Posts Tagged ‘GDP’

Federal Reserve Study Proves That Obama Presiding Over WORST ‘RECOVERY’ EVER

January 26, 2013

Obama epic fail alert number 16 trillion:

Here’s the summary version:

If there was any debate whether the Fed’s policies have helped the economy or just the market (and specifically the Bernanke-targeted Russell 2000), the following two charts will end any and all debate. As the following chart from the St Louis Fed shows, as of the just completed quarter, US GDP “growth” since the “recovery” is now the worst in US history, having just dipped below the heretofore lowest on record.

Can we have the worst economy ever?  Let’s ask some Democrats.  What’s that they’re saying?

Here’s the more detailed version – which includes the quote above – provided by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:

It’s Official: Worst. Recovery. EVER
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/24/2013 09:22 -0500

If there was any debate whether the Fed’s policies have helped the economy or just the market (and specifically the Bernanke-targeted Russell 2000), the following two charts will end any and all debate. As the following chart from the St Louis Fed shows, as of the just completed quarter, US GDP “growth” since the “recovery” is now the worst in US history, having just dipped below the heretofore lowest on record.

A slightly prettier version of the same chart created by JPM’s Michael Cembalest, is presented below:

But fear not: it is only the worst recovery ever for anyone unlucky enough to still rely on such Old Normal concepts as the “economy” to feed, clothe and provide shelter for themselves.

For those lucky 1% of the US population whose entire wealth is in financial assets (and who once again managed to avoid a tax hike on carried interest or any actual financial assets), times have almost never been so good.

Well, it’s not the biggest surge in the market since the economic trough in history, but it is close. Which as Bernanke admitted some time ago (when discussing the level of the Russell 2000), is the only thing that actually matters to the Fed.

Yet oddly enough, the trickle down from the trillions in excess wealth created for those who hold financial assets, as a result of daily POMOs pumping some $85 billion, and soon more, into the stock market each month, has yet to materialize.

Oh well: just keep on doing more of what you are doing Uncle Ben, and if possible destroy the US economy even more than you already have – at this point, at least on a relative basis, you can’t destroy it more.

Well, that’s what the American people decided they wanted, and it is what they should get.

Conservatives – myself very definitely included – predicted categorically that Obama was going to take American in the wrong direction, and we have been documenting the miserable economy Obama has actually delivered in spite of all of his failed promises of Utopia ever since.

The funny thing is that historically, the worst the economic collapse the bigger, faster and sharper the recovery.  Obama has given us the exact opposite.

And then there’s that giant black hole of depression that is just waiting to eat the American people alive like nothing ever has before.  Because, again, we voted for it, and we should get what we voted for.

I used to think that the Antichrist would be an incredibly capable leader.  I now realize I might very well be wrong.  As I re-read the Book of Revelation, I never actually see real signs that the economy presided over by the Antichrist ever really improves; rather, he may be nothing more than an incredibly skilled demagogue who continues to sink the world deeper and deeper into debt and chaos while blaming his opponents for his failures and implementing policies that actually sink the world deeper and deeper into the mire of a failed economy as the world continues to worship him.  Sort of like what is happening now with Obama, just on an even grander scale.

If Spain Collapses, Europe Collapses. And If Europe Collapses, America Collapses. And Terrified Spaniards Are Bailing Out Of Spain As I Write This.

September 5, 2012

Be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.  Because to paraphrase Obama’s demonic reverend for 25 years, the chickens of socialism have come home to roost:

Fears Rising, Spaniards Pull Out Their Cash and Get Out of Spain
Published in the New York Times: Monday, 3 Sep 2012 | 9:22 PM ET By: Landon Thomas Jr.

After working six years as a senior executive for a multinational payroll-processing company in Barcelona, Spain, Mr. Vildosola is cutting his professional and financial ties with his troubled homeland. He has moved his family to a village near Cambridge, England, where he will take the reins at a small software company, and he has transferred his savings from Spanish banks to British banks.

“The macro situation in Spain is getting worse and worse,” Mr. Vildosola, 38, said last week just hours before boarding a plane to London with his wife and two small children. “There is just too much risk. Spain is going to be next after Greece, and I just don’t want to end up holding devalued pesetas.”

Mr. Vildosola is among many who worry that Spain’s economic tailspin could eventually force the country’s withdrawal from the euro and a return to its former currency, the peseta. That dire outcome is still considered a long shot, even if Spain might eventually require a Greek-style bailout. But there is no doubt that many of those in a position to do so are taking their money — and in some cases themselves — out of Spain.

In July, Spaniards withdrew a record 75 billion euros, or $94 billion, from their banks — an amount equal to 7 percent of the country’s overall economic output — as doubts grew about the durability of Spain’s financial system.

The withdrawals accelerated a trend that began in the middle of last year, and came despite a European commitment to pump up to 100 billion euros into the Spanish banking system. Analysts will be watching to see whether the August data, when available, shows an even faster rate of capital flight.

More disturbing for Spain is that the flight is starting to include members of its educated and entrepreneurial elite who are fed up with the lack of job opportunities in a country where the unemployment rate touches 25 percent.

According to official statistics, 30,000 Spaniards registered to work in Britain in the last year, and analysts say that this figure would be many multiples higher if workers without documents were counted. That is a 25 percent increase from a year earlier.

“No doubt there is a little bit of panic,” said José García Montalvo, an economist at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. “The wealthy people have already taken their money out. Now it’s the professionals and midrange people who are moving their money to Germany and London. The mood is very, very bad.”

It is possible that the outlook could improve if the European Central Bank’s governing council, which meets Thursday, signals a plan to help shore up the finances of Spain and other euro zone laggards by intervening in the bond markets.

But right now, if anything, Spain’s picture is growing dimmer.

On Friday, the government’s bank rescue fund said it would need to pump up to 5 billion euros into the failed mortgage-lending giant Bankia, which the state seized in May. And on Monday, Andalusia became the latest of Spain’s semiautonomous regions to ask the central government for rescue money.

The wider prospects for the euro zone are also still bleak. Moody’s [MCO 39.72 0.12 (+0.3%) ] Investors Service said on Monday that it had changed its outlook on the AAA rating of the European Union to negative, and that it might downgrade the rating if it decides to cut the ratings on the union’s four largest budget contributors.

Spain’s gathering gloom comes despite a gradual return of capital to banks in Greece and the relative stability of deposits in those other euro zone trouble spots, Italy, Ireland and Portugal.

The continued exodus of money and people from Spain could be a warning to European policy makers that bailing out the country — a step now widely expected — may not stem the panic as long as the Spanish economy remains in a funk.

It was a lesson learned in Greece, where despite successive European bailouts, about a third of deposits have been withdrawn from its banks since 2009, as the public worried that Athens might have to return to the drachma.

Spain is still a far cry from a nearly bankrupt Greece: it has a much larger and more diverse economy, lower levels of debt and a bond market that is still functioning.

It might be more accurate to say that money is leaving Spanish banks at more of a jog than anything close to a sprint.

Although retail and corporate deposits are down 10 percent compared with those of July 2011, the country remains relatively rich in savings, with 2.3 trillion euros in overall deposits, according to data from Morgan Stanley.

But once under way, the flight of bank deposits can easily overwhelm rational facts and analysis.

Setting off the flight was the failure of Bankia, which came as a shock to Spanish savers who had been assured by government officials that the bank was in good shape.

Instead of calming fears, the state takeover prompted comparisons to Argentina in 2001, when peso bank accounts denominated in dollars were frozen in order to stem the flight of deposits.

The corralito, or corral, as the Argentine action is known, has become part of the public conversation in Spain. The million-plus Argentines who have since immigrated to Spain have provided ample and gory stories of desperate legal battles and wiped-out savings.

Eduardo Pérez, a Spaniard who was working in Argentina during that period, remembers the events all too well. He said he lost four-fifths of the money he had kept in an Argentine savings account, though he declined to say how much money was involved.

“Some of my friends lost everything,” Mr. Pérez said. “So yes, everyone in Spain knows about the corralito.”

Recently, Mr. Pérez, who lives in the northern city of Bilbao, removed about a third of his euros from his Spanish savings account and sent them to Singapore, converting them to Singapore dollars.

Having lost his job at a multinational company a few months ago, Mr. Pérez, 48, is trying to make ends meet by focusing on his travel Web site and blog, which aggregate Spanish-language travel videos.

But as the job outlook worsens, he is contemplating following in the path of his savings and starting a new life in Singapore with his wife.

“Two years ago, we never would have thought of this, but now I have real fears that there will be a breakup with the euro,” he said. “And when you keep hearing people saying, ‘Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen’ — well, that is when you have to start worrying.”

Analysts said that the record-high outflow from Spain in July was probably spurred in part by July’s being a taxpaying month for many corporations, which prompted them to withdraw cash from deposit accounts.

