Thursday, August 30, 2012

RNC Convention Update...And Rising Democrat Panic

Mitt Romney is officially the GOP nominee for President.  But we already knew that was going to happen at the RNC convention.  What's more interesting is what else took place there.  Here's a brief recap of what's gone down so far.

We start off with the media-driven panic over Hurricane Isaac.  They suggested the RNC cancel the convention, but those darn Republicans actually looked at the hurricane path maps and saw there was no significant danger to Tampa.  Liberals everywhere (including the "unbiased" media), lamenting that the hurricane had changed direction, nevertheless continued hoping against hope that the hurricane would somehow still kill every Republican at the convention.  One media producer even got busted on an open mic suggesting that Republicans were "happy to have a party with black people drowning" (never mind that Obama was actively engaged in campaigning at the same moment).  He was promptly fired, but the widespread consistent sentiment makes it look like it was more as a result of simply being caught than for actually making the suggestion.

This is your Party of Tolerance, mind you.

But we move on.  The first day of the convention included a number of speakers, with some mixed results.  The headliners were Chris Christie and Ann Romney.  From what I've read, Romney did well and seemed pretty down-to-earth.  Christie was a bit of a disappointment because he was pretty toned down despite his well-deserved reputation for dressing down stupid reporters, union thugs, and liberals in town hall meetings throughout New Jersey.  They were good, though not stellar.  On the first night it was the small-name speakers who really brought it home. Mia Love, a Congressional candidate in Utah and Mayor of Saratoga Springs, brought the house down.  If she wins her race, she will be the first Republican African-American in Congress.  Others included Artur Davis, the former Democrat Rep who was the person to second Obama's nomination in 2008, Governor Nikki Haley, and Ted Cruz, a senatorial candidate from Texas, and all of them were extremely well-spoken and well-received.

Not that you would know that from the liberal media coverage, of course.  Some, like MSNBC, actually cut away from the convention coverage for every -- literally, every single one -- speaker who wasn't a rich white guy.  The outlets who did acknowledge minority speakers simply accused the Republican party of putting a brown face on a white party.  Um, how much sense does it make to elevate minorities to positions of genuine power and prominence if that really isn't the sentiment of the party?  Seems to me that the more this kind of a 'facade' is put up, the more this facade becomes reality.  Anyway, you don't hear or see any of this in the liberal media because they want everyone to think that minorities only support the Democrat party.  The truth is that more and more minorities are departing from the Democrat plantation because the Republican party actually offers more genuine hope for prosperity and success for everyone in the country, and to hear the likes of Davis so clearly and boldly enunciate the differences has got to be devastating:

Other speakers came and went, talking about how they have actually created real jobs and improved state after state after state.  That's a statistical fact - of the 17 states that elected a Republican governor in 2010, every single one of them has seen a decrease in unemployment:

Kansas - 6.9% to 6.1% = a decline of 0.8 [percentage points (11.6 percent)]
Maine - 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6 [percentage points  (7.5 percent)]
Michigan - 10.9% to 8.5% = a decline of [2.4 percentage points (22 percent)]
New Mexico - 7.7% to 6.7% = a decline of [1.0 percentage points (13 percent)] 
Oklahoma - 6.2% to 4.8% = a decline of [1.4 percentage points - (22.6 percent)]
Pennsylvania - 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of [.6 percentage points  (7.5 percent)]
Tennessee - 9.5% to 7.9% = a decline of [1.6 percentage points (16.8 percent)]
Wisconsin - 7.7% to 6.8% = a decline of [0.9 percentage points (11.9 percent)]
Wyoming - 6.3% to 5.2% = a decline of [1.1 percentage points (17.5 percent)]
Alabama - 9.3% to 7.4% = a decline of [1.9 percentage points  (20.4 percent)] 
Georgia - 10.1% to 8.9% = a decline of [1.2 percentage points (11.9 percent)]
South Carolina - 10.6% to 9.1% = a decline of [1.5 percentage points (14.2 percent)]
South Dakota - 5.0% to 4.3% = a decline of [0.7 percentage points (14 percent)]
Florida - 10.9% to 8.6% = a decline of [2.3 percentage points (21 percent)] 
Nevada - 13.8% to 11.6% = a decline of [2.2 percentage points (15.9 percent)]
Iowa - 6.1% to 5.1% = a decline of [1.0 percentage points (16.4 percent)]
Ohio - 9.0% to 7.3% = a decline of [1.7 percentage points (18.9 percent)] 

Real results?  Hm, how about that...

Day 2 contained even more great speakers.  New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez was great, and by all accounts Condoleeza Rice and Paul Ryan absolutely blew the doors off.  Observe:

If this is the philosophy, focus, and prioritzation of a future Romney administration, then there's hope for America yet - time will tell, but I'd love to be proven wrong about Romney.  I'll try to grab some individual bytes of some of the best clips and statements if I can find them...but if not, it truly is worth the time to watch these entire speeches.  This is the essence of conservatism, and a fantastic explanation of why we believe the way we do.


