James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Why Obama’s big economic gamble is failing

June 19, 2009

A string of new polls seems to show that America’s belief in the wonder-working power of Obamanomics has begun to fade. A Pew poll found President Obama’s economic approval rating has fallen to 52 percent from 60 percent in April. A Wall Street Journal poll found 53 percent disapprove of his handling of GM and Chrysler vs. 39 who approve. And the New York Times found that 60 percent don’t think Obama has a “clear plan” to deal with the monstrous budget deficit.

Okay, here’s the thing: Obama took a tremendous economic and political gamble last January. The new president had the option of putting forward a stimulus plan that would attempt to reverse or significantly dampen America’s terrible economic downturn ASAP. The quickest and most effective approach would have been a big cut in payroll taxes. For $800 billion, combined Social Security and Medicare taxes could have been slashed by 6 percentage points, or 40 percent. That would have put $1,500 in worker paychecks and, according to one credible study, increased employment by 4 million jobs in 2009.

Instead, Obama chose to listen to Rahm “Never let a crisis go to waste” Emanuel and put forward an $800 billion plan that advanced his healthcare, energy and education policy goals — but pretty much neglected the economy in 2009. Team Obama had to fully understand this. Indeed, a study from the Congressional Budget Office study — when led by current Obama budget chief Peter Orszag — concluded that an Obama-like economic stimulus package would be “totally impractical” because it would take so long to implement. (True enough, only seven percent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been doled out so far.)

Presidential gamble. In short, Obama wagered that the deluge of money coming from the Federal Reserve would do the heavy lifting as far as stabilizing the financial sector and keeping the already apparent recession from turning into a real disaster. Voters would, thus, continue to support his policies to assert more government control over healthcare, heavily regulate energy through a costly cap-and-trade program and further intervene into the financial industry.

The gamble appears to have failed miserably, both economically and politically. The terrible tale of the tape: a) the current downturn is arguably the worse since the Great Depression; b) household wealth has fallen by $14 trillion during the past two years, including the first quarter of 2009; c) while the economy may not shrink as much this quarter as it did in the previous three months (-5.7 percent) or the final quarter of 2008 (-6.3 percent), unemployment is soaring; d) Obama himself said the jobless rate will hit 10 percent this year; d) even worse, the Federal Reserve sees it approaching 11 percent next year. (Recall, that the original White House economic analysis of the Obama economic plan never saw unemployment exceeding 8 percent if Obamanomics was passed by Congress.)

Falling public support. So now many Americans are rightfully wondering just what they are getting for that $800 billion, as well as massive budget deficits as far as the eye can see. And it goes beyond the mercurial world of polling. Pricey plans to deal with perceived climate change and healthcare are also appear on the ropes or are being scaled back as voters view them as lower priorities than job creation and taming out-of-control spending.

Green shoots? Oh there are some to be sure. Just yesterday, the Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose by its biggest monthly amount in five years And the stock market is up nearly 40 percent from its lows as depression fears ebb. Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, by contrast, declares that the “era of the green shoots is over.” He points out that 1) bellwether FedEx described the economy as “extremely difficult” when it reported disappointing earnings , 2) United Airlines said second quarter traffic fell as much at 10.5 percent, 3) commercial real estate loan concerns led S&P to cut ratings on 22 non-”too big too fail” regional banks; 4) incomes are being pinched by rising gas prices, and 5) surging interest rates are refreezing the housing market.

Too little, too late.
Then, of course, there is rising unemployment, which is either a lagging indicator of an economy slowly on the mend or a forward indicator of a possible double-dip recession. Either way, it takes a long time for economic perceptions to change after a nasty downturn. Just ask all those congressional Democrats who lost their jobs in 1994. Even though the economy had then been growing for 14 straight quarters since the 1990-91 recession and the unemployment rate was down to 5.8 percent from a high of 7.8 percent, 72 percent of Americans still thought the economy was “fair” or “poor” and 66 percent though the nation was headed in the wrong direction. What do you think the national mood will be like on Election Day 2010 if unemployment is over 10 percent, gas prices near $4.00 a gallon and homes prices moribund? Certainly by then, the effectiveness of the “Blame Bush” mantra will have hit its expiration date for Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party.

