Patterico's Pontifications

9/8/2011

Open Thread: President Downgrade Proposes That We Go Deeper Into Debt

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 4:22 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

I mean, what else is there to say about this? Right now he is telling us is how apparently shovel-ready the jobs are and how it will just work a million miracles.

Yeah, they were shovel-ready last time, but we didn’t like the smell of what he was shoveling.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Beyond the Obama-Hoffa kerfuffle

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 4:00 pm

[Posted by Karl]

We all had fun skewering the progressive hypocrisy over Teamster honcho Jimmy Hoffa, Jr.’s thuggish speech, but we should keep in mind the bigger picture behind Pres. Obama’s Labor Day appearance in Detroit.

In the 2012 election and beyond, GOP insiders want to win the Great Lakes/Rust Belt region.  Obama has already made it clear he will use the auto industry bailout, begun under Pres. George W. Bush, as one of the central pillars of his reelection campaign, especially in these critical battleground states. 

The Dems are going to tout a Center for Automotive Research study claiming the bailout saved over a million jobs, even though that study should be titled, “The Parable of the Broken Car Windows.”  Commandeering the bankruptcy process for the benefit of the UAW was not the only hope for GM and Chrysler and the long-term costs of the bailouts will be enormous.  Indeed, as bailouts go, the auto bailout was less successful than the bank bailout (which tells you how much this is about politics).

Ford, which did not get a bailout, is easily outperforming GM and Chrysler.  Although the Obama administration wanted to turn these companies into flagships of its green jobs initiative, sales of the electric Chevy Volt are almost comically dismal; GM and Chrysler are making their money selling SUVs and pickup trucks.  Indeed, while Obama blames our lackluster economy in part on the Japanese tsunami, the fact is that disaster helped US automakers.

As for Detroit itself, the official unemployment rate  was 14.1 percent in July; the true unemployment figure in the city might be as high as an astounding 50 percent.  The Big 3 automakers were the city’s top employers as recently as 2007; as of November 2010, the city’s five top employers were the Detroit Public School system; the City of Detroit; the Detroit Medical Center; the Henry Ford Health System (a non-profit, managed care health care organization); and the US government.  It gets worse:

Though unemployment decreased in 2010, the share of people without work for 26 weeks or longer reached 50 percent — a greater proportion than during the recession of 1983. Among jobless adults aged 25-54, 55 percent were out of work at least 26 weeks.

And 26.6 percent of jobs people found last year didn’t pay enough to support a family, causing Michigan to drop from fourth best in the nation in 2006 to 36th place for the number of well-paying jobs.

Writers at the Detroit News have called Obama’s “victory” lap a “farce,” noting of his Labor Day jaunt:

He parachuted into this city’s sanitized, heavily-securitized downtown square-mile of corporate headquarters and Whole Foods markets – safe from the murderous streets of the city’s other 138 square miles that have claimed 250 lives already this year and put Detroit on path for a staggering 50 per 100,000 residents murder rate in 2011.

Hoffa’s vulgar rhetoric at the event — and the White House non-reaction to it — may expose the Democrats as gross hypocrites, but Obama’s appearance in Detroit raises more serious questions: Why should people vote to re-elect a man who is so plainly the political tool of the Big Labor goons who drove GM and Chrysler off the cliff in the first place?  And why should people in the Great Lakes/Rust Belt region vote to empower a lame duck Obama agenda on the environment and energy calculated to kill jobs there?

–Karl

“This was a mutual relationship, mutual on all levels;” The Cautionary Tale of Monica Lewinsky

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:17 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

That is a particularly deluded line from this profile in the Daily Mail talking about Monica Lewinsky’s life, more than a decade after…  um… you know:

When Clinton’s memoir My Life came out in 2004, Miss Lewinsky spoke of her upset at its contents to the Daily Mail, saying rather than being a physical fling, it was a mutual relationship.

‘He could have made it right with the book, but he hasn’t. He is a revisionist of history. He has lied.

Bill Clinton?  Lied?  You’re kidding… Sadly, it goes on:

‘I really didn’t expect him to go into detail about our relationship’, she added. ‘But if he had and he’d done it honestly, I wouldn’t have minded.’

She believed he made it sound like the dalliance came only at her initiative and was purely physical.

‘He talked about it as though I had laid it all out there for the taking. I was the buffet and he just couldn’t resist the dessert.’

Clinton wrote that his affair with Monica revealed ‘the darkest part of my inner life’ and led to his temporary banishment from the White House bedroom.

He said on CBS’ 60 Minutes that he became involved with Lewinsky ‘for the worst possible reason. Just because I could.’