This election truly is all about the choice of which direction America is about to take.

More updates to come...

It is perhaps understandable that Obama and the Dems are in a state of near panic while watching things like this.  After all, these are the fundamental building blocks and philosophies on which this nation was built, and which are still valued by most Americans today.  The fact that they have governed opposed to these things for the past four years should make them twitchy.  Plus, I think Paul Ryan genuinely flummoxes them.  He's a boy scout.  He's not a typical rich old guy, he's not a vicious evil REPUBLICAN, he's not scary, he's got a track record of success, people of pretty much all demographics love him, and he actually delivers the brilliance that Obama only claims to possess.  They can't figure out how to attack him, and their forays thus far onto his policies are not only obviously anti-American, but demonstrably lame.  Plus, the GOP is leading in voter registrations, Romney is ahead in favorability and overall (even with the elderly, which is typically a Dem stronghold), Romney leads by 15 with Independents, even his staunchest allies are creating political distance from him, small businesses favor Romney more than 2:1, the country is not better of today than it was four years ago (and most people know it), and they're encountering withering criticisms from all sides, even the Special Forces.

In the meantime, Obama runs away from his own (uber-friendly) press corps, and when he does allow interviews, it's truly, truly hardball stuff like this:

And their ads are full of Democrat activists pretending to be 'republicans for Obama'.  If that's the best he can do, then it's no wonder his presidency has been a complete failure.  Oh, and also, the upcoming debates should be really, really fun.

Reason for panic, indeed...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On Taxation And The Economy

Be forewarned:

As part of the global push to tax the rich, America is now debating an "emergency" wealth tax. But the idea has hit fierce opposition from conservatives, who say the "politics of envy" hasn't made the country rich.

An unnamed Senator has proposed a one-time tax on the wealth (rather than the incomes) of high-net-worth Americans. The details aren't clear, but he says the country is facing an economic war caused by a prolonged recession, and needs to tax the rich in order to avoid social unrest.

He told the Guardian that unless the country "hardwired fairness" into the budget, "I don't think the process will be either socially or politically sustainable or acceptable."

The leading conservative opponent shot back, saying the plan would chase out the rich and make the odds of full recovery even worse.  The chair of the House public administration committee told the press that the tax could strangle the golden geese of America. "If the politics of envy made a country rich, we'd be very rich … Most rich people are contributing far more in tax than other people."

There's no doubt about that, but we'll come back to the details in just a moment.  First, it's time for full disclosure: this article is actually about Great Britain.  I changed the references to make it appear as though it was happening here, just to prove a point.  And admit it, your first inclination was that yes, this could be something Obama and the liberals in Congress might try, especially with all that talk of 'fairness' and taxing the rich.

We've gone over the real 'unfairness' of our current tax system and how Obama's economic policies have failed over and over and over and over and over and over and over before.  But I saw a great article at Investor's Business Daily that takes a bit of a different perspective on it that I thought was worth adding to the collection: taxpayers are a minority.

Hey, great!  Democrats and liberals looooove minorities, right?  So, this should be a slam dunk.  Well, let's take a look.

Forty percent of U.S. households paid 86.2% of all federal taxes — personal, corporate, Social Security and excise — in 2009, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That leaves 60% of the nearly 118 million U.S. households — the majority of the country — paying only 13.8%. ...

Under the current federal tax code (Bush tax code) and entitlement structure, the proportion of all federal taxes paid by the 40% will rise in the years ahead. President Obama wants the proportion of all federal taxes paid by the 40% to increase at a faster pace by implementing higher marginal tax rates on higher-income households and new taxes to help pay for ObamaCare.

Should Obama's vision of higher tax rates be implemented, it may turn out that 40% of U.S. households will be paying 90% to 95% or more of all federal taxes. That, of course, will not close the federal deficit as the higher federal tax burden on the 40% acts as a tax on economic growth and capital formation. Obama's vision has already had the effect of slowing trend economic growth and job creation. ...

So, this is a reiteration of the fact that fewer and fewer Americans are being productive (and paying taxes on that productivity) as more and more Americans are being unproductive (and sucking government services and benefits out of the system without putting anything in).  The key here is that Obama and Dems/libs have most of their biggest and most consistent constituencies in that chunk of 60% who aren't contributing.  To borrow a phrase, they have little to no skin in the game.  Unfortunately, this is one minority that Obama and other Democrats and liberals don't seem to care about.  In fact, they seem to have a particular venom for this particular minority.

The bottom line is that our tax system penalizes those who perform the best, forcibly taking bigger and bigger chunks of their earnings and giving them to those who perform the worst.  For the three bottom segments that make up that 60%, the average benefits received came to $10,000, $15,000, and $23,000 a year in the form of government services that are paid for by the productive 40%.  The less productive those three segments are, the more they get, which encourages people to be as unproductive as possible.  For obvious reasons, this doesn't help America in any economic circumstance, especially not the one we find ourselves in today.

The system has been in place for a very long time, entrenched and built upon by both parties.  There's nothing to be done about that.  But, we face a decision in November that presents two starkly different paths:

Mitt Romney's proposal to lower marginal income-tax rates encourages more: (1) capital formation, (2) hours worked and (3) higher labor force participation so that trend economic growth and income could increase. Faster trend economic growth means more households with higher income to pay more federal taxes to help close the deficit.

Romney's proposal of eliminating or reducing the value of deductions also shifts more of the federal tax burden onto higher-income households. But his proposal to lower tax rates and broaden the tax base acknowledges that the U.S. is part of a global economy and that the U.S. economy needs a competitive tax system.

Obama's vision, in contrast, appears to assume the U.S. economy is an island — with no global economy — as his regulatory and proposed tax policies would work to create a slower-growing, less competitive U.S. economy.

If you have any question about Obama's intentions, I suggest you look at this link.  There is nothing about Obama's economic vision that includes fewer people depending on government services.

And remember, this isn't just income tax we're talking about here.  I often see that the hugely disproportionate percentages of income taxes being paid by tiny fractions of the country (as in, 40% of all income taxes being paid by the top 1% while 47% of Americans pay $0 in income taxes) is somehow irrelevant because it's only income taxes and not the big picture.  I personally fail to make that connection, but many people do, and to them that somehow alleviates the need for applying any standard of what's 'fair' to our tax situation.  This is different.  This isn't just income taxes.  This includes corporate taxes, excise taxes, and payroll taxes, all of which are paid by pretty much anyone with any job and productivity level.  This is the big picture.

Obama may have inherited a mess as he is so fond of claiming.  No one denies things were ugly, but by the numbers they weren't historically exceptional.  What is historically exceptional is the recovery...or rather the distinct lack of one.  By the numbers, the closest recessionary scenario since WWII to what Obama inherited was when Reagan took office in 1980.  Here's how the Reagan recover compares with the Obama recovery:

And as long as Obama's policies -- like taxing the rich -- remain in effect, it's not going to get better.

So now we know what needs to change if we want genuine improvement.

Circle November 6 on your calendar.

I wanted to include this chart when I posted this, but couldn't find it at the time...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Listen To The First Lady

All you Democrats, Liberals, and other Barack Obama supporters looking to show your love for The One, please take to heart what First Lady Michelle Obama said yesterday at a campaign event in Florida (emphasis mine):

So that one new voter that you register in your precinct -- think about it -- that one neighbor that you get to the polls on November the 2 I want you to understand, that could be the one that makes the difference. That one conversation, that one new volunteer you recruit, that could be the one that puts this over the top. 

I could not agree more.

Now be a good automaton and follow Mrs. Pied Piper's instructions exactly...

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Another World!

It's not every day that humanity actually lands on the surface of another planet, but that's exactly what happened last week.  I'm as big a sci-fi fan as anyone, and I love watching movies depicting such landings or reading stories of whole space-going civilizations, and all kinds of variations on the subject...but for man to actually land something on the surface of a different planet...incredible.  Here's a NASA video done up like a movie trailer that helps explain the whole thing:

The high-resolution photos from Curiosity have now returned.  Wanna look at the actual ground on Mars?  Here you go:

This is phenomenal.  The logistics, the mechanics, the technology of Good old American ingenuity isn't completely dead yet.

Way to go, NASA!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Sign Of Things To Come?

Joe "The Gaffemaster" Biden was on a campaign stop in North Carolina Virginia yesterday and tried to stop in a small bakery for a photo op.  It didn't go as planned:

Would you say no to the Vice President? 
One New River Valley business owner turned Vice President Joe Biden down. ... 
This might happen more than you think from both political parties, most businesses just don't talk about it. The owner of "Crumb and Get It" - did. 
Chris McMurray's bakery has been open only since May, barely three months. 
Wednesday morning, advance teams for Vice President Joe Biden walked in. 
"I approached her she said Joe Biden is coming to town today," McMurray said. 
"Crumb and Get It" is a mom and pop store. Literally. Chris and his wife Kelly run the place and need all the business they can get.
McMurray said the Vice President's entourage got to the point and made its pitch. 
"She said they have selected 'Crumb and Get It" to be his stop on his way to Blacksburg and was wondering if that was ok." 
Here's the part that might make other business owners crazy. 
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime but essentially I said 'No offense to you or the campaign but I just decline you guys coming in here. At that time she said 'Are you sure? There's going to be a lot of press, a lot of activity,’" McMurray said. 
Why in the world would a new business owner say "no" to a photo op with the Vice President of the United States? 
McMurray said it was President Obama's recent remarks about small business and who built what. 
"Very simply, ‘you didn't build that’” McMurray said. “Speaking of small businesses and entrepreneurs all across this country and actually last night my wife was up all night. No sleep, she's worked a full 24 hours."

