Tag Archives: Economy

Fiscal Cliff Will Happen

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With events scheduled for in the White House and on the road, Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail spreading his message, with the clear and obvious intent of pressuring Congress into agreeing to his “fiscal cliff” terms.

While he will make claims to a willingness to listen to all ideas and negotiate with all parties, in fact he will endlessly argue for ending the current tax rates on Americans making $200,000 and above while accusing Congress of holding middle income families hostage.

To present the illusion he has been working hard to arrive at a successful resolution, Obama held closed doors meetings with big unions, big business and as an afterthought, small business owners.

Can you say all theatrics, no work?

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell R-KY, categorized the White House efforts as nothing but a public relations ploy: “Rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he’s back out on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points we’re all familiar with.  Look: We already know the president is a very good campaigner.  What we don’t know is whether he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on a big issue like this.”

Obama is planning to use American citizens as human props in the ongoing campaign to rally his base.  He will call upon his followers to pressure Congress into submitting to “progressive” demands to raise taxes on small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Obama will preach that if a stalemate persists, taxes on middle class American will go up because Republicans held them hostage to protect tax cuts for the rich.

Can you say economic justice?

Economic justice is a Marxist concept where economic policies must result in the distribution of economic benefits equally.

Obama’s push to let tax rates expire on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families will hurt small businesses, the sector responsible for most new jobs growth in America.

Obama loves to characterize the tax increase as asking financially successful Americans to pay more in order to save government programs that face spending cuts.  The fact is, ending current tax rates for “the rich” would fund the United States federal government for less than nine days.

For Obama to propagate the false notion that taxing the rich will solve America’s fiscal problems is a red herring.  By consciously using middle class Americans as human props in attempts to sway public opinion in his favor, he is displaying true contempt for middle class Americans.

The United States federal government is borrowing forty cents of every dollar spent to prop up a slumping economy and support the deprived underclass it created using big government socialist programs to render American citizens dependent upon government.

Foreign debt buyers are slowly ending their investment in America’s bankruptcy and the Federal Reserve is now purchasing over sixty percent of America’s Treasury Bonds.

Can you say The Weimar Republic?  Can you say Zimbabwe?  Can you say today’s Eurozone on more steroids than the Soviet body builders at the 1952 Olympics, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Lyle Alzado, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire combined?  Can you say the worst economic downturn ever?

America does not have a revenue shortage.  America has a spending addiction.

Giving the United States government more money to spend is like trying to sober up an alcoholic by having them drink a gallon of gin.

In the ongoing “progressive” campaign to “fundamentally transform” America, the fiscal cliff created by “progressive” big spending will happen because “progressives” want it to happen.

And “progressives” will blame successful Americans.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/fiscal-cliff-will-happen/

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How Falling Off The Fiscal Cliff Impacts You

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I’ll say it again, Democrats want to go off the fiscal cliff.  They’ll get their tax increases – $600 billion dollars worth– their revenue increases, and cuts to defense, which has been a goal of theirs for the past ten years.  Goodbye Bush tax cuts, Hello Obama tax hikes.  With the fledgling coalition of ‘cliff jumpers’ led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), let’s see how the impact will affect us who aren’t on Capitol Hill.

According to Paul Katzeff at Investors Business Daily, he wrote on November 16 that ending the Bush tax cuts will also be detrimental to the middle class.  Contrary to popular belief, the Bush tax cuts has beneficial mechanisms, like credits for lower income households and reductions to the marriage penalty, all of which help the middle class.  While conservatives know this, it’s hard to break the deafening noise of the liberal media.

Katzeff added:

The typical American family will be hit with an extra $3,222 in taxes, the [Tax] Foundation says. That’s based on a two-child family with median income of $74,563. The tax increase will amount to 4.32% of that family’s income. The Foundation’s analysis compares that family’s tax bill in 2011 — the latest year that an AMT patch existed — to what it would be in 2013, assuming all Bush and Obama tax cuts expire, the AMT remains unfixed and the 2% payroll tax cut also expires. The AMT keeps hitting more middle-income taxpayers because the standard deduction and certain itemized deductions such as state and local taxes do not reduce its bite. Also, its exemption does not grow automatically with inflation.

Families in high-individual-income states such as New Jersey would be hit hard by currently slated AMT changes. The AMT exemption level would revert to what it was 12 years ago: $45,000 for married joint filers vs. $74,450 in 2011. And credits such as the child tax credit would no longer be allowed to offset AMT liability.

But, contrary to political conventional wisdom, families in lower-income states, like Arkansas, would also take an outsized hit. That’s because three tax cuts that everyone will lose — the cut in the child tax credit, end of the 10% bracket and reduced standard deduction for married filers — are fixed increases that do not hinge on income. As a percentage of income, those increases will be biggest for lower-income families.

New Jersey is set to take the largest blow, with a looming tax increase on the typical family totaling $6,933.

As more Republicans flee Grover Norquist, Founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and his anti-tax pledge – it’s a forgone conclusion that revenue increases will occur IF there is a deal.  However, Republicans should ask themselves why swallow such a demand when it’s been over 1300 days since the Democratic Congress has passed a budget.  It’s not logical or moral for Republicans to cave to the soulless, rotten liberal cadre of robbers this easily during the negotiations.

The only acceptable outcome, which I would still be unhappy with, is a deal that calls for at least eight dollars in spending cuts for every new dollar in revenues.  The ten-to-one deal is even more “palatable.”  I hate tax increases – but the outcome of the election will make it hard for conservatives to hold their ground.  Yes, the Tea Party Caucus was re-elected, with the exception of a couple of members, and Obama was re-elected by the 47% who don’t pay taxes, so there isn’t a mandate – but the clock is ticking.

Concerning revenue, Republicans should push to raise the rates on those making $500,000 or more.  I’m not a fan of Warren Buffett at all – but his plan to increase the rates on the incomes of those people is reasonable for now.

  • First, he only calls for raising taxes on Americans earning more than $500,000 a year, not the $250,000 that President Obama is focused on. Families who earn $250,000 and live in major cities justifiably point out that this salary does not leave them feeling “rich.” So, raising the definition of rich would go a long way toward making these tax hikes more palatable.
  • Next, he calls for a minimum 30% tax on Americans making $1 million to $10 million or more, regardless of how this income is generated. One of the most egregious elements of the tax code is that some of America’s highest earners pay much lower tax rates than average earners, because they generate their income from capital gains or dividends or have figured out how to shelter it by taking advantage of various loopholes. This tax would ensure that most income is treated the same way.

Americans living in urban areas, with rent and other utilities, see their $250,000 income dwindle rapidly, and don’t feel rich.  They’re right.  As George Will aptly noted, a Chicago school superintendent with twenty years experience, who is married to a police captain with twenty years experience is almost rich within the tax increase parameters of the Obama administration.

As I’ve said, I hate raising taxes, but we cannot be the party that is blamed for going off the cliff.  Democrats have planted their flag on the side of willingly going off.  That’s perverse, and wrong.  Let’s be the party that said NO!  We’re the part of no.  We don’t want to cut defense by the hundreds of billions.  We don’t want $600 billion in tax increases for the American taxpayer.  We have an opportunity to blunt the trauma of falling off the cliff.

However, I also understand the political ramifications if we do have a deal – and history hasn’t been to kind to us.  John Fund wrote today in National Review that:

many old Washington hands recall that Republicans agreed on tax-increase-for-spending-cuts deals in 1982 under Ronald Reagan and in 1990 under George H. W. Bush. These deals politically damaged the party in the short run, and they also proved to be bad policy. The 1982 budget deal, which promised seven dollars in spending cuts for every three dollars in tax increases, was never honored. Congress agreed to less than 27 cents in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases, and President Reagan came to bitterly regret his decision to approve the deal. Ed Meese, Reagan’s senior counselor at the time and later his attorney general, recalls that the 1982 deal ‘was the worst domestic-policy mistake of the Reagan administration.’

So, this time Republicans must insist the cuts be enacted immediately.  Furthermore, I like the idea Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has concerning transparency if a deal is reached.  A week-long debate on any aspect of the bill, including amendments, edits, and revisions.  All will be televised on C-SPAN for the public to see –  if they don’t fall asleep first.

Yet, we cannot forget back when “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted [last February] in congressional testimony that the administration lacks a long-term plan to deal with the nation’s soaring $16 trillion debt. “We’re not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem,” he told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. ‘What we do know is, we don’t like yours.”  I’ll try to temper my cynicism, but being optimistic about government is difficult.

I hope for a deal, but, at the same time, will start cashing out my investments in the stock market in preparation for the day of reckoning.

