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Category Archives: Economy

The Republican Convention was at a definite disadvantage. They went first. Never ideal. They lost a day, thanks to Isaac. And they built their entire convention on a lie. They are running against a figment of their collective imaginations. The Obama who hates success, hates America and hates taking responsibility for the economy. It is an Obama as nonexistent as the straw man floating above Clint Eastwood’s empty chair.

The Democrats, by contrast, are building their convention on Obama’s record and agenda: expanding opportunity. Equal pay for equal work, equal access to healthcare, Pell grants for greater college opportunity, the rescue of jobs tied to the US auto industry and the overturning of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so homosexuals can openly fight for the country they love. These are accomplishments that move the country forward. And accomplishments tend to make for better speeches than trumped up fear mongering.  But what was striking about the first night of the Democratic convention was the unbridled patriotism of it all. The Democrats’ love of country is positively passionate! Just as the Republicans tried to build an entire convention around a gaffe in an Obama speech, this convention is taking Romney’s premise that the best we have felt about Obama was the day we cast our vote for him and deftly turned it on its head. The Democrats feel just fine about Obama. And some seem as smitten with him as the First Lady, who, as it turns out, may be the best orator in the Obama household.

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Rich Lowery discusses the upsides and downsides of the tax-payer funded Obama Corporation:

The interlocking directorate is anathema to trustbusters and corporate watchdogs. It occurs when a board member or top executive of one company sits on the board of another company, accumulating undue power over a given industry. When it reduces competition, the arrangement is forbidden by the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.

If Henry De Lamar Clayton, the Alabama congressman who introduced the aforementioned act, were still with us, he’d presumably be shocked at the creation of the most far-reaching interlocking directorate in U.S. history. Obama Inc. has effectively won a seat on the board of companies at the heart of the nation’s industrial production and its financial system. The robber barons of old would marvel at the tentacles of influence of Barack Obama, a CEO whose power would overawe J. P. Morgan (the famous industrialist, not the bailed-out bank).

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In difficult negotiations with business, Obama has the advantage of sitting at both sides of the table. This makes the art of the deal considerably simpler than when Donald Trump wrote about it years ago. Consider the matter of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy), the mileage standards that have been resisted by automakers for decades in a multifaceted regulatory and legal battle featuring enviros, the state of California, and industrial-state lawmakers. The other day, Obama snipped the Gordian knot in an offhand swipe with his fingernail clippers.

FAMILY

The Democrats used to fight for the little guy. But these days, the little guy is defined as the middle-class. And in this recession the middle-class definitely needs a champion. He is losing his job, his 401K and his home. He is losing something else. The ability to contribute to charities. Which brings us to the littler guy: the poor. Rev. Jesse Jackson describes their predicament:

When the economy catches a cold, the poor suffer pneumonia. When the economy catches pneumonia, as this one has, poor people are reduced to emergency conditions.

Across America, poverty is rising. Food kitchens can’t meet demand. Shelters are overcrowded. Lines grow at public clinics and emergency rooms. The homeless crowd around grates and park benches in large cities. Desperation is growing.

The poor, of course, are the last hired and the first fired. Too many can find work only when the economy is at full employment. Too many lose work when the economy grows weaker.

Now, cities and states are facing severe budget crises. States cut back on Medicaid funds. Libraries that provide warmth as well as substance are shuttered. With the stock market suffering deep losses, charities are having trouble raising their budgets, much less raising the funds needed to respond to the current crisis.

For too many young people, jail becomes a comparatively secure environment. We overcrowd our prisons — more than 2 million are in jail, far more per capita than any other industrial nation. These are harsh, arbitrary, ugly environments — and they are meant to be. Yet, prisons provide 21 meals a week. Schools provide five lunches a week for poor children. Prisons provide shelter with heat. Homeless families lack both.

“Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.”–Proverbs 31

Sarah Palin has been a gift from above. Her sassy ineptitude, her filibustering facility with the English language and her moose-in-the-headlights refusal to blink has drawn fire away from Joe Biden. Biden, a non-stop gaffe machine, has come off as Winston Churchill by comparison. And I’m sure he will trounce her in the debate. So Democrats, send this pitbull-hockey-mom-baracuda a bouquet ( and a subscription to the Washington Post). Then Republicans, yank her from the ticket. Put Romney in. It is the sort of October surprise that could pull it out for McCain. It’s easy: Romney’s a billionaire captain of industry with a “secret plan for the economy” (it needs work, but I’m sure Rove can finese what you call it). And, best of all, he is the former Governor on a state that shares an ocean with Spain.

They have worked out a bipartisan deal.  My guess? At least one of these jokers is going to get crucified.

So the man who wanted more debates and town hall meetings is trying to postpone his first encounter with Obama. Could it be that his drop in the polls makes McCain want to move the first debate to a more convenient time? Like when Russia is invading another country or when Iran is bombing Israel? The Republicans’ $700-billion bailout of Wall Street certainly is not the best week for the GOP candidate to have to face off the Democrat candidate. And clearly, positioning the delay as putting country first is smart for McCain. But the fact is, this messy bailout business is going to drown out international news for the next many weeks. All of which redounds to Obama’s favor. I mean, has anyone even noticed that North Korea has kicked out weapons inspectors today? It’s the economy and McCain isn’t stupid.

The New York Times has come up with this helpful graphic. I love it!

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Obama is like that professor we had in college. The good one. The one that made things interesting. The one who made things make sense. The one who could put the snapshot of now into the big picture of then. That’s what Obama has done in his recent speeches. He put racism in its greater context. He gave us the big picture. He did it again today at Cooper Union where he spoke on the economy. He didn’t just talk about what isn’t working or how it’s all the GOP’s fault. He gave us the big picture. He made everything make sense. He made economics interesting. This is more than a gift for inspiring oratory, this is the gift of a brilliant mind. Imagine, a guy like that in the Oval Office! It’s been a while.

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Another win for Hillary. This time without as much as a whimper. Just a hard-fought victory with the usual political shennanigens. The real news is not Senator Clinton. Or the second-place Obama. The real news is John Edwards. The champion of the little guy is now looking very much like the little guy himself, netting on 4% of the vote. I mean, that’s Dennis Kucinich kind of numbers. Yikes! So John, isn’t time you walk away from what is clearly a two-man race? Isn’t it time you let the front-runners fight for the economically disenfranchised? Isn’t time you took a rest from your populist hokum? Spend some time with your family. Write your memoirs. Shoot, go treat yourself to another $300 haircut. You deserve it.

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Well, spending the family fortune has finally paid off. Romney wins Michigan. Mitt grabs the gold. Not so fast. This win has less to do with mad-money ad spending, and more to do with the power of a brand. Mitt’s victory isn’t about his economic plan, his upbeat rust-belt promises or his mannequin-head good looks. It all comes down to the power of the name Romney. Romney is a name Michigan can trust. Romney is a name that hearkens back to a vibrant automobile industry, an ascendant economy; a Michigan that used to be. Romney is a brand name. Sadly, it’s the same phenomenon that put a guy named George Bush in the White House in 2000. George Bush is a Presidential name. After all, we just had a guy with the exact same name in the oval office. It’s the reason that a gal named Clinton has a very good chance to be the next President of the United State. She has a brand name–– a name that a lazy, uninformed, and ultimately Pavlovian electorate can trust. The problem with this country is not red states and blue states. It is lack of imagination. And its why the name Romney will always beat out a John Doe or even a John McCain. At least, in Michigan.

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Okay, I’m just thinking out loud here. But go with me. The next presidential election, let’s elect some oil man from Texas. You know, a guy who is cozy with the Saudis. Then––just to be on the safe side––we’ll invade some oil-rich, middle eastern country. Some sort of preemptive strike. Are you with me so far? We’ll throw our weight around as the last remaining Superpower… and badda bing, badda boom: a record drop in the price of oil. Sound like a plan? Right? A no-brainer. So why are oil prices at a record high––$100 a barrel? Will somebody explain this to me? Okay. Plan B. We elect a woman with no connections to the petroleum industry, we snub the Saudis, withdraw from an oil-rich…