Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama says that limited government and capitalism have never worked

Obama Economic Record November 2011

Obama Economic Record November 2011

Investors Business Daily explains the latest speech on economics from the man who has doubled Bush’s 2007 unemployment rate, and increased Bush’s 2007 budget deficits tenfold.

Excerpt:

One thing is certainly true about President Obama — no matter how many times people point out the falsehoods in his speeches, he just keeps making them. Case in point: his latest “economic fairness” address.

In that speech Tuesday, Obama once again tried to build a case for his liberal, big-spending, tax-hiking, regulatory agenda. But as with so many of his past appeals, Obama’s argument rests on a pile of untruths. Among the most glaring:

• Tax cuts and deregulation have “never worked” to grow the economy. There’s so much evidence to disprove this claim, it’s hard to know where to start. But let’s begin with the fact that countries with greater economic freedom — lower taxes, less government, sound money, free trade — consistently produce greater overall prosperity.

Here at home, President Reagan’s program of lower taxes and deregulation led to an historic two-decade economic boom. Plus, states with lower taxes and less regulation do better than those that follow Obama’s prescription.

Obama also claimed the economic booms in the ’50s and ’60s somehow support his argument. This is utter nonsense. Taxes at the time averaged just 17% of the economy. And there was no Medicare, no Medicaid, no Departments of Transportation, Energy or Education, and no EPA. Had Obama been around then, he would have decried it all as un-American.

• Bush’s tax cuts on the rich only managed to produced “massive deficits” and the “slowest job growth in half a century.” Budget data make clear that Obama’s spending hikes, not Bush’s tax cuts, produced today’s massive deficits.

And Obama only gets his “slowest job growth” number by including huge job losses during his own term in office. Also, monthly pre-recession job growth under Bush was about 40% higher than post-recession growth has been under Obama.

• During the Bush years, “we had weak regulation, we had little oversight.” This is patently false. Regulatory staffing climbed 42% under Bush, and regulatory spending shot up 50%, according to a Washington University in St. Louis/George Washington University study. And the number of Federal Register pages — a proxy for regulatory activity — was far higher under Bush than any previous president.

• The “wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century.” Fact: the federal income tax code is now more progressive than it was in 1979, according to the Congressional Budget Office. IRS data show the richest 1% paid almost 40% of federal income taxes in 2009, up from 18% back in 1980.

• We can keep tax breaks for the rich in place, or make needed investments, “but we can’t do both.” Not true. Repealing the Bush tax cuts on the “rich” would raise only about $70 billion a year, a tiny fraction of projected deficits. With or without the Bush tax cuts, the country can’t afford Obama’s agenda.

The Heritage Foundation describes the effects of the Bush tax cuts.

Excerpt:

President Bush signed the first wave of tax cuts in 2001, cutting rates and providing tax relief for families by, for example, doubling of the child tax credit to $1,000.

At Congress’ insistence, the tax relief was initially phased in over many years, so the economy continued to lose jobs. In 2003, realizing its error, Congress made the earlier tax relief effective immediately. Congress also lowered tax rates on capital gains and dividends to encourage business investment, which had been lagging.

It was the then that the economy turned around. Within months of enactment, job growth shot up, eventually creating 8.1 million jobs through 2007. Tax revenues also increased after the Bush tax cuts, due to economic growth.

In 2003, capital gains tax rates were reduced. Rather than expand by 36% as the Congressional Budget Office projected before the tax cut, capital gains revenues more than doubled to $103 billion.

The CBO incorrectly calculated that the post-March 2003 tax cuts would lower 2006 revenues by $75 billion. Revenues for 2006 came in $47 billion above the pre-tax cut baseline.

Here’s what else happened after the 2003 tax cuts lowered the rates on income, capital gains and dividend taxes:

  • GDP grew at an annual rate of just 1.7% in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts. In the six quarters following the tax cuts, the growth rate was 4.1%.
  • The S&P 500 dropped 18% in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts but increased by 32% over the next six quarters.
  • The economy lost 267,000 jobs in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts. In the next six quarters, it added 307,000 jobs, followed by 5 million jobs in the next seven quarters.

