Thursday, April 2, 2015

How can any rational human being vote Republican with a clear conscience?

Barbra Streisand. (photo: unknown)
Barbra Streisand. (photo: unknown)

Obama Has Turned the Economy Around

By Barbra Streisand, Reader Supported News
01 April 15
n the wake of the financial crisis, President Obama took the helm of a sinking economic ship and helped to right it. The unemployment rate is now once again at pre-recession levels -- the lowest in seven years (5.5%).

President Obama's Administration, with only opposition from the Republicans, has steadily helped put more than 11 million Americans back to work in the private sector. In the strongest period of American manufacturing job growth since the 1990s, the sector has added more than 750,000 jobs since February 2010. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman notes, the economy is "now adding jobs at a rate not seen since the Clinton years." The dollar is on its fastest rise in 40 years; its value has increased 14% in this first quarter alone and it's the strongest it's been in 12 years compared to the Euro.

Maybe most important, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 1.1 million. Why are the Republicans so silent about the good news? They claim to be the party of "jobs." Perhaps they knew their history. 

PBS pointed out a study from the "strictly non-partisan National Bureau for Economic Research" that shows "under Democratic presidents, per capita GDP has been higher; job creation has been stronger; decreases in unemployment have been greater; the S&P 500 stock index has been higher; corporate profits have been bigger; and real wages and labor productivity have increased."

As Brad Plumer also noted in the Washington Post, "Since World War II, there's been a strikingly consistent pattern in American politics: The economy does much better when a Democrat is in the White House... the U.S. economy has grown at an average real rate of 4.35 percent under Democratic presidents and just 2.54 percent under Republicans." If one drops the Eisenhower years, it is far worse for the GOP.

This pattern holds true under President Obama. The conservative Wall Street Journal had to admit, "American families have made major progress cutting their debt burdens, putting them in a stronger position to drive spending and growth. Total U.S. household debt was about 107% of disposable income in the fourth quarter, down from 108% in the previous quarter and well over 130% before the recession." Under President Obama, the deficit continues to fall even more since being cut in half by 2013 from 2009. In his first term, the president also cut taxes by $3,600 for the average middle-class family.

The frustration now is the lack of wage increases -- an obstacle that must be overcome both by raising the minimum wage and our corporations rewarding the increase in productivity among our workers. Of course there's not been an encouraging word from the GOP, which opposes any increase in the federal minimum wage. In fact, their 2016 frontrunner, Jeb Bush, does not think there should be a federal minimum wage.

The GOP does not care to understand the late Senator Paul Wellstone's maxim, "We all do better when we all do better." Increasing wages means more economic demand for more goods and services, and boosts the economy. Somehow, Republicans remain intent on cutting taxes for the already rich and devastating domestic spending.

The House once again just proposed the "Ryan" budget full of unexplained and mysterious trillions of dollars in savings while cutting revenue, savaging domestic spending and proposing vouchers to purchase insurance instead of traditional Medicare. As Krugman writes, if it "were to become law, it would leave the federal government several trillion dollars deeper in debt than claimed, and that's just in the first decade." With the budget deficit radically dropping under President Obama and the increasingly better jobs reports, why would we believe these GOP austerity measures would help average families? We don't because they won't. Krugman again: "The simplest way to understand [the GOP budget proposals] is surely to suppose that they are intended to do what they would, in fact, actually do: make the rich richer and ordinary families poorer."

They're also intent on misrepresenting the economic facts of the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to the ACA, 16. 4 million previously uninsured adults now have health care coverage under the ACA. The Brookings Institution pointed out in March that "more than 4.2 million households, or 7.5 million people, are likely to qualify for both the [Earned Income Tax Credit] and [ACA's] premium tax credit" - - this in addition to improved, comprehensive health care coverage. Over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office projected the ACA will actually cost $109 billion less than previously anticipated. And last year, the LA Times reported, "Insurance premiums are lower than anticipated, the Affordable Care Act will cost $9 billion less than previously estimated and the provision designed to buffer insurance companies from risk will actually raise revenue, not function as any sort of federal government bailout."

The Republican response to how the ACA is helping Americans and heath care costs is to try to repeal it (56 times as of February) and attempt to hobble it with litigation. GOP presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, who this week vowed to "repeal every word of Obamacare," hypocritically receives health insurance for his family through the Federal "Obamacare" exchange.

Are Republicans who control both houses of Congress interested in governing or will they remain stuck in their ideological corner? Their current approval rating of 11% does not seem to faze them, so the signs are not encouraging. In an unprecedented move, 47 Senate Republicans just signed a letter deliberately undermining both our President and important allies' in the negotiation to halt nuclear arms proliferation by Iran.

So it looks like the facts be damned, the GOP has decided that the ideological corner is where they will remain. The voters will have a chance next year to change this.


