Monday, October 31, 2011

Obama: Campaigning Like It's 1936

Don't take just the author's word: Read "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg" and/or "New Deal Or Raw Deal? How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America" By Burton Folsom Jr. Both of which document in devastating fashion that it was FDR who prolonged and deepened the great depression, and is was his death, not the end of WWII, that finally ended it...T

While Republican presidential candidates are looking forward by proposing
variations of a flat income tax, President Barack
’s tax-the-rich campaign strategy is looking backward—to
Franklin Roosevelt’s 1936 reelection campaign. FDR won his reelection, but the
American people lost: Roosevelt’s new taxes on business and the “economic
royalists” gave us the “Roosevelt recession” of 1937-38.

By August of 1935, Roosevelt had achieved some of his signature pieces of
legislation: a new entitlement program known as Social Security, banking reform,
pro-union reform, infrastructure expansion and massive transfers of wealth to
the poor and middle classes. Sound familiar?

FDR also ran up federal spending significantly: from 6 percent to 9 percent
of the economy.

However, FDR needed more revenue to support his big-government schemes. More
importantly, he needed a villain to explain why, given the passage of his New
Deal legislation, government spending and regulations, the economy was still

So he proposed raising taxes on the rich, which he dubbed a “Wealth Tax.” As
he explained to Congress in June 1935, “Our revenue laws have operated in many
ways to the unfair advantage of the few, and they have done little to prevent
the unjust concentration of wealth and economic power. … Social unrest and a
deepening sense of unfairness are dangers to our national life which we must
minimize by rigorous methods.” President Obama couldn’t have said it better

There were several components to FDR’s plan. First he wanted very high taxes
on the rich—up to 79 percent—and to lower the thresholds so that more
high-income earners paid more taxes. He also wanted to increase the estate
tax. As for business, he wanted to close the “loopholes,” a graduated corporate
income tax and a tax on intercorporate dividends.

But the bill that actually passed the Democratically controlled Congress in
1935 would not raise much money—estimated at about $250 million, which initially
seemed like enough to cover budgetary shortfalls. FDR’s associates acknowledged
at the time that the Wealth Tax was more about politics than policy, or as
Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau put it, “it was more or less a campaign

However, by 1936 Roosevelt needed yet more revenue and had apparently grown
to relish his new class warfare and railing against “organized money.” So he
proposed another business tax: an undistributed profits tax.

Like Obama, FDR faced what he saw as a big problem: Businesses had a lot of
cash on hand but weren’t spending it. “Regime uncertainty,” the reluctance of
business to hire and invest when faced with a growing onslaught of new taxes and
regulations, suppressed capital spending. No one knew what the future held so
businesses held on to their cash hoping to survive. Again, sound familiar?
Roosevelt believed that forcing businesses to spend that money would create
jobs. So he proposed, and got, his undistributed profits tax. If the
government were going to tax idle money anyway, maybe businesses would put it to

The irony, of course, is that the more FDR dreamed up new taxes and
regulations to get the economy moving, the more regime uncertainty he created.
And those efforts had a predictable effect: the economy began to turn south in
1937, resulting in the Roosevelt recession. Unemployment had fallen from a high
of 24.9 percent in 1933 to 16.9 percent in 1936, the year of FDR’s first
reelection—still significantly higher than the post-war high of 7.5 percent
during Reagan’s 1984 reelection and the current, and likely to remain, 9.1
percent unemployment rate under Obama.

However, unemployment under Reagan and Roosevelt were dropping quickly in
their reelection years, which boosted voter confidence. Not so with Obama. And
Obama’s embracing of FDR’s “soak the rich” tax policies—as FDR’s critics called
it—will do just as much economic harm now as they did then. While the
unemployment rate fell to 14.3 percent in 1937, it rose to 19 percent in 1938
and only declined to 17.2 percent in 1939.*

If President Obama is trying to draw lessons from FDR’s 1936 reelection, he
is learning the wrong ones. FDR had a huge majority in both houses of Congress,
so he was able to get his class-warfare agenda passed—though his efforts
expanded the growing divide between conservative and liberal Democrats. Obama
may complain about the need to tax the rich; Republicans won’t let him do

