Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What are they even talking about?!

I am reading the debate about the debt ceiling, and I feel like most of the left-wing went completely nuts. They talk about mythical "draconian cuts" to the federal government - and they seem to be dead sure they are telling the truth. And this just a few months after the previous "draconian cuts" of tens of billions of dollars to the 2011 budget, which in reality were worth a measly 38 million dollar. Today, comrade E. J. Dionne, a man enamored with the ideas of big government published another article full of lies, distortions and plain idiocy. Characteristically, as any leftie, he called himself a "moderate" (according to him, anyone slightly to the right of Lenin is a "moderate"). And one passage really made me upset:
"Instead, the center bends. It concocts deficit plans that include too little new tax revenue. It accepts cuts in programs that would have seemed radical and draconian even a couple of years ago."
Let me put things in perspective - please see the table below which summarizes the nominal federal and total spending (federal, state and local) on Medicaid and welfare - and shows how much these two programs grew in just the last few years. Once you see the numbers, you will understand that even a couple years ago, today's federal budget would indeed seem radical - even extreme - but not in the way E.J. presented it to the readers.

And now tell me - who believes that after all is said and done, that the federal, state and local spending for 2011 is likely to be cut? Heck, what are the chances that welfare and Medicaid spending will simply go to the level of 2007 - back when no one was starving on the streets. In fact, if 2011 budget were to kept at 2007 levels, it would have been smaller by a hefty 1.1 trillion dollars - even though the federal interest payments were higher by 30 billion dollars in 2007. Now, put this 1.1 trillion dollars in your calculator, and you will notice that the federal deficit in 2011 would be cut from the impossible 1.645 trillion dollars to a rather more reasonable 545 billion dollars. And, ladies and gentlemen, don't forget that 2007 was NOT a spend-thrift budget, not at all - even in 2007 the federal government was spending money like there was no tomorrow.

The entire debt and deficit discussion is insane - what are these politicians even talking about? We can easily cut the federal budget to 2007 levels - and that won't be a real "cut" to the liberal programs - we will simply return to a less insane level of spending prior to the Democrats takeover of the budget.

And when we do go back to 2007 levels - then we can start discussing on the balance between tax increases and the cuts to entitlements.

As far as the "revenue enhancements" - I personally believe that there are plenty of ways to increase revenues without raising taxes. The best way to raise revenue is by increasing employment and improving the economy. For example, we can abolish the minimum wage - the biggest hurdle to the employment of young and unskilled laborers. We can further help revenue by abolishing the entire Labor Department and liberalize the union laws. The next step would be to drop the "Endangered Species Act" - which would immediately bring back millions of jobs destroyed by the EPA. And finally - and this one is really the most fruitful idea - we can impeach each and every statist from the federal, state and local government and restore the American Dream. All these measures combined will surely bring far more revenue than any idea that our Inglorious Leader will devise in the next 3 million years. But then - don't forget that as Obama said a few years ago, he cares more about "social justice" than revenue.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A few obvious things

I always enjoy reading the left-wing intellectuals - and for rather nefarious reasons. I guess the best explanation for this sick pleasure of mine can be described in one word - "schadenfreude". The dictionary defines it as: "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others". There is nothing more pleasurable than watching a liberal intellectual, an arrogant prick, tie herself in knots trying to solve a rather trivial problem.

Catherine Rampell, a liberal reporter for the NYT, wrote an article, which posed a rather peculiar question - "where is the outrage?" Poor Cathy is bewildered why she cannot find much attention paid to the incredibly high unemployment numbers. Here is the passage that made me smile...

Fourteen million, in round numbers — that is how many Americans are now officially out of work. Word came Friday from the Labor Department that, despite all the optimistic talk of an economic recovery, unemployment is going up, not down. The jobless rate rose to 9.2 percent in June. What gives? And where, if anywhere, is the outrage?  The United States is in the grips of its gravest jobs crisis since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House. Lose your job, and it will take roughly nine months to find a new one. That is off the charts. Many Americans have simply given up. But unless you’re one of those unhappy 14 million, you might not even notice the problem.
Cathy also notices an obvious lack of organizing among the unemployed - which too remains a puzzle to her and the experts she interviewed.

"“There used to be a sense that unemployment was rich soil for radicalization and revolt,” says Nelson Lichtenstein, a professor of labor history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “That was a motif in American history for a long time, but we don’t seem to have that anymore.” But why? It’s partly because of the greater dispersion of the unemployed, and partly because of the weakening of the institutions that previously mobilized them.
But why, screams Kathy. Well, as Michael Bulgakov said in his novel Master and Margarita, "This ain't Newton's Binomial". Next thing you know, Kathy will be pondering another puzzle - why did Cindy Sheehan, the "absolute moral authority" was turned into an unperson by the media? And where is the anti-war movement gone? And where is the liberal outrage about Obama's illegal war in Libya? All these are questions which are extremely hard to answer for people with mediocre minds - and hence the NYT always has such an impossibly hard time figuring them out.
Let's start with the obvious. As left-wing blog salon pointed out - bad economic news are bad for Obama's re-election campaign.

