Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Obama's economic train on a one-way, dead-end track
We are nearing the second quarter of 2010, ending 17 months of a disastrous economic policy that has not delivered jobs and has increased government debt to one-trillion dollars, four times larger than at anytime in our history as a country.
The $787 Billion dollar (revised upward to $865 Billion dollars), stimulus spending package has not delivered on its promise to hold unemployment down to only 8% (currently hovering around 10%) and the "shovel ready" projects that local and state governments had in the wings and were often cited as to where the money would be spent only amounted to about 10% of the spending. Most of the spending has been absorbed by the extensive network of bureaucracies that paid for studies performed by people who were already employed in education and research organizations ... organizations that do not add to the Gross Domestic Product of goods and services that grow an economy and build an economy.
The recognition of the one-way government spending track that dead-ends when the money runs out - because printing money without the goods & services to back up the amount of dollars flowing in the economy, devalues the economy and leads to inflation - even has liberal observers at Mainstream Media outlets (MSM) up in arms in frustration.
This excerpted and edited from the New York Times -
Wrong Track Distress
By BOB HERBERT, Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times - Published: June 28, 2010
It’s getting harder and harder for most Americans, looking honestly at the state of the nation, to see the glass as half full. And that’s why the public opinion polls contain nothing but bad news for Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Mr. Obama and the Democrats have wasted the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity handed to them in the 2008 election. They did not focus on jobs, jobs, jobs as their primary mission, and they did not call on Americans to join in a bold national effort (which would have required a great deal of shared sacrifice) to solve a wide range of very serious problems, from our over-reliance on fossil fuels to the sorry state of public education to the need to rebuild the nation’s rotting infrastructure.
Mr. Obama had campaigned on the mantra of change, and that would have been the kind of change that working people could have gotten behind. But it never happened. Job creation was the trump card in the hand held by Mr. Obama and the Democrats, but they never played it. And now we’re paying a fearful price.
Fifteen million Americans are unemployed, according to the official count, which wildly understates the reality. Assuming no future economic setbacks and job creation at a rate of 200,000 or so a month, it would take more than a decade to get us back to where we were when the Great Recession began in December 2007. But we’re nowhere near that kind of sustained job growth. Last month, a measly 41,000 private-sector jobs were created.
We are in deep, deep gumbo.
The Obama administration feels it should get a great deal of credit for its economic stimulus efforts, its health care initiative, its financial reform legislation, its vastly increased aid to education and so forth. And maybe if we were grading papers, there would be a fair number of decent marks to be handed out.
There is a widespread feeling that only the rich and well-placed can count on Washington’s help, and that toxic sentiment is spreading like the oil stain in the gulf, with ominous implications for President Obama and his party. It’s in this atmosphere that support for the president and his agenda is sinking like a stone.
Employment is the No. 1 issue for most ordinary Americans. Their anxiety on this front only grows as they watch teachers, firefighters and police officers lining up to walk the unemployment plank as state and local governments wrestle with horrendous budget deficits.
By nearly 2 to 1, respondents to the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll believed the United States is on the wrong track. Despite the yelping and destructive machinations of the deficit hawks, employment and the economy are by far the public’s biggest concern. Mr. Obama is paying dearly for his tin ear on this topic. Fifty-four percent of respondents believed he does not have a clear plan for creating jobs. Only 45 percent approved of his overall handling of the economy, compared with 48 percent who disapproved.
It’s not too late for the president to turn things around, but there is no indication that he has any plan or strategy for doing it. And the political environment right now, with confidence in the administration waning and budgetary fears unnecessarily heightened by the deficit hawks, is not good.
It would take an extraordinary exercise in leadership to rally the country behind a full-bore jobs-creation campaign — nothing short of large-scale nation-building on the home front. Maybe that’s impossible in the current environment. But that’s what the country needs.
These words above were written by an op-ed opinion columnist for the New York Times who has always been a champion of progressive politics and liberal causes and happens to be African-American ... a tough, but honest assessment.
But the track analogy does not end there ...