Then this happened:

Secret Service officers associated with Vice President Joe Biden bought a pile of cupcakes from the baker who refused to host Biden at his shop — and they did so out of gratitude. 
It’s a startling news nugget at the bottom of a local report. “[S]hortly after Crumb and Get It told Biden’s advance people ‘no’ — the secret service walked in and told [owner] Chris McMurray ”Thanks for standing up and saying ‘no’ — then they bought a whole bunch of cookies and cupcakes,” according to the Valley Reporter (Va.). 
McMurray refused to host the Biden entourage as a protest of Obama’s comment, made in the nearby town of Roanoke, that “if you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”

Then this happened:
The resulting story was picked up by the Drudge Report and a series of conservative blogs, leading to an outpouring of support online and at the store on Thursday.

At noon, McMurray turned down an interview request because he was too busy fielding a steady stream of orders, both from customers at the store and out-of-state patrons. A little more than an hour later, he closed the store because it had run out of cookie dough. It reopened a few minutes later, but with a sign in the window noting that only ice cream was being sold.

“It’s been a great day, a lot of great support,” McMurray said when he had a moment to talk. “A lot of folks are calling orders from out of state for local businesses and charities. That’s what we’ve got to catch up on.”
Anecdotal?  Sure, no question.  But given the repeated statements and policies oriented on penalizing businesses and success, this sort of thing is starting to happen -- or at least be publicized -- more and more often.  Given the sheer volume of small businesses and the jobs they provide in this country, this may have been a monumentally stupid set of voters to alienate.

It's too early to tell if this is truly a sign of things to come, but if it is...Obama's in serious trouble.

And America can finally get back to recovering.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ad Wars

Well, things have certainly gotten interesting in the past few days!  Before we get to the current news, I want to rewind a bit and recap an issue that bears repeating.  It's a tale of two campaign ads.

First is one about Joe Soptic, a blue collar worker in an Obama ad who lost his job at a steel factory because of Bain Capital closing the place down.  His wife had cancer, and the ad is essentially accusing Mitt Romney of killing his wife and claiming that if Obamacare had been in effect she would still be alive.  Don't take my word for it...judge for yourself:

Hm, okay.  Seems reasonable, until you actually understand what really happened:
** Mitt Romney left Bain in 1999 to work on Olympics. 
** GST Steel in Kansas City was shut down in 2001. 
** Top Obama bundler Jonathan Lavine was in charge of Bain Capital at the time.
** Soptic was offered a buy-out.
** Soptic took another job but declined to purchase their insurance plan.
** Soptic’s wife had her own health insurance plan through 2003.
** In 2006, Soptic’s wife was diagnosed — diagnosed! — with very late-stage cancer.
** She died 22 days after diagnosis.
** The pro-Obama PAC Priorities USA cuts an ad blaming Romney for her death.

Now, which of the numerous lies in here is the stretchiest?  It's a tough call.  Romney is gone from Bain for two years before Soptic lost his job, but it's still his fault?  An Obama groupie was the one who actually closed down the factory, not Romney?  Soptic was offered money to leave rather than getting thrown out on the street?  He turned down insurance at another job, and his wife had her own insurance, as opposed to being tragically without health care?  Again, take your pick.  It's a disgusting lie-riddled accusation with no basis in fact whatsoever.  The response has been very informative.

First the Obama campaign denied knowledge of the ad.  Then they claimed to not know the details of Soptic's situation despite featuring him in multiple ads.  Then they were busted talking to Soptic directly on one of their own conference calls.

Now, let's look at the second ad, from the Romney campaign:

The media went ballistic, equating this ad with the Obama campaign's Soptic murder ad.  The problem, of course, is that there isn't a single untrue statement in the Romney welfare ad.  If someone can find one, I'd love to hear it.  It's 100% true.  And, the intent behind it is to address a rapidly rising problem - there are 100 million Americans taking some kind of welfare right now, and that not only means there are fewer productive people making the economy work, but also a lot more people sucking resources down from an already bloated government.  It's a double whammy, and something that must be addressed if this economy is going to recover.

The Romney campaign also put out another ad that, in my opinion, just throws salt in the wound by using Democrat after Democrat to support its position that work-for-welfare is the way to go...including Barack Obama and Joe Biden:

So what we have here is evidence of an increasingly desperate and angry campaign.  There's plenty of reason for Obama distress.  Their campaign stop audiences -- which are half-full despite the $50 price tag -- are dwarfed by Romney/Ryan audiences.  The youth vote, which has been one of Obama's stronghold demographics, is rapidly warming toward Romney/Ryan.  Voters think spending cuts are more important than deficit reduction, something Romney/Ryan is favoring.  Polls -- even the slanted ones -- are showing Obama losing more and more ground.  And then there's VP Joe Biden, who genuinely appears to be off his rocker.  In just the past few days, Biden claimed that we're living in the 20th century, cheering about being able to win North Carolina while campaigning in Virginia, and claiming that Romney wants to re-enslave black people.  When asked if they wanted to retract that claim, they said they had no problem with it.  Heck, even First Lady Michelle Obama has screwed up, chastising Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas for eating a McDonald's Egg McMuffin after the games were over!  Really??

