Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome blatherskite?

Wherein we ponder yet again one of the burning questions of our age: is this egomaniacal jackass NEVER going to do the decent thing and just go away?

Guess not.

Capping off a week where Senate Democrats embarrassed themselves at what should have been the semi-serious vetting of a Supreme Court justice, along comes our foot-stomping former president to remind Americans of who, ultimately, is responsible for infantilizing national politics.

Friday’s speech was yet another reminder of why Donald Trump won in 2016: Voters rejected Barack Obama as much as they rejected Hillary Clinton. After a decade of binging on this skilled politician’s oratory cocktail of empty platitudes, self-puffery, and finger-wagging scoldings, we were burned out. Americans started to notice that the soaring rhetoric did not match the accomplishments. There was a creeping sense the same man who once promised his vision was “not red states or blue states, just the United States” had done more damage to the body politic than any other president in recent memory.

And he wasn’t even a good tactician for his own side. In fact, while this political mastermind was in the Oval Office, his party lost more than 1,000 seats to Republicans across the country.

Far from the speech being the “greatest, most timely, and most important in the history of this country” as oneDemocratic activist described it, Obama’s speech sounded like an updated version of every speech he’s given in the past few years. It was filled with whiny platitudes about moments in time and stark choices and inequality and demagogues. He veered between warnings about fake patriotism while insisting it’s our civic duty to vote the way he wants. He pouted about not getting credit for the country’s booming economy. Both sides are culpable for the current political divide, Obama admitted, but Republicans are much more to blame. (Perhaps he missed this week’s spectacle at the Kavanaugh hearings.)

He trotted out the same well-worn complaints about voting rights and climate change. Solutions always come with a price, such as a carbon tax and higher minimum wage. After eight years of trying, he still can’t come up with a convincing sell on how to fix the nation’s failing immigration system: “Democrats talk about reforming our immigration system so, yes, it is orderly and it is fair and it is legal but it continues to welcome strivers and dreamers from all around the world.” Huh?

There were more nuggets of nothingness: A vacuum in democracy. The politics of fear. Stand up to bullies not follow them. We need more women in charge. The best way to protest is to vote. Walls don’t keep out threats like terrorism or disease.

Pretty boring stuff from a guy who is widely considered by the media as one of the greatest presidential orators of all time. It’s doubtful that Chris Matthews felt a thrill up his leg as he listened to this snoozer.

Like hell. You know good and well the loathsome toad was sporting a tiny chubby throughout the whole ordeal.

Best part of it all? Oshitstain, after floundering haplessly for eight years and wreaking nothing but spiralling economic misery, attempting to steal the credit for Trump’s economy—an economy which took off only after Obama’s clumsy thumbprints were removed entirely from it.

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Undestructing

Change you can believe in.

From the earliest days of his campaign, Donald J. Trump made keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States his signature economic issue, and the decision by Carrier, the big air-conditioner company, to move over 2,000 of them from Indiana to Mexico was a tailor-made talking point for him on the stump.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump and Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor and the vice president-elect, plan to appear at Carrier’s Indianapolis factory to announce a deal with the company to keep roughly 1,000 jobs in the state, according to officials with the transition team as well as Carrier.

Mr. Trump will be hard-pressed to alter the economic forces that have hammered the Rust Belt for decades, but forcing Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies, to reverse course is a powerful tactical strike that will hearten his followers even before he takes office.

And just as only a confirmed anti-Communist like Richard Nixon could go to China, so only a businessman like Mr. Trump could take on corporate America without being called a Bernie Sanders-style socialist. If Barack Obama had tried the same maneuver, he’d probably have drawn criticism for intervening in the free market.

In exchange for keeping the factory running in Indianapolis, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence are expected to reiterate their campaign pledges to be friendlier to businesses by easing regulations and overhauling the corporate tax code, according to a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump.

Which is why neither Sanders nor Obama could have pulled it off: neither of those things will EVER be part of the Democrat Socialist Party’s platform, and “friendly to business” will never be part of their lexicon. I don’t much care for the idea of business and government cuddling up and getting too cozy together, but they don’t (and shouldn’t) have to be complete adversaries, either.

Political symbolism aside, saving 1,000 Carrier jobs doesn’t loom so large in an economy that’s created an average of 181,000 jobs a month this year, noted Jared Bernstein, a liberal economist who served as adviser in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011.

Still, he confessed a grudging admiration for Mr. Trump’s political jujitsu. “If I weren’t so scared of the damage a Trump administration might do, I’d find it refreshing to see an administration fighting for factory jobs like this,” he said. “That said, no one should confuse what Trump is doing here with sustainable economic policy.”

Yeah, right. After all, government getting out of the way and letting capitalism do what it does only worked for a couple hundred years or so. Which is way more than any “liberal” economic policy will EVER be able to claim, never having worked at all for more than about twenty minutes.

The guy isn’t even president yet, and he’s already done more good for the nation than any professional politician you could name. I keep saying it, and this is just another example to add to the list.

Mr. Trump first announced he was talking to Carrier on Thanksgiving Day via Twitter, which the company quickly confirmed. The discussions have continued this week, and with a tentative deal in hand on Tuesday, transition officials scheduled Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Pence’s visit to Indianapolis.

“I didn’t think it would be this quick,” Mr. Maynard said.

Yeah, well, better adjust those expectations there, bub; we have a real president again, one that doesn’t hate America to his very core and doesn’t not-so-secretly want to see it brought low. This is only a small sampling of what’s to come.

(Via Insty)

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It’s the economy, stupid

Why, it’s all as baffling as the latest “Allah Akbar!”-screaming Muzloid’s motivation for slaying the infidel as the Koran commands.

After several news outlets, including The Daily Beast, reported that rates of millennial sexual inactivity in early adulthood are surprisingly high, armchair social theorists came out in force to blame it on everything but the fact that nearly one-third of young adults are still living at home.

One right-wing college news website found a way to attribute the finding to millennials’ desire for “safe spaces.”

Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat speculated on Twitter that it was an example of the “porn paradox,” whatever that means. Others attributed it, predictably, to the effects of technology or increased anxiety. A Rutgers biological anthropologist even suggested that millennials might be too “motivated” and “ambitious” to even bother with sex.

The most likely explanation—which was mentioned in the study itself—is that parents’ basements do not make great boom boom rooms. But who needs Occam’s razor when you’re publicly opining about the behavior of an entire generation? Lower wages sending 22-year-olds back home after college isn’t nearly as sexy as complaining about porn or political correctness.

The truth is that lower wages and poverty can account for so many of the things that older generations find so mystifying about millennials.

For example, millennials drive less than their parent’s generation—and until recently, at least—were relatively uninterested in buying cars. As The Atlantic reported in 2012, this crisis prompted automakers to appoint “youth emissaries” and come up with new car colors like “techno pink” and “denim.”

But trying to make cars cooler doesn’t change the fact that, as CityLab found, there’s a significant gap in vehicle miles traveled between millenials who make over $30,000 a year and those who make less. Simply put: Cars cost money and millennials have less of it.

They keep right on voting for socialism and, per Einstein’s deathless quote, expecting a different result, so my sympathy is a good bit short of what you might call boundless.

Via Vox, who adds:

Difficult circumstances don’t excuse behaving with all the foresight of a retarded chimpanzee on crack, or dying your hair blue and calling yourself a lady pony, but they do merit some degree of patience and even forbearance on our part. Since their parents, teachers, and professors all maleducated them, they’re going to need someone to help set them straight.

Well, yeah. But by the time they’re smart enough to listen, it’ll be too late for any advice to do ’em any good.

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Startup Nation no more

Coincidence? Or just “bad luck“?

If you look at what’s happened in big cities around the U.S. in recent years, it’s easy to think we’re living in Startup Nation. Thanks to the plummeting cost and increased availability of digital tools, as well as greater access to early-stage funding, we’ve seen what the Economist has called a “Cambrian moment,” with digital startups “bubbling up in an astonishing variety of services and products.” The number of companies in Silicon Valley that got seed funding from investors, for instance, more than doubled between 2007 and 2012. Venture capital funding in the U.S. over the last five years has totaled a remarkable $238 billion, and 200 companies today are so-called unicorns, privately valued at more than a billion dollars each.

Meanwhile, though, a host of economic researchers have been telling a much bleaker story: American entrepreneurship is actually on the decline, and has been for decades. As the economists Ian Hathaway and Robert Litan documented in a 2014 Brookings Institution paper, the percentage of U.S. firms that were less than a year old fell by almost half between 1978 and 2011, declining precipitously during the recession of 2007-’09 with only a slow recovery after. According to the Commerce Department, the number of new businesses started by Americans has fallen sharply since 2000, and so too has the percentage of American workers working for companies that are less than a year old. Indeed, in 2013 Americans started fewer businesses than they did in 1980, when the country’s population was much smaller. This decline isn’t just due to the aging of the U.S. population—Americans of all ages just seem less likely to open new businesses than they once were. And, as Hathaway and Litan put it, the decline “has been documented across a broad range of sectors in the U.S. economy, even in high-tech.”

Strangling regulation, punitive taxation and fees, and a metastasizing and ever more voracious Leviathan State can’t possibly have anything to do with this, can it? Vox says it’s easy enough to figure out, and he’s right as rain:

Speaking as a successful entrepreneur who left the country, who is the son of a very successful entrepreneur who is presently in prison, it’s not exactly difficult to understand why Americans are considerably less inclined and less able to start businesses than they were 36 years ago.

  1. The rapacious and criminal tax agencies. You would probably not believe the shenanigans and outright lies these agents habitually engage in if you did not see it in black-and-white documents right in front of you. Even those who think my father merited an amount of jail time for his actions are aghast when they find out what actually happened, and how absurdly egregious the behavior of the various agencies was.
  2. The increasing regulatory and reporting burden. Why go to the effort of building up a company when doing so is the equivalent of painting a big red target on your chest? As one of my entrepreneurial friends said after shutting down his company and taking a job for a big tech firm, “it’s so nice not having to deal with all that shit anymore.” In the USA, self-employment often feels more like working for the government as a paper-pusher. Just trying to get your head around why part-time external contractors who are clearly not your employees must be treated as employees for various compliance purposes is enough to give anyone a headache.

He has more, all of which rings perfectly true to me. His concluding prophesy—or warning, or wish— is right on the money too.

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Lies, damned lies, and…

Oh hell, you know the rest of it.

If you listened to President Obama’s speech last Wednesday in Elkhart, Indiana, you’d think America’s economy is just peachy. Then last Friday’s jobs report “landed with a thud.” Employers only added 38,000 jobs last month, while March and April numbers were revised down by a total of 59,000 jobs.

They always are “revised down,” each and every month, and they have been for a long time. This latest one will be too, horrible as it already is. Which accomplishes the seemingly impossible by making it even more…shall we say…depressing.

The Obama administration quickly tried to point out the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in May, its lowest level since November 2007. And President Obama continued his economic ‘victory’ messaging the next day by declaring, “We’ve cut unemployment by more than half.”

Yet like the job numbers, the White House spin landed with a thud. That’s because the unemployment rate is dead. It’s dead as a political statistic because it can no longer be used in the vacuum of a campaign talking point and it cannot be divorced from other economic indicators as well as voters’ confidence in America’s future. The decline in the unemployment rate was “owed almost entirely to 458,0000 people leaving the labor force.” Other employment indicators gave more discouraging signs: full-time employment decreased on an annual basis for the first time in three years and temporary job growth decreased on an annual basis to its lowest level in six years.

Adding unremarkable GDP growth and depressed incomes to the mix, you now have economists saying “the probability the U.S. would enter a recession over the next 12 months [has] climbed to 37%, the highest for the current expansion cycle.”

We’re not going to be “entering” any new recession, because we never left the old one. Instead, it worsened to a depression, which is what we’re fully and firmly mired in now, try as the government liars might to obscure it. Anybody who’s out there looking for a decent job, or sweating holding onto one they already have, knows it all too well already.

