Tonight, I had the very special opportunity to talk to former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Ted is running for U.S. Senate but first he must win a very expensive and very challenging primary against an opponent who is spending a million dollars a week to beat him. He’s still confident.
Ted received another big endorsement — this time from Governor Sarah Palin. He’s also been endorsed by Rand Paul, (and just now, RON Paul!!), Mike Lee, and a bunch of other people.
What Ted needs is your vote and money.
Have a question about Ted Cruz? He answers it here. Everything from social to fiscal to economic issues. Listen and share!
The older are getting richer on the backs of the poor. How? Rich people who don’t need government services get them whether they need them or not. Medicare and Social Security isn’t a safety net for the poor, it’s a cash cow for many people who already have money.
Where does this money come from? Younger workers who don’t have the money to pay off student loans, buy a house, or save for their retirement.
In documenting a rising age gap with regard to economic well-being, the authors compare households headed by adults over age 65 to households headed by adults younger than 35. They examine data over time–particularly from 1967, 1984, 2005, and 2009-2010. (The comparison between 2005 and 2009-2010 illustrates the impact of the Great Recession.)
Here are some of their conclusions:
• From 1984 to 2009, the median net worth of older households rose 42%. For younger households, it declined by 68%.
The author of the post ends on a high note, saying that more young people have college education and says that the education translates into higher income potential.
My thought is that college education is worth less now, too. Basically, college education is what a high school education used to be. I see the very intelligent and innovative foregoing college and working right out of high school–often in the tech industry. Some professions will still benefit from education, but I see an impending burst bubble there, too.
Bottom line, the way things currently are, the Baby Boomers will hoover up all the revenue and incur tremendous debt that will cause the younger generation to transfer their wealth to pay the tab.
Playing cover up for President Obama, Americans have seen little of the economy’s human impact. Rich Lowry rightly notes that amidst the nonsense, there is real pain (something I wrote about yesterday):
If you put aside the political rants and the obnoxious construct of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent — which has the whiff of the guillotine about it — the stories are a stark pointillist portrayal of the grinding misery of the Great Recession.
And Bank of America has very little to do with it. The recession has added a layer of joblessness on top of punishingly dysfunctional and expensive health-care and higher-education systems. Despite themselves, the people posting at the 99 percent page aren’t really making an implicit case for burning down the financial system, but for blowing up how we handle health care and higher education.
As the Republicans look more likely to win the 2012 election, expect the horror stories to finally come dribbling out through the press. The point, of course, will be to paint the Republicans as heartless and uncaring. The fact that Barack Obama deepened the despair and left people worse off will go unnoticed and ignored.
People are desperate and despairing, that much is true. And the press has hidden this fact to save Barack Obama’s hide. It’s despicable.
The Stimulus threw a bandaid on a flesh wound: That is, the states and unions were given taxpayer money of future generations to prop up employment for workers friendly to the Democratic party.
The money has run out.
Talk of a second stimulus is talk of another state and union bailout, for the Federal government is incapable of creating private sector jobs. They’re only capable of getting out of the way of the private sector and the government has been very determined to be in the way of business.
So the question turns to the private sector. Why aren’t jobs being created? I know this is difficult for bureaucrats to comprehend as they don’t have to make a profit, but business owners are rational. There are no reasons to take risks when there are no rewards. So, business owners refuse to expand because expansion translates into increased overhead.
What is the #1 cost of overhead? Business owners are screaming the answer. Bureaucrats are looking up the answer in their basic business text book. Hint: It’s people related. That’s right, employees present the biggest employer cost. That rule is true of nearly every industry.
Employers look at salary, benefits, unemployment insurance, legal liabilities, and now, somewhere in the nebulous future, Obamacare, and employers have zero incentive to hire more people. They’ll sit and wait, keep production costs as low as possible. They’ll pay cash for capital outlays instead of using credit.