Health Care Reform = More Money, Bigger Hospitals, and Less Private Practices

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For a while, conservatives have known that Obamacare would be a dose of bad medicine.  However, given the axiom that bog government helps big business, the same could be true with the medical industry.  Tim Carney at The Washington Examiner aptly pointed out today, from Bloomberg, Obamacare favors big hospitals, and smashes small practices.

In his column, Carney wrote that “Bloomberg report[ed] today on how Medicare payment rules have led to hospital consolidation, with small practices selling out to big hospitals.”  Additionally, Carney cited the point about consolidation:

Simon Gisby, a principal in the life science and health care practice at Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC in New York, said the trend fits with changes starting to take place under the 2010 Affordable Care Act designed by the Obama administration to overhaul health care.

This consolidation means higher costs, the article explains. Some academic studies have confirmed that hospital consolidation means higher costs, and at least one has pinned some of the blame on Obama’s Affordable Care Act:

hospitals are able to extract higher private payments when they hold more market power…. Now provisions of the ACA are encouraging further consolidation of hospitals and physicians, and the final antitrust review regulations from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have eliminated the proposed mandatory review of certain prospective ACOs.

So, at the end of the day, it’s business as usual – with a splash of dependency.  Big government helping big business gain more power at the expense of the taxpayers.   Can we all agree that this overhaul of American health care was never meant to curb costs?

BREAKING: Mainstream Media Uncovers Looming “Fiscal Cliff,” Overlooks “Fiscal Abyss”

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Mainstream media outlets are now warning of the United States’ impending “fiscal cliff” after months of vigorous investigative journalism and heated legal battles forced the Obama administration to grant a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents detailing federal budget projections.

The subject documents, which have been publicly available through the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) website, like, forever, show that the federal government’s financial outlook has been Wile E. Coyote-ing over a “fiscal abyss” long before President Obama was re-elected on November 6th, 2012.

Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary and communications director for the Guild of Mainstream Media Outlets, explained during a November 14th press conference, “We are facing an unprecedented fiscal state of affairs and the President is ready to address this very important issue. We applaud the media for bringing the issue into Americans’ homes.”

In response to an inquiry from a reporter with The Laissez Faire regarding the timing of media’s coordinated announcement of the newly discovered “fiscal cliff,” Carney responded by growing a mischievous smirk, covering his mouth with both hands, and squeaking “Tee-Hee, Tee-Hee!” before gleefully frolicking off the press stage.

The looming “fiscal cliff” refers to the short-term projected economic impact of 1) allowing the Bush-era tax cuts and payroll tax cuts to expire and 2) the imposition of automatic spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (i.e., the “sequestration” cuts that trim federal spending across the board resulting from an indecisive super-committee), both set to occur on January 1st, 2013, which the CBO predicts would result in a short-term drop of 0.5% in gross domestic product and an increase in unemployment to 9.1% by the end of 2013.

However, reasonable economists across the country warn that the long-term federal budget outlook is far more dire than both CBO budget projections and the short-term impacts of the media’s newly discovered “fiscal cliff” might suggest.

A group of renowned economists have expressed greater concern over a longer-term “fiscal abyss” in a recent white paper titled, “Holy Shit! Federal Government owes Nearly $100 Trillion!” The white paper cites a study by the non-partisan National Center for Policy Analysis which calculates an estimated $84 Trillion of unfunded federal liabilities (the study notes the $84 Trillion is a “conservative estimate”), a dismal outlook that far dwarfs the media’s conveniently timed announcement of the headline-hoarding “fiscal cliff.”

R. Runner, Ph.D,  a senior research fellow at the Acme Institute of Super Obvious Studies, explained that the federal government “…simply makes too many promises that it can’t keep in the interest of political expediency; many of which are far contrary to the principles and ideas transcribed in the documents that founded this great country. And quite frankly,” he added, “their actions are immoral.”

In a technicolorful analogy, Dr. Runner further noted that, “We’re not looking out toward some distant ‘fiscal cliff,’ or ‘fiscal abyss,’ whatever you want to call it. We’re beyond the land’s edge of any metaphorical ‘cliff.’ Much like the laws of physics would wait for Wile E. Coyote to process the fact that his chase led him over the edge of a canyon before applying the force of gravity, we’re now beginning to process the fact that the government’s promises are unsustainable and soon, like the ill-fated cartoon coyote, the laws of economics will catch up to us sending our economy plummeting to the bottom of our own fiscal canyon if drastic cuts in spending and vast reductions in scope of government do not happen soon.”

Despite the media’s paltry attempt to bring relevant economic information to the citizens’ attention (coincidentally at the heels of a major presidential election), they failed to discuss the dismal long-term outlook beyond the impending ‘fiscal cliff.’ They further failed to discuss the implications of an ever-growing federal government made up of elected (and unelected) officials who continue to make short-term promises for political gains, meanwhile bludgeoning the principles of individual rights into a gory pulp of federally-mandated collectivism whose end game will necessarily be a two-class society: the underclass, and the political class.

Crossposted at TruthInJest.

Jon Corzine’s ‘Global’ Disaster

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There was a breaking development that occurred on The Hill today.  A member of the financial sector made a poor decision, bankrupted a company, and was formerly an elected official.  No, it wasn’t Mitt Romney – it was former Democratic Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine.  Corzine, who hedged against the European debt crisis, incurred losses in the billions, which lead to the collapse of MF Global.

One mystery that plagues this investigation is Mr. Corzine’s David Copperfield act that wiped $1.6 billion from Global’s client fund, which occurred days before the whole firm crumbled.  Dina ElBoghdady of The Washington Post reported about this episode in financial malfeasance that cost people their jobs, and their savings – but it wasn’t too important since they relegated the piece to page 18 in today’s edition.

Furthermore, it took Ms. ElBoghdady six paragraphs to even mention that Mr. Corzine was a Democrat because they party of progress doesn’t dabble in such unscrupulous activities like this.  The report about Mr. Corzine’s epic failure at MF Global was released today by the House Financial Services oversight subcommittee, but didn’t mention any felonious activity conducted on behalf of the former Democratic governor.   They’re going to leave that to other prosecutors, who have launched their own investigations.  In all, “farmers, ranchers, and ther customers may never get back over $1 billion of their money as a result of [Corzine’s] decisions, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.), the House panel’s chairman, said in a statement.”

So, if Democrats and liberals hate Mitt Romney for being a rich man who devours companies, then shouldn’t they be picketing outside Corzine’s residence castigating him for his negligence?  If any Republican acted as horribly as Corzine has done in managing a firm, like MF Global, this would be on the front page – and dominating the news cycle for weeks on end.

Jon Corzine is worse than a vulture capitalist.  He’s an incredibly incompetent manager of people’s resources, which explains his failure as a governor.

Financial Crisis…a “Top Down, Bottom Up, Inside Out” Designed Collapse from Home Loans to Student Loans

As the fiscal cliff looms, it is prudent to discuss how we got here. As our crisis moves from housing to student loan and then into health care, it should be noted what, how and who got us into this situation.

“…because this financial crisis just wasn’t the result of decisions made in the executive suites on Wall Street, it was also the result decisions made across kitchen tables across America by folks who took on mortgages and credit cards and auto loans,”

Barrack Obama, Wall Street, April 22, 2010

     During a 2010 speech at Wall Street, President Obama blamed Wall Street and Main Street for irresponsible financial practices but he neglected the true culprit of the housing crisis…the federal government. When third parties such as Washington politicians, bureaucrats and community organizations get involved, it perpetuated the housing disaster in what we have today.

So, how do you collapse the housing market? You start with the philosophy of “Overloading the system” with an approach known as “Top Down, Bottom Up and Inside Out. Van Jones explains this concept below. Politicians and bureaucrats wrote legislation that entice community organizations, citizens and lawyers to force banks in giving loans they should not have given. This concept begins with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act, then relaxing HUD policies with unrealistic goals. The Clinton Administration and Congress put pressure on banks, this represents the “Top Down” portion. This placed the legal ability for banks to make risky “subprime” loans. The “Bottom Up” is community organizations, like ACORN and lawyers who push the written law through the court system. These community organizations put pressure or extorted banks through threats of lawsuits. With Fannie and Freddie’s loan goals increased, pressure from federal agencies and community groups demanding risky loans to be made, this is the “Top Down, Bottom Up” scenario. The “Inside Out” scenario is where people within the system begin to work with the community organizations or replaced with people who are friendly to organizations that caused the problems.

So, what caused the subprime lending crisis? Let’s start with the Community Reinvestment Act.

