Walter Rhett

Archive for the ‘National Affairs’ Category

The Full Text of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary

In Business, Jobs, National Affairs on March 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — FEBRUARY 2012 (Click heading to view in a separate window, if not already being viewed in one. No tables are included. For text and tables, click here. Photos added, courtesy the Library of Congress FSA program.)

The Employment Situation — February 2012

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate
was unchanged at 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment rose in professional and businesses services, health care and social
assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining.

Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons, at 12.8 million, was essentially unchanged in
February. The unemployment rate held at 8.3 percent, 0.8 percentage point below
the August 2011 rate. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.7 percent),
adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (23.8 percent), whites (7.3 percent), blacks
(14.1 percent), and Hispanics (10.7 percent) showed little or no change in February.
The jobless rate for Asians was 6.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables
A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little
changed at 5.4 million in February. These individuals accounted for 42.6 percent of
the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

Both the labor force and employment rose in February. The civilian labor force
participation rate, at 63.9 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.6
percent, edged up over the month. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred
to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.1 million in
February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut
back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In February, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work,
and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.0 million discouraged workers in
February, about the same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in February had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding
the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See
table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February. Private-sector employment
grew by 233,000, with job gains in professional and business services, health care and
social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. Just over half of
the increase occurred in temporary help services (+45,000). Job gains also occurred in
computer systems design (+10,000) and in management and technical consulting services
(+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.4 million
since a recent low point in September 2009.

Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 over the month. Within
health care, ambulatory care services added 28,000 jobs, and hospital employment
increased by 15,000. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has risen by
360,000. In February, social assistance employment edged up (+12,000).

In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, with nearly all
of the increase in food services and drinking places (+41,000). Since a recent low in
February 2010, food services has added 531,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February. All of the increase occurred in
durable goods manufacturing, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000),
transportation equipment (+8,000), machinery (+5,000), and furniture and related
products (+3,000). Durable goods manufacturing has added 444,000 jobs since a recent
trough in January 2010.

In February, mining added 7,000 jobs, with most of the gain in support activities for
mining (+5,000). Since a recent low in October 2009, mining employment has increased
by 180,000.

Construction employment changed little in February, after 2 consecutive months of job
gains. Over the month, employment fell by 14,000 in nonresidential specialty trade

Overall, employment in retail trade changed little in February. A large job loss in
general merchandise stores (-35,000) more than offset an increase in January (+23,000).
Employment in motor vehicle and parts dealers continued to trend up in February.

Government employment was essentially unchanged in January and February. In 2011,
government lost an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.5 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 41.0 hours,
and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.8
hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.31. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings
have increased by 1.9 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector
production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.64.
(See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +203,000
to +223,000, and the change for January was revised from +243,000 to +284,000.


Security At Risk?

In Living, National Affairs on March 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Does benignly collected information, its gathering unknown to the groups and individuals being targeted, cross the line? Does the violation of privacy and rights occur only after the information is wrongfully, or rightly, used? Is the process part of the problem, not only the ends to which it is put?

The practical considerations of these questions have important impact in our democracy. They weigh the way we balance the activities of law and order and the guardianship of justice and liberty.

I see harm in information gathering before the commission of crimes as a precaution of security. First, the tendency of any organization is to use information it gathers, even if it means finding new ways to do so, seeing patterns that don’t exist, building non-existent intent, or justifying actions from whole cloth. J. Edgar Hoover did this with the information the FBI collected during Cointelpro, a program that secretly and surreptitiously monitored civil rights workers and activites, similar to the one operated by NYC. Even the tragic Tuskegee experiment, a secret health study, began with good intentions, but went irreparably wrong over its course. These examples are warnings and harbingers of the clear and present danger of gathering information when no crime is evident or pending.

Second, the broad gathering of information diverts resources from immediate issues. Information gathering can crowd out the way actual crimes are worked, in an effort to protect its secrecy.

Dean Baker On GOP Economic Alchemy

In National Affairs on January 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

394 Fifth Avenue, New York. 1911.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan drafted a response to the Congressional Budget Office’s recent study on inequality. This piece pulls out all the usual tricks. Most notably it:

a) argues that we should be focused on growth rather than inequality, failing to note that the U.S. economy is doing poorly by this metric also;

b) challenges the data showing growing inequality by saying the government data are wrong;

c) tries to divert attention to Medicare and Social Security raising the banner of generational war; and

d) ignores all the ways in which deliberate government policy has been responsible for the upward redistribution of income over the last three decades.

Representative Ryan’s first summary bullet point is:

“The question for policymakers is not how best to redistribute a shrinking economic pie.  The focus ought to be on increasing living standards, expanding the pie of economic opportunity, and promoting upward mobility for all.”