In addition, the country leaned more to the left then, with several national
demagogues—including Louisiana Senator Huey Long, Francis Townsend and Father
Charles Coughlin—constantly pulling FDR leftward (whether FDR really resisted
that leftward tug is a matter of opinion). There really is no strong national
voice to the left of Obama, except for MSNBC and perhaps Occupy Wall Street.
The lesson Obama should be learning from the 1936 election is that FDR’s
Wealth Tax and class warfare set the economic recovery back years. Obama’s
effort to channel FDR’s policies and reelection success would have exactly the
same impact.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy
Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow at

* For a discussion of the best figures for pre-war unemployment rates see
Robert A. Margo, “Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s,” Journal of Economic
Perspectives, Spring 1993.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Obama's Behavior Is Getting Worse

"I've never seen an adult in an important leadership position -- especially not the president of the United States -- show such frightening immaturity and self-absorption."

That encompasses Obama to the tee. Clinton was a liar, but this guy is a sociopath!...T

Obama's Thursday news conference was a sober reminder of the nature of the man in the Oval Office. I infer that even many of his supporters in the liberal media are finally catching on to the magnitude of his personality disorders.

How could a man in his important position continue to act so childishly, accepting no responsibility for his policies and behavior and demonizing everyone who dares to disagree with or oppose him? It's worse than embarrassing; it's unsettling.

From the conference we are reminded that Obama believes that:

--Only "big and bold" intervention by the government can get an economy moving; so long as he cites a few "expert economists" who agree with him, there can be no other legitimate opinion.

--Anyone who disagrees with or opposes him is engaging in partisan politics rather than acting in good faith, on principle and in the best interests of the country. Republicans have blocked him for partisan reasons for not just the past six months, but the past 2 1/2 years. He has "gone out of (his) way in every instance to find common ground" with Republicans. You know, as with "I won, John" and "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talkin'" and "stay in the back seat."

--If Republicans continue to oppose his jobs bill, it will be because they don't want laid-off policemen, firefighters and teachers working again.

--The failure, waste and corruption in his $868 billion stimulus package are irrelevant when considering whether to embark on another such reckless venture. He doesn't need to explain away the damning empirical data on his stimulus bill, because economists told him it would work and therefore it did work. If he hadn't spent all that borrowed money, we would have experienced another great depression. Anyone who disputes this is either a rube or improperly motivated.

--It doesn't matter that he famously breached his promise that unemployment would not exceed 8 percent if Congress passed his stimulus bill or that studies show that only 7 percent of the stimulus money went toward infrastructure despite his commitments to the contrary. Nor does it matter that he cavalierly joked about having lied about the existence of a plethora of "shovel-ready jobs." He is a well-meaning liberal, after all.

--His good intentions also exempt him from accountability on the Solyndra scandal, because his ideology inclines him toward a blind faith in the existence of cataclysmic man-made global warming, which in turn requires him to mandate government subsidization of "green technologies." Those allegedly noble intentions further entitle him to a pass for ignoring those who warned the government not to proceed with the project. His intentions relieve him from responsibility for Solyndra's abject failure to meet the projections of the same kind of geniuses he is berating us for not following on his jobs bill.

--He still isn't the slightest bit concerned about our national path toward bankruptcy, addressing it only with a few throwaway lines about how this bill would pay for itself, even though no bill of his has paid for itself.

--He is going to stick to his lies that a) his bill is a "jobs bill," b) it would implement the "Buffett Rule" when Warren Buffett himself said he is only for raising taxes on the super-rich, c) the "rich" aren't paying their fair share of taxes, and d) Republicans have not put forward an economic plan.

--He is going to continue to pretend or fool himself into believing that the American people still back his socialist approach to economic problems, his class warfare approach to influencing public opinion, his demagogic approach to entitlement reform and his hyper-partisan approach to problem-solving.