The timing of the lower tax rates coincides almost exactly with the stark acceleration in the economy. Nor was this experience unique. The famous Clinton economic boom began when Congress passed legislation cutting spending and cutting the capital gains tax rate.

If, in the 2012 election, half the country decides to vote for the person who gives the best speeches and who is cheered on the Comedy Channel, then we are going to have four more years of 9% unemployment and 1.4 trillion dollar deficits. Barack Obama knows nothing whatsoever about economics.

UPDATE: Obama says that small business owners didn’t build their own businesses

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FARC terrorist leader Alfonso Cano killed by Colombian armed forces

Map of South America

Map of South America

From the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt:

The armed forces of Colombia have scored a major battlefield victory. They finally hunted down, confronted, and killed the leader of the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Guillermo Leon Saenz, widely known by his alias Alfonso Cano.

A guerrilla for decades, Cano assumed the top leadership of the FARC following the natural death of founder Manuel Marulanda (2008) and the elimination of senior figures Raul Reyes (2008) and Jorge Briceno (aka Mono Jojoy, 2010).

Seen by some as a modern-day version of the “good revolutionary,” Cano—a life-long advocate of armed violence and terrorism—fell in combat with the Colombian armed forces as they rappelled their way into his secret jungle hideout. Cano was also indicted in a U.S. court for drug trafficking along with dozens of other FARC leaders and had a $5 million price on his head.

FARC is a Marxist terrorist group.

The Economist reports that the Colombian economy is also doing well.

Excerpt:

WHEN the figures are finally tallied, Colombia may prove to have weathered the world recession better than any other of the larger Latin American countries. After a slight contraction at the end of 2008, the economy has been growing modestly this year. This resilience stems from continued foreign investment, an increase in government spending on public works and easier money: since December the central bank has cut interest rates by six percentage points, to 4%, a steeper drop than anywhere in the region outside Chile.

[...]President Álvaro Uribe’s security policies have helped to restore confidence. Investment soared, from 15% of GDP in 2002 to 26% last year, says Mr Zuluaga. Private business has retooled. After many delays, the government has issued licences to expand several ports; this month it hopes to award a contract for the first of four big road schemes, costing a total of $7.5 billion over four years. It hopes for investment of up to $50 billion in mining and oil over the next decade.

And liberal MSNBC has more on the booming Colombian economy.

Excerpt:

…Colombia’s revival is benefiting U.S. economic and political rivals as much as or more than the U.S. itself.

The long delay in signing the treaty allowed Latin America’s fourth-largest economy to strengthen ties with China. It also damaged U.S. credibility in the region, says Eric Farnsworth, vice-president of the Council of the Americas in Washington. “The delay in passing this called into question the United States’ reliability as a partner,” Farnsworth says. “There’s a strategic component to this. It’s not just about economics and trade.”

[...]As talks between the U.S. and Colombia dragged on, Colombia and China forged plans for a rail link between the Pacific and Caribbean that could draw freight away from the Panama Canal. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos aims for a trade deal with South Korea. To tighten his connections to high-growth Asia, he’s also seeking membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group. “While Washington was debating whether the accord with Colombia was opportune, we advanced in our foreign policy strategy,” says Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados.

Santos has cooperated more with his South American neighbors, organizing a meeting of finance ministers to discuss ways to protect their currencies and economies from the debt crisis in the U.S. and Europe. He supports a stock trading platform with Colombia, Chile, and Peru and wants to bring Mexico and Panama on board. Exports to Brazil have surged tenfold. While the U.S. remains Colombia’s biggest export market, with $16.8 billion in 2010 sales, up 30 percent from a year earlier, sales to China more than doubled last year, to $1.2 billion. Sales to the European Union are also rising, to $5.4 billion this year through August, more than in all of 2010. An EU trade accord could come next year.

