Posts Tagged ‘economists’

Recession Ended In June 2009? Really? Then What The #*$% Do You Call This?

September 21, 2010

Did you hear?  Happy Times have been here again since June 2009.  And don’t check outside your window to find out that the sun smiles down; listen to the “experts”:

It’s official: The Great Recession ended last summer
By Neil Irwin

The Great Recession is officially over — and has been for more than a year.

The panel of economists that is the widely accepted arbiter of business cycles has called an end to what is now officially the longest U.S. economic downturn of the post-World War II era. The recession ended in June 2009, 18 months after it began in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research’s business cycle dating committee.

Yes I see all the qualifiers that the economists hastened to add to say that things aint rosy.

But I also can’t help but notice how convenient the proclamation was: just in time for the post-labor day political silly season, when people finally begin to listen to the campaign rhetoric.

It’s almost as if … No.  Couldn’t be.  No way a panel of economists would ever allow themselves to be useful idiots for big government liberalism.

On the other hand, Thomas Sowell DOES point out that the liberal intelligentsia have pretty much always been useful idiots for big government leftist ideologies in the past:

“George Orwell said that some ideas are so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them, for no ordinary man could be such a fool. The record of twentieth century intellectuals was especially appalling in this regard. Scarcely a mass-murdering dictator of the twentieth century was without his intellectual supporters, not simply in his own country, but also in foreign democracies, where people were free to say whatever they wished.  Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler all had their admirers, defenders, and apologists among the intelligentsia in Western democratic nations, despite the fact that these dictators ended up killing people of their own country on a scale unprecedented even by despotic regimes that preceded them” – Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, p. 2.

In any event, I recently compiled a list of crises that were gripping the country during the period that Obama was gripping a golf club a few weeks back:

I want you to go back over that list and see how many of these disasters are basically under the banner of “worst since …”  And that many of these go back several decades.

Does that make it sound like we went through the rough patch and come out the other side?  When less than a month ago we saw the jobless numbers at their highest in 9 months, pre-owned homes sales sink to their lowest level in 15 years, new home sales sink to their lowest level since 1963, durable goods orders sink to their lowest level in 1 1/2 years, the federal deficit soaring to its highest level in 65 years, the trade gap rising to its widest margin in 26 years, and so on?

How about this description of Obama’s economic legacy: the highest poverty rate increase in FIFTY YEARS just reported????

Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
HOPE YEN and LIZ SIDOTI | 09/11/10

WASHINGTON — The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

Now, you see all those other terrible numbers and you think, “And the eggheads say we’re out of recession now?”

Even DEMOCRATS don’t believe this load of giant load of junk:

Disappointed Supporters Question Obama
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: September 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — It was billed as “Investing In America,” a live televised conversation between President Obama and American workers, students, business people and retirees on the state of the economy, a kind of Wall Street to Main Street reality check.

But it sounded like a therapy session for disillusioned Obama supporters.

In question after question in Monday’s one-hour session, which took place at the Newseum here and was televised on CNBC, Mr. Obama was confronted by people who said, in short, that they had expected more from him. People from Main Street wanted to know if the American dream still lived for them. People from Wall Street complained that he was treating them like a piñata, “whacking us with the stick,” in the words of a former law school classmate of Mr. Obama’s who now runs a hedge fund.

“I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for,” said the first questioner, an African-American woman who identified herself as a chief financial officer, a mother and a military veteran. “I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class, and I’m waiting, sir, I’m waiting. I still don’t feel it yet.”

The jokes on you, fools.  You voted for demagogic rhetoric and empty promises of “hope” and “change.”

And you got precisely what you voted for; the worst failure in American history.

Obama’s response to the woman was his typical load of demagogic garbage that the Republicans only care about their own power, whereas Obama is transcendentally hovering above politics, only caring about the people.  Even though Obama was there in the first place for a political campaign event.

The elite liberal government class will, of course, continue to assure us that Obama’s economy is somehow proceeding exactly according to plan.  But when these people tell you “Good morning,” you’d darned well better check outside:

Because these eggheads aren’t telling you the truth.

Obama Leads U.S. To Largest Tax Month Deficit EVER RECORDED

May 14, 2010

It sounds pretty bad:

Federal budget deficit hits April record
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger, Ap Economics Writer   – Wed May 12, 6:40 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The federal budget deficit hit an all-time high for April as the government kept spending to aid the recovery while revenue fell sharply.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday the April deficit soared to $82.7 billion. That was significantly higher than last year’s April deficit of $20 billion and the largest imbalance for that month on record.

The government normally runs surpluses in April as millions of taxpayers file their income tax returns. However, income tax payments were down this April, reflecting the impact of the recession which has pushed millions of people out of work.

Total revenues for April were down 7.9 percent from a year ago.

The Obama administration forecast in February that the deficit for this year will hit an all-time high of $1.56 trillion, surpassing the current record $1.4 trillion set last year. Many private economists believe this year’s imbalance will be closer to last year’s figure and that deficits will remain high for years to come.

But as bad as that sounds, it’s actually EVEN WORSETwice as “worse,” in fact:

You have to love it….

U.S. posts record $82.69 billion deficit in April, 19th straight month of budget shortfalls – Reuters

Nonsense.

Here’s the REAL table of numbers from Treasury itself, including the theft from the FICA and Medicare accounts: (click for the larger copy)

If I did accounting like this I’d go to prison.

$82 billion my butt.  The real number is $175.6 billion, more than double the reported amount, and the cumulative year-to-date (calendar years) is $637.4 billion, or a run rate (annualized) of $1.912 trillion.

If you’re wondering why the “stock market” has been generally supported (even though it’s not up much from the first of the year) this is the reason – the government is spending roughly 13% of GDP beyond what it collects in taxes!

Oh, and April is “tax month” too, which means that those who owe have to settle up in April.  Of course those who get refunds…..

Don’t believe the reported numbers – as horrific as they are – for a second.

They’re more than twice as bad as are being reported.

Let’s see.  From a deficit of $20 billion last year to $175.6 billion this year.

Well, when unemployment spiked to 9.9% and the U-6 unemployment rate increased to 17.1% this month, Obama said it was “very encouraging.” So I guess this must actually be really good news, too.

Or not.  By which I mean, or not.

Unemployment is going to be sky-high throughout Obama’s failed presidency.  And that even according to the Obama administration’s own numbers.

We’re spending 13% more than we collect in taxes.  And it’s going to get worse and worse and worse.  Greece is just around the corner for us – and being Greece is not a good thing (and please notice that when the fit hits the shan, it’s going to be the political left that creates chaos and foments revolt).

Obama Stimulus Is Reason Why Our Unemployment So Much Higher Than Others

May 3, 2010

The Obama stimulus was one of the greatest political disasters in American history.  It’s not enough to say it did nothing; it did WORSE than nothing.  And it is going to be like an anvil weighing down our economy for years and years to come as we struggle to pay back what will ultimately be $3.27 TRILLION.

Updated April 28, 2010
Why Our Unemployment Rate Is So Much Higher Than Others
By John Lott
FOXNews.com

Compared to Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Brazil, Americans have real reasons to be dissatisfied with President Obama’s policies.

As President Obama travels today to Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, he will try to convince voters that his economic policies are creating jobs. But a year after Obama claimed that the stimulus had started creating jobs, it is not just the general public that believes that the stimulus was a waste of money, so do the experts. This week a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics found that 73 percent of business economists believe that the stimulus “has had no impact on employment.”