Or, they’ll close because of ridiculous regulations — like selling used children books (lead in ink!), like arcane rules for toy manufacturers, like punitive EPA regulations on a state that’s exceeding current regulations, like invading a guitar company instead of going after union malfeasance. All these rules and regulations chip away at businesses and make their lives more difficult. A zillion dollars to change food labeling takes away from the bottom line. A business needs money to hire and create goods.
This is not difficult.
What’s difficult is sucking it up through the inevitable. Jim Pethokoukis has an excellent piece in Commentary basically running through all the “what if” scenarios. The ultimate question, though, is did President Obama’s actions help? The answer is, no (I’m only excerpting a part of it. Please go read the whole thing.):
Did Obama make it worse? It is certainly the case that he only deepened a long-term trend that threatens American prosperity more than any other. The events of 2008–2009 exposed a truth about the U.S. economy from which we had shielded ourselves: economic growth has been slowing in a worrisome way throughout the decade. The nation’s GDP has averaged 3.3 percent annual growth for the past half century. But from 2001 to 2007—before the recession hit—it averaged only 2.6 percent. Going forward, growth might be even slower due to the aftermath of the financial crisis and the aging of the population. The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, pegs long-term growth at just 2 percent or so.
But that downshift isn’t fated. The McKinsey Global Institute thinks a higher retirement age and smarter immigration policy could make the labor force grow more quickly, while smarter tax and regulatory policy could boost worker productivity. Replacing the income tax with a consumption tax, for instance, would likely make the economy grow faster over the long run by increasing investment.
These are the sorts of ideas that are likely to be a central part of the political discussion going forward in a way they never have been. The two-party debacle that was the debt-ceiling debate and the disgusted national reaction to it suggest that the American public is likely to be more open to new remedies for the nation’s ills—remedies that have not been stained by their association with the failed policies of the past four years.
We’re stuck for now with an anemic and debt-laden economy that may muddle along for years. But it didn’t have to be this way. The one thing we can all say for certain is that we could have made it better.
No one wanted to take their medicine. Is there a stomach for it now? President Obama made many promises and they’ve all failed to deliver. His stimulus prolonged the misery and starved the private sector.
President Obama speaks often of the mess he “inherited.” Well. He’s made it worse. Much worse.
How bad is it, really? President Obama and his soundbite messaging insist that we’re “winning the future”. Adam Baldwin, actor and conservative begs to differ. He talks about where we really are as a country, right now.
Adam and I had a “big picture” discussion about where the country is financially. It’s not the most uplifting conversation. But then, if you want sunshine and delusion, watch an Obama presser. Here’s a link to the podcast. It’s about 30 minutes long.
Over the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been writing. I decided to just take a break. I needed perspective. The big picture gets murky when lost in the depths of policy but since the devil’s in the details, many watchdogs stay there. And yet, the big picture needs to be understood to put the details in context. Sometimes one can swim so deep and lose which end is up.
While thinking about politics in the greater context, I’ve been reminded, yet again, that the most important discussions are happening elsewhere. What are people learning at church? What are people seeing on TV? What beliefs are being transmitted directly into the minds of people which completely trump any political and economic reality?
The fact is, in modern American life, even with the country and currency on the brink of economic disaster (and this is not just hand-wringing–nearly every expert I’ve spoken with believes that the dollar is weakening, that trust is nigh unto lost), most people cannot seem to care.
To pull a nerd reference, it’s like the Star Trek episode where everyone is playing that sunglasses video game–utterly blind to the world around them. With our modern ability to control so much of our media experience the illusion is that we control the message, but it’s not true. We don’t even fully grasp the extent to which we’re controlled; all of us, including those of us fighting it.
President Obama knows this. So while political activists deride his obsession with his NCAA bracket, President Obama knows that more people care about that than they do about the fact that the President is responsible for their job losses if they’re oil workers, as an example. They care more about that then his selling out of the taxpayer interests in service of greedy union bosses. So, President Obama golfs knowing that the press will shrug their shoulders. He knows that the war isn’t won in the political realm at all.
