The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Over the past month, Barack Obama's guard-rail to guard-rail approach to Syria has both liberal and conservative observers shaking their heads. The level of incompetence, incoherence, and downright stupidly evidenced in the handling of this matter has damaged the United States, the office that Barack Obama holds, and the near term future of our diplomatic relations in the Middle East and beyond.

As he often does after one of his many, many screw ups, the president has decided to do yet another "pivot"—this time to our disastrous economy and the upcoming budget debate. Of course, rather than offering substantive recommendations and establishing a middle ground that his party and the opposition can use as a starting point, Barack Obama (as he always does) demonizes the GOP ahead of budget talks. After all, it's always a brilliant idea to demonize the folks you have to negotiate with, isn't it?

There is only one critical issue that effects the middle class (Obama's claimed core constituency)—joblessness. The administration touts a 7.6 percent unemployment rate as "progress." But in reality the important number for the middle class is the labor force participation rate—the number of Americans who are working or actively seeking work. The Washington Post reports:
Back in 2007, 66 percent of Americans had a job or were actively seeking work. Today, that number is at 63.2 percent — the lowest level since 1978.
And worse, the trend is steadily down.

So what does Barack Obama do, what does he propose? Well, nothing, really. As he always does, he takes out his class warfare card and rails against "income inequality." He is so economically illiterate that he doesn't seem to recognize that unless the private sector is incented (via lower taxes, less strangling regulation, fewer onerous Obamacare rules and restrictions) to create jobs, the family income of large numbers of middle class people will continue to drop, exacerbating the "income gap." Ironically, it is the president's tax and spend policies that have caused the gap to widen, yet his trained hamsters in the media refuse to examine the causes (but love an idea the feeds into class warfare rhetoric).

On the economy, Barack Obama is as incoherent as he is on Middle Eastern policy. Proof? On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos (a democratic operative who claims to be an objective media commentator and who is a great friend of this president) interviewed the president on the economy. Any objective reading of the transcript of that interview indicates that with the exception of knee jerk ideological responses, Barack Obama doesn't understand the problem and doesn't have a single new idea. After hammering the income inequality meme, Stephanopoulos tries to help out Obama by giving him an excuse in the form of a softball question.To wit:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, but you do all these things and still, 95% of the gains go to the top 1%. Do you look at that, four and a half years in, and say, “Maybe a president just can’t stop this accelerating inequality?”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No, I think– I think the president can stop it. I– the problem is that– there– continues to be a major debate here in Washington. And that is: How do we respond to these underlying trends? If– if you look at– at– at the data– couple of things are– are– are creating these trends.

Number one, globalization. Right? Capital, companies, they can move businesses and– and jobs– anywhere they want. And so they’re lookin’ for the lowest wages. That squeezes workers here in the United States, even if corporations are profitable. Technology. If you go to– a lot of companies now, they’ve eliminated entire occupations because they’re now robotized. We don’t have travel agents. We don’t have bank tellers.
To be brutally honest, that's a response that a high school sophomore might conjure if she was asked to do a short paper on joblessness. It's the response of a person who is one question deep on the economy. Note that taxation, spending, and debt are never even mentioned.

Read the whole interview and you decide whether this president has even a clue of the problem or an effective way to address it. By the way, with the exception of broad big government bromides (e.g., better education for young people) he never suggests anything substantive that supports his statement that "I think the president can stop it [income inequality]"

We're in serious economic trouble, and it has very little to do with the meany GOP.