Also playing a role were investment funds that moved cash reserves to foreign banks in light of the credit downgrades at Spanish banks.

Still, as the examples of Mr. Vildosola and Mr. Pérez show, individual deposit flight is becoming more pronounced.

Some people are willing to fly to London for the day just to open an account there, as most banks in the city require such transactions to be made in person.

Spanish bankers working for British financial institutions say they have been hit with a barrage of questions about how to open savings accounts in London.

“It seems as if everyone I know in Spain is getting on an easyJet to come to London and open a bank account,” said one such banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing his company’s policy.

That is what Mr. Vildosola did before he took the more drastic step of moving his family to England.

“It’s sad,” he said. “But I just don’t think there is a future for me in Spain right now.”

This story originally appeared in The New York Times

You want scary?  CNBC reported that the withdrawal rate is equal to 52% of the entire GDP of Spain:

The flight of capital from Spain is now worse than what Indonesia, one of the hardest hit countries during the Asian financial crisis, experienced in the late 1990s, according to analysis by Nomura.

On a three-month rolling basis, portfolio and investment outflows from Spain totaled 52.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), (that’s) more than double the outflows from Indonesia, which reached 23 percent of GDP at the time of the Asian crisis, Jens Nordvig, global head of G10 FX strategy at Nomura wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday.

Spaniards and foreign investors have been pulling money out of Spanish banks as the economy has worsened in recent months, and Nordvig said without the single currency and the flows from the ECB, Spain would already be going through a major currency crisis. (Read More: Depression, Suicides Rise as Euro Debt Crisis Intensifies)

We would stress that the broad-based nature of the capital flight, which involves both banking claims and securities and flows from both residents and non-residents, makes for a rather extreme overall outflow, and one that raises serious concerns about the implications for banking sector stability and economic growth,” Nordvig wrote.

For the record, the French are fleeing France and they are making it very clear that they are fleeing France because of the socialism that France just chose for itself:

Indigestion for ‘les Riches’ in a Plan for Higher Taxes
By LIZ ALDERMAN
Published: August 7, 2012 763 Comments

PARIS — The call to Vincent Grandil’s Paris law firm began like many others that have rolled in recently. On the line was the well-paid chief executive of one of France’s most profitable companies, and he was feeling nervous.

President François Hollande is vowing to impose a 75 percent tax on the portion of anyone’s income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year. “Should I be preparing to leave the country?” the executive asked Mr. Grandil.

The lawyer’s counsel: Wait and see. For now, at least.

“We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,” said Mr. Grandil, a partner at Altexis, which specializes in tax matters for corporations and the wealthy. “Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.”

A chill is wafting over France’s business class as Mr. Hollande, the country’s first Socialist president since François Mitterrand in the 1980s, presses a manifesto of patriotism to “pay extra tax to get the country back on its feet again.” The 75 percent tax proposal, which Parliament plans to take up in September, is ostensibly aimed at bolstering French finances as Europe’s long-running debt crisis intensifies.

Europe is imploding.  Spain is one of the PIIGS (the ‘S’ in PIIGS, in fact) who are leading that collapse.  And Obama is pushing for an economic and environmentalist model that most copies collapsing Spain.

And liberals are DETERMINED to do the same thing here.  Go to Illinois, the king of the deadbeat states.  You watch a 60 Minute Story and you will be PISSED at what slimebag Democrat cockroaches have done.  Go to California, where Democrats have created a $500 BILLION unfunded pension black hole of doom.  Look at America under Obama and take note that America just passed the $16 trillion mark that was $10 trillion when Bush left office.  Barack Obama DEMONIZED George Bush for increasing the debt by $4 trillion over eight years - look what that Marxist weasel has done in HALF the time by piling on $6 trillion in debt in only FOUR years!!!  Oh, and America’s REAL debt isn’t a paltry $16 trillion; it’s actually a supermassive $222 trillion.  And all that debt was created by Democrat boondoggle-takeovers of what should have been privatized.

Democrats have murdered America.  And we are merely waiting for our turn to completely implode before the Antichrist comes and the Book of Revelation prophecy becomes the news story account of the end of human history.  You can hear the hoofbeats of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse riding hard toward us even now.

The last couple of years, as Europe has slowly imploded, the dollar has been given a boost as terrorized Europeans seek some haven from their weakening Euro.  But if Europe goes – and it WILL go – America will fall right afterward because Europe is our largest trading partner and there won’t be anybody to buy our stuff from us.  And because Obama has spent the last four years racing us toward that same direction and that same catastrophic collapse.  And when America goes the dollar will flush down the toilet right down with it.  And you better take a look at the terror on the faces of Spaniards; because YOU will have that same look on YOUR face soon thanks to your vote for Obama and Democrats in 2008.

In 1980, the last year of Jimmy Carter’s failed presidency, 300,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy.  In this last failed year of Obama’s failed presidency, 1.4 million – very nearly FIVE TIMES as many – businesses have filed for bankruptcy.  If we vote for Obama, we vote to die as a nation just as Spain previously voted to die and just as Europe previously voted to die.

Everything about this failed president is Marxist - including his damn Marxist slogans:

New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism
By Victor Morton – The Washington Times
April 30, 2012, 06:56PM

The Obama campaign apparently didn’t look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, “Forward” — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism.

Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name “Forward!” or its foreign cognates. Wikipedia has an entire section called “Forward (generic name of socialist publications).”

“The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other left-wing newspapers and publications,” the online encyclopedia explains.

The slogan “Forward!” reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism.

The Obama campaign released its new campaign slogan Monday in a 7-minute video. The title card has simply the word “Forward” with the “O” having the familiar Obama logo from 2008. It will be played at rallies this weekend that mark the Obama re-election campaign’s official beginning.

Vote for Obama.  March “forward” right into hell, you fools.  Because that’s what you’ve got to look “forward” to under your demonic false messiah Obama.

You just watch what will happen to the DOW the day Spain goes the way of the Dodo bird.  And you realize that we’re going down hard in our own day of reckoning because we chose the same stupid and immoral course that Spain chose.

What’s Obama’s “strategy” to deal with this crisis???  To try to call on Europe to not collapse until after he’s reelected so he won’t have to face the voters’ wrath over what hell has befallen America under his failed leadership.

The collapse is coming.  Democrats gave us that when they voted for Obama and let him kill America with his socialism.  The Antichrist is coming.  He’ll be riding in on his white horse to save the day from the disaster and collapse caused by the previous false messiah Obama.  And Democrats will welcome the beast even more enthusiastically than they welcomed Obama and they will worship him and they will take his mark.

Get ready for hell on earth.  And then get ready for hell itself.  Because the beast is coming.

Harvard Professor Provides Systematic And Scathing Take Down Of Obama’s Entire Presidency: Obama’s Gotta Go

August 21, 2012

The following isn’t a takedown of Obama for merely failing to turn the economy around; it is a scathing indictment of Obama’s entire premise for his 2008 entire campaign and failed presidency:

Niall Ferguson: Obama’s Gotta Go
Aug 19, 2012 1:00 AM EDT
Why does Paul Ryan scare the president so much? Because Obama has broken his promises, and it’s clear that the GOP ticket’s path to prosperity is our only hope.

I was a good loser four years ago. “In the grand scheme of history,” I wrote the day after Barack Obama’s election as president, “four decades is not an especially long time. Yet in that brief period America has gone from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to the apotheosis of Barack Obama. You would not be human if you failed to acknowledge this as a cause for great rejoicing.”

Newsweek
 

Despite having been—full disclosure—an adviser to John McCain, I acknowledged his opponent’s remarkable qualities: his soaring oratory, his cool, hard-to-ruffle temperament, and his near faultless campaign organization.

Yet the question confronting the country nearly four years later is not who was the better candidate four years ago. It is whether the winner has delivered on his promises. And the sad truth is that he has not.

In his inaugural address, Obama promised “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” He promised to “build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” He promised to “restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” And he promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.” Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.

COVER STORY: Obama has broken his promises, and it’s clear that the GOP ticket’s path to prosperity is our only hope bit.ly/QQLouG

In an unguarded moment earlier this year, the president commented that the private sector of the economy was “doing fine.” Certainly, the stock market is well up (by 74 percent) relative to the close on Inauguration Day 2009. But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak. Meanwhile, since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added to Social Security’s disability insurance program. This is one of many ways unemployment is being concealed.

In his fiscal year 2010 budget—the first he presented—the president envisaged growth of 3.2 percent in 2010, 4.0 percent in 2011, 4.6 percent in 2012. The actual numbers were 2.4 percent in 2010 and 1.8 percent in 2011; few forecasters now expect it to be much above 2.3 percent this year.

Unemployment was supposed to be 6 percent by now. It has averaged 8.2 percent this year so far. Meanwhile real median annual household income has dropped more than 5 percent since June 2009. Nearly 110 million individuals received a welfare benefit in 2011, mostly Medicaid or food stamps.

Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.

Niall Ferguson discusses Obama’s broken promises on ‘Face the Nation.’  [See site for video]

And all this despite a far bigger hike in the federal debt than we were promised. According to the 2010 budget, the debt in public hands was supposed to fall in relation to GDP from 67 percent in 2010 to less than 66 percent this year. If only. By the end of this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it will reach 70 percent of GDP. These figures significantly understate the debt problem, however. The ratio that matters is debt to revenue. That number has leapt upward from 165 percent in 2008 to 262 percent this year, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. Among developed economies, only Ireland and Spain have seen a bigger deterioration.

Not only did the initial fiscal stimulus fade after the sugar rush of 2009, but the president has done absolutely nothing to close the long-term gap between spending and revenue.

His much-vaunted health-care reform will not prevent spending on health programs growing from more than 5 percent of GDP today to almost 10 percent in 2037. Add the projected increase in the costs of Social Security and you are looking at a total bill of 16 percent of GDP 25 years from now. That is only slightly less than the average cost of all federal programs and activities, apart from net interest payments, over the past 40 years. Under this president’s policies, the debt is on course to approach 200 percent of GDP in 2037—a mountain of debt that is bound to reduce growth even further.

Newsweek’s executive editor, Justine Rosenthal, tells the story behind Ferguson’s cover story.  [See site for video]

And even that figure understates the real debt burden. The most recent estimate for the difference between the net present value of federal government liabilities and the net present value of future federal revenues—what economist Larry Kotlikoff calls the true “fiscal gap”—is $222 trillion.

The president’s supporters will, of course, say that the poor performance of the economy can’t be blamed on him. They would rather finger his predecessor, or the economists he picked to advise him, or Wall Street, or Europe—anyone but the man in the White House.

There’s some truth in this. It was pretty hard to foresee what was going to happen to the economy in the years after 2008. Yet surely we can legitimately blame the president for the political mistakes of the past four years. After all, it’s the president’s job to run the executive branch effectively—to lead the nation. And here is where his failure has been greatest.

Jobs Graphic
 

On paper it looked like an economics dream team: Larry Summers, Christina Romer, and Austan Goolsbee, not to mention Peter Orszag, Tim Geithner, and Paul Volcker. The inside story, however, is that the president was wholly unable to manage the mighty brains—and egos—he had assembled to advise him.

According to Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men, Summers told Orszag over dinner in May 2009: “You know, Peter, we’re really home alone … I mean it. We’re home alone. There’s no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes [of indecisiveness on key economic issues].” On issue after issue, according to Suskind, Summers overruled the president. “You can’t just march in and make that argument and then have him make a decision,” Summers told Orszag, “because he doesn’t know what he’s deciding.” (I have heard similar things said off the record by key participants in the president’s interminable “seminar” on Afghanistan policy.)

This problem extended beyond the White House. After the imperial presidency of the Bush era, there was something more like parliamentary government in the first two years of Obama’s administration. The president proposed; Congress disposed. It was Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts who wrote the stimulus bill and made sure it was stuffed full of political pork. And it was the Democrats in Congress—led by Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank—who devised the 2,319-page Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank, for short), a near-perfect example of excessive complexity in regulation. The act requires that regulators create 243 rules, conduct 67 studies, and issue 22 periodic reports. It eliminates one regulator and creates two new ones.

It is five years since the financial crisis began, but the central problems—excessive financial concentration and excessive financial leverage—have not been addressed.

Today a mere 10 too-big-to-fail financial institutions are responsible for three quarters of total financial assets under management in the United States. Yet the country’s largest banks are at least $50 billion short of meeting new capital requirements under the new “Basel III” accords governing bank capital adequacy.

obama-has-to-go-FE01-main
Charles Ommanney for Newsweek

And then there was health care. No one seriously doubts that the U.S. system needed to be reformed. But the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 did nothing to address the core defects of the system: the long-run explosion of Medicare costs as the baby boomers retire, the “fee for service” model that drives health-care inflation, the link from employment to insurance that explains why so many Americans lack coverage, and the excessive costs of the liability insurance that our doctors need to protect them from our lawyers.

Ironically, the core Obamacare concept of the “individual mandate” (requiring all Americans to buy insurance or face a fine) was something the president himself had opposed when vying with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. A much more accurate term would be “Pelosicare,” since it was she who really forced the bill through Congress.

Pelosicare was not only a political disaster. Polls consistently showed that only a minority of the public liked the ACA, and it was the main reason why Republicans regained control of the House in 2010. It was also another fiscal snafu. The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period.

The president just kept ducking the fiscal issue. Having set up a bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, headed by retired Wyoming Republican senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles, Obama effectively sidelined its recommendations of approximately $3 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in added revenues over the coming decade. As a result there was no “grand bargain” with the House Republicans—which means that, barring some miracle, the country will hit a fiscal cliff on Jan. 1 as the Bush tax cuts expire and the first of $1.2 trillion of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts are imposed. The CBO estimates the net effect could be a 4 percent reduction in output.

The failures of leadership on economic and fiscal policy over the past four years have had geopolitical consequences. The World Bank expects the U.S. to grow by just 2 percent in 2012. China will grow four times faster than that; India three times faster. By 2017, the International Monetary Fund predicts, the GDP of China will overtake that of the United States.

GDP Graphic
 

Meanwhile, the fiscal train wreck has already initiated a process of steep cuts in the defense budget, at a time when it is very far from clear that the world has become a safer place—least of all in the Middle East.

For me the president’s greatest failure has been not to think through the implications of these challenges to American power. Far from developing a coherent strategy, he believed—perhaps encouraged by the premature award of the Nobel Peace Prize—that all he needed to do was to make touchy-feely speeches around the world explaining to foreigners that he was not George W. Bush.

In Tokyo in November 2009, the president gave his boilerplate hug-a-foreigner speech: “In an interconnected world, power does not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear the success of another … The United States does not seek to contain China … On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.” Yet by fall 2011, this approach had been jettisoned in favor of a “pivot” back to the Pacific, including risible deployments of troops to Australia and Singapore. From the vantage point of Beijing, neither approach had credibility.

His Cairo speech of June 4, 2009, was an especially clumsy bid to ingratiate himself on what proved to be the eve of a regional revolution. “I’m also proud to carry with me,” he told Egyptians, “a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalamu alaikum … I’ve come here … to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based … upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

Obama
Charles Ommanney for Newsweek

Believing it was his role to repudiate neoconservatism, Obama completely missed the revolutionary wave of Middle Eastern democracy—precisely the wave the neocons had hoped to trigger with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. When revolution broke out—first in Iran, then in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria—the president faced stark alternatives. He could try to catch the wave by lending his support to the youthful revolutionaries and trying to ride it in a direction advantageous to American interests. Or he could do nothing and let the forces of reaction prevail.

In the case of Iran he did nothing, and the thugs of the Islamic Republic ruthlessly crushed the demonstrations. Ditto Syria. In Libya he was cajoled into intervening. In Egypt he tried to have it both ways, exhorting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave, then drawing back and recommending an “orderly transition.” The result was a foreign-policy debacle. Not only were Egypt’s elites appalled by what seemed to them a betrayal, but the victors—the Muslim Brotherhood—had nothing to be grateful for. America’s closest Middle Eastern allies—Israel and the Saudis—looked on in amazement.

“This is what happens when you get caught by surprise,” an anonymous American official told The New York Times in February 2011. “We’ve had endless strategy sessions for the past two years on Mideast peace, on containing Iran. And how many of them factored in the possibility that Egypt moves from stability to turmoil? None.”

Remarkably the president polls relatively strongly on national security. Yet the public mistakes his administration’s astonishingly uninhibited use of political assassination for a coherent strategy. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, the civilian proportion of drone casualties was 16 percent last year. Ask yourself how the liberal media would have behaved if George W. Bush had used drones this way. Yet somehow it is only ever Republican secretaries of state who are accused of committing “war crimes.”

The real crime is that the assassination program destroys potentially crucial intelligence (as well as antagonizing locals) every time a drone strikes. It symbolizes the administration’s decision to abandon counterinsurgency in favor of a narrow counterterrorism. What that means in practice is the abandonment not only of Iraq but soon of Afghanistan too. Understandably, the men and women who have served there wonder what exactly their sacrifice was for, if any notion that we are nation building has been quietly dumped. Only when both countries sink back into civil war will we realize the real price of Obama’s foreign policy.

America under this president is a superpower in retreat, if not retirement. Small wonder 46 percent of Americans—and 63 percent of Chinese—believe that China already has replaced the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower or eventually will.

