Posts Tagged ‘Stimulus’
July 7th, 2011 at 1:11 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Jobs Created
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 23rd, 2011 at 11:06 am
Initial Unemployment Claims Rise, Fed Says “We’ve Done All We Can”
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So much for attempt number two on the “Recovery Summer” that the Obama Administration promised one year ago.

Today, the Labor Department announced that weekly initial unemployment claims jumped to 429,000, an increase of 9,000 from last week’s 420,000.  Even more ominously, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke explained yesterday that the Fed has already done all it is prepared to do to increase growth, and expressed the same sort of cluelessness as Obama on why their “stimulus” has failed:

We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting.”

The Fed also issued “fairly significant” reductions in its 2011 growth forecast to 2.9% next year (down from a 3.3% growth expectation in April, and from 3.9% in January).  Another “Recovery Summer” like this, and Obama will be borrowing Jimmy Carter’s sweater for his own “Malaise Speech.”

June 3rd, 2011 at 9:22 am
Obamanomics: Unemployment Rises to 9.1%
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This morning, the Labor Department announced that the U.S. unemployment rate climbed again to 9.1% this month, up from 9.0% in April.  Just as alarmingly, the net number of jobs created was only 54,000, down from 232,000 in April.  In addition to deteriorating from the previous month, both numbers fell well below the expectations of economists, who had anticipated a decline in the unemployment rate to 8.9%, and 160,000 net new jobs.  This also means that in the 27 months since Obama signed his unprecedented government spending “stimulus,” unemployment has only climbed from 8.2% to 9.1%, even though the Administration projected that he would have it down to 6.5% by now.  By way of comparison, in the same 27 months following the effective date of President Reagan’s tax cuts in January 1983, unemployment plummeted from 10.4% to 7.3%.  The facts speak volumes.

May 26th, 2011 at 10:57 am
Initial Unemployment Claims Rise Again
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This morning, the Labor Department announced that first-time unemployment claims rose again, from 414,000 last week to 424,000 this week.

As demonstrated by this Labor Department graph, weekly unemployment claims average approximately 300,000 during periods of economic normalcy.  One year ago, the number stood at 463,000 when the Obama Administration proclaimed the arrival of the “Recovery Summer,” yet it never dipped below 400,000 for the remainder of 2010.  We finally dipped into the high 300,000 range in February of this year – still an elevated level – but the number climbed back to 478,000 last month.

This is the Obama “stimulus,” over two years and $1 trillion of government spending later.

April 29th, 2011 at 4:25 pm
Gallup: 73%-22% Majority Blames Deficit on Too Much Spending, Not Insufficient Taxes
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Here’s more encouraging news:  Americans are “getting it” on the issue of federal deficits and debt.  According to a new Gallup survey, an overwhelming 73% to 22% majority blames excess spending for the deficit, not insufficient taxation.  Barack Obama and his liberal apologists seek to blame “tax cuts for the rich” and insufficient revenues as the problem.  But as illustrated by the Heritage Foundation’s newly-released 2011 Budget Chart Book, our budget would still be approximately balanced if spending merely returned to early 2000s levels.  Does any serious person contend that government was too small in the first half of the 2000s, that government didn’t spend enough, that the poor and hungry were somehow cast out on the cold streets, that bureaucrats went unpaid?  Of course not.  The problem is explosive spending growth.  Obama oversaw an 84% increase in domestic discretionary spending, including his failed “stimulus,” in just his first two years.

Fortunately, Americans see through his attempt to demand even more taxpayer dollars to feed the insatiable leviathan he hopes to enlarge.

April 15th, 2011 at 10:16 am
The Bush Administration Didn’t Create Your Record Deficits, Mr. Obama
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Observers like Charles Krauthammer are correct:  Barack Obama’s partisan budget attack this week was a “disgrace.”  Almost every sentence was tawdry, caustic or simply dishonest.

One suggestion early in Obama’s speech stood out because it is so easily refuted by simple numbers.  Namely, his latest attempt to scapegoat the Bush Administration and portray his own record deficits as somehow attributable to it:

We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program -– but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending.  Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts -– tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.  To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this:  In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.”

