Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Obama Spending Record

Wall Street Journal ^ | May 30, 2012 | by James Freeman

Every journalist not in the re-election tank has been shredding President Obama's recent claim that spending growth has been modest on his watch. But kudos in particular to the Associated Press for hitting several White House accounting gimmicks in a dispatch last week.
Team Obama has lately been arguing that the astronomical spending blowout of fiscal 2009 was President Bush's fault and that outlays have since climbed only moderately. This means ignoring that Mr. Obama's $831 billion stimulus was enacted during that notorious fiscal year that straddles both presidencies. And AP cataloged various other distortions embedded in the Obama claim. For example, early in his term Mr. Obama signed an omnibus appropriations bill that also increased spending in fiscal 2009. This was less than a month after the stimulus.
Beyond the AP report, it's also worth noting that Mr. Obama endorsed other 2009 spending that he now blames for today's deficits. As a senator, Mr. Obama was habitually absent during significant votes. But one that he did show up for in 2008 was the Senate's vote on the 2009 budget resolution, and he voted "yes." Mr. Obama showed up again in the fall to vote for TARP. One can reasonably label this as Bush spending, but it occurred with an explicit Obama approval.
Where Senator Obama did oppose the spending patterns of the Bush years, it was often, as with Medicaid, because Mr. Obama wanted to spend more. Speaking of health care, and given all of this attention on the Obama spending history, it should not be forgotten that the big taxpayer bills generated by ObamaCare are still to come.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Democrats squirm at Solyndra vs. Bain questions

The Daily Caller ^ | 30 May 2012 | Neil Munro

Republicans are scoffing at Democrats’ attempts to explain why President Barack Obama’s failed green-tech investments are unimportant but Mitt Romney’s few failures at Bain Capital, an otherwise wildly successful private equity firm, are a scandal.
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter tried out the new tactic during a May 30 appearance on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown,” when she was asked about the president’s support for Solyndra.
“The president’s not picking winners and losers, he’s making strategic investment to promote clean energy,” she said. “Mitt Romney’s role at Bain Capital was to make profits for his investors and for himself. … There were winners and losers, but Mitt Romney always won.”
Solyndra went bankrupt in 2010 after being given $535 million in taxpayers’ funds, and has since become a GOP watchword for crony capitalism.
The Solyndra money is a small portion of a larger $70 billion effort by the White House industrial policy to displace oil and gas energy with green-tech, including windmills, algae and the Chevy Volt.
Public debate over green-tech waste is damaging to Obama’s 2012 campaign because of the lack of tangible payoff in terms of increased employment.
“Well, no, it’s not fair. … Let’s just take a look at the facts of Solyndra,” Cutter said at the start of a 104-second answer. On Tuesday, Carney fended off a similar question with a 42-second evasive answer. “Look, there, there, there is the … the difference in that … your overall view of what your responsibilities are as president, and what your view of the economic future is,” he said.
Republicans scoffed at the answers from Cutter and Carney.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Senator David Vitter: End Handouts for Illegals

National Review Online ^ | May 30, 2012 | David Vitter

The federal government is handing out $4.2 billion a year to illegal aliens.

This isn’t some service benefit that illegal aliens are receiving, like taxpayer-subsidized health care or education. And it’s not a tax deduction or a non-refundable tax credit, which would require recipients to actually pay taxes in order to receive the benefit. It’s a refundable tax credit, a taxpayer-funded check from the federal government. And the government requires no proof that the recipient is actually eligible under the law, which illegals are not.
Abuse of this tax benefit is one of the most ridiculous examples of fraud adding to our federal deficit today. Equally harmful, it is acting as a powerful incentive for more illegal aliens to come to America.
While illegal aliens don’t qualify for legitimate Social Security numbers, the IRS allows them to apply for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). The overwhelming majority of returns with ITINs are filed by illegals. This is how they fraudulently apply for and receive these checks.
This tax credit was designed to help working families offset the costs of raising children. But illegal aliens — who don’t possess valid Social Security numbers because they are not authorized to work in this country — are able to receive these tax credits by simply providing an ITIN and claiming to have children. So, American taxpayers are writing checks to illegal aliens — $1,000 per child, $4.2 billion per year total.
An investigative reporter in Indianapolis recently uncovered cases in which illegal aliens were claiming the child tax credit for nieces and nephews who did not even live in the United States. Some received more than $10,000 from the federal government.
One admitted that his address was used by four other illegal aliens who don’t even live there. They claimed 20 children were living in one mobile home and received returns, including the additional child tax credit, totaling $29,608. But only one child actually lives at the residence; the other 19 live in Mexico and have never even visited the United States.
The Obama administration’s own Department of Treasury, through its inspector general for tax administration, has repeatedly warned about these abuses and said that “millions of people are seeking this tax credit who, we believe, are not entitled to it.”
Tragically, the IRS is doing nothing to fight this blatant fraud. While I believe they could and should, their complete inaction has prompted me to introduce a clear solution in Congress — the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act. It would require every individual applying for the child tax credit to provide a valid Social Security number, exactly as everyone must do to receive the earned-income tax credit.
Just last week, Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) and I took to the Senate floor to ask our Senate colleagues to pass this commonsense bill by unanimous consent. Unfortunately, none other than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) blocked our effort.
The American people have the innate common sense and fairness to see that this abuse must end. The question is: Will the U.S. Senate muster those same virtues and do the right thing?
Senator David Vitter (R., La.) is the founder and chairman of the Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Immigration Caucus.

