political massage of the facts at best.

“Our troops are home from Iraq”.  If by home he means Afghanistan, then yes this is accurate.  While Obama drew down troops in Iraq, he turned around and surged in Afghanistan.  Obama is correct about our troops being out of Iraq, but even that wasn’t by design.  Obama had planned to keep 3,000-5,000 troops in Iraq until 2013, but could not negotiate a simple immunity agreement to keep Iraqi police from arresting our troops.  This bit of political pandering to the anti-war crowd is dishonest.  It is one more example of Obama taking credit for something beyond his control and contrary to his intention.

“Instead of losing jobs, we are creating them”.  Mix this with Obama’s chart of 4.2 million jobs created and this is the biggest whopper in the ad.  Obama has not created 4.2 million jobs.  His net job growth is negative 2.5 million.  That is a 6.7 million job gap between his claim and the truth.  Contrast Obama’s job performance with Bush, who actually netted a positive 1 million jobs.  In fact, Bush’s most significant job losses were after Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over congress.

Sandwiched between platitudes, Obama filled his ad with outright lies and misrepresentations.  Surely Obama knows that these ads will be fact checked and easily debunked.  Unfortunately, this ad demonstrates his opinion of the American voter.  Yes the ad is full of lies.  But in his opinion the majority of Americans will fall for the platitudes and never check the facts.

Then again, he’s already fooled us once.

The Student Vote

There is a truth that Obama will have to face in 2012.  The majority of reasons students voted for Obama in 2008 are irrelevant or evaporated in 2012.  He is not running for the historical title of first black President in 2012.  He did not close Gitmo or bring our troops home, in fact he started a war in Libya.  He did not provide free health insurance for all.  Most of all, he has done nothing to guarantee all these sociology and philosophy graduates jobs when they graduate.

John McCain was not inspiring for student voters.  He was old, determined to win the wars America got into, white, male, loved America, and he was a Republican.  Students have it drilled into their heads that this represents the great satan.

Romney may not be the next great satan to the educational institution, but he certainly isn’t the hip symbol of progressive diversity that Obama was.  However, Romney doesn’t need to win the student vote.  He just needs Obama to lose it.

Obama is still popular with teachers, who by and large are enslaved to their unions and engrained socialism.  But students now have a record to go on, and the novelty has worn off.  The funny thing about students is that they tend to be idealistic purists as often as they are naively ignorant.  The same student who would trade an A for a six pack might also skip the Avengers movie because certain details don’t conform to the comic books.  Obama is certainly not everything American students hoped and dreamed about.  In fact, students who are honest with themselves would realize Obama is nothing that they hoped and dreamed for.

Obama has a special sort of hypocrisy that attentive students will sniff out.  Obama might flash his environmental credentials to a crowd of students, but then in front of business owners he touts how oil extraction has increased under his Presidency even if he had nothing to do with it.  He might tell students how he is bringing our troops home, but then he celebrates excursions into Pakistan to kill terrorists and Libya to do nation building.  He may make overtones to the gay community and talk about equal rights, but look how fast his administration is throwing Biden under the bus for endorsing gay marriage.  Perhaps in 2008, young students might be fooled.  But now Obama has a record.

Obama can’t even win on student loan rates since he demonstrated those take second place to his healthcare legacy.  Republicans wrote a bill to keep student loan interest rates low, but Obama has opposed the bill since it is paid for by tapping a special fund created by his healthcare law.  Obama would rather pay for it by borrowing more from China, which will cause interest rates to balloon even more in the long term.

The difference between a student voter and nearly any other of Obama’s target groups is that as purists students will not vote for the lesser of two evils.  Students won’t vote for Obama just to keep Romney out of office.  They have been taught two things very well: follow your heart, and your vote doesn’t count.  This frees them to vote for Rosie O’Donnell, write in their dorm-mate’s name, or skip the voting booth altogether to stay home and put those free morning after pills to good use.

Can Obama afford to lose the student vote?  Not if you believe the statisticians who put the student vote at 1/5th of the population.  A significant decline in this voting block for Obama means Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia,  and Colorado, even if they simply stay home.

Isn’t Obama a Theocrat?

Much has been made of Rick Santorum’s recent comments about Obama’s bad theology.  The media has tried to turn it into Santorum questioning Obama’s Christianity.  This is odd since the media at the same time is attacking Santorum for his Christianity.  Apparently Democrat brand Christianity is fine.

