Tag: Economic policy of Barack Obama

I bet the LSM will not blame this on the crooks in charge…

Can I ask if you are surprised to find out that now that we have experienced Black Jesus’ “Hope and Fundamental Change” in action, that we are seeing European level of anemic economic performance and being snowed into thinking it is not the fault of the bullshit policies of these crooks? From the article:

The U.S. economy expanded in the first quarter at the slowest pace in two years as American consumers reined in spending and companies tightened their belts in response to weak global financial conditions and a plunge in oil prices.

Gross domestic product rose at a 0.5 percent annualized rate after a 1.4 percent fourth-quarter advance, Commerce Department data showed Thursday. The increase was less than the 0.7 percent median projection in a Bloomberg survey and marked the third straight disappointing start to a year.

Shaky global markets and oil’s tumble resulted in the biggest business-investment slump in almost seven years, and household purchases climbed the least since early 2015, the data showed. While Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday acknowledged the softness, they also indicated strong hiring and income gains have the potential to reignite consumer spending and propel economic growth.

First off, low oil prices, unless you are in the criminal green industry or in the oil business itself, are awesome for any business. Lower oil costs means lower fuel costs, which for every business that moves shit around means lower costs period, and more profits. Investments are slumping, not because of the drop in oil prices – I have made a killing myself investing in oil companies right now – but because too many people are catching on that the stock market rise is mostly from devaluation of the dollar (makes assets worth more on paper) and because there was nothing else that was safe to invest in. The problem is that since the 2008 crash any growth has come without a growth in employment numbers, and whenever it happened otherwise, because government pissed money propping up junk industries that will die sooner than later. We have had morons lie to us that the economy was growing when all it did was stay on life support while massive government spending and borrowing tried to hide that fact.

“The fact that personal consumption is a bit on the soft side is a disappointment, especially in light of the low gasoline prices,” said Thomas Costerg, senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, who correctly projected first-quarter growth. “Consumption seems to be stuck in a low gear.”

Yeah, that slump happens because fewer people are employed you moron, hence less cash to spend, and those of us that are still employed realizing we better hide our money in assets that government can’t fuck us over for having. Yeah, I know the LSM has been touting the stupid unemployment numbers that totally hide the fact so many people have dropped off the rolls and so many more are working part time because they can’t get full time employment, but I remind you that when these numbers were lower during a republican president, they were then falsely touted as signs of an abysmal economy. We have that now, but because of Black Jesus and the fear of pointing out this Keynesian shit doesn’t work, nobody wants to say we are fucked.

Businesses are also aware of the existing shitstorm and the potential doubling down of this shitstorm. Can you blame them when you have a party where the 2 candidates, one a criminal and the other a prime example of life’s losers with a grudge against his betters, competing about whom will steal the most from the productive sector to buy votes with? If I was one of these companies, I would definitely be looking at how to hide assets. Especially when the LSM never reports on how full of shit these vote buying collectivist scumbags really are screwing us. Bernie, whom sadly is the lesser of the donkey evils, wants to give us free college, but nobody points out how well government controlled free lower education has worked out for us. The criminal on the other hand is trying to out communist the communist. Who do you think will pay for all this free shit?

None of this stops the cheerleaders from trying to convince the serfs that despite the abysmal reality, that improvement they have been telling us was just around the corner or had arrived, for more than 7 years now, is just around the corner:

The dismal performance in the first quarter, however, is unlikely to carry over in the spring, most economists contend. They view the labor market as a better indicator of where the economy is headed than the more backward-looking GDP report and they point to strong job creation early in the year as evidence that growth is stable.

The case for a spring rebound will get the first big test next week when the government issues the employment report for April. Economists predict an increase of around 200,000 new jobs, matching recent gains. Only a big shortfall in new jobs is likely to set off alarms about the second quarter.

Here is my bet on how this plays out: they tell us that we have finally made it, only to revise the numbers – always downward and indicating things are terrible -some months later. And when they do this, it will all be “unexpected”. And we are all supposed to believe them despite the fact that we have seen this same shit for close to 8 years now. We have never recovered, and if you look at home ownership trends, it is obvious that these morons have been lying to us. The real estate sector doing well is basically Chinese oligarchs gobbling up everything still of value. And for all their talk about social justice and sticking it to the “haves”, the Obama SJW machine seems to have really created some serious imbalance between the rich and the poor, but definitely not in the direction they pretend they want to move it. The fact is that friends of the crime syndicate in power now are rolling in the dough, while others are not doing so well.

