Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

About Obama’s big economics speech

The president gave a speech today in Cleveland about his economic plans and policies. Here’s one reaction (via The Hill):

“President Obama and others in Washington need to realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity and that to in order to create jobs, we need to address unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas and enact policies that allow us to take advantage of our vast natural resources such as coal and natural gas in a safe and responsible manner which will lower energy costs and create jobs. Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline would be a good first step.”

And that’s from a Democrat — Pennsylvania congressman Mark Critz.

When Obama said today he would “work with anyone of any party” to improve the economy, I guess he didn’t mean Critz. Or the entire GOP caucus, which has been saying the same thing as Critz for a couple of years now.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Obama flops with ‘private sector is doing fine’

Oh, boy. President Obama and his supporters will be hearing this line for a while:

“The private sector is doing fine.”

Obama made that remark during a press briefing today about the U.S. and European economies. Now, he and his supporters will almost certainly counter that the line is being taken out of context. Via ABC News’ Jake Tapper, here is that context:

“We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last … 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone,” the president said, “the private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility of the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”

Michael Scherer of Time notes that Obama and the Democrats did not give John McCain the same benefit of context when they …

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Poll Position: Lower sales taxes on Georgia-made products?

Today we’ll continue our series of ballot questions for next month’s primary and look at a query that will face Democratic primary voters. As reported by Peach Pundit, the fourth question on Democratic ballots will be:

Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on Made in Georgia products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state?

From a political standpoint, this is a fascinating concept for a party doomed to be a  legislative minority until at least the next redistricting in 10 years: Democrats aren’t often associated with tax cuts; this runs counter to Georgia Republicans’ stated goal of flattening and simplifying the tax code (although it fits perfectly with what they’ve actually done); and it carries a whiff of populism and whatever the state version of nationalism is.

Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on Made in Georgia products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state?

  • No (43 Votes)
  • Yes (21 Votes)
  • I don’t know (3 Votes)

Total …

Continue reading Poll Position: Lower sales taxes on Georgia-made products? »

We’re going to need more leaders to make ‘tough decisions’

From Wisconsin to the West Coast, voters Tuesday sent a message: The era of gold-plated pay packages for civil servants is coming to an end.

Actually, they sent two messages. The other is voters will support elected leaders who act to fix fiscal crises. There could be no better signal sent to politicians everywhere in this election year.

In San Jose, a ballot measure limiting pension benefits for new city hires, as well as those for current workers going forward, got 70 percent of the vote. In San Diego, a similar initiative won by a 2-to-1 margin.

And in Wisconsin, 2012’s most intense state contest saw Gov. Scott Walker, who pushed through public-sector union reforms last year, resoundingly beat back a recall attempt backed by Big Labor. His 7-point win represented a larger share of a larger turnout than in 2010.

None of these locales is a hotbed of conservatism: In 2008, Barack Obama won all three by double digits. Yet, their voters Tuesday made clear that public workers, …

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A very bad 12 hours for the Obama campaign

The Obama campaign is fast running out of bullets.

The double-whammy of Bill Clinton’s remarks last night — about Mitt Romney’s “sterling business career” — and the abysmal job-creation numbers that came out this morning has got to force some soul-searching from the West Wing to Hyde Park.

The Obama campaign will look simply foolish trying to continue peddling its attacks on Romney’s years at Bain Capital after what Clinton said on CNN last night:

In case you didn’t/can’t watch, here’s the gist:

So I don’t think that we ought to get in the position where we say this is bad work, this is good work. I think, however, the real issue ought to be what has Governor Romney advocated in the campaign that he will do as president? What has President Obama done and what does he propose to do? How do these things stack up against each other, that’s the most relevant thing. There’s no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the …

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Share of working-age Americans with a job is the lowest in decades

In the debate about whether the headline unemployment rate tells the whole story about the labor market, here’s another data point indicating there’s more than meets the eye. From the Washington Post:

The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects.

By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics.

Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent.

The story explains once more why the headline unemployment rate, which has held steady or fallen for 11 straight months, doesn’t paint the whole picture. Short answer: …

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Beware of Greeks who can’t bear to govern themselves

The hazards of having a parliamentary system in a bitterly divided country (from Reuters):

Greece abandoned a nine-day hunt for a government on Tuesday and called a new election that may hand victory to leftists who might cut the nation’s financial lifeline, pushing it closer to bankruptcy and out of the euro zone.

After six rounds of fruitless wrangling, party leaders emerged from a final session at the presidential mansion to gloomily declare that deep divisions over a 130-billion-euro foreign bailout package had killed any hope of a coalition deal.

“We shouldn’t have reached this point,” said Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos, who personally negotiated the rescue package from the European Union and IMF which the hard left says has imposed too harsh an austerity regime. “For God’s sake, let’s move towards something better and not something worse.”

The last elections were held just nine days ago.

In case you’re wondering what’s the difference between the “leftists” …

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Economic security still non-existent for many Americans

If you don’t think these statistics will have more of a bearing on this November’s election results than President Obama’s stances on gay marriage, free contraception, etc., then you’re fooling yourself. From a USA Today story:

  • “One out of five families owes more on credit cards, medical bills, student loans and other unsecured debt than they have in savings … “
  • “[T]he number of families surveyed at the end of 2011 that have no savings at all increased to 23.4 percent, compared with 18.5 percent in 2009.”
  • “Among homeowners, 1.7 percent said that they expect to fall behind on their mortgage payments in the near future … slightly less than in 2009, when 1.9 percent expected to run into mortgage problems.”
  • “Sixty percent of workers say that the value of their savings and investments is less than $25,000 … retirement confidence is at historically low levels.”
  • “[N]early half of families say they have no debt at all from credit cards and other unsecured loans, the same percentage …

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There’s austerity in Europe, all right — of the taxing sort

The austerity debate is back, with American liberals pointing to shrinking European economies as evidence against the wisdom of cutting government spending here.

Typical is this argument from a column by the New York Times’ Paul Krugman last month: “Europe has had several years of experience with harsh austerity programs, and the results are exactly what students of history told you would happen: such programs push depressed economies even deeper into depression.”

Indeed, nine of the European Union’s 27 member-countries were in technical recession by the end of 2011 or the first quarter of 2012 (not all countries report first-quarter data at the same time).

There’s just one problem: There have been no such austerity programs, at least not of the type Krugman and other liberals warn against.

In five of the nine recessionary countries, governments cut spending in 2011. In four, they didn’t. There were another three European countries in which public spending fell …

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How to help wounded soldiers and make our economy healthy

WARM SPRINGS — Georgians who ponder the jobs of the future should see what’s bubbling up now in a place best known for its past.

It was here that Franklin D. Roosevelt died at his Little White House, having visited Warm Springs for two decades in the hopes of regaining the use of his legs. Today, this town of 425 souls, about two-thirds of the way from Atlanta to Columbus as the crow flies, is still host to a rehabilitation center that is under-used but first-rate. The aspiration is to build it into an invaluable resource for wounded soldiers — and a centerpiece of Georgia’s prowess and promise in bio-science.

The Georgia Warrior Alliance, a joint project of businesses and philanthropies focused on health care and veterans, brings wounded soldiers to the facilities at Warm Springs. Here, they can heal their bodies and, soon, learn work skills — from manufacturing and construction to golf course maintenance.

This is “the right thing to do” for our veterans, says an …

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