It is a sign of just how completely Barack Obama has “lost his narrative” since getting elected that the best case he has yet made for reelection is that Mitt Romney should not be president. In his notorious “you didn’t build that” speech, Obama listed what he considers the greatest achievements of big government: the Internet, the GI Bill, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Apollo moon landing, and even (bizarrely) the creation of the middle class. Sadly, he couldn’t mention anything comparable that his administration has achieved.

Now Obama is going head-to-head with his nemesis: a politician who believes more in content than in form, more in reform than in rhetoric. In the past days much has been written about Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate. I know, like, and admire Paul Ryan. For me, the point about him is simple. He is one of only a handful of politicians in Washington who is truly sincere about addressing this country’s fiscal crisis.

Deficit Graphic
 

Over the past few years Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” has evolved, but the essential points are clear: replace Medicare with a voucher program for those now under 55 (not current or imminent recipients), turn Medicaid and food stamps into block grants for the states, and—crucially—simplify the tax code and lower tax rates to try to inject some supply-side life back into the U.S. private sector. Ryan is not preaching austerity. He is preaching growth. And though Reagan-era veterans like David Stockman may have their doubts, they underestimate Ryan’s mastery of this subject. There is literally no one in Washington who understands the challenges of fiscal reform better.

Just as importantly, Ryan has learned that politics is the art of the possible. There are parts of his plan that he is understandably soft-pedaling right now—notably the new source of federal revenue referred to in his 2010 “Roadmap for America’s Future” as a “business consumption tax.” Stockman needs to remind himself that the real “fairy-tale budget plans” have been the ones produced by the White House since 2009.

I first met Paul Ryan in April 2010. I had been invited to a dinner in Washington where the U.S. fiscal crisis was going to be the topic of discussion. So crucial did this subject seem to me that I expected the dinner to happen in one of the city’s biggest hotel ballrooms. It was actually held in the host’s home. Three congressmen showed up—a sign of how successful the president’s fiscal version of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (about the debt) had been. Ryan blew me away. I have wanted to see him in the White House ever since.

It remains to be seen if the American public is ready to embrace the radical overhaul of the nation’s finances that Ryan proposes. The public mood is deeply ambivalent. The president’s approval rating is down to 49 percent. The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is at minus 28 (down from minus 13 in May). But Obama is still narrowly ahead of Romney in the polls as far as the popular vote is concerned (50.8 to 48.2) and comfortably ahead in the Electoral College. The pollsters say that Paul Ryan’s nomination is not a game changer; indeed, he is a high-risk choice for Romney because so many people feel nervous about the reforms Ryan proposes.

Want to discuss this week’s cover story? Use the hashtag –just as it appears on the cover.

But one thing is clear. Ryan psychs Obama out. This has been apparent ever since the White House went on the offensive against Ryan in the spring of last year. And the reason he psychs him out is that, unlike Obama, Ryan has a plan—as opposed to a narrative—for this country.

Mitt Romney is not the best candidate for the presidency I can imagine. But he was clearly the best of the Republican contenders for the nomination. He brings to the presidency precisely the kind of experience—both in the business world and in executive office—that Barack Obama manifestly lacked four years ago. (If only Obama had worked at Bain Capital for a few years, instead of as a community organizer in Chicago, he might understand exactly why the private sector is not “doing fine” right now.) And by picking Ryan as his running mate, Romney has given the first real sign that—unlike Obama—he is a courageous leader who will not duck the challenges America faces.

The voters now face a stark choice. They can let Barack Obama’s rambling, solipsistic narrative continue until they find themselves living in some American version of Europe, with low growth, high unemployment, even higher debt—and real geopolitical decline.

Or they can opt for real change: the kind of change that will end four years of economic underperformance, stop the terrifying accumulation of debt, and reestablish a secure fiscal foundation for American national security.

I’ve said it before: it’s a choice between les États Unis and the Republic of the Battle Hymn.

I was a good loser four years ago. But this year, fired up by the rise of Ryan, I want badly to win.

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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His Latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, has just been published by Penguin Press.

This article is a complete ass-kicking of Obama.  Which is why the doctrinaire ideologue left immediately came so completely unglued by it.

A Week Obama Would Like To Forget Is A Week The American People Most Need To Remember Come Election Day

June 9, 2012

Let’s call it a crappy week for a turd president:

Obama’s week goes from bad to worse
By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times
Friday, June 8, 2012

When President Obama looks back on the past week, perhaps he’ll remember fondly the pies that first lady Michelle Obama purchased for him at a bakery in Virginia – because the rest of his week was a political nightmare.

Mr. Obama’s week to forget began with a disappointing report on the economy on Friday, June 1, showing that the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent in May, up from 8.1 percent in April.

It was hardly the kind of news to give Mr. Obama momentum heading into the final five months of his reelection campaign, and he seemed subdued as he spoke to supporters that night at what should have been a raucous campaign fundraiser in his hometown of Chicago.

“We’re not where we need to be,” Mr. Obama said in the mostly quiet ballroom, referring to the jobs report. “We’ve still got miles to go on this journey.”

The president did get to sleep in his own bed in Chicago that night, something he has yearned to do. And the next day, he went for a stroll in his old neighborhood (watched closely by Secret Service agents), another act of freedom for which he’s clamored.

From there, however, things went bad in a hurry.

After Mr. Obama campaigned with former President Bill Clinton Monday night in New York City, Mr. Clinton gave a TV interview Tuesday in which he supported extending temporarily the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans to help the economy.

That ran counter to the wishes of Mr. Obama, who wants taxes to increase for families earning more than $250,000 per year.

Republicans promptly called for Mr. Obama to follow Mr. Clinton’s advice.

After Team Obama reportedly made urgent calls to Team Clinton, the former president tried to clarify his comments. It would become a harbinger for Mr. Obama’s week.

Also on Tuesday, Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin won his recall election by a comfortable seven percentage points, dealing a harsh blow to Democrats and their union allies that invested heavily in get-out-the-vote efforts. The election was viewed by many as a tipping point in rolling back the political bond between public-employee unions and Democratic office-holders.

“Bad jobs numbers and the failed Wisconsin recall probably makes this president wish he could either sleep in late tomorrow or go back in time and get things right,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.

Some in the Democratic Party blamed Mr. Obama for staying out of the Wisconsin fight. About the only visible step the president took was to issue a “tweet” in support of the Democratic candidate on his personal Twitter account Monday night.

“It’s Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I’m standing by Tom Barrett. He’d make an outstanding governor,” the president tweeted, using the personal handle “bo.”

Commented Mickey Kraus at the Daily Caller, “He didn’t even use all 140 characters.” The blogger called the effort “wussy.”

Also on Tuesday, Mr. Obama lost a surrogate race in New Jersey to that pesky Clinton fellow. The president’s good friend and ally, Rep. Steve Rothman, lost his Democratic primary to Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell, who was endorsed by Mr. Clinton. Both House incumbents had been forced to run against each other by redistricting. Mr. Obama had made a show of inviting Mr. Rothman to the Oval Office on June 1 as a signal of his support, but to no avail.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama took a break from Washington by flying to California for a series of five fundraisers, including a gay-rights gala in Beverly Hills. But on Thursday, fundraising statistics released by both campaigns showed that GOP nominee Mitt Romney had surpassed Mr. Obama for the first time in May, out-raising the president’s campaign $76 million to $60 million.

“We got beat,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, although Democrats said they expected it to be a one-time blip due to Mr. Romney securing the nomination.

Mr. Obama capped off his inglorious week by holding a hastily called news conference at the White House on Friday. It turned out poorly for him.

During a discussion of the economy, Mr. Obama remarked that the “private sector’s doing fine.”

Within an hour, Mr. Romney and other GOP leaders were ridiculing the president for his comment and preparing campaign videos to exploit the gaffe.

“He’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people,” Mr. Romney said on the campaign trail, clearing delighting in the opportunity to fire back an accusation that the Obama campaign has used against the Republican.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, asked the president simply, “Are you kidding?”

By the end of the day, Mr. Obama was forced to clarify his comment, saying “it’s absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine.”

As he walked out of that press conference Friday, a reporter called out to Mr. Obama for his reaction to the Wisconsin recall election. The president kept walking.

But before he reached the door, another reporter shouted a final question, asking Mr. Obama if he’d enjoyed the pie that his wife had purchased for him.

The president turned back momentarily, smiled, and gave a thumbs-up.

I hope you don’t hate America enough to want to inflict four more years of this loser and his loser policies on this country.

P.S. I hope Obama enjoyed his pie as much as I enjoyed watching Wisconsin overwhelmingly reject his ideology last Tuesday.

Move Over Greece. Obama Taking America To Bankruptcy: U.S. Debt-To-GDP Now Exceeds 100 Percent While Obama Spends $2.52 To Get Us A Lousy Dollar

April 30, 2012

At the moment I accessed the U.S. national debt clock, our public debt was listed at $15,689,952 trillion (as of 3:33 pm PST, April 27).

