Friday, July 15, 2011

Newest Fox News piece: Seven Myths About the Looming Debt-Ceiling 'Disaster'

My newest piece starts this way:

If Congress and the president don't raise the debt ceiling, the consequences will be disastrous, politicians and pundits tell us, -- the equivalent of an economic Armageddon. And President Obama warns that the consequences are so dire that he cannot possibly tolerate any delay in making an agreement. He announced yesterday that any debt deal must be completed by today, July 15th.
According to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, failure to raise the debt ceiling limit will cause the United States to default and "cause a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover.”
On Thursday, he renewed these warnings. And President Obama alarmed retired Americans this week: "I cannot guarantee that those [Social Security] checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."
But the list of terrible things to come, if the government is stopped from continued deficit spending, goes on. Failure to raise the ceiling, it is warned, will dramatically raise mortgage interest rates, cause housing sales to plunge, create panic on world financial markets, and destroy the value of the dollar.
Austan Goolsbee, Obama's head of his Counsel of Economic Advisers, went so far this week as to blame the continued slow economic recovery on those few politicians who are against raising the debt ceiling. "[I]t's important we remove this wet blanket of uncertainty that is permeating the private sector where they don't know that the government -- there are people actively advocating that the government declare it's not going to pay its bills," he told MSNBC. Yet, the slow recovery has been going on for over two years, well before Republicans obtained control of the House of Representatives.
A new CBS News/New York Times poll finds that Americans oppose increasing the debt ceiling, by a 69 to 24 percent margin.
Mr. Obama dismissed this finding recently and, as usual, he believes he knows better. According to him, Americans just don't understand the complexities of the arguments: "Let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury (bond) auction goes. They shouldn't. . . . They've got a lot of other things on their plate. We're paid to worry about it. . . . Now, I will say that some of the professional politicians know better. And for them to say that we shouldn't be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. They know better."
But the general public is right. There is an overload from all the doomsday predictions. Earlier this year, before the debt limit was hit on May 21, the Obama administration already used the same scare tactics.
Here's a look at seven myths that the Obama administration is pushing on the American people: . . .

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Newest New York Post piece: Canada's cold proof: Job growth without 'stimulus'

My piece at the New York Post starts this way:

President Obama insists that our sluggish recovery would've been even worse without his $830 billion "stimulus." Last Friday, the White House released a report purportedly showing that passage of the "stimulus" created up to 3.6 million jobs (even though the economy actually lost 1.8 million jobs since then).

But if Obama's program -- including a 28 percent hike in spending since 2008 and more than $4 trillion in deficits -- worked so well, why has our unemployment rate risen more since those policies were adopted than have the rates of the European Union, South America, Japan, Australia or New Zealand?

Just look north: The recession hit Canada hard. Because its economy and ours are connected, our unemployment rates moved similarly from July 2008 until the "stimulus" passed; both countries' rates were 6.1 percent in August 2008 and rose in lockstep through February 2009, to around 8 percent. . . .

Obama's top campaign adviser says that unemployment won't be very important in the 2012 election.

“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said, according to Bloomberg. “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?’ ” . . .

Obama's Press Secretary, Jay Carney, expanded on this point:

JAKE TAPPER, ABC NEWS: "Lastly, comments by Senior Adviser David Plouffe were criticized today. Earlier this week, he said, quote, “The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers. 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?”
And Republican front runner Mitt Romney said that those comments were — he suggested they were out of touch, and he said that if Plouffe worked for him, he would fire him."

JAY CARNEY: "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. 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. They talk about how they feel their own economic situation is. And they measure it by whether they have a job, whether they have job security; whether their house – whether they’re meeting their house payment, whether their mortgage is underwater; whether they have the money to pay for their children’s education or they don’t; whether they’re dealing with a sick parent and can afford that, or whether they can’t.
They do not sit around analyzing The Wall Street Journal or other — or Bloomberg to look at the — you know, analyze the numbers. Now, maybe some folks do, but not most Americans. I think that’s the point David Plouffe was making; that’s the point the president was making just moments ago in his statement in the Rose Garden."

A copy of Obama's remarks from today is available here. Can't Obama say something new once and a while? Meanwhile the Obama administration has "new talking points" and is blaming Congress for the slow recovery.

"This jobs report and the last one should be calls to action, let's stop with the bickering, let's do at least those things we can agree on," White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said on MSNBC.

When President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden Friday to address the latest jobs report, he was a little more circumspect and lighter on the blame.

To get serious on jobs, Obama said Congress should create an infrastructure bank, pass three trade agreements, pass patent reform and extend the payroll tax cut.

"I urge Congress not to wait," Obama said.

Goolsbee, sounding way more exasperated, echoed the same points on cable later but took it further, blaming "bickering" by "folks in Washington."

"My point is, if we get numbers like the ones we've seen, which reiterate how important it's going to be that we get the growth rate back up to what it was for the previous 15 months so we can add millions of jobs, we need to stop with the bickering," he said. . . .

Just take the trade agreements. Obama could get these passed by just forwarding them to Congress, but OBAMA HASN'T FORWARDED them. He wants to have a side piece of legislation that would give money to those who might lose their jobs from foreign competition. But Obama failed to mention his role in not getting this passed.

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