Comments

What do the American people get, in the case of BAC interest and the right to buy stock at a fixed price at a future date. Most Americans have no clue about the interest received it is the of bail out, the words sell news and are fashionable.The truth who cares !

Posted by tony rocco | Report as abusive
 

why don’t you mention that unlike past launches, people could pre-order online for a week???

You think that might have something to do with lines being shorter??????????????????????

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive
 

He did mention that you could pre-order. However, this year unlike any other previous “launch” there is the option to have it shipped through the mail. You can pre-order and pick it up in the store…which would give you the option of going anytime throughout the day…you could have bought it in the store and picked it up today…or, you could have had I shipped to your home or work…these factors are the reason there are not insane lines. Apple was not out to make headlines about people lining up, but rather made it easier on the consumer like a great company would.

Posted by Jesse | Report as abusive
 

“Instead, Obama chose to listen to Rahm “Never let a crisis to go waste” Emanuel and put forward an $800 billion plan that advanced his healthcare, energy…”

I imagine the quote was supposed to be “Never let a crisis GO TO waste”

Posted by John Malone | Report as abusive
 

You never mentioned the inflation and huge taxes that are coming. Obama and Geithner may be able to hold it off until after the congessional elections, but it’s still coming. We will be years in this crisis, and decades for our descendants to pay off the Obama, Geithner, Pelosi and Dodd spending spree’s.

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive
 

Those of us that did our due diligence prior to the election even without the medias assistance, new exactly what we were headed for down the pike.. It is his MO, no secrets I will give him that. It is a tough reality for those who voted for this who really did not think it would happen. Some do not mind the government intrusion or the tax increase, it is their choice. Many voted for him that are flabergasted at what is going on.

Posted by sharon | Report as abusive
 

Thankfully, Folks are finally waking up from their Obocoma’s. Obama was so cock-sure that voters gave him a mandate with his “Change you can believe in” mantra. What he continues to underestimate is that Americans do not want to “Change what we Believe” which is government of the people, by the people and for the people. Power to the People!

Posted by MEG | Report as abusive
 

I come from a relatively poor background but most of my thought process today revolves around what I learned in Corporate Finance 101, expertly instructed by a U of Penn alcoholic who could teach better intoxicated than most today while sober. I learned new terms like laissez- faire, capitalism, free-enterprise, risk-taking, profit, loss and the economic thinking of Adam Smith. Somewhere I determined that those terms plus hard work were my ticket to the American dream. Along the way I realized that socialism/communism has never done much but impoverish all who were foolish enough to participate. Obama, Emanuel and the whole clan are products of government handouts and social engineered politics. Anyone with any common sense could have seen two years ago that this guy’s background had heavy communist influence. In American politics you get what you want……and most wanted change….with no idea of what it would be. The price of mass ignorance!!!

Posted by bagit | Report as abusive
 

Yeah, Americans are waking up to what their own mindless stupidity has wrought on our country, but so what?

In six months, the Chicago Con Man has stolen hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars from us, delivering it all to his cronies and his backers and his syncophants and his fellow thieves. Why not the safer, sounder tax cuts? Because Con Man’s entire system depends upon routing as many dollars through sticky hands as possible. And if you look at what the fake stimulus consists of, you’ll see that each dollar is going to pass through multiple sets of those sticky hands. (How many Dem mayors and governors have now set up “handling fees” by which they’ll siphon off some flat percentage of stimulus money passing through their territories? Look it up. The media won’t tell you, so you’ll have to find out some other way, of course.)

So, talking about Con Man’s current problems misses the main point: this early in his term, he’s already set up and turned on the biggest theft from working people by and to thieving people in history – everything else he might be able to steal will be icing on his confiscated cake.

Posted by bobby b | Report as abusive
 

The refusal of congressional Republicans to vote for the stimulus is looking pretty savvy right about now.

Posted by Ursus | Report as abusive
 

It is easier to understand why certain policy choices have been and will be made if one keeps in mind that it is not about improving health care, about creating a favorable climate for job growth, for fostering a good business climate, etc. With a little background study of the clothing free emporer one can understand that it is about power, control and manipulation. That’s what is meant by not letting a crisis go to waste.

Posted by gdb in central Texas | Report as abusive
 

Is it surprising that people are so critical of Obama and his methods. He has gotten more done in 5 months than Bush in 7 years. Look at all those including the write of the story saying that Obama is failing, we are spending too much money. To this I ask, “How much have we spent on Bush’s Wars” We continue to spend. If George Bush attempted to do ANYTHING with respect to national politics, economy, health care, infrastructure. We would not be in such a mess. Obama is cleaning up after 8 years of collusion and corruption at the highest levels of our government. At this point NO ONE can be overly critical of Obama, especially conservatives. Give us back the 3 trillion dollars we would have spent on these wars! Ask the fiscal conservatives how Bush paid for it, they will have no answer. So never mind the money that is spent on our home soil, look at the cost you are spending killing people.

Posted by Taher | Report as abusive
 

“The refusal of congressional Republicans to vote for the stimulus is looking pretty savvy right about now.”

Yeah, almost as savvy as their stewardship of the economy from 2001 – 2006 was stupid. Bush’s Big Government Conservatism and Tom Delay’s GOP K-Street Project screwed the pooch at exactly the wrong time: just as the biggest bubble of all time was about to burst. There ruinous fiscal irresponsibility opened the door for Dear Leader and the even bigger idiots on the Left to completely run the car into a ditch.

The GOP may recover–or not–but we would never even be talking about an ignorant, arrogant political neophyte like Obiwon as president if they hadn’t succumbed to Washington D.C.’s corruption. But you gotta give ‘em credit: it only took them twelve years to achieve the level of mendacity that it took the Democrats sixty years in power to achieve.

Posted by PD Quig | Report as abusive
 

Obama has taking care of the banking industry (over-paid, unproductive) at taxpayer expense.

He is propping-up the incompetently run auto companies at taxpayer expense. The truth is they were headed for bancrupcy for some years, the down-turn only exposed the mis-management.

He is nibbling at the fringes of the problems in the investment industry – we’ll probably end-up with a new “csar” of some type.

When he had the blank slate to stimulate the economy with inovation he instead chose hand-outs to his constituencies and tired liberal initiatives.

Very un-inspiring so far – but he looks good.

Posted by Jared | Report as abusive
 

Nice to see an “objective news site” blog with a trite-y right-y commentary on the economy.
The writer is a journalist, of course, and spewing the lines that he uses in his “economics” lectures.
Notice the opinions masquerading as fact and the fine opinions on character of players that justify those opinions.
Can’t you keep this guy in his Kudlow sound bite world, and away from the adult topics?
Yeah, Mr journalist/amateur economist, let’s let the free market get this one. It did so well up to now.
Don’t see any real solutions from this blogger, just hopes for the midterm elections favoring the party of zero ideas.

Posted by Wayno | Report as abusive
 

Barack Obama took office in January 2009. Savior of all poor and old in America and yes we can! Five months later Obama the yes we can man has raised taxes on cigarettes so the poor and unemployed will have to pay 60 cents more a pack of smokes to smoke! Denied S/S cost of living increases for 2009-2010 to all Social Security Recipients claiming that inflation is so low there is no need to give a cost of living raise! Meanwhile, people are still losing jobs and or have no jobs or health insurance! Obama gave AIG and car companies billions of tax payer money and it has not saved the economy. Obama has failed those that voted for him. Millions of hard working Americans are now poverty stricken. They all got duped by Obama!