In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) established the foundation for the housing crisis and “encouraged” financial institutions to provide loans to low- and moderate-income communities. It eliminated “redlining”, a practice where banks identify and eliminate lending to certain high-risk communities. But one of the most damaging aspects of the act was the creation of a rating system that evaluated banks on several factors, one being their subprime loan record. The CRA addressed concerns of the deteriorating conditions of cities like urban flight and declining neighborhoods, this was due to limited credit availability. After the CRA was enacted, the federal government continued to tweak previsions for the next 30 years to provide loans to risky borrowers, loosen restrictions so banks were able to give these loans and provided legal grounds for community organizations and lawyers to force these loans.

After the passage of the CRA, trends of outstanding consumer credit skyrocketed. (See chart below)

     The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 kept banks in check. It limited the affiliation between commercial banks and security firms, this also eliminated financial transactions being granted within the same credit, lending and investing institutions, also known as “too big to fail.” What this would do is tie loans to the banks physical assets. Back in 1933, this act gave additional oversight authority to the Federal Reserve. In addition, the FDIC would be able to guarantee loans up to a certain amount.

     Ben Bernanke explained that the CRA encouraged many banks to make high-risk loans to low and middle-income communities at low interest rates. The Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) publicized these CRA reports public. This allowed community organizations and lawyers to “perform more-sophisticated, quantitative analyses of banks’ records.” If a bank’s ratings were not adequate, community organizations such as Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) sued banks for the lack of loans in low income communities.

     In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed the HR 4986, “Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act” forcing banks to adhere to Federal Reserve rules. It allowed the merger of banks and raised deposit insurance from $40,000 to $100,000.

     In 1992, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 “establish(ed) specified housing goals for each enterprise, including goals for purchase of mortgages on housing for low- and moderate-income families”. These two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged “subprime” lending by authorizing a “flexible” criteria whereas high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans. These GSEs were intermediaries who loan to banks and not directly to homeowners. Banks were directed to accept welfare payments and unemployment benefits as “valid income sources” in qualifying for mortgages. If banks didn’t accept these documents, they could face lawsuits.

     In 1994, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) instituted a “top down” policy where ten federal agencies adopted a policy, entitled “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending”. According to the news release “The following Federal Agencies—HUD, OFHEO, DOJ, OCC, OTS, the Board, FDIC, FHFB, FTC and the NCUA—sharing a concern that some prospective homebuyers and other borrowers may be experiencing discriminatory treatment in their efforts to obtain loans, formed an Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending to establish uniform policy against discriminatory lending.”

     Community organizations increasingly used the public comment process to pretest bank applications on CRA grounds. When applications were highly contested, federal agencies held public hearings to allow public comment on the bank’s lending record. In addition, this policy “seek(s) to promote fair lending” and “seeks to prevent lending discrimination and redlining by requiring public disclosure of certain information about mortgage loan applications.” In essence, the federal government established a grading program to evaluate how these programs lent to the poor. Due to these changes in lending practices and activism, homeownership would soar as shown below.

     According to the Chicago Daily Observer, Barrack Obama represented 186 African-Americans in a 1995 discrimination lawsuit against Citibank. These individuals were not approved loans but Citibank settled in 1997. Since then, roughly half of those represented have gone into bankruptcy or received foreclosure notices. Today, only 19 of the 186 still own their homes with a clean credit record. This demonstrates how community organizations can pressure banks into giving subprime loans.

     In 1999, President Clinton and a Republican majority Congress repealed the Glass-Steagill Act. This allowed banks, lenders and investments firms to practice across different environments, reintroducing “Too Big Too Fail.”  The bill passed the house (362-57) and Senate (90-8). At the same time, the Clinton Administration put pressure on Fannie Mae to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people. HUD increased Fannie/Freddie’s subprime lending goals to over 40 percent for low- and moderate-income families.

    Bill Clinton in an interview describes how much CRA loans were given out during his time as President.

In 1999, Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s Chairman and CEO stated ”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990’s by reducing down payment requirements.” “Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.”

According to Milkeninstitute, “The rate of foreclosures on subprime loans originated increased each year from 1999 to 2007 and accounted for approximately half of all foreclosures over the same period.” When the collapse occurred in the third quarter of 2007, subprime ARMs made up only 6.8 percent of US mortgages outstanding but accounted for 43 percent of the foreclosures that began in that quarter.

In November 2000, Fannie Mae announced HUD would increase the dedicated amounts to 50%. According to CSR Press Release, to expand the secondary market, Fannie Mae committed to purchase $2 billion through a suite of flexible mortgage options purchasing one-to-four unit homes. Fannie Mae injected a process where previous loans would be negotiated on an individual basis. Dan Mudd, from Fannie Mae stated “By teaming with lenders, Fannie Mae can not only help increase lending to minorities and other underserved market segments, but we also can assist depository institutions in meeting their own community investment goals and objectives. We look forward to working with our customers to create increased liquidity for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) -eligible loans.”

In 2001, the US Department of Treasury warned, “Subprime borrowers typically have weakened credit histories that include payment delinquencies and possibly more severe problems such as charge-offs, judgments and bankruptcies. They may also display a reduced repayment capacity as measured by credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, or other criteria that may encompass borrowers with incomplete credit histories.”

Although most home loans were not subprime mortgages, their numbers rapidly grew in the early part of the 21st Century. Subprime loans accounted for 9 percent in 1996 and 20 percent in 2007, one-fifth of US home loan market. Throughout the 2000s, there were calls to reform Fannie and Freddie because they were “systemic risks”. In 2003, Barney Frank stated that Fannie and Freddie are “not in a crisis” and Republicans were crying wolf in calling Fannie and Freddie not financially sound. Democrats blocked Republican-sponsored legislation. From a servicing standpoint, these loans have a statistically higher rate of default and are more likely to experience repossessions and charge offs. Lenders use the higher interest rate and fees to offset these anticipated higher costs.

In April 2005, there was rumble of fixing the housing debacle but some lawmakers said that it undercut the ability of the CRA to “meet the needs of low and moderate-income persons and communities.” Senator Shelby introduced legislation to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that was causing a “systemic risk for our financial system.” The carrot was subprime loans that would be purchased and backed by federal GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Community Organizations felt this legislation would only weaken CRA. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of Fannie and Freddie’s debt. “We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk,” he said. Senator Charles Schumer (D) says, “I think Fannie and Freddie over the years have done an incredibly good job and are an intrinsic part of making America the best-housed people in the world.” No legislation would be passed to address the looming bubble.

On August 15, 2007, concerns about subprime mortgages caused a sharp drop in stocks across Nasdaq and Dow Jones. Record lows were observed in stock market prices across the the world. The US market recovered all those losses within 2 days. Concern in late 2007 increased as the August market recovery was lost, in spite of the Fed cutting interest rates by half a point (0.5%) on September 18 and by a quarter point (0.25%) on October 31. Stocks are testing their lows of August now.

On December 6, 2007, President Bush announced a plan to voluntarily and temporarily freeze the mortgages of a limited number of mortgage debtors holding ARMs by the Hope Now Alliance. He also asked Congress to: 1. Pass legislation to modernize the FHA. 2. Temporarily reform the tax code to help homeowners refinance during this time of housing market stress. 3. Pass funding to support mortgage counseling. 4. Pass legislation to reform GSEs like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

In 2008, Troubled Asset Relief Program was enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis. Citizens do not have access to Fannie and Freddie’s records because they are considered a GSE, so the Freedom of Information Act does not apply. Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still have an open checkbook in buying loans.

So, what changed to cause the subprime mortgage crisis? Was it a conspiracy contrived by the Fannie, Freddie, bankers, lawyers or community organizations? NO! Legislation and courts were used to position third parties such as federal agencies, community organizations, GSEs and lawyers who determined the validity of banks’ lending practices based off a banks’ CRA rating rather than the practice for each individual. These players used the law to force banks to lend money to people who could not afford it. The housing collapse was caused by third party intervention intervening into the free market…not capitalism!

According to Maxine Waters (5:08), “Under the outstanding leadership of Frank Raines, everything in the 1992 Act has worked just fine. In fact, the GSEs has exceeded their housing goals. What we need to do today is focus on the regulator and this must be done in a manner so as not to impede their affordable housing mission. A mission that has seen innovation flourishes from desktop underwriting to 100 percent loans.”