Things suck because the people in charge have made it far worse. That’s the facts, Jack.

So I am not the only one that saw through the bullshit?

When I originally started seeing the minimally covered LSM spin about the seriously disappointing U.S. First Quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers, and stories like this one claiming the reason we only saw a 0.1% growth instead of the projected already crappy 1.2%, was the harsh winter, my bullshit detector went off. On the one hand the LSM has been trying real hard to pretend the past winter was not one of the nastiest, coldest, and long lasting winters we have seen in a long time – the AGW narrative suffers from stuff like this, especially since people now are immediately on guard when both warming and cooling are blamed on AGW by the watermelons – so that might have been a factor. But the fact remains that we have had none of the economic growth the leftards keep telling us has been right around the corner for over 5 years now – thanks to the Keynesian bullshit that really did nothing but line the pockets of a few connected people and most democrat politicians at the expense of the productive US tax payers in the private sector – despite their efforts to convince you of the contrary.

The private sector in the US has been under assault, for over 6 years now, since the left started focusing more on their class warrior redistribution shit than actually doing things that grow the economy. If you need proof that the left knows what they are doing has drastic economy damaging consequences look at the shit they are doing around Obamacare. It’s not coincidental that the WH chose to push out the changes caused by the employer mandate until after the 2014 midterm elections, and considering how bad the individual mandate, which impacts far fewer people, has played out, that was a shrewd and well calculated political move on their part. The people affected negatively be damned.

Another example of these economy wrecking policies that the left knows will do just that being delayed to help donkeys at the polls was the EPA regulations delayed till after the 2012 elections to protect demcorats. I have read some people out there that are speculating that the EPA has been sitting on another ream of economy crushing bullshit green regulations they plan to enact into law until after the 2014 elections. Of course, the LSM has no desire to go there, it hurts their fellow ideologues, so we will not hear about it until after the fact.

Remember the XL pipeline? That’s not happened so a big democrat donor can keep making a killing. The minimum wage shit? What about the never ending cry for higher taxes on the rich, especially on estates, where that same big democratic donor stands to make a killing selling insurance to people with large estates, that is the core of the class warrior cultists? The resistance to fracking and the economic boon that has caused despite their meddling? The Dodd-Frank regulations? The hostility to wards small businesses in a slew of regulations? The list goes on and on. Those are but a few of the plethora of examples of economy crashing shit the Marxists have been up to, so anyone that sees the low numbers, yet again, would be totally justified to attribute them to the collectivist policies.

And some are actually doing just that. The 0.1% number happened, not because of an unusual winter, but because the economy is being strangled by the stupid and destructive policies of the class warrior credentialed elites. Note that these are also preliminary numbers. I bet they try hard to push them up, but I bet, based on past history, that this get revised down, and I would not be surprised to see a contraction. Queue CM and his fellow Keynesian idiots to tell us we need more government spending, because that’s how you counter policies pushed by said government that crush the economy. In the mean time, connected people and democrats make a financial windfall. But that’s just coincidental.

Killing the goose that laid the golden egg

Over at the Hoover Institution journal, they have a damning article, appropriately titled “The United States of Envy”, where they give us a clear picture of the left’s strategy for the coming election:

In advance of the 2014 election, the Obama administration has drawn the political discussion away from its unpopular and flawed healthcare plan, usually called Obamacare, to bring public attention and support for increased income redistribution. President Obama openly encouraged envy of the top one percent of income earners. Reducing the share received by the highest earners to provide revenue for larger transfers to the lowest earners has long been a main objective of his administration. We can all expect this theme to be trumpeted loudly by the mainstream press as the mid-term election approaches: Some of us can have more, the argument goes, if we force others to have less.

The left has done a bang up job of first creating a massive pool of low information voters and then appealing to their vilest and basest emotions to buy votes in return for table scraps. Oh, they will pretend they can make the case that the data supports wealth redistribution as a means to bring prosperity, but it is, as the article points out, bullshit:

Professor Piketty collected data on income distribution from approximately 20 countries over periods of different length. He concluded that raising the tax rate to 60 percent on the highest incomes and redistributing the receipts to the poor would increase spending and economic growth. The New York Times declared his book, Capital in the 21st Century, one of the great achievements of modern economics. It put it in a class with Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and John Maynard Keynes’s General Theory.