The Chicago Way

National Review Online ^ | May 30, 2012 | John Fund

Every president comes to Washington with a coterie of outside advisers, friends, and fixers they’ve picked up during the course of a career. Eventually one or more of them becomes controversial. Richard Nixon had Bebe Rebozo. Jimmy Carter had his brother Billy and Bert Lance. Ronald Reagan had Mike Deaver. Bill Clinton had many trailing after him — they became the menagerie implicated in Whitewater and Monicagate. But Barack Obama’s inner circle has almost completely escaped close scrutiny since he became president. That may be about to change, and the rich cast of characters making up Team Obama merits further attention.
A new biography of Obama by Edward Klein called The Amateur has rocketed to the No. 1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list. Among its explosive allegations is that after videos of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s anti-American sermons surfaced in the 2008 campaign, a close friend of Obama’s and a fellow member of Wright’s church named Eric Whitaker approached the reverend. In a taped interview with Klein, Wright said Whitaker offered him — via e-mail, through an intermediary — $150,000 to stop preaching and appearing in the media until after the election.
After Wright turned the offer down, Barack Obama set up a private meeting with him to urge him not to speak publicly during the campaign. Secret Service logs document that it took place, writes Klein. But Wright refused to cooperate, and the meeting ended in frustration for Obama.
Efforts to discredit Klein’s book by Team Obama went into overdrive after the revelation. Certainly, Klein made errors in a previous book attacking Hillary Clinton, and his occasional sloppiness in his current book isn’t up to the standards of a New York Times Magazine editor, which he used to be. But Klein says he has tapes with Wright to back up his account, which also includes the charge that Obama relied on Whitaker to find a replacement preacher once Wright was dropped from an Obama event.
Whitaker’s role in Obama’s world is important because, as Patrick Brennan has pointed out on National Review Online, “it’s almost impossible to overstate how close Whitaker is to the president.” He’s been a friend of and fundraiser for Obama for nearly 20 years and has joined the first family on every summer and Christmas vacation since 2008. Politico reported in 2009 that Whitaker had become “a kind of gatekeeper and spokesman for Obama’s inner circle.”
Whitaker has also been involved in Illinois’s always shady politics. He became the state’s top health official in 2003 when he was appointed by then-governor Rod Blagojevich, now a resident of federal public housing after his conviction in 2011 on corruption charges. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2008, Obama gave Whitaker “a ‘glowing’ reference to Tony Rezko,” who interviewed him for the job. Rezko, a friend of Obama’s for two decades and a top fundraiser for both Obama and Blagojevich, is also now in federal prison on corruption charges. Prosecutors alleged that Rezko engineered pay-to-play schemes with Blagojevich to help allies secure jobs. Neither Obama nor Whitaker was implicated during Rezko’s trial.
You might recall the name of Tony Rezko from the 2008 campaign.
Rezko was involved with Obama in a controversial 2005 land deal in which Obama bought a $1.65 million home on the same day that Rezko’s wife bought the plot of land next to it from the same seller for $625,000. Obama has strenuously denied suggestions that the same-day sale enabled him to pay $300,000 under the house’s asking price because Mrs. Rezko paid full price for the adjoining lot — a portion of which Obama subsequently purchased — but he admitted the whole deal was a “boneheaded” mistake.
One of Whitaker’s duties as Illinois’s health director was to oversee the scandal-wracked Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. Under Blagojevich, that board was used to extract kickbacks for state contracts to expand hospitals, which financially benefited Rezko and his associates who controlled the board. During a subsequent investigation, Whitaker denied knowing anything about the wrongdoing, saying he wasn’t involved in the board’s day-to-day operations.
Whitaker left his job under Blagojevich in 2007, and is now executive vice president of strategic affiliations at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is in charge of its Urban Health Initiative, which this May won a $5.9 million federal grant. As Brennan reported, the UHI “is a microcosm of Obama’s small and incestuous corner of Chicago’s elite politics.” Michelle Obama, as an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center, created and developed the UHI program until she took a leave of absence during her husband’s 2008 campaign. Valerie Jarrett, now perhaps the most powerful staffer in Obama’s White House, approved the program as chairman of the medical center’s board, and Obama strategist David Axelrod was hired to promote its minority-outreach efforts.
The program itself is controversial, with several medical groups claiming its efforts to shift poor patients to local clinics and away from hospitals such as the University of Chicago’s amount to a deliberate effort to dump uninsured and unprofitable patients onto clinics so that the hospitals can treat insured patients instead.
Fran Eaton, the editor of the conservative blog Illinois Review, says the Whitaker–Reverend Wright controversy is fascinating because it exposes the cozy world of the “Chicago Way” that brought Obama to power. Everyone in the drama is involved in the Richard Daley machine. Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama first met while working for then-mayor Daley. Obama ran for the first time for the Illinois state senate unopposed after Daley-machine lawyers knocked every one of his primary opponents off the ballot by successfully challenging the validity of their nominating petitions. Rahm Emanuel, the current mayor of Chicago, was elected to Congress in 2002 with Daley’s help and went on to serve as Obama’s White House chief of staff from 2009 to 2010.
None of this suggests Barack Obama was directly involved in the seamy underworld of the Daley machine — on the contrary, he was always protected from any hint of corruption because he was clearly being groomed for higher office. But it certainly demonstrates just how little scrutiny Team Obama got over its Daley connections during the 2008 campaign and how far removed the “hope and change” theme of his campaign was from the rough-and-tumble reality of Chicago politics.
John Heilemann, co-author of a definitive work on the 2008 election called Game Change, writes in a new piece in New York magazine that for “anyone still starry-eyed about Obama” the 2012 campaign will disabuse them of that notion:
The months ahead will provide a bracing revelation about what he truly is: not a savior, not a saint, not a man above the fray, but a brass-knuckled, pipe-hitting, red-in-tooth-and-claw brawler determined to do what is necessary to stay in power — in other words, a politician.
If the mainstream-media journalists who spent so little time in 2008 looking into the Daley machine that Barack Obama sprang from want to do more due diligence this time, they could start with a closer look at Eric Whitaker and the rest of Obama’s inner circle. It’s probably a much richer mine of stories than any investigation of Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital days or Ann Romney’s obsession with expensive horses is likely to provide.
— John Fund is the national-affairs columnist for NRO.

CBO: Obama stimulus may have cost as much as $4.1 million a job!

American Enterprise ^ | 5/30/12 | James Pethokoukis

The Congressional Budget Office in a new report: When [the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] was being considered, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it would increase budget deficits by $787 billion between fiscal years 2009 and 2019. CBO now estimates that the total impact over the 2009–2019 period will amount to about $831 billion. By CBO’s estimate, close to half of that impact occurred in fiscal year 2010, and more than 90 percent of ARRA’s budgetary impact

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Why Isn't "Obama's IRS" Going After Solyndra&Corzine,Yet Will Harass You For Two Thousand Dollars?

 by The_Obama_Gerbil

This would make a great RNC ad. It has to sicken all of us that all friends of the Obama Chicago Thug Machine are getting away with theft of billions,and to add insult to injury,the IRS and debt collectors aren't on their trail.

But it's ok for the Obama's to spend our tax dollars on frequent vacations? The IRS will be on your case if you owe them even a mere $1000.00. But if you are an Obama Cronie like Rangel&Corzine, you walk away SCOTT FREE !!! Fox News should cover this story !

Awkward: Obama hosts Bush, the man he blames for it all!

The Washington Times ^ | 30 May 2012 | Dave Boyer

Talk about awkward.

When President Obama hosts former President George W. Bush at the White House on Thursday to unveil his predecessor’s official portrait, he’ll pay tribute to the man whom he has blamed lately for everything short of an outbreak of the flesh-eating virus.

The war in Iraq? An unnecessary and costly diversion that was Mr. Bush’s fault, according to Mr. Obama.

The worst recession since World War II? The president says Mr. Bush and the GOP are to blame.
Soaring deficits? Mr. Obama’s mantra is that he inherited the red ink from the Republican.
The Wall Street collapse? See “Bush, George W.”
Loss of America’s prestige in the eyes of the world? Mr. Obama has laid that allegation on Mr. Bush’s doorstep, too.
At a fundraiser in California last week, Mr. Obama used Mr. Bush as his foil to raise more money for his re-election campaign. The president began by criticizing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for planning “bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans,” deep cuts in funding for education and Medicare, and deregulation of the banking and insurance industries.
“But that’s not new,” Mr. Obama told the crowd. “That was tried, remember? The last guy did all this.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Fisker May Never Build Electric Cars in US [Obama Stimulus]

ABC News ^ | May 30, 2012 | By MATTHEW MOSK

The luxury carmaker Fisker Automotive continues to signal it could ditch plans to build its next generation hybrid electric vehicle in the United States, despite the nearly $200 million in Obama administration loan money it has already received.

