Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Question Nobody Wants to Answer 

By: Jonah Goldberg  / Townhall.com

You have to feel a little sorry for Team Obama as they squirm to explain why the question "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" is so unfair.

After all, there is only one way to answer it and retain any credibility. Which is why Maryland's Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, when asked, responded, No, we're not. Within 24 hours, he reversed himself, by all accounts because the Obama campaign forced him to. I haven't checked the video to see if he was blinking T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse code as he did so.

The idea that presidents "run" the economy is both ludicrous and fairly novel. Before the New Deal (which in my opinion prolonged the Great Depression), the notion that presidents should or could grow the economy was outlandish. But, as the historian H.W. Brands has argued, it was JFK who really cemented the idea that the president is the project manager for a team of technicians who create economic prosperity. "Most of the problems ... that we now face, are technical problems, are administrative problems," he explained, and should be kept as far away from partisan politics as possible.

President Obama, a hybrid reincarnation of both Kennedy and Roosevelt according to his fans, came into office with similar misconceptions. Controlling the White House, the House and the Senate, his team of propeller heads insisted that if we passed exactly the stimulus they wanted, the unemployment rate would top out at 8 percent and would be well below that by now.

They waved around charts and graphs "proving" they were right, like self-declared messiahs insisting they are to be followed because the prophecies they wrote themselves say so.

They got their stimulus. They were wrong.

They say in their defense that's because the downturn was so much worse than anyone realized. OK, but that just demonstrates the folly of their confidence in the first place. If I jump off a building because I am sure I can fly ("I wrote a study that proves it!"), it's of little solace, and even less of an excuse, if I sputter out my last words from the bloodied pavement, "The pull of gravity was so much worse than I realized."

Obama similarly self-defenestrated his own credibility, but he's still insisting he knows exactly what to do.

Now he argues that if we just do what Bill Clinton did -- raise taxes on the top earners plus pass the so-called Buffett rule, which would raise taxes on investment income -- we can have the economy Clinton had. The Buffett rule would pay for 11 hours of government spending in 2013, as Mitt Romney correctly observed -- or 18 hours, according to Democratic reckoning. Anyone believe that would make the economy roar to life?

Obviously, Bill Clinton -- and the Republican congress that forced him to balance the budget -- deserves some credit for the 1990s boom. But last I checked he didn't invent the personal computer, the Internet or biotechnology. Nor did he end the Cold War. The notion that there would have been no "roaring nineties" if George H.W. Bush had been re-elected is simply preposterous.

As much as it pains me to say it, Ronald Reagan deserves some of the blame for this notion that our individual successes and failures are wholly contingent upon the whim of the guy in the Oval Office. He was the one who popularized "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" to such devastating effect against Jimmy Carter. Since then, Democrats have made their own use of this crude reductionism. It has always struck me as a secular form of medieval thinking. My crops will not prosper unless the high priest wills it so.

At least Reagan argued that the economy would prosper if he were allowed to liberate it from the scheming of self-styled experts. Clinton ran out in front of a parade of free market successes and, like Ferris Bueller, acted as if he was leading the parade.

In his manifest hubris, Obama believed it was just that easy. He, too, could simply will vibrant economy into being through sheer intellectual force. But, unlike Bill Clinton, he wouldn't sully himself by playing "small ball." Obama would be "transformative."

For the ancient Greeks, hubris described the sort of arrogance that offends the gods, and precedes the fall. In the current context, it certainly tests the limits of my sympathy.

Obama's (Un)American Auto Bailout 

By: Michelle Malkin  / Townhall Daily

Obama's (Un)American Auto Bailout
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cue "Fanfare for the Common Man" and rev up the Government Motors engines. Wednesday is Great American Auto Bailout Day at the Democratic National Convention. Party propagandists have prepared a prime-time-ready film touting the "rescue's" benefits for American workers. UAW President Bob King will sing the savior-in-chief's praises.