According to a 2010 House Oversight Committee Report, top banks such as Countrywide, Bank of America, Chase, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo established relationships with community organizations such as ACORN. The report also stated “ACORN used provisions in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 to challenge bank mergers and acquisitions. These challenges successfully forced banks to make lending agreements with ACORN Housing.” ACORN became a HUD approved housing counselor. According to the report, ACORN has “waged savage public campaigns and delivered subtle private threats to large banking institutions for its own financial gain, defeated former political allies…and formed powerful alliances with the SEIU, Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama.”

With federal legislation pushed banks to make high risk loans and provided upward pressure from community organizations that ensure the subprime. The problem cannot be entirely blamed on the CRA but it laid the foundation. CRA reports enabled community organizations and lawyers to force banks into making subprime loans, and this extortion probably extended elsewhere…and to some degree partnerships. Fannie & Freddie was able to guarantee and provide cheap subprime money.

Ron Paul provided some insight that the very people who was instrumental in creating the legislation are there to fix it.

The next financial  bubble will be “Student Loans” while the housing bubble’s intrinsic issues were not addressed.

OF COURSE WE SEE OUR PATH!

Sandy not to blame for dismal jobs report

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The AP reported today that this week’s terrible unemployment numbers were due to fallout from Sandy – the storm that hit the Northeast last week. On its face, the excuse holds merit. When digging into the data, it looks like AP over-interpreted a footnote thereby giving the Administration a pass on an awful report.

The Labor Department said applications increased by 78,000 because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.

First to note in the report is that New York, the most populous state hit by the storm, saw its weekly figures drop by more than 2,200 claims. The reason for fewer claims given was that due to power outages caused by the Hurricane, the State’s systems were unable to take claims from claimants. So while the storm may have caused in increase in unemployment in New York, it was not figured into the 78,000 increase due.

Next we find that the state with the largest increase in claims, Pennsylvania, did not list the storm as the reason. Only Connecticut and New Jersey pointed at Sandy for the reason they saw increased claims and of the total 78,000 increase, those two states were less than a tenth of the claims when added together.

What may have been mere oversight looks even more like white washing when you see one of the largest increases in joblessness being the swing state of Ohio. Suddenly, just after the election, Ohio reports more than 6,400 job losses in the .. wait for it.. automobile manufacturing industries . Oddly, the November 1 report just before the election showed a decrease in manufacturing layoffs in Ohio – a trend outlier when looked at broadly:

– October 25th report: Ohio sees increase of 1,936 claims due to layoff in the transportation and manufacturing industries

– November 1st report: Ohio reduces claims by 1,214 due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing

– November 8th: Ohio not mentioned

– November 15th: Ohio loses more than 6,400 jobs specifically in the auto manufacturing industry

Disregarding the strange blame, the report offers other unpleasant news: Year-over-year initial claims (seasonally adjusted) have risen by a staggering 47,000 claims. Last year at this time, only 392,000 initial claims for jobless benefits were filed, while this month more than 439,000 were given unemployment assistance.

WEEK ENDING Advance Nov. 10 Nov. 3 Change Oct. 27 Prior Year1

Initial Claims (SA) 439,000 361,000 +78,000 363,000 392,000
Initial Claims (NSA) 466,348 361,800 +104,548 339,917 363,016

 

No Change, No Hope

Obama-the-Marxist

While the “progressive” Party Pravda is dutifully focused on distracting Americans with stories about the tragic resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus,  the White House goes merrily along with its anti-growth, anti-business, anti-energy, radical fringe leftist “progressive” agenda.  The Barack Obama administration is now making plans for the next phase in fundamentally transforming America into a second rate European style slow growth high unemployment socialist state.

Nothing has changed from the last two years of Obama’s reign of terror.  In Harry Reid, Obama retains a “progressive” Democratic Senate majority leader who shares his radical fringe leftist ideology.  In the House of Representatives, Obama faces a Republican majority led by Speaker of the House John Boehner.  For the past two years, the House has refused to budge on tax hikes, one of a number of lusted for items on the “progressive” Holy Grail wish list.

Since Obama ran a class warfare, racial and gender dividing, hit man Chicago style smear re-election campaign, nothing but more of the same can be reasonably expected in his second term.

Evidence, in first meeting on Tuesday, he meets with Mary Kay Henry-SEIU, Lee Saunders-AFSCME, Dennis Van Roekel-NEA, Rich Trumka-AFL-CIO, Neera Tanden-Center for American Progress, John Podesta-Center for American Progress, Bob Greenstein-Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Laura Burton Capps-Common Purpose Project, Max Richtman-National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Justin Ruben-MoveOn, and Deepak Bhargava-Center for Community Change.

These are Obama’s ideological soul mates.  Their priorities are to further their radical fringe leftist “progressive” agenda.

On Wednesday, Obama meets with Mark Bertolini, president, chairman and CEO of Aetna, Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO at Xerox, Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO for American Express, David Cote, chairman and CEO at Honeywell, Mike Duke, president and CEO of Walmart, Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO for General Electric, Andrew Liveris, president, chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, Robert McDonald, president and CEO at Procter & Gamble, Alan Mulally, president and CEO for Ford Motors, Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO at PepsiCo, Ginni Rometty, president, chairman and CEO of IBM, andJohn Watson, chairman and CEO for Chevron.

These are the huge multinational corporations that have supported Obama while he has repeatedly accused Republicans of being in the pocket of huge multinational corporations.

They are also the companies that are big enough to survive the economic destruction brought about by Obama’s economic policies.

Can you say “too big to fail”?

Before he bothers to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss how to reach a “compromise” that will result in the United States avoiding the fiscal cliff, Obama has arranged his schedule so as to meet with his ideological Marxist brethren as well as his financial backers and yes men.

Together, they will calculate how to insist on their “my way or the highway” demands while appearing reasonable to low information voters who obtain their “news” from “progressive” Party Pravda sound-bites and headlines.

There will be little to no real negotiations with House Republicans.  They will be told what they have consistently been told by this administration.  “We won.  We are going to do it our way.”

When America goes over the fiscal cliff, Obama and his mob of ideological lunatics will sing a full throated chorus of “It’s all Republican’s fault” and get away with it because the “progressive” Party Pravda will march in lockstep with their Marxist overlords and tell the public what Obama wants them to believe.

Unless something changes, nothing will change.  Without changing this equation, there will be no hope in America.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/no-change-no-hope/

Companies Begin Layoffs Following Obama’s Re-election

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With the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ looming at the end of the year, many companies had warned that if President Obama were re-elected, they would be forced to lay off workers. Company officials listed the skyrocketing price of health insurance and the taxes contained in Obamacare as a primary reason for job cuts.

Some job cuts are also the result of the likelihood that Congress will be increasing taxes thereby raising the cost of doing business. Other staffing cuts are also an attempt to avert the “fiscal cliff” and the economic reality caused by spending cuts and increased taxation in the Obama-favored budgetary tactic known as sequestration.

And three days after the re-election of the President, many big companies have already kept their promise. Among them are:

  • Energizer, which is restructuring its company, and as a result, announced it expects to lose about 1,500 jobs.
  • Boeing, who expects to shrink their executive staff by roughly 30% at the Boeing Defense, Space & Security unit.
  • US Cellular, who is moving manufacturing plants out of Chicago, and as a result will cut roughly 640 jobs in the area. Overall, the company estimates it will cut 980 jobs, about 12% of its workforce.
  • Power tool giant Husqvarna, who is cutting around 600 jobs, a move that they expect will save them roughly $33 million per year.
  • Darden Restaurants, which owns popular chains like the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse. They are expected to cut back the hours their employees work to 28 hours per week. The Obamacare law defines full time employees as working 30 hours a week. The law requires full time employees to have employe-provided healthcare, or the company must pay a fine.
  • Murray energy corp will layoff more than 120 employees to avoid expenses due to Obama regulations and taxes
  • Welch Allen will layoff 275 employees (10% of their workforce) as a “pro-active response” to taxes in Obamacare
  • Dana Holding Group – auto parts manufacturer will make numerous cuts in response to $24 million in costs due to Obamacare
  • Stryker will be eliminating 5% of its workforce (1,170 jobs) due to additional taxes in Obamacare
  • Boston Scientific will be dropping between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs and shifting operations to China to avoid Obamacare taxes
  • Smith & Nephew will drop 770 jobs
  • U.S. Cellular will eliminate 980 jobs
  • UtahAmerican Energy will cut a huge number of jobs as “204 American coal-fired plants” are shut down by 2014 – basically maiming the coal-mining industry
  • Lockheed Martin is expected to notify 123,000 employees of coming layoffs
  • Consol Energy to layoff 145 employees
  • much, much more coming…

These are just a few of the big companies affected. Many other smaller companies are also saying they will have to either cut back employee hours or fire some of their employees. Other companies are closing plants in an attempt to save money.

