Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This economy is definitely not Obama’s recovery

By Stephen Moore

Trump better take advantage of Obama's underwhelming return
Barack Obama is trying to take credit for the booming economy under President Trump. “When you hear how great the economy is doing right now,” Obama said on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates a few days ago, “let’s just remember when this recovery started.”

By this logic, the Kingston Trio laid the groundwork for the Beatles.

But the contrast in economic performance between the two presidents is undeniable. Obama’s multitrillion-dollar spend-and-borrow policies produced 2 percent growth. In his final year, Obama handed off to Trump an economy that was limping at 1.6 percent.

After only 18 months in office, Trump has elevated growth to 3 percent on an annual rate and the latest projections are that the growth rate for the second and third quarter (which ends Sept. 30) will be over 4 percent. One might say all it took to get the economy really crackling was getting Obama out of office.

Obama is right that this has been a long recovery — beginning in June 2009. But the real economic boom started almost the day after the election in 2016 with the surge in small business, investor and consumer confidence.

No one on the left, least of all Obama, thought this was remotely possible.

Two years ago, Obama famously ridiculed Trump’s campaign promise of faster growth and a comeback in manufacturing jobs by saying this could only happen if Trump was waving “a magic wand.” Obama’s first chief economist, Larry Summers, proclaimed to the world that 2 percent was the best we could hope for. Other liberal economists were so disdainful of Trump’s tax cuts, deregulation and energy development that they predicted Trump would crash the world economy and the stock market.

It’s a little early to be declaring Trump’s policies a “miracle,” as Trump has boasted. All we can say is whatever he’s doing, it’s working.

And that Obama’s economic experiment of Keynesian economics on steroids was a profound disappointment. It began with the $830 billion stimulus plan, and then cash-for-clunkers, bailouts, ObamaCare, tax hikes on the rich, minimum-wage hikes and a wave of financial and economic regulations. All told, the national debt nearly doubled in eight years.

Meanwhile, the Obama recovery was remarkably flimsy. In 2015, the Joint Economic Committee of Congress found that compared to the eight previous post-recession events, “the Obama recovery was the weakest on record.”

The recovery was so shallow that had Obama merely achieved a normal pace of recovery, personal income in 2014 would have been $3,200 higher. If the economy had matched the Reagan trajectory, GDP in 2016 would have been almost $3 trillion larger (equivalent to the combined GDP of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania).

Even as measured by the left’s favorite metric, “economic fairness,” the policies failed. The index of income inequality rose nearly every year under Obama.

While Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Washington, DC, Wall Street and the energy states did spectacularly well (thanks to shale oil and gas), in the Rust Belt regions of the country — from upstate New York to Ohio and Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky — family incomes remained flat at best. On the campaign trail, I often asked folks in small towns across the Midwest about the Obama recovery, and their response was: What recovery?

Trump didn’t just run against Hillary Clinton and her closet overflowing with scandals, but the meager Obama economy as well. He ran against the runaway costs of ObamaCare. He ran against the regulatory assault, the tax hikes, unpopular trade deals and climate-change fanaticism. He ran against hopelessness, against opioid addiction, the $10 trillion rise in the national debt and income stagnation.

One time during the campaign, Larry Kudlow, Steve Miller and I held an impromptu discussion with Trump about economic strategy. Miller summarized the game plan to Trump succinctly: “Donald, just look at all the things that Obama has done on the economy over the past eight years, and then do just the opposite.”

Trump has done pretty much just that — which explains why the Trump boom is an everyday reminder of the Obamanomics failure.



Trump To Test Emergency Alert System This Week And Some Are Already Freaking Out

I love this story

The batty members of The Resistance are putting on their tinfoil hats once again after it was reported that President Trump would be testing the new national emergency alert system this Thursday.

Any user of a modern cell phone is probably already familiar with the feature in which authorities are able to push through severe weather warnings as well as the AMBER Alerts that are sent out when a child goes missing and the new system which is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gives the president a way to communicate with the entire nation in a time of national emergency.