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Democrats are campaigning on fear rather than ideas because that's all they've got.  They're out of touch with normal Americans, their record is abysmal by any standard, and they've been running the country in opposition to the American people on just about every critical issue for the past three years.  Even now, Obama is lining up illegal immigrants to become legal so they can vote for him...never mind that a clear majority of Americans would rather have border security than amnesty.  And Americans still want Obamacare repealed by almost 2:1.  He's getting increasingly plain about his Marxist/socialist desires that anyone paying a modicum of attention is starting to get uneasy.

This is turning out to be one of the dirtiest campaigns in modern history, perpetrated by numerous Democrats in elected office and the media/Hollywood complex and without a single shred of real evidence.  

And it's only mid-August.  It'll get worse.  But it sure says something about Obama and his campaign, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's On: Paul Ryan For VP!!!

I still have my reservations about Romney, and I'm still not convinced he does more than mouth the right words about conservatism...but this sure as heck doesn't hurt anything!

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduced Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate on Saturday, turning to the architect of a deeply conservative and intensely controversial long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions in federal spending. 
In the campaign to come, Republicans will present economic solutions "that are bold, specific and achievable," Romney said as he presented his political partner. "We offer our commitment to create 12 million new jobs and bring better take home pay to middle class families."

Keep in mind, this is Paul Ryan, architect of the "Ryan Budget".  You know, that thing that would balance our nation's economy in a quarter century, cut wasteful government spending, and restore fiscal sanity to Washington DC.  It was the budget plan that the House Republicans have passed for a couple years now that the Democrat-led Senate refuses to even take a vote on.  He talks the right talk, and his track record shows that he walks the walk, too.

See excerpts of his acceptance speech here.  He's already pulling no punches about Obama, and if they keep up this pressure and insistence on putting the blame where it belongs, it means good things to come.

A few thoughts on his statement.  I like that they're embracing Bain Capital and Romney's record there.  Not only is it reality, but it has helped far more businesses than not.  If they explain what Bain does and how it actually helped save jobs, it's a slam dunk and eliminates one of Obama's favorite accusations.  I'd love to see that argument in a debate!  Anyway, I think they're also right to directly confront Obama's statement about "you didn't build that".  Right on.  Go with that, hammer it, and live it.  There are millions of small businesses across the country that understand this fundamental difference, and that will be effective in grass roots support.  I love that they're boldly claiming to take responsibility and lead, tell Americans the truth, and get back to America's foundation.  I'd flip my noodle if Romney looked at Obama and pointed out how many golf outings and vacations Obama has taken during the worst economic period since the Great Depression, but I think that would resound.  Finally, I love it that they openly state our freedom and America's prosperity come from God rather than government.  That's a key difference in world view, and they are in the huge majority of the nation here and should ride that one hard.

Not only is Paul Ryan about as good a bridge from Romney to the conservative base as Romney could possibly have found, but Ryan is a guy who's already taken apart Obama's signature policy, and in person, in full view of the nation:

On a side note, this six-minute clip is the absolute best summary on the economic problems with Obamacare that you could possibly ask for.  Keep this video handy for anytime someone claims Obamacare is economically responsible.

I suspect Ryan will bring every bit as much energy to the Romney campaign as Sarah Palin brought to the McCain campaign.  I think the political Right is desperate enough to get Obama out no matter what that they were going to come out pretty big for whoever the GOP put up.  Romney's got a great business background, but he's never had huge support from the conservative wing of the party.  Ryan  has the economic chops to wipe the floor with anyone, too, but he's also been a fan favorite with the conservative right for a long time.  The key here is that while you might get a lot of votes against your're likely to get even more when you have given people reasons to vote for you.  That's what Ryan brings to Romney, and I think it'll make a big difference.

My initial, off-the-cuff reaction to this pick is that it's hard to imagine a better pick for VP.

Plus, "R squared" or "Double R" or whatever they come up with will make for very catchy slogans, bumper stickers, and signs.  ;)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More On The 'Recovery' has this editorial about the so-called 'recovery' that I think is more great reading:

A core dispute in this presidential campaign is over how to evaluate President Obama's economic record. 
On the one hand, it's not fair to blame Obama for the slow growth in the first six months of his presidency, which was mostly a product of conditions he inherited.
I disagree with that premise, but let's read on.

