Category Archives: economy

Axelrod opposes Obama energy policy on This Week

Obama adviser David Axelrod, this morning on ABC News This Week:

Well, look, we always want lower gas prices, because that’s good for our economy.

Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in 2008:

“Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Cadidate Obama, when asked about rising gasoline prices in 2008, didn’t say he wanted them to go down, he said:

“I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.”

So contrary to Mr. Axelrod, the president’s policy goal in this case is clear, and it’s working as planned. The Democrats want higher energy prices, in order to make Americans use less energy. President Obama and David Axelrod can’t make the record go away with cheap campaign talking points.

Words are cheap, gas is expensive – that’s the Obama record…

obama - words are cheap

Dog bites man: President Obama “comfortable” with higher taxes

From the NY Times:

President Obama said on Thursday that he was “comfortable” with a Senate proposal to pay for his jobs legislation with a tax surcharge on income above $1 million.

“I’m fine with the approach they have taken,” Mr. Obama said when asked at a news conference about the tax proposal put forth by Senate Democrats to cover the $445 billion cost of a jobs proposal that the Senate is expected to take up soon. The bill would, among other features, seek to stimulate the economy by lowering payroll taxes on workers and employers.

Mr. Obama, who previously had suggested paying for the jobs bill by limiting the value of deductions taken by households earning more than $250,000 a year, said the alternative offered by Senate Democrats would also meet his objective of “asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.”

This is a real “dog bites man” story. Of course he’s comfortable with it. We can’t imagine any plan to take more of other peoples’ money that would make the president uncomfortable.

And let’s note again that Obama and the Democrats (in and out of the media) still haven’t offered any definition of what constitutes a person’s “fair share” of taxation. The working definition seems to be “more”.

obama - words are cheap

Bill Clinton wants more credit

So Bill Clinton is complaining that he’s not getting enough credit for his record as president?

OK, let’s apply the George W. Bush standard (as devised by liberals):

  • The NASDAQ peaked in January 2000 at 4572.83
  • The NASDAQ closed Friday (11 years later!) at 2,415.40
  • If President Bush was responsible for the housing bubble crash, then Clinton was responsible for the NASDAQ tech stock bubble crash, right?

We either save this country or we do not. And to save it, we must seek solutions.

A great speech (via NRO)by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida:

“I haven’t been here long enough to think that any of this stuff that’s going on is normal.”

“If we had a billion dollars for every time I’ve heard the words ‘Tea Party extremist’ we could solve this debt problem.”

“Compromise that’s not a solution is a waste of time.”

Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox

Interesting paper from The Heritage Foundation on “poverty” in the United States, “Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?

For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty,” but the bureau’s definition of poverty differs widely from that held by most Americans. In fact, other government surveys show that most of the persons whom the government defines as “in poverty” are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term. The overwhelming majority of the poor have air conditioning, cable TV, and a host of other modern amenities. They are well housed, have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, and have met their other basic needs, including medical care. Some poor Americans do experience significant hardships, including temporary food shortages or inadequate housing, but these individuals are a minority within the overall poverty population. Poverty remains an issue of serious social concern, but accurate information about that problem is essential in crafting wise public policy. Exaggeration and misinformation about poverty obscure the nature, extent, and causes of real material deprivation, thereby hampering the development of well-targeted, effective programs to reduce the problem.

Call His Bluff

Excellent article today from Charles Krauthammer. The House needs to pass a bill. Not talk about a bill, not negotiate a bill, pass a bill.

Is there any good counter argument to his proposal? Boehner could have this done by the end of the day.

Bloomberg Mistakenly Puts Editorial in News Section

On the Bloomberg website today, they seem to have put this editorial in the “News” section by mistake. It begins with a misleading assertion in the headline:

Boehner Builds Economic Case on Assertions at Odds With Markets, Studies

House Speaker John Boehner, giving Wall Street leaders his prescriptions for growing the U.S. economy and reducing the nation’s debt, built his case on several assertions that are contradicted by market indicators and government reports.

….

Sounds bad. Sounds like Boehner is just making stuff up, with disregard for undisputed facts.