This excerpted and edited from the Los Angeles Times -
With federal stimulus funds running out, economic worries grow
Much of the $787-billion stimulus [adjusted up to $865-billion] has been spent, creating jobs and extending jobless benefits. But with lawmakers reluctant to approve more funding, concerns are rising about staving off another recession.
By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times - June 30, 2010
With home sales sliding, employers reluctant to hire and world stock markets gyrating wildly, the U.S. economy is in danger of stalling. Now one of its only reliable sources of fuel is running out: federal stimulus spending.
Jitters about a global slowdown pounded world markets Tuesday after an index forecasting Chinese economic activity was revised downward and Greek workers walked off the job to protest government budget cuts. In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 268 points on news from the Conference Board that consumer confidence fell in June after three straight months of gains.
Economists worry that the weak labor market will spook U.S. consumers, whose spending fuels the economy. Dwindling federal stimulus funds are only heightening those fears.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been contentious since Congress approved it in February 2009 to aid an economy mired in a deep recession. Republicans have been particularly critical of the program and its price tag.
But seventeen months later, those stimulus jobs, along with temporary government positions created for the 2010 census, are among the few bright spots in a dismal employment market. The nation's unemployment rate is 9.7% and companies have shown little willingness to hire. Private-sector employers added just 41,000 jobs in May, out of a total of 431,000 jobs created.
The government has few levers left to pull to produce quick growth. Interest rates are already at rock-bottom levels. Concerns about swelling U.S. deficits have many on Capitol Hill opposed to the idea of another stimulus. That has some economists worried.
"There's an uncomfortably high probability that we slip back into recession," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "If we slip back, there's no policy response. We won't have the resources to respond."
To be sure, there are still thousands of ongoing stimulus projects and billions of dollars to be spent. The Obama administration is calling this "Recovery Summer" and will spotlight dozens of stimulus projects in the coming weeks. But many important programs are losing funding.
Efforts to extend those provisions are stalled in Congress. The National Employment Law Project estimates that 1.63 million workers will exhaust their benefits by the end of this week, and at least 140,000 workers will lose COBRA coverage.
In California, which has the nation's third-highest unemployment rate at 12.4%, the Employment Development Department estimates that 205,000 unemployed workers will not receive further benefits without congressional action. About 2 million Californians are unemployed; nearly half of them have been out of work for 27 weeks or more.
"There's nothing out there," said Jennifer Tilt, a 52-year-old resident of Bloomington, a town in San Bernardino County, whose unemployment benefits will expire soon. Tilt, who has a bachelor's degree, said she's applied for jobs at fast-food restaurants to no avail. She's dependent on her two grown children and her mother's Social Security check to pay the bills.
"The human impact of requiring us to find another $1.8 billion in spending cuts to replace federal funding that was designed to help states avoid deep cuts … is both cruel and counterproductive," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote to the state congressional delegation earlier this month.
Republicans say extending benefits and other provisions of the stimulus bill will add to the country's trillion-dollar deficit. "Here's another idea Democrats should consider, one that Americans have been proposing loudly and clearly: Stop spending money you don't have," Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said last week on the Senate floor.
But Democrats — and some economists — say that spending money now to create jobs and fund unemployment benefits is the only way to stave off another recession.
"What worries me the most is this idea that austerity is going to be helpful," said Michael Reich, a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, who said that ending unemployment benefits could drive more people to file for disability and hamper long-term growth. "When you make an economy shrink, it makes it harder to pay back debt in the future."
The nation's construction industry provides a window into the tough choices facing lawmakers. Federal tax credits have helped drive home sales while stimulus spending on infrastructure has put laborers back to work. Such subsidies are unsustainable in the long run. But when to pull the plug?
New-home sales dropped 33% in May as home-buyer tax credits ended. Construction employment declined in 25 states that same month, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
Stop Spending, Stop Spending, Stop Spending money that does not exist.
It is time to implement what worked after the disastrous economy handed to us by the 39th presidency of Jimmy Carter. It is time to kill off the experiment of social engineering that caused this recession in the first place with the creation of sub-prime junk mortgages instigated through the quasi governmental organizations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cut taxed and regulation requirements imposed by the government which restrict businesses ability to invest and grow the goods and services they produce to meet the needs of our consumer-based economy. It is time to re-embrace American Exceptional-ism!