The government has reduced cocaine cultivation 37 percent and halved the number of insurgents to about 8,000. Improved security has spurred enough growth to win an investment-grade credit rating from Standard & Poor’s as well as investment from billionaires. Colombia’s victories over the guerrillas opened up swathes of countryside to exploration for oil, gold, and coal. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s push into crude has helped fuel foreign investment that the government says may reach a record $12 billion this year. The economy grew 5.2 percent in the second quarter.

The U.S. faces more competition from Colombia’s neighbors and Canada. In 2010, U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia fell more than 50 percent from 2008, to $827 million, as Argentina’s more than doubled, to $1 billion, according to a report by Senator Richard Lugar’s staff. Diaz-Granados attributes the U.S. setback to the delay in the free-trade agreement.

An August accord reduces or ends Colombian tariffs on Canadian wheat, paper, and machinery. Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-largest lender, agreed in October to buy 51 percent of Banco Colpatria Red Multibanca Colpatria for about $1 billion—Scotiabank’s largest international takeover. “This is not the Colombia of old,” says Brian J. Porter, group head of international banking for Scotiabank. “The more we looked at Colombia, the more excited we got about the economic potential.”

We really should have signed that trade deal 3 years ago – it would have helped out economy a lot.  But unions got Obama elected, and the unions decided that the trade deal needed to be held up for 3 years. And that’s one of the reasons why we’ve had over 9% unemployment. Our economic policy is being set by unions, not by economists. But in Colombia, economic policy is set by economists, not unions.

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Why do conservatives accuse Obama of engaging in “class warfare”?

From the left-leaning Politico. (H/T Dennis Prager)

Excerpt:

Obama has characterized Republican votes against his jobs bill — which are predicated, at least in part, over concern that new, temporary spending financed by tax increases will not help the economy — as a rejection of the most wholesome of American workers.

“They said no to more jobs for teachers, no to more jobs for cops and firefighters,” Obama said during a speech Wednesday to the administration’s Forum on American Latino Heritage, “no to more jobs for construction workers and veterans, no to tax cuts for small-business owners and middle-class Americans.”

But in these same remarks, Obama also subtly suggested something far worse — that his opponents are racially biased.

“I ran for president for the same reason many people came to this country in the first place,” he explained. “Because I believe America should be a place where you can always make it if you try, a place where every child, no matter what they look like [or] where they come from should have a chance to succeed. I still believe in that America. I believe we can be that America again.”

The clear suggestion is that someone has made this country a place where what a child looks like can hinder them — and Obama is the one who can erase the discrimination that has been permitted to return.

First lady Michelle Obama made this point more explicitly at a Washington fundraiser the night before.

“Will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just the few at the top?” the first lady asked. “Or will we give every child — every child — a chance to succeed, no matter where she’s from, or what she looks like, or how much money her parents [have]? Who are we? That’s what’s at stake here.”

Her suggestion that “what’s at stake here” in the 2012 race is whether a child will be judged by color is an outrage, implying that a Republican victory would result in discrimination.

Obama’s rhetoric has become increasingly shrill. I find it very alarming that the President of the United States is somewhere to the left of celebrity blowhards like Michael Moore. How does he expect to negotiate with people in good faith when he is constantly impugning their motives and caricaturing their policies?

In other news, Herman Cain, who is black, leads by 8 points in the Iowa Caucuses. Wouldn’t it be funny to see Barack Obama, who is only half-black, take on Herman Cain in a debate, and accuse him of racism? The rich, pampered Ivy-league ACORN trainer against the businessman with a Masters in Computer science from Purdue, whose mother was a cleaning woman, and whose father worked three jobs.

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NDP leader Jack Layton wants consumers to pay higher prices for lower quality goods

NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton

NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton

Jack Layton is opposed to free trade with other nations, and Jack Layton supports the imposition of tariffs on imported goods. Stephen Harper favors free trade and opposes tariffs, and has pushed through numerous free trade deals during his terms in office. So now we have to ask the questions: is free trade good for Canada? Is free trade good for Canadian consumers? Is free trade good for Canadian companies? Is free trade good for the poor in other countries?

