Free Markets, Free People
I’m sure you have seen the chart that’s been circulating by Rex Nutting of Marketwatch in which he claims that Obama has overseen the least growth in federal spending. In fact what Nutting reproves is the old “lies, damn lies and statistics” cliché. James Pethokoukis takes his argument apart here.
Then there is this story today. It too pokes huge holes in the attempt downplay spending for the past few years during the Obama administration. In this case the story points out the accounting practices, or lack thereof, that Congress uses that would likely find any business using them accused of keeping double books:
The typical American household would have paid nearly all of its income in taxes last year to balance the budget if the government used standard accounting rules to compute the deficit, a USA TODAY analysis finds.
Under those accounting practices, the government ran red ink last year equal to $42,054 per household — nearly four times the official number reported under unique rules set by Congress.
A U.S. household’s median income is $49,445, the Census reports.
The big difference between the official deficit and standard accounting: Congress exempts itself from including the cost of promised retirement benefits. Yet companies, states and local governments must include retirement commitments in financial statements, as required by federal law and private boards that set accounting rules.
The deficit was $5 trillion last year under those rules. The official number was $1.3 trillion. Liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs rose by $3.7 trillion in 2011, according to government actuaries, but the amount was not registered on the government’s books.
If you think unemployment is under reported, when it comes to the deficit, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, brother.
$5 trillion dollars. Let that sink in a bit. If this were any business out there using standard accounting rules, that’s what they would, by law, have to report.
Congress? Well, they’re special. They get to make up the rules as they go along and then follow them only if they wish too (with the option then of again changing the rules to fit what they’ve decided to do). In fact, since today seems to be irony day, the irony is:
"By law, the federal government can’t tell the truth," says accountant Sheila Weinberg of the Chicago-based Institute for Truth in Accounting.
Amazing but not shocking. In fact, not even surprising. We didn’t get here by being told the truth.
Oh, and remember real unemployment is at 8.1%. (*cough, cough*)
Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:
Initial claims for unemployment were 370,000 in the latest week. Last week’s number was revised upwards to 372,000. The 4-week moving average dropped to 370,000.
Durable goods orders rose 0.2% overall in April, and 6.9% over last year. Ex-transportation, however, orders unexpectedly declined by -0.6%, though they’re still up 5.3% for the year.
Lower gas prices pushed the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index up to -42 in the week ended May 20 after an almost four-month low of -43.6 the prior week.
The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rebounded to its March level of 9 from April’s reading of 3, on growth in durable and nondurable goods producing plants.
Speaking of irony, life for some is just full of it.
Pop star Will.i.am spoke at Oxford University in a climate debate saying:
‘Climate change should be the thing that we are all worried and concerned about as humans on this planet, how we affect the planet, our consumption, and how we treat the place that we live in.’
Indeed. Boilerplate good stuff for the true believers. Of course, living up to his words? Yeah, not so much:
The 37-year-old Black Eyed Peas star arrived for the talk at Oxford University in his private helicopter.
Seemingly oblivious to the furore that it might cause, the pop star even tweeted pictures of the ‘hip.hop.copter’ when he landed.
His trip from London was a total of 286 miles and used 71.5 gallons of fuel, ploughing three-quarters of a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is the same as the average UK person produces in an entire month.
Now if I believed this mattered significantly I’d be outraged. In the big scheme of things, I really don’t care. But the finer point here is obviously Will.i.am is oblivious to the fact that he’s a grade A hypocrite. It’s hard to believe someone would be this unaware, but apparently he is. Either that, or he just doesn’t care.
But hey, we all know how this works … sacrifice is for the little people. Liberals want wind farms, but not if you can see them off of Martha’s Vineyard.
Our buddy WIll.i.am isn’t any different than the limo liberals we’ve always had to suffer. He’s just adding a new twist.
Sometimes it is just necessary to chuckle about something that is so ironically funny it almost needs no explanation. President Obama at a campaign event last night in Denver hitting Romney for “not getting it”:
There was a woman in Iowa who shared her story of financial struggles, and he gave her an answer right out of an economic textbook. He said, "Our productivity equals our income." And the notion was that somehow the reason people can’t pay their bills is because they’re not working hard enough. If they got more productive, suddenly their incomes would go up. Well, those of us who’ve spent time in the real world — (laughter) – know that the problem isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve been working harder than ever. The challenge we face right now, and the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade, is that harder work has not led to higher incomes, and bigger profits at the top haven’t led to better jobs.
Seriously? It is hilarious to hear a guy who has never run anything or done anything in “real world” go after someone who has spent his life there and has a proven record of success. And just as funny is the fact that he doesn’t know enough about economics to understand how full of nonsense he is.
You have to wonder if the crowd was laughing with or at Obama (if it was a Dem crowd, I believe “with” is probably true since most Dems have no grounding in the real world either – its one reason their use of the “reality based community” has been so uproariously funny for years) .
Obama has already proven any number of times that his supposed area of expertise – Constitutional law – is mostly smoke and mirrors. After all, this is the Con scholar that said civil rights are something to be decided at state level. And here he is, in front of the whole nation, pretending that a guy with more experience in the “real world” than Obama has on the golf course, doesn’t “get it”?
It is obvious the one not getting it is Obama, the irony is he doesn’t know it.
But for those who’ve watched this guy over the years, we’ve known the emperor has no clothes from day one.
And, if my gut is right (and it usually is) the rest of the country, at least those with no ideological blinders firmly in place, are finally figuring it out too.