That sounds great, except the last three decades have not only been a period of rising inequality, they also have been a period of slower growth. According to the Commerce Department, in the 32 years from 1947 to 1979, when most of the population shared the gains from growth, per capita income rose at average annual rate of 2.6 percent. In the 31 years from 1979 to 2010, when most of the gains have gone to the top, growth in per capita income has averaged just 1.8 percent.

The difference in growth rates meant that in the first 32-year period average per capita income rose by 124.7 percent. In the last 31 years average per capita income has only grown by 71.8 percent. Not only have we done poorly in seeing a sharp upward redistribution over the last three decades, we also have slower growth to go along with the inequality. In other words, most people are seeing a smaller share of a less rapidly growing pie.

Next we get Representative Ryan challenging the data telling us that growth has actually been better than the official data show. This is a line that conservatives like to bring out whenever it is convenient.

First, it important to note that none of the claims that we have overstated inflation and therefore understated growth is new. In fact, much of the research in this area dates from the 60s. Given the improvements in measurement since the 60s, it is virtually certain that the consumer price index (the main measure of inflation) is a better measure of inflation today that it was 30 or 40 years ago. In other words, if the claim is that our measures understate the growth of the last three decades, they almost certainly understated growth by an even larger amount in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Also, it is worth noting that if we believe the claim that growth has been substantially understated, then we must have been much poorer in the recent past than the official data show. This would mean that those of us who grew up in middle-class households in the 50s and 60s were actually living below the current poverty line in our youth.

Ryan also gives us an argument that the poor have actually benefited more from reductions in prices than the wealthy. The study that he bases this assertion upon relies on the prices of a narrow group of goods and almost seems designed to capture the consumption patterns of comparison shoppersrather than the typical lower-income household.

Ryan also includes an interesting discussion where he tells readers that the poor really enjoy pretty much the same consumption patterns as the wealthy. If this were true, then presumably the wealthy would not care much if they saw big tax increases since their standard of living would be little affected.

Of course government data is not perfect. If Representative Ryan is really concerned about adjusting for the inadequacies of the data he may want to consider the fact that many of the least-well-off people are not included in government surveys. For example, the Current Population Survey (CPS), one of the most widely used surveys for measuring income, misses close to one-third of young African American men. It is likely that the men it misses have lower income and employment rates than the men it finds. This means that the data derived from the CPS likely understates inequality.

Representative Ryan also throws in the usual riff about the elderly making out like bandits because of Social Security and Medicare. This is rhetorical equivalent of throwing sand in people’s eyes.

Ryan says that transfer programs are less redistributive now than 30 years ago because these huge programs are not very redistributive. This is true, but that is not their purpose. These are insurance programs that are run through the government because it is more efficient to run them through the government. Both Social Security and Medicare have much lower administrative costs than their private-sector counterparts as has been documented numerous times by the Congressional Budget Office and others.

In the case of Social Security, which is modestly redistributive, the program is completely self-financed, so it should not affect the extent to which the rest of the government is redistributive. Medicare is drawing money from the rest of the budget, but this is primarily because we overpay providers. Representative Ryan is effectively pointing a finger at our country’s seniors and saying that they are getting too much in benefits because he is insisting on overpaying Pfizer for drugs and General Electric for its medical equipment.

If we got our prices in line with the rest of the world, Medicare taxes would be sufficient to pay for most Medicare benefits. The rational response would be to focus on getting prices down, not taking away benefits from the elderly — but that is the difference between class war and the generational war that Representative Ryan is trying to promote.

Finally, Representative Ryan is seriously wrong when he says:

“The primary means by which government policy directly affects income inequality is through the redistribution of wealth via taxes and transfer programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

This is not true. The government has pursued a wide range of policies over the last three decades that have had the predicted and actual effect of redistributing income upward. For example, it has adopted a trade policy that drives down the wages of much of the working population by putting U.S. manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in Mexico and China and other developing countries. By contrast, the most highly paid professionals, like doctors and lawyers, are still largely protected from the same sort of competition.

The government’s policy on labor-management relations has been one-sided pro-management. Management side violations of labor laws are routinely ignored or at worst punished with a slap on the wrist. By contrast, when unions violate labor laws (for example staging a secondary strike) their assets are typically impounded and their leaders are thrown in jail.

The government has hugely increased the strength of copyright and patent monopolies over the last three decades, both of which hugely benefit the wealthy. Patent protection on prescription drugs raises their price by more than $250 billion a year compared with the free market price, this is roughly five times as much money as is at stake with President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

In short, the rise in inequality over the last three decades can be traced to a long list of deliberate government policies. The head of the House Budget Committee should know this fact.