Let’s start by noting that free trade is supported by virtually ALL economists, regardless of their political persuasion. Moderate economist Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University lists the policies that are accepted by virtually all economists.

Here’s Greg’s list, together with the percentage of economists who agree:

  1. A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. (93%)
  2. Tariffs and import quotas usually reduce general economic welfare. (93%)
  3. Flexible and floating exchange rates offer an effective international monetary arrangement. (90%)
  4. Fiscal policy (e.g., tax cut and/or government expenditure increase) has a significant stimulative impact on a less than fully employed economy. (90%)
  5. The United States should not restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries. (90%)
  6. The United States should eliminate agricultural subsidies. (85%)
  7. Local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to professional sports franchises. (85%)
  8. If the federal budget is to be balanced, it should be done over the business cycle rather than yearly. (85%)
  9. The gap between Social Security funds and expenditures will become unsustainably large within the next fifty years if current policies remain unchanged. (85%)
  10. Cash payments increase the welfare of recipients to a greater degree than do transfers-in-kind of equal cash value. (84%)
  11. A large federal budget deficit has an adverse effect on the economy. (83%)
  12. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%)
  13. The government should restructure the welfare system along the lines of a “negative income tax.” (79%)
  14. Effluent taxes and marketable pollution permits represent a better approach to pollution control than imposition of pollution ceilings. (78%)

Now let’s drill down to the research on free trade in particular.

Here’s an article from the  libertarian Cato Institute, a respected think tank.

Excerpt:

There are three important reasons voluntary exchange is good not only for the contracting parties but the world as a whole:

(1) Trade improves global efficiency in resource allocation. A glass of water may be of little value to someone living near the river but is priceless to a person crossing the Sahara. Trade delivers goods and services to those who value them most.

(2) Trade allows partners to gain from specializing in the producing those goods and services they do best. Economists call that the law of comparative advantage. When producers create goods they are comparatively skilled at, such as Germans producing beer and the French producing wine, those goods increase in abundance and quality.

(3) Trade allows consumers to benefit from more efficient production methods. For example, without large markets for goods and services, large production runs would not be economical. Large production runs, in turn, are instrumental to reducing product costs. Lower production costs lead to cheaper goods and services, which raises real living standards.

Evidence supports the idea nations more open to trade tend to be richer than those that are less open. Columbia University economist Arvind Panagariya wrote in a paper “Miracles and Debacles: Do Free-Trade Skeptics Have a Case?”: “On the poverty front, there is overwhelming evidence that trade openness is a more trustworthy friend of the poor than protectionism. Few countries have grown rapidly without a simultaneous rapid expansion of trade. In turn, rapid growth has almost always led to reduction in poverty.”

According to the Cato Institute’s 2004 report on Economic Freedom of the World, which measures economic freedom in 123 countries, the per capita gross domestic product in the quintile of countries with the most restricted trading was only $1,883 in 2002. That year’s per capita GDP in the quintile of countries with the freest trading regimes was $23,938.

Harper holds the B.A. and the M.A. in economics from the University of Calgary. He knows this stuff cold.

Here’s an article from The Heritage Foundation, another think tank. This article outlines five reasons why free trade is the best economic policy.

Here is an excerpt from one reason from the list of five:

REASON #1: Higher Standard of Living

The most compelling reason to support free trade is that society as a whole benefits from it. Free trade improves people’s living standards because it allows them to consume higher quality goods at less expensive prices. In the 19th century, British economist David Ricardo showed that any nation that focuses on producing goods in which it has a comparative advantage will be able to get cheaper and better goods from other countries in return. As a result of the exchange, both trading parties gain from producing more efficiently and consuming higher quality goods and services at lower prices.

Trade between nations is the same as trade between people. Consider what the quality of life would be if each person had to produce absolutely everything that he or she consumed, such as food, clothing, cars, or home repairs. Compare that picture with life as it is now as individuals dedicate themselves to working on just one thing–for example, insurance sales–to earn a salary with which they can freely purchase food, a car, a home, clothing, and anything else they wish at higher quality and lower prices than if they had done it themselves.