But this got me thinking, isn’t Obama a theocrat?  Obama definitely believes in the religion of Global Warming.  How can we forget Obama’s speech that generations from now people will look back and see his Presidency as the moment that the oceans would stop rising and the planet would begin to heal?  And Obama has accomplished his religious purpose by stifling American energy production, funneling billions of dollars to “green” energy, and engineering a takeover of a large portion of the US auto industry.  No where is federal ownership of private companies or green energy subsidies in the constitution.  These are things that Obama has done under the loose legislative framework of the stimulus package and TARP.

What about Obama’s belief in social justice?  Obama’s presidency is a prime example of liberation theology in action and the search for the religious concept of social justice.  Obama has taken Christ’s commands to give to the poor, help the afflicted and needy, and he has turned those things into federal responsibilities mandated by law.  No longer must someone tithe or give in order to be charitable.  Obama, like the Presidents before him, has turned the federal government into the largest charitable organization on the planet.

Obama invoked God when it came to his housing bill.  He indicated that God wants the federal government to provide jobs to people.  Obama unwittingly danced around a conservative idea of self-sufficiency while promoting his bill as God’s will.

Unlike Bush, who used faith based organizations to defray costs of social programs, Obama has leveraged the government’s relationship with faith based organizations to infiltrate them with his own social justice theology.  Obama now holds these institutions hostage by threatening them with fines and forcing closures of charities who don’t obey the radical liberal theology.  The unholy infiltration of religious institutions by the religious left has led to things like closures of Catholic orphanages.  This is all part of the Obama religion.

When it comes to taxes, Obama famously misquoted Jesus, saying that to those whom much is given, much will be required.  Of course, Jesus may have had spiritual things in mind.  But Obama’s interpretation is that people who have a lot (because if you have wealth it must have been given to you) should pay more in taxes according to Scripture.

Early on in Obama’s Presidency, CBS noted that Obama invoked Jesus Christ far more often than evangelical Christian President George W. Bush did.  Obama invoked God several times in his prayer breakfast speech, crediting God for his inspiration on everything from Obamacare, which forces Christians to pay for abortion, to Dodd-Frank.

Obama is a global warming believing social justice Christian, and he has tailored his governmental policies around that.  Included in Obama’s religious view of social justice is a brand of social equality for women that demands that contraception and abortion be provided by employers, even if the employers are religious institutions.  Access to abortion at no cost to the mother is a less advertised plank of mainstream liberation theology.  Don’t be fooled by his lack of explicit rhetoric on the issue, Obama’s theology inspires his determination on providing free federal abortion more than it does any piece of Wall Street regulation.

So why are we scared of Rick Santorum?  Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is because Santorum is the theocrat.  It is because Santorum is not a liberation theocrat.  Santorum does not believe that the government should redefine marriage.  Santorum does not believe that the federal government should provide equality of circumstances and end the perceived societal oppression of blacks and women.   Santorum is much closer to the brand of Christianity that authored the first amendment, not Obama’s brand that seeks to overturn it.  He believes that baby murder should be illegal, not free and equally distributed.

Once upon a time, the GOP agreed with Santorum.  Today we are too afraid of Obama’s faithful followers and their witch hunts.  GOP candidates are refusing to speak up for personal freedom, responsibility, and the lives of the unborn because they see Santorum burning at the stake.  In fact, some establishment GOP’ers are standing along side the liberation faithful, tossing sticks on the fire to prove their own loyalty to the social liberal faith.

Make no mistake, 2012 is all about religion.  Will we continue to have freedom of religion and self determination?  Or will we all be forced to become worshipers of Obama’s God, even more so than we are already.

The Myth of the Obama Recovery

Depending on how you read the jobs report, you might think we are well on our way to economic recovery.  At least if you read the headlines.  Well, we should be.  In three short years, this President has increased the debt more than any President in the history of our country combined.

What do we have to show for it?

Think about it.  Think of all that we have accomplished with the last $6.3 trillion in debt.  We won two world wars, at various times brought unemployment down to 4.4% (most recently under the economic policies that supposedly got us into this mess), fought five other major wars, four major undeclared conflicts, and assisted in several other wars, gave hundreds of billions back in tax cuts, sent a man to the moon, maintained a shuttle program, bought over half the land in the country, rebuilt after a civil war, implemented civil rights, built socialistic retirement, healthcare and welfare systems, helped produce 5% and higher GDP growth, built every crumbling and non crumbling bridge in the United States today, and created a massive bureaucratic infrastructure covering roads, education, homeland security, and our entire regulatory system.