The system was authorized by Congress and implemented under Barack Obama but has never undergone a real national live test.

That test is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

All major wireless firms and more than 100 mobile carriers are participating in the new Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program that allows for presidential alerts, FEMA wrote in a Thursday statement.

“The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the president with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency,” FEMA said in a statement.

Compatible cell phones will receive a text message that reads “Presidential Alert” and “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The EAS is also used with radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers, the agency said.

The WEA system is already used to warn the public about missing children, dangerous weather and other vital information, FEMA said.

The national test of the presidential alerts will use the same tone and vibration associated with other WEA alerts such as tornado warnings or Amber Alerts.

It makes sense right? It should, at least to sane people whose frontal lobes haven’t been turned into mush by the insane paranoia and hysterical overreaction by many to a lost election.

The moonbat fever swamps are absolutely boiling over on Twitter

It will only get crazier as the big day approaches and the lunatics get more restive.



Almost Half of Venezuela’s Stores Close After Socialists Win Huge Min Wage Hike

The already-rocky Venezuelan economy is nearer to collapse after President Nicolás Maduro raised the nation’s minimum wage by 3,500 percent, triggering runaway inflation and mass closings of Venezuelan businesses.

Nearly 40 percent of all Venezuelan stores have closed, some forever, according the National Council of Commerce and Services of Venezuela. “It is a perfect storm,” said María Carolina Uzcátegui, president of the council, according to the Miami Herald. “These decisions are leading many business people to say, ‘No, I can’t do it any more.’”

She said government edicts require businesses to sell below cost while employee salaries are skyrocketing. “We have inspections, and they force us to sell at last month’s prices,” she said. “That takes money away from the business because of the hyperinflation, when you can’t even sell at yesterday’s prices because you lose money.”

She said arguing with the government is a one-way trip to prison.

“And anyone who protests against these measures runs the risk of going to jail, without the right to appeal, without the right to anything, simply because the official whose turn it was to inspect the store just felt like arresting you. He did it, and that’s all,” she said.

Inflation is nothing new to Venezuela. The August rate set a new national record as 225 percent, and the current estimate is that inflation for 2017 will hit a rate of 1 million percent, The Washington Post reported.

Ricardo Cusanno, vice president of Fedecamaras, the main business federation in Venezuela, called the government economic policies “the worst of all possible worlds.”

“Maduro raised the (minimum) salary, which was necessary, but announced a series of punitive measures that create no incentive for investment and no trust, and are set to decrease production.”

Maduro has promised to right the nation’s economy, but it keeps getting worse.

“I have never seen an economic plan fail so miserably so fast,” said Victor Maldonado, former director of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, who said over the past 20 years, 75 percent of the country’s private companies closed. “Of the 140,000 left, I’m afraid that we’ll count by thousands the ones that will close after these measures,” he said.

Economist Orlando Ochoa said the system conspires against small businesses.

“The government sector has the monopoly on imports, the currency market is dysfunctional and there’s hyperinflation,” said Ochoa. “So, if salaries are increased by decree, and the commercial and industrial sectors cannot sell their products because of these problems, and on top of that because of electricity blackouts, infrastructure problems and the loss of qualified personnel, which is leaving the country, then it’s easy to understand that many may prefer to close.”

Francisco Ibarra, director of the Econometrica company, said the wage increase was not a standalone action, but the straw that broke the backs of many companies.

“If you already have a demand that has been falling across all Venezuelan sectors, and you have this kind of increase in salary, and then you don’t have any way of adding these costs to the prices, and you also don’t have access to bank financing, and the company already was not generating significant profits, it’s obvious then that what’s happening is that the company is dying,” said Ibarra.

Venezuela’s crisis is so bad that people are abandoning their beloved pets. Unable to afford dog food, families are sending their pets to shelters or onto the street.

As the economy teeters, talk of military action is rife.  Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro on Friday said military action might be the only way to end Maduro’s socialist “dictatorship.”

