Keep telling me that the economy is getting better. Seriously, I know this something that is critical to President Barack Obama re-election bid — that businesses are hiring more and that there are all these encouraging mythical signs everywhere. Yeah, doesn’t seem to be the case according to a new report from Bloomberg, which notes that business activity has declined for the first time since 2009:
Business activity in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in September for the first time in three years, adding to signs manufacturing will contribute less to the economic recovery.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its business barometer fell 49.7 this month from 53 in August. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
Uncertainties surrounding domestic fiscal policy and weakening economies in Europe and China may prevent companies from adding to headcount and ramping up production. Slow growth prospects prompted the Federal Reserve to announce more accommodation measures earlier this month in a bid to help spur the three-year-old expansion.
“The chain that links all this stuff together is just a loss of confidence as we head toward the end of the year in fiscal policy,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies & Co. Inc. in New York, whose forecast of 50 was the closest in the Bloomberg survey. Businesses “have been cutting back on their investment spending.”
Written by Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Maybe President Obama made a mistake during the 2008 campaign, promising great strides in government transparency as he did. Because he hasn’t delivered them.
House Republicans, on the other hand, started from a better place than President Obama, made modest claims about how they would improve, and took some steps in the direction of improvement.
This makes it pretty easy to say that the president lags House Republicans in terms of transparency.
This afternoon, I presented at an Advisory Committee on Transparency panel about how well government data is published. You can see the grades I delivered to the right and below.
When the burst of transparency effort that began in 2008 started flagging, I figured we should probably come up with something measurable. Over the last couple of years, we’ve created models of what legislative processes would look like if they were published as really good data. We’ve done the same with budgeting and spending information.
In a recent web ad for a pro-Obama PAC, Samuel L. Jackson explained to complacent voters that they need to “wake the f*ck up” and start doing more to help President Obama in his campaign against Mitt Romney.
In the bedtime story-ish ad, Jackson toes the usual leftist pro-union, class warfare lines, rips Romney and Ryan as being against a social safety-net to get the family he’s talking to motivated. Much of the rhetoric in the video is exaggerated to the point of being absurd.
The folks over at Reason.tv decided to parody the video, using it to point out President Obama’s horrible record on foreign policy and civil liberties — points that Obama supporters, often gloss over:
Back in July, I noted that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez had “endorsed” President Barack Obama in his bid for re-election. Chavez, who has enacted a number of policies to nationalize parts of his country’s economy, made it clear once again over the weekend that his preference in the race is President Obama:
With both presidents facing tight re-election fights, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez gave a surprise endorsement to Barack Obama on Sunday - and said the U.S. leader no doubt felt the same.
“I hope this doesn’t harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I’d vote for Obama,” the socialist Chavez said of a man he first reached out to in 2009 but to whom he has since generally been insulting.
Breaking news…socialists like Obama over Mitt Romney. I’m shocked — shocked, I tell you. Back in June, the Communist Party USA made it clear that they were backing Obama and Democrats in 2012, choosing what they consider to be the “lesser of two evils.”
Nevertheless, Obama’s hawkish foreign policy and contempt for civil liberties doesn’t exactly jive with the stated views of the hardcore Left, many of which were recently explained by Conor Friedersdorf and expounded upon this morning. Not to mention that, despite his pro-labor views, Obama really is really just another corporatist, when it all comes down to it.
With apologies to Ian Fleming, American Crossroads released a new web-ad today about President Barack Obama, economic supervillain:
Last week, I brought up Barack Obama’s speech at Loyola University, where he said that he wanted to see government “pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everbody’s got a shot.” I also noted his comments from a few years before, when he talked about making the United States a “democracy” (ie. mob rule) for the “common good.”
If you’ve followed Obama since he came on the national scene in 2004, none of this isn’t really surprising to you. But The Daily Caller has found more from the 1998 speech, comments that really highlight Obama’s commitment to government and belief in the mob mentality:
The full recording reveals that Obama saw welfare recipients and the working poor in Chicago as a “majority coalition” who could be leveraged politically.
“What I think will re-engage people in politics is if we’re doing significant, serious policy work around what I will label the ‘working poor,’” he said, “although my definition of the working poor is not simply folks making minimum wage, but it’s also families of four who are making $30,000 a year.”
The Ending Spending Action Fund is airing 30-seconds ads on national cable and local teleivision in Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, and wisconsin.
Funded by Joe Ricketts, the founder of Nebraska-based TD Ameritrade Securities, the campaign is spending $10 million. Combined with radio and direct mail, it is targeted at voters who regret their vote for President Obama in 2008. One ad includes former Democratic Congressman & Obama Campaign Co-Chairman Artur Davis.
Is this message effective? I think so, and I hope the right voters see this message before time runs out:
Written by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Why am I only hearing about President Obama’s gob-smacking “I haven’t raised taxes” claim today, and from Reason?
On CBS News’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night, President Obama said, “Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last 50 years. So I haven’t raised taxes.”
As of Monday morning, neither the Washington Post’s Pinocchio-awarding Fact-Checker, nor the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org, nor the Tampa Bay Times’ Pulitzer-Prize-winning Politifact.com had risen to this opportunity…
Unbelievable. I just checked those websites, and they still haven’t.
Fortunately, Ira Stoll has. He leaves out a number of taxes President Obama has enacted, though, including raising the Medicare payroll tax on high-income earners, applying the Medicare payroll tax to non-payroll income for high-income earners, limiting the tax exclusion for flexible spending accounts, increasing the penalties on certain health savings account withdrawals, the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans…
After working on a number of campaigns and with a background in statistical analysis of polling data, I oftened wondered who these important, mysterious “undecided voters” are.
Are they thoughtful, open-minded voters, who carefully consider which of the two major Presidential candidates are the least bad?
Are they public employees or unionized workers, who aren’t comfortable with their employer supporting the Democratic candidate?
Are they disillusioned former partisans, who are too busy with their work to pay attention to the daily horse race of politics?
Saturday Night Live attempted to define the truly undecided voter. And they might be very accurate: