Is Obama Really To Blame For Weak Economic Growth?

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at Forbes.com.

A political science colleague sent me an article documenting President Obama’s dismal economic record, and he asked me for added details and perspective. Here goes:

True, economic growth under Obama has been sluggish, fitful, faltering, historically weak, etc. However, if you look at the charts in the article—especially the second and third—you can see that U.S. economic growth has been trending downward for several decades. Conclusion: Our economic woes did not begin with Barack Obama. However, he has done nothing to reverse the trend; on the contrary, he has doubled down on the very policies that have hampered economic growth.

The headwinds opposing economic growth are generated by what Ronald Reagan referred to as “the government disease.” No president has advocated, championed, and imposed more harmful government intervention than Barack Obama.

Here’s a short list of those interventions:

1.) Government spending. Economists as far back as Adam Smith have noted that the true burden of government is what it spends, not what it taxes. When political decisions about where to allocate scarce economic resources supplant market decisions, production inevitably is diverted from the most highly valued needs to less valued things. Thus, less wealth is produced, economic growth is suboptimal, and the people are poorer than they otherwise would be.

While not having increased federal spending by as large a percentage as his predecessor, Obama undeniably has presided over more market-distorting government spending that any of his predecessors. To be fair, some of this spending was already baked into the cake—particularly the rising spending on Social Security and Medicare. Because federal entitlements operate on a “pay as you go” basis, these increasing expenditures to seniors do not consist of real economic returns on capital invested. Instead, they transfer hundreds of billions of dollars from current workers to mostly retirees. Entitlement expenditures artificially inflate GDP and overstate the real wealth of the country because those dollars represent purchasing power that does not arise from the production of actual goods or services.

2.) Rising debt. The greater the debt load, the more present income is diverted from present consumption to pay for past consumption. After a brief downturn following the 2008-9 financial crisis, total debt has risen by over 15 percent to a shade over $59 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Over half of the $7.35 trillion increased (some $4.84 trillion) is government debt stemming from Obama’s budgets.

Obama’s policy of encouraging and facilitating loans to college students has seen student debt soar to over $1 trillion with devastating economic consequences for the recipients. Young graduates struggling under the burden of debt have delayed marriage, child bearing, home buying, etc. In too many cases, college debt has stunted young American lives.

3.) Suffocating regulation. The Obama administration has burdened Americans with a record amount of federal regulation as measured by the number of new rules promulgated and pages in the Federal Register. The annual cost of the federal regulatory burden is now approximately $1.9 trillion (only nine countries’ GDPs are larger). As reported in Investor’s Business Daily, “the cost of enforcing federal economic regulations is … up 31 percent since Obama took office, and the ‘Code of Federal Regulations’ is 17,294 pages longer.”

Furthermore, as noted by Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the Sarbanes-Oxley law (which Obama inherited, but has not revised) and Dodd-Frank (which a Democratic Congress passed in 2010 with Obama’s approval) have “placed significant burdens on the large number of small companies.” Consequently, we are in the unusual and worrisome situation of businesses closing at a faster rate than they are opening, thereby shrinking employment opportunities and slowing economic growth.

4.) Tax policy. Business tax rates have remained unchanged under Obama, and that has had negative consequences in a world that has been shifting toward lower corporate profit taxes. By allowing the United States to have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, American businesses are migrating abroad via the corporate inversion maneuver.

5.) The war on work. While constantly professing concern for workers, Obama has consistently supported and implemented policies—ranging from a higher minimum wage to federal jobs programs to anti-business policies—that have shrunk the number of jobs (see the Labor Force Participation Rate). Obama’s prize legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, has shrunk the number of hours worked (and consequently the amount of wealth created) by incentivizing employers to reduce the number of full-time jobs. According to David Stockman, the United States has two million fewer full-time workers now than it did in 2007.

Bottom line: President Obama’s policies have crippled the American economy.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

SHOCK SURVEY: 35% Of Americans Say They’d Consider This Extreme Action In The Age Of Obama

Considering how often the president of the United States criticizes his own country as a nation plagued by systemic racism, unfair to aspiring immigrants, burdened by the stains of social injustice, and economically divided by class struggles, it may actually be little surprise how many Americans say they’d consider giving up their citizenship.

CNBC reports on a recent online poll, the results of which show that more than one-third of those citizens surveyed — “35% of American-born residents and emigrants” — indicated they would be open to packing up and moving out of the United States. Some of the poll’s internal numbers are even more startling:

This percentage greatly increases for those age 18 to 34. More than half of millennials, a whopping 55 percent, said that they would consider leaving the U.S. for foreign shores. Among them, 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women noted that a higher salary would be a factor in their relocation decision.

The online survey of more than 2,000 adults was conducted by a company based in the United Kingdom whose business is facilitating peer-to-peer money transfer, thus avoiding bank fees.

The CNBC report also points out that, during the presidency of Barack Obama, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of expatriates — people who have renounced their U.S. citizenship and taken up residence in foreign countries. Noting that the number of annual expatriations was far below 1,000 up until 2010, CNBC says that figure for 2014 swelled “to a record 3,415 U. S. residents — a 14 percent increase since 2013.”

