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Jobless rate drops because fewer are looking

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From page A12 | September 13, 2013 | 26 Comments

The issue: Gloomy unemployment figures contrast with other positive economic reports

The summer, which otherwise produced a spate of positive economic news, ended on a depressing and worrisome note on the jobs front.

THE HEADLINE NUMBER was that the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in August, the lowest level in nearly five years, down from 7.4 percent in July. But the fine print attributes the drop to fewer Americans actively looking for work and thus not being counted as unemployed.

And figures revised by the U.S. Department of Labor show that the summer hiring numbers were not as rosy as first seemed. The June and July hiring figures were scaled back a combined 74,000. July went from 162,000 to 104,000, the fewest in more than a year, and June from 188,000 to 172,000. And most of those jobs were in relatively low-wage industries.

The August figure was 169,000, but one has to wonder whether if even that lackluster figure will stand up on re-examination.

To put those figures in gloomy perspective, from 2012 right up until this summer’s employment flop, the economy had been adding an average of just over 180,000 jobs a month.

The labor-force participation rate — the percentage of Americans working or actively looking for work, which has been diminishing in any case — fell from 63.4 percent to 63.2 percent, the lowest in 35 years. Economists debate whether this represents a long-term structural change in the U.S. work force or whether it is the continuing aftermath of the recession.

BUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT figures contrasted dramatically with other positive economic reports. The Institute for Supply Management trade group reported, for example, that manufacturers last month expanded at the fastest pace in more than two years and service firms grew at the fastest pace in more than eight.

What Wall Street wanted to know was what the new jobless figures meant for Federal Reserve plans to slow and eventually stop its quantitative easing, under which it currently buys $85 billion a month in T-bills and mortgage bonds to keep interest rates low.

The Fed had been expected to reduce its bond-buying by $20 billion a month starting this fall, but observers say that could be scaled back to $10 billion a month and maybe delayed altogether depending on what happens in Syria and whether the more rabid House Republicans succeed in bringing government to a halt either by refusing to raise the debt ceiling or refusing to fund government agencies if their appropriations contain money for the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”

MUCH MORE THAN just the jobless figures depend on what happens this fall.

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Discussion | 26 comments

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  • Greg JohnsonSeptember 13, 2013 - 9:31 am

    This whole "recovery" has been a sham. The Fed has poured money like chocolate syrup over the whole mess and pushed huge bubbles in stocks, bonds, and even begun a new one in real estate. The result has been all the new "wealth" going to the top one percent, loss of middle class income, and not a move in the needle for structural unemployment. Bernanke and Obama have played the whole thing the wrong way. Should have passed Simpson-Bowles and stepped onto the long road to recovery.

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  • tbSeptember 13, 2013 - 8:06 pm

    Hilarious. "Bernanke and Obama". Every time he testifies to congress Bernanke says that fiscal policy is better than monetary stimulus. But the do nothing gop blocks any fiscal response that they're all for if a fellow republican is president. Dragging down the economy is fine with the gop as long as it works to cause know-nothings to blame a democratic president. Not only has the gop blocked the normal governmental response to a sluggish economy, they've actively sabotaged recovery again and again from the 2011 credit rating downgrade they caused, to their refusal to negotiate a replacement for the "sequester," to their latest campaign to force the US to default on its debt. All so they can insure 30 million Americans don't have health insurance. "Should have passed Simpson-Bowles." Ha ha. Obama offered the gop a deal to the right of Simpson-B. this spring, they said no way. They refuse any plan that doesn't consist only of more tax cuts, increases in military spending, and oh yes, taking health insurance away from tens of millions of people. In other words, total capitulation demanded by the party that controls 1/3 of elected government and that part largely due to gerrymandering.