The most current figure I could find for the U.S. GDP as expressed in dollars was $15,609,697 trillion (International Monetary Fund).

And … we’re officially Greece, thank you very much.  Because that gives us a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100.5% by my calculation based on those figures.

Tyler Durden has a slightly different figure (100.8%) which is clearly based on slightly different figures.  The numbers are exploding upward so damn fast no human being can keep track of them, anyway:

Big GDP Miss: 2.2% Vs Expectations Of 2.5%, Composition Even Uglier
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/27/2012 08:41 -0400

So much for the +3.0% GDP whisper number. Instead of printing at the expected number of +2.5%, the first preliminary GDP data point (two more revisions pending) came out at 2.2%, a big disappointment for a quarter which had a substantial boost from the weather. And while of the 2.2%, Personal Consumption came in strong – as expected, as it was precisely the factor most impacted by pulling in demand forward courtesy of “April in February”, 0.59% of the 2.2% was an increase in inventories, something which was not supposed to happen as it means that the quality of the economic growth in Q1 was far worse than expected. Cementing the ugly composition of Q1 GDP was fixed investment which added just a paltry 0.18% – this is the number which is critical for ongoing cashflow generation and unfortunately, the very low print means that growth outlook for Q2 is now even worse than before and we expect economists will promptly trim their already bearish predictions for Q2 GDP. Finally, government “consumption” subtracted just 0.6% from the total number, a decrease from the 0.84% in Q4, which means that once again the government is starting to become less of a detractor to growth – a dagger in the heart to anyone who claims there is “quality” in GDP growth. And the number you have all been waiting for: At March 31, US Debt/GDP was 100.8%.

Now, the fact that our debt-to-GDP ratio now exceeds 100 percent is bad, really, really bad.  But it’s actually an awful lot worse: because as this quarter’s economic report shows we are adding debt at such a massive level compared to our GDP that it isn’t even funny.

Durden also has a chart that shows just how vast is the Obamanomics discrepancy between massive government spending and meager GDP based on the numbers from the latest GDP report out April 27 (see it put into quick perspective here):

That’s right: the great big giant red bar is Obama’s spending.  The tiny little blue bar is our gross national product.  Obama is foolishly spending massively to give us next to nothing by way of return.

Let me describe this with a picture: the great big giant sumo wrestler is Obama’s spending and the debt it is generating; the little tiny kid is Obama’s economic performance:

Who do you think is going to win (I know liberals will say that Obama is lean and wiry and he’ll take the giant out with his lofty rhetoric)???

Obama is taking the American people $2.52 deeper into debt so he can boast about the dollar he “gained” for us.

And that super-massive 252 percent discrepancy between Obama’s spending and Obama’s GDP guarantees that America is on it’s way to a quick collapse.  You’ve simply got to be demon possessed to believe that this is sustainable (which is why I now understand that “Democrat Party” is shorthand for “Demonic Bureaucrat Party”).

Here’s another chart which essentially measures the rate of our spending that gets really, truly frightening when you consider its implications:

Remember how Obama viciously demonized George Bush over his debt ceiling increase?  Only to himself push through the three highest debt ceiling increases in the entire history of the human race?

What is frightening is that everybody agrees that Bush’s spending was insane.  If you put an angle measure up to that chart, you will see that the angle during the Bush presidency increases at a 50 degree slope.  Democrats demonized Bush for his spending and conservatives agreed that it was beyond crazy.  But now do the same thing to Obama’s spending: and Oh my God it is at 80 degrees.  Ninety degrees is straight up.  WE ARE ALMOST HEADING STRAIGHT UP to a very explosive ending followed by a very long descent into the fish food genre. 

The level and extent of Obama’s failure is simply staggering.  We are going to die.  And it’s going to be a very painful death at that.

And the only possible way to at least prolong that coming agony is to get this disgrace out of our damn White House.  Because next term he’s going to kill us.

If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would actually be kind of funny.  If this was Russia or China or Iran or North Korea, I would be laughing my ass of at these numbers.  But it’s us – and it is our enemies who are laughing their asses off at our expense.

Can’t Handle The Migraine From Reading The 165 Page CBO Report? Then Read This Nutshell Version.

February 4, 2012

This These New Times piece is simply excellent:

CBO Report: OMG!

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is out with its annual report. It’s a blockbuster. This 165 page monster is filled with dozens of charts, graphs and detailed projections. It will be talked about for weeks. The report provides a dismal outlook for the economy. There is one data point I’d like to focus on.

Here is the CBO forecast for real GDP for 2012 and 2013:

The 1.1% Real GDP number for 2013 surprised me. The CBO’s expectations are way under those of both the “Blue Chip” economists and the Federal Reserve:

What does it mean if the economy is going to slow, as CBO now thinks? Some consequences:

The CBO now forecasts Social Security to run into trouble in just a few years. This is a very substantial change in the outlook for SS. Changed fortunes make it a certain that America’s favorite entitlement program will be on the table for a significant re-vamp.

The CBO has answered two critical question:

1) In what year does SS first goes into deficit (including interest)?

2) What is the size of the SS Trust Fund when #1 has been achieved?

Key data is here:

Using this information, we can estimate the Trust Funds (TF) balances over time, and compare them to what SS forecast in its report to Congress ten-months ago:

 
SSTF’s “Intermediate” (Base) case:
 

The bottom line is that the SSTF is going to top out three years ahead of “schedule” and be $800B shy of what it was “supposed” to be.

I think the CBO report has created a big headache for a good number of folks in D.C. Most of them are running for office this year. They certainly won’t be able to wave the CBO report as a measure of how well they are doing.

 

You can get an even more concise synopsis from my article here.

Experts Point Out 2011 Ended In Empty Hype That Economy Will Pay For In 2012

January 31, 2012

Has the economy turned around?

Don’t bet on it (and note that this is MSNBC, not Fox News):

Unsold goods weigh on future economic growth
By John W. Schoen, Senior Producer

The U.S. economy perked up late last year as hiring accelerated and factories ramped up production. Unfortunately, a lot of what those factories made is still sitting in warehouses and on store shelves.

That doesn’t bode well for growth in the coming months.

At first blush, the numbers posted by the Commerce Department for gross domestic product in the last three months of 2011 looked strong. Overall growth advanced by 2.8 percent on an annual basis, a little weaker than economists had expected based on a series of other positive economic reports. That was much better than the 1.8 percent pace in the third quarter and the best showing since the second quarter of 2010.

But much of the fourth quarter growth came from businesses restocking inventories, which swelled by $56.0 billion, adding nearly 2 percentage points to GDP growth. The so-called ”final sales” number, which tracks how much was actually sold, rose a meager 0.8 percent.

“The pickup in GDP growth doesn’t look half as good when you realize that most of it was due to inventory accumulation,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “Despite the apparent improvement in some of the incoming economic data, it still looks like … another disappointing year.”

Ashworth is among a number of private economists who see the fourth quarter growth spurt easing this year. He expects to see U.S. GDP advance by just 1.5 percent in 2012.

Federal Reserve officials echoed that prediction this week, though they’re a bit more optimistic. The central bank is looking for growth of 2.7 percent in 2012, but the latest forecast was trimmed by two-tenths of a percentage point. The Fed expects unemployment to drop as low as 8.2 percent by the end of the year.

Vote: Will the economy continue to accelerate?

The lowered growth forecast prompted central bankers to extend their pledge to keep interest rates at or near zero for another year; they now expect to hold rates at rock bottom until at least 2014 to try to encourage businesses and consumers to borrow and spend more money.

Business investment slowed sharply in the fourth quarter after heavy spending earlier last year.

Consumers continued to do their part; consumer spending grew at a 2 percent annual rate, up a bit from the third quarter. Car sales zoomed ahead as the average age of the cars and light trucks on the road hit record levels. The replacement of those worn-out vehicles helped boost car sales by 14.8 percent.

Consumers are feeling a bit better about the outlook for the economy. A separate report Friday showed the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index edging up for the fourth straight month. But the level of confidence remains weak.

“Despite the rise, this and other confidence measures remain in recession territory due to global sovereign debt fear, Congressional dysfunction, and high food and energy prices,” said economist Mike Englund at Action Economics

Consumers have also fallen back on car loans and credit cards to maintain their spending. Consumer borrowing jumped by $20.4 billion in November, the Federal Reserve said Monday. That was the third straight increase and the largest monthly gain in a decade. Consumers have boosted borrowing in 13 of the past 14 months.

The gradual improvement in the job market may explain some of the rise in borrowing. But many households are also leaning harder on debt because their wages are rising as fast as the price of the goods and services they need to buy.

A breakdown of the fourth quarter GDP numbers, with Mark Olson, Treliant Risk Advisors co-chairman/former Fed governor; CNBC’s Steve Liesman & Rick Santelli

Personal incomes rose at an 0.8 percent annual rate, according to Friday’s GDP report, after falling for the last two quarters. Consumer prices are climbing at an annual rate of 3 percent, according to the latest government data.