This lavish praise seems both wrong and extreme. I agree that in the past there was a notable positive association between economic growth and the spread between the shares of income going to the top 1, 5, or 10 percent of the earners and the share going to the remainder. The mistake is to conclude that narrowing the distribution contributes to growth. The far more plausible explanation is that economic growth in capitalist countries over the past two centuries contributed to a steep decline in the share of the top earners.

Simply put, Piketty, President Obama, and the IMF have the causality running the wrong way. Taxing the rich to redistribute did not produce growth. On the contrary, growth reduced the share earned by the highest earners.

I have never, ever bought the left’s pretense that their laser focus on splitting the pie, instead of growing it, is what has what caused prosperity. This is a ludicrous notion on the face of it and defies common sense. In fact the article points out how wrong this assumption is:

The data show a remarkable degree of uniformity. The share of income received by the top 1 percent declined persistently from about 1910 to 1980. The share fell from an initial 20 to 25 percent of total income to about 5 to 8 percent. Then the share rose in several of the countries, notably the US, the UK, Canada, and Sweden. By the end of the sample data, about 2005, the share in several of these countries was back to about 10 percent. The share of the top 1 percent in the US reached 15 percent, more than half way back to where it was early in the twentieth century. It is this rise that initiated the loud outcries about the failure of modern capitalism to benefit the middle class.

It is impossible for anyone to show that the decline in all seven countries resulted from higher taxes on the highest incomes and redistribution to the poor. The reason is that the welfare state did not exist in several of the countries and was relatively small in the others. In the United States, federal government spending was rarely more 3 or 4 percent of total spending in non-war years until after 1930. Old age pensions didn’t start until the late 1930s, and healthcare spending did not expand until the late 1960s.

What is blatantly obvious to anyone paying attention how this class warfare shit the left banks on always plays out, is that all that excessive taxation that basically amounts to penalizing the successful has accomplished however is to destroy the economic growth that allowed the left to pretend it was what they where doing that helped. Wasteful government spending and crippling crony capitalism that helps the entrenched oligarchy retain their power – that’s what this class warfare is totally about – has left the economy in shambles. And the left has talked a mean talk about doing things to fix this problem of their making while piling on the shit that causes damage. The stake through the heart of the American economy is Obamacare. It will crush our economy.

President Obama’s program works against this process. It doesn’t reward work. It gives the unemployed and underemployed food stamps, healthcare, housing allowances, and income. Instead of working, many learn to live on the government benefits, supplementing them occasionally by working in the underground economy. Instead of acquiring productive skills, they learn how to live without working at regular jobs. That’s one way that the welfare state worked to increase the share of the highest paid 1 percent after 1980. The welfare state contributes also by weakening and even destroying family structure. Single family women are often on the bottom rung of the income distribution.

A system that punishes success and making good choices while rewarding bad behavior and poor choices will encourage more of the later. The welfare state grows precisely because it is rigged to cause more of that. It’s the age old issue that people making a good living solving a problem really have no incentive in doing that, because it means it is the end of their livelihood. The American war against poverty, now more than 6 decades old, has sucked up over $20 trillion, and yet, all we have to show for that is that we have reached a point where the takers outnumber the producers. And the only change we are looking at is for the scales to tip even further, and sadly, I have to admit doing so faster, in the direction it has been going.

The old axiom that collectivism can only give shared misery to all, because that’s the easy solution to the inequality problem, is, yet again, being proven true. But the gangster oligarchy on the left doesn’t care and the sheep that follow them are too stupid to see the writing on the wall. We either turn this thing around and end the class warfare bullshit, or we are looking at another one of those times Heinlein pointed out would come when the few exceptional people that cause prosperity have again be driven into hiding. Collectivism sucks ass.

Election 2012: IV. Why We Should Vote Against Barack Obama

(This is the fourth of five posts I will put up over the weeks of and after the conventions, exploring my thoughts on the Presidential election. Parts one and two were reasons to vote for and against Mitt Romney; Parts three and four will be reasons to vote for and against Barack Obama. Part five will wrap up. Keep in mind, this is my thinking as we went through the conventions. It’s likely that things will change between now and Election Day.)

OK, now that’s all out of the way, here’s the fun part.

Obama’s first term has been littered with disappointments and broken promises, too many to really get into in one post. He has plenty of defenders and I’ll get into their arguments below. But again, this is not about the last four years; it’s about the next four. So why would we not want this guy to have four more years in the White House?