Target has already announced the closing of several locations, including a store in Kissimmee, Florida. Kmart is another company that has announced its intention to close several stores.

These announcements come on the heels of two very grim days for the stock market. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial average fell 2.4%, which is the fifth worst single day drop in history. The S&P 500 also fell 2.37%. The markets continued to plummet on Wednesday. The Dow fell another 0.94%. And the S&P fell another 1.22%.

Investors cite concerns over Europe’s struggling economy and President Obama’s re-election. It is believed that Obama does not have a serious plan to regrow the economy or control the United State’s burgeoning debt.

 

Election Aftermath – I’ve Just Decided To Not Have Children

joy of parenting

Shortly after the announcement was made that Ohio went to Obama, a friend tweeted this:

If I had to point to something that worries me most about our current economy and cultural climate, it would be the sentiment expressed in this tweet. I talk about value systems regularly, in every venue of conversation that I have available to me. I believe that the only things that will change the course this country is on are a dedicated effort to move our political and popular culture away from the ideas that spawned entitelment and dependency.

Tim is not alone in his reservation to bring children into the world. His decision is a rational and thoughtful one. But, it is one with devastating effects to our economy and value system. In 2011, the US birth rate hit a record low, and the economy was the most cited probable reason for the drop, according to a recent ABC article. Additionally, our labor force participation recently hit a 31 year low, and our current economy has nothing in place that promises a quick return to significantly higher rates. With the increase in retirees, the continuing easing of means testing to receive entitlement and disability benefits, and the steady decline in birth rates and employment, the number of people working to support these systems has reached levels that make the programs unsustainable by traditional funding.

Economy aside, the value system that made America a prosperous and charitable nation has all but vanished. Today’s children are assaulted from all sides with information and experiences that shape their world views and future parenting decisions. They are no longer taught that hard work means probable success. They are no longer taught that providing for your family is an unyielding responsibility. They are no longer taught thrift and savings to meet goals. Instant gratification and a safety net of epic proportions have all but removed failure and adversity from most children’s lives.

It is no easy suggestion that our entire culture needs to change and no easy task to see that change happen on a grand scale, but I cannot fathom that the US would again be the beacon of light and opportunity that it once was without a move away from instant gratification and entitlement mentalities. Parents, future parents, this falls on you. Make the time to parent, become aware of, and control, the influences in your children’s lives, and accept that the people your children become is largely your responsibility. You know, be the change.

To do these things, we have to have children. I do not suggest that you have children “for the greater good”, but I would hope that you don’t decide to not have them because of the greater bad. Tim is a friend of mine. It wasn’t his tweet that inspired this post, but the way my heart broke when I heard him say the same to me on the phone. He is the kind of friend who I would like to see become a parent, should he want to do so.

Economy relies on families, it should not destroy the potential of creating them.

The Day After…

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Well, we lost.  Mitt Romney didn’t win comfortably.  BUT, Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives.  In one of the most ignominious highlights of the night, the GOP lost two senate seats – increasing the Democratic majority by two.  The current makeup is 55 Democrats to 45 Republicans.  In a milestone for the ladies, 20% of the U.S. Senate will be represented by women.  However, the night ended a bit like 2004 in reverse.

While the notions of GOP turnout seemed assured, it was rarely monitored, and turnout for the youth (and voter turnout in general) was unexpectedly high.  To no one’s surprise, young voters broke for the president (60-36), but represented a larger share of the electorate than four years ago.  Romney’s lead amongst independents wasn’t enough to overcome the Latino vote, which he lost to Obama miserably 72%-23%.  Lastly, Romney wasn’t able to cut into the gender gap quite as effectively as he wanted to, with the president winning women, overall, by eleven points.  However, it’s with unmarried women that Romney had a fatal disadvantage with, as they broke for Obama 67% to 31%.

On states, betting on Pennsylvania proved to another catastrophic play.  We haven’t won the Keystone State in almost a quarter century, and it may be time to part company completely.  Concerning Wisconsin, the state may have swung right on recent elections, but perhaps the ‘fairness voters’ – voters who may not agree with Walker’s policies, but are appalled that unions would want to revoke an election result – turned out to vote for the president this time.  In Ohio and Virginia, Romney’s failure to execute the war on coal narrative sooner, and formulating a response to the Bain ads, contributed to his defeat.

Without a doubt, the Bain ads – the Obama campaign’s first official salvo in their ‘Kill Romney’ strategy –  released right after Mitt unofficially clinched the Republican nomination resonated with Buckeye residents, and shame on the Governor’s communications team, who were on the defensive for most of the election cycle.  In short, like with Goldwater in ’64, the Obama campaign was able to define Romney – before Romney could define himself.  It’s another costly misfire.

However, I truly feel that Mitt Romney ran a good campaign, and did the best he could’ve with what he had regarding resources.  It’s hard to be successful when you don’t have a Karl Rove, James Carville, or David Plouffe on your side.  It also hurt that he couldn’t run on health care, since Romneycare served as the blue print for one of the most egregious affronts to the constitution since the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams administration.

Yet, if you looked at the field from the beginning, It was either going to be Mitt Romney or Rick Perry fighting for the nomination.  Newt and Cain treated this serious event in American politics with the maturity of eight year olds at a lemonade stand – with the lemonade being books.  For many Americans, Michele Bachmann failed the threshold question of any presidential candidate, which is do I trust this person with nuclear weapons?  Disgraced former Pennsylvanian Senator Rick Santorum failed the conservative test, in my opinion, by voting for Medicare Part D, which added $ 7 trillion to the unfunded liability of the program. That’s 20% of the entire unfunded liability, which we now have to deal with before the fiscal cliff.  He voted for Sonia Sotomayor for circuit judge. Santo voted against National Right to Work, Food Stamp reform, a flat tax, and Medicaid reform.  He voted for internet taxes, the unionization of FedEx (twice), and No Child Left Behind.  He took that one for the team.

Rick Perry, my choice for president, flamed out in one of the most epic derailments we’ve probably seen in a long time.  Jon Huntsman was too moderate.  Ron Paul was well, Ron Paul. So, we were left with Mitt Romney.  Sometimes the pickings of the field aren’t too stellar, and we have to deal with that.

Again, I don’t blame Romney for the loss.  Yes, Obama’s record of economic pain, which he has inflicted without mercy on the American people, is long, but his political team, along with the media, were able to spin it just enough to trivialize the fallout.  As Ralph Reed, Founder and former Executive Director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said at CPAC 2012 last February – we’re about to face “the meanest, toughest, most vicious political team we’ve ever faced.”  He was right, and we paid dearly for it.

Given Obama’s record, and Republicans’ inability to defeat him, it begs the question if the GOP should have any business being in American politics.  Yes, they still do, but renovations need to be made.  We need to do better with women – cough nix the rape talk cough cough – hispanics, and younger voters.  The hispanic vote ruined the California GOP back in 1994 when Prop. 187 established a citizenship screening process and barred illegals from using state services was construed as ‘anti-immigrant.’  It was really protecting the territorial integrity of the United States, a core function of a nation in the international system, but that’s a different debate. Regardless, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and California Republicans have been in the bunker ever since.

We need to find ways to protect our sovereign soil, but in a way that doesn’t come off as nativist.  Hispanics are hard-workers, religious, and pro-traditional marriage.  Or, at least, that’s what was the conventional wisdom at the time.  Heather MacDonald posted on National Review yesterday that:

a March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.

spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

So, despite Mitt’s shaky conservative credentials, without a doubt, he’s the most hard-lined presidential candidate on immigration we’ve had in the past ten years – and that didn’t hurt him with these voters.  Bain, on the other hand, probably didn’t help.

Nevertheless, I’m not saying we should be for amnesty.  We shouldn’t be.  Amnesty is unfair and unethical – as is the president’s Dream Act light, which requires illegals to bribe the government $465 from doing it’s job enforcing federal law.  However, what 2012 should show all conservatives is that our coalition, which to Paul Krugman’s chagrin truly represents the ‘Real America,’ is static.  It’s more rural, blue collar, and white.  That’s not enough to win elections.  We need to improve outreach with minorities and venture back into the cities, or places where the people are, to make these contests competitive again.  George W. Bush won 44% of the Latino vote in 2004, with increased majorities in the House and Senate.  It’s not impossible. But it’ll be very difficult trying to chip away at the government’s “role in helping people,” which in Democrat speak for getting these people so dependent on us as possible, so they’re a lock when Election Day arrives.

