Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The sad state of the American worker

Obamanomics has yet to deliver jobs, while many incomes have declined

By Stephen Moore

My 22-year-old son lives at home, still depends on his old man for spending money, and my profoundest fear is that like Will Ferrell in the “Wedding Crashers,” he will never leave the nest. I’m not alone. There are some 20 million college grads living at home. A 2014 study reported by CNN Money found that half of kids who are two years out of college rely on their parents to pay some or all of their bills. It’s the new normal for 20-somethings.

Gee, parents sure are getting a great financial return on the $150,000 they’ve shelled out for four years of college.

Sure, some of this dependency is an entitlement mentality of millennials whose parents have given them almost everything they’ve ever wanted. But it also reflects how dismal the economy still is today. Today we have college grads — along with working moms and 60-somethings — flipping burgers at Wendy’s and stocking the aisles at Wal-Mart. Left-wing groups and union leaders are now demanding “a living wage” for jobs that were never intended to be for heads of households. Who’s against higher wages for American workers? But wasn’t this what Obamanomics was supposed to deliver?

Seven years ago, Barack Obama promised a progressive worker paradise — a recovery from recession that would leave no one behind. “Hope and change” would deliver high employment and rising wages, and no one bought into this idyllic vision more than college kids.

President Obama and his supporters proclaim that he has saved America from the second great depression — a message we will start to hear again over and over in the months ahead. But even his own voters don’t believe him anymore, now that we’re just ending the seventh summer of no real recovery.

Start with the jobless rate. Yes, unemployment is down to 5.1 percent officially. Raise your hand if you believe that number is even close to accurate. The real unemployment rate counting labor force quitters and those forced into part-time jobs is, according to Mr. Obama’s own Labor Department: 10.5 percent. That number is actually down from more than 15 percent recently, but these still feel like recession rates. Nearly 90 million Americans over the age of 16 are out of the full-time workforce, and many millions of them are plopped in front of the TV watching “Seinfeld” reruns and living off food stamps or their parents because they have given up looking for a good job.

If we had experienced a normal recovery from recession, we’d have roughly 5 million to 6 million more of these Americans working today. With a Reagan-style recovery, more than 8 million Americans would be working and collecting a paycheck.

The more than 100 million Americans who are working are feeling a financial crunch, too. Most of them haven’t seen a pay raise that keeps pace with inflation for a decade.

The Census Bureau has released the latest data on family income, and it has been analyzed by the statisticians at Sentier Research. Through this past June, the median income family has lost $1,700 in real income since Team Obama took the reins (see chart).

The sad irony is that the steepest declines in income have been suffered by blacks, Hispanics, single women and, of course, those stay-at-home millennials. Oddly enough, these are the Obama voters. They also tend to be concentrated on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Imagine the scathing indignation and the cries of racism and sexism if this were the record of an incumbent Republican president rather than a liberal Democrat. Call it Mr. Obama’s “war on women.”

Here’s yet another bitter irony of this president’s labor policies. Mr. Obama obsesses over income inequality — almost as fanatically as he does climate change. But the standard measure of income inequality — the so-called Gini Coefficient — shows a wider gap between rich and poor than during the George W. Bush years. Using his own metrics, Obamanomics is a dismal failure.

The progressives think that the best way to drive up wages is to smack down businesses as greedy, self-serving and corrupt. But you need an employer before you can have an employee. Sorry, to be anti-business and pro-labor is like being anti-chicken and pro-egg. When Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier this year that “businesses don’t create jobs,” she didn’t misspeak, she was expressing a profound ignorance of how the private sector hiring machine works. Donald Trump said it well: As a businessman, “if I have more money, I can hire more workers.”

The employment recession didn’t start with Mr. Obama but with George W. Bush. Voters are distrustful of both parties and justifiably so. Even the simplest reforms — like building pipelines, cutting the corporate tax rate, letting banks lend money to businesses and homebuyers, or requiring work for able-bodied welfare recipients — don’t get done. But this past week, the president was up in the Arctic lecturing us about climate change. The unemployed probably feel that if he relishes cold weather so much, he should stay there



The Iran deal bait-and-switch

Jeff Jacoby

BARACK OBAMA has never made a secret of his determination to reach a deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program. Very early in his run for the White House, he announced that he was prepared to meet, without preconditions, with the rulers of Iran and other hostile regimes. "I think it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them," he said during a 2007 debate with Hillary Clinton. As president, Obama's outreach to Tehran began on Day 1. "We will extend a hand," he promised in his inaugural address, "if you are willing to unclench your fist." By 2011, he had dispatched then-Senator John Kerry to open a secret dialogue with Iran.

It has long been clear that Obama envisions a grand nuclear bargain with Iran as a cornerstone of his presidential legacy. "It's my name on this," he says. "I have a personal interest in locking this down."

But the terms of that bargain haven't been so clear. Far from being "locked down," the goals and guarantees of the Iran nuclear deal have been a moving target. In one critical area after another, the nuclear accord so enticingly advertised doesn't resemble the nuclear accord actually on the table. When unscrupulous merchants do that, it's called bait-and-switch. The seller may clinch the sale, but customers resent being conned.

Similarly, while Obama's nuclear deal will almost certainly survive a congressional vote of disapproval, public skepticism runs deep. A Pew Research poll released Tuesday found just 21 percent support for the agreement. Gallup reports only one in three Americans approve Obama's handling of US policy toward Iran. That's not typical — the public usually backs presidents on arms-control agreements. But voters don't like being conned any more than shoppers do.