Fisker received federal funds in part to help purchase a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware, where it predicted it would one day employ 2,000 auto workers to assemble the clean-burning gas-electric family car, known as the Atlantic.

But company executives began hinting in February that it would reconsider that plan and look for a cheaper place to build the car after the Department of Energy froze the $529 million green-energy loan the company had received, and had been drawing on since 2010.

Fisker used the first $169 million in taxpayer funds to bring to market the Karma, a flashy $100,000 hybrid sports sedan that it assembles in Finland.

Earlier this year, one of the Karmas stopped working in the middle of a Consumer Reports road test -- an embarrassing breakdown that Fisker later blamed on a faulty battery. The lithium-ion batteries became the subject of a recall, including for a defect that raised the risk of fires.

More recently, one of the high-priced cars went up in flames in the garage of its Texas owner.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

AP's Bauer Obsesses Over Walker Fundraising, Ignores Union Money and Resources

News ^ | May 30, 2012 | Tom Blumer

Though he hasn't been alone in his applying the campaign fundraising double standard in Wisconsin's recall election, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has a particularly odious item today about the dollars raised by each side. It's particularly odious because the word "unions" appears only once -- as the target of Walker, who has, as Bauer sees it, "rocketed to stardom after taking on public sector unions." There is no mention of the millions of union dollars which have poured into Wisconsin from all over the country, which, thankfully, someone else has quantified.
Bauer also continues to bitterly cling to the notion, concerning which yours truly has been nagging him since February of last year, that "most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights" as a result of Walker-supported legislation which passed in the Legislature last year -- as if they no longer have any collective bargaining rights at all. This has been and continues to be a flat-out falsehood. The first five paragraphs of Bauer's bombast follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Wisconsin's Walker raises $31M in face of recal
Republican Gov. Scott Walker has raised about $31 million since he took office 17 months ago, including a remarkable $5.9 million in the last five weeks reported to Wisconsin regulators Tuesday.
The first-term Republican reported his latest donations a week before he faces Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election that is also a rematch of the 2010 governor's race. The state elections board predicted Tuesday that turnout would be between 60 percent and 65 percent, nearing levels normally seen in a presidential election.
Barrett, who was bound to fundraising limits of no more than $10,000 from any one donor, reported an impressive $3.4 million over the past five weeks. He raised about $4.2 million since joining the race at the end of March and had $1.5 million cash on hand.
In his 2010 campaign, Walker set the state's fundraising record by bringing in $11 million. But he has nearly tripled that since by playing off his national conservative credentials as he rocketed to stardom after taking on public sector unions.
That fight, in which most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights, triggered the recall. Wisconsin law allowed Walker, as the subject of the recall, to raise unlimited amounts to pay for any debts he incurred over a nearly five-week period.
That $31 million sounds impressive and somehow sinister, which seems to have been Bauer's point, until you look at what unions and "progressive" opponents of Walker have raised.
An April 22 Newsmax interview of Walker report his estimate that, in the words of reporters David A. Patten and Kathleen Walter, "big labor will invest as much as $60 million in its bid to defeat him." I'll bet that if Scott Bauer could disprove that contention, he would have in an AP report somewhere along the way. I don't think he has, because I don't think he can -- and Walker's $60 million estimate may not even include union officials who don't really have a day job but instead can spend weeks campaigning door to door and business to business. So he is instead pretending that the union funding doesn't exist. That way he makes Walker look the richly-funded heavyweight. How pathetic.
As to Bauer's ongoing claim about how "public workers lost their collective bargaining rights," here's a reminder of what he wrote in February of last year:
In addition to eliminating collective-bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage – increases Walker calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector.
... Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.
My response at the time:
Geez, Scott, if “unions could still represent workers,” they still have “collective-bargaining rights” — perhaps not as extensive as before, but they still have ‘em. Zheesh.
The response still stands, while Scott Bauer continues to misreport reality.
Cross-posted at

Spell Check Obama

Joblessness during prime working years worst in 23 years

Hotair ^ | 05/30/2012 | Ed Morrissey

Supporters of Barack Obama point to the overall jobless rate and its slow decline to argue that his economic policies have worked, and just need more time to bring back widespread prosperity. Opponents point to U-6 numbers and the actual number of net jobs created in his term (hint: less than zero) to argue that Obamanomics has been a failure. Who has the better argument? Consider a new analysis from the Washington Post, which shows just how bad the jobs situation has been all along: The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects.
By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics. Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent.
This captures the “missing workers” phenomenon, which the topline jobless rate ignores, and shows how poorly this recovery has performed. Even if one counts from the beginning of the recovery rather than from the beginning of Obama’s term, we have added 3.087 million private-sector jobs in the last 34 months, for an average of 90,079 jobs added per month — too low to keep up with population growth, which adds around 120,000 workforce-eligible adults each month. We aren’t even really treading water but falling behind slightly over that period.
As Peter Whoriskey hints, this has significant long-term implications for the American economy and policy, emphasis mine: During their prime years, Americans are supposed to be building careers and wealth to prepare for their retirement. Instead, as the indicator reveals, huge numbers are on the sidelines. …
The falloff has been sharpest for men, for whom the proportion had been on a slow decline before the recession. The percentage of prime-age men who are working is smaller now than it has been in any time before the recession, going all the way back to 1948, according to federal statistics. The proportion of prime-age [working] women is at a low not seen since 1988. What happens when this lost generation hits retirement age? They will not have acquired the wealth needed to retire; some of them might not have acquired the experience needed to support themselves as senior citizens in jobs, either. We will be facing either a public-assistance bomb or a generation that spent half of its time dependent on their parents and the other half dependent on their children. Likely it will be a mix of both.
Obamanomics is not working. The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation. It’s time for a new direction.

Obama Administration Heralds Green Investments as ‘Progressing and Succeeding’

CNS News ^ | 5/29/12 | Fred Lucas

( – The Obama administration’s investments in clean energy include a number of successes, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney asserted Tuesday. However, a review of the federally subsidized green companies finds that most have either filed for bankruptcy or made massive layoffs.

Carney responded to a question about criticism from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney regarding the $535 million Department of Energy loan to the politically connected Solyndra solar panel firm that filed for bankruptcy last fall before being raided by the FBI.

“I think the program, as created under the Bush administration and pursued by this administration, has always acknowledged that not every company invested in would succeed,” Carney said. “That is why things like that needed investment in order to scale up to allow them to grow and succeed.

“The portfolio as I understand it contains a number of companies that are progressing and succeeding. 

Again, if the suggestion is United States should wash its hands of these investments, I think you will all need to assess that for what it means, which means the Chinese can have these, the Europeans, the Indians and the Brazilians can have these industries,” he added.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Seniors chop up AARP cards in Voter ID protest

Star Tribune (MN) ^ | May 23, 2012 | Jennifer Brooks

Conservative groups are calling on Minnesota seniors to boycott the American Association of Retired Persons over the group’s opposition to the photo identification measure on the November ballot.