Many will point out that the unemployment rate has soared well above what the Obama administration predicted would occur if the stimulus were enacted. On Feb. 28, 2009, Eleven days after the stimulus bill signed into law, the White House predicted that the national unemployment rate would average 8.1 percent in 2009 and then decline to an average of 7.9 percent in 2010. Clearly things got much worse than the administration predicted. While the unemployment rate stood at 8.1 percent in February, 2009, by the end of last year it had risen to 10 percent. It still remains very high at 9.7 percent.

As President Obama and other Democrats have correctly pointed out many times, this has been a worldwide recession. Why not compare the changes in unemployment rates in other countries to the unemployment rate in the U.S. Figure 1 shows (click here) the percentage change in the U.S.’s unemployment rate since January 2009 when Obama became president compared to Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Brazil. While several of the countries experienced similar increases during the beginning of 2009, by October of last year the United States had clearly “won” the race to have the largest percentage increase in unemployment of any of these countries.

Looking at the unemployment changes in terms of just the level of unemployment produces a similar picture (click here). The U.S. and many of these other countries had fairly similar unemployment rates in January last year, but by March the U.S.’s unemployment rate had increased.

Take Canada, whose economy is closely tied to ours and who is our largest trading partner. The Canadian stimulus package was nowhere as extensive as ours. Their stimulus spending of $22.7 billion last year and $17.2 billion, this year, amounts to about 7.5 percent of their federal spending for their 2009 and 2010 budgets — about a third of the per-capita stimulus spending in the United States.

Has Canadian unemployment climbed higher than ours because of their relative inaction? Hardly. Figure 3 shows (click here) the percentage change in unemployment rates in the U.S. and Canada since January 2009 when Barack Obama became president. While the percent increase in unemployment was the same for the first couple of months, Canada’s unemployment rate had peaked by August last year and fallen since then. By contrast, the U.S. rate only really began to decline the beginning of this year.

But it is not just Canada where the unemployment rate is faring better. Other countries, too, decided against a massive stimulus plan. In March, 2009, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointedly refused to spend more money to “stimulate” the German economy. Yet, Figure 4 (click here) shows that Germany never really saw the unemployment experienced by other countries.

Japan clearly had an initial percentage increase in unemployment that was at least as bad as what we saw in the United States, though the country started from a much lower unemployment rate to begin with. Its stimulus as a percentage of GDP was also relatively large — about half as large as ours. Yet, Japan’s unemployment rate peaked in July 2009 and began to decline after that (see Figure 5 here).

The unemployment data shows that compared to these major countries, Americans have real reasons to be dissatisfied with Obama’s policies. It is also understandable why the vast majority of economists feel that Obama’s stimulus policies have spent a lot of money but produced no benefit. These same economists now expect the U.S. job market to improve, but that improvement won’t be due in any part thanks to Obama’s policies. It will just be due to the normal end of the recession.

As Obama travels the country today telling us what he is doing for us, Americans might do well to remember not just the huge bill that he has left our children and grandchildren, but how poorly he has done compared to other countries.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a FoxNews.com contributor. He is an economist and author of “More Guns, Less Crime” (University of Chicago Press, 2010), the book’s third edition will be published in May.

According to a New York Times/CBS poll, a whopping 94% of the American people agree with Bayh. Only 6% of Americans believe Obama’s massive porkulus has created jobs a full year after going into effect.

Only SIX PERCENT of Americans believe that Obama’s porkulus has created any jobs at all.  That means more Americans believe that space aliens have anally probed them than believe in the stimulus.  It also means that 94% think Obama and his entire administration and the entire Democrat congressional leadership are completely full of crap.

And 48% of Americans polled don’t think porkulus will EVER create jobs.

And now we find out that the people were right.

We have to hold Democrats responsible for this travesty.  We have to vote them out, before they destroy the country more than they already have.

Failed President Alert: Economists Say Stimulus Did NOT Help

April 28, 2010

You wouldn’t mind if I took $862 billion dollars of your money – actually $3.27 TRILLION if truth be told – and totally pissed it away, would you?

No, you don’t mind?  Good.  That’s a relief.  I mean, a lot of people would be a little upset that I’d bankrupted the country and ended up with absolutely nothing to show for it.

Obama, the White House, and the Democrats told massive and outrageous lie after massive outrageous lie to sell their load of porkulus crap.  But the American people didn’t believe it: a poll by the New York Times and CBS revealed that only 6% of Americans believed that the Obama stimulus created any jobs at all.

And now the economists are figuring out what the people understood all along:

Economists: The stimulus didn’t help
By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporterApril 26, 2010: 3:56 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The recovery is picking up steam as employers boost payrolls, but economists think the government’s stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the rebound, according to a survey released Monday.

In latest quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, the index that measures employment showed job growth for the first time in two years — but a majority of respondents felt the fiscal stimulus had no impact.

NABE conducted the study by polling 68 of its members who work in economic roles at private-sector firms. About 73% of those surveyed said employment at their company is neither higher nor lower as a result of the $787 billion Recovery Act, which the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers says is on track to create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

That sentiment is shared for the recently passed $17.7 billion jobs bill that calls for tax breaks for businesses that hire and additional infrastructure spending. More than two-thirds of those polled believe the measure won’t affect payrolls, while 30% expect it to boost hiring “moderately.”

But the economists see conditions improving. More than half of respondents — 57% — say industrial demand is rising, while just 6% see it declining. A growing number also said their firms are increasing spending and profit margins are widening.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed forecast that gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, will grow more than 3% in 2010, and 70% of NABE’s respondents expect it to grow more than 2%.

Still, the survey suggested that tight lending conditions remain a concern. Almost half of those polled said the credit crunch hurts their business. To top of page

The Democrat argument is that the economy is doing better; ergo sum the stimulus worked.  The problem is that that’s rather like saying that the economy is doing better; ergo sum the fact that I had a good bowel movement worked.  There’s simply no reason to correlate the one thing with the other.

I would also ask this: name the recession that lasted forever.  The closest we can come is the Great Depression under FDR.  His failed policies prolonged the depression and a lot of needless suffering for seven years.

The other thing I would say is that we are by no means out of the recession that we are in.  There is still abundant evidence to believe that we may very well be headed into a double dip recessionwith Obama’s failed policies being completely responsible for that second dip.

Long term, I believe that Obama has doomed this country.  If we can’t undo the damage caused by his ObamaCare boondoggle before it begins to seriously take effect, I think it will amount to the anvil that broke the camel’s back.  And even if we CAN undo ObamaCare, the massive debt this president has imposed on us due to his now demonstrably failed policies will be like a cancer that will eat away at our way of life.

It is possible that there may be a jobless recovery.  But Obama slit the hamstrings of the recovery we COULD have had when he pissed away what will ultimately cost us more than three trillion dollars.  That money – which didn’t create any jobs – is going to consume jobs by way of opportunity costs.  Businesses COULD have used that money to grow and hire; but instead Obama seized it, and poured it down the drain.  And now we get to experience the joys of the gift that keeps on giving as we pay billions of dollars in interest payments, which is money that again COULD have been used to create jobs but never will.

Whether the economy looks a little better or a lot worse than it did, we will not even possibly be able to grow under the massive debt load that Obama has forced upon us with his massively failed stimulus.

We need to hold him accountable for his failure, or he will continue to stockpile one disaster on top of another.

Fact-Checking Obama’s Bogus Bullpuckey Stimulus Claims

February 19, 2010

Obama’s fearmongering Congress into rushing the stimulus through so fast that no one in Congress could even read it was utterly demagogic.  His continuous dishonest claims since about the “success” of this pork-ridden slush fund have been deceitful and despicable.

