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.

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Take the Ron Paul quiz

Ron Paul is suddenly looking like a potential runner up in Iowa.  Supporters are hoping that this is his turn to rise to the top.  Paul is a constitutionalist, he is consistent, and a lot of what he says makes sense.  But what does Ron Paul say?  What are his policy stances beyond legalizing drugs, opening the border, bringing the troops home, and eliminating the department of education?  Take the Ron Paul quiz and find out what you really know about this potential runner up in Iowa.  No cheating, no googling, no going to his website.  Here you go:

Ron Paul on taxes:

A. Fairtax, get rid of the IRS!

B. Flat Tax, replace the current system

C. Modify current system, but keep a progressive tax

D. No changes

E. Other

Ron Paul on Abortion:

A. Make all abortion illegal

B. All abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother

C. Keep abortion legal and accessable

D. Let the states decide if abortion should be legal, but keep it legal on a federal level

E. Other

Ron Paul on Gay Marriage:

A. Thinks gay marriage should be completely legal

B. Let the states decide who can get married

C. Supports DOMA, but would not take further action if the courts overturn it

D. Supports constitutional amendment to define marriage

E. Other

Ron Paul’s family history:

A. Been divorced multiple times

B. Never been married

C. Successful marriage and family

D. Troubled marriage with affairs

E. Other

Why is Ron Paul wealthy? Check all that apply:

A. Years as a doctor (also opposes Obamacare)

B. Years as a congressman (while supporting term limits)

C. Consulting for large Wall Street firms (including lobbying)

D. Large portfolio in gold and mining stocks (and supports gold standard and mining earmarks)

E. Kickbacks and bribes (especially from bailed out companies)

Ron Paul on earmarks and pork:

A. Opposes all earmarks and pork barrel spending

B. Supports earmarks as part of the process but does not use them

C. Supports earmarks and has “brought home the bacon” in his district

D. Supports only necessary earmarks to prevent committees from making those choices

E. Other

Ron Paul on Entitlements:

A. End Social Security and Medicare

B. Social Security and Medicare are government promises, leave them alone

C. Private accounts and state block grants

D. Optional private accounts, leave Medicare alone

E. Other

Ron Paul on Healthcare:

A. Status quo

B. Repeal Obamacare and let states decide, anything from Massachusetts style to any other state

C. Expand HSA accounts and allow insurance purchases across state lines

D. Individuals must buy insurance or pay for care received

E. Other

Ron Paul on Energy:

A. Drill here, drill now

B. All of the above approach

C. Pursue green energy, eliminate fossil fuels

D. Tax subsidies for green energy, eliminate the EPA

E. Other

Ok, you took the quiz.  Now do the research.  If Ron Paul becomes the next front runner, he is going to be vetted.  One of the reasons Newt hasn’t crashed and burned yet despite the onslaught from all sides is because he has put all his flaws on the table, admitted his stupid mistakes, explained where his ideas have changed and why, and has been open about what he believes, even when it means taking the heat.  The reason Romney has not crashed and burned is because he has successfully argued why he would not take the Massachusetts mandate to DC.  On the other hand, Cain fell flat on his face because of accusations that came out of nowhere, a flawed 999 plan, and stumbles on foreign policy.

Paul has not been vetted.  Until now, no one took him seriously.  If he is your guy and you want him to win, or you are rightfully taking a second look at him, now you know if you actually know what he stands for.

Cain and Gingrich Capital Rise With Debate

Mitt Romney should take notice.  The Cain/Gingrich debate is EXACTLY what Conservatives are looking for.  It is something today’s liberals and Republican posers simply won’t do.  The two candidates from Georgia sat down with no time limits, no moderators, and no attacks on each other, they spent an hour and a half laying bold, smart, outside the box proposals on the table.  They complemented one another and tossed questions to each other that built each other up.  It wasn’t about me versus you.  There was no mud, no dirty politics.  It was pure and simple ideas and a clear demonstration why these two candidates deserve every Conservative’s consideration.  If Mitt Romney is smart, he will be begging to be part of the next debate, because his fiscal conservative, establishment support is not going to win him this primary by itself.

At the beginning of the debate, Cain and Gingrich stood side by side and joked about what the 2012 ticket might look like.  Actually, that’s not such a bad idea.

I got done watching the debate feeling much better about the GOP field this year.  Cain has been boxed in by his 999 plan in previous recent debates.  In this debate be broke out and showed that he is a far more complex and intelligent candidate.  He finally had a chance to explain his Social Security private option.  Their mutual respect and support helped lend Cain additional credibility.