But wait:

Boehner’s statement in his Wall Street speech that government spending “is crowding out private investment and threatening the availability of capital” runs counter to the behavior of credit markets.

“Look at interest rates. Look at capital spending,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of IHS Inc., a research firm based in Englewood, Colorado. “It’s very hard to come to a conclusion that there’s any kind of crowding out.”

….

Still, some economists, including former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and Stanford University Professor John B. Taylor, a Treasury undersecretary in Republican President George W. Bush’s administration, have argued that the deficits have been crowding out private investment.

Greenspan said the deficit is one reason that corporate investment as a share of profits is lower than historical patterns, in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Dec. 3, 2010.

“Approximately one-third of the decline in capital investment as a share of cash flow is directly attributable to” the “crowding out by U.S. Treasury borrowing,” Greenspan said in the interview.

….

Boehner also repeated familiar Republican political criticisms that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government mortgage companies, “triggered the whole meltdown” of the U.S. financial system.

That differs from the conclusions earlier this year of the Democratic majority on the congressionally appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. It reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “participated in the expansion of subprime and other risky mortgages, but they followed rather than led Wall Street and other lenders in the rush for fool’s gold.”

Three of the panel’s four Republicans, while faulting Fannie and Freddie, didn’t place the blame squarely on the two mortgage giants.

“They were part of the securitization process that lowered mortgage credit quality standards,” said a dissenting report by Keith Hennessey, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Bill Thomas, former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In a Wall Street Journal essay, the three said laying primary blame on government intervention is “misleading” and cited 10 reasons, taken together, for the crisis.

Only Peter Wallison, the other Republican commissioner, offered support for Boehner’s view that Fannie and Freddie caused the mortgage bubble and subsequent collapse. Wallison’s dissent put most of the blame on government housing policies that encouraged Fannie and Freddie to buy more subprime mortgages to promote home ownership among low-income people.

….

So “Boehner Builds Economic Case on Assertions at Odds With Markets, Studies” should really read something like, “Boehner Builds Economic Case on Assertions at Odds With Some Economists, and Many Democrats”.

They can call their Op-Ed anything they want, they shouldn’t call it a news story.

Once again, political hot air spikes along with gasoline price

Another year, another spike in the price of gasoline, another round of politicians demanding investigations to get to the bottom of it.

From Fox News:

With gas prices surging to $4 a gallon, one of President Obama’s solution to break the back of rising costs is to have Attorney General Eric Holder form a task force to examine alleged fraud or manipulation of oil markets.

“We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain,” Obama said to applause at a town hall-style meeting at a renewable energy plant in Reno, Nev., on Thursday.

But commodity analysts are skeptical of the president’s plan.

In other surprising news, the Sun once again rose in the East this morning, and somewhere, a bear used the woods for a toilet.

We’ve been down this well-worn road before:

Senator Boxer “really angry” about free market

Poll: 31% of Americans want President to pump their gas

Econ 101 and “windfall” oil company profits

Democrats were for expensive gas before they were against it

Democrats’ Partisan Gas

Say It With Me: Supply and Demand

Here’s some additional mockery from Doug Powers at MichelleMalkin.com

The issue is not unions, it’s government employee unions

A common tactic on the left, including in the media, when there’s a discussion of illegal immigration, is to talk about “immigrants” rather than “illegal immigrants”, in order to cloud the issue at hand.

A similar dynamic is occurring in the current debate over government employee unions in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Protesters in Wisconsin, and their media and political allies, consistently speak of “worker rights”, “labor rights”, “union rights”, etc. But no one anywhere is talking about doing anything at all regarding private sector unions. The issue at hand is solely about government employee unions.

It’s important for people to understand that the relationship between management and labor in the public sector is entirely different from the relationship in the private, profit-making sector. Even liberal icon FDR understood this well back in the 1930s:

“The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, “I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place” in the public sector. “A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government.”

It’s understandable that the protesters in Wisconsin would want to obscure the distinction, but conservatives (like Sarah Palin, for example) should be careful to preserve it whenever they address the topic. The government union bosses, who want to preserve their political clout and perks, want to portray the issue as “fat-cat rich Republican politicians” against “working people”. Conservatives need to be careful not to help them do it.

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Repeal

REPEAL