It’s all due almost entirely to strangling over-regulation, confiscatory taxes, outrageous fees and licensing requirements—in short, far too much top-down federal meddling. It has failed every time and everywhere it’s been tried. It’s failing again before our very eyes, and killing off any possibility of real recovery. Nobody sane and realistic would even dream of trying to start a new business in this economic environment. That won’t change until the environment does. That’s really all there is to it.

(Via CDR M)

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Lies, damned lies, and…

Propaganda to obscure the Greatest Depression.

One of the false narratives being flogged by the establishment propaganda peddlers is the mass retirement of Baby Boomers causing the plunge in the employment to population rate from 64.4% in 2000 to 59.7% today. They need to peddle this drivel, because the difference between these two rates amounts to 12 million missing jobs. The employment to population ratio is currently at 1984 levels. Any critical thinking person with basic math skills realizes the government reported unemployment rate of 5% is an Orwellian farce.

Over 40% of working age Americans aren’t working, amounting to 102 million people, and the establishment touts the ludicrous lie of a 5% unemployment rate. With only 123 million Americans employed full-time and virtually all the job “growth” since 2009 in non-producing low paying service jobs in the retail, restaurant, hospitality and healthcare industries, wages and household income remain stagnant. The 12 million shortfall in jobs isn’t due to Boomers retiring, as this chart proves beyond a shadow of a doubt. Only an Ivy League educated economist or CNBC talking head could pretend to be confused.

We know for a fact 10,000 Americans have been turning 65 years old every day for the last few years and will for the next fifteen years. When the employment to population ratio peaked in 2000 at 64.4%, the ratio for senior citizens was only 12%. It had remained between 10% and 12% for over two decades. There were 35 million Americans over 65 years old in 2000, and 31 million of the them were not employed. They made up a large portion (44%) of the 70 million people not in the labor force.

Today there are 48 million Americans over 65 years old, and 39 million of them are not employed. The establishment narrative is blown to smithereens by the FACT they now only account for 41% of the 94 million people not in the labor force. There are only 14 million more employed Americans today than in the year 2000, while there are 5 million more employed Americans over the age of 65. They have accounted for 36% of all the jobs created in the last 16 years. The percentage of senior citizens working is at an all-time high of 18.9% and rising.

The narrative of retiring Baby Boomers being the cause for the plunging participation rate is entirely false. The data is not hidden. It’s easily accessible. Any CNBC pundit, Wall Street Journal reporter, or Ivy League MBA Wall Street analyst with even a smattering of math skills could discern the truth. Based on the fact they continue to flog false narratives, makes you believe their job and intent is to obscure the truth, obfuscate the facts, and paint a rosy picture for their establishment bosses. There are almost 4 million less Americans aged 16 to 55 employed today than there were in 2007. Does that happen in an economic recovery?

Nope. There never was any recovery. And until we somehow check the growth of government and start to roll it back, there never will be. Plenty more irrefutable evidence at the link.

(Via Bill)

Update! No mystery here, folks. It’s as plain as it could possibly be.

The economy might be tepid under President Obama, but there is one part that has been thriving. Since Obama took office, the federal regulatory economy has never been better, with solid growth in spending and employment.

That’s according to a new report that tracks how much the government spends on federal regulatory activity. That is, how many people work at regulatory agencies, and how much money those agencies spend. The numbers are staggering.

Total spending on federal regulatory activity has jumped almost 18% in real terms since Obama took office, reaching $56 billion this year. That outpaced overall economic growth, which has climbed a total of 13% since 2008.

Over those same years, the number of jobs at these regulatory agencies climbed by 11.8% — to almost 280,000 workers — while the number of private sector jobs has growth by 8.5%.

To put these numbers in perspective: If GDP had grown as fast as the federal regulatory budget, the economy would be $696 billion bigger today. If private sector employment had kept pace with the growth in regulatory jobs, there would be 3.7 million more people at work.

None of this is coincidental, nor is it “bad luck” in any but the Heinleinian sense. Note, too, how nicely that last fact fits in with the 4 million fewer employed number from the above. The IBD op-ed closes with this:

All these regulations, mind you, are on top of existing ones, adding new layers of costly mandates on an already overburdened private sector.

Is it any wonder the economy has been struggling all these years?

Nope, none at all. It’s the inevitable end result of creeping socialism, and it’s wound up this way or much, much worse every single time it’s ever been tried, the degree of DoublePlusUngoodness depending only on how obstinate that country’s Left is, and how long they’re allowed to hang on to power by the people they’re exsanguinating.

Wrong word update!How America Lost Its Mojo.” it didn’t “lose” it. It was stolen.

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The Great(er) Depression

Coming soon to an economy ruined by government meddling near you.

The Great Depression was not a straight downhill run. There were multiple, widely hailed “recoveries” and stock market rallies, but in 1938 the economy was in worse shape than when Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932, and the government was bigger, more intrusive, and more in debt (the same can be said about the government since 2000). Depressing it is to contemplate how government turning a recession into the Great Depression, but consideration of what Japan has done since its stock market topped out in 1989 can leave one pondering the choice of pills, noose, or handgun.

The Japanese have copied every page of the Keynesian and monetarist playbooks: government debt, public works spending, and regulatory expansion, and central bank monetization of assets and interest rate suppression. Multiple recoveries have been punctuated by multiple contractions. Capitalism has remarkable recuperative powers, but screw with an economy long enough and you not only prevent recuperation, you do lasting damage. Japan and Europe—also beset by persistent economic idiocy—have shown little growth or innovation for decades, leaving the economic idiots responsible muttering about supposed, self-exculpatory, secular stagnation. As the US economy glide paths into zero-and-below land, Washington, Wall Street, and the Ivy League’s best are muttering the same thing.

Nothing is more telling than birthrates, and in Europe, Japan, and the US, birthrates are below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per couple. When planned, having babies expresses confidence in the future. The Japanese buy more adult than baby diapers, illustrating the demographic crunch and falling dependency ratios (the ratio of able-bodied and employed workers to the population requiring outside support), which understandably increases pessimism and further decreases birth rates among the young.