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  • Greg JohnsonSeptember 14, 2013 - 11:07 am

    Not sure what "normal government response to a sluggish economy" means in your book. I think Bernanke is a very good man, and I too have heard him try to push congress to act on fiscal policy. However, their comes a time when inaction is much worse than radical action. Bernanke himself has called the Fed recent actions "unconventional and experimental". WE HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE!! While politics does stand in the way of common sense frequently on both sides of the aisle, I think most republicans are legitimately and rightly terrified of the debt we're accumulating. Bernanke has pointed out that the demographics of economic disaster are still 5 years out. We will essentially be starting a 2 decade long marathon dehydrated and exhausted. Yes, the GOP is trying to take the ink out of Obama's pen before he bounces the biggest check in history (default on the US debt). All of the concepts of Obamacare are noble but it is at huge cost and we don't have the money. In addition, the CBO has recently estimated the number of uninsured in 2025 at 30 million. So, we will drive the economy to its knees and still not accomplish the fundamental goal of the legislation, and in the mean time suffer massive unintended consequences. We are going broke and Obamanomics doesn't work. Unemployment has gone nowhere, GDP growth has gone nowhere, and the debt has nearly doubled. We're in trouble!!

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  • Greg JohnsonSeptember 14, 2013 - 11:11 am

    Meant to say "inaction is better than radical action". I know it's human nature to act when there is a problem but Bernanke should just STOP PRINTING!!

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  • tbSeptember 14, 2013 - 6:28 pm

    The GOP’s rhetoric on deficits swings between smug dismissal and lunatic raving, depending on whether they hold the presidency or not. More importantly, the republican party’s record on deficits is clear and was succinctly put by D. Cheney: “deficits don’t matter”. W squandered the Clinton surplus not because there was an economic crisis rivaling the Great Depression, but because fiscal prudence didn’t matter to him or the rest of the party. Romney, reflecting GOP priorities, would have increased the deficit also. Note, under Obama it has been cut in half. Romney’s plan was to increase military spending, cut taxes, and repeal the ACA, all adding to the deficit. These deficit-raising proposals were clear and specific. When it came to cuts he would obfuscate and when pressed say something about block grants, then with no apparent irony attack Obama for making Medicare “cuts.” If we had “done nothing” as the tea party wanted, the banking system collapse would have brought down the rest of the economy, most of the American auto industry would now be toast rather than making a comeback, and unemployment would have been at Great Depression levels. It’s not unusual for an opposition party to preach doom and gloom (e.g., still waiting on the hyperinflation). What is unusual is an opposition party that refuses to negotiate and that demands 100 percent of what they want, or the economy gets it. As I said, Obama as recently as this spring offered the GOP a grand bargain to the right of Bowles-Simpson. They said no thanks. Boehner said he wouldn’t even sit down with Obama to discuss it. If you want to see more attention paid to the long term deficit then start working to remove the Birchers (current gop) out of government until they’re willing to refrain from acting like vandals.

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  • tbSeptember 14, 2013 - 6:35 pm

    The ACA does not cover illegal immigrants and our activist majority on the Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the Medicaid expansion, so yes not everyone is covered. Besides doing all they can to narrow its scope and sabotage implementation, the GOP seeks to take away coverage for the 25-30 million people who are covered. There was a time not that long ago that even many republicans admitted that we can’t afford to have the uninsured using hospital emergency rooms for their routine care. They used to say it was about personal responsibility. They also used to say they liked competition. Now competition by insurance companies on the exchanges is socialism. Now the requirement to have insurance is taking away our freedoms. And now insurance companies having to sell insurance to people that have been sick in the past, or allowing adult children up to age 26 stay on their parents insurance, or the removal of lifetime caps , is destroying our economy. Notice also the gop lied when they said “repeal and replace.” They have no plan to remedy the embarrassment of the US being the only rich country with so many citizens uninsured. Many resent the very thought of universal coverage. Remember the gop presidential debate in Texas? The cheer from the crowd that arose at the mention of letting the uninsured die?

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  • Greg JohnsonSeptember 14, 2013 - 7:46 pm