How has the administration engaged in bait-and-switch on the Iran deal? Here are five ways.

Inspections. The White House claimed any agreement with Iran would supply international weapons inspectors with the ultimate all-access pass — round-the-clock authority to enter any suspected nuclear site. In a CNN interview in April, Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, confirmed that "under this deal, you will have anywhere/anytime, 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has." When a leading Iranian general scoffed at the suggestion that foreigners would be permitted to investigate possible nuclear activity at Iranian military sites, the Obama administration pushed back. "We expect to have anywhere/anytime access," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz reiterated bluntly.

But in the final accord, "anywhere/anytime" is nowhere to be found. The administration claimed it had never existed. (Switch!) "We never sought in this negotiation the capacity for so-called anytime/anywhere," Rhodes told CNN's Erin Burnett. Secretary of State Kerry went even further. "There's no such thing in arms control as anytime/anywhere," he insisted. "This is a term that, honestly, I never heard."

Sanctions snap back. The administration acknowledged that stiff economic sanctions had brought the Iranians to the negotiating table. It repeatedly assured skeptics that sanctions would automatically "snap back" into effect if Iran violated any terms of the nuclear accord. "The UN sanctions that initially brought Iran to the table can and will snap right back into place," Kerry told reporters in Vienna. That echoed what his boss had been saying all along. "We can crank that dial back up," Obama told an interviewer in 2013. "We don't have to trust them."

Yet now they sell the deal as a last chance to salvage some Iranian compliance from a sanctions regime that is crumbling anyway. (Switch!) Our allies "certainly are not going to agree to enforce existing sanctions for another 5, 10, 15 years," Obama said in his American University speech last month. And in any case, "sanctions alone are not going to force Iran to completely dismantle all vestiges of its nuclear infrastructure." Snap back? That was merely bait.

Right to enrich. A deal with Iran absolutely would not invest the Islamic Republic with a right to enrich uranium, the administration firmly asserted. "No — there is no right to enrich," Kerry declared. "In the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it's very, very clear that there is no right to enrich." This was a key point, since Iran insisted not only that it did have a right to enrich uranium, but that the West must acknowledge that right, or there would be no deal.

Before long, however, Kerry had changed his tune. "The NPT is silent on the issue," he conceded in testimony before a House committee. The final deal authorizes Iran to operate 6,000 centrifuges and to continue enriching uranium. "We understood that any final deal was going to involve some domestic enrichment capability," a senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal in April. "We always anticipated that." (Switch!)

Military option. Over and over and over, Obama proclaimed that he meant to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and that all options — including military attack — were "on the table." But that assurance has gone down the memory hole. (Switch!) As he lobbied for the nuclear deal that was signed in Vienna, his message was reversed. A military option is not on the table and will not eliminate an Iranian nuclear threat, Obama told Israeli TV. "A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it."

Deal or no deal. But perhaps the most egregious bait-and-switch of all involves the standard by which any accord with a deadly regime like Tehran's should be assessed. From President Obama on down, administration officials used to affirm constantly that "no deal is better than a bad deal."

They were right. And the deal they produced is indeed a bad deal. It does not dismantle Iran's nuclear program, nor constrain its murderous ambitions, nor lessen its influence. It will not enhance the security of America and its allies, nor make the world more peaceful.

Yet the president and his allies have abandoned their old standard. Their case for this bad agreement comes down to: It could be worse. It may be flawed and far from what was promised, but any deal with Iran is better than no deal. Most Americans, and most members of Congress, don't agree. And the bait-and-switch that was used to clinch this sale is going to leave a bad taste in a lot of mouths for a long time to come.



Report: Murder Arrests up 55%, Rape Arrests up 370%, in ‘Sanctuary City’ San Francisco

Arrests for murder in San Francisco jumped 55% and arrests for rape jumped 370% between 2011 and 2015, during the time the city expanded its sanctuary city policies, according to new figures obtained by Judicial Watch.

San Francisco has been a sanctuary city for nearly 30 years, and since 2009 has incrementally added sanctuary policies to the point that Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez–although five times previously deported and a seven-time convicted felon–was still in San Francisco to shoot and kill Kathryn Steinle on July 1 on the city’s Pier 14.

But numbers uncovered by Judicial Watch show that Steinle’s death–as tragic and shocking as it was–remains but one piece of a larger picture of skyrocketing arrests for murder and rape in the city.

According to CBS San Francisco, the city officially became a sanctuary city in 1989. Incremental expansions of the original sanctuary policies followed, such as a 2009 Board of Supervisors bill exempting juvenile illegals from deportation, even if they were “arrested for felonies.”

Then came 2013, the year in which San Francisco’s Sheriff and City Council changed policies via an ordinance requiring San Francisco law enforcement to ignore most U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. That not only laid the groundwork for illegals like Lopez-Sanchez to remain in the city, but also correlated with a surge in arrests for murder and rape.

Upon releasing these arrest percentages, Judicial Watch told Breitbart News that the massive jump in arrests for murder and rape does not include all arrests. Rather, the percentages only include “charges for arrests and bookings.”

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton commented, “Citizens understand that when San Francisco and other sanctuary cities release illegal alien criminals onto the streets, crime is going to increase. These new crime statistics suggest that there are more murders and an epidemic of rape linked to San Francisco’s releasing illegal alien criminals in violation of law.”


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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