Saturday, June 4, 2016

Empty Slogans

So John McCain is urging the GOP to unite behind Donald Trump.

So much for his campaign slogan of "Country First."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Once Again, the Democrats' Rhetorical Deficiency

As I suggested when the Democrats lost the senate in 2014, they have only themselves to blame for not making their case with simple but accurate descriptions of Republican obstruction.

I suggested that referring to Republican governors' refusal to set up health care exchanges could be called what it was: political spite.  And now the same term could be used to describe the Republicans' refusal to consider the very moderate candidate that President Obama nominated to the Supreme Court.  But the Democrats seem incapable of taking note of George Lakoff's insight:
Liberals try to persuade through reason and facts while conservatives use metaphorical stories and that is why, Lakoff argues, conservative politicians are more successful at motivating voters than liberals are.
Why are Democrats so incapable of coming up with pithy and telling terms that would put Republicans on the defensive? So frustrating, when it's clear there are simple phrases readily to hand.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Missed Opportunity

On April 10 President Obama was interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox news,  Here's part of their exchange:

WALLACE:  -- about Washington, about Wall Street.
Do you feel any personal responsibility that eight years after you came into office, there are millions of people out there who still feel cut out --
OBAMA:  Yes.
WALLACE:  -- from the decisions that affect their lives?
OBAMA:  Well, there’s no doubt that I feel frustrated about it.  My whole, you know, operating assumption, in terms of our democracy, is the more people are involved, the more they know, the more they are involved, the more responsive our government is.
WALLACE:  So why do all these people, Democrats and Republicans?
OBAMA:  Yes, I think that, I think it comes out of a couple things, Chris.  Number one, we’re still shell-shocked from what happened in 2007, 2008.
We’ve now had more than six years straight of job growth, and cut the unemployment rate down to 5 percent.  But, people lost homes, lost jobs, lost life savings.  And they still don’t fully know how that happened, and was the system fixed in a way that they can have confidence in.  I also think that --
(CROSSTALK)
WALLACE:  So, have you fixed that in eight years?
OBAMA:  Well, actually we’ve done a better job than I think most people give us credit for.  
WALLACE:  I don’t mean fixed the system.
OBAMA:  Yes.
WALLACE:  I mean fixed the perception.
OBAMA:  Well, the perception is going to be changing over time, as people see results, as they get more confident.  
There was the opportunity there for President Obama to point out that for purely political reasons the Republicans voted down the 2011 Jobs Act that would have significantly helped speed the recovery from the 2007-8 downturn, and that the GOP obstructionist refusal to aid the ailing economy meant more unnecessary suffering for the unemployed and under employed.  The Fox News audience doesn't hear enough about Republican obstructionism - this was an opportunity to enlighten them.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Obama's Success

Fareed Zakariah offers another counter to my expression of disappointment in President Obama:

In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition - See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion-op-ed-commentaries/20160408/fareed-zakaria-a-transformational-president#sthash.6mDwhb1T.dpuf
In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition.
The first line in Obama’s biography will have to do with who he is, the first black president. But what he has done is also significant. In the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, Obama worked with the outgoing Bush administration, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and members of both parties in Congress to respond forcefully to the crisis on all fronts — fiscal, monetary, regulatory. The result is that the United States came out of the Great Recession in better shape than any other major economy.
Obama’s signal accomplishment is health care, where he was able to enact a law that has resulted in 90 percent of Americans now having health insurance. While the law has its problems, it achieves a goal first articulated by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.
Then, there is the transformation of America’s energy policy. The administration has made investments and given a variety of incentives to place the United States at the forefront of the emerging energy revolution. Just one example: Over Obama’s term as president, solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3000 percent.
Finally, Obama has pursued a new foreign policy, informed by the lessons of the last two decades, that limits America’s involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism. This has freed the administration to pursue new approaches with countries like Iran and Cuba and to direct attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific, which in just a few years will be home to four of the world’s five largest economies.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion-op-ed-commentaries/20160408/fareed-zakaria-a-transformational-president#sthash.6mDwhb1T.dpuf
 In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition.

The first line in Obama’s biography will have to do with who he is, the first black president. But what he has done is also significant. In the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, Obama worked with the outgoing Bush administration, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and members of both parties in Congress to respond forcefully to the crisis on all fronts — fiscal, monetary, regulatory. The result is that the United States came out of the Great Recession in better shape than any other major economy.

Obama’s signal accomplishment is health care, where he was able to enact a law that has resulted in 90 percent of Americans now having health insurance. While the law has its problems, it achieves a goal first articulated by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.

Then, there is the transformation of America’s energy policy. The administration has made investments and given a variety of incentives to place the United States at the forefront of the emerging energy revolution. Just one example: Over Obama’s term as president, solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3000 percent.