But like all of the economic success stories manufactured by the White House, the $85 billion government handout is a big fat farce.

"I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back," Obama bragged on the campaign trail. Here's the inconvenient story they won't tell you:

GM is once again flirting with bankruptcy despite massive government purchases propping up its sales figures. GM stock is rock-bottom. Losses continue to be revised in the wrong direction. According to The Detroit News, "The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That's 15 percent higher than its previous forecast."

The claims that GM paid back its taxpayer-funded loans "in full" -- a story peddled in campaign ads narrated by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks -- were debunked by the Treasury Department's TARP watchdog this summer. GM still owes nearly $30 billion of the $50 billion it received, and its lending arm still owes nearly $15 billion of the more than $17 billion it received. Bailout watchdog Mark Modica of the National Legal and Policy Center adds: "In addition to U.S. taxpayers anteing up, Canada put in over $10 billion, and GM was relieved of about $28 billion of bondholder obligations as UAW claims were protected. That's an improvement of almost $90 billion to the balance sheet, and the company still lags the competition."

While the Obama administration wraps the auto bailout in red, white and blue, it's foreign workers and overseas plants that are reaping redistributive rewards.

GM has increased its manufacturing capacity in China by an estimated 55 percent after the bailout, according to industry watchers. GM's Dan Akerson crowed at the Beijing auto show earlier this year: "One of our aims is to help grow a new generation of automotive engineers, designers and leaders right here in China." The U.S. auto giant's ventures with the Communist regime include Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co., Ltd.; GM China Advanced Technical Center; FAW-GM Light Duty Commercial Vehicle Co., Ltd., in Harbin, Heilongjiang; FAW-GM's Changchun plant in Changchun, Jilin; FAW-GM Hongta Yunnan Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd., in Qujing, Yunnan; and Shanghai Chengxin Used Car Operation and Management Co., Ltd.

In Europe, the UAW's appointee to the Government Motors Board of Directors, Steve Girsky, recklessly pushed the feds to hold onto GM's failing German-based Opel AG. The Great American Auto Bailout has been subsidizing this hemorrhaging enterprise while Obama failed to deliver on his 2008 campaign promise to salvage plants like the one in GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wis.

According to Forbes magazine, "GM Europe, comprised mostly of Opel and its sister brand, Vauxhall, lost $617 million in the first half of 2012, on top of a $747 million loss in 2011 and a $1.8 billion loss in 2010. In all, GM has lost almost $17 billion in Europe since 1999."

While Team Obama lambastes GOP rival Mitt Romney for outsourcing, Government Motors is now planning to invest $1 billion over the next five years -- not in America, but in Russia. That's on top of $7 billion total in China, close to $1 billion in Mexico, and $600 million for a shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United, the British soccer club.

The DNC will put a rank-and-file U.S. autoworker on stage to back up Big Labor's cheerleading of the deal. Rest assured, this human shield will not tell viewers how Obama and the union bosses colluded to pervert bankruptcy law and shaft some 20,000 nonunion Delphi auto parts workers. The forgotten victims saw their pensions erode by up to 70 percent; their health benefits disappeared. The first lady is radio silent. Obama consigliere Valerie Jarrett ducked questions about the Delphi injustice from The Washington Times here in Charlotte.

Only in a fantasyland where America has 57 states, "JOBS" is a three-letter word and bailouts are "achievements" does Obama's rescue math add up. "Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry," Obama vows. God help the American worker.
Op-ed:
The DNC circus came to town
By: Diane Sori

 
And the 3 ring circus has begun!

And what a circus freak show night one was.  In ring one a DEAD Ted Kennedy attacked very much alive Mitt Romney, but is that really such a surprise in an election cycle where the dead really do vote!

And the ring master leading off the so-called ‘festivities’ was none other than 'Debbie-Downer' herself...Debbie Wasserman Schultz...queen of the clueless who must have paid Nancy’s botox doctor a visit before her ‘nails on a blackboard voice’ declared the convention open.