It simply makes sense for each person to work at what he or she does best and to buy the rest. As a nation, the United States exports in order to purchase imports that other nations produce more skillfully and cheaply. Therefore, the fewer barriers erected against trade with other nations, the more access people will have to the best, least expensive goods and services in the world “supermarket.”

Producers benefit as well. In the absence of trade barriers, producers face greater competition from foreign producers, and this increased competition gives them an incentive to improve the quality of their production while keeping prices low in order to compete. At the same time, free trade allows domestic producers to shop around the world for the least expensive inputs they can use for their production, which in turn allows them to keep their cost of production down without sacrificing quality.

In the end, the results benefit both producers–who remain competitive and profitable–and consumers–who pay less for a good or a service than they would if trade barriers existed.

There is no loser to free trade exchanges, otherwise the participants to the trade would not make the trade at all. Both parties gain – that’s why they choose to make the trade.

NDP candidates are not economists

NDP candidates are not known for their demonstrated knowledge and experience in economics, unlike Stephen Harper.

Excerpt:

Usually an election call means all bets are off for politicos wanting to take a Vegas vacation.

But, if you’re a New Democrat, you can be in Sin City with just days to go in the federal election campaign.

That’s where the party’s long shot candidate for the Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinonge, Ruth Ellen Brosseau, finds herself.

Ruth works in the campus pub at Carleton University. She is not an economist.

But there’s more:

Some NDP candidates in Quebec could prove to be wild cards if they end up winning on May 2.

Several are still university students.

Charmaine Borg in Terrebonne-Blainville and Sherbrooke candidate Pierre-Luc Dusseault are both studying political science.

Actress and former camp counsellor Marie-Claude Morin in Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot is working on a degree in social work.

Others have off-beat political backgrounds.

Alexandre Boulerice, the NDP candidate in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, is a member of the left-wing separatist party Quebec Solidaire.

In the Pontiac riding, the New Democrats have nominated Mathieu Ravignat. He was a Communist Party candidate in the Montreal area in 1997.

You can watch a video report on some of the NDP candidates here at Blazing Cat Fur.

How did former NDP leader Bob Rae govern in Ontario?

If you want to know what New Democrats do to an economy, you can read about how NDP leader Bob Rae wrecked the Ontario economy in the 1990s.

Excerpt:

The Liberal government had forecast a small surplus earlier in the year, but a worsening North American economy led to a $700 million deficit before Rae took office. In October, the NDP projected a $2.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 1991.[40] Some economists projected soaring deficits for the upcoming years, even if the Rae government implemented austerity measures.[41] Rae himself was critical of the Bank of Canada’s high interest rate policy, arguing that it would lead to increased unemployment throughout the country.[42] He also criticized the 1991 federal budget, arguing the Finance Minister Michael Wilson was shifting the federal debt to the provinces.[43]

The Rae government’s first budget, introduced in 1991, increased social spending to mitigate the economic slowdown and projected a record deficit of $9.1 billion. Finance Minister Floyd Laughren argued that Ontario made a decision to target the effects of the recession rather than the deficit, and said that the budget would create or protect 70,000 jobs. It targeted more money to social assistance, social housing and child benefits, and raised taxes for high-income earners while lowering rates for 700,000 low-income Ontarians.[44]

A few years later, journalist Thomas Walkom described the budget as following a Keynesian orthodoxy, spending money in the public sector to stimulate employment and productivity. Unfortunately, it did not achieve its stated purpose. The recession was still severe. Walkom described the budget as “the worst of both worlds”, angering the business community but not doing enough to provide for public relief.

[...]Rae’s government attempted to introduce a variety of socially progressive measures during its time in office, though its success in this field was mixed. In 1994, the government introduced legislation, Bill 167, which would have provided for same-sex partnership benefits in the province. At the time, this legislation was seen as a revolutionary step forward for same-sex recognition.