Serious issues like the budget are treated as ideological fights rather than a something tangible and real and with consequences. Anyway, it seems the real fight is outside of politics and in the popular culture. The real fight is in the realm of ideas and philosophy. And our immediate gratification, neutered culture is teaching one message and our political class, well half of them anyway, are fighting that message in order to make responsible decisions.
It’s an epic battle. We risk losing the future if we don’t fight on the real battlefield.
Health care reform will be a disaster for Americans. We already know this. What we are having trouble quantifying is HOW bad health care reform will be for the country.
From the Executive Summary:
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has urged passage of the massive health reform plan moving through Congress as a way to create up to 400,000 jobs. Speaker Pelosi bases her claim on a report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) in which the Center estimates that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would create 250,000 to 400,000 jobs per year over 10 years.
This estimate by CAP amounts to a hurried effort to add academic heft to the claim that national health care reform offers a collateral benefit in the form of an economic “stimulus.” It turns out, however, that its methodology, stripped of unsupportable claims about savings in health care costs, shows just the opposite of what CAP intended. PPACA is a job killer, not a job creator.
The result is a loss of between 119,000 and 698,000 jobs between enactment of the bill this year and 2019.
There is much more data at the link.
Far from being the job creator the left would like to imagine this bill being, the legislation is going to kill jobs overall.
And as extensive as this study is, it doesn’t include the losses, specifically from doctors leaving the profession.
A commenter on my site asked how this bill would affect innovation and growth in the American economy. He said this:
If a bill were passed, it would not create new and talented doctors.
It would not create more medical teachers, or degree-granting
institutions. These professions are already at or near full
employment. If the government did go through the effort of increasing
the number of doctors over a period of years, what professions do you
suppose would people not enter, and what would society lack? One
isn’t likely to be a practicing physician and invent an ipod and
design a water treatment plant and write software, etc. In a sense,
for the federal government to favor one profession with grants,
subsidies, etc., is to punish another.
Well, the problem here, again, is that with the government monkeying with business, the results are likely to be incentive based. That is, if doctors get reimbursed less, but work harder, but have more security, the person seeking this job will change. Ditto health related research and development, etc.
Where will incentives lay with health care reform? Well, government workers will increase to try to lower costs from the private sector.
And the incentives in private industry, during a time of economic stress, will be to cut workers. Workers will cost businesses more money, so head count will become increasingly important.
I can see many tiny businesses being set up, to keep the number of employees/business smaller. Also, more workers will be contract workers because businesses won’t want to take on the liability.
All in all, though, this bill will not help business. It will stifle business. It will make it harder to do business.
I’m guessing that 700,000 jobs lost is being generous. I suspect far more workers will lose employment.
More at HotAir.com
When bad things happen during the Obama administration it’s always so “unexpected”. The latest round of unexpectedly unexpected news was in the jobs arena. The AP reports:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week, evidence that layoffs are continuing and jobs remain scarce.
The rise is the fourth in the past five weeks. Most economists hoped that claims would resume a downward trend that was evident in the fall and early winter.
The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 480,000. Wall Street economists had expected a drop to 460,000, according to Thomson Reuters.
The four-week average, which smooths fluctuations, rose for the third straight week to 468,750.
The figure is the highest in the past two months. Initial claims dropped sharply in late December, raising hopes among economists that layoffs were nearing an end and the economy would soon start generating net gains in jobs.
Why one might think that the easing of joblessness in December (people STILL lost jobs) was due to seasonal hirings and that now, those people and many, many more don’t have jobs.
One would think that, if they weren’t a press person who had their heads so far up the administration’s financial guru’s rear that he too was blinded by Obama’s light.
The American people find this “unexpected” news laughable. It’s what they see all around them. And they don’t expect things to get better any time soon.
If this was the Bush administration, the recession would be called The 2nd Great Depression.