To drive their point home, seniors gathered at a Wednesday press conference snipped AARP cards into shreds. They say there are conservative-affiliated groups that can give them the same senior discounts and that share their conviction that requiring a photo ID to vote will reduce voter fraud.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Control Freak President ^ | May 30, 2012 | John Ransom

So Obama, like every good control freak, has this plan apparently.

Yeah. That’s the first thing that should make you wary.

It’s plan that you are probably familiar with.

Or to put it a better way, it’s another plan that will give you kind of sick, eerie feeling, like so many of his other plans that involve top-down government planning.

Remember when he combated the growing instability in world oil supplies and prices by making the price of oil go up even faster- twice?
Or that time when he ushered in a golden era for solar power by throwing money into manufacturing capacity in solar when there was no actual demand for solar products, thereby decimating the solar industry?
Or that time that he harangued us about fiscal discipline while he was spending money left and right and couldn’t even pass a budget? He called it “eating our peas.”
It’s like any one of those wonderful plans that worked out so well for all of us- and went exactly as planned for Obama, control freak.
Ok, so the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is warning that cuts in government spending along with automatic tax increases from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts will spur a recession in the first half of next year unless Congress and the president act before the 1st of the year.
Oh, their first mistake: They gave Obama a timetable. Control freaks have problems with timetables.
Does the CBO know that the president really doesn’t like timetables? They should ask Congressional Republicans about the timetable that they had with the Keystone pipeline. Or maybe ask S&P about their timetable on the debt ceiling debate last summer before S&P downgraded U.S. debt.
A control freak would rather do anything- even fail- than deal with a timetable.
“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) fired off a warning Tuesday to our nation and its leaders in Washington,” writes Fox News’ Gretchen Hamel. “The CBO told us that the United States of America is headed toward a fiscal cliff and that if we do indeed fall off, it will have profound effects on our country and world economy. The CBO projects that if Congress does not act to prevent coming tax increases and spending cuts, a recession is certain. The CBO estimates gross domestic product would decline by as much as 1.3 percent if lawmakers don’t act.”
So here’s Obama’s plan to protect us all from an economy under assault by tax increases: more tax increases.
Yes. That’s right. Talk about control freak.
Obama wants to ensure our economic prosperity now threatened by tax increases by increasing taxes. Because, at least that way, Obama’s still in control.
This reminds me of a story from Abraham Lincoln.
An old friend from Illinois died after his disloyal comments about the Union set his neighbors against him.
“Blank is dead,” a friend informed Lincoln, “His extremely disloyal sentiments so provoked his neighbors that there was serious talk of inflicting vengeance on him, and he was found dead in bed—caused largely by fright.”
“He died, then,” replied Lincoln dryly, “to save his life, it seems.”
Like Obama, there's an example of extreme control-freakishness.
So Obama wants to save our economic life by first killing our economy through tax increases because, while it won’t help the rest of us, above all, it will give the government more control.
And it’s this repeated policy mistake that’s been killing us.
Whether it’s been Obamcare, or lack of a budget, or the debt ceiling, or a massive new regulatory schemes like Dodd-Frank- long on cost and short on benefit- the dreadful uncertainty of the control economy under Team Obama is frightening business and taxpayers to death.
Not coincidentally, consumers are reacting with peevishness.
“Americans confidence in the economy suffered the biggest drop in eight months,” reports “as worries about the weak jobs, housing and stock markets rattled them again. The decline comes after a few months of optimism amid some positive economic news.”
The confidence index now stands at 64.9 from a bounce of 68.7 last month. Any time the measurement stands under 100, the incumbent president is going to have a hard time controlling his own destiny.
And don’t look for the economy to improve much over the summer either. Gas prices haven’t declined that much to make up for the sharp increase at the pump. While the stock market rallied a bit on good dividend news, investors have moved on from the quarterly distribution of loaves and fishes.
Government spending is certainly a component of our GDP, but it’s time we recognized that business and consumer spending are much more important components.
And time that the government stopped killing those components by seeking arbitrary control.Because really, they're a bunch of freaks.

The States Are a Fiscal Policy Laboratory, but Obama Isn’t Learning the Right Lesson ^ | May 30, 2012 | Daniel J. Mitchell

The fiscal nightmare in Europe should be all the proof that’s needed about the dangers of wasteful spending and punitive tax rates. Unfortunately, if his proposals for bigger government and class-warfare tax policy are any indication, President Obama still seems to think those policies would be good for America.

“Let’s mimic California and France!”

American states also are a laboratory, showing that states with better tax policy create more jobs and grow much faster. And many state policy makers have learned the right lesson.
Here’s some of what the Wall Street Journal said in an editorial this morning.
Last week Governor Sam Brownback continued the post-2010 reform trend among GOP Governors by signing the biggest tax cut in Kansas history. The plan chops the state income tax rate to 4.9% from 6.45% and eliminates income taxes on about 190,000 Kansas small businesses. …Mr. Brownback says the income tax cut will put Kansas “on a road to faster growth.” Although no one in Europe or the White House agrees with the philosophy, tax-cut initiatives have been spreading in the states. Already this year Tennessee has eliminated its gift and estate tax, Arizona has cut its capital gains tax (to 3.4% from 4.54%), and Idaho and Nebraska have cut income tax rates. Oklahoma is expected to cut tax rates. The tax cutting Governors all say they hope to be more like no-income-tax Texas, which has far outpaced other states in job creation.
Sadly, the folks in the White House aren’t hopping on the tax cut bandwagon.
Instead, they want America to be more like the President’s home state of Illinois, a fiscal basket case. But it’s not just Illinois that’s in trouble because of a bloated and expensive public sector.
It turns out that millions of Americans are voting with their feet to escape states with excessive taxes.
Here are some passages from a CNS report on some fascinating data from the Tax Foundation.
New York State accounted for the biggest migration exodus of any state in the nation between 2000 and 2010, with 3.4 million residents leaving over that period, according to the Tax Foundation. Over that decade the state gained 2.1 million, so net migration amounted to 1.3 million, representing a loss of $45.6 billion in income. Where are they escaping to? The Tax Foundation found that more than 600,000 New York residents moved to Florida over the decade – opting perhaps for the Sunshine State’s more lenient tax system – taking nearly $20 billion in adjusted gross income with them. Over that same time period, 208,794 Pennsylvanians moved to Florida, taking $8 billion in income. …California is also known for more onerous taxes and regulations, and the foundation shows similar trends of migration from there to other states like Texas and Arizona. The Tax Foundation ranked the Golden State sixth highest in the nation for state and local tax burden in 2009. Between 2000 and 2010, the most recent data available, 551,914 people left California for Texas, taking $14.3 billion in income. Texas has no state income tax or estate tax. …Another 28,088 from California relocated to Nevada and 30,663 to Arizona, a loss of $699.1 million and $707.8 million in income respectively.
While these are remarkable numbers, they shouldn’t be a surprise. I’ve written about the failures of New York and California, and I’ve also commented on the success of Texas.
And for those who prefer international evidence, I’ve cited the differences between successful low-tax jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Singapore and decrepit high-tax nations such as France.
This doesn’t mean that fiscal policy is a silver bullet. There are reasonably successful nations with big governments, but they compensate with ultra-free markets in other areas. And there are also low-tax nations that languish because of mistakes such as excessive regulation and failure to protect property rights.
But all other things being equal, big government and high tax rates are a recipe for decline. Yet that’s the only item on the White House menu.
P.S. If you think people should have the right to lower their tax burdens by moving from California to Nevada, shouldn’t they also have the right to do the same thing by moving from the United States to Singapore?