Finally, Obama has pursued a new foreign policy, informed by the lessons of the last two decades, that limits America’s involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism. This has freed the administration to pursue new approaches with countries like Iran and Cuba and to direct attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific, which in just a few years will be home to four of the world’s five largest economies.

In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition.
The first line in Obama’s biography will have to do with who he is, the first black president. But what he has done is also significant. In the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, Obama worked with the outgoing Bush administration, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and members of both parties in Congress to respond forcefully to the crisis on all fronts — fiscal, monetary, regulatory. The result is that the United States came out of the Great Recession in better shape than any other major economy.
Obama’s signal accomplishment is health care, where he was able to enact a law that has resulted in 90 percent of Americans now having health insurance. While the law has its problems, it achieves a goal first articulated by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.
Then, there is the transformation of America’s energy policy. The administration has made investments and given a variety of incentives to place the United States at the forefront of the emerging energy revolution. Just one example: Over Obama’s term as president, solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3000 percent.
Finally, Obama has pursued a new foreign policy, informed by the lessons of the last two decades, that limits America’s involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism. This has freed the administration to pursue new approaches with countries like Iran and Cuba and to direct attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific, which in just a few years will be home to four of the world’s five largest economies.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion-op-ed-commentaries/20160408/fareed-zakaria-a-transformational-president#sthash.6mDwhb1T.dpufv
In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition.
The first line in Obama’s biography will have to do with who he is, the first black president. But what he has done is also significant. In the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, Obama worked with the outgoing Bush administration, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and members of both parties in Congress to respond forcefully to the crisis on all fronts — fiscal, monetary, regulatory. The result is that the United States came out of the Great Recession in better shape than any other major economy.
Obama’s signal accomplishment is health care, where he was able to enact a law that has resulted in 90 percent of Americans now having health insurance. While the law has its problems, it achieves a goal first articulated by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.
Then, there is the transformation of America’s energy policy. The administration has made investments and given a variety of incentives to place the United States at the forefront of the emerging energy revolution. Just one example: Over Obama’s term as president, solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3000 percent.
Finally, Obama has pursued a new foreign policy, informed by the lessons of the last two decades, that limits America’s involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism. This has freed the administration to pursue new approaches with countries like Iran and Cuba and to direct attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific, which in just a few years will be home to four of the world’s five largest economies.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion-op-ed-commentaries/20160408/fareed-zakaria-a-transformational-president#sthash.6mDwhb1T.dpufvvv
In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition.
The first line in Obama’s biography will have to do with who he is, the first black president. But what he has done is also significant. In the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, Obama worked with the outgoing Bush administration, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and members of both parties in Congress to respond forcefully to the crisis on all fronts — fiscal, monetary, regulatory. The result is that the United States came out of the Great Recession in better shape than any other major economy.
Obama’s signal accomplishment is health care, where he was able to enact a law that has resulted in 90 percent of Americans now having health insurance. While the law has its problems, it achieves a goal first articulated by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.
Then, there is the transformation of America’s energy policy. The administration has made investments and given a variety of incentives to place the United States at the forefront of the emerging energy revolution. Just one example: Over Obama’s term as president, solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3000 percent.
Finally, Obama has pursued a new foreign policy, informed by the lessons of the last two decades, that limits America’s involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism. This has freed the administration to pursue new approaches with countries like Iran and Cuba and to direct attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific, which in just a few years will be home to four of the world’s five largest economies.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion-op-ed-commentaries/20160408/fareed-zakaria-a-transformational-president#sthash.6mDwhb1T.dpuf
In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition.
The first line in Obama’s biography will have to do with who he is, the first black president. But what he has done is also significant. In the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, Obama worked with the outgoing Bush administration, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and members of both parties in Congress to respond forcefully to the crisis on all fronts — fiscal, monetary, regulatory. The result is that the United States came out of the Great Recession in better shape than any other major economy.
Obama’s signal accomplishment is health care, where he was able to enact a law that has resulted in 90 percent of Americans now having health insurance. While the law has its problems, it achieves a goal first articulated by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.
Then, there is the transformation of America’s energy policy. The administration has made investments and given a variety of incentives to place the United States at the forefront of the emerging energy revolution. Just one example: Over Obama’s term as president, solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3000 percent.
Finally, Obama has pursued a new foreign policy, informed by the lessons of the last two decades, that limits America’s involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism. This has freed the administration to pursue new approaches with countries like Iran and Cuba and to direct attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific, which in just a few years will be home to four of the world’s five largest economies.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion-op-ed-commentaries/20160408/fareed-zakaria-a-transformational-president#sthash.6mDwhb1T.dpuf
In an interview during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama explained that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, Obama aspired to be a transformational president like Reagan. At this point, it’s fair to say that he has succeeded. Look at what’s happened during his tenure to the country, his party and, most telling, his opposition.
The first line in Obama’s biography will have to do with who he is, the first black president. But what he has done is also significant. In the wake of the financial collapse in 2008, Obama worked with the outgoing Bush administration, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and members of both parties in Congress to respond forcefully to the crisis on all fronts — fiscal, monetary, regulatory. The result is that the United States came out of the Great Recession in better shape than any other major economy.
Obama’s signal accomplishment is health care, where he was able to enact a law that has resulted in 90 percent of Americans now having health insurance. While the law has its problems, it achieves a goal first articulated by Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.
Then, there is the transformation of America’s energy policy. The administration has made investments and given a variety of incentives to place the United States at the forefront of the emerging energy revolution. Just one example: Over Obama’s term as president, solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3000 percent.
Finally, Obama has pursued a new foreign policy, informed by the lessons of the last two decades, that limits America’s involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism. This has freed the administration to pursue new approaches with countries like Iran and Cuba and to direct attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific, which in just a few years will be home to four of the world’s five largest economies.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion-op-ed-commentaries/20160408/fareed-zakaria-a-transformational-president#sthash.6mDwhb1T.dpuf