So what has Obama done with $6.5 trillion in debt?  He has brought 5.7% unemployment down to 8.3%.  Oops, I meant up to 10% and then down to 8.3%.  We have managed to get GDP just over 2% for a fleeting couple quarters.  We did continue two major conflicts which accounts for almost a trillion of Obama’s $6.5 trillion in debt.  But he didn’t do anything to stop the conflicts, and in fact started another one in Libya.

A lot of that money went in to funding failed green energy projects, such as Solyndra, which were owned by Obama’s supporters.  A lot of money went towards bailing out Wall Street and making the United States a shareholder in failed companies like Citigroup, GM and Chrysler.

One of Obama’s large debt contributions was in the form of extended unemployment benefits to make the victims of his economic policies comfortable enough to not complain.  This year when he runs on a platform of how he cut taxes, be assured that no member of the media will ask him about the taxes he has forced states to collect to fund their own broke unemployment compensation funds, and pay interest on federal loans of unemployment funds, all of which has been passed on to business owners of every size.

The amazing thing is that in his term so far, Obama has spent the equivalent of more than one full year of United States private sector GDP.  Nearly half of that has been in the form of debt.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  And yet, with more debt than every other President combined, Obama is ecstatic with an 8.3% unemployment rate?  There is something seriously wrong with this.

But it gets worse.  There is unemployment and real unemployment.  What’s the difference?  The 8.3% represents only people who are still looking for a job.  If you counted the same number of people who were looking for a job in 2007, the unemployment rate would be at 10.3% and that hasn’t changed  since 2009.

Ezra Klein at the Washington Post notes this disturbing trend which seems to show little variance in the unemployment rate when you consider people who have stopped working.  That means that with $6.5 trillion in new debt, more than all other Presidents combined, Obama hasn’t managed to increase job growth, he has just managed to increase the number of discouraged workers who are willing to settle for his extended unemployment welfare program.

In fact, although Obama will be running on the myth of jobs saved and created, in actuality there are 2.4 million fewer people working today than there were when Obama signed the stimulus in 2009. The number of people who have jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is down to 139 million from 141 million in 2009.

For those keeping score, it was 127 million in 2001.  Do the math.

CNBC versus the GOP

Last night the GOP candidates went into hostile Michigan to face a hostile set of moderators who were booed into sticking to economic issues by the crowd after an unfair detour against Herman Cain.  In all, the night turned into somewhat of a circus.  Hopefully, the GOP will shun CNBC in the future, as this was the worst and most unprofessional case of moderation we have seen.    But aside from that, let’s get to the winners and losers.  First up…

It floored me when they tried to ask if companies should be making a profit or growing jobs.  Excuse me, but how the heck do you create jobs if you aren’t making a profit?? Gingrich’s response was beautiful. Watching the moderator rolling her eyes when Gingrich said a 30 second answer on healthcare was ridiculous was fun to watch.  But my favorite answer of Gingrich’s was on education, where he offered a real life example of a real life solution that addresses the issue of education that is getting exponentially expensive with much cheaper results.  As someone who works full-time, is a full-time grad student and has been in college for a decade following various business and religious pursuits, I connected with Gingrich’s answer and could not agree more.  This morning Neil Boortz in a morning phonecall to WOKV implied that Republicans needed to worry about who could beat Obama, not who would be the best President speaking of Newt Gingrich.  Bull.  Gingrich keeps winning debates because he is the smartest man on that stage.  And he made a joke out of those bombastic, rude moderators.

Rick Santorum did well.  This doesn’t mean anything, he still can’t win.  But he did highlight his leadership on things like medical savings accounts and gave viewers no reason to mark him down.  He has struggled in debates, but performed well last night.  Ron Paul also did a good job.  He avoided saying anything outlandish and produced a solid, constitutionalist approach.  Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Huntsman also did pretty well, though his attempt at “answer this in 30 seconds?” humor sounded like a lame, screwed up retelling of a good joke.

Mitt Romney needs to understand his precarious position.  He is stuck at 30%.  The rest of the GOP voters are looking for not-Mitt-Romney as their candidate.  His smoothness, economic savvy, and gaffe free debate performances have gotten him this far (along with a great deal of establishment money).  He needs to figure out how to get himself the rest of the way.  He has to find a way to make Social Conservatives trust him. Mitt, if you are listening, make a major statement in favor of state personhood amendments.  Consider that step one to breaking into the 40s in the polls.