Newt has been stellar in uncomfortable media run debates.  He soared even more in this debate.  Newt oozes leadership, and even in this debate was in charge.  It would be interesting to see if Newt would still rule the roost with Romney at the table as well.  At any rate, to the extent that this debate is replayed and seen by more Americans, Newt’s star will continue rise.  This debate highlighted Newt’s intelligence and communication skills.

Hopefully we will see more of these type of debates, and hopefully many more people will watch them.  And if the GOP wants to win in 2012, it would be great to see if Obama would step up and give this format a shot.

Operation Old TEA Bag: President Obama’s Inevitable Reelection Strategy

Bookmark and Share As the sun came up over Brooklyn on September 13th, 2011, Lewis Fidler received a phone call reminding him to support Democrat David Weprin in the special election taking place in CD-9. 
 The recent special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District did more than just elect a Republican to a seat that hasn’t been in the hands of the G.O.P. since 1923. As evident in Bill Clinton’s get-out-the-vote phone call, it also shed some light on the desperation of Democrats and what direction they will throw the ball in when they try to salvage their 2012 election fortunes with a last minute Hail Mary pass.  It offerred us insight in to the type of campaign that President Obama will resort to once he catches on to the fact that things like his third stimulus plan and his latest spending program to create jobs aren’t working for the country and aren’t being bought by the people.

In the race that pitted liberal incumbent Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin against retired businessman, Republican Bob Turner, Democrats struggled to find the issues that their candidate could run on to win voters over. Initially they did not even do that. At first it was assumed that as always, whichever Democrat they ran, would sail to victory and succeed sex texting addict Anthony Weiner. But then in August, Democrat polling showed something strange. It showed that Democrat Weprin was not getting the amount of support that Democrats usually get. This then suggested to them that they actually had a real and competitive election on their hands.

So they got to work and started to develop the issues they would campaign on.

What they found was that Weprin and Democrats had no positions on the issues that would excite voters and convince them that Weprin was their man. Even in a relatively liberal district like the ninth, there were no issues which Democrats held a popular position on.

There was the issue of gay marriage which Weprin recently supported the passage of in the New York State Assembly. But with a heavy Hassidic Jewish population in the ninth, legalizing marriage between two people of the same sex was far from popular.

There was the issue of our national debt. On that issue, Weprin held a typical Democrat line which supported big government and big government social programs. But even in a left leaning district like the one that spans the working class neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens, voters know that our debt has become a deepening crisis for our nation and as such, they understand that more government spending is not realistic. That left Weprin with the opportunity to use the traditional liberal language of tax increases to pay for all the spending. But in the middleclass communities of NY-9, tax increases, even for those who earn $250,000 or more, doesn’t really go over well. The ninth congressional district is comprised largely of those people in the middle……the ones who get hit from both ends and are not poor enough to benefit from government social programs, but are not wealthy enough to take advantage of the tax loopholes and credits that the political establishment has arranged for. So these people did not want to hear the Obama “make the rich pay their fare share” rhetoric. Many of them are afraid that a liberal definition of “rich” would include them.

There was the issue of immigration. However on that issue, Weprin has a liberal “Dream Act” position that does not solve the illegal immigration issue that impacts on his district’s residents. They do not want their money going to fulfilling the dreams of illegal immigrants. These people, many of which remember seeing the World Trade Center from their windows and worked within its shadows, want our borders secured.

So like many other issues, that was out.

There was Israel. After all, with a population of Jewish voters that is disproportionately larger than in many other districts throughout the nation, as an Orthodox Jew himself, Weprin could certainly and convincingly argue his support for Israel and ride high on the popularity of that point. Unfortunately though, being a Democrat, most voters linked Weprin to President Obama’s unfriendly policies towards Israel. And Weprin’s argument to voters that they should trust him on israel because he would fight for Israel from within, didn’t have wings.

Short of a total condemnation of President Obama by Weprin, the Jewish vote in his district simply viewed Weprin as a congressional rubberstamp for Obama’s polcies.

The further Democrats went down the list of issues important to the middleclass voters of the ninth, the more they realized that there were no issues which allowed them to present a position that they could derrive district-wide support for.

So what is a candidate with a competitive election ahead of him to do?

Why, resort to the liberal playbook, of course!

That meant scare citizens. That meant to try and distort the Republican position to preserve Social Security and Medicare for those on it and those expecting to soon be on them. It meant denying the Republican position to preserve those programs for future generation with reforms that will strengthen Social Security and medicare. It meant do your best to make vulnerable senior citizens believe that if a Republican won, they would deny them the money that many seniors have come to rely upon.

That was a good start but Weprin and his Democrat strategists and Washington puppet masters needed something else to attract some voters outside of the senior citizen demographic. That’s when the orders from Washington came down. And that is when the strategy to run against the TEA Party came into play.