    Where to begin?? I was not aware of that remark by Cheney but it is idiotic. Clinton showed a small surplus (actually would show as a deficit if it weren't for the SS net surplus) and was fiscally prudent. We were still in debt to the tune of 5 trillion so Bush did not squander the surplus, although I think the tax cuts were a bad idea. Obama's record on deficits is disgraceful. He was left with a huge mess and handled it dreadfully. To boast about him cutting the deficit by more than anyone (I've heard this stated in the media as well) is plain absurd- nobody else could have cut the deficit by 600 billion because nobody else let it get so high. The idea that he saved us from a depression is purely conjecture which many (myself included) do not believe. I think we are in a depression now. The tea party did not exist at the time the decision was made to bail out the banks. Again, opinions vary on whether this was the best thing to do. We also don't know whether Romney's plan would have improved things but considering Obama's total failure on the economy, I would have liked to see him get the chance. An NFL coach with a 1-15 season could always say that another coach would have been winless but that doesn't fly in the NFL and shouldn't fly with voters either. With respect to Obamacare, what congress should have done was passed an individual mandate for those who can afford to self insure, and closed the gap for the other uninsured by creating or expanding some other insurance. They also should have gone after the truly low hanging fruit in healthcare waste with tort reform. Instead, egomania prevailed with Obama and particularly Pelosi and we will all pay a severe price for them trying to reinvent the wheel. People are losing work hours at many companies and 40% of small businesses recently polled cited Obamacare as a reason to refrain from hiring. To think you can mandate to businesses what they will and won't do is foolish arrogance.

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  • tbSeptember 15, 2013 - 2:21 am

    First, when Obama was sworn in he already faced a $1.2 billion deficit. This is before he lifted a finger. It is now about half that size. That’s just a fact, even if you want try to twist it to blame Obama for the deficit he started with. Second, we have a pretty good natural experiment in what austerity would have wrought. Look at the double dip recession they’ve experienced in the UK thanks to Cameron and company. Third, where was the tea party anyway while W was doubling the debt (btw while the economy was growing) so that we ended up facing the Great Recession financially depleted and exhausted, if I can paraphrase you? Fourth, in the individual market private insurers won’t cover the people who need it most because they lose money on those people. Hence the ACA regulation requiring coverage for all regardless of health status or age. Once that rule is in place the individual mandate follows naturally so that the pool is balanced and not composed primarily of sicker people. Once you have a mandate, you need to provide subsidies of some kind for those who can’t afford coverage. That’s the ACA in a nutshell. Prior to the GOP anti-Obama jihad this was understood by more than a few republicans not as socialism, but as a market-based alternative to Medicare for all. Ask Mitt Romney. Fifth, we already have tort reform in many states and it’s a blip in terms of health care costs. Texas is big on tort reform, yet they have the highest rate of residents without insurance. Looks like I got the last word, eh?

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  • Greg JohnsonSeptember 15, 2013 - 9:33 am

    Obama did inherit a mess. Unlike you, I am not riding the partisan line. It was not all due to Bush. It was due to Wall street greed, government stupidity for pushing loans to those who would not or could not pay the money back, and decades of government shortsightedness on both sides. The fuse for the explosion was ridiculous lending practices begun here and followed by much of the world. So, yes, Obama inherited a mess. But he has made it a much bigger mess. His first deficit or two was "baked in" but he has continued to spend like a drunken sailor and would have done more if the republicans did not reign him in. He has nearly doubled the debt under Bush and all who preceded him. That's a fact. If you look at the increase in the debt of the Eurozone vs. the US in the past 5 years, you will see that ours has soared in comparison. Yes, we have put lipstick on a pig with 6-7 trillion in new debt, and a 4 trillion dollar Fed balance sheet. We are like the family next door who buys all the cool stuff, and throws the best party before their house goes into foreclosure. Europe may emerge sooner and stronger due to some fiscal discipline. YOU CAN"T KEEP SPENDING MONEY YOU DONT HAVE!! With respect to the ACA, I told you I agree with all the principles but it will be an anchor that will drown this economy. I couldn't believe when Pelosi said "Let's pass it and then we'll find out what's in it". Someone should be fired for an idiotic statement like that. And then they celebrated passing a 3rd entitlement (along with SS and Medicare) when the first 2 are destined to fail. I am no fan of inurance companies and their lack of ethics but Obamacare is not the answer. Nearly 70 percent of Americans don't want it. They have wised up, so maybe you should try to see what they already have.