They see a bleak future and they’re not wrong.

Elsewhere, Robert posts some good quotes from von Mises on gold, including this one:

The gold standard has one tremendous virtue: the quantity of the money supply, under the gold standard, is independent of the policies of governments and political parties. This is its advantage. It is a form of protection against spendthrift governments.

And we need all the protection we can get. Which would be one reason why, in Bracken’s great Enemies Trilogy, gold is banned right along with guns. Call it an essential step in the establishment and maintenance of any proper, well-ordered tyranny.

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GREAT news!

We can now dispense entirely with even pretending to believe the government’s unemployment fictions.

Here’s a newsflash that CNBC didn’t mention. According to the BLS, the US economy generated a miniscule 11,000 jobs in the month of December.

Yet notwithstanding the fact that almost nobody works outdoors any more, the BLS fiction writers added 281,000 to their headline number to cover the “seasonal adjustment.” This is done on the apparent truism that December is generally colder than November and that workers get holiday vacations.

Of course, this December was much warmer, not colder, than average.  And that’s not the only deviation from normal seasonal trends.

The Christmas selling season this year, for example, was absolutely not comparable to the ghosts of Christmas past. Bricks and mortar retail is in turmoil and in secular decline due to Amazon and its e-commerce ilk, and this trend is accelerating by the year.

So too, energy and export based sectors have been thrown for a loop in the last few months by a surging dollar and collapsing commodity prices. Likewise, construction activity has been so weak in this cycle—-and for the good reason that both commercial and residential stock is vastly overbuilt owing to two decades of cheap credit—–that its not remotely comparable to historic patterns.

In short, the December jobs report was not evidence of a “strong” economy. It was just another emission from the government’s SA noise factory that obscures the actual state of the main street economy.

Or, in other words, they’re lying, hoping to maintain the illusion that we’re not currently mired in the Obama Depression and that, typical of all socialist, government (mis)managed economies, the dismal employment numbers are indeed the New Normal, and will remain so until we wake the fuck up.

Via razorbacker, who says:

I believe a certain Mr. Chan might have hit the bullseye.

“Absolutely, they must take us as fools to think that we would believe such propaganda,”

Although, he may have confused “take” with “recognize”.

It would seem so, yeah.

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Potemkin economy

From security and defense to the economy to liberty itself, it’s nothing but kabuki theater and Potemkin villages all the way down.

This is all occurring against the background of a larger global network of economic relations that is quite clearly breaking apart. The rising tensions between the US, Russia, China, and the Euro Union grew out of monetary mischief “innovated” by our central bank, especially the shenanigans around debt monetization, which have created dangerous distortions in markets, trade, and perceptions of national interest. Nations are rattling sabers at one another and bluster is in the air. The world is bankrupt after thirty years of borrowing from the future to throw a party in the present, and the authorities can’t acknowledge that.

But they can provide the conditions for disguising it, especially in the statistical hall of mirrors that once-upon-a-time produced meaningful signals for the movement of capital. Instead of reality-based choices and decisions, the task at hand for the people in charge has been the ever more baroque elaboration of a Potemkin economic false-front, behind which lies a landscape of ruin scavenged by desperate racketeers. That this racketeering has moved so seamlessly into the once-sacred precincts of medicine and higher ed ought to inform us how desperate and perilous it has become.

The latest installment of the disinformation game was Friday’s employment release from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was a “blockbuster,” implying blue skies everywhere from Montauk to Malibu. Except that no one with a remaining shred of critical faculty can be expected to believe it. 80 percent of the new jobs numbers were attributed to the mystical birth-death model, a pseudo-scientific fantasy of hypothetical new business starts and associated hypothetical new hires. Demographically, the most new jobs went to the over-55 age cohort — grocery baggers and Walmart greeters —  and the fewest to men 25 to 54 (that bracket substantially lost jobs). The official unemployment rate fell to 5.0 rate, with no meaningful discussion of the huge numbers of discouraged people who have dropped out of the workforce.

But the perception of an economy on full throttle chug sent the stock indexes up. The Dow, the S & P and the NASDAQ are the only signaling mechanisms that the legacy media pays attention to, and the politicos take their cues from them, in a feedback loop of false information that begets more delusional positive psychology in those same markets. I suspect the sentiment that reigns now is about nothing more than getting through the holiday season without a financial accident.

Amerika v2.0 is an illusion based on a lie: that socialism can in fact generate prosperity by micromanaging not just a massive post-industrial economy but individual lives successfully. It isn’t true, it never has been true, and it never will be true. Everything else is just smoke, mirrors, and bullshit piled high and deep.

Update! Related: Econ 101, minimum wage edition from Silverdeth, which includes this great line you ain’t likely to get from your pot-bellied, ponytail-fringed neo-Marxist college econ prof: “Expecting this system to allow repair through its own processes is like asking syphilis to self-cure.” Pretty much, yeah.

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The Obama Depression continues

We’ve fallen, and we can’t get up.

American manufacturing growth had come to a standstill in September, and the Labor Department’s latest employment figures, the worst jobs report of the year, tell the same story from another perspective: unemployment rate stagnant, wages stagnant, hours worked down, number of new jobs far below forecast, previous reports revised downward, labor-participation rate at 38-year low, with nearly 95 million eligible American workers sidelined.

That the Obama administration is foundering from an economic-policy point of view is not news. Barack Obama & Co. represent the very freshest and most imaginative thinking of the 1930s — stimulus, public works, monkeying with the minimum wage, political favoritism for union constituencies, the ancient superstition that simply putting money in somebody’s pocket makes the nation richer through the miraculous power of the economic multiplier, etc.