On the other hand, it's not convincing for Obama to suggest — as he routinely does — that he should be evaluated on the basis of whether the recovery has been better than the recession. 
Recoveries, by definition, are better than recessions.
So rather than holding Obama responsible for a recession he inherited, or praising him simply because that recession didn't continue perpetually, the fairest measure of his economic stewardship is this one: 
How does the Obama recovery compare to other recoveries from similar downturns across the decades?
Okay, fair enough.  I'll buy that logic.  So how does it work out for Obama?
On that basis, the Obama recovery can only be graded as a tremendous failure — as it has produced the worst rate of economic growth of any recovery in the past 65 years. 
Over that span, we've had 10 previous recessions and 10 previous recoveries. According to the federal government's own Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth in the first three years after those recessions was 4.6%. 
During the Obama recovery (which began three years ago, in July 2009), average real GDP growth has been just 2.2% — less than half the historical norm. Of the past 11 recoveries, the Obama recovery has been the worst.
And it's not getting any better, either.
The 10 stronger recoveries involved Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush — in other words, every other postwar president. 
Some might suppose that this is because the 2008-09 recession was a particularly long and debilitating one. But the historical record shows that the pattern is generally as follows: the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery. 
Indeed, if we limit our comparison to the five longest recessions in the past 65 years (each of which lasted at least 11 months), we find the following: During the four pre-Obama recoveries from such recessions, average real GDP growth in the first three years was a whopping 5.9% — dwarfing the 2.2% figure under Obama.
Over the first two years of the Obama recovery, average real GDP growth was 2.2%. During the third year, it remained at 2.2%. So far in 2012, it has been 1.8% annualized. In the most recent quarter, it was 1.5% annualized. 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that 'recovery' going in the wrong direction?
Moreover, these poor results are despite Obama's $787,000,000,000 "stimulus" — a remarkable explosion of deficit spending at the expense of future generations of Americans, who will have to pay that money back. 
If all of this weren't bad enough, the Obama recovery has also been a dismal failure in terms of employment. 
According to the BLS, the employment-population ratio — the percentage of Americans who are employed — was 59.4% during the last month of the recession (June 2009). That figure has now actually dropped to 58.4%. Three years into the "recovery," a lower percentage of Americans are employed than during the recession. 
In marked contrast, in the last four pre-Obama recoveries from recessions spanning at least 11 months, the average improvement in the employment-population ratio over the same span of time was 2.6 points — a swing of 3.6 points from Obama's tally of minus 1.0%. 
If 3.6% more Americans were employed today, that would amount to more than 10 million people.

So what's the bottom line?

For the better part of four years, Obama has spearheaded unprecedented levels of government spending, regulation, and control over Americans' lives. He has championed Obama-Care, unleashed the Environmental Protection Agency, promoted crony capitalism and adopted policies decidedly at odds with Main Street. 
The experiment has been tried, the evidence is in and the verdict is clear: This is by far the worst economic recovery in the past 6-1/2 decades.

And that is something Obama can't blame on anyone else.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Busting Economic Myths

Gird thyself, some of liberals' most cherished economic myths are about to be busted.  These are the key parts, but check out the full articles for even more good info.

Myth #1: Eeeeevil oil companies get richer than anyone else from higher gas prices.

You may blame high gas prices on rich oil company executives or greedy gas station owners. The truth is that governments rake in a larger profit at the pump than anyone—and with gas taxes on the rise in many parts of the country, there's no relief in sight.

The price of a gallon of gas is based on the combination of four costs: that of crude oil, of refining gas, of distribution and marketing, and of taxes.

Crude oil costs make up about 76% of the cost of gasoline, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Thus $2.66 of a $3.50 gallon of gasoline is set before the oil is even refined. Global markets, reacting to supply and demand, determine the cost of crude oil. Just like any commodity, from gold to corn, a shortage in supply or an increase in demand leads to a rise in prices.

Refining oil is the next step in the process—and the next expense for drivers. Gasoline is extracted from crude oil and additives, including lubricants and detergents to reduce engine deposits, are added. As of January 2012, the EIA found that refining was responsible for 6% of the cost of gasoline.

Distribution and marketing—the part of the process most apparent to consumers—constitutes another 6% of gas prices. That portion of the cost includes the shipping and transportation of the gasoline, a markup to cover retailers' expenses, and any advertising created to appeal to customers.

The remaining 12%—or almost 50 cents per gallon today—goes directly to federal, state and local governments in an array of sales and excise taxes. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents on every gallon of gasoline sold in America. State gas-tax rates vary from a low of eight cents per gallon in Alaska to a jarring 49 cents per gallon in New York. Other states where it's steep to fill up include California and Connecticut—each with 48.6-cent-per-gallon gas taxes—and Hawaii, at 47.1 cents per gallon. ...

Put this all together, and government makes far more from gas sales than all of the oil companies put together. Exxon, for example, made only seven cents per gallon of gasoline in 2011. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the nearly 50 cents per gallon that federal, state and local governments rake in on an average gallon of gas pumped in the U.S.