Concerning the ladies, we need to exert a little more discretion when we talk about rape.  While the Democratic National Convention could’ve been Abortion Fest 2012,the senate races in this cycle should have been more appropriately called Rape Fest.  It’s odd that we even have to mention this, and some blame the Tea Party for these mishaps. I don’t.  The Tea Party is the heart and soul of the Republican Party.  As George Will once noted, they’re the best thing to happen in American politics since the Goldwater insurgency.  Republicans would not be where they are now without the Tea Party, but that does not mean we should accept every one of their primary victors as serious candidates.

As Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel wrote in The Daily Caller yesterday:

The tea party believes the GOP establishment is ideologically corrupt. They’re right. But replacing the current leadership with obviously unqualified buffoons is no remedy. Republicans have lost at least five winnable Senate races in the last two cycles because they fielded candidates whose only real qualification was being anti-establishment. Many will argue the GOP can only win going forward with more liberal candidates. That’s not true. But the genuine conservatives they find will have to come with political skills, policy smarts and impressive resumes in order to get elected.

The sad truth is that even if the Republican Party did all this — sent its current leaders home and stopped nominating losers — it still wouldn’t be enough. The country is changing too fast. Most people have the sense that America is different demographically from what it was 20 years ago. But unless they’ve been reading the latest census data, they have no real idea. The changes are that profound. They’re also permanent and likely to accelerate. In order to remain competitive outside Utah, the GOP will have to win new voters, and soon.

That’s the Republican reformation plan, Stage B. They may get there. First they’ll have to tackle the basics, like finding fresh leadership and candidates who aren’t embarrassing.

That will take some serious vetting.  Furthermore, we’re Republicans.  We’re pro-life, and the American people know that about our movement.  In elections centered on the economy, you can easily pivot away from such issues.  Sadly, some of our fellow party members couldn’t help themselves, they shot their mouths off, and got trounced.  There is much intra-party work to do – and it starts now.

Meanwhile, a divided America exists and the government we elected is representative of that partisanship.  Michael Barone wrote also wrote in National Review that Americans on the right, and the others of the left, are no longer becoming culturally cohesive.

Ronald Reagan, speaking the language of the old, universal popular culture, could appeal to both Americas. His successors, not so much. Barack Obama, after an auspicious start, has failed to do so.

As a result, there are going to be many Americans profoundly unhappy with the result of this election, whichever way it goes. Those on the losing side will be especially angry with those whose candidate won.

Americans have faced this before. This has been a culturally diverse land from its colonial beginnings. The mid-20th-century cultural cohesiveness was the exception, not the rule.

We used to get along by leaving each other alone. The Founders established a limited government, neutral on religion, allowing states, localities, and voluntary associations to do much of society’s work. Even that didn’t always work: We had a Civil War.

An enlarged federal government didn’t divide mid-20th-century Americans, except on civil-rights issues. Otherwise, there was general agreement about the values government should foster.

Now the two Americas disagree, sharply. Government decisions enthuse one and enrage the other. The election may be over, but the two Americas are still not on speaking terms.

It’s sort of like this exchange between President Bartlet and Governor Ritchie.

Right now, Obama is in a good position to increases taxes, which will happen when Obamacare’s fully implemented in 2014, nominate SCOTUS appointments, which threaten to curtail our constitutional rights, and to continue this destructive surge in government spending that only shackles people to the will of the state through dependency.  It’s up to House Republicans to obstruct Democratic plans, and put forward a deluge of alternatives of their own. Granted, we won’t be able to filibuster Supreme Court appointments, but this president’s agenda, and that of the Democrats, is inherently dangerous to the socioeconomic fabric of the country and we must fight them all the way.  Concerning the fiscal cliff, maybe compromise can be reached.  Yet, we should also remember that compromise is how we got Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and the first round of federal stimulus under the Bush administration.  Policies that attributed to the near collapse of the conservative movement in this country.

I’m pessimistic that a deal will be reached.  This president’s ego would bust the marble in the Capitol dome – and he exuded poor presidential leadership as described in Bob Woodward’s new book The Price of Politics.  Yet, Mr. Will again reminds us that throughout the course of American history there is not a single thing that the American people wanted intensely and protractedly that they did not eventually get from the federal government.

Romney Leads Independent Voters In Virginia by Twelve

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So, Romney is leading Indies by twelve in Virginia, and Obama’s lead amongst women isn’t enough, according to Ace.  Virginia is also reporting a heavy voter turnout.

More: CNN’s exits have it 49-49. This almost certainly means it’s in the bag for Team Red.

In addition, I saw secondhand that Obama’s advantage with women is just +5. Not enough.

My Prediction: Romney Wins Comfortably

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The day has arrived.  In about twenty-four hours, the stains of Barack Obama will be wiped clean and honor and dignity will be restored to The White House under President-elect Mitt Romney.  It hasn’t been an easy road.  Conservatives waged a brutal primary battle that left us with a scarred nominee – Romney – coming out of the gate to take on President Obama in the general.  However, he licked his wounds, redeployed his campaign assets, and was laser focused on Barack Obama’s miserable record of debt, deficits, and high unemployment.  As a result, he’s polling slightly ahead of the President on Election Eve, and I’m confident Governor Romney will be the next President of the United States.

Granted there were some bumps in the road.  The last week of August and the whole month of September were especially lackluster – but his resounding and decisive victory in the first, and most important, presidential debate altered the electoral map in a way liberals couldn’t imagine.  His surge in the polls with women decimated Obama’s double-digit lead amongst women, and Romney’s double-digit lead amongst independents will prove valuable in the generals, as well as the down ticket races in the House and Senate.  Right now, I have Gov. Romney winning the 2012 Election with 289 electoral votes to Obama’s 249.  Some pundits, like George Will, predict a 321 Electoral landslide for Mitt Romney, but I’m more reserved.

First, to even begin to contemplate such a mandate, Romney needs to win Pennsylvania – a state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1988.  While some polls show that the races is tied (Romney is shown trailing by 2-4 points on D+8 polls) – I’m just not ready to bet the mortgage on a state we have failed to lock up for almost a quarter century.  Granted, the 2011 county courthouse races were indicative that Democrats in the western part of the state – the bitter clingers who are mostly pro-life and pro-gun rights – were getting sick of liberal policies.  Republicans took Westmoreland County for the first time in fifty years.  Now, Republicans control 51 of the 67 counties in PA, with most of the inroads being in the western part of the state.  Republican media consultant Michael  Hudome wrote on The Daily Caller on Nov. 2 that “half of the NRA membership in the entire country is within a four-hour drive of Pittsburgh.”

Recent electoral results signal a Republican surge in the Commonwealth. Conservative Pat Toomey was elected to the Senate in 2010 despite the best efforts of the White House.

Republicans control 12 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats. In the crucial Philadelphia suburbs, Democrats were only able to offer token opposition to Congressmen Mike Fitzpatrick and Patrick Meehan this year. In those critical counties near Philly, Governor Romney is a perfect fit for Independent and Republican women. Polls suggest there is no gender gap.

This election, voter intensity favors Republicans. Senator Bob Casey (of the Potted Plant Party) has his hands full with a challenge from businessman Tom Smith. Recent polls show that race is a toss-up.Given all these factors, it’s no wonder Romney and his allies have started an air war. In fact, Republicans have spent enough money on ads in Pennsylvania in the past week to fund a solid, month-long ad campaign in the state.

Furthermore, “semi-defrocked” Republican strategist Mike Murphy recently tweeted that if Romney is trailing by two in the PA polls – he wins Ohio.

In the end, it’ll all be about turnout, but I’m cautiously pessimistic about the Keystone State.  I think Obama will eek out a win here.  However, I will bet that  Tom Smith, the Republican Senate candidate, will defeat incumbent Democrat Bob Casey, Jr.  He made up a deficit of almost twenty points in the polls, and flooded the state with ads to hammer at Casey.  It has worked.  The race is a virtual tie. With Casey’s nonexistent campaign and low enthusiasm from Democratic voters, I think Smith will win.

Now, concerning the Buckeye State, Obama is trying to over-perform in the auto/industrial areas of Toledo and Akron.  However, in an election where Democratic enthusiasm isn’t nearly as high as Republicans, it’ll be an uphill struggle.  Whereas Mitt Romney is taking a page from George W. Bush in ’04 centering on the southeast portion of the state – coal country – and the swing suburbs around Cincinnati.  As of now, the race is tied – but The American Spectator’s Robert Stacy McCain has been on the Romney campaign crawl and posted this on Election Eve.