--He has complete confidence in Eric Holder, so he doesn't need to worry about the facts on "Fast and Furious," either; Holder's dubious testimony is of no concern to Obama, and he doesn't have to answer for it, because he trusts Holder, and therefore, so should we. Besides, even if it should turn out that Holder did something wrong, Holder is the attorney general and Obama's not responsible for him.

--He is never going to stop blaming everyone and everything but himself for the problems he has caused. Thursday, he told us yet again that our economic mess was created by George W. Bush, the Japanese tsunami, the two wars, the Republicans' gamesmanship over the debt ceiling, and Europe's financial instability. Oh, yes, and many of our problems even "predate the financial crisis."

Our chief executive either is a mastermind at Machiavellian manipulation or has deep psychological and emotional problems. I've never seen an adult in an important leadership position -- especially not the president of the United States -- show such frightening immaturity and self-absorption
David Limbaugh

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Aimless Obama walks alone

Jimmy CarterCover of Jimmy CarterNo comment necessary on Barack O'Carter...T

The reports are not good, disturbing even. I have heard basically the same story four times in the last 10 days, and the people doing the talking are in New York and Washington and are spread across the political spectrum.

The gist is this: President Obama has become a lone wolf, a stranger to his own government. He talks mostly, and sometimes only, to friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett and to David Axelrod, his political strategist.

Everybody else, including members of his Cabinet, have little face time with him except for brief meetings that serve as photo ops. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner both have complained, according to people who have talked to them, that they are shut out of important decisions.

The president’s workdays are said to end early, often at 4 p.m. He usually has dinner in the family residence with his wife and daughters, then retreats to a private office. One person said he takes a stack of briefing books. Others aren’t sure what he does.

If the reports are accurate, and I believe they are, they paint a picture of an isolated man trapped in a collapsing presidency. While there is no indication Obama is walking the halls of the White House late at night, talking to the portraits of former presidents, as Richard Nixon did during Watergate, the reports help explain his odd public remarks.

Obama conceded in one television interview recently that Americans are not “better off than they were four years ago” and said in another that the nation had “gotten a little soft.” Both smacked of a man who feels discouraged and alienated and sparked comparisons to Jimmy Carter, never a good sign.

Blaming the country is political heresy, of course, yet Obama is running out of scapegoats. His allies rarely make affirmative arguments on his behalf anymore, limiting themselves to making excuses for his failure. He and they attack Republicans, George W. Bush, European leaders and Chinese currency manipulation -- and that was just last week.

The blame game isn’t much of a defense for Solyndra and “Fast and Furious,” the emerging twin scandals that paint a picture of incompetence at best.

Obama himself is spending his public time pushing a $450 billion “jobs” bill -- really another stimulus in disguise -- that even Senate Democrats won’t support. He grimly flogged it repeatedly at his Thursday press conference, even though snowballs in hell have a better chance of survival.

If he cracked a single smile at the hour-plus event, I missed it. He seems happy only on the campaign trail, where the adoration of the crowd lifts his spirits.

When it comes to getting America back on track to economic growth, he is running on vapors. Yet he shows no inclination to adopt any ideas other than his own Big Government grab. His itch for higher taxes verges on a fetish.

Harvey Golub, former chairman of American Express, called the “jobs” bill an incoherent mess. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, he said that among other flaws, the bill includes an unheard of retroactive tax hike on the holders of municipal bonds.

“Many of us have suspected that economic illiterates were setting the economic policy of this administration,” Golub wrote, adding that the bill “reveals a depth of cluelessness that boggles the mind.”

The public increasingly shares the sentiment. A new Quinnipiac polls finds that 55 percent now disapprove of Obama’s job performance, with only 41 percent approving. A mere 29 percent say the economy will improve if the president gets four more years.

The election, unfortunately, is nearly 13 months away.

The way Obama’s behaving, by then we’ll all be talking to portraits of past presidents, asking why this one turned out to be such a flop.
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Gone in 60 nanoseconds

Fascinating stuff! But not entirely accurate: Einstein always speculated on the possibility of neutrinos, the particles that could only exist at POST light speed (while all sub-light matter cannot pass this threshold, the same would be true for neutrinos, in reverse!)...T

We don’t allow faster-than-light neutrinos in here,” says the bartender.