But take a look at the actual historical deficit data, with particular attention to 2007, which was the last year under a Republican Congress and White House.  That year’s deficit came in at $161 billion, which is one-tenth the size of Obama’s projected record $1.65 trillion 2011 deficit.  That 2007 deficit was also down from $378 billion in 2003, when the tax cuts, Iraq invasion and drug benefit occurred.  In his usual straw-man manner of argumentation, Obama mocked those who claim we can reduce our debt by eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse,” but what better way to characterize his latest un-presidential harangue?

April 12th, 2011 at 11:10 am
Fed: $4 Gas in March? Nothing to See Here, Folks.
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Gasoline prices have increased from the $3 range to the $4 range in just one year, we’re approaching all new record prices set in 2008 even though it’s not even summer driving season yet.  But ignore higher gas and food prices, America.  They only matter if you actually drive or eat. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen says it’s all “transitory,” and we need to keep the “stimulative” inflationary monetary spigots open because it “continues to be appropriate.”

Even the European Central Bank is raising interest rates in an attempt to avert inflation.  Of course, there isn’t an Obama reelection campaign to sustain over there.

April 11th, 2011 at 2:29 pm
Quote of the Day from WSJ’s L. Gordon Crovitz
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Quote of the day from The Wall Street Journal’s L. Gordon Crovitz, writing in his weekly “Information Age” column:

In high-tech, by the time the political and legal systems catch up to an issue, the issue is moot.”

Whether anti-trust, so-called “Net Neutrality,” public broadband endeavors, wireless data roaming mandates or anything else, you can always count on bureaucrats to be a day late and a dollar short.  Are you paying attention, FCC?

April 5th, 2011 at 1:19 pm
FCC Commissioner Clyburn Thinks Government Should Enter the Communications Business, Too
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In this era of bureaucratic overreach and unsustainable spending and deficits, should government also enter the business of competing against private communications service providers?  Doesn’t it already have its hands full?

We at CFIF think so.  In fact, we testified last month before the North Carolina legislature on behalf of thousands of supporters and activists across that great state in support of H.B. 129, which would restrain government bureaucrats from unfairly competing against private providers of communications services.   And with good reason.  From Taiwan to Australia, from Chicago to Houston, and inside North Carolina itself, the history of public broadband is without exception one of failure.  Every single public broadband project of which we’re aware has failed to so much as break even.  Ultimately, taxpayer bailouts become necessary as government endeavors lose money and require constant upgrades to keep pace with evolving technology.  Moreover, government broadband boondoggles undermine the billions of dollars invested in private network improvement and expansion, and discourage future private investment.  After all, why risk one’s capital to compete against governments that can manipulate the rules and go to taxpayers for bailout?  Inevitably, poorer service and layoffs in the vibrant tech sector result.  Rural communities particularly suffer.

But none of that logic seems to matter to Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.   In a statement Monday, Clyburn attacked the North Carolina’s sensible legislation and defended the concept of government entering yet another portion of the private sector.   Perhaps that’s not surprising, considering Clyburn’s vote last December to impose so-called “Net Neutrality” in the face of two-to-one public opposition, a unanimous Court of Appeals decision that the FCC didn’t possess such authority and condemnation from bipartisan groups in Congress.

Predictable or not, however, it is critical that Americans at the federal, state and local level vocally oppose the sort of government tech sector overreach that she advocates.

April 4th, 2011 at 3:03 pm
Paul Ryan Unveils Budget Proposal, Obama Unveils Political Campaign
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This week provides a stark contrast between a leader actually willing to risk political capital, versus a man who now seeks four more years of politics-as-usual.

On the one hand, we have House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R – Wisconsin).  Tomorrow, Congressman Ryan will unveil a federal budget proposal that reduces spending by $4 trillion over the coming ten years, provides pro-growth tax reform and caps runaway federal spending.  All without reducing Social Security benefits by a single penny for anyone already receiving them or over 55 years of age, along with Medicare reform that will save it from its catastrophic fate if nothing is done.  Congressman Ryan knows full well that by offering budget leadership, Democrats will possess a “political weapon” to use against him, even if it means that “they will have to lie and demagogue” to do so.  But instead of shrinking, he has chosen leadership.