Myth #2: Higher taxes = better economy

With the prospects for a postrecession economic rebound fading, it has grown increasingly obvious that the United States must eventually raise taxes or cut spending. President Obama claims we can raise taxes on those earning over $250,000, to avoid spending cuts with little, if any, effect on growth because growth was faster in the 1990s and in the 1950s and '60s when marginal income-tax rates were higher.

The evidence doesn't support Mr. Obama's conclusion.

President Clinton raised taxes in the 1990s and the economy grew. So does that mean it would grow today if we did the same thing?

Commercialization of the Internet lifted the Nasdaq from 800 in 1995 to 4,500 in 2000, the largest five-year gain of any major index in American history. Put bluntly, increased payoffs for successful investment and rising equity values simply dwarfed offsetting increases in marginal tax rates. The taxes themselves didn't increase growth.

The story is similar for the Eisenhower and Kennedy eras, when top marginal rates were high. The economy rebounded from two decades of underinvestment, first from the Great Depression and then from World War II.

Large corporations like General Motors raced to capitalize on markets unleashed from wartime rationing and controls. A postwar increase in college graduates raised productivity and opened new avenues for investment. Dramatic improvements in agricultural productivity lowered the cost of food to 10% of GDP from 25%. Oil was a fraction of today's price and dollar-an-hour offshore labor was inconsequential. Mass markets were fostered by TV and interstate highways.

Meanwhile, weakened by the war, slow to educate their workforces, and fragmented into smaller markets, Europe and Japan remained weak economic competitors until the 1970s.

No such favorable circumstances lie on the horizon today. Rising real-estate values prior to the 2008 financial crisis accelerated economic activity just as a 30% drop afterward decelerated it. Without a foreseeable rise in asset prices, high taxes and government spending will have a more dampening effect on growth.

Today, federal, state and local spending has reached 38% of GDP. In the late 1990s, it was only 33%. Throughout the 1950s and '60s, it was only 28%. The notion that the robust economy of the 1950s, '60s and '90s proves that historically high government spending and taxes have little, if any, negative effect on growth is naïve.

What does this history really teach us? Expectations of growing wealth drive investment and risk-taking up and down.

Do increased government consumption and higher marginal tax rates on successful investors and risk-takers raise expectations of increased investment and wealth in the future? No. When the government consumes income that would otherwise be invested, it slows growth no matter the tax rate. ...

Higher taxes on the most productive workers to fund increased government spending reduces incentives, and redistributes and consumes income that would otherwise fund private investment. Expectations of lower investment and slower growth lower asset values and slow economic activity. Until circumstances improve, lowering the trajectory of unproductive government spending provides our best opportunity for growing economic activity today.

Myth #3: There's a recovery going on

The U.S. economy added more jobs in July than in any month since February, but the unemployment rate ticked up, signaling that the U.S. recovery, while not headed for a stall, remains too weak to bring down high unemployment.

Employers added 163,000 jobs in July, far above the paltry 64,000 they added in June, the Labor Department said Friday. Sectors such as manufacturing and restaurants stepped up hiring and companies added temporary workers, a sign they expect more business. While the government lowered its estimate for June's job gains, it raised the figures for May by a similar amount. Economists had expected gains in July of only 95,000.

That's 40+ consecutive months with unemployment above 8%.  The Dems are quick to say we need to raise taxes in order to get things moving, but let's look at some facts first.  From 2003 to 2008, the eeeeeevil George W. Bush managed to achieve 45 months of unemployment below 5.5%, largely due to his tax cuts.  In fact, he never had a period of time that was over 8%, and only a single month past 7% - December of 2008, in which the incoming pure-Democrat majority was already cranking up the economy-busting policy rhetoric after jacking up the spending for the previous two years of running both the House and the Senate.  Given the tired (yet obsessive) Democrat talking point that Bush's tax cuts were only for the rich, I'm pretty sure I'd rather have tax cuts for the rich on an indefinite basis because everyone benefited from it.

Anyway, back to the original article.  How can jobs be added but the unemployment rate goes up?  This explanation from February -- in which the rate was also 8.3% -- shows it's all in how the White House jiggers the numbers:

When Barack Obama entered office in January, 2009, the labor force participation rate was 65.7%, meaning nearly two-thirds of working age Americans were working or looking for work.

When the recession supposedly officially ended in June, 2009, the labor force participation rate was still 65.7%.

In the latest, much celebrated, unemployment report, the labor force participation rate had plummeted to 63.7%, the most rapid decline in U.S. history.  That means that under President Obama nearly 5 million Americans have fled the workforce in hopeless despair.

The trick is that when those 5 million are not counted as in the work force, they are not counted as unemployed either.  They may desperately need and want jobs.  They may be in poverty, as many undoubtedly are, with America suffering today more people in poverty than in the entire half century the Census Bureau has been counting poverty.  But they are not even counted in that 8.3% unemployment rate that Obama and his media cheerleaders were so tirelessly celebrating last week.