GOP Senators Call Judicial Filibuster Unconstitutional

In National Affairs, National Government on December 9, 2011 at 12:10 am

14 GOP Senators Slam Senate GOP’s ‘Unconstitutional’ Filibuster*

By Ian Millhiser  on Dec 7, 2011 at 11:00 am
“This article was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Discuss Their Understanding Of The Constitution

Yesterday, Senate Republicans voted nearly unanimously to block Caitlan Halligan’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Only Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) broke party linesto join the 54-45 vote to allow Halligan to move forward — leaving Halligan six votes short of what she needed to break the GOP filibuster.


The Senate GOP’s decision to filibuster Halligan earned wide rebukes from Senate Republicans*, many of whom slammed this decision to filibuster a judicial nominee as unconstitutional:

  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “I would never filibuster any President’s judicial nominee, period. I  might vote against them, but I will always see they came to a vote.”
  • Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA):“Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an   up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution   requires it.”
  • Tom Coburn (R-OK): “If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate  these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent.  That means you  got to have a vote if they come out of committee.  And that happened for  200 years.”
  • John Cornyn (R-TX): “We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I  believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this  unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his  judicial nominations.
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID): “Until this Congress, not one of the President’s nominees has been  successfully filibustered in the Senate of the United States because of  the understanding of the fact that the Constitution gives the President  the right to a vote.”
  • Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I  think filibustering judges will destroy the judiciary over time. I think  it’s unconstitutional”
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of  judges from 51 to 60, and that’s essentially what we’d be doing if the  Democrats were going to filibuster.”
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX): “[T]he Constitution envisions a 51-vote  majority for judgeships…. [Filibustering judges] amend[s] the  Constitution without going through the proper processes…. We have a  majority rule that is the tradition of the Senate with judges. It is the  constitutional requirement.”
  • Jon Kyl (R-AZ): “The  President was elected fair and square. He has the right to submit judicial  nominees and it is the Senate’s obligation under the Constitution to act  on those nominees.”
  • Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The Constitution of the United States is at stake.  Article II, Section 2  clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates  judges.  The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent.  But my  Democratic colleagues want to change the rules.  They want to  reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for  confirmation.”
  • Jeff Sessions (R- AL): “[The Constitution] says the Senate shall advise and consent on treaties by a  two-thirds vote, and simply ‘shall advise and consent’ on  nominations…. I think there is no doubt the Founders understood that to  mean … confirmation of a judicial nomination requires only a simple  majority vote.”
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL):“Why not  allow the President to do his job of selecting judicial nominees and let us do  our job in confirming or denying them? Principles of fairness call for it and the Constitution requires it.”
  • John Thune (SD): Filibustering judicial nominees “is contrary to our Constitution ….  It was the Founders’ intention that the Senate dispose of them with a simple majority vote.”

*All quotes are taken from when George W. Bush was president. But, of course, that doesn’t matter because — in the words of Cornyn — “we need to treat all nominees exactly the same, regardless of whether they’re nominated by a Democrat or a Republican president.”**

**Cornyn’s statement was also made when George W. Bush was president.

The Daily Dialogue: Economists on Occupy; Live Tweeting WWII, Planting Trees/Wangari Maathaii

In Business, Education, National Affairs, War on December 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Check out the Occupy movements views of economics by watching this short video.

Occupy Economics from Softbox on Vimeo.

Follow Daily Live Tweets of World War 2

Follow the web’s hottest trend: live tweeting World War II day by day, covering all the battles of World War II with links to primary sources. This important, massive project of war will continue for the next 6 years.

Plant a tree in memory of Wangari Maathai

Click here to see the story, “The Hummingbird,” told by Nobel Winner, Wangari Maathai

When Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, her goal was to plant 1 billion trees. October 28th, 2011 marks the Green Belt Movement’s launch of theI am the Hummingbird Campaign – a tree planting campaign seeking to honour the memory of Wangari Maathai by realizing her goal of seeing 1 billion trees planted around the world.

Take action to remember Wangari and her extraordinary work for the environment and women’s rights by planting a tree in her memory.  Visit the Green Belt Movement website to share your tree planting on their interactive map. You can also watch her ‘Be a Hummingbird’ video, which inspired the campaign.

The  Real Twins: The Romney Dialectic in 2 min.


The Union Leader Endorses Gingrich


The Perlo Economic Review

In Business, National Affairs on November 14, 2011 at 12:08 am

Label Them Paid In Full

I keep reading about moderates, conservatives, and liberals. But these words describe positions bounded by social policy. The real key is the candidates positions on political economy: how will the power of the state be used to tax, how will the state pay for its services and programs, how will the state fund its regulations and quality of life; how will the state exercise oversight of its billions in budget, how will it safeguard corruption, into whose hands will these billions fall? How will the state direct the private economy? How will the state provide for the general welfare?