Herman Cain also has hit a roadblock, but it is a policy roadblock.  I think many viewers were left with the feeling that if nuclear missiles were airborne from China heading for the US, President Cain would be on the phone with the Chinese President telling him how his bold plan, the 9-9-9 plan, could solve their problems by growing China’s economy.  9-9-9 is to Herman Cain what Windex was to Tula’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  This one dimensionalism will leave him open to a Gingrich rise.  On the other hand, Cain did very well defending himself against accusations which are more and more looking like racist smears from the Axelrod/Democrat machine.

Rick, Rick, Rick.  By the way, if you want to see the sexism of the left, just watch how long Perry’s crash and burn stays in the media cycle and blogosphere compared to a Palin or Bachmann gaffe.  Talk about not being ready for primetime.  I think Perry likes to start talking and get rolling, and that’s why he sometimes forgets what he was talking about mid-sentence.  No excuses.  You are running for President of the United States.  Running before you secure the ball is how you lose games.  Running your mouth before you have your answer and grasp on the issues is what makes Presidents say stupid things.  E.g. Barack Obama talking about police officers who arrested his professor friend.

Where is America’s Fighting Spirit? Ending the Malaise Presidency

These days it seems Captain America has been overpowered by MalaiseMan. President Obama is MalaiseMan. He told a fundraiser on Tuesday, October 25 that America is in decline, which is the central theme of his presidency. People are buying it too, which is what the Occupy Wall Street movement and Tea Party is a symptom of; they are two sides of a coin that says America is in decline.

More MalaiseMan than Captain America

This takes us back to the evening of July 15, 1979. Gas prices had skyrocketed, there were severe shortages and the endless economic decline seemed much longer than the lineups at gas stations. Carter preached, “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.”

We have heard similar malaise from President Obama. In fact, where Carter spent hours and days at Camp David in what Reagan biographer Steven Hayward tagged “the most remarkable exercise in presidential navel-gazing in American history” and delivered his message in minutes, President Obama decided in minutes and is spending days and hours preaching malaise.

It is being believed on the streets. The Hill newspaper reports that over two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and the next generation will be worse off, with 83 percent of voters worried about the future of the nation. Their results conclude that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary; they see this decline as stretching out for years.

President Obama’s policies tap into the malaise, which is why he has managed an economy of decline, failing on jobs, the deficit, healthcare, home foreclosures and rising gas prices.

However, there are signs of improvement. Economic growth in America picked up in the last quarter, showing signs of some recovery as the nation’s total output of goods and services grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent from July to September, almost double the 1.3 percent rate in the previous quarter.

This is because the economy has its own laws of gravity: what goes down will get back up again. The economy does this, not the government. We have become so risk averse we want the nanny state to kiss us better every time the economy hurts us. The President Obama re-election campaign is one of kissing everyone better, what is the Republican message?

Ronald Reagan defeated Carter by offering Americans a vision that was so optimistic it cancelled out Carter’s pessimism. The economy will improve, and a Republican needs to get the message across that America will return to full strength with a gleam of defiance in its eye, not a tear of pity. Which candidate can do this? Which candidate can bring on Captain America to defeat MalaiseMan?

Time to thin the herd

All is not lost!  Yes, it was an ugly night for several GOP candidates.  Newt’s frustration with the format is certainly understandable.  It made for great television, but it was a bad debate.  However, there were some glimmers of hope, starting with the Vegas Champ…

Newt Gingrich.  I didn’t give Newt the win last time because I didn’t think his campaign would see a boost.  After this debate, I think it will.  Newt once again is the adult in the room.  He puts himself above the fray and really acts as a second moderator.  Voters should give Newt a second look.  Give Newt seven debates with Barack Obama and Obama might even drop out of the race before November.  I would love to see these debates as more candidates drop out and more time is given.  Newt has been so supportive of other candidates that his questions of other candidates carried a great deal of weight and were therefore more devastating.  Cain will not survive the 999 barrage, look for Newt to pick up steam.  Newt’s statement on faith put him squarely in the majority of conservative thought.  Newt’s biggest slip up was on appearing weak on states rights.  Another candidate who performed well, but likely won’t see much change because of it was…