But according to Lewinsky at the time, ‘That’s not how it was. This was a mutual relationship, mutual on all levels, right from the way it started and all the way through.’

No, see Monica, you know that sex act you did for him, which was almost the exclusive way you two interacted sexually?  You know, the one we now call a “Lewinsky?”  That is the very opposite of mutuality.  You gave him pleasure and he gave you very little in return.  He was a selfish manchild, to be blunt.  And that bit about having that affair with you because he could, that was him actually telling something like the truth.  He used you because you let him, and even years after the fact, you don’t even understand that he used you.

But the real point isn’t to berate her.  Truthfully I hope she does manage to find happiness.  But for all the girls who actually crazily idolize this sort of thing, read the whole thing.  Read how empty her life has become and take it as the cautionary tale it should be.

Seriously, girls, you have to have more respect for yourself than to be that kind of woman.  I’m not saying you should be a nun, but to give your bodies away because someone is powerful or famous is just stupid; you just transform yourself into an object to be used.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Mike Whalen: Even Keynes Himself Would Not Have Approved of More Stimulus

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:51 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Interesting argument from a man whose theories are pretty diametrically opposed to my own:

I think John Maynard Keynes would be horrified at the slavish adherence to this simplistic strategy by so many policymakers and economic thinkers, as his theory was much more complex. This thinking might be correct under circumstances other than those in which we find ourselves. If the ratio of our national debt to gross domestic product was low – say 25 percent – and the federal government had run surpluses before the downturn, this college freshman-level Keynesian analysis would have great weight. Put another way, if Uncle Sam were a rock-solid financial entity with low debt to value and he had judiciously used debt for capital improvements that were accretive in value, as the biggest dog on the porch, a stimulus might work.

But with a national debt of more than $14 trillion and unfunded, future “off the books” debt of Social Security and Medicare combined at $104 trillion in present value, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve, Uncle Sam ain’t the man he used to be. This in turn makes American businesses that are sitting on a pile of cash focus on deleveraging. The American consumer is doing the same. In fact, from where I sit, it appears as though everyone except Uncle Sam is working like mad to strengthen his balance sheets. The legitimate fear across the country is that Washington’s refusal to join our common-sense parade will result in higher taxes, more regulations, more inflation and Japanese-style stagflation. In other words, Washington’s attempts at stimulus through spending are having the opposite effect. Businesses and consumers stay hunkered down.

And do read the whole thing.  It’s interesting stuff, but I think Whalen misses the significance of Keynes.  Keynes wasn’t followed because he was brilliant or right, but because it gave politicians the permission they were looking for to spend.  The idea isn’t to actually help so much as to look like you are helping.  If Keynes wasn’t the one to give the intellectual stamp of approval to spending, they would have found someone else.

At least that is how I see it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Caption Contest

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

Via Allahpundit on Twitter.

Perry’s Big “Gaffe” . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:17 am

. . . according to every pundit out there, was telling the truth.

He dared to label the Ponzi scheme of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.” He dared to stand by a true statement that he had made in the past.

I’m not much of a political analyst. Here’s what seems important to me: it was the truth. If we want truthful politicians, we should stand with a candidate who speaks the truth.

On this one, I’m standing with Rick Perry.

UPDATE: Keep in mind the definition of a “Ponzi scheme”:

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. . . .

The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors.

Nail, head, hit.

Burning Bloomberg on the Ban on Firefighters on the Tenth Anniversary of 9-11

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:09 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

I kind-of, sort-of understood the logic of excluding the clergy from 9-11 celebration.  By Bloomberg’s liberal logic, he probably thought that if he allowed any religious speakers, he had to allow for radical imams or something.  I am not saying I agree, but it was sort of…  expected.

But excluding firefighters and other first responders?  Seriously, what the frak?

So I was gratified to see this absolutely searing editorial by Michael Burke, the brother of a fire captain who died on 9-11.  Here’s a taste:

In our darkest hour, they gave us hope—the firefighters of September 11. In the chaos at the World Trade Center, the rigs pulled up, the men climbed out, retrieved their roll-up hoses and marched stalwart to the towers. Carrying nearly a hundred pounds of equipment they climbed the stairs; flight after flight after flight. A woman in the North Tower, descending from the 89th floor said, “When I saw the firemen I knew we would be all right.”

When they arrived at the base of the towers, there were jumpers by the score. Two firefighters, terribly, were struck. “There is no other way to put it,” an EMS who witnessed it said, “they exploded.”

And still they went in.

About ten years ago, now, they showed the world why they were called New York City’s Bravest.  They should have been included Mayor Fussypants.

Let’s all remember this next time the media sets him up as some kind of middle of the road kind of guy.

Oh, and go read that editorial.  You will thank yourself for it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


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