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Obama vs. Obama?

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Obama vs. Obama?

Postby collegestudent22 on Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:33 pm

Obama, as a candidate, said many things that contradict his actions so much they would totally tank his second term if people are paying attention. Here are some of them:



Also:

Barack Obama wrote:You don’t raise taxes in a recession.


Apparently, you just "increase revenues". And I suppose his vote in 2006 to not raise the debt ceiling was not "holding the country hostage" or "acting like a terrorist"?

Also, the *ahem* transparent lies on government transparency.



Got any of the (many) others?
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.


Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Deacon on Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:47 pm

There's always this one:

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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Martin Blank on Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:52 am

collegestudent22 wrote:
Barack Obama wrote:You don’t raise taxes in a recession.

Apparently, you just "increase revenues".

Perhaps it's important to keep in mind that the US hasn't been in recession for a while? Despite all the talk (much of it uninformed), the concerns about unemployment (very much valid), and the finger-pointing (useful only to anger people on the Internet), the US has been out of recession since June 2009. Using quarterly data, the bottom came at the end of 2008 when GDP was contracting at an annualized rate of -8.9%. By June 2009, this had recovered to -0.9%, and by September the rate was +1.4%. It's been positive ever since, and by the end of 2011, it was up to +4.1%. It's jumpy, yes, and the economy is still a little fragile, but it's been positive for 3.5+ years.

You can't just cut your way out of the current mess. Cut too fast and you blast away spending that's important to the economy before it can find other sources. You can't just tax your way out of it, either. Tax too many people, and they stop spending on consumer items. It's not an easy balancing act and it makes almost no one happy, but that's the reality of a government so entwined in the economy.
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Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Deacon on Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:10 am

That last sentence I think helps illustrate no small part of the causal relationship we find ourselves in.

Are those GDP movements accounting for inflation? And are you saying we're up 4.5% from, say, 2007? Or just up 4.5% from when we hit bottom? If the latter, what's the term for a stunted economy that's not technically in a recession but hasn't recovered to pre-meltdown levels?
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Martin Blank on Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:11 am

They're annualized growth rates posted quarterly. Google has some useful graphs. As it's the Real Gross Domestic Product, it factors in inflation. Here's the graph for the Real GDP and the raw GDP.

Not in those numbers are the reported rates for 2012 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. They were 2.0%, 1.3%, and 3.1%, respectively. Q4 data is not due until late January for the Advance Report (basically a rough guess), late February for the first estimate (a refined estimate), and late March for the second estimate, which should be pretty accurate.

I'm not arguing that the economy is as strong as it was in, say, 2004, but it's not as weak as some people think. Job growth rate isn't where we want it to be, of course: it's barely staying ahead of population growth rate. It would be nice to get up to the 200,000+ level for an extended term. We were looking good at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, but then things dropped off. They appear to be getting better for November and December 2012, something that's backed up by a sharp decrease in weekly new unemployment benefit filings in recent months, including an apparent drop of 37,000 in last week's numbers to 335,000, the lowest since January 2008. In terms of general number ranges, we're around where we were in 2004, give or take.

I think the country as a whole turned a corner so gradual, a lot of people missed that it was there at all.
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Deacon on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:11 pm

Regarding job growth and unemployment levels, the topic of those giving up altogether on working and thus removing themselves from the unemployment numbers comes up and generally fades away quickly again. How much impact does this really have? It seems like a lot. Since Obama took office, that number has expanded by over 8.3 million people, approaching 90 million total. Surely a good chunk of those are housewives and retirees, right? Apparently not, though I'll be honest I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get to that info on the BLS site. But since unemployment figures have squeaked under 8% is that number a legitimate indicator of how well we're doing? If you look at a choking person and say, "Well, they don't appear to be twitching as much now," that doesn't mean they're better. Seems like it's nowhere near a complete picture.