On the other hand, we have the President of the United States.  The purported leader of the Free World.  The most powerful man on Earth.  The man who formed a blue-ribbon deficit commission, then proceeded to ignore it.  Instead of making sure that a Congress dominated by his own party could even manage to pass a 2011 budget, instead of offering decisive world statesmanship amid worldwide crises and instead of providing leadership in averting a national debt catastrophe, Obama instead focused on unveiling his 2012 reelection campaign this week.  Instead of offering a plan, the AWOL Obama will apparently just sit back and attack Paul Ryan’s.

So there you have it.  One man seeks to cut spending by $4 trillion, and the other man seeks to spend $1 billion getting himself reelected.

March 18th, 2011 at 4:37 pm
The State of the Union in One Paragraph
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From the opening graph of a story in today’s Washington Times:

As a thank-you to its most famous customer, Amtrak is renaming the train station in Wilmington, Del., after stimulus “sheriff” Vice President Joseph R. Biden — after the project received $20 million in stimulus money and came in $5.7 million over the initial announced budget.

February 14th, 2011 at 10:35 am
Obama Budget Proposal: Record $1.6 Trillion Deficit
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Last month, we noted with alarm that the Congressional Budget Office forecast a record $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit for fiscal 2011.

It’s apparently even worse than that.  Today, the Obama Administration unveils its proposed budget, projecting that this year’s deficit will actually reach $1.6 trillion.  So after telling Americans during his 2008 campaign that he was going to go through the budget “line-by-line” and reduce the deficit, Obama has given us deficits of $1.4 trillion, $1.3 trillion and now a record $1.6 trillion.  And what to show for it?  Unemployment remains at or above 9% for a post-World War II record 21st consecutive month, despite Obama’s promises that it would top out at 8% in October 2009 and decline to between 6% and 7% today.

As for those who continue their mindless “Blame Bush” rationalization crusade, they must explain how three years into the Age of Obama, the deficit is increasing, not decreasing, from $1.3 trillion to $1.6 trillion (an almost 25% increase).

February 4th, 2011 at 10:25 am
Unemployment: On Eve of Reagan’s 100th Birthday, Let’s Compare Presidents
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In its monthly report this morning, the Labor Department announced that unemployment has now remained at or above 9% for a post-World War II record 21st consecutive month.  Additionally, it reported just 36,000 new jobs, well short of the expected 140,000 number.

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, these numbers contrast the results of a big government agenda versus a free market agenda.  In the 23 months since Obama’s massive $1 trillion “stimulus” passage, unemployment has increased from 8.2% to 9%.  One would expect better results in exchange for deficits of $1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010 and an expected record $1.5 trillion this year.  Keep in mind that Obama projected that if we followed his big government agenda, unemployment would be down between 6% – 7% by now.  In contrast, the 23 months following the effective date of Reagan’s tax cuts in January 1983 saw unemployment plummet from 10.4% to 7.2%.

The facts speak for themselves.  Inexplicably, Obama nevertheless called for even more federal “stimulus” in his State of the Union address.  As we celebrate the Gipper’s 100th birthday, we should remember the timeless lesson taught by his freedom agenda’s success.

January 28th, 2011 at 10:13 am
Obama’s 2011 Deficit? A Record $1.5 Trillion
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Barack Obama assured Americans throughout his campaign that if we hired him, he’d reduce the deficit.  Here is Obama in his own words from his closing infomercial of October 29, 2008:

I believe we need to usher in a new era of responsibility.  Across the country, families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington.  That’s why, for my energy plan, my economic plan and the other proposals you’ll hear tonight, I’ve offered spending cuts above and beyond their cost.  I’ll also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that don’t work … and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.”

Here’s the ugly reality, over two years later:  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced this week that the 2011 budget deficit will reach a record $1.5 trillion.  That follows $1.4 trillion and $1.3 trillion deficits in his first two years.  The 2008 deficit, for purposes of comparison, was $455 billion.

Something to consider when assessing Obama’s latest State of the Union address, and his upcoming promises over the next two years.

January 18th, 2011 at 5:36 pm
Obama’s WSJ Op/Ed: Change of Heart, or Just More Political Deception?
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The nation’s capital is abuzz today over President Obama’s Wall Street Journal commentary, “Toward a 21st Century Regulatory System.” Astonishingly, Obama actually praises America’s free market system as “the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known” while promising regulatory reform:

I am signing an executive order that makes clear that this is the operating principle of our government.  This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth.  And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.  It’s a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades.”