“With respect to a military intervention to overthrow Nicolas Maduro’s regime, I don’t think any option should be ruled out,” Almagro said, according to ABC.

“What Nicolas Maduro’s regime is perpetrating are crimes against humanity, the violation of the human rights and the suffering of people that is inducing an exodus. Diplomatic actions should be the first priority but we shouldn’t rule out any action.”



Cruz Reveals Why Texas Senate Race Is So Close – ‘The Far Left Have Lost Their Minds’

Sen. Ted Cruz is making the rounds in Texas to persuade voters to give him another term in the Senate and says that the people working hardest against him are not the ones with sense, but with dollars.

“We’ve got a race on our hands,” Cruz said, according to Fox News. “If you’re a wealthy liberal sitting in New York City or Massachusetts or San Francisco right now and you could defeat one Republican in the country, it’d be me, that’s why the money is flowing in here.”

In fact, Democrat candidate Beto O’Rourke just tapped New York City wallets for his campaign with a Wednesday fundraiser that charged $500 just to get in the door, CNBC reported.

Donations from outside of Texas are one reason O’Rourke has around $14 million to spend as the campaign winds down while Cruz has $9.3 million, Fox News reported.

Cruz has no illusions about what he is up against. “Despite the fact that he is hard, hard left, he’s the number one Democratic fundraiser in the country, and he is outraising our campaign substantially,” Cruz said.

“With the election of Donald Trump, the far left has lost their minds,” he continued. “The extreme left, they are energized, they’re angry and they have a lot of hatred for President Trump.”

Cruz noted that liberal gushing over O’Rourke never gets to what matters: the issues. “Their favorite adjective is Kennedyesque,” Cruz said. “They all talk about his hair and his teeth, they talk about no substance, nothing about his record, they don’t talk about his being open to abolishing ICE; they don’t talk about his wanting to impeach the president.”

The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Cruz leading O’Rourke 44.5 percent to 41.3 percent. All of the latest polls show Cruz leading, with margins that vary from one to six percentage points.

Although the race may be close, in one community there is no contest. The Reno City Council passed a resolution against kneeling during the national anthem and criticized O’Rourke for his support of anti-anthem protests by NFL players.

“The City Council has declared that it is disrespectful toward, and dishonors the sacrifice of our veterans, service members, and first responders of the United States of America to kneel during the National Anthem, a time during which all should stand to recognize and honor the sacrifice they have made to our country,” the resolution stated, according to a report from McClatchy DC.

“Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it,” O’Rourke said. “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, or any place.” The Reno City Council labeled that perspective as “false.”

“The Reno City Council considers kneeling during the National Anthem of the United States of America not only un-American but to be one of the highest forms of disrespect anyone can show to the sacrifice and service of our country’s military members, veterans and first responders,” the resolution said.



EPIC FAIL: $52,000 Curtains In New York Times Hit Piece Were Bought By Obama Regime

The New York Times continues to show just how abysmal that “journalism” has become in the modern era with a production line of fake news, anonymously sourced hit pieces and outright smear campaigns.

Thursday’s bombshell tale about those $52,000 curtains in U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s apartment was all three rolled into one big smelly ball of BS from the “gray lady” that has gone from the nation’s “paper of record” to the toilet paper of record.

The original title of the article was “Nikki Haley’s View of New York is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701” and even though it was noted that the extravagant expense for the mechanized curtains was approved by the smug Obama regime which like the NYT believed there was no way that Hillary would lose the election, it was buried deep in the piece with the misleading headline fingering Haley.

The curtains were likely intended for Samantha Power who would have been a good bet to have retained her job had Mrs. Clinton not choked like a dog in the Rust Belt.

Hours after posting an online smear of Ambassador Nikki Haley, The New York Times on Friday afternoon corrected the article to make it clear she had nothing to do with the decision to spend $52,000 on mechanized curtains in her official New York residence. Hours of criticism had left the Gray Lady no other choice.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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