Posted by Mozelle | Report as abusive
 

Not all deficits are created equal. Deficit spending can be an investment, which produces more growth which pays for itself, possibly many times over, in the long run. Or, it can be a massive boondoggle which dilutes everyone but a select few’s wealth, and stifles innovation and future growth.

The Obama deficits are of the latter type. In the end, they will make us far poorer overall than we would otherwise be. The Bush deficits were A) far, far smaller B) were geared toward growth and a better future.

To the poster who decried “Bush’s Wars”, I would suggest to you that the successful democracy implanted in Iraq will be a seed that will sprout across the entire region, bring the oil rich nations of the Middle East into the 21st century at last, the benefits of which for the entire world will be incalculable. Already, we are witnessing the fruits emerge in the awakening in Iran. This could not have happened if the people of Iran still felt threatened by a mad, genocidal dictator to their west. When people feel threatened, they willingly trade freedom for security. The mullahs no longer have that justification with which to cow an insecure public.

Posted by Bart | Report as abusive
 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the blame game has begun again. First we blame Bush for the wars, which since most forgot started when a group set on the destruction of the American way attacked New York, yes Iraq was a mistake got it move on. Obama has done nothing that those who elected him could not have expected, except maybe handing them the cash directly.

Stop whinning on a blog and try emailing the wonderful people you all elected in congress. Get them to represent your ideas not their own.

The problem with the stimulas program is simple, my folks taught me this lesson a looooong time ago, don’t through money at a finicial problem you just ruin both. If a bank or business does make enough profit to pay the bill and you give a “loan” to help cover the bill now they have two bills to cover with the same profit that didn’t work in the first place. Gee I wonder what went wrong there.

Posted by Dmanz | Report as abusive
 

The effectiveness of the “Blame Bush” mantra may have already hit its expiration date, but based upon some of the comments here not all of Obama’s supporters seem willing to give it up just yet.

And why should they? It’s not like Obama and his supporters actually know what they are doing. Plan B is the same as Plan A: Blame Bush.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | Report as abusive
 

All of the tremendous additional costs contained in the Obama Administration and Congressional plans for health care and the crushing taxes and costs effected by the Cap-and_Trade plans on industry and citizens are pure anathema to everyone. All of this additional burden on top of current soaring national debt and unemployment plus uncontrolled spending by the Obama Administration have placed this nation on an EXPRESS TRAIN TO HELL and everyone will be required to pay dearly for this one-way trip. The scene is the most depressing we have ever experienced.

Posted by Al | Report as abusive
 

A very informative article, until I got to the last paragraph:

“What do you think the national mood will be like on Election Day 2010 if unemployment is over 10 percent, gas prices near $4.00 a gallon and homes prices moribund?”

Actually, high home prices favor the Democrats in the medium to long term. I refer you to Steve Sailer’s articles on affordable family formation. Surely the Republicans don’t want to be ruined in the long term for the sake of victory in 2010?

Also, it seems to me that the best that Obama can do to cut gas prices is to reduce demand for gas — possibly under the pretext of fighting global warming.

Posted by Snorri Godhi | Report as abusive
 

The author fails to recognize that Obama’s main goal is, and has always been, deconstruction followed by reorganization at a basic level. It’s an overused saying by now but remains true- crisis is opportunity.

Posted by SamIam | Report as abusive
 

El presidente HussaneBama & The Chicago Crime Syndicate are simply introducing us this first year of his “presidency” how they do things up in Chicago-land. Next Year he’s going to show us how he’ll organize Amerika into one gigantic community………….

Posted by Obushma | Report as abusive
 

Despite what you say, there is absolutely no agreement at all that a cut in the payroll tax would have been the most effective approach to stimulus. See this article, for example:
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=vie w&id=2264
To argue otherwise is disingenous at best. It’s disappointing to see right-wing talking points like this on a supposedly objective newswire.

