Friday, September 20, 2013

Census on Obama’s 1st Term: Real Median Income Down $2,627; People in Poverty Up 6,667,000; Record 46,496,000 Now Poor

 During the four years that marked President Barack Obama’s first term in office, the real median income of American households dropped by $2,627 and the number of people in poverty increased by approximately 6,667,000, according to data released today by the Census Bureau.

The record total of approximately 46,496,000 people in the United States who are now in poverty, according to the Census Bureau, is more than twice the population of Syria, which, according to the CIA, has 22,457,336 people.

In 2008, the year Obama was elected, real median household income in the United States was $53,644 according to the Census Bureau. In 2012, the last full year of Obama’s first term, median household income was $51,017. Thus, real median household income dropped $2,627—or 4.89 percent—from 2008 to 2012.

In fact, real median household income dropped in every year of Obama's first term. In 2008, when he was elected, it was $53,644. In 2009, the year he was inaugurated, it dropped to 53,285. In 2010, his second year in office, it dropped to $51,892. In 2011, his third year in office, it dropped to $51,100. And, in 2012, his fourth year in office, it dropped to $51,017.

At the same time the number of people living in poverty in the United States increased. In 2008, according to the Census Bureau, there were approximately 39,829,000 people living in poverty in this country. In 2012, there were 46,496,000. That is an increase of approximately 6,667,000—of 16.73 percent—from 2008 to 2012.

The number of people in poverty increased during three of the four years of Obama's first term--taking a slight dip from 2010 to 2011, but then rising again from 2011 to 2012. In 2008, there were 39,829 people in poverty in the U.S. In 2009, it climbed to 43,569. In 2010, it climbed again to 46,343. In 2011, it dipped to 46,247. And, in 2012, it climbed to an all-time high 46,496.

In 2008, the year Obama was elected, people in poverty represented 13.2 percent of the national population. In 2012, they represented 15.0 percent of the population.

The income threshold at which a person was determined to be in “poverty,” according to the Census Bureau, depended on the size of their household. If a person lived by themselves and earned less than $11,270 in 2012, they were considered to be in poverty. A family of two people was considered in poverty if they earned less than $14,937. The threshold for a family of three was $18,284, for a family of four it was $23,492, and for a family of five it was $27,827.

The data reported here on real median household income and the number of people in poverty come from the Census Bureau’s report “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” which was released today.



Fight like an Australian on Obamacare

“In choosing Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party has chosen the least electable of the three candidates who were on the ballot today.”

That was Sydney Morning Herald political editor Peter Hartcher’s take way back in December 2009 on Tony Abbott winning leadership of Australia’s right-of-center Liberal Party.

All the smartest people in the room said he couldn’t win, but by sticking to his principles, four years later Abbott went on to win the general election on Sept. 7 in a Reaganesque landslide with 54 percent of the popular vote.

Hartcher’s analysis could not have been more wrong: “We see the Liberal Party choosing to fight on climate change knowing that they go into this fight with only 25 percent public support.” He called Abbott “combative,” “unpopular,” and said that the party thought that it was “more important to fight on climate change than it is to be readily electable.” Whoops.

Hailing Abbott’s example, Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens urged House Republicans to fight like Australians on defunding Obamacare, contending that if it came to a government shutdown, the outcome would not be as purveyors of conventional wisdom predict.

In a letter addressed to House members, Mehrens called attention to Abbott’s ascension in Australian politics. In 2009, when Abbott became leader of his party, it was by just one vote, defeating Malcolm Turnbull who Mehrens wrote “had agreed to go along with the leftist majority in Parliament and fund a carbon tax scheme in Australia.”

The carbon tax “was about as popular as Obamacare is in the United States,” Mehrens noted. In the 2013 election, Abbott promised to roll back the unpopular tax on emissions.

“He did not make the mistake of believing that the talking heads of the media’s opinion givers had anything to do with the views of the public,” Mehrens wrote. Instead, Abbott went against the grain and reclaimed the identity of his party, which in 2009 was acquiescing to the Labor Party’s agenda.

On health care, Abbott also ran on privatizing Australia’s Medibank, a government sponsored enterprise that is currently the country’s largest insurer, even as Nicholas Reece of the Center for Public Policy at the University of Melbourne acknowledged it would be a “a political hard sell” in the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald.

The oped by Reece, a supporter of Abbott’s privatization proposal, underscores the new prime minister’s commitment to good policy even in the face of predicted overwhelming political opposition.

Days before the election, Abbott proclaimed, “We will put it into the private sector at what is the best time for Commonwealth taxpayers.”

Similarly, Mehrens urged House Republicans to “put policy before politics and fund the government with the exception of Obamacare.”