The jobless numbers are disheartening. There are reasons they’ll continue to get worse. And it will continue to be unexpected because any bad news surrounding the Obama administration is unexpected.
It’s going to get worse, morons. There are so many reasons in the underlying economy (commercial mortgage loan resets, increasing home defaults, scaling back work force–many companies cut salaries, not employees, etc.) for bad, not good, things to happen.
Layer on to the actual economy the administration’s mixed messages and outright hostility toward business, and you have an EXPECTEDLY unstable economic environment.
The jobless woes should surprise no one.
No, I don’t want to learn from Europe. And this is why:
5. Although Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are among Europe’s wealthiest countries, as U.S. states they would be between 14.5% and 18% below the U.S. average.
Go read the whole thing. Also this.
These are just financial, quality of life reasons I don’t want to learn from Europe. There are also cultural reasons I don’t want to learn from Europe.
When I visited Washington, D.C. and saw the mind of Thomas Jefferson writ large in the Library of Congress, I knew that I would never be embarrassed about American culture ever again. The Library, along with the D.C. architecture holds knowledge and learning and ideas that vestiges of European monarchies can only dream about.
Go to any major American city and take in the opera or the orchestra. Hell, go to any church in America. You’ll hear the sounds that make up the music of a free life.
Visit New York City and see what upward mobility means. Travel through the rolling, vast plains of the midwest and see the neat farmers fields that feed the world.
I’m not knocking Europe. Paris is the most romantic city in the world, bar none. Britain has history going back thousands of years. I get it.
Still, America’s elites need to stop foisting this b.s. about what America can learn from Europe. The only thing America should be learning is what happens when socialism comes knocking at the door. Europe should be a warning about what NOT to do when you have wealth and prosperity.
Are you sick of being lectured by these guys yet?
Remember the era of fiscal responsibility that Barack Obama was going to usher in? From CBS News:
Technically, the debt hit the new high yesterday, but it was posted on the Treasury Department website just after 3:00 p.m. ET today. The exact calculation of the debt is a 16-digit tongue-twister and red-ink tsunami: $12,031,299,186,290.07
This latest milestone in the ever-rising journey of the National Debt comes less than eight months after it hit $11 trillion for the first time. The latest high-point is not unexpected, considering the federal deficit for the just-ended 2009 fiscal year hit an all-time high at $1.42-trillion – more than triple the previous year’s record high.
Much of the increase in the deficit and debt is attributed to government spending outpacing revenue – both exacerbated by the recession and the government response to it – including hundreds of billions in bailouts and stimulus spending and tax cuts along with decreased tax revenues due to rising unemployment.
And now, President Obama is talking about “getting the deficit under control” even as he’s pushing for a vast new entitlement program. Health care will drive up the debt [and be a disaster to boot] and deficit and President Obama has the nerve about cutting down government debt. Even the Chinese see the folly and they’re communist.
Do you see a way for President Obama to get out of this self-created mess? He created the stimulus to pay off constituencies which created mountains of debt. And he promised the middle class he wouldn’t raise their taxes. And he wants to pass health care to appease the hard left socialists. So many promises.
Meanwhile, the interest on this money accrues and the dollar loses value. Tax revenues will continue to decline because of all the people out of work. It’s only the press that’s keeping President Obama’s hope and change alive. How long can that last?
Wow. Want to participate in this map? Go to the link and send your information.
Here’s my contribution via a reader on Twitter who pointed to me this from Doubleplusundead:
Well, lookie here. Sure enough, the O-bots are claiming that five jobs were saved in the 14th MO Congressional District. Only problem? Missouri only has nine Congressional Districts.
This made me guffaw. Another reader said that the five counties are found in those extra seven states that exist only in Barack Obama’s head.
Yeah, job loss is hilarious unless you’re one of the over 10% of Americans without a job. Don’t worry, though, President Obama will be talking about your pain in December. That will make it better.