Posted by Kramer | Report as abusive
 

“Moribund” means “at the point of death”. The author said that home *prices* would be moribund, and it’s very likely he means that the prices will drop further. It wouldn’t make sense for house prices to going significantly higher at the same time that everything else the author predicts.

Posted by Garance | Report as abusive
 

Silver lining: most of the unemployed are Democrats, and the more of them and the longer they are unemployed the less they can do to ruin the country. Do not buy anything except guns, ammo, and survival supplies. We are in the early stages of a civil war being waged by Obama and the lib-nazis. They will be defeated, and a new Free America will be formed.

 

Classic. Reuters has been posting love letters to Obama for over a year, and liberals were just fine with that. Now comes a sober critique of his policies, and you go moonbat-crazy.

How you folks ever saw a messiah in a sleazy Chicago political thug is beyond me.

Posted by John the Libertarian | Report as abusive
 

Let’s all settle down. No serious commentator thought that Obama’s popularity bubble would be long-standing, or that he’d somehow soar above accountability and reality forever.

Obama’s big gamble was whether he could get passed the kind of enduring, unable-to-halt-or-reform legislation that has comprised the major landmarks in the history of Democratic Party dismantling of market mechanisms and incentives. It looks like he overreached, and I agree with James, did so at the expense of sound stewardship of the immediate crisis, exacerbating its length and severity immeasurably.

At least markets will endure.

Posted by apetra | Report as abusive
 

“He has gotten more done in 5 months than Bush in 7 years.”
– - – - –

Likewise, Billy The Kid robbed many more travelers than Horace The Overly Polite Cattle Rustler ever did, but you don’t find Billy’s descendants defending him with that statistic.

And, yeah, Bush did turn into Mr. Big Government, and I get such a (bitter) kick out of listening to Democrats complain about that. Remember back to those big-ticket projects that earned him the ire of economic conservatives, and you’ll be reminded that they were, in the majority, Democrat proposals (remember Teddy’s NCLB?) that Bush went for in a spirit of attempted bipartisanship. But, alas, it’s like the old fable about the frog who overcame his fear that the scorpion would sting him even though the scorpion was promising not to if froggie would carry him across the river, and so froggie carried the scorpion across the river on his back. Halfway, of course, the scorpion DID sting him, and as froggie was dying and sinking, he asked “why?”, and the scorpion said “it’s just my nature”, which is sort of the response Bush got when the entire lefty world excoriated him for passing Kennedy’s program.

Posted by bobby b | Report as abusive
 

Seriously, wouldn’t now be the time for new thinking, a better dynamic, a reason to believe that the republican party is something more than hate, tax cuts, and anti-abortion? What a terribly opinionated argument too. Ugh, blogs are horrible.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive
 

For my own part, I agree with parts of what the author said, but it is absurd to claim “The quickest and most effective approach would have been a big cut in payroll taxes” as if it is a proven fact. A big tax cut is great as a short-term boost, but it doesn’t solve longterm systemic problems.

I am not at all happy with the stimulus plan that Obama came up with, but also remember that 35% of the cost of that plan IS for tax cuts. So, 1/3 of the money spent is being spent exactly as the author recommends.

Posted by Garance | Report as abusive
 

“Despite what you say, there is absolutely no agreement at all that a cut in the payroll tax would have been the most effective approach to stimulus.”
– - – - –

But there IS almost universal agreement that committing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on your friends’ pet projects, and on union wishlists, and on organizations ramping up to win you next election for you by “fixing” the census, and on outright stolen gifts and bribes to people who can help you win the next election – especially when such a commitment results in only 7% spent six months into the program – will not ever conceivably produce a Keynesian stimulus effect, even if there really WAS such a thing as a Keynesian stimulus effect.

Posted by bobby b | Report as abusive
 

Some of you people do not understand timelines OR cause & effect.

