I kept getting emails from Obama’s minions saying things like: “Don’t miss this speech.”
So I didn’t.
What I saw was Obama at Knox College in Illinois firing a 5,000-word scatter gun for more than an hour at the economy without once hitting the target. He spoke in vague generalities about a ” long-term American strategy, based on steady, persistent effort, to reverse the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades.”
When he did offer specifics, which were few, each of them would do more harm than good — kill jobs instead of create them.
He talked about raising the minimum wage — a sure job killer for the young and unskilled.
He talked about doubling the number of solar and wind energy projects — proven job killers.
He blathered on about ObamaCare, which is pushing people into part-time jobs so employers can avoid its penalties.
But most of all he talked about inequality, noting the average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009, when he took office, and said the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. He did not say that the average American household earns $2,718, or 5 percent, less than it did when the recession ended in June 2009, four months after he took office.
Though the title of his speech was “A Better Bargain for the Middle Class,” under his administration the middle class has been shrinking and poverty growing.
Since January 2009, the number of people on food stamps has grown from 32.2 million to 47.5 million.
The unemployment rate when Obama took office was 7.8 percent, after topping out at 10 percent it is still 7.6 percent.
Americans living in poverty have grown from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 16 percent now.
Yet Obama pontificated, “This growing inequality isn’t just morally wrong; it’s bad economics. When middle-class families have less to spend, businesses have fewer customers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther apart, it undermines the very essence of this country,” while doing absolutely nothing so far to change anything, except to make things worse.
As a Wall Street Journal editorial pointed out today, Obama doesn’t understand that before government can redistribute wealth, the private economy has to create it. And he said nothing whatsoever about how to grow the economy, which grew only 0.4 percent in the last quarter of 2012 and a still anemic 1.8 percent in the first quarter of this year and is expected for grow even slower in the second quarter.
Obama said he wants “an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down.”
His speech was full of such rehashed bromides with a smattering of anti-job ideas.
“I care about one thing and one thing only,” Obama said, “and that’s how to use every minute of the 1,276 days remaining in my term to make this country work for working Americans again.”
We’ll be counting down the days.
He’s allegedly term limited but who knows if he will willingly relinquish the position? We can’t rely on good faith. I understand that’s law but who is going to tell him? I recall him saying that if one thing or another didn’t come about his would be a one term presidency, then the Republicans chose Mitt Romney, buttoned up and boring, to run against him. Whether they realize it or not, that was a bad joke, as bad as running John McCain, doddering and near dozing, in 2008.
Be happy, Thomas. The U.S. under the Obama administration is merely continuing on the same course that was initiated and cultivated by Conservatives since 1980. The last 5 years are not greatly different than the previous 25 years in terms of income changes. http://go.bloomberg.com/multimedia/americas-growing-income-gap-shows-two-recoveries-in-action/
Yes, and Obama has done nothing to change anything to the positive.
A little hope,,,no change.
So if the Obama administration is to blame, then to be consistent, you have to blame the Bush administration for the recession and praise the Clinton administration for the robust economy experienced at that time. Are you prepared to do that?
Now for the big question: What would you do to improve things and why did this downward spiral for the lower 60% begin during the Reagan administration. Luck?
Really? So the the military/industrial complex began with Reagan?
Rincon: How is “income” defined in the link you posted?
This has nothing to do with the military/industrial complex. It has more to do with things like special tax treatment for capital gains and the explosion of the cost of medical care.
Definition of aggregate income: Total of all incomes in an economy, without taking inflation and taxes into account.
“Definition of aggregate income: Total of all incomes in an economy, without taking inflation and taxes into account.”
Does that count welfare?
Also, do you have a comment on James Galbraith’s claim that if you remove the 15 richest counties in the USA from the equation, the growth in income inequality disappears?
Government should just run the government and stop tinkering with the economy.
Your point is well taken, Milty, but don’t forget corporate welfare, which the Cato Institute pegs at $100 billion/year. And these figures don’t include taxes, so while Romney pays 15% and I pay 28% on my taxes, my income would be inflated 13% relative to his on the graph. The extreme complexity of programs and regulations makes it easy to manipulate statistics both ways.
To simplify, the richest man in America in 1985 was Sam Walton with 2.8 billion to his name. In today’s dollars, that would be 6.08 billion http://articles.latimes.com/1985-10-15/business/fi-16339_1_billionaires
That would put Mr. Walton at #56 today. The richest man, according to Forbes, is Bill Gates, worth 66 billion is ten times richer. http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#page:1_sort:0_direction:asc_search:_filter:All%20industries_filter:All%20states_filter:All%20categories Unless I’m missing something, that’s good evidence that the cream of the crop is substantially creamier these days.