Mitt Romney.  Romney was once again the big punching bag, and once again hit back.  He continued to defend his healthcare program as a state program and did pretty well.  But here Newt hit him hard on the big government aspect of it.    Romney kept his cool when being shouted down by Rick Santorum and talked over by Rick Perry.  Romney screwed up on Cain’s 999 plan trying to argue that Cain’s plan would add federal taxes to state taxes.  Excuse me, Mr. Romney, but you already pay bushels of apples and oranges.  Don’t feel bad, every candidate but Cain and Newt seemed to forget that 999 would eliminate our current tax code.  In the end, especially with no Huntsman, Romney’s got his support base solidified and did nothing to hurt that. Unfortunately, this is the last good report on a candidate performance in this review.  Although, it wasn’t terrible for everyone, especially…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele, Michele, Michele.  First, Obama took us to Libya, THEN, he took us into Africa!  Oops, Libya is in Africa.  But again, if Joe Biden can be VP, we shouldn’t be too hard on Bachmann for her frequent misspeaks.  Aside from that, she did well in another forgettable performance/turned stump speech.   As a tax litigation attorney though, I am disappointed in her evaluation of Cain’s 999 plan.  A VAT because every corporation in the manufacturing process pays 9%?  What does our current corporate tax do?  Same thing.  Shame on you Michele.  But most people won’t figure that out, so you’re good.  We will see if the media picks up on Bachmann’s idea of a $1 poor tax.  Bachmann won’t see any uptick from this debate.  Another candidate with no uptick or downtick…

Ron Paul. Paul is good on state’s rights.  The other candidates would do well to learn some things from him.  On the other hand, we heard a lot of the same platitudes and fuzzy one liners that leave us scratching our heads about if Paul actually has a viable plan.  Get rid of the income tax?  Oh, ok.  Is that like repealing Medicare part D?  Would be nice, but not a priority?  Paul came out with a new economic plan that cuts a trillion in spending.  Worth taking a look at, but didn’t get much play last night.  He will maintain his small support base, but with his vagueness and legend over substance approach this debate won’t give him a bump.  But at least he won’t lose support, like…

Herman Cain.  Cain gave the media some pretty good quotes last night.  Would he shut down Guantanamo to negotiate with terrorists?  Kinda sounded like it.  Apples and Oranges?  Cain, that is simply not Washington speak.  Cain looked amateurish.    He is an amateur though, so he may get a pass for the inability to articulate his 999 plan in a way that Americans can understand and latch on to.  Fortunately, his opponents weren’t much better.  In fact, only Newt seemed to have a clue how 999 works, but he wasn’t about to throw Cain a bone.  Cain right now is riding on populism, but poor debate performances can sink that ship (Bachmann, Perry).  In fact, I think it did sink two ships last night, starting with…

Rick Santorum.  Rick continues to be an advocate for the family.  He continues to present strong conservatism.  But his discussion with Romney early on just set a bad tone.  He reminded me of an angry teenager.  It was unprofessional and amateurish.  It’s been good to have Santorum in these debates for the most part, but after last night he needs to drop out and endorse a social conservative who can still beat Romney.  You’re not going to win, Rick Santorum.  At this point you are hurting more than helping.  But at least Santorum did better than…

Rick Perry.  Geez.  I don’t want to sound politically incorrect, but Perry seemed…slow.  Can we still use that term?  When Romney was answering and Perry was slowly drawling over him and droning on, I couldn’t help but laugh.  But it got worse as the night went on.  Perry, who gave instate tuition to illegals and opposes a full border fence, went after Romney for hiring a landscaping company that hired illegal aliens.  And that wasn’t the only 2008 unfair attack that Perry dug up.  Even when Perry made a good point (We need to uh, look at, uh the…darn, which amendment was it again?  Oh yeah, tenth amendment for uh…issues) it was lost in translation.  Perry was put in his place over and over.  It was a complete dud.  Even his distancing from Pastor Jeffers was not believable.  The best we got from Perry was a promise that next week he will have a tax plan. The good news is that even Rick Perry had a better week than…

Barack Obama.  Rumor has it, after a bunch of his tour supplies were stolen, that his teleprompter is currently being interrogated by Iranian sponsored Al Qaida terrorists in Mexico.  Although, there have also been alleged sightings of his teleprompter in Zuccoti park, smoking a joint and displaying a message about being overworked and underpaid.