First of all “Obama gave AIG… billions” FALSE – Thank Bush for starting us down the road of nationalizing.
http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Credi tCrisis/idUSTRE52F06320090316

This idea that Obama started this deficit spending is hilarious. Bush’s budget project $400 billion deficit… evidently looking more like $600B…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_United _States_federal_budget

Deficits get BIGGER when you are in a recession… it is math… if your Revenues are falling you will get bigger deficits. The recession by all account STARTED under Bush and 8 years of ignorance cannot be overturned in 5 short months.

Granted Obama is spending more as well… that is why he was elected. The Republicans wanted the same $ amounts, but just in tax cuts… which may or may not have an effect (see Bush’s tax cuts, yet we are in recession).

Little bit of patience maybe? How about thinking of the long term? Investments in the future of Americans would not normally seem to be a bad thing…

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

“Kramer’s” post attacking the payroll tax holiday is pretty funny, especially the link to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a tool of the welfare lobby, founded by the folks who gave us the brilliant success of the War on Poverty. When will they make their move to try to undo the success of mid-1990s welfare reform? You know its coming.

I contend that astroturfing with the talking points of the far left is the essence of disingenuous(ness).

Posted by Bryan | Report as abusive
 

I am so sick of seeing Obama on TV every day –

Bla bla bla bla bla

The question someone should ask Obama when he is using the whine & cry line about inherited all these problems –

Is

When you took office did you “inherit” an America with more GOOD or BAD?

Obvious the answer must be GOOD – so STFU.

Anyone who complains about the prior person is not a leader –

Hint for Obama – you are the president of the USA – the commander in chief – the most powerful person in the world – if you don’t like what Bush did then CHANGE it -

Stop being the whiner in chief.

Posted by z71bill | Report as abusive
 

I think the only thing that has failed miserably so far is the expectations of instant gratification that our societial bailout would have as immediate results as the rescue of the bankers.

This coupled with a ‘no-visible results’ big picture team that has not proven itself yet of day-to-day problem solving skills.

His Big-Picture Agenda established, we should hope that President Obama is ready to start swating the flys.

An Texas attorney once said to me, when I was 20 and having difficulty in negotiation for a redevelopment of a 41 acre ocean front park in Galveston Texas embroiled in insider interests, ‘jimmy, why don’t you shoot a couple rabbits first.’ I took his advice and started renting office space in downtown Houston, Texas during its ‘great recession’ which lead to the renovation of the Dickson Travis Wheel Factory Houston’s third oldest structure, which provided a critical turn for the Market Square Historic District.

I think I would give that same solid advice to the new President,

“Mr. President, it is time to shoot a couple of Rabbits”.

Everyone has been expecting the grand slam and you’ve only just approached the plate, bases are loaded, it is time to surprize everyone point to the outfield then promptly ‘bunt one in’.

Most careers are started with one small success.

That’s my advice.

 

I voted for the guy and I am not happy with all the spending. There is some truth to what you are saying. But I don’t think you have the whole story. If it was really that easy then it would have been done. Here is the problem, while your solution of payroll tax cuts would keep the economy supper heated for the next year but what happens the year after?? Can the government already fighting two wars take compounded trillion dollar revenue losses year after year to keep the economy floating high? IF you believe in Reaganomics you might justify that the economy would grow and that would offset it … but the numbers never work out like that in the short term. Your tax cut would have had the same short term effect as his stimulus … but without the possibility of funding the creation of the next breakthrough markets. So, I reject the conspiracy theory here. If tax cuts solved things then they would be used like the fed uses the prime rate to balance economic growth. What you fail to mention is the nasty truth of it … we all went above our means. And add to this the downward pressure of first world economies built on outsourcing labor to cheap sources. How long did you think that could go before the chickens came home to roost? Cheap credit is more to blame then Bush or Obama. And your tax cut would be just $1500 in cheap credit. If we want to keep this lifestyle we need new markets to open to us expensive workers because the old stable markets are being shipped to the lowest bidders.