“But, that number continues to rise,” the report says. “In the first quarter of 2015 alone, 1,336 individuals chose to renounce citizenship, another record high reported by the [Treasury] department.”

A website called Daily Reckoning published an article a little more than a year ago in which author Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, contended, “The U.S. government is driving some of its most productive citizens abroad. The only beneficiaries are countries such as Singapore and Switzerland, which offer sanctuary to Americans fleeing avaricious Uncle Sam.”

Bandow went on to argue that it is a “moral imperative” to reduce the government’s take of the citizens’ hard-earned income and wealth:

America once was a land of opportunity. As it loses that distinction more people are tempted to go elsewhere.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Michelle O Set To Tour European Hot Spots For A Week…And Look Who’ll Be Tagging Along

Just a few months ago, in March of this year, Michelle Obama went on the Ellen DeGeneres TV show and talked about how her life in the White House can be so hard. As Western Journalism pointed out at the time, the first lady complained, “The one thing people don’t realize is, we can’t do little things like open windows.”

Oh, no.

Not long after that little “true confession” session on Ellen, Mrs. Obama left the confines of the People’s House in Washington to wing her way to Asia to promote her pet project called “Let Girls Learn.” In Japan, Mrs. Obama ran up a tab of nearly $80,000 for a fleet of rental cars to carry her and her massive entourage to destinations such as the shrine of a Japanese rice god. Then, in Cambodia, Michelle and a delegation of U.S. government officials were booked into luxurious accommodations that cost American taxpayers close to a quarter of a million dollars.

Oh, yes.

Right around a year before that pricey Asian jaunt, the first lady made an “official visit” to China during which she was accompanied not only by her entourage of Secret Service agents and assistants, but also by her daughters and her mother. Reports out of Beijing were not so glowing about the way the first family dealt with the locals at posh accommodations.

Uh-oh.

The Daily Mail reported: “Michelle Obama and three of her family members are staying in a $8,350-per-night Beijing presidential suite, but despite a 24-hour butler and other perks that come with the lodging, her entourage has inconvenienced ‘pretty much everyone’ and made the hotel staff ‘fed up,’ a well-placed hotel staffer has told MailOnline.”

Now, according to an announcement from The White House, the first lady is soon to be back on the road again…or to be more precise, back in the air and away from those frustrating closed windows at the uncomfortable DC mansion she calls home.

And when she takes off for Europe aboard her taxpayer-funded plane, bound for a taxpayer-funded stay at an expensive hotel, where she will enjoy taxpayer-funded amenities and events, Michelle Obama will be accompanied by her two daughters and her mother, Marian Robinson.

So why is the first lady bound for London, Milan, and Vicenza, Italy, for a week in mid-June? In part, says the White House notice, Mrs. Obama will once more be promoting her Let Girls Learn initiative as she did in Japan and Cambodia. Plus, she’ll put in an appearance at the Milan Expo 2015 to push her agenda for a healthier planet by way of Let’s Move.

The announcement of the first lady’s latest tour schedule doesn’t say much about what she and her family members will be doing all the time she’s not promoting girls’ education or physical activity or briefly visiting with members of the U.S. military. The one hint that there will be a little pleasure time in the schedule: “The First Lady will also visit cultural sites in Venice before returning to Washington, DC.”

When the trip was announced on Twitter, most of the comments were favorable, supporting the first lady’s excursion. A few tweets, however, noted that the American taxpayer is once again picking up the tab for what, to some, amounts to a pretty awesome summer vacation.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Bernie Sanders Wants To Tax Americans At 90%. His Reasoning Is Priceless…

Yes, this is a real thing. No, Bernie Sanders didn’t have a public meltdown of epic, Charlie Sheen proportions. This is what he believes. It’s what he’s always believed.

Remember this when your leftist friends talk about how “radical” the “far right” has become in this country. Please, remember this.

In an interview with NBC News, Sanders stated:

[When] radical, socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, I think the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent.

The interviewer followed up by asking, “When you think about 90 percent, you don’t think that’s obviously too high?”

Sanders replied:

No. What I think is obscene…when you have the top one-tenth of one percent owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90.
What I find particularly hilarious is that Bernie Sanders goes on to say that conservatives are “so greedy, they’re so out of touch with reality”… as he dines in what appears to be an expensive restaurant in the most expensive city in the country. What’s okay for him is not okay for you!
Also, it’s important to note that the rich not only pay the most taxes in this country, they pay all the taxes, according to one of NBC’s own (albeit buried) reports. When it comes to individual income taxes, “the top 40 percent of wage earners in America pay 106 percent of the taxes. The bottom 40 percent…pay negative 9 percent.”
And I’m no economist, but if I knew that I’d be working for 90 percent of the year for free… I might consider retirement. Which would result in forced retirement for all of my employees as well. Again, just little ol’ dumb Crowder using his thinky-think ability.

Again, remember that media narrative that conservatives are becoming “too radical?” Well, allow me to compare the two factions through this scientifically calibrated internet meme below.