...the swing voters who will decide the 2012 election won't be relying on a measured analysis of the logic of each party's case to make up their minds. It's the state of the economy that will dictate their verdict. If they perceive it to be improving, they will reject the GOP's claims about Obama's "failed" economic stewardship. But if they believe it is stagnant or getting worse, the GOP line will be music to their ears. Which is why the new unemployment data released Friday morning is so devastating for Obama. As Andrew Leonard noted already, the numbers themselves -- a 9.2 percent unemployment rate and almost nonexistent job creation for June -- are truly awful. But what's worse for Obama is whatever job-creation momentum seemed to exist a few months ago is now completely gone.
In other words - it makes perfect sense for Obama and his lackey's in the media to downplay all bad economic news and pretend that all is honky dory. And don't ignore what Obama's political guru, David Plouffe recently said:

“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers. People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’

And don't forget the infamous "recovery summer of 2010" promoted by the Obama administration - with an explicit goal of defending the stimulus spending. Of course, if the public feels that economy is in bad shape, it will conclude that Obama's frantic economic policy - from 900 billion dollar stimulus to multi-trillion dollar Obamacare was a failure. In light of these revelations - is it really such a damn mystery why the mainstream media tries to make the suffering of unemployed American to become invisible to the public? Which is just another way of repeating the conclusions of a research on media bias by a diverse group of scientists from London School of Economics, Dipartimento di Economia Pubblica e Territoriale and Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
"We find evidence that newspapers with pro-Democratic endorsement pattern systematically give more coverage to high unemployment when the incumbent president is a Republican than when the president is Democratic, compared to newspapers with pro-Republican endorsement pattern."

And don't forget this astute observation by Mark Helprin, later was popularized by James Taranto:
"If George W. Bush becomes president, the armies of the homeless, hundreds of thousands strong, will once again be used to illustrate the opposition's arguments about welfare, the economy, and taxation."

Of course, when Obama-the-Messiah became president, the armies of homeless, hundreds of thousands strong disappear from the media (just as the US anti-war left became pro-war when Hitler attacked USSR). The unemployment suddenly became "funemployment". After reading this article from the LA Times - who will have the heart of stone to rise against unemployment? Indeed, unemployment is a blessing, not a curse according to LA Times. they even invented a new term "funemployment", just to show that even unemployed people enjoy their life during the Obama presidency.

For the 'funemployed,' unemployment is welcome. These jobless folks, usually singles in their 20s and 30s, find that life without work agrees with them. Instead of punching the clock, they're hitting the beach.
Moreover, it's also a sign of independence. Indeed, we probably should celebrate unemployment - it's so great, everybody should be unemployed...

What most people would call unemployment, Van Gorkom embraced as "funemployment."

While millions of Americans struggle to find work as they face foreclosures and bankruptcy, others have found a silver lining in the economic meltdown. These happily jobless tend to be single and in their 20s and 30s. Some were laid off. Some quit voluntarily, lured by generous buyouts.

Buoyed by severance, savings, unemployment checks or their parents, the funemployed do not spend their days poring over job listings. They travel on the cheap for weeks. They head back to school or volunteer at the neighborhood soup kitchen. And at least till the bank account dries up, they're content living for today.

"I feel like I've been given a gift of time and clarity," said Aubrey Howell, 29, of Franklin, Tenn., who was laid off from her job as a tea shop manager in April. After sleeping in late and visiting family in Florida, she recently mused on Twitter: "Unemployment or funemployment?"

Never heard of funemployment? Here's Urban Dictionary's definition: "The condition of a person who takes advantage of being out of a job to have the time of their life. I spent all day Tuesday at the pool; funemployment rocks!"

It may not have entered our daily lexicon yet, but a small army of social media junkies with a sudden overabundance of time is busy Tweeting: "Funemployment road trip to Portland." "Funemployment is great for catching up on reading!" "Averaging 3 rounds of golf a week plus hockey and bball. who needs work?"

As frivolous as it sounds, funemployment is a statement about American society. Experts say it's both a reflection of the country's cultural narcissism -- and attitudes of entitlement and self-centeredness -- and a backlash against corporate America and its "Dilbert"-like work environment.

"Recession gives people permission to be unemployed," said David Logan, a professor at USC's Marshall School of Business. "Why not make use of the time and go do something fun?"