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  • tbSeptember 16, 2013 - 11:12 pm

    Maybe you’re not a partisan yet you claim the ACA will drive the economy to its knees, it’s Obama’s fault we don’t have a Bowles-Simpson like deal, and Obama has spent like a drunken sailor - all gop talking points, all inaccurate. Pelosi’s comment was awkward and ill-advised because it was ripe for taking out of context and broadcasting around the clock on Fox in a truncated version. But her overall point was accurate. She was listing the benefits of the bill, such as no co-pays for preventive care, and pointing out they were getting lost in the disinformation campaign being waged against it. With the volume of propaganda, death panels, socialism etc, what the law actually consisted of was being drowned out. Polling shows this to be the case over and over. The individual components of the law are mostly popular, while big bad Obamacare is less so. People with more information are more likely to approve also. With the law being phased in it has allowed all manner of distortion and scary scenarios to be invented and repeated to sway public opinion. The GOP’s worst fear now is not that the law is so freedom-stealing and catastrophic, but that their rhetoric and scare stories are about to be revealed to be way overblown, similar to the situation after Medicare was passed. My question for you, since it’s so obvious to you that Obama willfully and recklessly piled up debt, and with all the advantages of a Monday-morning quarterback, is what would you have done differently in your annual budgets as president 2009-forward? Keep in mind your opposition feels no need to work with you through a national economic crisis, and from Day 1 in fact has a goal of undermining you through the unprecedented use/abuse of the filibuster etc.

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  • Rich RifkinSeptember 15, 2013 - 5:31 pm

    tb: "When Obama was sworn in he already faced a $1.2 billion deficit." ...... Not true. The federal deficit in 2008, the year before Obama took office, was a then-record $641.85 billion. Where you came up with $1.2 billion is unclear. ...... "This is before he lifted a finger. It is now about half that size." ...... No, the federal deficit is not half of $1.2 billion. The 2013 deficit will be $1.0064 trllion. That is 838.67 times as great as $1.2 billion. Yet, the federal deficit today has come down from the now record deficit of $1.550 trillion set in 2009, when Obama was in his first year as president. ...... "That’s just a fact." ...... Alas, nothing you wrote is factual in the least. Good effort, though.

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  • tbSeptember 15, 2013 - 8:55 pm

    tb: "When Obama was sworn in...” vs. Rich Rifkin: “The federal deficit in 2008, the year before Obama took office...” Quoting a budget figure that only covers through sept. 2008 isn’t relevant to what I wrote. Nice try though. My point was Obama’s policies were not even enacted and already, according to the CBO, he was looking at a $1.2 trillion deficit. (The “billion” typo was pretty obviously a typo I think). The 2013 fy deficit will be less than $750 billion, not a trillion dollars, according to the CBO: cbo.gov/publication/44552 And more good news for the deficit doom and gloomers – the deficit is projected to be lower next year too. We just need to get the gop’s drunken hands off the wheel in the House so we can stop them from swerving into every ditch/brick wall/oncoming train they see.

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  • Rich RifkinSeptember 16, 2013 - 9:50 am

    tb: "Quoting a budget figure that only covers through sept. 2008 isn’t relevant to what I wrote. Nice try though." ....... The deficit number I quoted is for the entire calendar year of 2008. It and the other deficit numbers I used come from a table listed on the whitehouse.gov website. Just Google "whitehouse.gov historical tables." You will find the annual deficit numbers going back quite a few years and also estimates going forward. And FWIW, I am not a partisan. I am not sure why you think my quoting those numbers provided by the White House economists makes me some sort of Republican shill.

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  • greg johnsonSeptember 15, 2013 - 6:56 pm

    However tb, maybe you can get a job as a pundit at msNBC as they don't let the facts get in the way of their narrative either!!

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  • tbSeptember 15, 2013 - 8:58 pm

    yes, I’m aware that CBO data, like information from NOAA, or non-republican polling outfits, is generally considered untrustworthy by gop true believers, unless it happens to confirm their prejudices.

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  • Greg JohnsonSeptember 19, 2013 - 5:55 pm

    tb, check out the projections for future debt and deficits from the CBO. Using their numbers I saw a graphic representation this morning on CNBC showing that the debt per taxpayer is estimated to be 1.2 million dollars by 2044. We cannot afford to run these deficits!!

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  • tbSeptember 20, 2013 - 12:59 am

    Greg Johnson, Nice job reviving the thread. As far as 2044 I'm going to start filling my piggy bank now with spare couch change so I'll be good for my portion. What about you? What's your solution? The priorities of the party controlling the House are to refuse to negotiate with the president, increase military spending, cut taxes on the wealthy, and force a default to appease extreme right-wing voters that control primary contests in gerrymandered gop districts . The cbo scoring on that program wouldn't be pretty in debt terms. You can probably guess where my solution to the long term debt problem and a few others as well would start.