President Obama and his advisers take an essentially managerial view of the economy. Their hearts may secretly thrill to memories of exciting old campus Marxists in days gone by, but they are not in the main government-ownership-of-the-means-of-production guys. They see themselves as chess masters. If you remember those scenes in the original Clash of the Titans with the gods of Olympus moving little figurines around on a gameboard — that is how they see government (and, not coincidentally, themselves). Their role, as they see it, isn’t to own the farms and factories, but to set the terms of employment, to give this constituency a nudge, to take that one down a peg, to push sugar imports in one direction and so-called green energy in another. The Right’s habit of comparing President Obama’s thinking to that of the Italian fascists and their corporazioni isn’t (only) for the purposes of denigration. The president and his men see the government as a partner, an entrepreneur, an economic actor with incomparable resources and power. If you read Ezra Pound’s admiring estimates of 1930s European corporate-state economics, it will sound quite contemporary: The state has the power to act — why not make the most of it?

Scratch a “liberal,” find a fascist. It works every time, and in every context.

Call ’em commies, call ’em socialists, call ’em Marxists or neo-Marxists, call ’em statists, call ’em whatever you like. The central truth remains: power and control are what they’re all about, under any ideological nomenclature you may prefer. The irony is that they see themselves as indispensable, when all we really need for them to do is just get the hell out of the way and mind their own damned business. Which is the one thing they will never, ever do.

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Good squishy

For enjoyable, understandable commentary on the stock market you just ain’t gonna beat Nemo.

A brief rally near the close offered the possibility that the bears had exhausted their pessimism, but even that petered out and we gave up about 300 points in the last twenty minutes or so with the bland callousness of a politician handing out promises of plenty.

Now what? I had thought there might be some possibility that we would see a selling climax today, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. This selloff might well be good for another 1000 points or so in very short order, and then it’s a question of whether the bargain hunters and hopeless equity swains will outnumber the portfolio managers still looking for a clean pair of pants.

Heh. I have precious little interest in this stuff, possessing neither any kind of pension fund nor an investment portfolio myself. But Nemo always finds a way to overcome my admittedly callow indifference and make it interesting anyhow.

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Lies, damned lies, and…

Phony, ginned-up, overmassaged, government-manipulated “statistics.”

Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you arenot counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.

There’s another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

Yet another figure of importance that doesn’t get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find — in other words, you are severely underemployed — the government doesn’t count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

As Clifton notes above, all the various political power-branches of our national Ruling Class have a vested interest in maintaining the lie–because the truth is, the liberal-fascism that has dominated us for so long does not work, cannot work, has never worked, and never will work, and they are so wedded to the idea of top-down control and micromanagement of the lives of their subjects that they can’t allow the truth to be generally acknowledged. The laughable fiction (or delusion) that national elections amount to anything more worthwhile than a somewhat sordid form of entertainment is much the same, and must be maintained for the same reason.

“Liberalism” is, in short, a luxury only a truly rich nation can afford, and it totters precariously on a foundation of lies. And we’re a whole lot less rich now than we used to be…thanks, ironically, to that same “liberalism.”

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“Obama’s Policies Have Crushed the Economy”

Well, d’uh. He’s a socialist; that’s what they do and, aside from enslaving and slaughtering people in job lots, all they do.

Well, okay, they enrich themselves along the way too.

The headline at CNN Money was, “Why America’s Youth Aren’t Finding Jobs.”

If you expected an analysis of how and why President Barack Obama’s policies hurt the job market for the young, think again. Believe it or not, CNN wrote a piece, supposedly explaining the tight job market, without using the following words: Obama, Obama administration, taxes, regulations, “stimulus” program or, of course, ObamaCare.

Stunning.

Apparently, CNN believes the country has been on autopilot for the last five years, with policy decisions by the White House having no effect, for good or for ill.

Well, that IS the Narrative, after all, obscenely puked forth from the very lying lips of His Majesty His Own Divine Self on a regular basis, and they’d best adhere to it slavishly and strictly if they know what’s good for them. And they do.

Since CNN will not, let’s examine the major economic decisions by this administration and their impact on the job market.

“Stimulus”: The Obama administration spent nearly $1 trillion on “economic stimulus” that would “save or create” 3.5 million jobs. Did it? “The inability to measure Mr. Obama’s jobs formula is part of its attraction,” wrote William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal. “Never mind that no one — not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics — actually measures ‘jobs saved.'”

But some things can be measured. To keep pace with the number of new people entering the job market, the economy must produce 150,000 new jobs every month. In July, the economy produced 162,000 jobs. To date, in the four years since the end of the recession, Obama’s economy has produced 4,657,000 jobs — an average of just 97,020 per month. The percentage of civilians 16 years and older working or actively looking for work recently reached a 34-year low. Down from 65.7 when President Barack Obama took office, it is 63.4 today. Would-be workers are simply giving up, frustrated, no longer looking.

Team Obama said that without stimulus, unemployment, which was then 7 percent, could reach as high as 8 percent. Well, Congress did pass stimulus — and unemployment rose to 10.2 percent in the first year of Obama’s presidency.

And that’s just the phonus balonus rate; REAL unemployment is in the high teens or even low twenties–who knows, since nobody can afford to be caught taking an honest look at it anymore–and there it will stay, as long as our fascinated flirtation with Eurosocialism continues to hold sway over sanity, common sense, and observance of the historical record.

Plenty more here, as you’d expect, all of it damning. But don’t call it a litany of failure; it’s a litany of disaster–self-inflicted, and anything but a coincidence.

Update! Nearly forgot to include this bit, which is absolutely crucial in all sorts of ways:

CNN’s head-in-the-sand piece on youthful joblessness serves as the latest example of the pro-Obama media’s failure, blindness and unwillingness to see and state the obvious. By historical standards, this recovery stinks. To understand why requires a repudiation of the very foundation of leftism. Leftists believe that enlightened government bureaucrats — meaning themselves — possess both the power to redistribute wealth from the undeserving to the deserving and the wisdom to know the difference.

Really says it all, don’t it?

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Obamanomics

It doesn’t work, because it can’t possibly work.

President Obama’s latest “pivot” to jobs and the economy has so far consisted of two speeches in which he extolled scant evidence of growth, condemned Republican opposition to his policies and proposed a “grand bargain.” That grand bargain essentially consists of Obama’s idea of tax reform, which means higher taxes on the rich, and Republicans agreeing to let Obama spend the resulting revenue on expanding government programs and regulations. The chief executive would likely feel grand if Republicans were dumb enough to go for such a misnamed deal, but there is clearly no bargain in it for American taxpayers.