Welcome to the top, Herman Cain

The most recent debate is over, and Herman Cain is discovering what Rick Perry felt like when he was the front runner.  The way the debate went, there was clear recognition of Cain, Romney and Perry as front runners.  The other candidates almost seemed to be helping in the vetting process as though they were seeking to help Americans choose from one of those top three.   So here goes, the latest debate in retrospect.  And the winner is…

Romney back in the driver seat

Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney had some good news today.  He picked up an endorsement from Chris Christie, which is huge.  He also had some bad news.  Rush Limbaugh questioned Romney’s conservatism compared to other candidates and gave the death knell that took down Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  Rush called him the Republican establishment candidate.  Still, Romney was his usual comfortable self.  His adopting the Trump doctrine on China will help build that portion of his base.  Cain did Romney a huge favor by asking him about his 59 point plan and giving him the chance to explain it and expound on it.  In fact, the questioning session turned into an opportunity for the other candidates to seem to vet the apparent front runner candidate.  Romney’s own question to Michele Bachmann was very gracious and showed the kind of class that simply makes Romney likeable.  Romney’s answer on Dodd Frank was pure gold.  He was polished and Presidential.  Romney still has to get a little bit stronger on his conservative stances and lose a bit of that obvious shine in order to pick up more of the anti-politician minded rightwing, especially the TEA party.  But for this debate, Romney managed to edge out…

Newt Gingrich.  Newt Gingrich is the best debater.  As the best debater, Newt spewed pure common sense.  His best was when he bluntly spoke about how absolutely stupid the debt commission is.  His answers put him above the fray and he maintained his mantra that any candidate on that stage would be better than Obama.  However, Newt did not get enough face time.  He took no arrows, shot no arrows at the other candidates, but simply did not have enough chances to speak to make a difference.  Newt has won several of these debates, but winning these debates is not enough for him at this point.  He must so completely knock each debate out of the park that everytime a front runner falls he is there to pick up the pieces.  In this case, he did not even mention his campaign’s new contract with America.  It was a lost opportunity.   So far he has not accomplished what he needs to do in these debates.  I can’t give him first, no matter how well deserved.  But as a representative of the Social Conservative flavor of this party, he did outperform…

Cain has his work cut out for him

Herman Cain.  Cain’s 9 9 9 plan finally got the inspection it deserved.  A striking moment was when Rick Santorum polled the audience on who wanted a new 9% sales tax, and who thought a 9% flat income tax would stay at 9%.  Not a single hand in the audience was visible.  Santorum hit the nail on the head.  The result is Cain will be in trouble after this debate.  He must now find a way to explain his plan in a way that resonates with Americans.  He made a good start when he talked about how the 9% sales tax would replace a 15% payroll tax, which of course we all pay.  If he can hit that point and solve the question of how to prevent future Presidents from turning his 9 9 9 plan into a 35 35 35 plan, he can salvage his front runner (by my calculations) status.  Cain took a huge hit on the federal reserve when Paul questioned him too.  Later when he spoke about fixing the Fed, Paul made easy work out of Cain.  Still, his likeability level and pure down home realness will keep him afloat for at least one more round.  At this point, if Cain falters I predict voters will finally give Newt Gingrich a second look.  Another candidate they might be looking at is…

Rick Santorum.  Rick Santorum did very well.  He made a key point when he said he did not support the bailout.  He called out Cain’s 9 9 9 plan and struck a very strong blow on it.  He exposed Cain’s naivete beautifully.  But that was the extent of Santorum’s stunning performance.  Like Gingrich, he simply did not get enough other face time to make a huge difference.  No one is afraid of him becoming the front runner any time soon, so there wasn’t much interest in him among the debate moderators.  While Santorum did not make a strong case for himself as President, he certainly gave voters a lot to think about with the latest rising star in Herman Cain.  That may be his purpose at this point.  There is very little chance of his campaign being successful.  Almost as little chance as…

Jon Huntsman.  Jon Huntsman did not do bad for the most part.  His answer on China will not connect with Americans and for a good reason.  Being nice to China does not sell when as Romney pointed out we are already losing to them because they are cheating.  Two debates ago I said Huntsman’s campaign is over.  Nothing changed with the debate tonight.  Feeling our pain because he helped run the family business and was a good governor is so cliche at this point, it’s really forgettable.  But not as forgettable as…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele Bachmann did well.  She spoke on Obama’s failures and conservatism.  But mostly she was forgettable.  At one point, it sounded like she said she raised 28 children, 22 foster and 5 biological.  I could understand, with that many kids, how easy it would be to get the math wrong.  But it’s not good when that’s what sticks out in my mind.  No highlights, no major gaffes, and in fact her role in Congress became even more forgettable when Gingrich asked why the House has not made any move to repeal Dodd Frank or Sarbanes Oxley.  I was left wondering where her actual leadership has manifested itself.  The exchange with Romney was her one saving grace, proving that at least she is not one dimensional unlike…

Popularity off the debate stage won't save these candidates from earning low marks in this debate.