In a nation of about 238 million adults (2011), we're saying not even 2 out of 3 adults are even trying to find a job, much less actively working, about 38% giving up entirely. According the Census Bureau fewer than 41.5 million people are 65 or older. While certainly not everyone over 65 chooses to not work, most do. So even if you refuse to count anyone over 65 as a productive member of society, that's still over 21% of adults not even bothering, about 45 to 50 million people who have removed themselves from the workforce by claiming to be discouraged, claiming family responsibilities, or whatever other reason, and none of them are counted in the unemployment numbers, and all of that is separate from the "underemployed" category.

I don't know, whether it's minting/printing more Monopoly money and plunging us further under the building tsunami of inflation or claiming the economy's really making significant improvements, it seems like we're putting on a smile for the camera more than fundamentally improving. I wonder when it's going to set in that a bleeding heart is a deadly condition, and once it finally stops beating it doesn't matter how hard you squeeze a turnip, it can't make up the difference. Hopefully it's after I've managed to buy some half way sustainable land somewhere.
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Martin Blank on Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:44 pm

The number of people dropping out of the workforce is a problem. Pinning down reasons is difficult. The pool of people leaving the workforce does naturally grow as people retire, so that accounts for some of it. Others have lost jobs and gone to school using charitable or public programs that cover the costs. While this may not be ideal overall, it does potentially start retraining them for another role. This chart provides a little information, but it's not the detail you're looking for. It doesn't appear that they publish that more frequently than annually, though.

In any case, I did say that it's not perfect. It's just that we have some reasons to be optimistic that many aren't latching on to. And the fact that unemployment ticked up even as job growth exceeded population growth was important because it marked a time when people were coming back into the job market.

Right now, the US is probably the most stable place to be. The EU is shaky at best (Greece, Spain, and Italy are still capable of going bankrupt), Japan is STILL trying to shake off economic malaise from its own real estate implosion in the 1990s, many of the Southeast Asian nations are recovering after Europe and the US drastically lowered their orders, and China is dealing with a pending real estate crisis of its own, not to mention problems with its textile and manufacturing sectors outsourcing jobs to other countries. (The difference for China is that it still has population to move from rural to urban areas to prop up the real estate market, but knows it can't do it forever and wants to hold on to some of that resource in case it urgently needs it in the future.) The US is the only place that has some semblance of stability at the moment along with a reasonably strong economy.

There's a lot to be done. Spending needs to be cut drastically, one of the reasons that the US has been pushing for a drastic reduction in troops in Afghanistan and has been reluctant to get involved in Syria. Many domestic programs need to ramp down, particularly vanity projects that promote awareness of some person or event but also larger assistance campaigns, and that's going to be painful for a lot of people. And tax increases, whether through loophole closures or rate increases, are going to have to be factored in. Refinancing old debt is a way to buy some time (we still have some bonds on the books at 10%+), but only if it's combined with the above.
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Deacon on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:20 pm

It doesn't appear Obama and the Democrat majority in the Senate will be willing to undertake any of that, giddy after taking over the Senate and having the gift of Sandy Hook dropped in their lap (what better distraction that can be leveraged for all manner of political gain in the eyes of the majority who are willing to let others think for them?), and flush with some rather brazen confidence. They've won, right? They don't need to consider what's best for the country if it's not in lockstep with their dogma.
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Martin Blank on Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:31 am

Between Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, I don't expect any serious weapons restrictions to come into play. But everyone is realizing that there need to be some serious cuts. Whether it's changing the cost of living calculations for Social Security (every tenth of a point is fairly serious money, around $800 million) or cutting defense spending ($716 billion budgeted for FY2012), something has to give, and giving across the spectrum is going to be critical.

My one semi-sacred cow is NASA, which has been under-funded for nearly a decade. In the scheme of things, it doesn't cost much, but even that has its priorities. I'm happy to shift the manned launch burden out to the private sector (SpaceX, Bigelow, etc.), but the probes and telescopes incur major increases in overall costs if they get delayed, and for some of them, a delay in funding now means a delay in launch by years. Science funding is important, and when it's on schedules we don't control (like orbits), it's important to keep things moving. I realize that even NASA has to see cuts, but it should be in percentages, not raw dollars.