It is time to visualize becoming a winning team once again, here in Carter's Second Term.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Gross Domestic Product growth revised by Obama's Commerce Department down 15.6%
The Obama Administration was wrong in its initial estimate of the growth in our economy during the first quarter (January through March 2010) of this second year of the 44th Presidency.
The first estimates released to the public by the Commerce Department placed the growth in the GDP, which measures consumer spending, at an anemic but sustainable 3.2%. This growth would have shown some positive effect of the nearly one-trillion dollar Stimulus Government Spending legislation that was passed into law over one year ago ... if it were true, but this initial estimate was a fabrication.
Today, the Obama Administration released a second revised figure which set the level of growth downward to only 2.7%. This growth represents a negative growth because it does not keep up with the expansion in our population and shows how little Government spending can do to spur the economy in creating wealth through economic growth.
This excerpted and edited from the Wall Street Journal -
Economists React: ‘Not an Encouraging Mix’ in GDP Report
By Phil Izzo, Wall Street Journal - June 25, 2010, 10:42 AM ET
Economists and others weigh in on the downwardly revised 2.7% advance in first-quarter GDP.
–The revision was a result of a downward adjustment to consumer spending and higher than originally reported imports, which were only partly offset by upward revisions to exports and inventories.
The biggest debate is over the path of the labor market recovery and hence the ability of consumers to help drive real growth.
–Joshua Shapiro, MFR Inc.
–The economy is still vulnerable to a double dip scenario. The downward revision from 3.2% in the advanced report to 3% in first revision and now just 2.7% shows that as the Obama/Bernanke stimulus wears off so does the upward momentum in the economy. With the banking and consumer sector still struggling with weak balance sheets , exogenous events like the European Sovereign Debt crisis are more likely to have lasting negative effects on the recovery.
–Steven Ricchiuto, Mizuho Securities
–The 2.7% first quarter GDP gain is below the Fed’s 2010 central tendency of 3.2% to 3.7%. Growth would have to average between 3.3% and 4.0% the rest of the year to hit the Fed’s forecast. –Jonathan Basile, Credit Suisse
Do not look for any grand leadership that has our country looking to make growth our primary agenda.
This also excerpted and edited from the Wall Street Journal -
Our Agenda for the G-20
Countries should work to stabilize debt levels, enact new financial regulation, and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.
By TIMOTHY GEITHNER And LAWRENCE SUMMERS - WSJ Opinion Journal - JUNE 23, 2010
While the U.S. was the major source of demand for the world economic growth before the crisis, global demand must rest on many pillars going forward. That is why the G-20 must support Europe's reform program and the financing that Europe and the IMF will provide to countries facing acute fiscal challenges.
To maintain the momentum of the U.S. recovery, we need strong, balanced and sustainable global growth. Global growth will help double U.S. exports over the next five years, supporting several million American jobs, a key goal of the president's export initiative.
In this new era, when emerging markets account for two-thirds of global growth, concerted action by the G-20 is the only effective way to confront the challenges that lie ahead.
Now ... doesn't that make one feel confident about the economic leadership and growth here in this era of Carter's Second Term!
We need a new coach - we can not play the "World's Game" with a leadership that doesn't care that the team has as a goal ... to win the league! ... every other team on the field has that as the goal.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Obama Administration as Hugo Chavez - Governance through "Rule Of Edict"
It was leaked to the Associated Press today that the Obama Administration plans on making and enforcing law without involving the actual body that is the only Governmental body to create law ... the Congress.
This is a disturbing precedent, for if a President and his Administration is allowed to over reach its authority in the making and application of law in this way our country becomes a dictatorship where laws are the purview of the "Strongman" and his staff as opposed to a country that is ruled through the processes and rule of law.
This excerpted and edited from the Associated Press -
AP sources: Gay workers to get family leave
By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jun 21, 8:00 pm ET
The Labor Department intends to issue regulations this week ordering businesses to give gay employees equal treatment under a law permitting workers unpaid time off to care for newborns or loved ones.