Jean Twenge, co-author of "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement," said in some cases, many employees had lost balance between work and life, with too many late nights and weekends spent at the office. When they stop working, they realize how much they had given up.
After you read this long and rather bizarre ode to "funemployment" - do you still wonder why there is no organized movement to lower unemployment? Heck, it's all obvious - the media wants you to think that things are go A-Okay in the Good Old USA.

And if you think that "funemployment" is a bogus idea - here is something else for you. The NYT (same newspaper that published Kathy's insane ravings) wrote a rather optimistic article about the economy entitled "For Those With Jobs, a Recession With Benefits". Apparently, unemployment may be a blessing for the rest of the country. An attentive reader won't be astonished to find out that this point of view was proposed in 2010, during the presidency of Barack Obama, the liberal icon.

For many of these long-term unemployed, the financial and psychological damage will last for years. For most other workers, however, the situation has had a perverse, and mostly overlooked, silver lining.
What's that "overlooked silver lining", you may ask? It's easy, really, the rest of the country seems to be enjoying higher real wages - which means all of us with jobs should be quite content with the current economic reality.

But since this recent recession began in December 2007, real average hourly pay has risen nearly 5 percent. Some employers, especially state and local governments, have cut wages. But many more employers have continued to increase pay.

Something similar happened during the Great Depression, notes Bruce Judson of the Yale School of Management. Falling prices meant that workers who held their jobs received a surprisingly strong effective pay raise.

This time around, nominal wages — the numbers people see in their paychecks — have risen throughout the slump, as companies have passed along some of the impressive productivity to their (remaining) workers. Meanwhile, inflation has been almost non-existent, except for parts of last year, when real wages did briefly fall.

Indeed, who in their mind would claim that Obama's economic policies were a failure? As Kathy noted: "Even in the 1980s and 1990s, angry workers descended on Washington by the busload." But who would lead them now? Do you expect ACORN to stage loud demonstrations in front of the White House? Of course not. Or can this happen today?

Back in the 1960s or even the 1980s, the unemployed organized around welfare or unemployment offices. It was a fertile environment: people were anxious and tired and waiting for hours in line.

“We stood outside of these offices, with their huge lines, and passed out leaflets that said things like: ‘If you’re upset about what’s happening to you, come to this meeting at this church basement in two weeks. We’ll get together and do something about this,’ ” recalls Barney Oursler, a longtime community organizer and co-founder of the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee in the early 1980s. “The response just made your heart get big. ‘Oh, my God,’ they’d say, ‘I thought I was alone.’ ”
Surely 2011 is a good time for the "community organizers" - but would they try to direct people's attention to high unemployment and make the failure of Obama-economy more obvious? Not really. Would the media make a big deal of a faltering US economy? Well, the same media that welcome Obama as a savior of the universe? In all honesty, Kathy's pondering on why the current economic crisis is not on the front pages of the newspapers is rather adolescent. Was she born yesterday?

By the end of the article, Kathy does manage to finally locate one group that actually cares about high unemployment - and this is when she finds the answer to her puzzle. Kathy, you can take it from here:

To the extent that frustrations are being channeled at all, they are being channeled largely through the Tea Party. But the Tea Party is mostly against devoting government resources to helping the unemployed.

Tea Party activists, for example, are more likely to believe that providing benefits to poor people encourages them to stay poor, and to believe that economic stimulus has made the economy worse.

Why populist anger over the poor economy is leaning right, rather than left, this time around is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it is because Democrats, traditional friends of labor, control the White House and the Senate.

Ah - so there's the answer. The entire left-wing establishment is reluctant to raise the issue of unemployment because the left-wing President runs the country. In other words, all the community organizing has nothing to do with making life better for the workers - it is really more about supporting the left-wing. Do you think that Soviet bureaucrats publicly criticized Stalin for Holodomor? And don't forget the NYT publicly announcing that there was no starvation in the Soviet Union - and getting the Pulitzer prize for this piece of propaganda. After writing off 10 million people who died from starvation in the USSR - it's a piece of cake for the NYT to ignore the bankruptcy of Obama's economic policy. As George Orwell noticed in 1945, "[I]t was considered equally proper to publicise famines when they happened in India and to conceal them when they happened in the Ukraine. And if this was true before the war, the intellectual atmosphere is certainly no better now."

It is not surprising that poor Kathy could not mention that the mainstream media is strangely silent on the crisis. Between the reports on "funemployment" and "summer of recovery", there is little for them to say about the suffering middle class. And that too is because media supports Obama and his ultra-left-wing policies. All in all, there really is no mystery why the left-wing anger about unemployment is missing. But apparently Kathy could not say so in the reliably liberal NYT - she knows that there is nothing more dangerous than pointing out the obvious. As liberals tell us: "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." And Kathy is no revolutionary - she needs the NYT paycheck - and so the obvious will continue being a mystery to her. It's sometimes profitable to appear being a dummy and Kathy surely knows how to do that perfectly.