The problem with Obama’s gambit is that it is neither grand nor a bargain. It’s not new, either. Obama took the country down this same road of using massive government spending to boost the economy back in 2009 with his $845 billion economic stimulus program. As Peter Ferrara explained last week in Forbes, five years later, it’s clear that program failed, as the economy still hasn’t regained all of the jobs lost during the previous recession and growth remains essentially stagnant: “Taxing or borrowing a trillion dollars out of the private sector to spend a trillion dollars in the public sector is not going to increase jobs or economic growth overall on net. At best, it will just shift jobs from where the market directs to where the government directs. More likely, it will be a net drag on the economy, because the market spends money more productively and efficiently than the government.”

Therein lies the basic reason why private-sector investment almost always produces far more economic growth than government spending. A free-market economy is guided by consumer preferences, whereas government spending satisfies bureaucratic and political preferences. It’s analogous to the difference between the wisdom of crowds in which billions of consumers dynamically express their preferences and the “wisdom” of government planners statically doing so every five years in the form of a new economic plan. It is also why free-market economies are inherently wiser and more just than government-directed alternatives because the former represent the needs and wishes of hundreds of millions of people, while the latter impose the wishes of an elite few on the subservient many. Just ask the economic commissars in the defunct Soviet Union.

If the government was running Coca Cola, we’d still be laughing at all the unbought bottles of New Coke sitting forlornly on the shelves. But it would be the only choice we’d have, because all the other soft-drink bottlers would have been driven out of business. Then, we’d get three or four blue-ribbon panels to study why nobody was drinking New Government Coke, and there’d be legislation in the pipeline to have the government buy the nasty stuff and dump it down the drain (thereby “creating or saving” more “jobs”), while the busy little beavers in the bottling plants sat snoozing at their desks, their grossly over-paid “jobs” secured for them for life.

This, to Progressivist morons, is known as “efficiency.”

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Chattanooga to pResident: drop dead

Sharp words aren’t going to be enough to stop him. But they still make for entertaining reading.

President Obama,

Welcome to Chattanooga, one of hundreds of cities throughout this great nation struggling to succeed in spite of your foolish policies that limit job creation, stifle economic growth and suffocate the entrepreneurial spirit.

Forgive us if you are not greeted with the same level of Southern hospitality that our area usually bestows on its distinguished guests. You see, we understand you are in town to share your umpteenth different job creation plan during your time in office. If it works as well as your other job creation programs, then thanks, but no thanks. We’d prefer you keep it to yourself.

That’s because your jobs creation plans so far have included a ridiculous government spending spree and punitive tax increase on job creators that were passed, as well as a minimum wage increase that, thankfully, was not. Economists — and regular folks with a basic understanding of math — understand that these are three of the most damaging policies imaginable when a country is mired in unemployment and starving for job growth.

Even though 64 percent of Chattanooga respondents said they would rather you hadn’t chosen to visit our fair city, according to a survey on the Times Free Press website, it’s probably good that you’re here. It will give you an opportunity to see the failure of your most comprehensive jobs plan to date, the disastrous stimulus scheme, up close and personal.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 helped fund the Gig to Nowhere project, a $552 million socialist-style experiment in government-owned Internet, cable and phone services orchestrated by EPB — Chattanooga’s government-owned electric monopoly.

The Gig to Nowhere is a Smart Grid, a high tech local electricity infrastructure intended to improve energy efficiency and reduce power outages. After lobbying for, and receiving, $111.6 million in stimulus money from your administration, EPB decided to build a souped-up version of the Smart Grid with fiber optics rather than more cost-effective wireless technology. This decision was supposed to allow EPB to provide the fastest Internet service in the Western Hemisphere, a gigabit-per-second Internet speed that would send tech companies and web entrepreneurs stampeding to Chattanooga in droves.

In reality, though, the gig, like most of the projects funded by your stimulus plan, has been an absolute bust.

While the Smart Grid will cost taxpayers and local electric customers well over a half-billion dollars when all is said and done, there has been little improvement in the quality of EPB’s electric service. Worse, despite being heavily subsidized, EPB’s government-owned Internet, cable and telephone outfit that competes head-to-head against private companies like AT&T and Comcast is barely staying afloat, often relying on loans from electric service reserve funds to afford its business expenses.

Well, sure. On the other hand, once they get those “smart” meters on every house, they can more easily track and control everyone’s electricity usage, giving them another lever for greater federal intervention into our daily lives, and a pretty powerful one at that. Which was the real purpose of the whole scam all along.

(Via Insty)

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Features full of bugs

Hayward on the Obamaconomy:

I find this persistently high youth unemployment to be a particularly ominous trend when combined with Obama’s creation of Waiter and Waitress America. Full-time jobs are being replaced by part-time jobs; career positions are evaporating as the part-time service industry grows. An awfully large chunk of the supposedly “better than expected” job creation last month came from part-time service industry work, and the U-6 unemployment metric – which includes the under-employed – shot up by a hefty margin.

A lot of this is due to ObamaCare, but at this point the forces set in motion within the job market might be difficult to reverse even if ObamaCare was promptly repealed.

Here’s the thought that disturbs me: this long transformation of the American workforce to part-time status means that older workers are getting the kind of jobs that used to be considered entry-level work for young people. The kind of job that used to represent the next step up from entry-level employment is disappearing. The doors of opportunity are closing for a generation of young workers. And I fear that the very same people responsible for this devastating state of affairs are poised to harvest votes from the despair, dependency, and disaffection that will result.

And that, my friend, is no accident. It’s the whole idea, an integral part of the overall plan.

Hey, I didn’t say it was a good plan.

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System that destroys jobs and prosperity to suddenly create jobs and prosperity

By reaching across the pond and teaming up to by God get things done.

It’ll work this time. This time, we’ll get it right. No, really. Trust us.