[ Ali] Akbar [Republican operative] stayed up all night Saturday poring over Ohio early-voting totals, comparing them to previous elections, studying recent Buckeye State polls, and crunching the numbers before waking me up before 8 a.m. Sunday to declare, “We’ve got Ohio.” His analysis of the early-vote numbers and his interpretation of the latest Columbus Dispatch poll as bad news for Obama quickly inspired an online buzz among Republicans who have been worried sick over Ohio. Even at the mid-October apex of Romney’s surge, the Republican never led the Real Clear Politics average of polls in this crucial battleground state. Although Obama’s lead has never been large — as of Sunday, he led the RCP Ohio average by 2.8 points — it has been remarkably persistent, prompting much theorizing about the factors behind it. The economy in Ohio hasn’t been quite as hard-hit as some other states; unemployment is only 7 percent. Ads from the Obama campaign have hit Romney hard for his opposition to the GM and Chrysler bailout, a reasonably popular measure in Ohio, where auto manufacturing jobs are a vital part of the state’s economy.

However, it’s a false narrative considering that Mr. Romney’s plan would have also saved the auto industry, which was reaffirmed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by auto expert Edward Niedermeyer.  However, the trend with overall early voting doesn’t favor Obama.  Gallup stated that 15% of the electorate has already voted and they’re splitting 52%-46% in Romney’s favor.


Given the Obama administration’s ‘War on Coal,’ I will hedge my bets that there will be a high turnout from these counties adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, but if Hamilton County swings Republican, we can all breath a sigh of relief.

In Wisconsin, I didn’t give this to Romney because it’s Paul Ryan’s home state, and therefore, a safe win.  As George Will aptly noted back in April:

 …in the 16 elections since World War II, 10 presidential candidates have failed to carry the home state of their vice presidential running mates. Gov. Earl Warren could not carry California for Tom Dewey in 1948; Sen. Estes Kefauver could not carry Tennessee for Adlai Stevenson in 1956; former senator Henry Cabot Lodge could not carry Massachusetts for Richard Nixon in 1960; Rep. Bill Miller could not carry New York for Barry Goldwater in 1964; Gov. Spiro Agnew could not carry Maryland for Nixon in 1968; Sargent Shriver could not carry Maryland for George McGovern in 1972; Rep. Geraldine Ferraro could not carry New York (or women, or even her congressional district) for Walter Mondale in 1984; Sen. Lloyd Bentsen could not carry Texas for Michael Dukakis in 1988; Jack Kemp could not carry New York for Bob Dole in 1996; Sen. John Edwards could not carry North Carolina for John Kerry in 2004.

No, it’s because no state has swung more to the right in the Midwest than Wisconsin.  They booted incumbent Democratic Senator Russ Feingold for Ron Johnson, elected Gov. Scott Walker, and took tow formerly Democratic congressional districts that covers most of the northern part of the state in 2010. Additionally, Republicans took control of both chambers of the state legislature as well.  Furthermore, Gov. Scott Walker became the only governor in American history to survive a recall attempt last June receiving more votes than he did in the 2010 gubernatorial race.  Wisconsin State Senate Republicans also faced a recall of their own on two separate occasions.  The first salvo being fired in August of 2011, where Republicans maintained the majority. The second occurred in 2012, where Democrats gained control, but turned out to be a useless exercise since the the general session will not begin until after November 2012, when the seats will be contested again.

While the race is tied, given the reaffirmation of Walker’s policies, the infrastructure Walker has built to successfully maintain his residency in the Governor’s Mansion, and the conservative swing of the state’s electorate – suffice to say that a Romney victory here is likely. Disrupting the pattern where Wisconsin has gone Democratic in nine of the last ten presidential races.

In Indiana, Romney is ahead – on average – by 9.5 points.  Safe state.

In North Carolina, Romney is up by 3.  Given that the State Democratic Party of NC was distracted by a sex scandal and was saddled with an unpopular Democratic Governor, Bev Purdue, Romney should win the state. And Republicans will take the Governor’s mansion for Pat McCrory – the Mayor of Charlotte.  When he’s elected, McCrory will be the third Republican in the past thirty-nine years.

In Florida, it looks as if “Romney has pretty much nailed [it] down,” according to Guy Benson.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air added to this sentiment noting a poll from the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald showing Gov. Romney with a comfortable six point lead.

Florida continues to look good for Mitt Romney. The Republican holds a 6-point lead in the state essential to his hopes of defeating President Barack Obama, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll.

The poll shows slight tightening, with Romney’s 51-45 lead down 1 percentage point from the Times’ statewide poll a month ago. …

Still, nearly every key indicator in theTimes’ pre-Election Day poll reveals Romney’s advantage in a state Obama won four years ago.

Florida voters trust Romney more to fix the economy and give him an edge, 50 percent to 48 percent, on who will look out more for the middle class — a stark turn from past months when Obama and his allies unleashed a barrage of TV ads portraying Romney as an out-of-touch corporate raider.

Romney even has a slight advantage on foreign policy, with 2 percent more voters saying they trust him over Obama, who has faced criticism over the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.

The Herald has an interesting analysis, one that confounds the national media narrative.  Romney now gets more crossover votes than Obama, contra to the common assumption that independents are proto-Republicans and Romney has trouble with his base:

Romney’s strengths: independent voters and more crossover support from Democrats relative to the Republicans who back Obama, according to the survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Real Clear Politics Average has Romney with a 1.5 point advantage over the president going into Election Day.

 

Virginia will be a squeaker, but given the coal counties to the far western parts of the state, especially around the town of Grundy, I think Mitt will have success.   Ed Morrissey, who along with Allahpundit and most of the full-time staff, have been doing an excellent job detailing the recent polls and debunking the liberal drivel.  He wrote that:

Mitt Romney still earns 50% support in Virginia just before Election Day.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Virginia Voters shows Romney with 50% of the vote to President Obama’s 48%. One percent (1%) likes another candidate, and another one percent (1%) is undecided.

This is unchanged from two weeks ago and the week before that when it was Romney 50%, Obama 47%.

This one’s tight enough to look at the internals, which are somewhat surprising given the closeness of the toplines.  Obama actually loses the overall gender gap by three points (-7 among men, +4 among women), but he’s also losing independents in Virginia by 21 points, 58/37.  In 2008, Obama had a +11 in the gender gap and won independents by one point, 49/48.  The D/R/I in this sample is D+2 at 38/36/25; in 2008 it was 39/33/27 but in 2009′s gubernatorial election it was 33/37/30.

Romney wins the economic argument by six points, 51/45 over Obama.  There’s a significant gender gap on this question as well, but it also favors Romney (+10 among men, +1 among women).  Romney has a 25-point lead among independents on this question, 58/33.  On the other hand, Obama does have a positive job-approval rating at 51/49, which is probably why the toplines look as close as they do.  I’d guess, though, that Virginia’s going to break significantly for Romney

Lastly, New Hampshire is a bet.  Obama is ahead of Romney by two points, but I will take a gamble, and say  that Romney will take the “Live Free or Die” state due to depressed turnout and a little luck.  It’s my wild card.  Either way, it doesn’t matter.  It’s for fun.

Right now, it’s all about turnout.  Republicans are more enthused to vote this cycle.The Huffington Post posted about Chuck Todd’s breakdown of  Republican voter enthusiasm.  Here’s what he said on Meet The Press on October 7, which was the Sunday after the first presidential debate.

CHUCK TODD: Well, it’s simply an enthusiasm gap. And we’re seeing it across the board. Look at here in this first one. 79% of Republicans call themselves extremely interested in this election. On a scale of one to ten, that means they said they’re a nine or a ten on interest in the election. 73% of Democrats.

Look at four years ago. It was a 13 point gap in favor of the Democrats. Let me go through some various voting groups. This is an important voting group. Seniors are an important voting group to Mitt Romney now. He leads them by about 10 points in our NBC Wall Street Journal poll. Look at this in engagement in the election. Four years ago was 81%, pretty higher. Even higher this time at 87%. And Romney’s doing better among seniors than McCain did.

Let me go to an important voting group for the president, young voters. Look at this engagement level: 52% now they call themselves, voters 18 to 34, call themselves extremely interested in this election. Four years ago it was 72%. That 20 gap. The president wins young voters by huge margins. He’s winning them by some 20-plus points. But if you don’t have this kind of enthusiasm, they’re not going to show up to the polls.

And then let me give you this last one here, because this is, I think, the most important one. And that’s Hispanics. The President’s winning Hispanics by 50 points. He hit the 70% mark. However, look at this in terms of interest in the election. 59% now, it was 77%. What does that mean? President got 65%, I believe, of Hispanics four years ago.