I’m 100% in agreement with you about corporate welfare, Rincon, but I think it should all be eliminated. None of this “industrial policy” crap where government picks who the winners and losers should be, then stacks the deck in favor of what industries and companies should be the winners.
And if you want to include agriculture subsidies as part of corporate welfare, I’ll agree that these subsidies should also be eliminated.
So if we do a variation of Rosanne Barr’s idea and just behead and confiscate the personal wealth of all the people in the 15 counties that James Galbraith said were skewing the national income inequality stats, would that make you happy?
On the subject of corporate welfare, I just read that the plan to build a new hockey arena for the Detroit Red Wings is still a go. Estimated cost is $444 million with 2/3 of the cost being paid by the taxpayers of Michigan.
corporate welfare is not military industrial complex? …. knock me over with a feather. Anything to blame conservatives for government failure.
I’ll get back to you on that beheading business, Milty. I just have to check and make sure that I’m not living in one of those counties!
I think we agree that we should get rid of corporate welfare. Individual welfare, if not excessive, is necessary – people should not be made to do without food, shelter, and reasonable medical care – but everyone should be made to work for the money.
Corporate welfare did not begin under Reagan. The Reagan years just saw the removal of some controls so that the natural order of things began to reassert itself as it did in the Gilded Age. Just as the strongest survive in nature, the rich get richer in a capitalistic society. Money generates more money. Those who have lots naturally make more and more. When it gets to a point, it leaves less for the rest of us. A rising tide lifts all boats equally in an ocean, but certainly not in an economy.
“When it gets to a point, it leaves less for the rest of us.”
Not so. Wealth naturally spreads around. Someone has to build the yachts. But when the feds tax the yacht makers, that someone is overseas.
Another example is automobile air conditioning, power windows, electric seat control, power door locks, cruise control etc…
At one time all these things were available only on high end luxury cars as optional extras only “the rich” would ever consider paying for.
Today most of them are standard equipment, some may be optional though even then some of those options may be found on the lot for no extra cost..
In fact with cars today automatic transmissions have taken over manual gear box’s so well, manual transmissions are now an option only “the rich” enthusiast would ever consider buying!
Found another good read http://hutchpost.org/
Steve: As a side note to what you just wrote, I recently started looking for another vehicle. I was interested in a SUV with manual transmission and four wheel drive (not all wheel drive). Haven’t really found anything yet.
Edmunds.com is a good source.
We should not be in the position to blame or congratulate the federal government for our nation’s economic condition. There is no constitutional authority for its ever increasing control over it.
In “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat, the proper role of government in a free economy is explained quite thoroughly.
Although we can afford some extra gadgets, the increase in our standard of living is miniscule compared to the rise in GDP per capita. I find these figures to be almost unbelievable, but here they are. I’ll check some other sources in the morning:
“The latest value for GDP per capita (current US$) in United States was $48,112 as of 2011. Over the past 51 years, the value for this indicator has fluctuated between $48,112 in 2011 and $2,881 in 1960…Data are in current U.S. dollars.”
Many families in my neighborhood had 3, 4, up to 7 children and managed to own a nice home while Mom stayed at home. Today, that would be considered difficult to achieve for all but the upper classes.
Thomas is wrong when he says wealth naturally spreads around. In the history of the world, there are far more examples of a wealthy gentry and a poor class. Middle classes are the exception. Only in modern times in some nations has a substantial middle class been common.
Rincon, surely you know that the bi-partisan “large sucking sound” has done its intended job by exporting our manufacturing base and helping to destroy the middle class? Between that, unconstitutional wars, inflation of the fiat currency, and the engineered financial bubbles, the wealthy elite have managed to stifle economic growth as they attempt to merge us into a tightly-controlled global economic system.
All by design…
My source appears to be correct: http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?d=SNAAMA&f=grID%3A101%3BcurrID%3AUSD%3BpcFlag%3A1
Since GDP per person has risen more than tenfold since 1960, we should all have ten times the income. I”ll bet none of us has ten times the income of their parents. But is it true? Let’s cross check. Today’s per capita GDP is about 48,000.00. Multiply this by 2.58 average family size, and this means the AVERAGE household in this country should pull in 123,840. Any of you making that much?