“On Obamacare funding, the media opinion is unanimous that in a test of wills the President will win. After recent events in the foreign policy arena that conclusion is laughable.  Who with a straight face could believe that Obama will shut down his beloved bureaucracy for a prolonged period in order to save a program that is despised by the voters?” Mehrens asked.

For now, the media elite and political establishment in Washington, D.C. are of the view that a government shutdown over funding Obamacare would favor Democrats politically.

But a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports found “51 percent of voters favor having a partial government shutdown until Democrats and Republicans agree on what spending for the health care law to cut.”

Moreover, Mehrens wrote, “As in all government shut downs (i.e. weekends) essential government employees are kept on the job while the non-essential are furloughed.”

He continued, “When Obama realizes that this means his Environmental Protection Agency will be slowed down in its attempts to shut down power plants, the Department of Justice will be hampered in filing frivolous lawsuits, the Internal Revenue war on anyone who disagrees with him will be hampered, and various other of his efforts to transform America will be hindered, he will no doubt rush to the bargaining table.”

Meaning, a shutdown might not only win public support if it means cutting Obamacare, but that it could force concessions by the Obama administration on the health care law.

In other words, it might actually work. “Good policy is good politics as the recent Australian election demonstrates,” Mehrens concluded.



Ignoring an Obamacare opportunity?

Rahm Emanuel’s infamous quote, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before,” has never been more relevant than it is today when discussing ObamaCare.

The political landscape surrounding ObamaCare has changed dramatically.

Warren Buffett is now arguing for scrapping the entire law because of the harm it is doing.

Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) General President Terry O’Sullivan bitterly attacked ObamaCare at the national meeting of the AFL-CIO saying, “we’ll be damned if we’re going to lose our health insurance because of unintended consequences in the law!”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters president James P. Hoffa and two other major union heads sent a letter to Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) demanding that they do something about ObamaCare: “Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the [Affordable Care Act] will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

The President had to scramble this week to keep the AFL-CIO from passing a resolution in favor of repealing ObamaCare.

The Democrats are in crisis over the implementation of ObamaCare. Only about 50 percent of the regulations are in place, and the system is not ready for roll out. The health information that is being collected is not protected from being stolen from the system. If implemented, ObamaCare is going to be an unmitigated disaster, and the Democrats know it.

More importantly, their political partners in the labor movement are now demanding that they fix it or repeal it outright.

The politics have shifted. Reid and crew can’t just dismiss House Republican efforts to defund the law out of hand, because their political constituencies are demanding they deal with the coming ObamaCare onslaught.

In spite of themselves, House Republican leaders are on the precipice of a major victory, if only they will remember the words of Emanuel and seize the opportunity.




Secret court judge proves in public that she is either illiterate or has never read the US Constitution:  "The National Security Agency’s collection of phone records complies with the Constitution, and the government has shown it’s necessary to efforts to prevent terrorism, a U.S. court said in an opinion released today. ... The court released the July opinion by U.S. District Court Judge Claire Eagan, who serves on the secret court. The judge wrote that she was requesting that her opinion be released 'because of the public interest in this matter.'"

EU Parliament nominates Snowden for rights prize:  "Fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden is in the running for a European human rights prize whose past winners include Nelson Mandela and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Mr Snowden, who is in hiding in Russia, is one of seven nominations made by members of the European Parliament for the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, a move likely to upset Washington which wants to try him on espionage charges."

Stock market hits record high after Fed announces plan to continue debasing currency:  "The stock market hit a record high Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s surprise decision to keep its economic stimulus in place. Bond yields fell sharply -- their biggest move in nearly two years. Meanwhile, the price of gold jumped as some traders anticipated that the Fed’s decision might cause inflation."

Wage bill aimed at Wal-Mart dies in DC:  "An effort to require Wal-Mart and other large retailers to pay their employees a "living wage" of at least $12.50 an hour met its end Tuesday when the D.C. Council failed to override Mayor Vincent Gray's veto. The bill put Washington at the center of a national debate over compensation for low-wage workers -- and whether some large companies should be required to pay more. Supporters said Wal-Mart can afford to pay higher wages, while opponents said the bill unfairly singled out certain businesses and would have a chilling effect on economic development."

Patent troll takes punch, still (too) many of ‘em:  "Patent trolls function as one of the worst cancers on innovation. These companies, which don’t actually produce any tech products, wield (suspect) patents and search out any firm, large or small, that might infringe on said-patents and threaten to take them to court. Most times they know they don’t have a case and settle before a trial. The accused companies typically find it’s easier to pay a lower amount -- often called 'nuisance fees' -- than suffer the legal fees and time-wasting of a court case. Now Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that one entrepreneur is fighting back harder than usual. FindTheBest CEO Kevin O’Connor claims that the troll that’s come after his company has been so brazen that it’s actually violated racketeering laws."


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