How bout them apples!

Posted by Juls | Report as abusive
 

I can’t understand why people are not more concerned. We are printing money like some third world country. We are debasing the currency, risking losing the Dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. We are running up incredible debts that our children and grand children will be paying for decades to come.

I have to say, the Boomers really did this country no favors. They got a great country in the 1950′s and sucked it dry. There will be nothing left for the next generation but debts and the cost of caring for all those retired Boomers who already spent their social security etc.

Posted by Kyle | Report as abusive
 

Elvis Presley for President

Posted by eyah baby | Report as abusive
 

A big cut in payroll taxes would have had minimum or no impact since most people would have used the extra cash to pay off debt or stuff it away in a secure savings account and not spend it. Anyway, what good would a payroll tax cut do for people who don’t have a job? The stimulus package was the right way to go. The mistake was not spending enough early enough. The stimulus should have been well over a trillion and most of that should have been spent in 2009/2010 and focused on CREATING JOBS!. Now the deal is done. You better hope that Obama’s stimulus is enough to get the job done otherwise this country will without a doubt see a deep depression. Obama made the mistake of compromising with Republicans who wanted him to fail, regardless of what it did to the country. He runs the same risk in compromising with the Republicans on the public option for health care reform. No public option, no reform, no savings, no improvement in the health care system.

Posted by Joseph | Report as abusive
 

To all those Obamabots with their “But Bush’s wars added trillions to the debt” mantra should consider that tu quoque arguments are falacious. They convince no one who is not already a Bush hater and an Obamabot. All they do is prove that Obamabots have no answer to the failure of Obamanomics.

Posted by Craig R. Harmon | Report as abusive
 

We all know the republican party line: make the worker suffer, balance the budget on the blood of the economic weakest in society- the retirees and the sick. Yeah take it out of Medicare and Social Security… You know, I watched my wife die over the space of months as her greedy vulturous children attempted first to kill her by forging an ‘advanced directive’ and then by conspiring to steal her other assets. All along this was Medicare and a supplement policy that paid her hospital bills of over a half a million or more dollars that was being undermined by these murderers. Maybe a little investigation into what is happening to some of their patients may be in order. My late wife’s children should be in prison for what they have done. They may yet! If I can find the evidence. A simple exhumation will tell it all! VRE’s! Hospital conspiracies to suppress word of them getting out because they are commercial hospital corporations and ‘bad news’ would hurt their image! Crooked administrators and ‘discharge specialists’ that want to sweep these diseases under the rug in our insurance model driven health care system. A single payer health care system like that in Canada would cure much of it, and reform of the so called ‘advance directive system’ that condones legal murder would also be in order.

Posted by chester drawers | Report as abusive
 

Sometimes when I read these reports I wonder who in the world you are using for the polls! Most Americans know exactly what kind of shape this country is in after the last self centered administration that was on a grab and run wild streak for 8 full years! It will take us a long time to fix this nation after the kind of things Cheny and Bush did and I for one COMPLETELY SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT!

 

Before long the entire country will look like California today. No more taxes! We don’t need schools or medical services, just cheap gas and more TV shows. Long live American freedom propelled by the gun loving nation.

Posted by Axel Schenger | Report as abusive
 

“The quickest and most effective approach would have been a big cut in payroll taxes. For $800 billion, combined Social Security and Medicare taxes could have been slashed by 6 percentage points, or 40 percent. That would have put $1,500 in worker paychecks and, according to one credible study, increased employment by 4 million jobs in 2009.”

Of course, Mr. righty journalist (and amateur economist), cutting payroll taxes might exacerbate social security problems…but righty’s don’t care ’bout that.
And…$30/week ain’t gonna boost nothin’ but movie sales on Friday nights…4 million jobs according to what “credible study”?…or right wing “think” tank?
People, if a claim defies logic…why do you accept it? Time and time again?

The blogger just rehashes opinions readily available on the web…can’t wait to read his new book!