The Economy

You know what? Just for the sake of argument, I’m going to give Barack Obama as much credit as I possibly can for the last three and a half years. And I’m not entirely sure it’s undeserved. When December 2008 rolled around, I thought we were headed for Great Depression II. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month and the economy was declining at an annual rate of 8%. Think about that for a moment. It was the most catastrophic contraction since the Great Depression. I will give him (and Bush) all the credit in the world that we didn’t end up hitting rock bottom. I’ll even punt on the Stimulus and claim that the only reason we didn’t have a depression was because of Obama’s enlightened stewardship. I don’t believe this, mind you. But I’ll posit it for now. All hail Obama, Preventer of Depression II!

But here’s the thing: it’s one thing to prevent a depression, it’s another to get things moving again. The private sector has been recovering, but slowly and it’s not clear that its very sustainable.

Here’s a plot of job growth under this President and his predecessor. And just in case you think I’m being unfair, I got this from ThinkProgress.

You can now see what the Obamaites are on about. Public sector employment has fallen. Private sector employment, after plunging the first year, has slowly recovered basically back to where we were when he took over (although unemployment is still up because of population growth). This contrasts sharply against the Bush’s “recovery” which saw sharp growth in public sector employment and slower growth in the private sector. And that after a much milder bubble bursting.

But … as I keep saying … when you’re comparing yourself to Bush, you are setting the bar awfully low. The point of the Bush era, as the Left never tires of reminding us, was that it was not a great recovery. You compare this to recoveries under Reagan or Clinton and the picture is very different. Obama has had much much slower job growth. And the faster job growth under Clinton and Reagan happened without trillion dollar deficits.

Obama likes to say he’s created 4.5 million new jobs. That’s … not a lot for 42 months. Let’s be generous and only count things from January 2010, six months after the recovery began (a year after the stimulus). That’s still only 155,000 jobs per month. Let’s be even more generous and throw in 600,000 jobs that the public sector lost. Now we’re up to 175,000 a month.

The only way you get up to really robust growth is to toss in another million jobs to represent how the bloated public sector grew under Bush. Now we’re up over 200,000, into good territory. But we had to twist ourselves into a pretzel shape and assume unsustainable Bush-era spending increases to get there. Does that sound like a sound economy to you?

And let me point out: giving Obama every break — starting our counting in January 2010, accounting for public sector shrinkage — we’re still barely at recovery level. Take some time to play with the numbers here and contrast this recovery against those of Reagan and Clinton. With both of them, we were averaging 300,000 jobs per month at this stage. In 1984, we added 300,000 jobs or more in eight months. In 1994, we added 300,000 or more jobs in seven months. You know how many months we’ve added 300,000 jobs under Obama?

One. And that was Census hiring.

Let’s flash up the key figure of the stimulus, which shows how jobs were supposed to recover:

Now I have been as critical as anyone about the use of this figure. The projections Team Obama made were before they knew just how bad the economy was (although they haven’t produced a new figure with accurate economic figures … hmmmm).

But even with that caveat, this is still damning. For one, it tells me that they way underestimated the problem; hardly a vote of confidence in their supposed superstar economic team. For another, underestimating the economy’s freefall might be the reason unemployment peaked much higher than expect. But how do they explain the failure of the red line to drop down? Austerity? Without real spending cuts or tax hikes?

That’s leaving out the elephant in the room: the sharp decline in labor force participation. Labor force participation has been falling for a while as people retire. But that’s not what’s causing the current problem. In fact, young people are leaving the labor force in record numbers while seniors are staying in the labor force. The sharpest decline in labor force participation is among 16-19 year-olds. And less than half of college graduates are finding jobs.

So, OK, I’ll give you the decline in public sector payrolls. But you have to give me the sharp decline in labor force participation. We’ll call it even: unemployment is still over 8%.

Look, I appreciate that the 2008 crisis was unprecedented (although Reagan inherited a bad situation too). I agree that this is not like other recoveries. But I still don’t think the Democrats understand the nature of the problem: massive debt and over-investment in certain sectors. The fact is that the people who authored the crash — the bankers and their cronies in Washington — have never really been held accountable. The fact is that Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank have made our economy less dynamic without decreasing our vulnerability to bank runs. The fact is that we’ve been spending money on green boondoggles and specialized tax breaks and bailouts instead of cutting or eliminating corporate taxes for everyone. The fact is that despite the high hopes when Cass Sunstein was brought on board, Obama has done nothing to streamline regulation and make it easier to do business. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Hell, even when it came to the payroll tax cut, they messed it up. They could have made that cut on the employer side, which would have made it easier to hire people and made it easier for Congress to eventually curtail the cut. Instead, they made it on the employee side, which did precisely dick for hiring and made the cut easy to demagogue. Now we’re stuck with a multi-billion dollar hole in revenues that isn’t helping the economy.