Much of that spending appears to represent people buying goods, not services. That’s a sign that households are sticking to necessities, according to Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.

“The clearest sign that households remain cautious was in services spending,” he said. “This is the largest component of consumer demand and it fairly budged. People are not yet comfortable buying the little luxuries in life.”

With consumers tapped out and cautious, the economy faces other headwinds in the coming year. The housing industry remains stuck in the worst recession since the 1930s. A separate report Friday showed that the pace of new home sales fell in December, making 2011 the worst sales year since the Commerce Department first began collecting the data in 1963. Sales in December fell to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000 – less than half the 700,000 that economists say represents a healthy pace.

Slack sales have forced builders to slash prices, which has kept many would-be buyers on the fence until they see signs that the market has bottomed. The median sales prices for new homes dropped in December by 2.5 percent to $210,300.

Though ultra-low mortgage rates have made home buying more affordable than it has been in decades, mortgage bankers remain very choosy about to whom they’ll lend. Some 12 million potential “move-up” buyers are stuck with mortgages that are bigger than their homes are worth.

Growth in the fourth quarter was also held back by big cuts in government spending, which lopped 0.9 percent from fourth-quarter GDP. That belt-tightening will likely continue.

Why did we have all of this extra manufacturing?  For the same reason that Charlie Brown tried to kick the football again: somebody (in this case the mainstream media) lied to them and told them everything was looking just peachy when it really wasn’t.

We saw the same exact thing happen last year: the media assured us that happy times were here again (because the same media that unceasingly demonizes the economy in any Republican administration unceasingly exalts it in any Democrat one) in the 4th quarter of 2010.  And then suddenly it wasn’t the Holiday Season anymore and things went back to sucking.

Let’s look at a couple of facts a little more closely, beginning with the fact that as Obama begins his fourth year, the housing market that collapsed in 2008 to kill the economy is WORSE than it HAS EVER BEEN:

New home purchases fall, making 2011 worst year ever for sales
Associated Press
Thursday, January 26th 2012, 12:11 PM

Fewer people bought new homes in December. The decline made 2011 the worst year for new-homes sales on records dating back nearly half a century.
 
The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell 2.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.
 
About 302,000 new homes were sold last year. That’s less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making last year’s sales the worst on records dating back to 1963. And it coincides with a report last week that said 2011 was the weakest year for single-family home construction on record.
 
The median sales prices for new homes dropped in December to $210,300. Builders continued to slash price to stay competitive in the depressed market.

And what about 2012?

Housing Prices Will Bottom in 2012: Freddie Mac
By Shanthi Bharatwaj 12/14/11 – 04:33 PM EST

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Housing prices are likely to move lower and bottom out in 2012 with modest appreciation likely in 2013, Freddie Mac(FMCC.OB) Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in his outlook on Wednesday.

The Freddie Mac Housing Price Index is forecast to dip by 1% in 2012, marking the sixth consecutive year of declines. The index is expected to move higher by 2% in 2013.
 
The economist said in his report that national indexes masked sizable variation in local house-price performance. “Some markets have appreciated over the past year and are likely to gain further in 2012, while those markets with higher vacancy rates and relatively large distressed sales will continue to see downward price pressure over the next year.”

Anybody who says Obama “fixed” the economy is a liar or an idiot or a lying idiot.  Because it was the housing bubble’s bursting that blew up the economy in 2008 – and the man hasn’t done a damn thing to fix it.

As for inflation, Obama has been like a curse from an angry old gypsy lady who pointed a finger at us and said, “You will vote for a fool to eat your wealth like a cancer!”

Food prices have skyrocketed. 

Fuel prices have skyrocketed.

Another “worst”: Gasoline prices were the worst over the year 2011 of any year IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

The Obama economic record is a very ugly thing indeed:

And as I have previously pointed out:

Barack Obama is destroying the middle class before our very eyes even as he incessantly claims to be the one standing up for the very middle class that he is destroying.

Under Obama, poverty has soared to its highest rate EVER in the entire 52 years that the Census Bureau has tracked it.

Under Obama, the misery index is at its highest rate EVER.

85% of the small business America depends on to create jobs and build the economy are terrified of Obama and his idiotic policies.

Obama’s reverend and spiritual mentor prophetically anticipated an Obama presidency when he screamed:

“No, no, no!  NOT God bless America!  God DAMN America!”

Hopefully you’ve had your fill of God damn America.

Tracking Image

Communist Party USA Says ‘Thanks, Comrade Obama!’

August 5, 2011

Lest we ever forget who Obama truly is, and who the people who root for him truly are:

“Obama got the ball rolling,” the communists joyfully told us.

Mind you, it turned out to be a WRECKING BALL.

This becomes another opportunity to point out the same thing I’ve pointed out before.  When Karl Marx stated the central thesis of communism, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his means,” I pointed out that he would make a hell of a great Democrat today.

I’m posting the article just to point out THAT THIS SAME ARTICLE COULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY A DEMOCRAT OR A MAINSTREAM MEDIA ‘JOURNALIST’.  Only it was written by the same exact thing going by a different label: a communist.

Obama State of the Union: He got the ball rolling

In some ways last night’s State of the Union address by President Obama was a virtuoso performance. There were stirring moments, memorable turns of phrase, humor, a defense of activist government, and proposals that will be welcomed, and surely help, millions of people in need.
 
With the scent of Massachusetts still in the air, the president reasserted his reform agenda and took the fight to the party of obstruction. In polite, nuanced but forceful terms, he chastised the Republican Party.
 
In powerful oratory, he challenged some of the main ideological talking points of right-wing extremism, reminded everyone that he inherited record deficits and an unprecedented economic mess, and defended the stimulus bill and other recovery measures, including, and unfortunately the unconditional bank bailouts.
 
One of the high points of the evening was when the president called out the right-wing (and maybe worse) dominated Supreme Court whose members were sitting directly in front of him for their recent decision saying it’s OK for corporations to throw money into the election process.
 
One of the low points was his defense of the escalation of troops in Afghanistan and his threatening tone toward Iran and other “adversaries.”
 
Overall, I’d say that if the leaders of the “Party of No” came into the legislative chamber last night with wind in their sails, they left with their sails trimmed and a dour look on their faces. The evening for them turned out to be a “bummer.”
 
They had hoped to hear President Obama repeat what President Clinton said in his State of the Union address in 1994: “The era of big government is over.” But the president disappointed them.
 
While the broad people’s coalition that elected him will not, I’m sure, be entirely happy with the president’s speech, all signs are that his fighting tone (“I will not quit”), his focus on the economy, his defense of democratic rights (civil, labor, women, immigrant, gay and lesbian), his insistence on financial reform, and his policy initiatives outlined in the speech, including a health care bill, will reenergize this coalition, which, as of late, has been understandably dismayed by the pace and depth of change.
 
But this new energy will quickly dissipate if the White House and congressional Democrats go back to ignoring the rumbling from below and bending over backwards to satisfy Republicans and conservatives in their own party.
 
Working people expect them to draw a line in the sand, show more partisanship, push the legislative process, and tenaciously fight for the American people. If the Republicans obstruct and filibuster so be it. At least everybody will know who is blocking legislative measures that would ease the economic crisis when they go to the polls this fall.
 
But as good as many parts of Obama’s speech were, it didn’t fully rise in substantive terms to the challenges of our times and this era. The president could have knocked the ball out of the ballpark, but he settled for less. He had a chance to make the case for deep-going political, economic and social reform, including radical reform, but he came up short of that.
 
His speech didn’t have the programmatic depth that is objectively necessary at this moment. It took us an important step closer to solving the awful economic mess and relieving the human toll that comes with it, but only a step.
 
Politics is an art as well as a science. And part of that art includes knowing when to advance and when to retreat. Last night President Obama didn’t retreat, but he didn’t advance the people’s agenda to the degree that was possible and necessary. He roused the nation, but he didn’t hit the high note.
 
We would probably have to go back to Franklin Roosevelt to find a president who has the trust of our nation’s multi-racial, multi-national, male-female, young and old working class as President Obama does.
 
But the people’s trust has to be constantly renewed – and on the basis of practical performance, on the basis of systematically fighting for the crying needs of the American people. This president can be a transformative leader (he has that potential in my view), but only if he embraces and fights for a transformative agenda.
 
That agenda in a full-blown sense has yet to be articulated by him. If President Obama and the Democrats want to hail the private sector as the engine of growth, I wouldn’t quibble too much as long as they recognize that the private sector at this moment (big or small business) isn’t generating jobs and probably won’t for a long time. In these circumstances, only direct and indirect government intervention in the form of a massive public works jobs program, infrastructure repair and renewal, aid for state and local governments, and special measures for the hardest hit communities, and especially communities of racial minorities and immigrants, stands a chance of lowering unemployment in any kind of meaningful way.
 