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Fire Up the Helicopters!

In the face of slow growth and risk of recession, Kemal Dervis of the Brookings Institution states the obvious:

But policymakers have one more option: a shift to “purer” fiscal policy, in which they directly finance government spending by printing money – a so-called “helicopter drop.” The new money would bypass the financial and corporate sectors and go straight to the thirstiest horses: middle- and lower-income consumers. The money could go to them directly, and through investment in job-creating, productivity-increasing infrastructure. By placing purchasing power in the hands of those who need it most, direct monetary financing of public spending would also help to improve inclusiveness in economies where inequality is rising fast. 
Helicopter drops are currently proposed by both leftist and centrist economists. In a sense, even some “conservatives” – who support more public infrastructure spending, but also want tax cuts and oppose more borrowing – de facto support helicopter drops.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Let His Voice Be Heard!

So Wayne LaPierre is refusing to participate in CNN's townhall meet on gun violence and the president's executive order on background checks.

But no matter: CNN can just play the recording of Pierre's testimony before Congress for his opinion to become part of the discussion.




Update:  But of course, CNN didn't......

Monday, December 21, 2015

AEI Values

My attention has just been brought to this paper by two "resident scholars" and a "research fellow" at the AEI propaganda mill, in which they argue against the proposed top marginal tax rates proposed by Diamond and Saez.

Hers's the meat of their argument:

"Imagine a high school student who graduates in a world where the top marginal income tax rate is more than 70 percent. He may decide not to pursue his dream of becoming a college-educated engineer because the government will take a large share of the returns to his college investment — that is, much of the extra money he will earn because he is a college-educated engineer will be seized by the government, so he may conclude that going to college isn’t worth it. He is worse off because of the high top income tax rate. And so is society, because we now have one less engineer. Or imagine a medical school student. She may decide to become a pediatrician instead of a heart surgeon because a large share of the extra money she would earn being a surgeon would be taken by the government. There is nothing wrong with pediatricians, but the problem is that the government is distorting this medical student’s decision — that is, she isn’t making the choice based on her preferences and market prices alone. If enough people made that choice, there wouldn’t be enough surgeons (an economist would say there is an inefficient allocation of human resources). Or imagine a small business owner. His business is growing and he has the opportunity to expand it over the next decade. But because expanding it will require a lot of work — not to mention that the payoff is risky — he chooses not to. He decides that it’s just not worth it given that the potential rewards from his hard work will largely go to the government."

Let's take a realistic look at their argument here.
" (A high school student) may decide not to pursue his dream of becoming a college-educated engineer because the government will take a large share ....of the extra money he will earn because he is a college-educated engineer.."
What would be his income tax rate as a high school graduate?  The NCES data show high school graduates earning a median annual income of $30,000, and if the tax rates I proposed in my post of February 22, 2013 were in place, his income tax (single person) would be $3,875, leaving an after tax income of $26,125
If he were to be an engineer, he could expect to be making $62.950 a year (taking the average of median entry level incomes for different engineering fields). My proposed tax rates (single person) would mean an annual income tax bill of $11,273, leaving an after tax income of $51,677 (i.e. more than the pretax income of a high school only graduate).
The difference in income after taxes: $25,552.
This difference in income would pay off a college debt of $100,000 in four years, leaving the engineer in a far better financial position than the high school graduate for the rest of their careers.
Similar calculations could be made for the other examples suggested by the AEI, but consider: these are financial calculations only.  They do not take into account the benefits of the realizations of dreams and continuing job satisfaction, which I suggest would outweigh the mundane financial considerations that the AEI "scholars" seem to think are so important.