So in early August Operation Old TEA Bag went into effect. That is when Weprin campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Kerr first argued the following:

“Bob Turner’s doing anything he can to distract voters from his plan to end Medicare as we know it, which would cost seniors in Brooklyn and Queens an extra $6,400 every year,” .

And from there, the tactics to scare senior citizens began

Then when the news that Standard & Poor’s had downgraded the country’s credit rating because of fiscal uncertainty came out and dominated the headlines, Weprin’s campaign defined Bob Turner as a TEA Party extremist and charged that because of their “irresponsible demands”, “Republican Tea Party extremists” facilitated the downgrade and the fallout from it.

From that point on, the Democrat campaign for Congress in NY-9 began.

It was a constant barrage of trying to make the TEA Party the enemy that voters had to unite against. It was a never ending campaign to define Bob Turner as the TEA Party candidate. In Between those lines of attack was tossed in the same old scare tactics intended to frighten senior citizens that predate the Reagan Administration.

For his part Bob Turner campaigns argued;

“Career politicians like David Weprin have taxed and spent this country into a crisis. They have jeopardized the entire social safety network by irresponsibly borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend,”

And as one Turner campaign aide put it;

“Businessman Bob Turner is running to protect Social Security and Medicare for every American over 55 years old and to put those essential programs on a sustainable path for everybody younger than that.”

But Bob Turner didn’t just defend himself against Operation Old TEA Bag. He spent most of his time denouncing the Obama policies that even urban, middle-class Democrats have lost faith in. Like the days of Ronald Reagan, Bob Turner found himself addressing a new generation of Reagan Democrats. Democrats who do not appreciate the condition of our nation and do not have faith in the direction their Party is heading in under a liberal President.

Yet as the campaign continued and the polls tightened, D.C. Democrats from the DCCC, DNC, and from the state and local Party apparatus, double-downed on their last hope……Operation Old TEA Bag. Even when only days before the special election was to take and polls showed that Turner turned the tables and was now ahead of Weprin, Democrats found themselves desperately trying to make a success of their fear campaign of senior citizens and their efforts to make the TEA Party the common enemy.

The plan was perfect. It even concluded on a high note…….a recorded phone call from former President Clinton which tied the TEA Party and Medicare together as he stated “and he’ll oppose the TEA Party plan to destroy Medicare” But ultimately, what Democrats thought was the perfect strategy, proved to be as unsustainable and useless as their economic policies.

Like driving a car on empty, it was a last ditch, desperate attempt to run a camping not on any issues, just on fear. The only problem is that in the end, senior citizens were less afraid of distortions about Bob Turner than they were of the truth about the current direction our nation is headed. In the end, the voters of the ninth district decided that the TEA Party was not their problem. Democrats were.

Unless Democrats start singing a different a tune, they will still be the problem in 2012. And just as Operation Old TEA Bag did not work for them in CD-9, it will not work for them in the 2012 elections. With few accompishments of his own to point toand with most Americans wanting to repeal his signature achievement…..Obamacare, President Obama is likely to  do little else but resort to scaring senior citizens and trying to run against the TEA Party.  Operation Old TEA Bag did not end in the streets of Brookjlyn and Queens.  It is really only just starting at Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Seven Versus One

The debate is over and there is a clear loser.  Whether by pact or we just got candidates this good, Obama was the only one with a target on his back last night.  Even Pawlenty wouldn’t take the obvious bait to attack front runner Mitt Romney.  The result was a debate of seven on one, and the One wasn’t there to defend himself.

The other loser in last night’s debate was CNN’s John King who amidst annoying grunts failed to turn the candidates on one another.  Even when he tossed Palin’s name out as an easy target for Republicans seeking to moderate, the response came from Tim Pawlenty and it was perfect.  Joe Biden has failed in every aspect as a Vice President, his views on Iraq were completely wrong, and Sarah Palin would be a better president than Biden or Obama.

Can Bachmann break through media created stereotypes?

The candidates handled tough hot button issues amazingly well also.  The shining example here was Michelle Bachmann who deflected an easy gotcha by making it clear that the role of the President and the role of the states in determining the fate of gay marriage is not equal.  She provided a balanced states rights view, while promising to protect the states from the courts if it came to that.  The other good answers on gay marriage were Ron Paul, leave it to the church and get government out, and actually Rick Santorum who explained that a constitutional amendment would require the approval of 75% of the states, something opponents rarely mention.  Cain appeared to struggle the most on the muslim staff question.