Whether moderate, conservative, or liberal, anyone can be greedy. Examine the economic positions, see how the money flows.

The Wrong Beat

Daily, John Boehner posts on twitter the opposite and dishonest view that “uncertainty” or “deficits” “prevent” “job creators” from creating jobs–while never mentioning weak, non-existent demand, that large corporations are showing year on end record profits, that capital has its own instruments of wealth and its growth is not tied to labor (why should it be when our savings are available for almost free!), or explaining why his party wants to lease the Ohio turnpike, sell Wisconsin’s utilities, roll back workers rights, and in ME remove child labor restrictions.

How will these actions prime the economy or close the largest gap of income and wealth ever witnessed in US history? No one in the GOP offers charts or numbers to say. Their entire policy is built on blame and blind faith. Their agenda is to exploit democracy to consolidate power and privatize the public sector economy and its revenue and tax authority. Recession doesn’t affect the rich or their paid minions. It is totally incorrect to believe that elected Republicans care about the country as they mislead the rank and file.


Occam’s razor cuts both ways. Attention is riveted on the Euro-crisis, made worse by unsound policy that threatens to implode several countries. But it’s a good time to look away to countries that have high debt and taxes and are annually increasing their GNP and quality of life (wages, education, healthcare services, women’s equality) without an austerity program–or anything close to it.

The examples are close to home. Our neighbors to the south. Brasil, at number 7 in the world, along with 5 other South American countries ranked in the world’s top 45 economies, despite widespread corruption, labor inefficiencies, high taxes, poor infrastructure and trade barriers, are moving their citizens out of poverty, expanding wages and safety nets, and attracting investment. The “failed” policies that bear the brunt of GOP blame are meeting with spectacular success around the globe.

Despite large salaries and dedicated resources, US media fails to cover these countries in our backyard. The GOP fails to take note of their sustained success. The real failure is that the GOP can’t find a success that fits its warped ideology. In India, China, and throughout Southern Asia and Africa, not a single country with sustained growth has cut taxes and safety nets, abandoned infrastructure, underfunded education, neglected nutritional support for children. Nor have these countries created an internal neo-colonial model that uses democracy to transfer the entire economy into private hands. Local populations in Paraguay, Brasil, and Columbia have offered fierce resistance to protect land and resources.

[Brasil’s economy posted 7.5% growth in 2010 over the previous year, recording the fastest pace of expansion since 1986.]

The world has a strong resonance with the Occupy movement. In purpose, numbers, and vision, it dwarfs the Tea Party. It never gives the word, “failed.” a mike check. Not in any of the languages spoken in the more than 150 cities around the world that see tyranny in the consolidation of power and capital in the hands of an unresponsive few.

Look “Ya-ward” (Within Yourself)

In the current domestic climate, the world beyond the US is seen as laden with threats. Islamists, terrorists, rebel armies, socialists, militarists lurk in every corner. They wait to destroy American interests. We must be armed to the teeth! We must support tyrants who love us and serve as our proxies. We must tamp down freedom before its gets out of hand. So goes the scenario painted by the collective candidates.

It is telling that the business leaders and job makers who seek higher office only cite “fails” at home without putting forth any models of success abroad that America can learn from. How is it all of America’s failures are domestic and none seem to stretch across national borders? In the meantime, Brasil is first in farm products, Germany sustains high-end manufacturing, China revs up domestic consumption, African countries create infra-structure contracts and joint ventures, Asian countries have satellite high tech industries, the Philippines has call centers, and the US has turned strangely inward.

Bain & Co. identifies 8 emerging trends: the next billion consumers; new investments in old infrastructure; militarization following industrialization; growing output of primary products; greater investments in education and skills training; higher healthcare spending; soft innovations in consumer products; and new technologies.

But our economic plans call for strengthening the rich and living in fear on the empty promise of less.

In the mean while, the emerging trends will create a cool $27 trillion in new wealth.

Text and Video of President Obama’s Speech on American Jobs to a Joint Session of Congress

In Media, National Affairs, National Government on September 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 08, 2011
Address by the President to a Joint Session of Congress
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

7:09 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that’s made things worse.

This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share — where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in a while. If you did the right thing, you could make it. Anybody could make it in America.

For decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode. They have seen the decks too often stacked against them. And they know that Washington has not always put their interests first.

The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy. (Applause.) The question is — the question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.

Those of us here tonight can’t solve all our nation’s woes. Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.

I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans — including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything. (Applause.)

The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for long-term unemployed. (Applause.) It will provide — it will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. (Applause.) It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and if they hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away. (Applause.)

Everyone here knows that small businesses are where most new jobs begin. And you know that while corporate profits have come roaring back, smaller companies haven’t. So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for “job creators,” this plan is for you. (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill — pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or if they raise workers’ wages. Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year. (Applause.) If you have 50 employees — if you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.