Polls with Obama even close might be explained by a surge in support from “Power Ranger” voters ^ | May 30, 2011 | Kevin "Coach" Collins

Barack Obama is not winning any voting bloc he lost in 2008 and he is not doing better with any bloc he did win four years ago.
Nevertheless, the “experts” keep telling us this race is tied or Obama is leading. The only way to explain these “expert’” pronouncements is that Obama has captured the coveted Power Ranger vote.
Hey if dead people and illegal aliens can’t vote anymore toy dummies must be filling in the gaps for the real ones! As to real people here’s the truth of where they stand on Obama.
A recent Pew poll found Obama went from up 9points to down 5 points with Catholics just since March. This translates to a shift of 18 million voters.
An April Pew poll found Evangelical Christians favor Mitt Romney 73/20 and White Catholics support him 57/37.
A Knowledge Networks poll conducted March 14-27 found Obama getting just 61% of Jewish support. No Democrat has ever won while getting 67% or less of the Jewish vote.
Young voters
2008 Obama won young voters 66/32. Today the support for Obama among young voters has been measured at just 48/41, but what is more important young voters have little enthusiasm to vote. Today at best 56% said they would vote compared to 78% who said the same in spring of 2008.
2008 Obama won the female vote 56/43. Monday’s Gallup poll found Obama ahead with women by 49/42.
Obama is losing men 50/42. In 2008 Obama lost men 49/48.
African Americans, Hispanics
“..Gallup found Obama’s support among Blacks at 85% down 5 points and Hispanic support also down 5 points to 54%.
Obama losing 58/34…..
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Wealth Creation Is Not the Enemy! ^ | May 30, 2012 | Jacob Sullum

President Obama accuses Mitt Romney of putting profits above people by striving to create wealth rather than jobs during his 15 years at Bain Capital. This critique of Romney's work at the private equity firm, which Obama says will be central to his re-election campaign, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of capitalism.

While private equity firms are a "healthy part of the free market," Obama said at a press conference last week, "their priority is to maximize profits, and that's not always going to be good for businesses or communities or workers." By contrast, he said, "My job is to take into account everybody, not just some."

Anti-Romney ads amplify this theme, focusing on people who lost their jobs after GST Steel, a Kansas City, Mo., company acquired by Bain in 1993, went bankrupt eight years later. "His experiences were about creating wealth -- wealth for himself, his partners and his investors," Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter told reporters. "GST workers really lost out, and Romney and his partners did not."

Another adviser, Robert Gibbs, put it more succinctly on "Face the Nation" last Sunday. "He's very good at making money for his partners," Gibbs said of Romney, but "he's not so good at creating jobs." In fact, said former "car czar" Steven Rattner in a New York Times op-ed piece, "any job creation was accidental."

But as Rattner, who co-founded his own private equity firm, surely understands, that is true of every successful business. A company that sees job creation, as opposed to profit, as its goal will not stay in business long.
While the goal of making a profit leads a company to minimize costs, the goal of creating jobs means maximizing costs: rejecting every labor-saving innovation, shunning organizational efficiencies and hiring people just for the sake of putting them to work, even if the work is not worth the wage. A company operated that way eventually would employ no one.
Since a private equity firm makes money by buying and selling companies, it has a strong incentive to make those businesses more valuable. That might mean an expansion that requires hiring more people, or it might mean cost cutting that includes layoffs. Sometimes -- as in the case of GST, which was in serious trouble before Bain bought it and ultimately could not compete with low-cost foreign manufacturers -- turnaround efforts fail.
Obama wants to avoid the pain that inevitably accompanies this profit-driven, competitive discovery process. To get an idea of the alternative he has in mind, consider his $840 billion stimulus package, the success of which he measured by jobs "created or saved," regardless of whether those jobs were worth doing.
Unlike a private equity firm's turnaround plans (or any other company's investment decisions), this approach prizes inefficiency. As far as Obama is concerned, the more people it takes to accomplish a given task, the better. The same employment-focused logic explains his embrace of the broken planet fallacy, which holds that global warming is an economic boon because it creates "green jobs."
Obama's job fetish was also apparent in his response to Romney's recent remarks about the importance of increasing productivity, or output per worker. "The problem isn't that the American people aren't productive enough," Obama said. "You've been working harder than ever."
Hard work is not an end in itself. A farmer who tills his field by hand indisputably works harder than one who relies on machines. And because the old-fashioned method is less productive, it increases employment in the agricultural sector. That does not mean we would be better off with Stone Age farm technology.
Contrary to Obama's message, wealth creation is not just the obsession of rich investors, it is the key to prosperity. Precisely because of the discipline imposed by the possibility of failure, individuals concerned only about their own profits create more jobs accidentally than central planners who "take into account everybody" can hope to create on purpose.

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: “Wag The Dog II” ^ | May 30, 2012 | Brian Birdnow

Buried in the back pages of the Friday newspapers (May 25th) lay a story of Obama Administration efforts to play up the elimination of Osama Bin Laden for political purposes and the suspected compromise of certain national security secrets by Administration officials, cavalierly attempting to gain partisan advantage in advance of the November election.

The facts of the story are somewhat murky, as the Administration has invoked the cone of silence on the emerging issue. It does seem, however, that the Obama administration has played fast and loose with national security secrets to maximize good publicity, via a Hollywood blockbuster, just in time for the coming election. So says Representative Peter King, R-NY, and the Homeland Security Committee Chairman. King, who first raised questions about this proposed Bin Laden movie last summer, said newly released documents confirmed his suspicions. He referred to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the public interest legal foundation, under a Freedom of Information Act order. In King’s words, the documents revealed “extremely close, unprecedented and potentially dangerous collaboration” with President Barack Obama’s administration.