The European Union and the United States will open negotiations next month on a long-sought deal to create free trade between the world’s two mightiest economic regions — an effort that could create millions of jobs but that could also take years to transform from dream to reality.

“America and Europe have done extraordinary things before and I believe we can forge an economic alliance as strong as our diplomatic and security alliances, which of course are the most powerful in history,” U.S. President Barack Obama declared alongside EU leaders and the British host, Prime Minister David Cameron.

“The whole point is to fire up our economies and drive growth and prosperity around the world — and there is no more powerful way to achieve that than by boosting trade,” Cameron said against a backdrop of Northern Ireland’s lush Fermanagh lakeland.

The British leader said these figures would mean, in practical terms, “2 million extra jobs, more choice and lower prices in our shops. We’re talking about what could be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history…This is a once-in-a-generation prize, and we are determined to seize it.”

Two moribund, stagnant, intentionally-enfeebled economies joining together to create…an even bigger mess than before. Gee, sounds sorta like the history of the EU itself, don’t it?

Unemployment permanently mired in the 15-20 percent range in both places; potential entrepreneurs basically throwing up their hands in despair and not bothering to even try to create new businesses anymore thanks to strangling over-regulation; and current business owners sitting on whatever capital they have left because it’s just not worth the bother of trying to expand–and “free trade” between two such bloated-yet-withering anachronisms is going to somehow magically create these “millions of jobs” they’re dissembling about? Why, sure; two plus two has always equalled five. Hasn’t it?

Go ahead, pull the other one.

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Worse and worser

Hope. Change. All you can stomach of ’em.

In the past five years, 9.5 million people have quit working and the current labor force participation rate is just 63.6 percent, the lowest it’s been since May 1979. More than 15.2 million more people are on food stamps today than were in February 2009, and during the same time frame, the poverty rate has increased by 0.7 percent.

Gasoline prices have almost doubled under Obama, and there’s nothing more corrosive for the middle class than when more cash comes out of everyone’s pockets at the pump. This is especially true given that the median household income has dropped more than $3,000 during the Obama presidency.

All the while we have experienced the biggest jump in our national debt in history under Obama, with the debt exploding from $11 trillion at the end of 2008 to almost $17 trillion today. And I’ll point out once again that if we look at this huge number in more relatable terms, our current national debt translates to a cost of more than $148,000 per taxpayer, up from just over $90,000 per taxpayer in 2008.

Even the infamous “Misery Index,” created by Jimmy Carter, has gotten worse under the Obama presidency. Remember, the Misery Index is the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate. In January 2009, the index was 7.83, but as of March 2013, it increased to 9.07.

It’s safe to say that the above statistics are key benchmarks of the U.S. economy. You can pick through other available figures and try to find some small pieces of good news, but by any measure, what these data show is that things have gotten worse rather than better for many Americans during Obama’s tenure.

Thereby proving Mencken right once again.

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Burn it down

Just a suggestion, mind. There are other possibilities; that just seems to be the most prospectively satisfying.

And just.

WASHINGTON–Eighteen Starbucks shops can be found in the three-mile walk from DuPont Circle to the U.S. Capitol. Not one of them had a line less than seven people deep on a recent Wednesday afternoon.

Twenty-one construction sites filled with workers on girders and cranes towering over whole city blocks can be found on the same walk.

Commerce bursts from every angle of this city: small businesses packed with shoppers, hair salons charging more than the monthly mortgage payment on my first house for a cut-and-blow-dry, and main as well as side streets clogged with traffic.

America’s capital seems bubble-wrapped in its own vibrant economic boom, while great chunks of the nation struggle with uncertainty about how to keep the engine going.

In fact, six of the 10 wealthiest American counties are Washington suburbs.

Washington once was the manifest of power. Now you can add “center of wealth” to its portfolio, crystallizing the elite institutional disconnect between it and the rest of the country.

Every penny of which is stolen from you, the US taxpayer sucker. Zito kind goes off the rails here, though:

And what about all of those job promises?

A Labor Department report on Friday showed marginally improved job growth but manufacturing jobs remain sluggish.

So, while Washington basks in its roaring economy, debating such issues as gay marriage, guns and how to provide a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal aliens, the rest of the country asks, “Hi, remember us? Where are the jobs? Can we focus on the jobs?”

The lack of attention given to the economy affects Main Streeters’ very existence in a way that Washington does not understand.

The problem is assuredly NOT any “lack of attention” to the economy; the problem is DC’s fat, grubby fingers groping into every smallest corner of it, wringing everything it possibly can from it, in both money and power.

Such uncertainty affects spending habits as well. Consumers are behaving as though they are living paycheck to paycheck, because they don’t know what is coming down the pike.

Again: no. They behave as if they’re living paycheck to paycheck because they ARE living paycheck to paycheck. And in the Obamaconomy, they’re lucky if they’re managing even that well. One of the features of top-down socialist economies is that the word “prosperity” takes on a whole new meaning. The new “fairness” and all, don’tchaknow.

Want jobs, prosperity, and a booming economy again? Put government back on something even remotely identifiable as a Constitutional footing, and watch us leave the kind of doldrums that becalm all socialist economies in our wake. Again.

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Boilerplate

Ever wonder what that word really means? Well, wonder no more.

April 4, 2013 – “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are helping to build an economy that creates jobs and works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

Any of this meaningless, patently false dog-drool sound familiar? Because it should.

March 8, 2013 – “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides evidence that the recovery that began in mid-2009 is gaining traction.” 

February 1, 2013 – “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we pursue the policies needed to build an economy that works for the middle class as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

January 4, 2013 – “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

December 7, 2012 – “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

November 2, 2012 – “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

October 5, 2012 – “While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

September 7, 2012 – “While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

August 3, 2012 – “While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

Boy. Talk about phoning it in. Guess when your hold on absolute power has been consolidated as securely as the Ogabe ruling junta’s has, you don’t have to worry all that much about placating the pee-ons with soothing lies anymore. Now, watch this drive!

(Via Ed Driscoll)

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UNEXPECTORATED: Corner turned at last!