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to take care of loved ones or themselves. The 1993 law, which also allows employees to take time off for adoptions, has previously only been applied to heterosexual couples.
The Labor Department planned to extend those rights based on a new interpretation of the law, the officials said. There was no plan to ask Congress to change the law.
Earlier this month, Obama issued orders for government agencies to extend child care services and expanded family leave to their workers. Obama's order for federal employees, though, covers only benefits that can be extended under existing law, without congressional action. Legislative action would be required for a full range of health care and other benefits.
If a non-lawmaking authority is able to interpret the procedure-based properly made law to EXTEND rights spelled out in the law ... the same bastard process could TAKE AWAY rights without the proper application of the rule of law.
With the way this 44th Presidency is allowed to make decisions ... it makes one believe they think, "HELL, why do we even have a Constitution, a Bill of Rights, and a separation of powers through three branches of Government?"
Welcome to the realities of Carter's Second Term!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Most disturbing quote from Barack Obama's first ever speech from the Oval Office
The most disturbing quote lifted from the speech delivered by our 44th president in his first speech delivered from the impressive backdrop of the Oval Office of the White House was "We have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is the capacity to shape our destiny -- our determination to fight for the America we want for our children. Even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don't yet know precisely how we're going to get there. We know we'll get there."
This quote is disturbing on many levels ... but mostly, it is disturbing because it highlights the determination of the progressive political mind to control without being sure of the result.
The part that says "Even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don't yet know precisely how we're going to get there. We know we'll get there." is a little like piloting a rudderless dingy aiming for an island paradise ... and that is the biggest problem. As a nation, we have always had the capacity to, at least, adhere to the guiding principles laid out by our founding document - The Constitution of the United States backed up by the Bill of Rights.
The statement "Even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like." suggests a target rooted in pure idealism without the informed temperament of historical precedent. Conventional wisdom has its place when one is attempting to reach a target with a high probability of success on a first or second try.
What this President, and the Congress he directs, doesn't understand is that the shotgun approach (passage of the Stimulus Spending Bill, Omnibus Spending Bill, Obamacare, the pursuit of Net Neutrality, Immigration Reform with Amnesty, moratoriums on drilling for oil and limits on the pursuit of other forms of conventional energy combined with the Cap & Trade carbon taxing human activity agenda) to reaching an ideal universe without the informed guidance of historical result will be doomed in waste and the corruption of greed which all result in a lack of personal freedom which the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written to protect.
Some of the lessons that were learned during the 39th Presidency of Jimmy Carter are now being repeated on a much larger scale. This is where the idealistic philosophy of the progressive political mind ends up taking us all ... and THAT passes for "Conventional Wisdom" here in Carter's Second Term.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The Executive pursuit of destruction in Carter's Second Term
Didn't Barack Obama, in the broadcast speech he delivered from the Oval Office from the White House, look like the room was beginning to swallow him up? The chairs, picture frames and flags in the background appeared to grow in size.
The President rambled on using the Oval Office as a backdrop to highlight his views in four areas - 1.) Stop leak 2.) Clean-Up 3.) Restoration 4.) Cap & Trade. A promise of having the breech at the BP/Deep Water Horizon at being 90% contained very soon, additional Czars and more commissions to look into dealing with the protection of the coast in the gulf and the clean-up of the wetlands, and an evoking of FDR, World War II, and God's blessing is what passes for command and control leadership in a disaster for this President and his Administration.
Sitting on the sidelines for the better part of 57 days since 11 people lost their lives in an explosion that eventually sank the oil drilling and capture platform, Deep Water Horizon, that created a massive leaking breech of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and is now threatening the livelihoods of people dependent on fishing, tourism, and oil drilling operations along the shores of the Gulf. The President has implemented a shut down moratorium of all drilling and oil recovery which will place as many as i20,000 thousand people out of work unnecessarily, reducing tax receipts the Government was looking to collect to pay for its takeover agenda and putting additional stress on the economic strength of the Gulf States. If people are not being paid for work ... they have no money to pay for goods and services and those people begin to suffer.
In his "call to action" plea he delivered during his speech last night ... he began to sound exactly as Jimmy Carter did 31 years ago in a speech he gave during the famed "odd/even" oil crisis.