Ron Paul.  Ron Paul did ok.  He made it pretty clear he isn’t a fan of the fed.  But on the fed, especially Bernanke, Newt stole his thunder.  What else did Paul speak about?  Again, another forgettable candidate.  Paul fans, don’t hate me for saying that.  Step outside of the movement for a minute and ask yourself if he truly made a splash.  Did we hear anything new about Ron Paul that would make us want to make him in charge of everything the President of the United States is responsible for?  No, but I’d be happy to see him head up the Fed audit once we get a President who has that as a priority (which apparently is not Herman Cain).  But even Ron Paul did better than…

Rick Perry.  Rick Perry came across as a something between a walking cliche and a deer in the headlights.  He simply does not debate well.  He again was slow in his responses and his wording did not connect.  He came across as very unprepared once again.  His good answers were copies of other candidates, and his bad answers seemed to drag on with his drawl.  I’ve said before that I would love to see Newt Gingrich debate Obama.  I would not love to see Perry debate Obama.  I’m not sure I would be able to watch.  Can Perry turn things around?  Possibly.  I’m not ready to give him the Dead Candidate Walking title along with Huntsman just yet.

Trunkline 2012: Saturday Political News in Review and Cinema Politico Movie of the Week for 10/8/11


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Brought to you by White house 2012 & Hulu.com, The Good Pope is a poignant retelling of the story of Pope John XXIII.  He was Pope for only 4 years, seven months and six days when he died of stomach cancer on the 3rd June 1963.  His lived during a period of profound change, and a time which produced some of the most significant events of the 20th Century and once he became Pope, he also  produced some of the most significant events in the contemporary history of the Catholic Church.

Bob Hoskins stars as The Good Pope.

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An easy message

Is this race about to get dirtier?  The more crazy moves Obama makes, the greater the temptation will be for Republican candidates to start slinging mud at each other.  I’ve said since the start of this primary that Republicans need to focus on Obama, but so far Newt Gingrich is the only one who has been able to accomplish this.  The result is that he continues to post poor showings in the polls as few Americans are paying attention to anything he is saying.

So why are Republicans getting more comfortable attacking each other?  The right is getting more and more confident of a 2012 victory with every misstep this President makes.  I still maintain though that Republicans need to make this election about defeating Obama.  Already, Romneycare, Perry’s HPV order, and Bachmann’s gaffes are going to make it that much harder for the GOP nominee to win in 2012.  Obama has done plenty of things to run against, and I give credit to Newt Gingrich who has been pointing them out in his weekly newsletters.

I thought I would provide a refresher course to the Republican candidates to help them stay focused. For example, do they want to focus on jobs?  President Obama is the President whose policies have driven unemployment up to 9.1% while running annual deficits over a trillion dollars a year.

In the meantime, he is also the President who is blocking the opening of a US manufacturing plant in South Carolina because it is not a union factory.

He is the President whose federal agents performed an armed raid on a US manufacturing plant because they were buying materials overseas and manufacturing them here in the US instead of manufacturing them in India.  Yes, you read that right.

He is the President who took a public US corporation away from the company’s bondholders, sold the company overseas to an Italian company and gave the proceeds to the United Auto Workers union.

He is the President who unilaterally shut down US oil drilling in key areas of the Gulf of Mexico.  When a judge said his moratorium was unconstitutional and tossed it, Obama simply wrote another one.  In the meantime, he heavily invested US tax dollars into drilling operations in Brazil and promised the US would be one of their best customers.

He is the President who today proposed $1.5 trillion in cuts in private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes, after proposing $400 billion in tax hikes just a week and a half ago.  That’s $1.9 trillion in proposed tax hikes over a two week period when he was promising new policies to create jobs.  By the way, these are the same tax hikes his own party wouldn’t pass in 2009 or 2010.  All this and he is the one proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

How about government waste?

He is the President who after taking $850 billion in stimulus dollars and funneling it to unions and pet projects such as duck ponds and skate parks is now asking for another $450 billion to fix the 152 bridges he neglected with the first stimulus.

Speaking of the first stimulus, Obama is the President who invested billions of our tax dollars into various “green energy” projects that have now gone bankrupt.  And it gets worse:

He is the President who gave a $529 million taxpayer loan to a company owned by one of his biggest supporters, multi-billionare George Kaiser, despite knowing that the company was failing.  Then he restructured that loan so that when the company went under Kaiser would get paid first and taxpayers would get what was left over.