[...]The Rae government established an employment equity commission in 1991,[49] and two years later introduced affirmative action to improve the numbers of women, non-whites, aboriginals and disabled persons working in the public sector.

[...]In November 1990, the Rae government announced that it would restrict most rent increases to 4.6% for the present year and 5.4% for 1991. The provisions for 1990 were made retroactive. Tenants’ groups supported these changes, while landlord representatives were generally opposed.

Be careful who you vote for, Canada. We voted for Obama, and now we have a 14.5 trillion dollar debt and a 1.65 trillion deficit – TEN TIMES the last Republican budget deficit of 160 billion under George W. Bush in 2007. TEN TIMES WORSE THAN BUSH.

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NDP leader Jack Layton gets medical care at private clinic instead of public hospital

NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton

NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton

From CTV News:

NDP Leader Jack Layton, who’s campaigning as the defender of public health care, had surgery at a private clinic in the 1990s, The Canadian Press has learned.

Layton had hernia surgery at the Shouldice Hospital, a private facility in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill, while he was serving as a Toronto city councillor. The NDP leader said he wasn’t aware the clinic was private when he went for his surgery in the mid-1990s.

CBC News has more on Layton’s reasons for jumping the queue:

Earlier in the campaign, Layton said he would not go to a private clinic nor would he send a loved one to a private clinic, even if he could get faster treatment.

He would have had a longer wait at a public hospital, and he didn’t want to wait in line behind ordinary people.

How did former NDP leader Bob Rae govern in Ontario?

If you want to know what New Democrats do to an economy, you can read about how NDP leader Bob Rae wrecked the Ontario economy in the 1990s.

Excerpt:

The Liberal government had forecast a small surplus earlier in the year, but a worsening North American economy led to a $700 million deficit before Rae took office. In October, the NDP projected a $2.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 1991.[40] Some economists projected soaring deficits for the upcoming years, even if the Rae government implemented austerity measures.[41] Rae himself was critical of the Bank of Canada’s high interest rate policy, arguing that it would lead to increased unemployment throughout the country.[42] He also criticized the 1991 federal budget, arguing the Finance Minister Michael Wilson was shifting the federal debt to the provinces.[43]

The Rae government’s first budget, introduced in 1991, increased social spending to mitigate the economic slowdown and projected a record deficit of $9.1 billion. Finance Minister Floyd Laughren argued that Ontario made a decision to target the effects of the recession rather than the deficit, and said that the budget would create or protect 70,000 jobs. It targeted more money to social assistance, social housing and child benefits, and raised taxes for high-income earners while lowering rates for 700,000 low-income Ontarians.[44]

A few years later, journalist Thomas Walkom described the budget as following a Keynesian orthodoxy, spending money in the public sector to stimulate employment and productivity. Unfortunately, it did not achieve its stated purpose. The recession was still severe. Walkom described the budget as “the worst of both worlds”, angering the business community but not doing enough to provide for public relief.

[...]Rae’s government attempted to introduce a variety of socially progressive measures during its time in office, though its success in this field was mixed. In 1994, the government introduced legislation, Bill 167, which would have provided for same-sex partnership benefits in the province. At the time, this legislation was seen as a revolutionary step forward for same-sex recognition.

[...]The Rae government established an employment equity commission in 1991,[49] and two years later introduced affirmative action to improve the numbers of women, non-whites, aboriginals and disabled persons working in the public sector.

[...]In November 1990, the Rae government announced that it would restrict most rent increases to 4.6% for the present year and 5.4% for 1991. The provisions for 1990 were made retroactive. Tenants’ groups supported these changes, while landlord representatives were generally opposed.

Be careful who you vote for, Canada. We voted for Obama, and now we have a 14.5 trillion dollar debt and a 1.65 trillion deficit – TEN TIMES the last Republican budget deficit of 160 billion under George W. Bush in 2007. TEN TIMES WORSE THAN BUSH.

Related posts

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