Obama doesn’t just lie, he tells giant lies.  Big Lies, to cite a phrase from history.

Here’s one of the Big Lies that Obama told during his stimulus anniversary media blitzkrieg:

“And economists from across the political spectrum warned that if dramatic action was not taken to break the back of the recession, the United States could spiral into another depression.”

But Obama’s claim that economists “across the political spectrum” had sided with him was an utterly contemptible lie a year ago, and it is an even bigger lie now.  Last February I preserved the following.  Please note the title:

With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

And there were a whopping load of economists who signed on to that statement – at least a couple hundred, just at a glance.

That’s 200 economists saying, “YOU LIE!”

The truth was rather this: “‘Economists across the Spectrum’ Continue to Flee Stimulus bill.”

Obama supporters provided exactly two names of conservatives whom they claimed constituted their “across the spectrum.”  Both claims were bogus.

Another Big Lie was the invention of the never-before-seen category of “saved or created” jobs.  It’s a load of rotting baloney.  Harvard economics Professor Gregory Mankiw has said, “There is no way to measure how many jobs are saved.” Allan Meltzer, professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University has said “One can search economic textbooks forever without finding a concept called ‘jobs saved.’ It doesn’t exist for good reason: how can anyone know that his or her job has been saved?” If George Bush had EVER tried to use this same “saved or created” category, he would have been simultaneously mocked as a fool and attacked as a criminal who was trying to deliberately deceive the American people.  But a liberal Democrat did it, so the mainstream media has merely duly reported the totally-made-up self-serving “statistic” as though it weren’t a frankly horrifying lie.

Now, according to a CBS/New York Times poll, only six percent of the people believe that the stimulus has actually created any jobs:

No matter what the truth is about the stimulus act, public perception is the real battle Democrats have to fight politically as 2010 elections loom. And they are fighting that battle hard, based on the amount of e-mail traffic and stimulus promoting events Democrats are holding across the country today. It’s not going to be easy based on a CBS News/New York Times poll released last week that showed just 6 percent of the American public thinks the stimulus created jobs. Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steele ran with that figure yesterday saying that more people believe that Elvis is still alive than believe the stimulus is working.

For the record, Michael Steele is correct: 7% believe that Elvis is alive.  About the same percentage who believe space aliens anally probed them, I imagine.

Unfortunately, that six percent largely consist of the mainstream media.

It’s nice to see someone in the media take him on over some of his claims, particularly an economist with the prestige of a John Lott.  He apparently limits his takedown to the content provided during one particular interview.  But it is still a devastating, point-by-point, presentation of an administration that could care less about the truth, or about reality:

Updated February 19, 2010
Fact Checking Team Obama’s Stimulus Claims
By John Lott
- FOXNews.com

A look at what the White House said about the stimulus and what they didn’t say…

On Wednesday, Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer interviewed Austan Goolsbee, the chief economist for the White House Recovery Board, on the one-year anniversary of the stimulus.

Here is a simple fact check of Mr. Goolsbee’s claims:

Hemmer: “What does the White House predict a year from now?”

Goolsbee: Let’s remember, you’re citing the claim that the unemployment rate wouldn’t go above 8 percent, but if you remember in that same projection they said that if we didn’t pass the stimulus it would only go to 9 percent, and it was above that before the stimulus even came into effect. What the administration and everyone else missed was the depth of the recession that was in place at the end of 2008 and at the beginning of 2009 when the President came into office.

In April, President Obama was busy touting the stimulus as having “already saved or created over 150,000 jobs.” Press releases from the administration were already being sent out claiming saved jobs on April 1. Even well before that, on January 25, Lawrence Summers, Obama’s chief economic adviser, promised that the benefits from the stimulus bill would be seen “within weeks” after passage. Yet, despite Mr. Goolsbee’s claim, the unemployment rate did not rise above 9 percent until May, well after these claimed jobs were supposedly being created.

As for the statement that the president was “surprised” by how bad the economy was, during his first radio address to the nation on Jan. 24, Obama claimed, “We begin this year and this administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action.” In Obama’s first national press conference he talked about the United States finding itself in a crisis *12 times* and also took pains to emphasize that it was an “unprecedented crisis.” Given that the unemployment rate in 1983 reached 10.7 percent, if the president believed that we were indeed in an “unprecedented crisis” or at least the worst shape since the Great Depression, it is hard to see how the unemployment numbers could surprise him or those on his team.

The Obama administration has frequently claimed that they didn’t realize how bad the GDP numbers for the 4th quarter 2008 were when their first unemployment predictions were released, but the February 28 estimates were released well after the GDP numbers were out.

Mr. Goolsbee states that the economy was worse than he expected it to be. But there is another alternative explanation and that is that the stimulus created higher unemployment. In fact, my columns in this space predicted that during at the beginning of February 2009 that would be the case. Moving around a trillion dollars from areas where people would have spent it to areas where the government wants to spend it will move a lot of jobs away from those firms that are losing the money to those who are now favored by the government. Since people won’t instantly move from one job to another, there will be a temporary increase in unemployment.

But there’s still more. Here’s this from Hemmer’s interview:

Hemmer: “So you are saying that you are standing by the numbers and you guys were right all along.”

Goolsbee: What I’m saying is that the impact of the stimulus is very much what they predicted it to be. What they missed — and what everyone missed — was the depth of the baseline that was in place as the president came into office, yes.

Two graphs illustrate Obama’s promises versus what actually happened. Whether one uses the president’s predictions when he came into office or his later predictions as provided on February 28, the actual unemployment rate lies well above either of those predictions.

See the figure here.

If one looks at both the number of people unemployed and the number who have left the labor force, “I can’t see any [employment] benefit from the stimulus,” Professor Stephen Bronars, a labor economist at the University of Texas at Austin, told me.

See the figure here.

And then there’s this from Hemmer’s interview with Goolsbee:

Hemmer: [What if you] Use the unspent stimulus of $514 billion to pay down the national debt?

Goolsbee: Well, Bill, I got to tell you when the people who burned down the back half of the house are complaining about how much it costs to rebuild it, I think we’re in a bit of a strange spot. As you know, the deficit was projected, before the president took office, to be $1.3 trillion, and that’s because we were teetering on the edge of a depression and we needed to put the focus — as we did — on getting us away from the abyss. If we hadn’t done that the deficit would be catastrophically worse even than it is this year and than it was projected to be when the president came in. We should not reverse the second half of the stimulus. It’s needed to get us out of the woods. Look out the window, the unemployment rate is near 10 percent. Now, the stimulus was never capable of restoring the 8 million jobs hole that was created by the recession beginning in 2007. It did part of it and the private sector needs to the rest.

During the middle of October, 2008, after the bailout bill had been passed, then-Senator Obama claimed (during the third presidential debate): “we are now looking at a deficit of well over half a trillion dollars.” Virtually all of the huge 2009 budget deficit of $1.4 trillion has been blamed on the Bush administration — as if Mr. Obama’s $862 billion stimulus (over two years) and his $410 billion supplemental spending bill in March had nothing to do with it. Mr. Obama also asked for $350 billion in TARP money to be released by the Bush administration immediately before he entered the White House. Bush had no plans to spend that money, but, by releasing it before he took office, Mr. Obama is able to claim that the spending should be counted towards the Bush administration.

Then there was this:

Hemmer pointed out that the White House is starting a pushing to focus on the deficit. Isn’t that a contradiction from this administration?