Judicial Watch said that the requested (and received) documents show that the Defense Department granted Academy Award winning filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal access to “a planner, an operator, and commander of SEAL Team 6”, the unit that killed Bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1, 2011. Other documents confirm that the moviemakers met with White House officials on at least two occasions about the film. A CIA e-mail indicates that Bigelow and Boal were granted access to “the vault”, which is believed to be the CIA command post where much of the tactical planning for the raid took place.
Naturally, Pentagon spokespeople are disputing these findings. DOD Press Secretary George Little insisted that the meeting between the filmmakers and the SEAL Team 6 operatives, while authorized by the department, never took place. He argued that the Defense Department regularly offers technical and operational expertise on movie projects to help make them as realistic as possible. Little also pointedly denied that the film was an effort to boost Obama’s re-election prospects, arguing that SONY pictures has scheduled December 19th as a potential release date for the movie.
The Obama Administration has made no public comment on the issue, to date. They refuse to confirm or deny that their staff people met with Bigelow and Boal, and hope that a complicit media will help them to sweep this issue under the rug. This remains a distinct possibility.
Now the material point in this emerging story is quite simple. Did the Defense Department bend National Security rules in a bid to assist the Obama re-election effort?
The answer is undoubtedly “Yes”. Contrary to the DOD spokesman’s assertion the department has been quite selective in the past with the help they extend to filmmakers. During the fifth anniversary commemorations of the 9/11 attacks ABC-TV expressed frustration over the non-cooperation they received from the Defense Department when making a movie that expressed mild criticism over the Clinton Administration’s malfeasance in ignoring Bin Laden, and turning a blind eye to his infernal activities in the late 1990s. It is truly unprecedented that moviemakers were given access to highly secure areas at CIA headquarters at Langley Air Force Base. Finally, the military never allows “planners” to discuss operational matters with civilians who lack security clearances.
What is to be done, particularly if SONY pictures moves the release date of the movie forward by two months, or so? Certainly, Congressman King should pursue this issue by issuing subpoenas if necessary. DOD Secretary Leon Panetta can be invited to Capitol Hill to discuss this matter at a mutually convenient time. What, however, will the GOP do in the event of Democratic chicanery on this issue? Unfortunately the answer is probably nothing. The public should expect very little from candidate Romney, now that he has had a taste of the media lynch mob. History also teaches us that the Republicans fumble most issues due to the lack of a unified Party message.
The real story here is that a political Party and a candidate who will compromise national security secrets in an effort to gain partisan advantage will stop at nothing to win. This comes as no surprise to seasoned politicos, but never ceases to shock the ordinary citizen. Welcome to campaign 2012, just in time for Memorial Day.

Young Americans Getting Worst of Obama's Economy ^ | May 30, 2012 | Bob Beauprez

"While we have rescued our economy from catastrophe, we have also begun to build a new foundation for growth." -Barack Obama from the White House, August 7, 2009

In 2008, Obama inspired legions of young Americans who bought into his "Change you can believe in" campaign message. According to the Pew Research Center, voters under the age of 30 supported Obama over John McCain 66:31 – by far the largest disparity between young voters and other age groups in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972. In addition to the critical vote totals, Obama attracted thousands of high energy campaign volunteers that brought unbridled enthusiasm to his campaign of Hope-and-Change.

Sadly, three years later, it is more like Hopeless Change that millions of young Americans face. In exchange for that 2:1 vote of confidence they gave Obama in 2008, the 18-29 year-olds are feeling the brunt of the economic stagnation – often by twice the degree of all other age groups. According to the Wall Street Journal, "The U.S. labor market is in a malaise, but young adults are in crisis."
Maybe you hadn't noticed, but the recession supposedly ended almost three years ago. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER, the economic downturn that began in December 2007, lasted 18 months and officially ended in June, 2009. NBER defines a recession is a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. Economists declare the end of a recession when the declining trend is reversed.
The point at which the economy begins to create more new jobs than it sheds each month is crucial in making a determination of when a recovery begins. The following graph analyzes job loss through the eleven U.S. recessions since the end of World War II. Clearly this has been the deepest recession in terms of job loss and it has also been by far the slowest to recover to pre-recession employment levels. Note the rapid recovery to normal employment in all the previous recessions. It will take nearly 6 million more new jobs before the current labor force resembles employment numbers in late 2007 when this recession began.

When economists declared the recession over and the beginning of a period of recovery, the President was quick to react. Not being one to miss a chance to spike-the-football, Barack Obama took full credit with a speech outside the Oval Office in the summer of 2009. Notice the "we have rescued" reference in the above statement from the President. But, the pain of the economic "catastrophe" he claimed to have ended drags on with no real end in sight. And, whatever " new foundation for growth" he was talking about must have been built out of Jell-O.
So, for 35 of the 40 months that he's been in office, Barack Obama has been the beneficiary of an economy technically in expansive, recovery mode – on the way up. That deep into an economic recovery usually means good things are happening like significant GDP growth, new job creation, wages and salaries on the rise – except none of that has happened with this recovery, even though that was the promise of The One as he campaigned for the job and during the honeymoon period of his first term. Now, he says he just needs more time. The American people just need to practice patience. And, of course, it is still George W. Bush's fault.
In his "American Promise" speech in Denver on August 27, 2008, Obama promised an America beyond the "broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush." He used the word "promise" 32 times, so this time he must have really meant it – or, maybe he just thought we didn't hear it the other 31 times.
Unfortunately, what has happened is persistent unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment, depressed wages and purchasing power, massive depreciation of home values, doubling of gas prices, rapid increase in food and health care costs, and nearly stagnant economic growth. Virtually everyone and every sector have been negatively impacted, but young Americans just entering the workforce are suffering the most.
A new economic report by Gallup says 32% of 18-29 year-olds in the U.S. workforce were underemployed in April. That number is greater than the previous month of March (30.1%) and also higher than a year ago (30.7%), so nearly three years after the recovery supposedly began the trend is still worsening. Unemployment among this age group (13.6%) is nearly twice as high as any other age group, according to Gallup. Another 18.4% are working part-time, "but wanting to work full time." This trend is also worse than in March as well as April, 2011.
"Today's slow economic growth is a disaster for those unemployed and underemployed as they look for jobs when so few new jobs are being created. For younger Americans as a group, this is a particularly acute issue," summarized Gallup.
According to newly released research by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, only 49% of college graduates from the classes of 2009-2010-and 2011 had found a full-time job within a year of graduation, compared with 73% for students who graduated in the prior three years. Meanwhile, the cost of that college degree for the job they can't find continues to increase. Average student loan debt for the class of 2010 (the latest available data) was $25,250; a 5% increase over 2009.
Among young people entering the workforce with lower education levels, the prospects are even worse. For young workers with only a high school degree, unemployment is "astonishingly high" according to the Economic Policy Institute. EPI reports that the unemployment rate for young high school graduates jumped from 17.5 percent in 2007 to 32.7 percent in 2010, "dwarfing the increases in prior recessions," and remains above 31% still today. A staggering one-out-of-two black high school graduates (49.1%) are unemployed. For Hispanics, it is 33.8%.
If fortunate enough to find a job, new graduates likely have to settle for less than their predecessors, too. According to EPI, the starting hourly wages had declined for both young men (7.6%) and women (6%) as compared to 2000, and wages are barely above 1989 levels when adjusted to 2011 dollars.
Obama ravaged the economic record of his predecessor pointing out that during Bill Clinton's two terms in office, "the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush." But, under Obama first 39 months, median household income has declined $4.300 - $2,900 since June 2009 when the recovery supposedly began.
Nearly four years into Obama's "American Promise" young people are finding they have to compete with more than 20 million other unemployed or underemployed Americans. Degree in hand and ready to claim their place in America's great "middle class" they discover that 95% of the net job losses during the recession were in the middle-skill occupations like office workers, sales associates, bank tellers, and machine operators. And, thus far, those mid-level jobs haven't started coming back.
According to the Pew Research Center, since 2010 the share of young adults 18-24 years old currently employed (54%) has been the lowest since the government began collecting data in 1948. Additionally, the gap in employment between the young and all working-age adults is the widest in recorded history – about 15%.
For all of the soaring rhetoric in that laced Obama's 2008 American Promise speech, young Americans are hard pressed to see much fulfillment of his litany of promises. According to Pew, by huge margins, Americans of all ages believe reaching some basic financial goals is harder for today's young adults than it was for their parents. Whether the objective is finding a job (82%), saving for the future (75%), paying for college (71%), or buying a home (69%), Americans believe that today's younger generation has a tougher row-to-hoe. The prolonged bad economy has affected the personal lives of young Americans, too, and the nation's culture and future as a result; 31% say they have postponed getting married or having a baby. Nationally, the birthrate has fallen every year since 2007. Pew also found that 24% of young adults moved back in with their parents for economic reasons after living on their own.
As with all other age groups, the economy is the number one issue on the minds of young adult voters, too, and they are not happy. A newly released survey showed just 34% of 18-to-24 year olds are "satisfied" with Obama, while 51% said they were "disappointed," "worried" or "angry." The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkeley Center sampled 2000 young adults and found Obama held a narrow 48:41 lead over a "generic" Republican candidate – a dramatic shift from the 66:31 advantage he enjoyed over McCain with young voters in 2008.
A day can change a lot in politics. A week is like forever, and the election is still 25 weeks away. The landscape could change, but "Things are very, very bleak and very different than four or five years ago," according to Cliff Zukin, a political science professor at Rutgers University's Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, of the economic situation facing young adults. "These guys are in trouble and they know it," says Zukin.
In 2008, young people voted for the candidate most like them; he liked to have a good time, didn't have much in the way of experience, but talked a really good game. He seemed more like a cool older brother than their grandfather.
But, this time it is more like, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." It is clear that Obama was all talk, or "big hat, no cows." Instead of some new American Promise when they get out of school ready to take on the world, today's young Americans face the lowest employment-to-population ratio since 1948. "Their employment prospects are dim, their debt is high, their lives are on hold and a stunning number are living with their parents, even into their 30s," even the blindly liberal MSNBC admitted.
Mitt Romney may resemble a wise, successful, experienced, and staid older uncle rather than the try-anything, live-for-today big brother with his hair on fire, but a little more composure, dignity, and a strait-laced sense of propriety might be the "Change" that voters are looking for in 2012.
Rather than just somebody that might be fun to hang out with, Romney gives voters an option of a President with vastly more experience, a steady hand who has successfully steered large, complex, troubled enterprises – public as well as private – through very difficult circumstances. In the end, Romney may not entirely erase the 2:1 edge Obama held with young voters in 2008, but I'll bet he gets pretty close, and in the critical swing states like my Colorado, that "change" for 2008 might make all the difference.