Keep in mind that both sides want a budget. The GOP today trotted out a plan to suspend congressional pay without a budget (they might want to read the Constitution before they do that, particularly Amendment XXVII, since they're allegedly all about the Constitution), but in reality, everyone wants one because the habit of passing intermediate bills looks bad. With a split Congress, though, no one is going to get everything they want.
Last edited by Martin Blank on Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed some basic math
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Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Deacon on Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:29 am

I'm not convinced. It seems like the Democrats are saying, "It's our time now, dammit!" more than they have in the past, though I wasn't terribly politically aware back in '92 when Clinton swept into office. It's always so angry with them, like they're about to lose their patience with reality and pop, compared to Republicans, who seem far more angry about the idea of people being happy being themselves.

And now since Republicans seem to have prostituted themselves at least as badly as the Democrats, securing votes by spending just as much or more, I don't see how we have any chance at all. It seems like they both want to spend recklessly, just in different places, and they both want to control everyone, just in different directions. Is there really no possibility that everyone gives up a little and then agrees to leave people alone? Or is that too laughably Libertarian?
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Obama vs. Obama?

Postby ampersand on Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:17 am

I may have said this before, but Obama is acting like the guy who went all-in and bet his shirt, home, & maybe even his wife. It's probably the winners bravado in him. If he man handles his cabinet replacements, or strong arms a shut down of coal plants through the EPA, then it's not just talk.

I bet no budget gets signed until 2015.
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Martin Blank on Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:14 am

Some interesting news in the employment numbers that were released yesterday that some articles seem to have missed.
  • January payrolls were up 157,000. This is a decent number, but flatter than one would like to see. Positive news for conservatives included a decline of 4700 government jobs. Retail, construction, and healthcare all saw healthy improvements.
  • December payrolls were revised upward from 155,000 to 196,000; November payrolls were revised upward from 161,000 to 247,000. That puts both of those in stronger territory, though not the 300K level that would indicate a solid recovery.
  • Estimates for the entire year of 2012 were also revised with generally positive changes. Format is "month -- old/new/difference" in the numbers below; all numbers are in thousands.
    • Jan -- 275/311/+36
    • Feb -- 259/271/+12
    • Mar -- 143/205/+62
    • Apr -- 68/112/+44
    • May -- 87/125/+38
    • Jun -- 45/87/+42
    • Jul -- 181/153/-28
    • Aug -- 192/165/-27
    • Sep -- 132/138/+6
    • Oct -- 137/160/+23
    • Nov -- 161/247/+86
    • Dec -- 155/196/+41
    That's a change in the annual payroll increase of 335,000 more than were first estimated, an average of almost 28,000 more jobs per month than thought. Again, still not where it needs to be, but generally a better result.
  • Average wages were up 2.1% over the course of 2012. This suggests that companies are more comfortable handing out raises and/or hiring people at higher wages. This also suggests a higher confidence in the economy and a need to retain existing workers.
There was some other news earlier in the week that was kind of hard where some business purchases were down, but this may have been over-exuberance in Q4 leading to too much inventory being purchased then and they're trying to clear out stocks now. It's expected to pick back up as inventory dwindles.

Still mixed news, but pointing in a generally positive direction.
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Deacon on Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:37 am

I saw a report elsewhere that if we count all the people that were in the workforce 4 years ago unemployment's actually up around 10.8%. I wonder when we'll be able to get back up to 2007 numbers...
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Re: Obama vs. Obama?

Postby Martin Blank on Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:46 am

These are the Bureau of Labor Statistics counts:
  • U-1, persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
  • U-2, job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
  • U-3, total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate);
  • U-4, total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers;
  • U-5, total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers; and
  • U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.
U-3 is the one that is regularly reported. The national averages for 2012 for these were 4.5%, 4.4%, 8.1%, 8.6%, 9.5%, and 14.7%.

Current numbers can be found at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm. This is a running link with current data always present.
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