Here’s the response:

Goolsbee: [No.] Because you’re getting confused between the short term and the long term. What we need is to put a focus on deficit reduction in the long term. Everyone agrees with that, [and] the president wants to put a focus [on it]. The reason the budget commission failed, as you know, is because 7 Republicans that sponsored the bill turned around and voted against it when it became clear it was going to pass.

Actually, it isn’t clear how the administration can blame Republicans for the defeat of the budget commission. Democrats controlled 60 seats in the Senate at the time, and they could have approved the commission without a single Republican vote. Sixteen Republicans did vote for the commission (along with 37 Democrats), but 23 Democrats and 23 Republicans voted against the commission. The Republicans voted against it because they worried that the commission would rely heavily on new — and higher — taxes to reduce the deficit.

This came next…

Hemmer noted that a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that only 6 percent of Americans think that the stimulus has created jobs and 48 percent think that it will never create jobs.

Goolsbee: Well, look, that may be true. I’m just a policy guy. I’m not an expert on spinning and convincing. What I would say is if you go get the data from the private sector forecasters, from the non-partisan congressional budget, or you look at Recovery.gov or the reports coming out of the Council of Economic Advisers, you see they are all hovering around the creating or saving of 2 million jobs thus far. And so the key is [that] the hole was extremely deep. This brought us part of the way up out of this abyss hole. But we need to do more. The president has never said that this is sufficient.

It is a bit of an exaggeration that everyone is in agreement with these claims. Cary Leahey, an economist and senior managing director with Decision Economics, one of the forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, provided me with one explanation for why the stimulus increased unemployment: “With transitional moves in government spending [from the stimulus], there will be dislocations in the economy that will lead to higher unemployment.” But he emphasized that he thought those effects would be “short-lived, six to nine months, definitely not more than a year.” Of the other three sources, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, or if you look at recovery.gov or the reports coming out of the Council of Economic Advisers, all are controlled by Democrats.

Then there was this…

Hemmer raised the point that only two places in the country have gained jobs during the last year: North Dakota and Washington, D.C.

Goolsbee: Well, certainly, if they’re going to be treated to the kind of rationale that you’re describing, it’s going to be very tough. But if you look at what, as I’m trying to describe, the recession began in 2007 – 8 million jobs were lost. If you restore 2 million jobs, that’s 2 million people who are at work, who would have been out of work had we not done that. But that doesn’t fill the entire 8 million hole. And so for you to say they only created jobs in North Dakota, you’re making the mistake of saying, well, the stimulus should have created more than 8 million jobs or else it didn’t have an impact. But that’s just logically incorrect.

Mr. Goolsbee simply isn’t answering Hemmer’s question. Hemmer was asking about the change in jobs since the beginning of last year to evaluate the impact of the stimulus, while Goolsbee is also discussing job losses from the end of 2007. There was nothing “logically incorrect” with Hemmer’s question.

There is also a simple math error in Mr. Goolsbee’s statement. He claims that things would have been even worse than the 8 million drop in jobs if the stimulus hadn’t been passed. What he may have meant to say is that without the stimulus 10 million jobs would have been lost (the 8 million that were lost plus the 2 million that were saved by the stimulus and would have been lost without it). But if the Obama administration really believes this, the unemployment rate in January would have been 11 percent, not 9.7 percent, and the Obama administration never predicted that the unemployment rate would go to 11 percent without the stimulus.

In any case, Goolsbee’s reluctance to explain why jobs, since the beginning of last year, have only increased in the District Columbia, where a lot of government jobs have been created, and North Dakota is understandable.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a FoxNews.com contributor. He is an economist and author of “Freedomnomics.”

The first article that Lott linked to in the link titled “” has the following graph.  I leave you with it, as it pretty much shows at a glance just what a whopping load of failure Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus truly was:

Obama Job Summit Deliberately Snubs Primary Job Creators

December 4, 2009

Do you remember Obama publicly attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over it’s opposition to ObamaCare? Obama sure does.

Barack Obama is a petty, vindictive man.  And petty men do petty, vindictive things.  He is the kind of man who deceitfully and cynically claimed that he would uniquely transcend the political divide – only to be the most politically divisive figure we have ever seen in the White House.  And he is the kind of man who would cut off his nose to spite America’s face.

Case in point: the Obama job summit.

Obama gathered liberal economists (no conservatives allowed), pro-Democrat corporate CEOs, and union chiefs to tell him only what he wanted to hear.

But one business group was entirely shut out by Barack Obama, namely, the U.S. Chamber of commerce, which represents businesses that employ 115 million Americas (well more than half of the total U.S. work force).  And, according to USCoC executive vice president of government affairs Bruce Josten, “Not only were we not invited, but not a single business organization HQd in Washington DC was invited.”

Small businesses create three out of every four jobs in America.  Not that Obama gives a damn.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) – which also crossed Obama on ObamaCare – was also deliberately excluded.

Just in case anybody actually believed the White House or lamestream media propaganda that Obama’s “job summit” had anything to do with actually creating jobs.

An incredibly petty and vindictive president decided to punish the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business for refusing to help him small business destroy jobs.   And in doing so, he is punishing millions of American workers.

Just imagine a job summit which is openly hostile to the actual creators of jobs.  Just imagine that job summit being depicted as being for the purpose of informing the president of all of the job-creating possibilities, when no one who disagreed with the president’s leftist views was even allowed to attend.

After agreeing with Judge Andrew Napolitano’s point that America is not going to have any meaningful job creation as long as the Obama administration continues recklessly printing, borrowing and spending trillions of dollars even as it utterly abandoning free market principles, Josten went on to say:

We need to get some certainty back in the American economy.  And right now you have a business community that doesn’t know what their tax liabilities are going to be a year from now; have no idea what their health care costs are going to be next year; have no idea what their energy costs are going to be next year; and have no idea what kind of credit is going to be available next year.  So this ‘big bang theory’ of using the crisis if you will – as the administration said some time ago – to move and overhaul entire swaths of the American economy, at this point is fueling uncertainty in the business community – and I would suggest to your listeners – in the American public.  And that’s a prescription to defer making any decisions.

And let’s not forget other abominations to business such as the union-agenda-imposing “card check” that would massively add to businesses’ costs if passed.

In other words, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM, OBAMA.

For all of Obama’s demagoguing and demonizing the Bush administration, this is Barack Obama’s economy (and any real leader would have long-since quit trying to blame his predecessor and started taking responsibility for what is happening in the country during his watch anyway).  It is HIS policies that have prevented the economy from recovering.  It is HIS policies that are killing jobs by creating paralyzing fear and uncertainty.

According to Jesus (see Luke 14:28), any wise man sits down and counts his costs before beginning a project.  But how can a business man do so in the climate of fear that Obama has created?

Statistically, this recession should have ended a while back, as the economy attained equilibrium and recovered on its own.  The average length of a recession is 11 monthsIt’s only when elitist statist bureaucrats start screwing around with all the economic levers because they think they know better than the free market system that we get long-term economic recessions and depressions.

Obama “turned fearmongering into an art form” while he force-fed his massive pork-laden stimulus onto the nation:

As he tells it, today’s economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.

He promised us that if his stimulus passed, he would be able to keep unemployment under 8%.  Now it’s in double digits.  The rate dropped 2/10ths of a percent this month from last, primarily due to the fact that more people are simply giving up even bothering to look for jobs:

The unemployment rate also dropped because fewer people are looking for work. The size of the labor force, which includes the employed and those actively searching for jobs, fell by nearly 100,000, the third straight decline. That indicates more of the unemployed are giving up on looking for work.

The participation rate, or the percentage of the population employed or looking for work, fell to 65 percent, the lowest since the recession began.  Once laid-off people stop hunting for jobs, they are no longer counted in the unemployment rate.