Barack Obama says we need to cut private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes because the rich need to pay “their fair share”.  But when it came to Solyndra, Obama specifically made sure that the rich got their millions of dollars back at the taxpayer’s expense.

How about in Afghanistan?

As Obama slowly draws down forces and quickly pulls out of combat roles, he also keeps fighting for cuts in military spending.  He seems uncommittedly committed to the war in Afghanistan.  Could that have any correlation to there being nearly twice as many US deaths in Afghanistan in Obama’s three years in office as there were during the entire Bush Presidency?

What about Obama’s management of the Justice Department?

While letting the black panthers off the hook for voter intimidation when they showed up in military garb with clubs at the voting booths, Eric Holder took pro-lifer’s to civil court and sued them over standing too close to abortion clinic driveways.

And of course, Fast and Furious.  This was the operation where this President’s Justice Department sold guns to violent Mexican druglords.  Those same guns were used to kill border patrol agents.  Meanwhile, Obama has sued Arizona for trying to enforce immigration laws on their own.

All that, and I didn’t even mention Obama’s disastrous healthcare legislation.

If 2012 Republican candidates feel the urge to take a swing at a political opponent, might I suggest that Obama makes for an easy target?

Oh, and one last thing.  Report@whitehouse.gov might be a thing of the past, but if you disagree with what I wrote you can always report me to Obama’s new citizen watch website, http://www.attackwatch.com.

Yeah, but isn’t Social Security a ponzi scheme?

Talking about Social Security like it is just some government program that takes taxes from young workers and gives it to retired seniors as a ponzi scheme used to lose elections for Republicans.  But that was back when young, optimistic voters actually thought Social Security would be there for them.  Seriously, is there anyone out there still that gullible?

The height of our nation’s fiscal health came when Bill Clinton played a shell game with Social Security and called it a balanced budget.  Obama has cut Social Security taxes by 2%, despite the program’s fiscal uncertainty, and now wants to cut Social Security taxes in half and pay for it with taxes on the rich that even his own party wouldn’t vote for in 2009 when he last proposed it.  Meanwhile, as Newt Gingrich pointed out in last night’s debate, Obama has now threatened twice to cancel Social Security checks if Republicans don’t vote for his budgets.  What was an illusion of certainty to generation X is a joke to the youngest voters.

Who should be scared, seniors or future retirees?

When Rick Perry says Social Security is a lie and a ponzi scheme, believe it or not he resonates with my generation and younger.  We grew up being told that Social Security was a broken system and not to count on it.  We all got 401k plans and IRA plans because we knew Social Security wouldn’t be there for us.  Honestly, I don’t know a single person my age or younger who says “Boy, I can’t wait to retire and collect Social Security”.  We know it’s a lie, and if we get it, it will be icing on top of what we have saved for ourselves.

So let’s cut through the crap.  Who really has the best answer on Social Security?  Rick Perry wants to move it to the states and let the states run it.  Romney wants to increase the retirement age and change the way Social Security is calculated so that you don’t get paid as much.  But the majority of the candidates on last night’s stage want to offer private accounts for Social Security that future Presidents can’t dip into to balance their budget and future Presidents can’t cancel if they don’t get their way with the legislature.

In fact, of the candidates with scary language on Social Security, Perry and Romney are the ones whose stated plans would keep Social Security closest to what it is today.  Both have acknowledged affinity for private accounts, but both are looking to fix and make the current program solvent.  Cain leads the way on a fundamental overhaul of Social Security by turning it into private accounts, while Newt and Bachmann both support the idea.  Ron Paul’s view on social government programs seems a little up in the air after this last debate, going from a scrap it all approach to a we should get rid of it, but probably won’t approach.

Social Security will never be fixed until we are honest about it.  That much, Perry has spot on.  And Republicans who attack Perry for verbally assaulting Social Security may win senior Democrats, but will lose young Republicans.  Social Security is a ponzi scheme, and Perry isn’t the first person to call it that.  It is a lie, especially when it is slated to go bankrupt before most of us (including myself) will start collecting.  It is not a guarantee as long as the President can withhold checks or raid the fund in order to pretend he balanced the budget.  It is not supported by the Federal constitution.

Democrats can fear monger with seniors on this issue all they want, but anyone under 38 years old should think twice before voting for a party that can’t be honest and speak plainly about Social Security.

 

 

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