Hey Debbie, while you bloviated about how wonderful Obama is (gag, gag) our country’s national debt hit a number no one ever thought possible...16 TRILLION DOLLARS!!! The ramifications of this are mind-boggling.

The actual Outstanding Public Debt is now...drumroll please... $16,031,316,417,910.96 and growing!  And with the population of the United States currently at 313,444,895, that means each and every man, women, and child’s share of this debt is a whopping $51,145.57.

And who can we thank for this...Barack Hussein Obama for spending like there’s NO tomorrow, and ‘Prince’ Harry Reid and his Democratic controlled Senate who still haven’t passed a budget in over 3-1/2 years or in simpler numbers 1,225 days.

Sadly, continuing government deficits and Obama’s fiscal failures mean that lawmakers, in order to keep the government afloat, just might have to raise the debt ceiling yet again in the waning months of this year before it can be brought down under a new Romney administration.  And let’s just hope that the nation's credit rating won’t suffer again because of this.

And here’s a shocker concerning that very debt... just under $5 trillion of it is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund and the federal pension system.  A little more than $11 trillion is owed to foreign and domestic investors and to the Federal Reserve (which buys up treasuries so they can bring down interest rates through quantitative easing, which is nothing but a temporary fix).  While we owe China many billions, in reality they hold less than 8% of the money owed to foreign governments.   

Bottom line...most of the debt is owed by us thanks to Barack Hussein Obama.

And while Obama continues to blame George W. Bush for this ever increasing debt, and for ALL our woes as a matter of fact, the reality is we owed $10.6 trillion on January 20, 2009, the day Obama was sworn in, and in under four years in office this man has added another $5.4 trillion to it...more than Bush did in his two terms in office.

So while Obama says he needs a second term to clean-up the economic mess we’re in, I for one am NOT willing to give this miserable excuse of a president four more years to totally implode our economy from within.

Nor am I willing to buy the bloviating spewed last night by his favorite suck-ups who all patterned their speeches after Ann Romney’s and Marco Rubio’s.   Gee, isn’t it a surprise that suddenly Michelle Obama’s father had MS, the same disease Mrs. Romney suffers from.  And wasn’t it some performance she put on...really nothing but a poorly adapted version of Ann's speech but having just enough of the details changed to avoid being accused of plagiarism...which she screeched into the mike while pleading and begging for her husband to be given a second term to finish what he started.  

What Michelle (hey, she wants us to call her Michelle so as to appear like she’s one of us), didn’t say was what her husband really started was the beginning of not only the downfall of the economy but of our beloved America itself.

But at the bottom of it all is that her speech was all about big government, government jobs and government handouts...with NOTHING about the private sector, the very thing that fuels our economy.  And no one is buying her crap about how much Obama cares about ‘We the People’ as he’ll sell us all out faster than you can say ‘traitor’ to gain the title of ‘Dictator for Life.’

As for Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, Texas, all I can say is that he parroted Marco Rubio’s speech content for content but in NO way was he has powerful, as believable, or as sincere as Marco was.  And while the msm is trying to ‘anoint’ him as the next Obama, there's something quite ‘not right’ about him and I think others felt that too.  Lack of charisma, lack of sincerity, lack of true passion or a combination of all three, this man just does NOT have what it takes to compete with or overshadow Marco Rubio, which is what he was trying to do.

So tonight the circus continues in ring two with Bubba himself...Billy-Boy Clinton, the ultimate publicity whore, a man who still thinks of himself as president.  Will Bubba upstage Obama...will Bubba seek revenge for Obama stealing it all from Hillary in ’08...will Bubba say he’s voting for Romney...only a few more hours and we’ll find out, but whatever he does I don’t think Barack Hussein Obama will be a totally happy camper.

Come on November 6th...let’s end this freak show once and for all.