It’s not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal. Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan. You should pass it right away. (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America. Everyone here knows we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over the country. Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world. It’s an outrage.

Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us a economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America? (Applause.)

There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work. There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school — and we can give it to them, if we act now. (Applause.)

The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows, installing science labs and high-speed Internet in classrooms all across this country. It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures. It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects all across the country. And to make sure the money is properly spent, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place. No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere. We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible. And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria: how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it will do for the economy. (Applause.)

This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat. The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization. It’s the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike. You should pass it right away. (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong. (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America’s veterans. We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. (Applause.)

Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and the dignity of a summer job next year. And their parents — (applause) — their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty.

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job. (Applause.) We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work. This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year. (Applause.) If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy. Democrats and Republicans in this chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past. And in this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again — right away. (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a $1,500 tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your pocket will go into your pocket. This expands on the tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year. If we allow that tax cut to expire — if we refuse to act — middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. We can’t let that happen. I know that some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away. (Applause.)

This is the American Jobs Act. It will lead to new jobs for construction workers, for teachers, for veterans, for first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed. It will provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief to small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle class. And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know: The American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for. And here’s how. (Applause.)

The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I am asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan — a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run. (Applause.)

This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months. In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law, it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts, by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. (Applause.) What’s more, the spending cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet right away.

Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns. But here’s the truth: Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it. (Applause.)

I am also — I’m also well aware that there are many Republicans who don’t believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows: While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and most profitable corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary — an outrage he has asked us to fix. (Laughter.) We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake and where everybody pays their fair share. (Applause.) And by the way, I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.

I’ll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington. By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. (Applause.) Our tax code should not give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process. But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?”

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? (Applause.) Right now, we can’t afford to do both.

This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. (Laughter.) This is simple math. These are real choices. These are real choices that we’ve got to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future. (Applause.)

Now, the American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away. But we can’t stop there. As I’ve argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future — an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security. We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every other country on Earth. (Applause.)

And this task of making America more competitive for the long haul, that’s a job for all of us. For government and for private companies. For states and for local communities — and for every American citizen. All of us will have to up our game. All of us will have to change the way we do business.

My administration can and will take some steps to improve our competitiveness on our own. For example, if you’re a small business owner who has a contract with the federal government, we’re going to make sure you get paid a lot faster than you do right now. (Applause.) We’re also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly growing startup companies from raising capital and going public. And to help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent. That’s a step — (applause) — I know you guys must be for this, because that’s a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices.

So, some things we can do on our own. Other steps will require congressional action. Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need. Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition. (Applause.) If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. (Applause.) I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words: “Made in America.” That’s what we need to get done. (Applause.)

And on all of our efforts to strengthen competitiveness, we need to look for ways to work side by side with America’s businesses. That’s why I’ve brought together a Jobs Council of leaders from different industries who are developing a wide range of new ideas to help companies grow and create jobs.

Already, we’ve mobilized business leaders to train 10,000 American engineers a year, by providing company internships and training. Other businesses are covering tuition for workers who learn new skills at community colleges. And we’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root not in China or Europe, but right here, in the United States of America. (Applause) If we provide the right incentives, the right support — and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules — we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that we sell all around the world. That’s how America can be number one again. And that’s how America will be number one again. (Applause.)

Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations. (Applause.)

Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I’ll work with you, with Congress, to root it out. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that do put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. (Applause.) That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years. (Applause.) We should have no more regulation than the health, safety and security of the American people require. Every rule should meet that common-sense test. (Applause.)

But what we can’t do — what I will not do — is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. (Applause.) I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. (Applause.) We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe we can win that race. (Applause.)

In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everybody’s money, and let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own — that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America.

Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and the envy of the world.

But there’s always been another thread running throughout our history — a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.

We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party. But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future — a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad — (applause) — launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges. (Applause.) And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.

Ask yourselves — where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways, not to build our bridges, our dams, our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the G.I. Bill. Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance? (Applause.)

How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? (Applause.) How many Americans would have suffered as a result?

No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. And members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities. (Applause.)

Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for. And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities.

Now, I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan — or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.

But know this: The next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here — the people who hired us to work for them — they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months. (Applause.) Some of them are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, even day to day. They need help, and they need it now.

I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It should not be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it — to be persistent — to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.

Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we will have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it. (Applause.) And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country. (Applause.) And I ask — I ask every American who agrees to lift your voice: Tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option. Remind us that if we act as one nation and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.

President Kennedy once said, “Our problems are man-made –- therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.”