Maybe you could argue that being clueless is a good thing. I certainly think it would help a lot if our government just stopped helping us. We’re in debt and, unless we accept some inflation, that debt is going to keep our economy down for a long time. I said four years ago we might have a lost decade and the only cure for our ills was time and hard work.

But Obama can’t sit around and do nothing. He always has to cock around and try to get things moving. All that’s doing is dragging things out. A Rich pointed out, the Global Competitiveness Index has seen us slip from the #1 economy in 2006-2008 to #7, due to regulation and fiscal uncertainty. Is none of that the President’s fault?

So … again … I appreciate that Obama inherited a gigantic clusterfuck. I appreciate that we have never had a situation like this before. But the policies he has pursued and is promising to continue to pursue are not the policies I think will eventually bring us out of the doldrums.

There is a certain amount of glee in some quarters when bad job numbers come out. It’s a glee I do not share. The continued slow pace of recovery is frustrating and maddening. Millions of good, hard-working people can not find work. That’s far more important than which team of dickheads occupies the Oval Office. If I thought re-electing Barack Obama would turn around the employment picture, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat, Bill Ayers and all. I don’t.

The Budget Deficit

I cited the deficit as a reason to vote for Obama, given that he and Congress have combined to keep spending growth at 1% over the last two years. But constraining the rate of growth is not nearly enough to fix things long term. A major overhaul of Medicare and Social Security are needed.

But I’m not convinced Obama is the guy who can achieve that. Bob Woodward is publishing excerpts from his new book detailing the budget debate of 2011. Now I take Woodward with a heap of salt, generally. But the image he portrays is of a man who simply can not work Congress the way Clinton or Reagan did; who can not be the driving force behind the Grand Bargain needed for long-term fiscal stability. Re-electing Obama is likely to just the kick the can down the road another four years. We’re rapidly running out of road.

Civil Liberties and the War on Drugs

Barack Obama’s record on civil liberties is simply terrible and he has reversed the progress made under Bush in reining in the War on Drugs. There is absolutely no reason to believe this will change in a second Obama term. If anything, it may get worse. Here is that famous Right-Wing rag Mother Jones on how the Democrats dumped almost all civil liberties references from their 2012 platform. MJ is mainly focused on the War on Terror and some of the policies — torture, detention, etc. — are supported by the Right. But … once again … that does not make it right or even neutral. The Democrats are supposed to be the party of civil liberties. Now they seem determined to show just how “tough” they are.

I’ve documented many times how Obama has ramped up the War on Drugs, raiding legal medical marijuana centers, threatening asset forfeiture and tax audits and jailing people for the hideous crime of selling medicine in compliance with state law. It may get even worse. He is now extending civil forfeiture authority to the ATF.

Foreign Policy

In general, I’ve been OK with our foreign policy under Obama. But there have been a number of annoying little mistakes: bumbling around with missile defense, attempting to refer to the “Malvinas”, failing to check the growth of South American socialism, surging in Afghanistan. Almost all of our foreign policy successes, in my opinion, are attributable to Hillary Clinton. She may not be Secretary of State for the entire eight years. And watch out for whoever she is replaced with.

(I never thought I’d praise Hillary in a blog post. Like ever. But I have to give the woman credit for a decent job done.)

Healthcare Reform

If Obama is re-elected, it’s going to be nigh impossible to overhaul or repeal-and-replace Obamacare before it starts really embedding itself in 2014. This is another can we are rapidly running out road to kick down.

Reasons not to not vote for Obama:

Bill Ayers, Obama’s Sr.’s socialism, his college years, his associations, Jeremiah Wright — the whole Obama is crypto-Marxist America-hating Megillah — is irrelevant. Maybe these things were relevant in 2008, when Obama had a scant public record. But we have had four years with him in the White House; we should judge him based on that.

It’s an old cliched joke, but it’s worth repeating: four years ago, they told us that if we voted for McCain, we’d have a sluggish economy, big debts, foreign policy gaffes, useless healthcare reform and even more curtailing of civil liberties. Well, I voted for Barr, actually. But we still have a sluggish economy, big debts, foreign policy gaffes, useless healthcare reform and even more curtailing of civil liberties.

Do we want four more years of this?