While there were no clear winners, I believe this debate showed two classes of candidates.  Michelle Bachmann led her class of fired up TEA Party approved candidates fighting for principled social and fiscal conservatism with unmeasured attacks against Obama and willingness to take heat for their views if deemed controversial.  Cain is included with this group, although he appears now more as a TEA Party candidate who jumped in feet first and now is searching for substance beyond catchphrases and buzz words.  He did not find that moment last night.  Ron Paul’s anti-establishment libertarianism may catch up to him this year when all the Revolution liberals realize that he does not support any federal entitlement programs.  Santorum failed to set himself apart as anything but a sacrificial lamb for 1st term George W. Bush style conservatism.  While they all performed well, Bachmann outshined this group.  Given the TEA Party’s success in 2010 and their conservative appeal, I would not write this group off.

The other group becoming apparent are the “intellectual”, restrained conservatives in Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty.  Their answers would not pass a soundbite test, but they were clear, well thought out, and flawless.  At the same time, these three touted socially conservative views and credentials which should make each one palatable for any Republican voter.  Newt was in a tough place and would need to be the only shining candidate last night to pull his campaign out of the rubble.  His performance was near flawless and enough to start the rebuilding process, but not good enough to bring him in from the dog house.  And while he may be right about ensuring that America is on board with the Paul Ryan plan, he is sure to take more heat for some of his comments last night.

Tim Pawlenty was perhaps the closest thing to a winner last night.  He made a great case for his pro-life record, perhaps settled some social conservatives with his call for his stance on homosexuality, connected with union and blue collar America, and magnanimously skipped a golden opportunity to play John King’s game and trash the front runner.  While the left-wing media rakes Pawlenty over the coals for his choice, conservatives should take a much closer look at a candidate who knows the enemy.

Mitt Romney will remain the front runner after last night.  The campaign has been nearly effortless for him sofar, and he made no mistakes that would cause him to lose his front runner status last night.  But he shouldn’t get too comfortable.  With Huntsman entering the race and with Rick Perry and Rudy Guiliani mulling Presidential runs of their own, the space Romney and Pawlenty occupy could get real crowded real quick.

In the end, the field last night did what they had to do.  They stayed focused on the economy and Obama.  They did not bite on questions obviously designed to turn them against each other and other Republicans.  They agreed with one another publicly and showed that any one of them is better than and can beat Barack Obama in 2012.

Gary Johnson Shoots the Moon in NH

Gary Johnson is in. He announced Thursday morning outside the New Hampshire statehouse that he intends to run on a platform of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, cutting defense, Medicaid and Medicare by 43% each, raising the retirement age for Social Security, and legalizing marijuana.

Johnson stated that he has never supported the Iraq war, and while he once supported the war in Afghanistan, now believes that it is time to bring the troops home. AP reports that Johnson made the official announcement to about a dozen supporters.

Johnson is a relatively obscure candidate who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. He received a mix reception at CPAC earlier this year and is generally viewed as outside of the Republican mainstream. However, he is sure to turn some independent heads. In addition to calling for a repeal of Obamacare, Johnson also called for a repeal of the Republican passed Medicare Part D prescription drug subsidy.

Johnson is not considered by most to be a contender, but he hopes to change that with a strong showing in libertarian leaning

Gary Johnson puts it all on the line in New Hampshire

New Hampshire. Johnson feels that New Hampshire can rocket him “…from obscurity to prominence overnight with a good showing in New Hampshire.”

Paul Ryan v. The Fed

Ben Bernanke is warning the US of a dire future filled with high interest rates, crushing debt, and a weak dollar. He is calling on Congress to save the day. However, Bernanke is also warning Republicans to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Bernanke has just cause to be concerned. After the Fed’s $600 billion cash creation used to buy US debt, Republicans are focusing on limiting the Fed’s ultimate fiscal power. Led by Paul Ryan, Republicans are looking to take away the Fed’s responsibility to create jobs. This would mean a much less powerful position for Ben Bernanke.

Normally, such an idea would be discarded. But after years of Fed manipulation creating no job growth and looming inflation that Bernanke swears is not there, the public might be ready to rein in the Fed’s power. Even crazy idea’s like Ron Paul’s idea to audit the Fed are gaining traction. Congressional oversight of the Fed? Truly a novel concept.

If Paul Ryan succeeds in bringing down the Fed’s unlimited economic power, he will be a household name by this time next year. But it won’t just be taking on Bernanke that makes him infamous.

Republicans are betting on austerity. They are counting on cutting debt and returning more money to the private sector as the way to restore our economy. Across Republican run states and in DC this is the strategy. Paul Ryan has been chosen to spearhead this effort. His ambitious plans include revamping Social Security and Medicare, and spending cuts in many areas politicians are normally wary about touching. If it works quickly, Paul Ryan could be very popular in 2012.

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