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  • Greg JohnsonSeptember 20, 2013 - 2:52 pm

    The priorities of the party controlling the House are to refuse to negotiate with the president, increase military spending, cut taxes on the wealthy, and force a default to appease extreme right-wing voters that control primary contests in gerrymandered gop districts. If this is all you have to say, you might as well just send me a link for the Ed Show on msNBC, or is it Mr. Ed? Can't remember. One is about a talking horse, and the other is a talking head who's a horse's..... Anyway, apparently you have a lot more change in your couch than I do. I am not a partisan. I certainly side with the GOP's point of view with respect to Obamacare but I don't think that defunding is appropriate. Then again, I don't think the way they passed it (clear misuse of reconciliation) was appropriate. I am extremely concerned about the damage it will do to the economy and probably to the quality of care for those of us already insured, although the ideals are hard to criticize. With respect to my solutions. If congress died and left me boss, I would: 1) repeal Obamacare and find an alternative way to insure the uninsured, 2) raise taxes on the wealthy (current 39% to one million, and 10% higher with each additional million in income) to push that money into the middle where it benefits the economy, 3) increase the tax base (it is simply wrong that 47% paid no federal income tax 2 of the last 4 years-we all should have skin in the game), 4) Cut the size of the military by at least half (Ron Paul is 100% correct when he says we can't be the world's policemen), 5) Fire Bernanke (who was a Bush appointee by the way) because his policies have benefited Wall Street only, 6) Grab the low hanging fruit in healthcare costs by doing meaningful tort reform, 7) Crack down on abuse of government programs. I've talked to UCD students who have student friends who are on food stamps although they admit they don't need it. I have been told by someone working in the food stamp department that there is no wealth limit as long as your income is low. One could own their house free and clear, have solar power, and live on a small income with a million in the bank all while collecting food stamps. The person I talked to told me she once had an apartment building owner apply. Anyone who collects unemployment or welfare should have to do some community work. It is a bad practice to reward avoidance of employment. I am all for helping those who need it but their is a ton of abuse going on, and we can't afford it. That is not an exhaustive list but those are the big items. Obama may be a good person but he is a spender, pure and simple. You seem to like facts unless they interfere with your narrative. Obama has increased the debt enormously and will not stop. He will break the economic back of this nation.

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  • tbSeptember 21, 2013 - 11:45 pm

    re your debt solution: There’s enough overlap between your list and what seems reasonable to me that we could agree on a plan to solve the debt problem. Likewise you and Obama could solve the debt problem. You’re both in favor of a mix of spending cuts and tax increases; that’s all he’s asked for in a grand bargain. OTOH, say you were in Obama’s position and presented your long-term deficit reduction proposal to congress. Sorry, but it’s DOA in the House. The GOP rejects any plan that increases revenues. Doesn’t matter if it’s paired with entitlement cuts of the sort they claim they want. Even limiting tax deductions is DOA with them. Boehner said earlier this year taxes are theft. It’s a raging ideological fixation that they will not compromise on. Some of the things on your list they would support, like the ACA repeal, will raise the deficit (source: CBO, not MSNBC). Tort reform might save as much as half a percent of total medical spending. The majority of states already have it. Under Obama major reforms have been passed aimed in part at reducing medical errors (e.g., electronic medical records, limiting payment for hospital readmissions), so prevention to reduce injuries and deaths, and the number of lawsuits filed in the first place. Food stamp fraud is very low (1% according to the USDA fns.usda.gov/snap/fraud/fraud_2.htm ) and the program does have low asset limits (no more than $2000 in the bank if you’re under 60 according to the USDA website), other than your house if you happen to own one. So I guess it’s possible there could be one or two guys who think it’s a sweet deal to live in a nice house set up with solar power who then choose to limit their income to poverty level in order to cash in on a couple of bucks per meal food subsidy, as their dwelling crumbles around them from lack of upkeep and the county eventually takes it for failure to pay property taxes. Welfare has work requirements (Clinton’s “end welfare as we know it”). All the safety net programs combined are only 12 percent of the federal budget.