-55 # A P 2015-04-01 12:14
Babs, you need to take a trip over to zerohedge or Stockman's Contra-corner for the real economic news and facts.

This is pure Dem-fantasy, next it'll be just click the heels of your Ruby Slippers slippers three times and repeat three times, "There's no economy like Hope and Change".

Sorry, you'll wake up with Toto gnawing on your leg because he hasn't been fed in weeks...

Babs how about you offer to sing "Over the Rainbow" at Killary's inauguration? That'll make it ALL BETTER.
+44 # Larry 2015-04-01 13:46
Well, AP, why don't you enlighten us with the real "facts," because so far you have offered nothing to disprove the numbers reported in the Wall Street Journal (hardly a liberal publication) Washington Post (same), LA Times, and New York Times. All that's clear from your post is that you are just another garden-variety Obama hater, and like your fellow occupants of the right-wing echo chamber, you either deny or ignore any facts that undermine your wretched agenda.

Go back to the alternate un-reality of Faux "News." There you are guaranteed to only hear "facts" you can agree with.
-2 # Floe 2015-04-01 13:54
Larry, I agree with AP and I'm no conservative, never have been and abhor even the idea of it. However it is definitely the Democrats getting the wool pulled over their eyes now. I used to be a "liberal" and proud of it but I don't go for anyone who has a kill list and a drone warfare program. I don't care what party he or she is from. The entire edifice is a fraud, everyone you have ever voted for or had the opportunity to vote for are whores for banks and vandalism energy (fossil fuels and nuclear) You even slip on your own banana skin there by showing how closed your mind is when you think that the only ones who can see the great pretenders for what they are, Obama included, it must be because they are "on the other side". Very faulty thinking. If you really want to know the truth, find out how money is created. Anyone who does not know this is not qualified to speak on anything political or economic. Surely something as fundamental as how money is created ought to be known before issuing conclusions about the views of others. Fallacious once, fallacious twice....
+25 # Larry 2015-04-01 14:47
Floe, during the first presidential campaign, as the GOP was shrieking "He's a socialist!" I thought Obama actually came across as slightly right of center, certainly nowhere near being a traditional liberal. I don't like everything he has done (and not done), but this article is just about the improving economy. And the numbers are what they are. There are plenty of opportunities to criticize the president, but in the case of the economy I think he has done an amazing job repairing the catastrophic damage done by W and his puppeteers.
+13 # WestWinds 2015-04-01 16:33

--- I'm throwing in with Floe. Obama could have done a WHOLE LOT BETTER and a whole lot sooner. He's been gradually taking the economy back up, alright, but at a snails pace allowing the corporations to siphon the living daylights out of working people while giving 750 BILLION dollars to Wall Street for their irresponsible, selfish, ruthless and capricious buyer beware behavior. Instead of funneling that money to the bottom (like a Democrat) he force fed the 1% and stayed the (R) supply side course. Obama has consistently practiced supply side economics and thwarted consumer driven economics all the way.

W sent out checks to everyone for a couple of hundred dollars. If Obama had taken that 750 Billion and sent everybody a check, each and every adult US citizen in this country would have received a check for one quarter of a million dollars. Now, don't you think a lot of school debt, medical bills, mortgages, car loans, etc., would have gotten paid off and jump started the economy a WHOLE LOT SOONER???

And instead of nationalizing the health care, this president saddled us with warmed over Dole/Romney (Rethuglicon) care that further suctions out the pockets of the working class people.

And now, he's on the brink of signing off on TPP that will REALLY screw this country over. You people that look at Obama with stars in your eyes need to get off the Kool-aid!
+3 # RLF 2015-04-02 05:39
Obama is firmly in the U. of Chicago economics model...his Alma Mater. Can you say trickle on me?
+1 # RLF 2015-04-02 05:36
"slightly right of center"???

He's to the right of Nixon...way more than slightly!
+5 # Old Uncle Dave 2015-04-01 17:16
+2 # glyde 2015-04-01 18:45
Old Uncle Dave: Thank you very much. I've signed up.
+7 # wantrealdemocracy 2015-04-01 19:55
Hey Larry!! All those major media sources you and Barbara quote are brought to you by the banksters. Larry did not say anything about Obama. He did imply it was all pure Dem-fantasy and I agree. Yes, things are just fine for those rich bastards. They are over the rainbow in pure bliss, but the number of homeless and hungry people far, far exceed them in numbers. All those happy 1%ers just step over the people on the street with no sene of compassion or empathy. I guess feeding their greed is all the emotional power they have. These are the ME,Me, Me people don't give a damn for 99% of the people in this nation. I guess it is lots of fun for you and Babs who have lots of money to step over the poor, but watch out! We may be reaching a pitch fork and guillotine rebellion that you may not enjoy.

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