Whether Obama speaks honestly, or simply seeks to deceive the electorate in anticipation of 2012, lies beyond our powers of divination.  The available evidence, however, justifies extreme skepticism.

One cause for doubt stands out immediately.  In identifying examples of the federal regulatory state run amok, the best Obama can do is point to saccharine, saying that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits it for consumption in coffee while his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labels it a “dangerous chemical.”  That’s it?  That’s the best example he can cite?

Just one month ago, Obama’s own Federal Communications Commission (FCC) flagrantly defied two-to-one public opposition, a unanimous Court of Appeals and a bipartisan group of 300 members of Congress by voting to regulate the Internet via “Net Neutrality.” Obama claims in his column that he aims to prevent “regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive,” but that’s exactly what “Net Neutrality” will do.  The FCC seeks to regulate an Internet sector that has thrived over the past two decades precisely because the federal government has refrained from interfering with regulations such as this.  The result will be fewer incentives for continued Internet investment, expansion and innovation, as well as declining service as capacity fails to keep pace with demand.

Additionally, Obama’s Labor Department seeks to impose “card check,” which will end secret ballot voting in union elections, and his EPA seeks to impose global warming carbon cap-and-tax regulations.  Both of those agenda items failed miserably in Congress even when controlled by Democratic supermajorities, but Obama’s regulatory agencies now seek to impose them anyway.

So Obama talks a good game in today’s op/ed.  But unless he issues an immediate cease-and-desist order on “Net Neutrality,” card check and cap-and-tax, his words will prove just as meaningless as his other broken promises.

January 7th, 2011 at 9:37 am
Unemployment Report: Over 9% For 20th Consecutive Month, Fewer New Jobs Than Expected
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This morning, the Labor Department announced a national unemployment rate of 9.4%.  Unfortunately, this means that the unemployment rate has surpassed 9% for a post-World War II record 20 consecutive months.  Moreover, the announcement of just 103,000 new jobs fell well short of the anticipated gain of 150,000 new jobs.

The Obama Administration will trumpet the misleading 0.4% decline from last month’s 9.8% rate as evidence that its agenda is somehow succeeding.  That claim, however, conceals the fact that the rate had already dropped from January 2010’s 9.7% rate to 9.5% in June, only to climb back to 9.8% to finish the year.  Further, this is the same Obama Administration that promised unemployment would peak at 8% in October 2009 – fourteen months ago – and be down to 7% by now if we just passed his so-called “stimulus” bill back in February 2009.  Almost $1 trillion in deficit spending and two years later, the verdict is clear.  It has failed miserably.

It’s something to remember as the Obama Administration attempts to “triangulate” and claim successful governance as we steam toward the 2012 reelection campaign.

December 3rd, 2010 at 9:13 am
Obamanomics Failing: Unemployment Rises Again to 9.8%
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Moments ago, the Labor Department announced that the nation’s unemployment rate, which had stagnated at 9.6% for three consecutive months, actually rose to 9.8%.

Alarmingly, this means that unemployment has now stood above 9% for 19 consecutive months, a post-World War II record.  Analysts had predicted 150,000 new jobs for October, but it turned out that only 39,000 were added, far below the number necessary to reduce the unemployment rate.

No American should take pleasure in others’ blight, but we simply must face the fact that the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Keynesian economic agenda has failed, and a course correction is critical.  In the 20 months since Obama signed the budget-busting $1 trillion “stimulus,” unemployment has only risen from 8.4% to 9.8%.  In contrast, in the 20 months following the effective date of the Reagan tax cuts, unemployment plummeted from 10.4% to 7.3%.  The facts speak for themselves.  It’s time for remedial free market action.

November 23rd, 2010 at 10:01 pm
The Only Problem with Green Jobs is that they Don’t Exist
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Senik’s Law of Subsidies: Subsidizing any industry into existence requires destroying its more efficient competitors. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of green jobs.

Luckily, the Obama Administration hasn’t been able to get its hands on the noose with which it intends to strangle the energy industry (I’m sorry … the industry that produces energy that actually works): that would be cap and trade. Thus, it’s had to settle for the silver medal of plowing money into “green jobs” that can’t balance the books without a chunk of your paycheck to stem the tide of red ink. The problem, of course, is that since conventional fuel sources like coal and petroleum are still the most feasible energy sources, the government is underwriting jobs that serve no discernible demand in the consumer market. Consider this passage from a story in today’s Washington Post:

With nearly 15 million Americans out of work and the unemployment rate hovering above 9 percent for 18 consecutive months, policymakers desperate to stoke job creation have bet heavily on green energy. The Obama administration channeled more than $90 billion from the $814 billion economic stimulus bill into clean energy technology, confident that the investment would grow into the economy’s next big thing.