Why Obama Will Lose in a Landslide ^ | May 30, 2012 | Wayne Allyn Root

Most political predictions are made by biased pollsters, pundits, or prognosticators who are either rooting for Republicans or Democrats. I am neither. I am a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, and a well-known Vegas oddsmaker with one of the most accurate records of predicting political races.

Neither Obama nor Romney are my horses in the race. I believe both Republicans and Democrats have destroyed the U.S. economy and brought us to the edge of economic disaster. My vote will go to Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson in November, whom I believe has the most fiscally conservative track record of any Governor in modern U.S. political history. Without the bold spending cuts of a Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, I don’t believe it’s possible to turnaround America.

But as an oddsmaker with a pretty remarkable track record of picking political races, I play no favorites. I simply use common sense to call them as I see them. Back in late December I released my New Years Predictions. I predicted back then- before a single GOP primary had been held, with Romney trailing for months to almost every GOP competitor from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt- that Romney would easily rout his competition to win the GOP nomination by a landslide. I also predicted that the Presidential race between Obama and Romney would be very close until election day. But that on election day Romney would win by a landslide similar to Reagan-Carter in 1980.

Understanding history, today I am even more convinced of a resounding Romney victory. 32 years ago at this moment in time, Reagan was losing by 9 points to Carter. Romney is right now running even in polls. So why do most pollsters give Obama the edge?

First, most pollsters are missing one ingredient- common sense. Here is my gut instinct. Not one American who voted for McCain 4 years ago will switch to Obama. Not one in all the land. But many millions of people who voted for an unknown Obama 4 years ago are angry, disillusioned, turned off, or scared about the future. Voters know Obama now- and that is a bad harbinger.

Now to an analysis of the voting blocks that matter in U.S. politics:

*Black voters. Obama has nowhere to go but down among this group. His endorsement of gay marriage has alienated many black church-going Christians. He may get 88% of their vote instead of the 96% he got in 2008. This is not good news for Obama.

*Hispanic voters. Obama has nowhere to go but down among this group. If Romney picks Rubio as his VP running-mate the GOP may pick up an extra 10% to 15% of Hispanic voters (plus lock down Florida). This is not good news for Obama.

*Jewish voters. Obama has been weak in his support of Israel. Many Jewish voters and big donors are angry and disappointed. I predict Obama's Jewish support drops from 78% in 2008 to the low 60’s. This is not good news for Obama.

*Youth voters. Obama’s biggest and most enthusiastic believers from 4 years ago have graduated into a job market from hell. Young people are disillusioned, frightened, and broke- a bad combination. The enthusiasm is long gone. Turnout will be much lower among young voters, as will actual voting percentages. This not good news for Obama.

*Catholic voters. Obama won a majority of Catholics in 2008. That won’t happen again. Out of desperation to please women, Obama went to war with the Catholic Church over contraception. Now he is being sued by the Catholic Church. Majority lost. This is not good news for Obama.

*Small Business owners. Because I ran for Vice President last time around, and I'm a small businessman myself, I know literally thousands of small business owners. At least 40% of them in my circle of friends, fans and supporters voted for Obama 4 years ago to “give someone different a chance.” I warned them that he would pursue a war on capitalism and demonize anyone who owned a business...that he’d support unions over the private sector in a big way...that he'd overwhelm the economy with spending and debt. My friends didn’t listen. Four years later, I can't find one person in my circle of small business owner friends voting for Obama. Not one. This is not good news for Obama.

*Blue collar working class whites. Do I need to say a thing? White working class voters are about as happy with Obama as Boston Red Sox fans feel about the New York Yankees. This is not good news for Obama.

*Suburban moms. The issue isn’t contraception…it’s having a job to pay for contraception. Obama’s economy frightens these moms. They are worried about putting food on the table. They fear for their children’s future. This is not good news for Obama.

*Military Veterans. McCain won this group by 10 points. Romney is winning by 24 points. The more our military vets got to see of Obama, the more they disliked him. This is not good news for Obama.

Add it up. Is there one major group where Obama has gained since 2008? Will anyone in America wake up on election day saying “I didn’t vote for Obama 4 years ago. But he’s done such a fantastic job, I can’t wait to vote for him today.” Does anyone feel that a vote for Obama makes their job more secure?