This excerpted and edited from WGBH's American Experience -
President Carter stated in his now infamous "Malaise Speech" - "Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny."
"These efforts will cost money, a lot of money, and that is why Congress must enact the windfall profits tax without delay. It will be money well spent. Unlike the billions of dollars that we ship to foreign countries to pay for foreign oil, these funds will be paid by Americans to Americans. These funds will go to fight, not to increase, inflation and unemployment."
"I will continue to travel this country, to hear the people of America. You can help me to develop a national agenda for the 1980s. I will listen and I will act. We will act together. These were the promises I made three years ago, and I intend to keep them."
"Little by little we can and we must rebuild our confidence. We can spend until we empty our treasuries, and we may summon all the wonders of science. But we can succeed only if we tap our greatest resources -- America's people, America's values, and America's confidence."
"In closing, let me say this: I will do my best, but I will not do it alone. Let your voice be heard. Whenever you have a chance, say something good about our country. With God's help and for the sake of our nation, it is time for us to join hands in America. Let us commit ourselves together to a rebirth of the American spirit. Working together with our common faith we cannot fail."
In contrast ... President Barack Obama said nearly the exact same things, the same vague points of fear and destruction through Government processes.
This excerpted and edited from a transcript posted at CBS News -
"The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude."
"Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -- but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation -- workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors."
"When I was a candidate for this office [the only high level of experience he can actually point to - not leadership but a speech], I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill -- a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America's businesses."
"Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And there are some who believe that we can't afford those costs right now [STRAW DOG]. I say we can't afford not to change how we produce and use energy -- because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater."
"So I'm happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party -- as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development -- and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development."
"But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet [STRAW DOG]. You know, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II [STRAW DOG]. The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon [STRAW DOG]. And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is the capacity to shape our destiny -- our determination to fight for the America we want for our children. Even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like [STRAW DOG]. Even if we don't yet know precisely how we're going to get there. We know we'll get there."
"Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region's fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It's called "The Blessing of the Fleet," and today it's a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea -- some for weeks at a time."
"Tonight, we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf. And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America."
Today, Barack Obama has received his commitment that BP will set up a $20 Billion escrow account to be managed by the Obama Administration presumably to pay for damages and clean-up of wetlands but just who will keep an eye on the activities of where this money will go?
The Obama Administration will not be looking at itself ... especially with the current political party that is in control. Look upon this money to become a slush fund to perpetuate this current political leadership structure of destruction here in Carter's Second Term.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Obama - paloosa: Where lack of focus meets hubris every Wednesday night
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, since moving into the White House, started a tradition of having a mid-week party where artists primarily from the world of music, come to perform for the first couple, friends, and invited guests.
This week marked an occasion where the President decided to have this weekly fete coincide with the bestowment of the honor of appointing someone to the Library Of Congress through the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Paul McCartney embarrassed himself by gushing all over Barack Obama upon receiving his, what has to be, 2,000th career honor or award - must have been rookie jitters.
Nero (in this case, McCartney) fiddles while Rome burns to the ground:
The oil breech in the Gulf continuing on for 45 days with its first Government approval request response being issued today
Unemployment approaching 10% for almost the better part of a year
Democrat Party politicians loosing their offices left and right when illegal job offers from the White House are unable to remove some of them before hand
States enacting laws to take control over processes the Federal Government should be responsible for but refuse to take the responsibility to enforce
Popularity polls having one's job approval rating plummet after only 16 months in office ... just seem to be getting in the way of the grand party held every Wednesday night and they all wonder (the inner circle at the White House) why isn't everyone else interested in what Michelle is wearing to impress Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld, Stevie Wonder (oops, he can not see ... but that doesn't matter, he's here every Wednesday night), The Jonas Brothers (who are also often guests), Faith Hill, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Jack White and Dave Grohl among the other performers at the tribute event for McCartney.
Obamapaloosa!... an event where denial gets passed around at the White House every Wednesday night and taken in like a Thai-Gold, opium laced marijuana spliff at Woodstock!
Welcome to the progressive leadership paradigm we are forced to live under and witness here during Carter's Second Term.