Add this to the fact that the richest man in the world in 1985 was worth a tenth of the richest man today, and it all point in one direction, which also agrees with the figures that tell us directly about the growing income inequality. Multiple lines of evidence agree.
So did GDP rise by that much? Are the rich really sucking up all of ther money? Please show me where the figures that suggest otherwise
Let’s play economic musical chairs. Are we talking about wealth or income?
Off topic and better late than never.
Rincon, more reasons to never trust wikipedia.
Where do you get these guys, Thomas? He’s talking about a short term study (9-10 years), and people moving from one quintile into another. Has little to do with the huge disparities that I’ve outlined. I also like his point that a guy with a million dollars only makes 25,000/year at 2.5% interest. Poor fella! If he only gets 2.5%, he needs a new financial advisor. Even with his assumptions, the millionaire is still making 25,000 in addition to his other income. Quite a boost compared to the next guy.
Nowhere does he show any of my figures to be incorrect or misleading. And yes, income does not equal wealth. I’ll be sure to memorize that. Somehow, I think the two correlate well and are both significant.
Is there anyone you trust besides the Cato and Heartland Institutes, Steve?
OK Thomas. Wealth and income aren’t the same thing. So what? I’ll be happy to take either, thank-you.
So Steve, is there anyone you trust besides the Cato and Heartland Institutes? From your own link(Baltimore Sun article): “You may be aware of a study in 2005 by the journal Nature that found Wikipedia to be, on the whole, about as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica.” How much more do you want?
I only checked the Guardian and Sun articles because I have no reason to believe that Geek News Central and Womenshistoryabout.com are any more reliable than Wikipedia in the first place. I don’t see any complaints of egregious innacuracy; only some complaints about incompleteness and mention of some details that are in dispute.
Rincon, you seem very sincere in your concerns about income inequality, but do you believe that the proposals President Obama made in his recent speech would do anything to make the situation better?
Oh? what about the lack of willingness to fix or detract when errors are brought to their attention, multiple times?
Guardian taking it up only means it goes deep and Guardian lends significant credence to those others you find less than trustworthy.
No, when I read Cato or NPRI. (never heard of Heartland industries) I double check, just like I am suggesting you do.
People say they saw it on “the internet” that only means they read something and did zero checking.
Obama can’t even make a dent. These are deep-seated problems requiring major changes in our system – mainly in tax law, I believe. To rectify the massive change in income inequality that has occurred in the last 30 or so years requires either finding a way for the average guy to make more money or prying more from the hands of the rich. Having Mitt Romney and his buddies pay 28% income tax like I do instead of the 15% he paid in 2011 would be a good start.
I agree that sources, especially from the Internet, require confirmation and I try to do that. To some extent, we check on each other. I just don’t remember anyone in this group finding Wikipedia drastically wrong while discussing our issues.
As for the Heartland Institute, try heartland.org.
“These are deep-seated problems requiring major changes in our system – mainly in tax law, I believe.”
So Rincon doesn’t believe that any of the things Winston Smith mentioned in his posting (July28, 5:23am) contributed to the current situation?
“The foremost or indeed the sole condition which is required in order to succeed in centralizing the supreme power in a democratic community, is to love equality, or to get men to believe you love it. Thus the science of despotism, which was once so complex, is simplified, and reduced as it were to a single principle.” — Alexis de Tocqueville
That Thomas Jefferson fella must have been quite a despot with that “all men are created equal” demagogy.
“the wealthy elite have managed to stifle economic growth as they attempt to merge us into a tightly-controlled global economic system.”
I generally agree. Nevertheless, it fails to take into account that the process began in the early 1980’s, when deregulation and less government management was the order of the day and it has not accelerated as government control has increased. At that time though, the top tax rate went from 70% to 28% and capital gains were reduced to 15%. The death tax has always been nonexistant for the wealthy. Do you think it’s possible that these taxes were inhibiting the accumulation of money by the wealthy and are no longer doing so?
Oh, I forgot. Bailing out wealthy bankers and letting mortgagees drown contributed as well.
Jefferson would’ve been a despot if he had written, “All men are created equal and are entitled to equal outcomes and results in their lives.”
Nyp needs to learn the meaning of the word “created”
After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a net-work of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. — Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America“
The richest man in America has ten times the wealth of the richest man in 1985 and 54 other people today are worth more than the guy in 1885 was. Somehow, I don’t buy the premise that all 55 today are just smarter and more hardworking than he was. I believe in merit, but I don’t believe in a stacked deck and this deck is stacked.