The bait-and-switch and shell games being played by the mainstream media and the White House propagandists continues at Titanic-about-to-plough-into-an-iceberg pace.  Bad economic news that is not as bad as it could have been is projected as good news, while seriously bad news is buried in the 22nd paragraph of an optimistically-entitled and positively-spun article.

What we have is a numbers game in which actual unemployment could literally soar, even as the “official” unemployment rate actually decreases.

But you can bet your boots that actual unemployment will continue to go up.

Obama and his propagandists have since incessantly argued that they “underestimated” how bad the economy that “Bush left them” actually was.  That’s how they explain away their pathetic failure to do what they promised they could do if the got their porkulus.  But that argument utterly fails because Obama repeatedly compared it to the Great Depression.  In fact, Paul Volcker, the Chair of Obama’s handpicked President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, back on February 20th actually told us the situation “may be WORSE than the Great Depression.”

So I’ll leave it to you to figure out how the Obama administration could have argued on the one hand that the economy was the worst since, or even worse than, the Great Depression on the one hand, and then turned around on the other hand and said that they didn’t realize how bad the economy actually was.  Because if you know anything at all about the terrible conditions of the Great Depression, you know that our present economic situation has never been even close to being as bad as the Great Depression.

But don’t worry.  If you feel left out because you haven’t been able to experience the Great Depression, Obama’s policies are making sure you’ll be able to enjoy a Great Depression of your own soon.

Now we know this was just liberals using a “crisis” as an “opportunity.” As Obama’s Chief of Staff put it:

EMANUEL: You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before. This is an opportunity.

The point is that this unemployment “crisis” is just another “opportunity” for Barry Obama to “fundamentally transform America” and pay off his pro-liberal corporate and union special interests doing it.

Obama’s decision to deliberately snub the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business in a “job summit” was either pathologically petty, idiotically incompetent, or both.  And the American people are going to suffer as a result.

If anybody should have been snubbed from attending the jobs summit, Barry Hussein, it was YOU.

As for the three-quarters of American workers who get their jobs from small businesses, well, screw you people.  That’s the “change” you get.

Obama Continues Rampant Dishonesty With Stimulus ‘Jobs ‘

November 11, 2009

Want to see how Obama “created or saved” all the jobs he’s claiming?  Here’s how:

In June, the federal government spent $1,047 in stimulus money to buy a rider mower from the Toro Company to cut the grass at the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Arkansas. Now, a report on the government’s stimulus Web site improbably claims that that single lawn mower sale helped save or create 50 jobs.

I bought a new watch the other day; that’s got to be good for at least ten jobs saved or created.

Do you seriously trust these people to run your healthcare?  Are you that idiotic?  I mean, dang.

A newspaper editorial just damns Obama’s dishonesty and deceit the way it deserves to be damned.

Note: I added the html links to the other newspaper articles.

Union-Tribune Editorial
Stimulus dishonesty
Job numbers keep proving to be exaggerated
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 12:43 a.m.

First it was The Associated Press refuting the Obama administration’s claims for jobs saved or created nationwide by February’s $787 billion economic stimulus measure. Then it was The Sacramento Bee refuting the claims that state agencies had made for California. Then it was the Chicago Tribune refuting the claims that state agencies had made for Illinois.

The errors were not of a minor or technical nature. They were egregious.

AP reported that “some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times.” The Bee reported that California State University said “the $268.5 million it received in stimulus funding through October allowed it to retain 26,156 employees” – more than half its statewide work force. The Tribune reported that Illinois education officials grossly inflated job-saved numbers, sometimes saying school districts had saved more jobs than their total number of employees.

This is a scandal and should be treated as such. It’s not government as usual. Instead, it appears to reflect a decision to distort government data collection to support explicitly political agendas.

With U.S. unemployment now topping 10 percent, the Obama administration is struggling more than ever to fashion credible counterarguments to the assertion made by this editorial page and many pundits and economists that the massive stimulus measure was a poorly thought-out pork fest that wouldn’t work. What’s the easiest way to defend the stimulus? Make up claims about its glorious results.

Politics also appears to be driving state agencies in their willingness to prop up this bogus narrative. It helps them make the case that they should get even more borrowed money from the federal government that they never will have to repay.

Such dishonesty should be completely unacceptable – especially at the federal level. We trust the Office of Management and Budget to provide honest figures on the size of the deficit and the national debt. We trust the Labor Department to provide honest statistics on unemployment and job gains and losses by sector. We trust the Commerce Department to provide honest numbers on monthly imports and exports and the gross domestic product. We trust the Environmental Protection Agency to provide an honest accounting of air and water pollution levels.

All of these statistics end up helping shape the public debate on the most crucial issues of the day. If these numbers can’t be trusted, we can’t have an honest debate. When it comes to the economic stimulus package, it sure looks like the Obama White House doesn’t want an honest debate. Instead, it is going to relentlessly push the very dubious claim that the stimulus was a huge success – no matter what.

We are struck yet again by the contrast between the hopeful and idealistic tone of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and the bare-knuckles Chicago-style politics of his White House. If this hardball approach goes beyond the usual arm-twisting to the routine twisting of government statistics for political purposes, that will be a grim day for America.

The first thing to do is congratulate the editorial board of the Union-Tribune for standing up for the truth.  That hasn’t happened a whole lot in the swooning, “thrill going up my leg” coverage of Obama.

Next, I’d like to begin by citing the complete paragraph that the Union-Tribune cites from AP:

The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

Then I’ll provide the quote from the Sacramento Bee in its context, which makes it an even more damning indictment:

Up to one-fourth of the 110,000 jobs reported as saved by federal stimulus money in California probably never were in danger, a Bee review has found.

California State University officials reported late last week that they saved more jobs with stimulus money than the number of jobs saved in Texas – and in 44 other states.

In a required state report to the federal government, the university system said the $268.5 million it received in stimulus funding through October allowed it to retain 26,156 employees.

That total represents more than half of CSU’s statewide work force.  However, university officials confirmed Thursday that half their workers were not going to be laid off without the stimulus dollars.

“This is not really a real number of people,” CSU spokeswoman Clara Potes-Fellow said. “It’s like a budget number.”

And then I’ll provide the context for the Chicago Tribune findings:

Gov. Patrick Quinn on Wednesday dispatched officials from a new accountability office to investigate errors in a state database detailing stimulus-funded school jobs promoted by the Obama administration, a day after the Tribune raised questions about the job numbers’ accuracy.

The officials have asked the Illinois State Board of Education to verify the number of jobs created and retained in school districts detailed in the report, said Ashley Cross, a spokeswoman for Quinn’s office. Any necessary adjustments will be incorporated into the next quarterly report on the federal stimulus, she said.

Matt Vanover, a spokesman for board of education, said the flawed database actually had been washed of some glaring errors before being included in the official tabulation, which claimed 14,330 school jobs in Illinois had either been saved or created thanks to $1.25 billion in federal funds.

But the Tribune found that the database claimed far more jobs had been saved in some local school districts than actually existed on district payrolls.

Which is to say that, as egregious as the errors were that the Tribune reported for this story, the school board spokesman said they had actually been much, much more egregious before the Tribune was able to get its hands on the actual data.

When the Union-Tribune editors say:

This is a scandal and should be treated as such. It’s not government as usual. Instead, it appears to reflect a decision to distort government data collection to support explicitly political agendas.

You should recognize that we are talking about historic levels of dishonesty that match this administrations’ historic levels of spending and historic levels of debt.