In other words, the economy still has to be re-inflated and restructured along democratic, sustainable, nonmilitary, and worker-friendly lines, but the likelihood of the private sector doing that is zero. To a degree, the president is moving in this direction, but the pace and nature of the economic reforms that he prescribes is far too limited for the scope and depth of this crisis.
 
One of the serious missteps that he made last night was his call for a freeze on domestic discretionary spending, beginning in 2011. Hopefully the freeze is only a political calculation to ward off the Republican wolves who accuse him of being a “spend and tax” liberal. But in any case, it comes with a price insofar as it entrenches in the public mind that deficit spending is inherently bad and that our budgetary woes are caused by “handouts” to the poor and vulnerable, especially people of color and immigrants – not to mention aid to developing countries.
 
This is an unmitigated falsehood that ruptures our sense of social solidarity, of connectedness to every other human being. The truth of the matter is that the current budget deficit, as the president said, began during the Bush years as a result of two wars of aggression, mammoth tax breaks to the top income tier, and a bulging military budget.
 
Fiscal discipline and balanced budgeting are not an article of faith that has to be adhered to no matter what the circumstances. If that were the case, the U.S. and world economy could easily have tumbled into a full-blown depression last year. Capitalism isn’t a self-correcting system. Market failure and crisis are as much a reality as sustained economic growth. Vicious and reinforcing contractions of the economy can easily leave an economy stagnating at a far from optimum level or in complete ruin unless they are counteracted by aggressive government action and spending measures. The stimulus and anti-crisis measures of the Obama administration acted as a tourniquet; it stopped the hemorrhaging.
 
But it didn’t heal the wound.
 
If the president looks to the Depression years he will see more than one Roosevelt. There was the Roosevelt of 1934-1936 and the Roosevelt of 1937. The 1934-1936 Roosevelt had hit a wall as far as his reform efforts were concerned and he was faced with a moment of decision as to how to proceed – should he stay the course, retreat, or enlarge his vision. He chose the latter and thus the New Deal.
 
Or Obama could look to the 1937 incarnation of Roosevelt who, when seeing a surge of economic activity, decided to cut back on spending and balance the budget, which, as it turned out, was exactly the wrong medicine for an economy in its early stages of recovery.
 
From President Obama’s speech it seems like he hasn’t definitively decided which Roosevelt he will emulate, although I believe he leans toward the 1934-1936 Roosevelt. Which is what we need. Admittedly a bold anti-right, anti-corporate course of action won’t be easy. The opponents are many and powerful. Resist they will.
 
Thus to level and tilt the playing field in a progressive/radical direction, the president has to be joined, prodded, and where necessary differed with by the labor-led coalition that elected him. So far it hasn’t carried its share of the load; it is not even strong and united enough to enact even the program that the president outlined last night – let alone win more fundamental reforms. Too many of us have been content to watch, offer opinions, criticize, express our frustrations, and feel disappointed in the president.
 
But aren’t we part of the problem too, indeed a big part? An era of reform – and especially radical reforms – combines popular, sustained, and united action from below with new political openings from above. Both are necessary.
 
Last night the president got the ball rolling, but he didn’t roll it far enough or always in the right direction. So now it’s our turn to get a lot more players involved, roll the ball further and roll in the direction of economic security, equality, democracy and peace.

The only real difference between Democrats and communists is that communists are at least honest about the fact that they are communists.

I recall posting a story in which the former communist newspaper Pravda – having come through the collapse of their country caused BY communism – wrote a piece blasting Obama’s America for heading down the same disastrous path.  That was in 2009.

And here we are, two years later, and U.S. borrowing just surpassed 100% of our entire GDP, and manufacturers are doing anything BUT manufacture, which is balanced by the fact that the services industry is similarly tanking, layoffs are at a 16-month high, housing is now WORSE THAN the Great Depression and consumers are terrified to buy anything.  And we’re pretty much screwed with Obama as our tyrant emperor.

And of course the writers of Pravda saw it coming because they’d had to live through the time when their communists were sending their country to hell.

YES WE CAN (implode just like the U.S.S.R.)!!!

Tipping Point Crossed: US Borrowing Exceeds 100% Of Entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product

August 4, 2011

The United States of America probably just passed a point of no return.

We now officially owe more than the entire annual output of 307 million Americans.

US borrowing tops 100% of GDP: Treasury
AFP – 8/3/2011

US debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100 percent of gross domestic project after the government’s debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday.
 
Treasury borrowing jumped Tuesday, the data showed, immediately after President Barack Obama signed into law an increase in the debt ceiling as the country’s spending commitments reached a breaking point and it threatened to default on its debt.
 
The new borrowing took total public debt to $14.58 trillion, over end-2010 GDP of $14.53 trillion, and putting it in a league with highly indebted countries like Italy and Belgium.
 
Public debt subject to the official debt limit — a slightly tighter definition — was $14.53 trillion as of the end of Tuesday, rising from the previous official cap of $14.29 trillion a day earlier.
 
Treasury had used extraordinary measures to hold under the $14.29 trillion cap since reaching it on May 16, while politicians battled over it and over addressing the country’s bloating deficit.
 
The official limit was hiked $400 billion on Tuesday and will be increased in stages over the next 18 months.
 
The last time US debt topped the size of its annual economy was in 1947 just after World War II. By 1981 it had fallen to 32.5 percent.
 
Ratings agencies have warned the country to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio quickly or facing losing its coveted AAA debt rating.
 
Moody’s said Tuesday that the government needed to stabilize the ratio at 73 percent by 2015 “to ensure that the long-run fiscal trajectory remains compatible with a AAA rating.”

And that’s really not the one-fourteenth of it.

America doesn’t owe $14.5 trillion; it owes more like $200 trillion:

News from globeandmail.com
The scary real U.S. government debt
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
NEIL REYNOLDS

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion – 840 per cent of current GDP. “Let’s get real,” Prof. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”

Writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, Prof. Kotlikoff says the IMF itself has quietly confirmed that the U.S. is in terrible fiscal trouble – far worse than the Washington-based lender of last resort has previously acknowledged. “The U.S. fiscal gap is huge,” the IMF asserted in a June report. “Closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 per cent of U.S. GDP.”

This sum is equal to all current U.S. federal taxes combined. The consequences of the IMF’s fiscal fix, a doubling of federal taxes in perpetuity, would be appalling – and possibly worse than appalling.

Prof. Kotlikoff says: “The IMF is saying that, to close this fiscal gap [by taxation], would require an immediate and permanent doubling of our personal income taxes, our corporate taxes and all other federal taxes.

“America’s fiscal gap is enormous – so massive that closing it appears impossible without immediate and radical reforms to its health care, tax and Social Security systems – as well as military and other discretionary spending cuts.”

[...]

At this point, it is really only a matter of time before this most selfish, depraved and vile of all generations that elected the most evil president in its nations history collapses on top of its children.

Republicans most certainly did try – and will continue to try – to keep this nation from slitting its collectivist throat and collapsing.  But the demonic Democrat Party demonized them at every turn, and the demonization takes its toll.  The American people don’t support doing the right thing, the necessary thing.  They have stage four soul cancer and they want cotton candy rather than chemotherapy.

The Democrat Party is the party of destruction.  We are less than five years away from Medicare going bankrupt.  But what do they do?  They demonize any attempt to save the system, and essentially demand that the system collapse so that it can help no one.  And they do that because they know that the people are too stupid to know the truth and too depraved to have any desire of bothering to want to find out.  Republicans propose solutions; democrats lie and fearmonger and demonize Republicans, and stupid and depraved people believe the poisonous propaganda.

And then Republicans buckle and cave.

And this has happened over and over again while America races along on the fast track to suicide and hell.

One of the facts that has been pointed out many times is that America is not in Bible prophecy.  I used to wonder why.  Now I know the answer: because America won’t exist in a very short time.  Demonic liberals will collapse this nation – in a process that started with FDR’s incredibly lethal and incredibly infectious policies – and there will be no United States of America to BE in the last days.  There will only be an insignificant banana republic – which will exist as the laughingstock of the world – where America used to be.

Democrats couldn’t care less if America isn’t in Bible prophecy because they neither honor God or His Word (see my response to Obama’s mocking and distortion of the Word of God here, fwiw).  And as a result of Democrat ignorance and hatred of the Bible, we are even now contributing significantly to the coming of the Antichrist and the last days that we ourselves won’t survive to witness.  Liberals have been attacking our Christian foundations for over one hundred years in their effort to impose their utopian socialist schemes and we are losing our liberty at a frenetic pace as a result. Without the self-evident truth and its corresponding God-given rights that the left long ago rejected, all we have is the tyranny of powerful elites who become self-appointed dictators who get to decide what’s true and what is politically incorrect, who wins and who loses and who is allowed to be free.  Not only has the socialism that the American left embraces failed every single time it has every been tried everywhere on the planet, but in most cases it has led to an unparalleled crushing of the human spirit.