These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and let’s show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

Thank you very much. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

7:43 P.M. EDT

Watch the video of the President’s speech:

CBO Director’s Blog: The Macroeconomic Impact of Deficit Reduction

In National Affairs on July 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm

The Macroeconomic and Budgetary Effects of an Illustrative Policy for Reducing the Federal Budget Deficit

Adopting a deficit reduction plan would have three kinds of effects on the budget. One would be the direct effect of the plan’s changes to spending and revenues. A second effect would be a reduction in interest payments by the government, as smaller deficits would result in lower federal debt. A third effect would result from the fact that smaller deficits would affect the economy in various ways, in turn leading to further changes in federal spending and revenues.

At the request of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, CBO has estimated the magnitude of that third effect, using as an example an “illustrative policy” that would reduce budget deficits by $2.0 trillion over the next 10 years. That analysis is intended to help policymakers assess the broad economic and budgetary consequences of potential policies, beyond the standard budget estimates.

The illustrative policy that CBO analyzed does not incorporate any assumptions about the particular mix of spending or revenue changes, is not meant to correspond to any specific legislative proposal, and does not represent a recommendation by CBO as to the desirable amount of deficit reduction.

What is the “illustrative policy” that CBO analyzed?

The illustrative policy would reduce primary deficits by a cumulative $2.0 trillion between 2012 and 2021 relative to CBO’s baseline projections, before taking account of any economic effects of the policy. (The primary deficit is the total budget deficit excluding net interest payments.) CBO assumed that the deficit reductions, excluding economic effects and interest savings, would start at $100 billion in 2012 and increase gradually until they reached $300 billion in 2021.

How would a reduction of $2.0 trillion in primary deficits affect total deficits before taking into account the macroeconomic effects of the policy?

A $2.0 trillion reduction in future deficits would result in lower federal debt than is currently projected, thus reducing the government’s interest costs. Taking into account those savings in interest, CBO estimates that the illustrative policy would lower deficits by a total of $2.4 trillion over the 2012–2021 period, under an assumption that those budgetary changes would have no effect on the economy. A policy that reduced primary deficits by the same amount but with different timing than assumed in CBO’s analysis would result in different interest savings.

How would the illustrative policy affect the economy?

Budgetary changes would affect the economy—in differing ways in the short term and over the medium term and long term. In the short term, while the economy is relatively weak and economic growth is restrained primarily by a shortfall in demand for goods and services, the policy would decrease the demand for goods and services even further and thus reduce economic output and income. Long-term interest rates would be lower than if the deficit reduction did not occur.

Over the medium term and long term, a reduction in primary budget deficits would induce greater national saving and investment, thereby boosting economic output and income. Long-term interest rates would be lower than they would be without such deficit reduction.

Because considerable uncertainty surrounds many of the economic relationships that are fundamental to this analysis, CBO used a range of assumptions about the short-term effects on output of changes in federal spending and taxes and about the effects on national saving and investment of changes in deficits. CBO varied those assumptions so that effects on output were smaller, medium-sized, or larger.

CBO estimated the effects of the illustrative policy relative to the current-law assumptions underlying CBO’s baseline projections, finding the following:

  • Lower demand resulting from the illustrative policy would decrease real (inflation-adjusted) gross national product (GNP) in 2012, 2013, and 2014 by amounts ranging from roughly 0.1 percent to 0.6 percent depending on the year and the assumptions used. In addition, long-term interest rates would be reduced by about 0.1 to 0.4 percentage points during those years.
  • Beyond 2014, the illustrative policy would lead to gains in GNP that increased over time.
  • Near the end of the decade, from 2019 through 2021, GNP would increase by roughly 0.5 percent to 1.4 percent, again depending on the year and the assumptions used. Long-term interest rates would be reduced by about 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points.

What would be the resulting effects on the budget?

The changes in the economy would in turn affect the federal budget. CBO estimated the budgetary implications of the illustrative policy’s macroeconomic effects using an approach that takes into account changes in GNP, interest rates, and other factors. Specifically, CBO’s analysis indicates the following:

  • Effects on Primary Deficits: The macroeconomic effects of the illustrative policy would increase primary deficits by small amounts in the first part of the coming decade and reduce them by small amounts in the latter part of the decade. Because the gains in GNP generated by the policy would increase further beyond the decade, the reduction in primary deficits would continue to grow as well.
  • Effects on Interest Costs: The macroeconomic effects would reduce federal interest payments—over and above the reduction attributable to the lower levels of debt that would result from the policy—because the policy would lead to lower interest rates (relative to those underlying CBO’s baseline projections) in every year. Those savings would be much larger than the net savings arising from the changes in primary deficits induced by the macroeconomic effects of the policy, and would also continue to grow beyond the end of the decade.
  • Total Budgetary Effects: Under the set of assumptions that imply medium-sized effects of the illustrative policy on output, the macroeconomic effects of the policy would reduce deficits by about $185 billion over and above the $2.4 trillion reduction in primary deficits and interest costs estimated before accounting for the macroeconomic effects. Therefore, the illustrative $2.0 trillion reduction in primary deficits (relative to CBO’s baseline projections) would yield a total reduction in deficits of about $2.6 trillion from 2012 through 2021.

