In the Magic Land of Obamaworld

Obamacare just keeps clunking along. News alert: another unilateral change announced by President Obama. I’ve lost count on these. We now are told that those who have individual policies (that haven’t already been canceled) and those who have plans in small businesses can keep their plans for two more years before they will be forced to switch. The exact date for this extension runs into October 2016. Let’s see. What’s going on at that time? Could it be this is some kind of strategy to ensure a peaceful transition from Obama to Hillary Clinton? No, that can’t be. That would be entirely a political decision, and no one would be that blatant, right?

In the short term, the president has another tactic for drawing our attention away from the bloodletting that’s occurring with Obamacare—raise the minimum wage.

Direct Your Attention

Democrats see this as a winning formula for this year’s congressional elections. If Republicans will fight the hike, they will be portrayed as heartless and cruel. Never mind the actual economics of a minimum wage increase:

Minimum Wage

Historically, that’s exactly what happens. Businesses, in order to follow the law, have to hire fewer workers.

Unemployed

Those who suffer the most are the very ones this is supposed to help. This will raise the pay of some, while making it more difficult for others—mostly young people trying to start out—to climb the ladder economically:

You're Welcome

There’s no getting around the reality of the situation:

Telegram

If this doesn’t phase you, check your status—you may be living in a fantasy called Obamaworld.

The Obamacare Follies (cont.)

I might as well continue the Obamacare commentary today, particularly since political cartoonists are having such a wonderful time skewering all the latest follies emanating from it. Their inventiveness in depicting its foibles and the president’s stumbling and unconstitutional efforts to salvage it is impressive.

The most Alice-in-Wonderland defense of the law’s job-destroying features came directly from a White House spokesman, a supposed economist who tried to convince a stunned public that losing all these jobs was actually a good thing for people:

Lucky

Believe it or not, that was even too bizarre for some of the Obama media. Yet there will always be a segment of the population that can be fooled all the time:

Full Speed Ahead

It may dawn on them someday that this is not really a benefit.

The other half of the incredulity that has become the Obama administration was another of the endless “revisions” to the Obamacare law, to the point now that it’s hardly even a law anymore. It’s only whatever the president wants it to be from day to day. Imagine trying to accomplish anything in life if you never can rely on the steadiness of the law. If the Obama approach were to be applied to sports, for instance, no game would ever be played:

Rules

Chess Rules Living Document

It’s even worse when the Constitution is viewed as a so-called “living” document. If it gets in the way, throw it out.

What’s all this really about? Political survival. Getting past the November congressional elections. Letting the next administration take the heat from Obamacare’s consequences by putting off the full results as long as possible.

RX

I’m just hoping that final panel won’t become reality. If it does, our agony will be ongoing.

Obamacare: Killing the Workforce & the Work Ethic

When the CBO report came out last week, tripling its previous estimate of potential job losses via Obamacare, the number should have been shocking to everyone. Whenever a policy strips 2.3 million people from the full-time job market, one might expect concern on both ends of the political spectrum. Not so.

Instead, we have the spectacle of Democrats defending the loss of jobs by saying it’s a good thing that people won’t be locked in to their jobs—that they will have free time to do other things instead. That’s great. I like doing other things, too. But paying the bills is kind of important, isn’t it?

Liberation from Work

And what about the nation’s work ethic? When do subsidies get to the point that we undermine even the will to work?

Won't Work

No matter how you try to dress up this pig called Obamacare, it’s still a pig [I apologize ahead of time to those in the pig-loving community]. The economics of it just don’t make sense:

Economic Footprint

In an attempt to fix something that didn’t need a massive overhaul in the first place, we’ve created an even greater problem. It’s as if this administration went out of its way to kill any hope of a genuine recovery:

Run Over Jobs

Some of us already were concerned about the death panels for individuals. Now that concern has enlarged its scope:

US Workforce

There is nothing good about Obamacare. It needs to be the object of a death panel.

The New Economic Reality

Now that the Syria issue has been resolved—I mean, what could go wrong with Russia and the UN now involved?—perhaps we should turn our attention back to other matters. Congress is planning more hearings on the scandals that plague this administration; Benghazi is making a comeback, as well it should. Obamacare is rumored to begin running in October with the inauguration of state exchanges. Never mind that hardly any state is prepared for this and that the law is falling apart on its own. The push to defund this monstrosity is gaining ground.

Then there’s the economy, which the administration continues to try to spin as a “recovery.” Look at the numbers, they say—the unemployment rate is now down to 7.3%. Yes, let’s look at those numbers, carefully. What they would like to hide—and the media provides them the cover they need—is that the only reason the unemployment rate is dropping is because more people than ever have given up seeking a job and are no longer counted as part of the workforce. Our labor market is now at the lowest ebb since the Carter years. Do we really want to repeat that history?

Jobless Rate Fell

If the labor market were at the same level as when Obama took office, the umemployment rate would stand closer to 11% right now. But wait, there’s more.

What they—the administration and the media—also want to hide is that the majority of jobs being created are now part-time. A major factor in this is the threat of that looming Obamacare. Employers, seeing economic armageddon for themselves in the Obamacare requirements, are reducing the number of full-time workers to a minimum. The traditional job market, in which a person enters with a lower-rung, part-time job and works his way up to full-time, is now turned on its head:

Employment Cycle

This has become the new reality, and it’s not pretty. There’s only one way out of this:

 Turn Right

But that’s going to be up to the voters. Have they learned their lesson?