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  • greg johnsonOctober 04, 2013 - 6:58 pm

    Just checked and saw your response. We probably could agree. I am an independent and disagree with republicans on many things including most social issues, and the size of the military. Morally, I think wealthy people pay enough taxes already, maybe too much. However, we are in a crisis so I would advocate more taxation on them now. I like capitalism but it failing on some fronts now and policy could correct some of this. With respect to the ACA, I have heard CBO numbers reported that it will cost 1.8 trillion over the next 10 years. I remember when they were trying to make the numbers work so that Obama could make it less fiscally offensive, they had to start funding it before the benefits started. It was fuzzy math if I ever saw it. There's no doubt in my mind that it will be costly in terms of economic growth and deficits, and time will tell. It is based on good moral principles but this is a time for saving the country from financial ruin, not trying to right the wrongs. With respect to food stamps, I think the one percent is nonsense. I talk to people all the time who tell me personal stories of known abuse. With respect to Obama (who I voted for once and never forgave myself), he is a good man, but a horrible president. He is a philosopher and a dreamer and should be teaching at Berkeley and not occupying the white house. If he had both houses, he would spend us into oblivion. Although I have issues with the republicans, I think they are trying to avoid an economic collapse which I also believe is coming. Some, I'm sure, are just obstructionists, but others see, as I do, that we are flying the plane into the mountain and we have to pull up on the controls, i.e. STOP SPENDING!!!

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  • tbOctober 07, 2013 - 2:37 pm

    Hey what you know the thread is still going. The ACA funding has been gradually phased in, as have the benefits. Going by memory I’m pretty sure the main taxes preceded the opening of the exchanges by a year or so. Sounds like good planning, not fuzzy math. In any event, the CBO estimates were for greater, yes greater, savings the second decade of the ACA. Any issues of timing of the start of benefits versus funding are moot at that point as the entire law would be in place for the full decade. The ACA may not be perfect but it should be an improvement getting a bunch of people out of expensive and inefficient emergency rooms, reducing unreimbursed care for hospitals, reforming Medicare payments, reducing personal bankruptcies, freeing up more people to be entrepreneurs rather than sticking with a deadend job just for the healthcare, 25-30 million newly insured...

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  • tbOctober 07, 2013 - 3:05 pm

    Greg Johnson: What are you basing your all caps spending!!!! on anyway? Because of deficits? They are coming down rapidly. The loss of revenue due to the Great Recession has been the primary cause of the huge deficits we’ve had, along with the Bush tax cuts and automatic stabilizers kicking in. The stimulus (40 percent tax cuts btw) was one-time spending to stave off a depression. “W” signed a stimulus bill for a tiny little recession back when that was considered OK because it wasn’t Obama doing it. Government jobs have been almost flat under Obama, same with military spending. The “crazy spending” theme is right wing radio pandering for those not paying attention. The gop is not the party of debt reduction. The last time they controlled the presidency and congress under Bush II they said the surplus had to be given back to tax payers in the form of huge tax cuts, not pay down the debt. Still waiting for them to call for repeal of the Bush policies that doubled the debt e.g., Medicare part d, tax cuts. They are the party of government hatred which policy-wise translates, in part, into trying to cut social spending for the poor, but of course that’s not where the big money is. Their “base” is disproportionately dependent on SS and Medicare so those huge expenditures are treated with kid gloves. Any deficit reduction gained through cuts to the safety net for the poor is swamped by their love of huge tax cuts and increased military spending.

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  • tbOctober 07, 2013 - 3:11 pm

    Greg Johnson cont: OTOH, Obama has said he would agree to real entitlement adjustments. Just this spring he said OK to COLA adjustments for social security if Boehner would agree to close tax loopholes as part of a long-term deficit reduction package. This is when the gop said no more budget negotiations, and to top it off attacked Obama for a “shocking attack on seniors” or similar phrasing, when they had asked for that very concession he offered. This is my point. They are not a serious partner in governing. They only want to tear down the president and delegitimize him (and by extension the majorities that have elected him twice). This has been made clear once again by their reckless behavior over the last week or so. They precipitate a crisis over the budget, tying it to the repeal of an unrelated law, then say well let’s throw in an oil pipeline and a grab bag of other issues that we can’t pass through the normal democratic process, too. Or, we don’t actually know what we want but we need to get something to make sure we’re not disrespected. And, more recently, default will “bring stability to world markets.” This is all after Cantor conceded, just a month ago, that the democrats had already compromised in agreeing to CR levels at the tea party budget levels. Around the same time Boehner agreed to bring a CR with no strings attached to a vote, but even though according to even republicans there are sufficient votes to pass it, he now refuses to allow the vote that will end this charade. The argument that the gop is demonstrating its concern with the debt by threatening default is absurd. That’s like saying I’m worried about the fuel buildup in the forest being a fire hazard while striking matches and throwing them into the tinder.

