Sunday, March 3, 2013

Obama's Presidency

* The Economy. In his Inaugural speech, President Obama said: "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." In Obama's first 3 1/2 years in office, median household income dropped $4019.00, adjusted for inflation. Unemployment: 7.9%. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses a broader measure and has unemployment at 14.4%. In nine prior recessions, the loss of jobs was recouped in 24 months. Under Obama, it is estimated it will take 80 months. (Data from IBD, 2/4 and 2/15/13.) Although I think that under Obama we are probably looking at permanently higher unemployment, as we become more like the Europeans in every way.

While the unemployed today may equal in number the unemployed during the Great Depression, it is less obvious and apparent. No bread lines or soup kitchens. Just a vast increase in unemployment benefits, food stamps, Social Security disability, and other "benefits." But this does not make for a healthy economy. It requires an ever increasing demand for new tax revenue, which is what we constantly hear from Obama. But we know the President is doing all he can to create jobs, as he told us: "My economic agenda...begins with jobs," (Jan., 2009); "This is my Administration's over-riding focus," (Nov., 2009); "We are going to have a sustained and relentless focus over the next several months on accelerating the pace of job creation, because that's priority No. 1," (Jan., 2010); "Our No. 1 focus has to be jobs, jobs, jobs," (Sept., 2010); "My singular focus over the next two years is...jump-starting the economy so that we actually start making a dent in the unemployment rate," (Dec., 2010); "My principal focus, my No. 1 focus, is going to be making sure that we are...creating jobs not just now but well into the future," (Jan., 2011); "Our top priority has to be jobs and growth" (Nov., 2012). So what happened to all the jobs that Obama was going to create? Here are a few choices: 1. Obama has never had a real world job and has no idea how jobs are created, 2. Obama is an ideologue, and as such, really does not care that his policies have had a negative impact on job creation, 3. It's all Bush's fault. I'm going with numbers 1 and 2, but I know my liberal friends will always and forever go with number 3.

"Narrowing the income gap is essential for ensuring social justice and social harmony. We need to raise income levels of the poor and adjust taxes on the excessively wealthy." While it sounds like something Obama might have said (which he has in other ways) this quote is actually from the The State Council of the People's Republic of China. (IBD 2/28/13 article by Ralph Reiland.) The same article notes that South Korea, a free and capitalist society for six decades, has a per capita income of $19614. as of 2008. Anti-capitalist, government run North Korea had per capita income of $1122. (Bush's fault?) The quote from Obama at the beginning of this post is not unlike China's desired policy. But, as Winston Churchill said: Capitalism is the "unequal sharing of blessings," while socialism is the "equal sharing of misery." South Korea versus North Korea - the same people with vastly different outcomes; capitalism vs. socialism.

* Obamacare. Any company with 50 or more "full time equivalent workers" must offer health insurance to employees who work greater than 30 hours per week. (But the law treats two 15 hour per week employees as one full time worker.) So here's a shock: in order to avoid a penalty of $2000. per employee if they do not offer insurance, smaller employers are keeping their workforce under 50 employees. It bears noting that smaller employers are generally the ones that lead in job growth. Of late, however, job growth has been limited to part-time jobs. Many companies are keeping their employees at 29 hours per week. According to a report (cited in the 2/23-2/24/13 Wall Street Journal) the franchise industry (many fast food restaurants) estimates the cost of Obamacare to be $6.4 billion, with 3.2 million of their employees being "at risk" (presumably for losing their jobs or having a cut in hours). Clearly, Obamacare will be a drain on the employment sector. The question is: still Bush's fault?

In what some will argue is a mere coincidence, The LA Times (2/10/13 edition) announced that the state of California "lacks doctors to fill needs." And why wouldn't it? More people now "insured," older doctors not wanting to deal with the new law, and potential future doctors not wanting to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical school debt for a job that will pay less and have greater government control. So one proposal is that physician assistants, optometrists and even pharmacists be given greater power in treating patients. Same quality of healthcare? I remain amazed that there are still those who believe that Obamacare was about improving the quality of care.

Did you know that a family of four with modified adjusted gross income of $93,000. may qualify for a credit of $445. per month to help pay for their health coverage? That equates to an estimated 2.6 million Californians qualifying for some premium subsidies. Meanwhile, with all the "mandates" in the law as to what every policy must cover, one wonders who will be able to even afford insurance. (The mandates include: no charge for "preventive" services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, pediatric dental and vision care, "habilitative services" (to teach new skills to people); as well as limits on maximum out of pocket costs and deductibles. From the 2/22/13 IBD.) Think insurance companies won't raise their rates to cover their added expenses? Or do you believe in free lunches? Remember "if you like your insurance plan you'll be able to keep it?" So said Obama. Pelosi said: "we have to pass the bill to see what's in it." Well, now that they passed it without reading it, and the President signed it without reading it, and the Supreme Court upheld it without reading it, we do get to see what's in it. And it's becoming more and more clear that only the wealthy are going to be able to afford private insurance. The rest of us will get whatever the government gives us. Except for the President and Congress as they always exempt themselves from legislation that is good enough for the rest of us, however.

* Obama or Nixon? We all know that Nixon had his "enemies" list. We also know that the people at Fox News are at the top of Obama's enemies list. (If you cannot think of anything to support that last comment go back and read the 2/3/13 post entitled "Media Bias, Part IV.") It turns out, however, that also on Obama's enemies list is that liberal icon of Watergate fame, Bob Woodward. While Obama has been criticizing Republicans for the sequester, Woodward had the temerity to point out that Obama lied when he said he did not propose the sequester. Said Woodward, a White House aid "yelled at me for about a half-hour," and then ending with "I think you will regret staking out that claim." Obama and his administration officials were busy scaring the country about how the sequester would negatively impact every aspect of our lives, while Woodward pointed out that under Obama the feds added 130,000 high paying government jobs; and Obama continues to "campaign" around the country in Air Force One (at a cost of $180,000. per hour). Said Woodward: "So now we have the President going out (and saying) 'Because of this piece of paper and this agreement, I can't do what I need to do to protect the country.' That's a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time."

But Fox and Woodward are not the only ones on the White House enemies list. Former adviser to President Clinton, Lanny Davis, is also on the list. Aside from sometimes appearing on Fox, Davis writes a column in the Washington Times that is sometimes critical of Obama. Davis claims that White House officials warned that the paper might be punished with limited access and even have their White House credentials revoked. USA Today claims some of its reporters have been subject to the same treatment. Ron Fournier of the National Journal said: "I received several e-mails and telephone calls from (a) White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat." The IBD reports that prior to Obama's first inauguration, a White House press aide warned them to back off of their aggressive coverage. (Quotes and information in above two paragraphs from the 3/1/13 IBD.)

Woodward and Bernstein were the type of "investigative journalists" that undoubtedly encouraged many to enter journalism schools. Today's reporters and journalists? How many have questioned the Obama Administration's weeks of lies about what was behind the Benghazi attack? How many cared about Fast and Furious? How many are asking about the drones flying over the USA; or about the Department of Homeland Security purchasing 1.6 BILLION rounds of ammunition? How many dare ask: "Mr. President, the sequester will only cut $85 billion dollars out of a $3.8 trillion dollar budget. Couldn't you cut back on some of those high paying jobs you have created? Why did you refuse the Republicans' offer to give you the power to choose what to cut?"

Remember when Obama promised to have the most "transparent" administration in our country's history? Did you think "transparent" meant "the press shall only report what I want them to report?" (My phrase.) I know that at least one of my liberal readers will be able to explain to me how Obama's Nixon-like tactics are...Bush's fault!