The United States of Detroit?

What happens after six decades of Democrat policies? Detroit. The city that, in 1960, had the highest per capita income in the nation and a population of 1.8 million, is now bankrupt and has lost over a million citizens, down to about 700,000. When I say Democrat policies, I’m also referring to the cozy relationship between Democrats and Big Unions. The auto industry failed for reasons that can be traced to bad decisions by management combined with concessions to union demands. That attitude carried over to the public-sector unions, whose pensions and other perks have now created greater liabilities than the tax base of Detroit can cover. City government ran huge deficits every year, refusing to cut back on spending. This coalition of Democrat politicians and union dominance spelled disaster:

Politics & Unions

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not rejoicing over this. But it’s a valuable lesson we need to learn as a nation. Not just cities, but whole states are in the same precarious situation as Detroit now finds itself. Where will the falling dominoes end?

Dem Work Zone

We can’t see beyond California in the cartoon above, but the threat is national. At the federal government level, we’ve gone on a spending spree the last five years that has dwarfed all the deficit spending we’ve done in previous administrations. Obama and his people have attempted to spend us into prosperity; not only does that never work, but it’s logically incoherent.

All the stimulus bills in the world won’t bring prosperity. The administration tries to point to the unemployment rate as a positive indicator. Since when has 7.6% unemployment ever been a positive thing? Especially after four years of artificially pumping up the economy? What they don’t want anyone to know is that we’ve never had so many people drop out of the labor force; consequently, the 7.6% is illusory. It doesn’t count all those who have given up finding a job. Neither does it take into account those who are trying to hold things together with part-time jobs:

 Ain't So Hard

Jobs Day

Ah, but the stock market is soaring. All is right with the world. That’s another illusion. Much of the gain we’ve seen there has to do with all the money being printed. It’s artificial as well. We are quickly becoming an economic basket case. Something needs to change before we become the United States of Detroit.

Farewell to the Jobs Council–We Hardly Knew Ye

In 2009, President Obama created the Jobs Council to work very hard on recommendations for strengthening the economy. The Chair was Jeffrey Immelt, who runs General Electric. He’s also a big Obama supporter on this “non-partisan” council. Another prominent member was Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, which provided the shock troops for Obama in the last election. Good to know he’s non-partisan as well. There also were probably some genuine people on this council that really wanted to do something useful. However, since its inception nearly four years ago, the council has met only four times, the last meeting occurring one year ago. Apparently, they had nothing to talk about. The economy is thriving, jobs are being created at a record pace, and . . . oh, wait a minute . . . sorry, that was a White House talking point, not an actual report.

Last week, the Jobs Council was shut down for good. There’s no longer a need for it since its main purpose seemed to be providing cover for the president. It created the appearance he was doing something about the economy. Now that he’s won reelection, the need to provide cover has dissipated.

Jobs Council or not, we’re still stuck in the same old economy we’ve had throughout the Obama years, and we continue to hear the same old refrain for why things are dragging:

Yes, unlike the Jobs Council, the blame game has not shut down.

With this approach, don’t expect anything to improve anytime soon.

Tax Rates: Reagan vs. Obama

Now that we’re talking about taxing the rich more and face the specter of all the Bush tax cuts being eliminated, I thought I’d look up some figures from the 1980s to see what happened when Ronald Reagan lowered the tax rates. How did this affect revenue? An article from the Cato Institute provides the numbers. The author of the article, Richard Rahn, notes that most of the Reagan tax cuts were applied to those in the middle- and lower-income brackets, which is something that may surprise some readers who are used to being told Republicans only give tax breaks to the rich.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), total tax revenues in the 1980s did fall as a portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but the reason that percentage went down is because the economy grew at an astounding rate. In real terms, it grew 34.3% from 1982 to 1989, “much faster than the 24.3% rate expected even by economists within the Reagan administration. Thus, by the time President Reagan left office, the economy was generating more tax revenue at a maximum 28% rate than many on the left forecast it to generate at a maximum 70% rate.”

In other words, there is a point at which higher tax rates are counterproductive. More revenue can be obtained with moderate rates than with high ones. Rahn concludes, “The Reagan tax-rate reductions did, in fact, pay for themselves—but it took about seven years.”

When Obama says he will only increase taxes on the rich, he’s talking about those who make more than $200,000 per year. Yet many small businesses fall in that category, and they are the ones who create most of the new jobs and fund new investment. In effect, the president will be declaring war on small businesses, and in the process putting more people in the unemployment lines.

In my opinion, that might be what he wants to do. The more people who are dependent on the government for their sustenance, the more loyalty he will generate for himself and his administration. His ideology is Marxist at its core, and he doesn’t really care to create prosperity via the private sector. He would rather see it shrink and watch the government grow more powerful.

Some may protest: surely he wouldn’t want us to follow the same path as other bankrupt nations, would he? I’m not so sure. An ideologue is an ideologue—it’s what motivates him.

We see the same thing happening in some states. California is a prime example. Gov. Jerry Brown is leading the state into increased spending and higher taxes while the state veers toward insolvency. Fortunately, the damage within a state can be contained, and people have the option to go elsewhere, to states that still grasp the basics of how free enterprise works.

So don’t be fooled by the rhetoric of “fairness.” In the end, if Obama and the Democrats get their way, we all will be worse off.