Cumulative Reduction in Deficits Under an Illustrative Policy, With and Without Its Macroeconomic Effects (Billions of dollars)


How did CBO account for uncertainty in the estimates?

CBO used a range of assumptions about the effects on output and investment. Even so, the macroeconomic impact of a reduction in primary budget deficits of $2.0 trillion could lie outside the range of estimates reported here, depending on the specific policies chosen, the future state of the economy, and numerous other factors. The magnitude of the impact of future deficit reduction on interest rates is especially uncertain.

Would alternative scenarios for deficit reduction generate different macroeconomic effects and resulting budgetary effects?

Alternative scenarios for deficit reduction would generate different macroeconomic effects and resulting budgetary effects. For example, a policy that had a different amount of cumulative reduction in primary deficits but that reduced deficits on the same gradual time path as the policy analyzed here would have macroeconomic and budgetary effects that would differ by roughly the same percentage as did the cumulative amount of deficit reduction. Thus, for example, a reduction in primary deficits that followed the same gradual time path but was twice as large would produce macroeconomic effects that were roughly twice as large as those shown here.

A different policy that had the same amount of cumulative reduction in primary deficits but that reduced deficits more slowly than the policy analyzed here would have more favorable macroeconomic effects in the next few years but less favorable ones later in the decade. The total budgetary impact of slower deficit reduction would be smaller, for two reasons. First, the policy’s impact on interest rates would be smaller. Second, because the reduction in debt would occur more slowly, the resulting savings in interest costs would have less time to compound.

How would the estimates be different if they were calculated relative to a scenario other than CBO’s baseline?

Applying the illustrative deficit reduction policy to a scenario in which deficits were assumed to be larger or smaller than those in CBO’s current-law baseline would yield somewhat different estimates of the policy’s macroeconomic and budgetary effects. For example, if the starting point involved greater amounts of debt than are projected in CBO’s baseline, as is the case in the alternative fiscal scenario described in CBO’s 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook, a given reduction in interest rates under the illustrative policy would result in a modestly larger reduction in interest costs. For this and other reasons, the budgetary implications of the macroeconomic effects would be modestly larger in total.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 14th, 2011 at 3:46 pm and is filed under Budget Projections, Macroeconomic Analysis.

“Strike the Last Word:” Videos and Links to Today’s News

In National Affairs, Perlo on May 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm

“Strike the Last Word,” is a motion used by members of the US House in order to obtain time (5 minutes) to address the House on particular issues.
Some things never change. see this oldie but still true DNC clip on social security.

A quick look from Anita Perry on the jobs we need.

Richard Pryor’s comedy skit, The First Black President, was produced 32 years ago. It has an eerie resemblance to the issues that swirl around Barack Obama today. Look for Robin Williams, Masha Warfield, Tim Reid, and Sandra Bernhart in the sketch.

Leave a comment.  Share your reaction after you are through laughing and marveling at how close Pryor comes to the real thing and why his comedy was timeless.


The greatest lawyer in South Carolina history died on Friday, July 29, 2011. Judge Matthew J. Perry, Jr. was one of the greatest lawyers in the history of the Southern civil rights movement. He almost single-handed guided South Carolina into the modern era, ending the priactice of legal racial separation known as segregation. He dampened violence and hostile confrontation by using the courts again and again to open the doors to public and higher education, public accomodations, voting, employment, and the legal system, winnning landmark case after case to forever chase the face of the state. Click the link below to see profounding moving tributes by State Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal, US Congress member Jim Clyburn, and US Circuit Court Judge John Anderson, among others. The sermon is a powerful example of Southern homiletics by one of the state’s most gifted preachers. The video, recorded by the state’s ETV network, is unique as oral history, in telling the story of segreagation at the funeral of the man most engaged in overturning its legal structure within South Carolina.
Click here to see the tribute video and web page.

The video clip below captures Rep. Clyburns remarks during the House debate over the debt ceiling bill.

Jon Stewart after the verdict stretches a point and strikes his best politcal best from left field.

The UN Makes Rape a Crime of War, A Historic First for the International Criminal Tribunal

US House of Representative Member, Gwen Moore, WI, discusses defunding Planned Parenthood in light of her own pregnancy at 18.

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The Anti-Obama Buzz

In National Affairs, War on May 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Barack Obama sitting in the White House patio.

(Click title or pix for separate web page viewing.)