The tragedy is that the disaster that will surely soon overtake America will have been the most foreseeable and the most preventable one to ever overtake a civilization in the history of the human race.  Anyone with a mind, a memory and a conscience can see what is about to happen; but in the future, just as there was in 2008, there will be enough depraved Americans to tip the scale for the sweet-sounding policies that will result in America’s decline, destruction and death.

This is God damn America.  And God damn America deserves to die, and die it surely will.

We might be able to shrug off the cancer of liberalism for a short time and prolong the life of our nation.  But liberalism is a cancer of the soul, and ultimately the cancer of liberalism will kill America.

And the line that we just crossed as a nation with barely so much as a “ho-hum” is a disastrous line to cross, indeed.

Audacity Of Indifference: Obama Believes American People Too Ignorant, Selfish To Understand Truth About His Path To Economic Disaster

July 9, 2011

The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Obama top political advisor David Plouffe said.

That’s good for Obama, given that Obama promised the American people that if his $3.27 TRILLION stimulus porker was passed, unemployment would go down to 7.1% by now, and instead it just rose to 9.2%.

Plouffe’s comment was brought up to White House press secretary Jay Carney, who had even more to say about just how profoundly stupid Obama believes the American people are:

Earlier this week David Plouffe, one of Obama’s senior advisers and an architect of his 2008 campaign, was panned for saying “the average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers.”

In a condescending way, White House press secretary Jay Carney basically told the press corps  the same thing. Carney told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that Americans talk to each other about their feelings of the economic situation rather than “analyze the numbers.”

“I don’t know where, you know, the voters that some other folks might be talking to — but — or — but most people do not sit around their kitchen table and analyze GDP and unemployment numbers,” Carney said. “They do not sit around analyzing The Wall Street Journal or other — or Bloomberg to look at the — you know, analyze the numbers.”

It’s too darn bad we don’t know how to read, analyze or think, or we’d know what a total abject failure Jay Carney’s boss truly is.  If we could just learn to read or count, we’d fix Barry Hussein good in 2012.

Carney began this dissertation on the ignorance of the American people by first saying,

“Well, I understand that we’re engaged in the – or rather, the Republicans are engaged in a primary campaign, trying to get some media attention.”

As though that should somehow insulate Obama to whatever they say (we know that Obama has NEVER campaigned, and transcends politics the way the gods transcend humanity, after all).

I came across someone who did a good chunk of the assessment of Obama’s latest job figures and the reality of the pain that increasing numbers of Americans feel as a result of Obama’s economy for me:

You’re a just bunch of dullards who don’t care about unemployment, or the deplorable state of the U.S. economy, or the out of control spending by a socialist kleptocracy.

Here’s the numbers:

The GDP is the measure of a country’s output at any given time. The nation’s $14 trillion+ debt now equals the TOTAL  U.S. GDP, and exceeds the world’s economic output.

The official unemployment estimate is 9.2%, but when you figure in all of the people who simply stopped looking for work or have run out of unemployment benefits that percentage increases.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, now stands at 16.2%.

I analyze Obama’s abject, deliberate destruction of America’s economy, every day.    Jobs, along with businesses are leaving America thanks to the idiotic regulations, high taxes, the trade deficit, government spending, and unions that price their people and jobs right out of the country.  Tens of thousands of jobs have moved to communist China, which means we’re propping up an enemy of the United States with capitalist dollars.

But the American people are too damn stupid to understand all of that.  How can the ignorant dirty masses possibly understand?  It is better that Obama TELL THEM what to think, is it not?  And no one should listen to Republicans, after all; they’re campaigning, you know.  And Obama would never do anything so crass as that.

Still, Carney’s hand-waving dismissal of the Republicans’ points make it somewhat interesting to find out what those points actually ARE:

Tim Pawlenty pointed out that Obama is “dangerously detached.”  That whole “I feel your pain” thing is simply absent from Obama.  He stands far too far above us to feel or understand our mortal pain.  Our duty is to worship our messiah and have faith in him and in his Marxist ideology come what may.

But Mitt Romney probably most hit the nail on the head:

“Today’s abysmal jobs report confirms what we all know – that President Obama has failed to get this economy moving again. Just this week, President Obama’s closest White House adviser said that ‘unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers’ do not matter to the average American.

“If David Plouffe were working for me, I would fire him and then he could experience firsthand the pain of unemployment. His comments are an insult to the more than 20 million people who are out of work, underemployed or who have simply stopped looking for jobs. With their cavalier attitude about the economy, the White House has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of indifference.”

That opens the door to another thing Obama assumes you are: too selfish to care about other people.

If you have a job, or are getting your welfare check from the government that the government has redistributed from someone who IS lucky enough to have a job, you clearly don’t give a damn about how much millions of Americans are suffering.  That was at the heart of both David Plouffe’s and Jay Carney’s point.  Let me provide the full David Plouffe (did I mention he’s Obama’s TOP political advisor?) statement:

“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Mr. Plouffe said. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate; they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’

That’s right: if I’m doing okay, or at least if my family’s getting enough of the welfare pie, screw America.  Who gives a damn if everybody’s out of work?  I’m a DEMOCRAT; I’m getting MINE.  Barry Hussein took somebody else’s money and gave it to me so I’d vote for him.  Screw America, screw the American people and screw the unemployment rate.

Amity Schlaes made a good point about the Great Depression in her book The Forgotten Man: “The Great Depression wasn’t that bad if you had a job.”  And that was true; particularly if you didn’t give a damn how much other people were suffering as a result of FDR’s terribly failed and immoral policies that kept America suffering for seven full years longer than was necessary.

Obama assumes that a majority of American voters are as selfish and self-centered as he himself has proven to be in his personal life before running for president.  Did you know, for instance, this about Barack Obama?

Prior to his run for President, Barack and Michelle Obama were in the top 2% of income earners, but actually gave less than the average American in charitable giving.

Obama gave .4% of his income.  In spite of being rich, and being in the top richest 2% of Americans, Obama gave only $1,050 to charity.  When the average American household (that’s mostly us in the bottom 98%) gave $1,872, which was 2.2% of their incomes.

For the record, Barack Obama was 450% more selfish, more stingy, more greedy and more self-centered than the average American.  Even though the average American had nowhere NEAR Obama’s wealth.  And that is a documented fact.  And let’s also consider how much Michelle Obama earned by receiving lavish political patronage because of her husband’s career.

And then you find that as cheap and chintzy and stingy and selfish as the redistribution of wealth president (a.k.a. Barry Hussein) was before he decided to run for president, his vice president was even STINGIER.  Because Joe Biden gave less than one-eighth of one percent of his wealth to charity.

And, of course, Democrats who lecture us on “paying our fair share” while they either welch on their debts, refuse to contribute to charity, cheat on their taxes, or all damn three are a dime a dozen.  Let’s have a few prominent examples: Bill and Hillary Clinton, who have largely welched on Hillary’s campaign debts.  There’s Charlie Rangel, the man who chaired the committee that wrote the tax laws while not bothering to pay his own damn taxes.  There’s “Turbo Tax” Timothy Geithner, the man in charge of the Treasury and I.R.S. who didn’t bother to pay his own taxes.  There’s former Democrat candidate for president John Kerry, a millionaire, who tried to wriggle away like the worm he is from paying the taxes he should have paid on his yacht.  There’s Kerry’s wife and fellow Democrat Teresa Heinz-Kerry, who in spite of inheriting the Heinz fortune actually pays less in taxes than the median American family.  And then there’s a bunch of more garden variety cockroach Democrats such as Eric Holder, Tom Daschle, Bill Richardson, and Claire McCaskill.  And the vile putrid bunch of Democrats running Bell, California.

And let me throw in “San Fran Nan” Nancy Pelosi into the mix.  Here’s an already filthy rich woman who increased her wealth by 62% last year while millions of Americans are suffering.  She’d certainly be one who would say, “Screw America, screw the American people and screw the unemployment rate; I’m getting MINE.

These are the hypocrite vermin who constantly lecture us about how “the rich should pay their fair share.”  And these slime certainly should.  But of course, while they screech the Marxist screed of class warfare, they know that they’ve written the tax laws to benefit themselves and their supporters – to the extent they even bother to follow those tax laws that they demand everybody else follow to begin with.

“The audacity of indifference.”

Barack Obama and the Democrat Party don’t care if millions of Americans are out of work and suffering as the result of their policies.  All they frankly cynically care about is whether they can exploit that suffering to their own political advantage.  And whether the American people are ignorant enough and selfish enough to fall for their lies.


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