A neutrino walks into a bar.

— Joke circulating on the Internet

The world as we know it is on the brink of disintegration, on the verge of dissolution. No, I’m not talking about the collapse of the euro, of international finance, of the Western economies, of the democratic future, of the unipolar moment, of the American dream, of French banks, of Greece as a going concern, of Europe as an idea, of Pax Americana — the sinews of a postwar world that feels today to be unraveling.

I am talking about something far more important. Which is why it made only the back pages of your newspaper, if it made it at all. Scientists at CERN, the European high-energy physics consortium, have announced the discovery of a particle that can travel faster than light.

Neutrinos fired 454 miles from a supercollider outside Geneva to an underground laboratory in Gran Sasso, Italy, took less time (60 nanoseconds less) than light to get there. Or so the physicists think. Or so they measured. Or so they have concluded after checking for every possible artifact and experimental error.

The implications of such a discovery are so mind-boggling, however, that these same scientists immediately requested that other labs around the world try to replicate the experiment. Something must have been wrong — some faulty measurement, some overlooked contaminant — to account for a result that, if we know anything about the universe, is impossible.

And that’s the problem. It has to be impossible because, if not, if that did happen on this Orient Express hurtling between Switzerland and Italy, then everything we know about the universe is wrong.

The fundamental axiom of Einstein’s theory of relativity is the absolute prohibition on speed faster than light. Einstein’s predictions about how time slows and mass increases as one approaches the speed of light have been verified by a mountain of experimental evidence. As velocity increases, mass approaches infinity and time dilates, making it progressively and, ultimately, infinitely difficult to achieve light speed. Which is why nothing does. And nothing ever has.

Until two weeks ago Thursday.

That’s when the results were announced. To oversimplify grossly: If the Gran Sasso scientists had a plate to record the arrival of the neutrinos and a super-powerful telescope to peer (through the Alps!) directly into the lab in Geneva from which they were being fired, the Gran Sasso guys would have “heard” the neutrinos clanging against the plate before they observed the Geneva guys squeeze the trigger on the neutrino gun.

Sixty nanoseconds before, to be precise. Wrap your mind around that one.

It’s as if someone told you that yesterday at drive time Topeka was released from Earth’s gravity. These things don’t happen. Natural laws don’t just expire between shifts at McDonald’s.

Not that there aren’t already mysteries in physics. Neutrinos themselves are ghostly particles that travel through nearly everything unimpeded. (Thousands are traversing your body as you read this.) But that is simplicity itself compared to quantum mechanics, whose random arbitrariness so offended Einstein that he famously objected that God does not play dice with the universe.

Aphorisms don’t trump reality, however. They are but a frail, poignant protest against a universe that often disdains the most cherished human notions of order and elegance, truth and beauty.

But if quantum mechanics was a challenge to human sensibilities, this pesky Swiss-Italian neutrino is their undoing. It means that Einstein’s relativity — a theory of uncommon beauty upon which all of physics has been built for 100 years — is wrong. Not just inaccurate. Not just flawed. But deeply, fundamentally, indescribably wrong.

It means that the “standard model” of subatomic particles that stands at the center of all modern physics is wrong.

Nor does it stop there. This will not just overthrow physics. Astronomy and cosmology measure time and distance in the universe on the assumption of light speed as the cosmic limit. Their foundations will shake as well.

It cannot be. Yet, this is not a couple of guys in a garage peddling cold fusion. This is no crank wheeling a perpetual motion machine into the patent office. These are the best researchers in the world using the finest measuring instruments, having subjected their data to the highest levels of scrutiny, including six months of cross-checking by 160 scientists from 11 countries.

But there must be some error. Because otherwise everything changes. We shall need a new physics. A new cosmology. New understandings of past and future, of cause and effect. Then shortly and surely, new theologies.

Why? Because we can’t have neutrinos getting kicked out of taverns they have not yet entered.
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