And when they point out that:

Politics also appears to be driving state agencies in their willingness to prop up this bogus narrative. It helps them make the case that they should get even more borrowed money from the federal government that they never will have to repay.

Such dishonesty should be completely unacceptableespecially at the federal level.

You should realize that – counter to the Obama administration’s and Democrat Party’s demagogic attacks against businesses such as our health insurance companies (which make only modest profits, contrary to the frankly evil attacks repeatedly made by the left) – there is no greater or more powerful or more dishonest “special interest” than big government.

If you’re opposed to special interest, then whatever the HELL you do, don’t let the federal government take over health care.

And this garbage of deceit and lies about jobs and the fact that Obama has done NOTHING to create more of them is going on all over the country.

The Boston Globe says, “Stimulus job boost in state exaggerated, review finds.”  And it is simply damning.

While Massachusetts recipients of federal stimulus money collectively report 12,374 jobs saved or created, a Globe review shows that number is wildly exaggerated. Organizations that received stimulus money miscounted jobs, filed erroneous figures, or claimed jobs for work that has not yet started.

The Globe’s finding is based on the federal government’s just-released accounts of stimulus spending at the end of October. It lists the nearly $4 billion in stimulus awards made to an array of Massachusetts government agencies, universities, hospitals, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations, and notes how many jobs each created or saved.

But in interviews with recipients, the Globe found that several openly acknowledged creating far fewer jobs than they have been credited for.

One of the largest reported jobs figures comes from Bridgewater State College, which is listed as using $77,181 in stimulus money for 160 full-time work-study jobs for students. But Bridgewater State spokesman Bryan Baldwin said the college made a mistake and the actual number of new jobs was “almost nothing.’’ Bridgewater has submitted a correction, but it is not yet reflected in the report.

In other cases, federal money that recipients already receive annually – subsidies for affordable housing, for example – was reclassified this year as stimulus spending, and the existing jobs already supported by those programs were credited to stimulus spending. Some of these recipients said they did not even know the money they were getting was classified as stimulus funds until September, when federal officials told them they had to file reports.

“There were no jobs created. It was just shuffling around of the funds,’’ said Susan Kelly, director of property management for Boston Land Co., which reported retaining 26 jobs with $2.7 million in rental subsidies for its affordable housing developments in Waltham. “It’s hard to figure out if you did the paperwork right. We never asked for this.’’

The federal stimulus report for Massachusetts has so many errors, missing data, or estimates instead of actual job counts that it may be impossible to accurately tally how many people have been employed by the massive infusion of federal money. Massachusetts is expected to receive an estimated $1 billion more in stimulus contracts, grants, and loans.

When Obama was elected, unemployment was at 6.6%.  He promised that his stimulus would prevent unemployment from reaching 8%.  And now it’s 10.2%.
His plan completely failed.  His massive $3.27 trillion stimulus porkulus (according to what the CBO reported Obama’s stimulus would actually cost) did nothing more than create a bunch of pork projects and create a Democrat war chest of slush funds to buy the votes it needs.
Don’t believe me about the slush fund?

To get as far as the bill did so far, it appears the administration might have spread some money around. California Rep. Jim Costa was wavering but told a local newspaper last week that his vote could be contingent on getting some federal money for a new medical school in his district along with help for local hospitals.

When a constituent named Bob Smittcamp e-mailed him to complain about his vote for the House bill, the congressman explained he’d been offered the dollars he was looking for — $128 million in federal money.

“He responded to me by basically saying that he did not like many of the elements there were in the legislation. However, he was able to procure $128m for the University of California medical school in Merced,” Smittcamp told Fox News.

Democrats now have in excess of a trillion dollars in federal money to buy itself the votes it needs to impose the liberal agenda.Rather than actually fix the economy, all Obama has done is a) focus entirely on putting even more of the economy under government control through Obamacare rather than focus on creating jobs; b) make up a bunch of patent lies to make believe his policies are doing anything other than dismally failing; and c) keep blaming Bush for everything.It’s not working out, Obama.  YOU’RE not working out.

New Study Published In ‘Nature Geoscience’ Shows Global Warming Models All Wrong

July 17, 2009

Let’s begin with the study:

Nature Geoscience
Published online: 13 July 2009 | doi:10.1038/ngeo578

Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum warming

Richard E. Zeebe1, James C. Zachos2 & Gerald R. Dickens3

Top of pageThe Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (about 55 Myr ago) represents a possible analogue for the future and thus may provide insight into climate system sensitivity and feedbacks1, 2. The key feature of this event is the release of a large mass of 13C-depleted carbon into the carbon reservoirs at the Earth’s surface, although the source remains an open issue3, 4. Concurrently, global surface temperatures rose by 5–9 °C within a few thousand years5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Here we use published palaeorecords of deep-sea carbonate dissolution10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and stable carbon isotope composition10, 15, 16, 17 along with a carbon cycle model to constrain the initial carbon pulse to a magnitude of 3,000 Pg C or less, with an isotopic composition lighter than -50permil. As a result, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased during the main event by less than about 70% compared with pre-event levels. At accepted values for the climate sensitivity to a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration1, this rise in CO2 can explain only between 1 and 3.5 °C of the warming inferred from proxy records. We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Once these processes have been identified, their potential effect on future climate change needs to be taken into account.

  1. School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1000 Pope Road, MSB 504, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
  2. Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA
  3. Department of Earth Sciences, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA

This isn’t just telling us that those stupid dinosaurs didn’t send themselves into extinction by driving too many SUVs and failing to implement global warming legislation to deal with carbon dioxide.  It is saying that carbon dioxide was only a tiny, tiny little fraction of the global warming that the planet experienced 55 million years ago.

This is always one of the most amazing and incomprehensible things to me: we have HAD cycles of global warming and global cooling over and over and over again throughout the entire history of the planet.  And yet that is forgotten over and over again by people who have the educations to know better.  It is a form of willful blindness and deliberate stupidity that is simply shocking (It hearkens to Romans 1, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”).  And it is done in order to advance a political and in fact socialist agenda to redistribute wealth.

A pair of articles you should read:

What the Science REALLY Says About Global Warming

What You Never Hear About Global Warming

A Fox News Special Report story had this to say:

West Virginia, where coal is the heart of the economy.  Coal mining produces both power and revenue.  So Obama’s plan to fight climate change by taxing carbon pollution with a cap and trade system is a serious threat.  And even ardent Obama backers like Gov. Joe Manchin says, “It’s far reaching, and I think it has detrimental effects to our economy – not just West Virginia; I think the United States of America’s economy -  cannot take that shock of artificially increasing the price much higher than what we compete.”  Both senators from W. Virginia Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller oppose the plan.

American Electrical Power CEO Mike Morris says cap and trade will raise everyone’s power cost.  “As an electric consumer and a consumer of any product you’re going to pay more for it.  This is a societal decision to deal with the issue of global warming, and you can’t do it for free.  This is not an inexpensive move.”

Support industries like heavy industries such as Caterpillar would be seriously affected too.  Caterpillar has a $50 million payroll in W.Virginia.  And about 75% of their revenues comes from the coal industry, says Rolger Lilly of Walker Caterpillar.

Burning coal creates nearly half the nation’s electricity.  It is far cheaper than alternative energies (solar $.20 per kilowatt hour; wind $.14 per kilowatt hour; vs. coal at only $.03 per kilowatt hour).

And of course you know Obama has said his plan would cause energy prices to “necessary skyrocket.”

This is a plan that will literally result in Americans starving in the dark and cold unless they stand up for sanity.

Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring and necessary gas.  Without it life on earth would be impossible.  Liberals like to call it “carbon” to make you think of something black and sooty and icky; but it is odorless and colorless.  It is no bogeyman; liberals are your bogeymen.

The fact of the matter is this: when we consider all global warming gasses, “anthropogenic CO2 produces less than 0.1 of one percent of the greenhouse effect.”

The evidence is abundantly clear, yet we are on the verge of crushing our economic output, and killing jobs in the process, to fight a problem which either doesn’t even exist in the first place or which we can do nothing to stop.

Meanwhile, we’ve got the Obama administration actively working to suppress the science that proves that global warming is bogusAnd we’ve got expert economists saying that the fact that China and India aren’t similarly curtailing THEIR emissions will do result in nothing more than America shooting itself in the foot.

Global Warming alarmists have called people like me “global warming deniers” to impugn me as tantamount to a Holocaust denier.  I respond by calling such people “reality deniers.”

Obama’s Economic Forecast: No Reality In Sight

July 16, 2009

Right on the heels of Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney predicting 13% or higher unemployment, we are beginning to see mainstream media economic forecasters abandoning their “Isn’t Obama just wonderful” chant and wake up to smell reality.

I added my own frequently smarmy comments in brackets with the content in italics.

Experts: Obama Too Optimistic on Economy

Politico: Miscalculation Would Mean Much Higher Deficits Than the Administration Is Now Acknowledging

July 14, 2009

President Barack Obama’s economic forecasts for long-term growth are too optimistic, many economists warn, a miscalculation that would mean budget deficits will be much higher than the administration is now acknowledging.

The White House will be forced to confront the disconnect between its original, upbeat predictions and the mainstream consensus about how the economy is likely to perform in a new budget forecast to be unveiled next month.

Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a POLITICO interview that the administration – like many independent economists – did not fully anticipate the severity and pace of this recession. She said the White House will be updating its official forecasts.  [Allow me to interject here that this now oft-repeated excuse is insane.  Obama personally and repeatedly fearmongered the economy by comparing it to the Great Depression.  And now he has the naked chutzpah to claim he didn't realize it was actually bad?  That is completely INSANE].

The new numbers will come as part of a semiannual review that, under ordinary circumstances, is the kind of earnest-but-dull document that causes many Washington eyes to glaze over.

This time, however, the new forecasts – if they are anything like what many outside economists expect – could send a jolt through Capitol Hill, where even the administration’s current debt projections already are prompting deep concerns on political and substantive grounds.

Higher deficit figures also would arrive at a critical moment in the health care debate, as lawmakers are already struggling to find a way to pay for the president’s nearly $1 trillion reform package.

Alternately, if Obama clings to current optimistic forecasts for long-term growth, he risks accusations that he is basing his fiscal plans on fictitious assumptions – precisely the sort of charge he once leveled against the Bush administration.

White House officials rebuff such suggestions, saying the midyear correction is precisely intended to keep their economic program reality based.

But a series of POLITICO interviews in recent days with independent economists of varied political stripes found widespread disdain for Obama’s first round of assumptions, with some experts invoking such phrases as “rosy” and “fantasy.”

Obama’s current forecasts envision 3.2 percent growth next year, 4 percent growth in 2011, 4.6 percent growth in 2012 and 4.2 percent growth in 2013.

The administration is already under intense pressure over its economic calculations on the most politically sensitive statistic: employment. The administration once vowed to use stimulus policies to keep the jobless rate below 8 percent; it is now just shy of 10 percent.

Deficit figures do not pack the same emotional punch as unemployment lines do. But they matter greatly to policymakers and the financial markets as a measure of whether the country can afford Obama’s big agenda.

And the general public is paying attention, too.

In a June NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a bare majority – 51 percent – of respondents approved of Obama’s handling of the economy, down from 56 percent in February.

In addition, 58 percent said the president and Congress should focus on keeping deficits down, even if that delays an economic recovery, the poll found.

“They used a rosy forecast, and that’s understandable because a quick recovery makes the rest of the agenda possible. It creates the basis for the revenues you need for health care and climate change,” said Robert Shapiro, a former Clinton economic adviser.

“But it’s also dangerous and risky because if the forecast doesn’t come true, you’ve undermined the basis for the rest of your policies,” he added.

White House officials note that at the time of their forecasting, the depth of the crisis was less clear. For instance, the global reach of the downturn wasn’t fully apparent late last fall.

Another challenge was that the slowdown “was going from a relatively normal recession into something much worse, and we were at a pivot point, if not a turning oint,” Romer said.

“There was just inherently a lot of uncertainty. None of us has a crystal ball, especially at a time when there is a lot of new information coming in. That’s when you have to be ready to update. That’s certainly what a lot of forecasters have done and what we will do, as well,” she added.

[In response to the last three paragraphs let me say this: I have been predicting economic calamity for nearly a YEAR now if Obama got elected, and I have been citing expert sources in every single one of those articles to support my claim.  One of my "favorite" predictions came in October 8 - obviously well BEFORE Obama claimed unemployment would not rise above 8% if his stimulus package was enacted.  CEO's predicted that "some of Obama's programs would bankrupt the country within three years, if implemented." Romer's "crystal ball" stuff is just garbage, just as her "Nobody knew it would be bad" line - and frankly just as her bogus economic forecasting].

Those outside forecast adjustments have been almost universally in a downward trend.

White House officials began to lay the groundwork for the politically ill-timed revisions when Vice President Joe Biden recently conceded the administration had “misread” the economic indicators in January about how bad the economy actually was.

Obama later amended those remarks, saying the White House had “incomplete” information, which led to their miscalculations.

Either way, those admissions appear to pave the way for a significant rewrite of the White House’s economic outlook, starting with it growth predictions.

“Those numbers will prove to be much, much too optimistic,” said J.D. Foster, a former economic adviser in the Bush administration.

To appreciate the potential problems that can arise once those numbers are changed, consider this:

The White House projected revenues for 2012 are forecast at $3.1 trillion. But if growth is just 2 percent, rather than around 4 percent, as some economists now expect, that income would hover around $2.4 trillion – adding another $700 billion to the projected deficit of $581 billion.

“That would be a significant change in the deficit,” said Foster, who did the math.

There is a case for hewing close to the administration’s original, out-year conclusions, said some economists.

The president’s hope for a burst of new economic activity around “green” jobs in the energy and environment sectors and the kick-in of the infrastructure phase of the stimulus package could provide some healthy growth, economists say.

“The question is, what will drive the growth? It’s not likely to be the housing market or another tech bubble. We don’t know what it is going to be, but it doesn’t make sense to assume it won’t be anything,” said James Horney, an economist with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Still, it’s not clear whether another optimistic outlook will sell on Capitol Hill.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com and a frequent adviser to Capitol Hill, said the worsening economic picture makes passage of health care reform even more essential.  [Which is like handing a man in a free fall an anvil instead of a parachute in terms of economic sense.  We're reeling at the prospect of massive deficits, so let's add another trillion - and probably several trillion - to our deficit in the name of erasing our deficit].

“It’s so important for policymakers to show that they will address the long-term fiscal pressures on the economy and budget very, very soon,” he said, including the rising costs of Medicare and Medicaid that are overwhelming the federal budget.  [Medicare has a $61.6 trillion unfunded liability and is expected to bankrupt us by 2019, so let's push for more government health care so we can be even more truly screwed than we already are].

The key for outside investors, he said, is “to see if policymakers credibly pay for it.” If Congress does it right, “that could be quite a positive thing” by boosting U.S. credibility in the world markets that are financing the nation’s debt.  [IF... IF...  If winged monkeys flew out of my butt on command, I could get a good job at the circus].