So even though he’s going to get more Hispanics, if less of them turn out, it’s a net zero. And yet, you look at Republican enthusiasm, up, senior enthusiasm, up. It’s a huge problem. And by the way, all of this, pre-debate.

Furthermore, liberals are citing polls based on 2008 turnout levels that oversample Democratic voters.  A D+13 poll isn’t an accurate gauge in this election.  We’ve had an unemployment rate above 8% for over forty consecutive months – with the rate being over 9% for twenty-six of those months.  We have $6 trillion in new debt, 23 million unemployed, and a litany of new regulations.  What has Obama shown for this investment in trickle down government?   

We have seen an anemic economic recovery, with our third quarter growth at an insipid 2%.  President Obama is the personification of the dependency agenda.  A pernicious crusade to establish a hyper-regulatory progressive state and break all institutions within our nation to the will of Washington.  More women have lost their jobs under the Obama administration, and with women more on the economic frontlines, they’ve seen that the president may not be the best choice for their checkbook.

Granted, tonight will be a LONG night. So, make sure those coffee mugs are filled, Red Bulls are plentiful, and champagne fully stocked – because Republicans should be optimistic that Gov. Romney will soon be called ‘President Romney’ fairly soon.

 

 

Slate Writer: White Guys Voting for Romney ‘In Defiance of Normal Americans’

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Remember when liberals scoffed at the fact that Romney could win more than 60% of the white vote? Not only has Romney successfully tackled that hurdle, and liberals are apparently mad about it. Tom Scocca of Slate Magazine wrote on November 2 about the “tribal appeal” that Mitt Romney has with whites and why “white people think” he’ll be a better president. I’ll give you a hint: It’s R _ C I S M.

After proudly declaring his support for President Obama (and how Slate will traditionally list all its staffers’ votes for the Democrats), Scocca insists they are not in a liberal bubble. He channels the insufferable and dismissive tone American liberalism has successfully monopolized over the past years.  He claims “White men are supporting Mitt Romney to the exclusion of logic or common sense, in defiance of normal Americans.”

“White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being. Other demographic groups set themselves apart, to pursue their distinctive identities and interests and agendas. Whiteness, to white people, is the American default,” according to Scocca.

He then cited the National Journal piece stating that Obama needs to win 80% of the minority vote to win the election.  Scocca laments “again, why are “minorities” treated as a bloc here? The story mentions no particular plan by the Obama campaign to capture the nonwhite vote. Instead, it discusses how the Romney forces hope to get a bigger share of white voters than John McCain did—by “stressing the increased federal debt” and attacking “Obama’s record on spending and welfare.”  Yes, as if, spending, welfare, and debt are code words for racism.  I wonder if Scocca will share his secret race decoder because Americans don’t have enough time to drink the amount of Ovaltine for a device of their own.

In all, Romney is polling better amongst whites, especially women, which is all due to the racism of the Romney campaign.  This   is based on “the foundation of Republican presidential politics for more than four decades, since Richard Nixon courted and won the votes of Southerners who’d turned against the Democratic Party because of integration and civil rights. The Party of Lincoln became the party of Lincoln’s assassins, leveraging white anger into a regional advantage and eventually a regional monopoly.”  Or, it could be that the economy is bad.  Women are surging in the workplace, therefore, more on the frontlines of the economic decisions in the household – and they don’t like what they see from this president.  It should also be noted that Democrats in the south supported Jim Crow legislation.  Does Gov. Ross Barnett ring a bell?

Nevertheless, Scocca claims there are two races going on right now.

And so we have two elections going on. In one, President Obama is running for re-election after a difficult but largely competent first term, in which the multiple economic and foreign-policy disasters of four years ago have at least settled down into being ongoing economic and foreign-policy problems. A national health care reform bill got passed, and two reasonable justices were appointed to the Supreme Court. Presidents have done worse in their first terms. In my lifetime—which began under the first term of an outright thug and war criminal—I’m not sure any presidents have done better. (The senile demagogue? The craven panderer? The ex-CIA director?)

In the other election, the election scripted for white voters—honestly, I’m not entirely sure what the story is. Republican campaigns have been using dog-whistle signals for so long that they seem to have forgotten how to make sounds in normal human hearing range. Mitt Romney appears to be running on the message that first of all, Obama hasn’t accomplished anything, and second of all, he’s going to repeal all the bad things that Obama has accomplished. And then Romney himself, as a practical businessman, is going to … something something, small business, something, restore America, growth and jobs, tax cuts, something. It’s a negative campaign in the pictorial sense: a blank space where the objects would go. A white space, if you will.

Granted, racism does exist in the United States, but to construe this as the overall mentality of the white electorate is disingenuous, ignorant, and outright nonsensical.  In the world of Scocca, it’s all due to the alleged race baiting.  He noted how it was racist to partake in the “baiting of Obama, throughout his term, for supposedly being unable to speak without a teleprompter.”

More bizarrely, Scocca says that “Republicans predicted, over and over, that the president would be exposed and humiliated in face-to-face debate with an opponent (Newt Gingrich especially fantasized about being that foe). Eventually this led to Clint Eastwood haranguing the empty chair. And then in the first presidential debate, Obama was slack and ineffectual against a sharp Romney. See? It was true!”  Yes, it was true.  He came unprepared, and even The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank made a citation of the president’s debate performance.  Adding that Obama’s lack of press conferences – his last one was in June – contributed to an insular mindset that produced and insipid showing in Denver.  Is Dana Milbank racist?

Concerning the 47 percent comments, Scocca noted how this was a giant race baiting move to court whites.

Here, Romney is speaking fluent White. In white people’s political English, “personal responsibility” is the opposite of “handouts,” “food stamps,” and particularly “welfare,” all of which are synonyms for “niggers.” This was Ronald Reagan’s rallying cry, and it was the defining issue for traumatized post-Reagan white Democrats. Like George Wallace vowing not to be out-niggered again, the Democratic Leadership Council and the New Republic and Bill Clinton made Ending Welfare as We Know It the policy centerpiece of the 1990s.

The actual policy never mattered. Now the Romney campaign is running ads in Ohio saying that Obama “gutted the work requirement for welfare” and “doubled the number of able-bodied adults without children on food stamps.” In mixed company, Romney glosses the food-stamp lines as concern about the country’s economic status, but that’s not why “work requirement” and “able-bodied” are in there. It’s the rusty old Confederate bugle, blown one more time.

So, is this whole get out the white vote is based on coded racism and dog whistling, or is it that Scocca is so frustrated that his favorite in this race isn’t performing as well as he did in ’08?  It’s petulant.  Forgetting the fact that Democrats haven’t won the so-called “white vote” since 1964, Scocca is saying that the whites who decided to leave the president in 2012 are racists.  Therefore, they’ve lost their credibility and their sanity as well.  They’re not “normal.”

If liberals ever get a chance to look in the mirror and ask themselves why they’re so bad at winning elections, they need to go no further than Tom Scocca’s laughable attempt at ‘white people’s studies’.  It seems the seeds of the bitter narrative liberals will hurl against Republicans in a plausible post-Obama defeat have already been laid.

Originally posted on NewsBusters.

Four More Days

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In the latest jobs report, American unemployment rose to 7.9 percent. The unemployed number increased by 170,000, to 12.3 million.

That rate is higher than the day Barack Obama took office.

Were workers unemployed long enough to have been dropped from Labor Department statistics added back in, the rate of unemployment would be closer to 14 percent.

According to Keith Hall, former Bureau of Labor Statistics chief: “We’re still talking nine or ten years” before the economy gets back to normal.

In a statement made after the numbers were announced, Mitt Romney said: “Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill. The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work. … When I’m president, I’m going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last.”

Additionally, incomes for working Americans continue to decline. According to the latest Labor Department report, average hourly earnings dropped another cent to $23.58.

Meanwhile, the rise in food stamp usage is astonishing.

According to statistics compiled by the Senate Budget Committee, for every person added to the job rolls since January 2009, 75 people have been added to the food stamp rolls.  Since January 2009, 194,000 new jobs have been created. In that same amount of time, 14.7 million have been begun receiving food stamps.

“Simply put, the President’s policies have not produced jobs. During his time in office, 14.7 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Over that same time, only 194,000 jobs were created—thus 76 people went on food stamps for every one that found a job. This is a product of low growth. Post-recession economic growth in 2010 was 2.4 percent, and dropped in 2011 to 1.8 percent. This year it has dropped again to 1.77 percent. Few, if any, net jobs will be created with growth of less than 2 percent” said Senator Jeff Sessions, a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

America deserves better.

Four more days.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/four-more-days/

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