What could go wrong? After all, if the administration is “confident”, there’s no reason to doubt, right? The Obama White House is know for nothing if not its clairvoyance (we’ll leave aside the question of why the “next big thing” would require subsidies). Oh, Mr. President, we hate to interrupt your dance with delusion, but reality would like to cut in:

The industry’s growth has been undercut by the simple economic fact that fossil fuels remain cheaper than renewables. Both Obama administration officials and green energy executives say that the business needs not just government incentives, but also rules and regulations that force people and business to turn to renewable energy.

Without government mandates dictating how much renewable energy utilities must use to generate electricity, or placing a price on the polluting carbon emitted by fossil fuels, they say, green energy cannot begin to reach its job creation potential.

Forget Afghanistan. Energy policy is the administration’s real parallel to Vietnam. We must destroy our energy sources in order to save them.

November 12th, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Something Else the White House Deficit Commission Abets: ObamaCare
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Our Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, this week includes the commentary “A Balanced Budget Amendment Doesn’t Have to Mean Higher Taxes – CFIF’s ‘One More Vote’ Proposal Doesn’t.” In that column, we note that the White House deficit commission’s fundamental flaw is that it takes for granted 2010 federal spending levels as its baseline:

The overriding problem with the commission’s plan is that it accepts the 2010 fiscal year as its spending base, thereby locking in the alarming spending increases of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime.  That includes the failed “stimulus” that attempted to spend our way to prosperity, the bailouts, the pet projects and everything else they’ve heaped into our budget.  Since 2008, federal spending has surged from approximately $25,000 per household to $30,000 per household, and jumped during that two-year span from its historical average of 20% of gross domestic product (GDP) to approximately 25% of GDP.  Richard Rahn points out that, “Federal government spending and revenues in 1968 as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) were almost identical to the levels in 2008.”

Unfortunately, it’s actually even worse than that.  The commission also leaves in place ObamaCare, which is already driving up healthcare costs and adding to the deficit (despite promises that it would have the opposite effect).  As James Capretta from National Review Online observes, we shouldn’t be surprised given the commission’s composition:

None of this is all that surprising, given how the commission was formulated.  It’s not really a bipartisan commission at all; it’s an Obama commission.  It was created by the president and stacked with Democratic appointees.  Two-thirds of the 18 members were picked by the president or Democratic congressional leaders. Only six were appointed by Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell.  The president says the public doesn’t want to “re-litigate” the health care war.  He’s wrong.  As last Tuesday’s exit polls make clear, a strong plurality wants exactly that.  The American people know that the ill-advised law was railroaded through Congress and is a colossal mistake.   The fundamental problem here is that it is not possible build a bipartisan budget framework on a foundation that includes a partisan health-care plan with sweeping implications for future spending levels.

Americans cannot be asked to accept the commission’s findings when they take as a given current spending levels and an ObamaCare atrocity that must be replaced.

November 5th, 2010 at 9:30 am
Latest “Stimulus” Report Card: Unemployment Remains 9.6%
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Today, the Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate remained at 9.6% for the third consecutive month.  When President Obama signed his nearly $1 trillion “stimulus” in February 2009, the unemployment rate stood at 8.2%.  In the 20 months since that date, the rate has increased to 9.6% despite White House projections that it would top out at 8% fully one year ago.

Once again, a comparison to the Reagan recovery is profoundly instructive.  In the same 20 month span following the effective date of the Reagan tax cuts in January 1983, unemployment plummeted from 10.4% to 7.3%.  Also instructive is the following headline from today’s Wall Street Journal“European Central Bank Parts Ways With U.S. on More Stimulus.” It is a sad state of affairs when even the spendthrift Europeans are providing economic guidance to Obama.

Liberal Keynesians have had almost two years to prove the validity of their economic agenda.  It has failed, their rationalizations have grown stale, and their desperate efforts to resist corrective action will only prolong the nation’s misery.