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  • tbOctober 07, 2013 - 3:59 pm

    Greg Johnson continued: OTOH, Obama has said he would agree to real entitlement adjustments. Just this spring he said OK to COLA adjustments for social security if Boehner would agree to close tax loopholes as part of a long-term deficit reduction package. This is when the gop said no more budget negotiations, and to top it off attacked Obama for a “shocking attack on seniors” or similar phrasing, when they had asked for that very concession he offered. This is my point. They are not a serious partner in governing. They only want to tear down the president and delegitimize him (and by extension the majorities that have elected him twice). This has been made clear once again by their reckless behavior over the last week or so. They precipitate a crisis over the budget, tying it to the repeal of an unrelated law, then say well let’s throw in an oil pipeline and a grab bag of other issues that we can’t pass through the normal democratic process, too. Or, we don’t actually know what we want but we need to get something to make sure we’re not disrespected. And, more recently, default will “bring stability to world markets.” This is all after Cantor conceded, just a month ago, that the democrats had already compromised in agreeing to CR levels at the tea party budget levels. Around the same time Boehner agreed to bring a CR with no strings attached to a vote, but even though according to even republicans there are sufficient votes to pass it, he now refuses to allow the vote that will end this charade. The argument that the gop is demonstrating its concern with the debt by threatening default is absurd. That’s like saying I’m worried about the fuel buildup in the forest being a fire hazard while striking matches and throwing them into the tinder.

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  • tbOctober 07, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    G Johnson cont: OTOH, Obama has said he would agree to real entitlement adjustments. Just this spring he said OK to COLA adjustments for social security if Boehner would agree to close tax loopholes as part of a long-term deficit reduction package. This is when the gop said no more budget negotiations, and to top it off attacked Obama for a “shocking attack on seniors,” when they had asked for that very concession he offered. This is my point. They are not a serious partner in governing. This has been made clear once again by their reckless behavior over the last week or so. They precipitate a crisis over the budget, tying it to the repeal of an unrelated law, then say well let’s throw in an oil pipeline and other stuff that we can’t pass through the normal democratic process. Or, we don’t actually know what we want but we need to get something to make sure we’re not disrespected. And, more recently, default will “bring stability to world markets.” This is all after Cantor conceded, just a month ago, that the democrats had already compromised in agreeing to CR levels at the tea party budget levels. Around the same time Boehner agreed to bring a CR with no strings attached to a vote, but he now refuses to allow the vote. The argument that the gop is demonstrating its concern with the debt by threatening default is absurd. That’s like saying I’m worried about the fuel buildup in the forest being a fire hazard while striking matches and throwing them into the tinder.

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  • greg johnsonOctober 16, 2013 - 7:42 pm

    Hi tb. Just saw your responses. Are you off your meds again? You're flying off into a monologue with no competing commentary. Let's cut to the chase. You think we are in recovery, I don't. You think we have fiscal responsibility, I don't. You think the ACA will work, I don't. You think Obama is a functional president, I don't. You think republicans are evil people who are just trying to stop people from having health care, I don't (at least not most of them, I'm sure some are just obstructionists, both parties have them). I hope Bernanke's insanity works. I hope the ACA is a wild success. I hope the deficit continues to fall (that is, to a reasonable level, although budget projections by your beloved CBO say they will ramp up fast in a few years). I hope all these things. The reason I could never be a liberal is not because I have different desires (I love the dream of peace, freedom, and equality, and IMAGINE by John Lennon is one of the best songs ever written and a beautiful CONCEPT) but because in matters of business and politics I am grounded in reality. We are stealing from the future and have no hope of coming out of this free fall without a dose of reality. What will happen to the romantic images of the left when our creditors say no, and people are burning down the cities because the handout is no longer available?

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