Posted by Wayno | Report as abusive
 

We are coming to a cross-road very quickly. We all want to see our living expenses aka overhead stabalize. We can then begin to use our descretionary income for things that make the economy grow (new cars, cell phones, clothes, dinner out etc). But we are on the verge of failure as the democrats in power, both nationally and in my home state of Massachusetts, are running out of money to spend. Obama can keep the fed printing it but at what cost. Locally it is humorous seeing a liberal without 2 nickles… Programs, projects, new beginnings all cost money. In the world of government money equals taxes. Taxes cut into our decretionary income that we would otherwise be spending on things that make the economy grow. Living expenses such as oil and energy also cut into income. Doesn’t anybody get that without lowering our overhead (living expenses including taxes and energy costs) there will be no free money in anyones budget to stimulate the economy.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive
 

“I can’t understand why people are not more concerned. We are printing money like some third world country. We are debasing the currency, risking losing the Dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. We are running up incredible debts that our children and grand children will be paying for decades to come.”

- I am in agreement except that this is the argument used against Obama when Bush was more guilty of this. The guilt is not a result of who printed more money … its a result of the circumstances. The spending was less compelled by the economic meltdown. Generationally, there is no difference between debt derived by government spending or debt derived by government tax rebates. The only way to really get back what we lost is to become innovators and producers again. We can’t just finance … we have to look to ourselves (and Canada) to produce what we consume.

“I have to say, the Boomers really did this country no favors. They got a great country in the 1950’s and sucked it dry. There will be nothing left for the next generation but debts”
- that’s an old wives tale. This country has progressed in every which way since the 50s. What your hearkening back to is a hay day for white males. If you don’t mind your prosperity enforced by segregation of women and minorities; then there might be some measure of nostalgia. But I will say something that was better about the 50′s; America consumed what America made. We where the hands that built economic value.
We need to slow things down and become local consumers and local producers.

Posted by Juls | Report as abusive
 

What economic gamble? The 9000 “nonexistent” earmarks in Obama’s stimulus package, the biggest heist of the US Treasury in history in my opinion, is undoubtedly regarded as being very successful inside the Obama camp. The recipients of these earmarks, not necessarily the designated recipients, are probably very happy campers.

Posted by B. Johnson | Report as abusive
 

“The quickest and most effective approach would have been a big cut in payroll taxes. For $800 billion, combined Social Security and Medicare taxes could have been slashed by 6 percentage points, or 40 percent. That would have put $1,500 in worker paychecks and, according to one credible study, increased employment by 4 million jobs in 2009.”

And here’s where he lost all credibility. In 2001, WHEN THE BUDGET WAS BALANCED, Bush implemented the same strategy of cutting taxes to boost the economy. I’m sure he also had some “credible study” that should how it should have made more jobs, but 8 years of reality proved differently. Why anyone would think more of the same would do anything but make matters worse is beyond me. Furthermore, I’m amazed this author expects Obama to completely reverse 8 years of wrong-headedness in 6 months. The fact that it’s even slowing down is an indicator of success.

I also like how his “tale of the tape” includes things that happened mostly under the Bush administration (point b) or is pure speculation (points d and … d!?). My god, I can’t believe he actually got paid to write this article. Hey Reuters, if you’re looking for some actually competent writers, hit me up!

Posted by Rex Maximus | Report as abusive
 

“A single payer health care system like that in Canada” – June, i am sorry to hear about your late wife. It sounds like the circumstances around her death where horrible. I would like to say that single payer health like in Canada won’t help. I lived 6 years in BC and their health system is bureaucratic and horrible. But likewise, the .5 million dollar costs for medical is dumbfounding and ridiculous. In shear man hours, the cost amounts to 5 highly paid professionals (100k year) full time salary for a year; or about 200 hrs a week of full time care. Given your experience you should oped the following: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfz22bg6_ 1554wgh8xhn

Posted by Juls | Report as abusive
 

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