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Daily Archives: August 20, 2012

Obama and the “New Normal”

The  President is in trouble, so the “New Normal” is what he’s trying to sell now, according to James Pethokoukis:

Even a talker as talented as President Obama can’t do the impossible: Persuade Americans that the three-year-old economic “recovery” is anything other than pathetic.

Growth is sinking back toward the recession red zone and unemployment’s firmly stuck at over 8 percent for 42 straight months.

It’s no wonder a new Gallup poll finds 75 percent of us “dissatisfied” with the direction of the country. Or that a CNN survey finds that twice as many Americans (39 percent) think the economy is still mired in recession than think it recovering (19 percent).

So Obama isn’t even trying to make the “Morning in America” case for his re-election. He now concedes that “the economy isn’t where it needs to be” and that “we have a lot more work to do.” But he’s quick to add that the Not-So-Great Recovery isn’t his fault, saying: “Throughout history, it has typically taken countries up to 10 years to recover from financial crises of this magnitude.”

Obama, you see, is a believer in the “New Normal,” a phrase popularized on Wall Street, where gloomy economists cite the slow growth, high unemployment and high debt that supposedly afflict countries after severe banking crises.

The two implicit points Obama wants those who buy into (and I use “buy into” purposefully, because this is political snake-oil) this paradigm are a) he’s not at fault and b) it takes a long time to climb out of these sorts of holes so he should be given more time as well.

Well, it may not be his fault per se, but that’s irrelevant.  He’s had 3 plus years to do something about it and his efforts to this point have been an abject failure.  In fact, it does a disservice to the word “abject” to characterize them that way since abject doesn’t begin to describe the depth of that failure.   This president and his administration are clueless and incompetent.  When you add the desire to push their ideological agenda regardless of the economic circumstances it becomes even worse.

Instead of concentrating on the economy for the first two years of his presidency, he used that time and the energies of an all Democratic Congress to pass … health care?   And then, when voters kicked his political rear and that of the Democrats by putting Republicans in the majority in the House in 2010, suddenly everything was the GOP’s fault.

As for the second point, yes, relatively speaking it does take a long time to climb out of these sorts of holes.  That is unless you are ignoring the economic first law of holes – if you’re in a hole quit digging

This administration has made recovering from this crisis infinitely worse than it had to be.  For instance, instead of turning to proven fuels, an infrastructure that exists to exploit them, and creating jobs,  he and his administration played the “green card” and threw billions at companies that soon went under or created jobs at multiple millions of dollars spent per job.  Meanwhile, federal land was closed to oil and gas production and the Keystone XL pipeline was shelved.

As for shovel ready infrastructure jobs … well ask the Chinese how well they’re enjoying your tax dollars while Obama prattles on about “outsourcing jobs”, ok?

There is absolutely no reason to buy the snake-oil he’s trying to sell or accept this as the "New Normal”.  That’s failure talking, and we simply don’t have to accept it.


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Economic Statistics for 20 Aug 12


his will be a light week for economic statistics, with the only releases of importance being home sales on Wednesday and Thursday for existing and new homes respectively, and Friday’s Durable Goods Orders release. The remainder of this weeks releases are the regular weekly numbers.

For today, there is only one release. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose slightly to -0.13 from last month’s -0.15, thought the negative number indicates the economy is still below trend. This is the fifth consecutive negative number, and the 3-month moving average fell slightly to -0.21.

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Indicators: WaPo poll says majority thinks government too big

As Dale points out in the podcast, while the election polls have yet to reflect it, the atmospherics of this electiongovtintrusion don’t bode well for Obama.  For instance, you have huge crowds turning out for Romney/Ryan events and you have the Obama campaign trying out “we purposely limit crowd size” on the media to excuse the comparatively paltry turnouts they are experiencing.  And then there’s the Newsweek cover story by Niall Ferguson telling Obama it’s time he hit the road.  It is almost like Newsweek is attempting a return to legitimacy by distancing itself from Obama.

Another indicator, much like the Gallup issues poll in which Obama had a 36% approval rating on the economy, is a Washington Post poll concerning the size and intrusiveness of government.

Call it a mood poll if you wish.  But again, taken with all the other polls, it does indeed begin to outline the “atmospherics” surrounding the election.  In this poll, a good majority of those polled said that government was both too big and too intrusive … not to mention way to expensive.  CNS has the story:

The poll asked: "Would you say you favor a smaller federal government with fewer services, or larger federal government with many services?"

Among all those polled, 55 percent said they wanted a smaller federal government and 40 percent said they wanted a larger federal government.

Among just the registered voters in the poll, 58 percent said they wanted a smaller federal government and 37 percent said they wanted a larger federal government.

The poll also asked: "Do you personally agree or disagree with the following statement. Government controls too much of our daily lives."

Among all those polled, 60 percent said they agreed and 39 percent said they disagreed. Among just the registered voters in the survey, the results were almost identical, with 60 percent saying they agreed and 38 percent saying they disagreed.

CNS points out that the Washington Post analysis says:

“… [T]he results show a deep partisan divide in America. "Partisan polarization presents a potentially insurmountable barrier to governing for whomever wins the White House in November."

Funny how the percentage of those who are for a larger and more intrusive government are at about the same percentage as the Democrats in the poll (35%).  So if it is “partisan polarization”, it would seem that the Democrats are losing the battle.  It would seem that the big middle is headed to the right.

Now we all know it’s easy to say you want smaller government with fewer services when it costs you nothing but an answer on a poll.  And we also understand that most people are fine with real cuts, as long as they effect someone else’s benefits and not theirs.  But that doesn’t change the fact that the mood of the country is inclined toward smaller and less intrusive government.

And that doesn’t bode will for big government Democrats – like Obama.


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