Forget the polls. My gut instincts as a Vegas oddsmaker and common sense small businessman tell me this will be a historic landslide and a world-class repudiation of Obama’s radical and risky socialist agenda. It's Reagan-Carter all over again.

But I’ll give Obama credit for one thing- he is living proof that familiarity breeds contempt.


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Gov. Walker could win Wisconsin's recall election (Republicans smell blood in the water)

The Washington Times ^ | May 30th 2012 | Catherine Poe

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2012 — In one week, on Tuesday, June 5, Wisconsin voters go to the polls to decide if Republican Gov. Scott Walker will stay or be recalled. Once it looked like his goose was cooked.

Angered when Walker eliminated most collective-bargaining rights for public employees to balance Wisconsin’s budget, 100,000 protestors took to the street for weeks. The battle pitted neighbors and families against one another, making Wisconsin one of the most polarized states in the country, and finally culminated in the petition drive to dump the Governor.

500,000 signatures were required to force a recall election and the petitioners had nearly a million. Government employees, fire fighters, teachers, farmers, and union employees rejoiced. The recall election was theirs to win. Or so they thought.
But now a week out, the polls and money raised tell a different story. And if the Democratic Party doesn’t do something soon with a big infusion of money to get ads on television and to turn out the vote, Gov. Walker will be sitting pretty.
Which Way Will Bellwether Wisconsin Go?
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Improving Life for Workers? ^ | May 30, 2012 | John Stossel

It seems intuitive that a free market would lead to a "race to the bottom." In a global marketplace, profit-chasing employers will cut costs by paying workers less and less, and shipping jobs to China.
It's a reason that progressives say government must step in.
So America now has thousands of rules that outlaw wages below $7.25 an hour, restrict unpaid internships and compel people to pay union dues. These rules appear to help workers. But they don't.
"Collective bargaining" sounds good. Collective bargaining "rights" even better. Employers are more sophisticated about job negotiations than individual employees, so why shouldn't workers be able to join together to bargain?
They should be. But in 27 states, labor laws force workers to join unions. When CBS offered me a job, I had to join AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. I didn't want to. I don't consider myself an artist. I didn't want to pay dues to a union that didn't appear to do much. But I had no choice.
Laws that force workers to join unions treat millions of diverse people, most of whom want very different things, as undifferentiated collectives. That means that good workers get punished.
When I was at ABC and CBS, union culture slowed us down. Sometimes a camera crew took five minutes just to get out of the car.
But without a minimum wage or union protection, wouldn't employers abuse workers? In a real free market, no, they can't. Because workers have choices. Employers have an incentive to maintain a good relationship with employees -- one that keeps them reasonably loyal -- because workers can quit and go work for a rival.
If globalism leads to a "race to the bottom," why do 95 percent of American workers make more than minimum wage? It's not because companies are generous, but because competition forces them to offer higher wages to attract good workers. Companies may move jobs overseas to escape high U.S. wages (or U.S. taxes and regulations), but they clearly prefer to keep jobs here, close to their headquarters, suppliers and customers.
Unions once helped advance working conditions, but now union rules hurt workers because they stifle growth by making companies less flexible. When I arrived at CBS, I was stunned to discover that I couldn't even watch a video in a tape player without risking a grievance being filed by a union editor, saying I'd encroached on his job. Work ground to a halt while we waited for a union specialist to press the "on" button. ABC and CBS, being private businesses that had to compete, eventually got rid of those rules. But it took years.
Unions eventually hurt union workers because unionized companies atrophy. Non-union Toyota grew, while GM shrank. JetBlue Airlines blossomed, while unionized TWA and Pan Am went out of business. Unions "protect" workers all the way to the unemployment line.
When I criticize compulsory unions and regulations, it's not because I want rich employers to get fat off the labor of workers. It's because I've learned that markets are fluid -- and the best way for more workers to find good jobs is to leave everyone free to make any contract they wish.
Outlawing the low-wage job that taught a teenager skills or the internship that gave a kid a foot in the door doesn't insulate people from hardships of the market. It insulates them from knowledge about how to function in an ever-changing economy.
That's not compassion. That's a denial of reality.
Advocates of "kind" central planning overlook the gradual, piecemeal improvement that markets make. Focused on government's promise of once-and-for-all solutions (promises that rarely lead to actual solutions), people miss how free markets gradually help humanity solve problems.
Economic historian Robert Higgs joked that it will always be easier to rally politically inclined people behind unrealistic, revolutionary causes than to rally them around subtle economic progress, because no crowd marches behind a banner proclaiming, "Toward a Marginally Improved Society!"
The best way to help workers is to get the government to butt out and let competitive markets work.

Most Individual Health Policies Don't Meet ACA (ObamaCare) Rules

Med Page Today ^ | 5/29/2012 | Emily P. Walker

More than half of the people who had individual health insurance in 2010 were enrolled in plans that wouldn't pass muster under new standards set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), researchers found.

So in 2014, most people with individual health coverage will see a marked boost in the quality of their insurance and the costs, according to a study published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

That's the year in which states must establish (or defer to the federal government to set up) health insurance exchanges, as required by the ACA.

Insurance plans in the exchanges must meet certain quality and coverage benchmarks, but insurers (and employers) can choose to offer any of four types of plans:

bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, which provide increasing levels of coverage. A platinum plan would be one that covers 90% or more of an individual's healthcare expenses, while a bronze plan would have to cover at least 60%.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Unemployment Is a Labor Market Mismatch (Jobs exist, but firms are unable to find the right skills)

RCM ^ | 05/30/2012 | By Aparna Mathur

After an unexpected upswing at the beginning of this year, the labor market appears to be back in the doldrums again. The month-on-month employment increases of 200,000-240,000 workers in December, January and February created a sense of optimism in the minds of many economists, including this one, that the economic recovery had finally seeped through to the labor market. The subsequent drop in the employment numbers to slightly more than 100,000 has left us scrambling for an explanation.

In the absence of policy changes and initiatives, the most obvious explanation for the observed volatility in the jobs numbers is that the labor market is responding primarily to short-term stimulus, in the form of seasonal changes in demand and better weather conditions. These are hardly likely to spur the economy towards a sustained long-term recovery. So what are the best policy prescriptions for these times?
Identifying the problem is the first step. As traditional economic theory suggests, hiring is ultimately a matching game. Every month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate, the underlying assumption in the minds of most consumers of the report, is that firms created fewer jobs and therefore hiring was low. Less well understood is the idea that while the jobs exist, firms may be unable to find workers to fill those positions.
What is needed for the employment numbers to rise is not only job or vacancy creation, but also an adequate supply of workers that the firm views as good, productive matches for the jobs created. This idea is neatly summarized in a theoretical construct titled the Beveridge Curve, after the economist William Henry Beveridge.
The Beveridge Curve shows the relationship between the jobs vacancy rate and the unemployment rate. The curve typically slopes downward since higher unemployment would be associated with fewer vacancies. However, if the curve moves outwards, away from the origin, this would suggest that a given level of vacancies is associated with a higher level of unemployment. This implies a less efficient labor market caused by mismatches between available jobs and the unemployed.