Great news, folks: the Obama Depression continues, and shows every sign of being permanent.

It took less than four years from the bear market low of 6,547, set on March 9, 2009, for the Dow to set a record high. In the Great Depression, it had taken fully 25 years for the Dow to reach a new, post-1929 high.

But while the stock market is rising briskly, unemployment has not done nearly as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its February report Friday morning — and though many cheered its 236,000-new-job headline, it was sobering overall.

And that’s before they revise it downward in a couple weeks to more closely–but not too closely–reflect reality, like they always do.

Unemployment is at 7.7%, only a tenth of a percent below where it was in September of last year. Unemployment among some subgroups, such as teenagers (25.1%) and blacks (13.8%), is much higher.

The long-term unemployed, those out of work for 27 weeks or longer, number 4.8 million, fully 40.1% of all unemployed. Those working part-time but wanting full-time employment number 8 million.

These are dismal figures.

Worse, the workforce participation rate is only 63.5%. At the start of the recession, it was 66%. In other words, millions of people have dropped out of the labor force. If they had not, the unemployment rate would be over 10%.

Which is perfectly normal in any socialist tyranny…as are the incessant lies about how things are really looking up, and how the next Five Year Plan will really get the economy humming at last.

More vodka, please.

Opening mouth and removing all doubt update! Liberal halfwit Chris Matthews: “When is President Obama going to get some credit, and this is like Rodney Dangerfield. When’s he going to get some credit for this amazing economy that’s coming back.” Hey, I’ve been giving him full and proper credit all along, you dolt. A lot of us have.

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CRISIS IN AMERICA: AMERICA IN CRISIS Day Four: the walkback

Still alive here, and wondering how that could even be possible without full federal oversight and assistance.

‘Just to make the final point about the sequester,” said President Obama at his press conference Friday, “we will get through this. This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think, as some people have said.” That’s a relief, but it is also a major walk-back, since the “some people” who have been predicting apocalypse are the President and senior members of his Administration.

Normal Americans awoke Friday to find that the veneer of civilization had not fallen away. If the federal government does end up spending $44.8 trillion over the next decade instead of $46 trillion, they may not notice at all. This may explain Mr. Obama’s morning-after concession that “what’s important to understand is that not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away,” and that the gruesome cuts that the President had been invoking are now merely “a slow grind that will intensify with each passing day.”

One reason the grind may intensify is that Mr. Obama spurned GOP offers Friday morning to grant him even more executive discretion than he already has to prioritize federal spending. Or as his own Simpson-Bowles commission put it, he could always choose among the “patchwork of thousands of duplicative programs, nearly impossible to track and even harder to evaluate for effective outcomes.” This he does not want to do.

What he is trying to do instead is implement the sequester as rudely as possible so that he can extract another tax increase. As the President put it, the problem is that Republicans have adopted “an iron-clad rule that we will not accept an extra dime’s worth of revenue.”

Know what I’m really gonna get a good long belly-laugh out of? When all those “extra revenues” dry up as the economy tanks even worse with Obama’s tax increases–just as they always do–and FederalGovCo ends up taking in less than it was before.

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Another Obama SUCCESS story

Congrats to His Royal Majesty on yet another in his long line of entirely successful efforts.

Gasoline prices have set an all-time high of $3.75 for the month of February, but as opposed to the Bush years there’s an uncommon (uncommon for any time other than the last four years, that is) media reluctance to assign blame to anyone within a mile radius of the White House.

Your energy bills are necessarily skyrocketing, just as His Highness promised and intended all along. For all of you who voted for the Marxist shitheel: enjoy your misery, you dumb fucks. And don’t even dream of complaining about it, either. You don’t like finding your budget squeezed by artificially high gas prices? Don’t like having to choose between getting to work and, say, eating this week? Fucking walk, then. It’s good for you, after all, and better for the environment.

Update! Via Insty: WaPo tries to figure out the flabbergasting mystery of Obama’s successful realization of his campaign promise to bleed America white with higher energy costs, reaches the only sensible conclusion: it’s “guarded optimism” about the Obama “recovery.”

No, really. I’m serious. They actually said it.

It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

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It’s like the Gore Effect, only worse

Ogabe gets tough:

Here’s what we know about President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night: It will include some news — as in new challenges aimed at Congress — and enough rhetoric about economic growth and job creation to sound familiar to most Americans who worry about continued 8 percent unemployment.

The president’s speech, described by White House officials as an expansion of January’s inauguration theme of “opportunity for all,” will kick off a week of campaign-style Obama travel designed to pressure GOP lawmakers to bend to the wishes of a majority of Americans — or risk their election-year wrath.

On Wednesday, the president will visit the Linamar automotive parts manufacturing plant near Ashville, N.C. On Thursday, he will visit the Decatur Recreation Center in Georgia to highlight education and job skills.

Yeah, well, I guess he figures it might not be a good idea to visit the Freightliner plant here that he used as a backdrop for blowing his own out-of-tune horn last year:

MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. –  409! It’s not just a number, it represents people! And that’s how many layoffs will take place at the Freightliner plant in Mount Holly.

Up to 1,300 Daimler Trucks workers could be unemployed in our area. The tough news comes as the landscape for jobs and the economy looks cloudy.

President Barack Obama came to the Mount Holly truck plant in March. He talked about how administration policies had created the type of jobs that existed here at the time.

Obama said that was a sign of a recovering economy.

At a speech inside the factory, Obama said improving domestic energy production and developing alternative energy would create jobs.

“The Freighter trucks that you’re making here at this plant run on natural gas and that makes them quieter,” said Obama, “it makes them better for the environment.”

Today, they’re parked by the hundreds, unable to sell.

Call it the Obama Effect: the phenomenon of Obama showing up to laud this company or that as a shining light pointing the way to a rosy future, then said company folding or announcing massive layoffs not long after. It ain’t the first time (Caterpillar, Solyndra, among others), and it won’t be the last. Good luck to the folks at Linamar; I have a sneaking suspicion they’re gonna need it, in bucketloads.

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