If they were counted, the unemployment rate today would be a far more realistic 11%, better reflecting the suffering in the real economy under Obamanomics.


Compare Obama's recovery 2.5 years after the recession officially ended with the first 2.5 years of the Reagan recovery.  By that point, Reagan's recovery had created 8 million new jobs, the unemployment rate had fallen by 3.6 percentage points, real wages and incomes were jumping, and poverty had reversed an upsurge started under Carter, beginning a long term decline.  In the second year of the Reagan recovery, real economic growth boomed by 6.8%, the highest in 50 years.

In contrast, under Obama's non-recovery America has suffered the longest period of unemployment this high since the Great Depression, with record numbers fleeing the work force in despair.  More than four years after the recession started, we are still over 5 million jobs below the peak before the recession. Real median family income has fallen by 10%, all the way back to 1996 levels.  More Americans are in poverty today than at any time since Census began keeping poverty records over 50 years ago.

But it gets regrettably worse when you look at the overall unemployment picture.  First, we must understand the terminology.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data."

Basically, 'unemployed' means you don't have a job but want to get one.  The widely reported 'unemployment rate' is the U3 statistic, which is formally defined as:

Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)

That's the number that can easily be jiggered into something more palatable by simply reducing the size of the work force (if there is any rational reason for the work force shrinking since the Obama administration took office, I'd love to hear it).  It's simple fractions, really.  Anyway, the real unemployment rate (U6) figure is defined as:

Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force

In common parlance, these are people who don't have a job and have stopped looking for one for whatever reason.  Right now, the U6 rate is 15%.

In fact, according to economist James Pethokoukis, the total number of net jobs created since January of 2009 is a whopping 33,000.  That's 33,000 jobs in 3.5 years.  Not much of a recovery.  Indeed, a second Obama term will be terminal.  

The desperation to spin the real numbers is somewhat revealed in that the White House went out of its way to specify that unemployment wasn't actually 8.3%, but rather 8.254%.  Right.  Try explaining that comforting detail to the roughly 25-45 million Americans who don't currently have a household income.

I saw a TV ad the other day, and I actually agreed with what Barack Obama said:

In the ad, debuting this week in key battleground states, Obama looks directly into the camera and stresses the stakes of the election.

"You have a choice to make," he intones. "It's a choice between two very different plans for our country."

I agree.  We can go back to the terrible, terrible Bush years of 5-7% GDP growth and 5.5% unemployment and the 6.8% growth of the Reagan recovery...or we can continue the socialist economy-busting policies of Barack Obama that have set records for their economic destruction.

You get to pick on November 6th.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Claire-Bear Is In Deep Trouble, So Is Obama

Via RedState:

If you're a Democrat, then the latest poll from Mason-Dixon should not be combined with alcohol and/or used in conjunction with heavy machinery: she's not just losing.  John Brunner beats her 52/41; Sarah Steelman, 49/42; and Todd Akin 49/44.  And that's registered voters.  These are the kinds of numbers that you'd expect to see from a challenger; an incumbent that far underwater needs an exit strategy, quick.  Guess the Democrats guessed wrong on how quickly McCaskill was going to fade.


Buh-bye, you sycophantic Kool-Aid drinking hack.

But it's not just here in Missouri, and it's not just McCaskill.  It's bad for a lot of Dems out there.  In fact, it's so bad that the Obama campaign is pleading for contributions so desperately that even the New York Times noticed.  It's even resorted to having The One posting a video of contributing to his own campaign so people know how to do it.  I'm not sure what that says about what he perceives is the intelligence level of his voting base, but it certainly does say something about the state of his campaign.

Oh, and maybe they shouldn't add gay marriage to their official platform for the 2012 election.  Then again, why quit with the radical Leftism now?  If you're going to get blown out, you might as well get blown out in historic proportions.  If they keep going, it's possible.

You know, I'm still not terribly happy about Romney being the GOP nominee, and I'm still skeptical at just how serious he is to implement genuinely conservative policies if he were to win the election.  I hope he will do what he's saying right now, but I'll only believe it when he signs the papers.  That's not unique - most people (on both sides of the aisle) seem to be supporting the lesser of two evils this time around.  But...Romney seems to be hitting all the right notes, saying all the right things, and really resonating with an American people that has not only become concerned at the overall direction of the country but also realized they can do something about it.  GOP voters are far more enthusiastic about the coming election, and the only polls that show Obama even with or ahead of Romney right now do so by oversampling Democrat voters.  Democrats are in panic and are flinging ever more ridiculous things against the wall in the hopes that something -- ANYthing -- will stick, and as long as Romney keeps his cool and keeps his priorities straight, he should be in good shape for November.  It's still a very long time until the election and anything could still happen, but if the current trends continue it's going to get very, very ugly.

In a very, very beautiful way.