BernieCruz Insert

Can you spot the “extremist?”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Washington’s Spending Addiction And Fiscal Deception

Congress Washington’s Spending Addiction And Fiscal Deception

There has been plenty of confusion and misinformation about the national debt, the fiscal cliff, and new taxes on Americans thanks in part to the use of clever White House talking points and a complicit national media. Let’s clear up some of the current issues with facts and truth by looking at the numbers.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the latest fiscal cliff deal will add an additional $4 trillion to the national deficit. This is not a good way to begin 2013. What we do know is that the 150-page Obama-Biden-Reid ‘Tax And Spend’ increase passed the Senate and House with few details getting out to American taxpayers. Only ignorant and under-informed citizens still believe that there is any accountability in the Obama administration or that they’re attempting to govern with transparency.

With new Obamacare taxes already kicking in as of January 1, this is not a good sign. We constantly heard the president and his minions say that “taxes will not increase for the majority of Americans,” especially for those making less than $250,000 a year.

What we now know is the farcical fiscal deal doesn’t just hit the wealthy hard; taxes now increase for 77% of Americans because the temporary payroll tax cut was not extended, causing the Social Security tax to jump 2%, from 4.2 to 6.2 percent. We are now taking home anywhere from $50 to $189 less every month.

Already, many poor and middle-class folks have reacted in anger or shock, including some Democrats who believed it would not affect them. The average American family making $50,000 a year will be hit with around $1,000 due to tax increases.

How quickly we forget that in just one term, President Obama increased the national debt as much as all prior Presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush combined.

Before continuing, let’s recall a 2008 quote from then-Senator Obama who blasted President Bush for adding $4 trillion to the national debt – even though most Democrats and Republicans agreed to the spending in the hopes of avoiding a crash of the U.S. banking system and economy:

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child.

Hopefully, more open-minded Americans now see the hypocrisy of Obama claiming that the Bush administration’s spending was both “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”

To raise taxes on people in all tax brackets (not just “the rich”) was a mind-boggling move in what many call a recession, but this is exactly what they enacted. Cuts were not considered, now was the national debt of $16.4 trillion; so the hard-working people in America lose.

Before we detail some of the pork, it needs to be pointed out that the bill seems to take direct aim at married couples, penalizing them with hundreds of dollars in what might as well be called fines. Heterosexual marriage is practically being discouraged against. Families are the backbone of the free market system and key to getting the economy growing again. We’re now seeing evidence that this administration has much more invested in growing government than the private sector.

Senators received the fiscal cliff bill at the last minute and voted on it without reading through the legislation. Who can forget the Obamacare bill being shoved through Congress (while Nancy Pelosi infamously said “You have to pass it to find out what’s in it.”)? What did Pelosi think of the fiscal cliff resolution? She said it was “a happy start to a new year.” The bill contains $25.1 billion in cuts, however; big government liberals are thrilled because the same bill also increases spending by $330 billion over ten years.

Basically, the deal contains $10 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts. Imagine trying to operate a family budget or small business using this method.

President Obama approved of the temporary band-aid as he continued his Hawaiian vacation on the taxpayer dime. He successfully piled America’s fiscal problems onto taxpayers, further showing he never cared about cutting spending. This is who half of American voters chose to reelect.

Also seeing major tax increases are those earning $400,000 and couples that make $450,000 – sounds like a marriage penalty to me – including capital gains and dividend taxes. Moreover, deductions are now limited for individuals making more than $250,000 ($300,000 for couples). It seems like the Left no longer only considers millionaires “rich.”

Our government is adding about $4 billion a day to the national debt while the new ‘spending money we don’t have’ deal provides generous tax breaks, perks, and pork to selected corporate friends. The list includes:

$12.1 billion for the wind-energy (green) sector, $430 million for Hollywood film producers, $222 million for rum distillers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, $331 million for railroad operators, $650 million tax break for manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances, and $59 million to algae growers for biofuel efforts.

Meanwhile, unemployment has barely budged, food stamps have massively increased, and U-6 Total unemployment remains at 14.4 percent.

If any good news can come from Republicans caving again, John Boehner told the Wall Street Journal he will never again negotiate with Obama behind closed doors because the president has shown his true red colors, and his actions don’t match his public statements.

At one point several weeks ago, the President said to me, ‘We don’t have a spending problem.’” Once he got over his shock, the House Speaker fired back, “‘But Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem.’

In keeping with the motto of not letting a good crisis go to waste, even the Senate wouldn’t even help hurricane Sandy victims without dealing themselves millions in new pork. Nearly a quarter of the $60-billion package goes somewhere else than directly to the victims or the infrastructure actually damaged by the hurricane. No surprises here. Both parties are at fault.

It seems our leaders in Washington keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results. It’s fiscal insanity. Democrats now say the fiscal cliff is just the tip of the taxing iceberg while Republicans say they’ve compromised enough. According to The Hill, the President’s party is pushing for another trillion in “new revenue” before the year is out. Revenue (government income) to them means taxing the people. Americans are taxed enough already. Have we now gone past the point of no return? How much more will the people take?

Photo credit: Jessie Owen (Creative Commons)