Even Rush Limbaugh and Beck are not disputing ben Laden is dead. But dueling conspiracy theories offer options on which to hang public disbelief. Here’s part of the anti-Obama buzz. A comment opened the dispute:

“I always find it surprising how many hate the president because he is half white”

Wrong, he is despised by people in the know because he is ALL incapable and totally inept. Even this could be forgiven if he wasn’t supremely arrogant on top of it all.
There is NOTHING worse then someone who simply doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. This is the single most glaring character flaw of this pathetic wannabe leader.

Another comment:

He brings nothing to the office of president and under his (lack of) leadership we have languished in a lengthy recession and due to his insane policies we have seen the price of gasoline skyrocket to about $4.15 per gallon.

He is laughed at; ridiculed for his arrogance and pomposity and look upon with amazement for his total tone deaf political stances. The political bump he gets off the backs of the great military will be short lived and when we go to fill our cars up and have to pay over $80.00 his numbers will be again where they deserve to be, in the toilet. When people see again and again as they shop for food how the prices have shot up they will be reminded of how empty this presidents suit really is.

Strikingly, both comments are apolitical. The writers ignore the President’s wish to rise taxes on the rich, penalize fossil fuel consumption, regulate Wall Street, or openly accept same sexual orientation in the military—or invade a foreign country with a small military team hoping to find Usama ben Laden, without knowing for sure he was there. They seethe at Barack Obama’s “arrogance and pomposity.” He is “despised” because he is “supremely arrogant,” “pathetic,” “incapable,” and a “flawed” “wannabe.”

I’ve learned that people express what matters; and it’s him—Barack at the top is “NOTHING.” They seem—inconsolable, empty of trust and filled with loathing and fear.

 Last week, Barack disarmed the ludicrous with the playful, chiding Don Trump. Trump’s scatological cursing of the Chinese and feudal claims of oversight of the Middle East burned up Twitter before ben Laden’s death. Obama played the dozens on The Donald’s pride and clowned on Trump’s prowess, suggesting he find Biggy and Tupac.

Across the internet is bad news with bad karma hovering over a bad, failed person, Barack. The echo of counterfeit truth in these statements is not about Barack. It is about those in our company who fear him beyond race because of race. Race would make him real, like us, sharing dreams, grieving, loving. Barack has to be beyond grief or love. So with confidence, they declare race isn’t it. Nor can he be tender or fearless.

Many in our midst seethe at his (I’m quoting from this week’s NYT comments) “arrogance and pomposity.” He is “despised” because he is “supremely arrogant,” “pathetic,” “incapable,” and a “flawed” “wannabe.” Inconsolable, empty of trust and filled with loathing and fear, across the internet such formulas echo of counterfeit truth.

Many fear him beyond race because of race. While declaring race isn’t it, Obama must be diminished: he wears the thousand masks of our fears. We must make him a victim. He laughs at us as we condemn what lies in our own hearts. Having been socialist, Muslim, a taqiyya, by what new insanity can he chose, a scholar asks, “laughter over lamentation, making fun of his refusal to conform?” Even his innocence is double edged. Obama gets the joke: weare burdened by his yoke. His laughter resists on our behalf, but it compromises the social order; Trump called it “inappropriate.”

Conservatives are making every effort to numb the national conversation by making the attack intense, singular and personal, and increasing the tension and blame. Their talking points mask their psychic flaw: the greater the falsehood the more the canting person believes it to be true. “Disgusting,” Glenn Beck wildly called the President’s plan to visit Ground Zero. His revulsion reminds us that fear has one important political utility: fear feeds on itself.

What we are witnessing is classic textbook class warfare; economic battles fought in cultural and political terms. The unemployed are the new lupen; the budget, the new declaration. But read the document. Look at the numbers. The war is conducted for the singular goal of profit and power put out of the common reach.

The President and the National Security Team Monitoring the Insertion of Navy SEAL team 6.

After Obama’s surgical strike, conservatives are making every effort to numb the national conversation. The talking points mask the blind parts of its psychic flaw: the greater the denial and contradictions, the more the character invests in its beliefs. In other words, the greater the falsehood the more the canting person believes it to be true. That’s why conservatives ignore the fact that it was an act of state sponsored assassination that raised the threat risk around the world.

“Anybody can give the order,” the comments run. By this calculus, ben Laden wasn’t important since both he and Obama did the same thing: give the order for others to kill. “Disgusting,” Glenn Beck called the President’s plan to visit Ground Zero. His revulsion reminds us that fear has one important political utility: fear feeds on itself.

A reader writes below of the countermeasure: “it adds faith that Obama is taking this fire from us and keeping the flame alive in his heart.”

A truly scary thought is that Obama’s “arrogrance” may stem from his rock solid comfort with his own humilty.

Better grab a clutch of pink flamingos.

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