Roger C. Altman, another former Clinton economic adviser, recently suggested in a Wall Street Journal column that Congress move aggressively on health care reform and Social Security – both fixes that could ease deficit pressures.  [Just remember that when George Bush attempted to reform Social Security, Democrats demonized him for it].

“Public anxiety over deficits may make this fix [of Social Security funding] possible now, even though it has been elusive for years,” he said.

But Peter Morici, a University of Maryland economist, said the White House should set aside major domestic initiatives and focus on stabilizing the economy by attacking the trade deficit.

“The spending required for health care, the tax on business with a [climate change] cap-and-trade system, and the wasteful spending inside the stimulus will finish the job that the Chinese mercantilism began,” he said. “We’re headed for a disaster here.”

Go slow is also Shapiro’s guidance, suggesting a phased-in approach to any universal health care insurance program, which would delay its full costs.

Almost all of the economists interviewed – including former Bush White House officials – were sympathetic to the Obama economic team’s plight.

Its January forecasts didn’t deviate sharply back, then, from most other predictions by established and respected economic experts.

The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, predicted growth in 2012 of 4.4 percent, compared with the White House’s 4.6 percent.

But some worry the administration now is on the verge of making another mistake by inadequately addressing the next big threat: inflation fears.

No one can predict when that day will come, but many think now that it will be sooner rather than later.

When it does come, the Federal Reserve Bank will face a Hobson’s choice, said Morici: either runaway inflation or higher interest rates, both of which could stall a recovery and send the economy back into recession.

The Fed’s decision to pump money into the economy to stave off disaster in the financial sector and elsewhere last year was understandable, said Foster.

“But a price must be paid for what they did,” he added, and that means withdrawing that liquidity from the market to combat inflation. “In this case, the amount of liquidity to be withdrawn is unprecedented,” he added.

Zandi doesn’t dismiss Foster’s scenario, but he said it’s possible the country could get through inflation scares without as much damage.

“I think policymakers will do roughly the right thing with health care reform and get a reasonably credible package from a fiscal perspective,” he said.

“Then the current stimulus will be reasonably sufficient to push us out of recession later this year and into early recovery,” he added.

Republicans predicted that the “stimulus” wouldn’t “stimulate” and that the pork-laden package would fail, just as they also forecasted that the funds wouldn’t get out in time to do any good.  It’s funny how the media – which never listens to anything conservatives have to say anyway – are allowing the Obama administration to present the lie that “no one knew the economy would be this bad under our messianic governance.”

Personally, I keep going back to Gerald Celente, the Trends Research CEO who predicts food riots and tax revolts by 2012.  I see him making a lot more sense, rather than less, every single day.  And I don’t doubt for a second that liberals will mock such forecasts even as the riots and revolts erupt around them.

For the record, you can tell – given the complete lack of mention of “defense” or “the military” – that both are going to suffer greatly as Obama scrounges for funds to pay for his massive socialist agenda.

Obama Health Care Plan Would Send Costs Soaring, Cost Jobs

September 16, 2008

John McCain’s health insurance plan would probably not significantly lower the number of uninsured in the country, and it is possible under his plan that insurers could re-locate to states with less onerous health care mandates, say experts.

But the same experts claim that Barack Obama’s plan “would require new, large, and rapidly growing federal subsidies that are unlikely to be sustainable, fiscally or politically” and that “job losses or pay cuts would result” from his plan.

I don’t know about you.  But I like option A a lot better than option Barack.

But Barack Obama supporters will probably argue that this objective comparison of health care plans fails to consider the fairy dust that Obama would sprinkle over his plan that would make all its pitfalls magically go away.

Economists take critical view of health plans

By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer Tue Sep 16, 12:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON – John McCain’s health plan won’t lower the ranks of the uninsured. Barack Obama’s fails to curb the soaring cost of health care, meaning initial gains in helping more people buy health insurance would eventually be undermined.

That’s the assessment of health care economists who critiqued the plans of the two presidential candidates.

The critiques, published in the journal Health Affairs on Tuesday, reflect fundamental disagreements over how to improve access to health coverage. They also sound warnings about what could go wrong with each candidate’s plan.

McCain would dramatically reshape the way millions of people get health insurance. The Republican would do away with income tax breaks for health insurance obtained through the work place, instead treating the payments as taxable wages.

In exchange, he would give people a $2,500 tax credit for individuals who buy health insurance and a $5,000 tax credit for families that do so.

The tax credit could help people buy insurance through their employer. Many would also use it buy coverage directly from insurers in the individual market. They could select from insurers licensed in any state. With more competition, costs would fall and quality would increase, McCain reasons.

Analysts writing in the journal warned against that approach.

They said employers would be less likely to offer coverage if they knew their workers could get it elsewhere. In all, the authors projected that 20 million people would lose their employer-sponsored insurance under McCain’s plan, while 21 million people would gain coverage through the individual market — little more than a wash.

And as monthly insurance premiums rise and the tax break stays the same, even that gain would erode.

Another concern is that insurers would gravitate to states with less onerous coverage requirements. For example, 29 states insist insurers in the individual and small group market cover cervical cancer screenings. They could locate in states without such requirements.

Obama wants the government to subsidize the cost of health coverage for millions who otherwise would have trouble affording it on their own.

The Democrat would set up a kind of government-run shopping mall that would negotiate prices and benefits with private insurers. One choice would be a government-run plan. No participating company could turn someone away because of pre-existing cancer, heart disease or diabetes. Nor would someone have to pay a higher monthly premium based on those conditions.

The government would subsidize the cost for many who buy coverage through this exchange. But analysts say using third parties to subsidize the cost of a product exacerbates health inflation. Consumers and providers act as if any service that might yield some value should be covered. After all, it’s largely somebody else who is picking up the tab.

“Any major expansion of coverage will be costly, and the Obama promise of affordability would require new, large, and rapidly growing federal subsidies that are unlikely to be sustainable, fiscally or politically,” said the authors.

Obama would also require all but small businesses to make a “meaningful” payment for health coverage of their workers or contribute a percentage of payroll toward the cost of the public plan offered through the exchange. The authors said that either way, job losses or pay cuts would result.

The journal subjected the plans to a sort of devil’s advocate analysis. Once the unsolicited review of McCain’s plan was reviewed and accepted, the journal sought out economists who would take a similarly tough look at the Obama plan. The reviewers of the Obama plan included Gail Wilensky, an unpaid adviser to the McCain campaign.

Personally, I would like to see a health care plan that provided businesses with tax incentives to provide coverage for employees and their families, and have health coverage that could not be cut off if a worker lost his job (provided he or she continued to pay the same premiums as the employer had paid).  In other words, just because you are no longer working for a particular employer does not mean you should lose your medical coverage.

In my view, the two biggest problems with health care are 1) soaring costs and 2) transferability.

Socialized medicine has failed everywhere it’s been tried, and the larger the population, the more horrendous the failure.  It invariably results in long waits and rationing of care.  But the privatized system we have now – which historically depends upon employers to pick up the tab – fails to provide suitable controls to limit the skyrocketing costs (i.e., since you are not paying for your own health care, there is no incentive to keep the costs of your health care down).

John McCain’s plan imperfectly tries to deal with these two fundamental problems with our current system by attempting to sever the unhealthy relationship between employees, employers, and health care.  But even though it is ultimately inadequate, it is a FAR cry better than the Obama plan which would send costs soaring and result in a loss of jobs as employers are forced to cut costs.


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