economic growth

Today in Liberty: Obama’s approval rating tanks, Kerry deals with “apartheid” fallout

“Your mountains are breathtaking, your coffee is fair trade, and everywhere you go you hear the sound of f**king ukuleles. That’s all very charming until you waste tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on a website that doesn’t work.”John Oliver on Oregon’s Obamacare website

— WaPo/ABC poll brings bad news for Obama: A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning finds that President Obama’s approval rating has taken a nosedive. “The poll shows Obama’s approval rating is down to 41 percent, a point below its previous low of 42 percent, in November,” the Washington Post reports. “The president’s disapproval rating is at 52 percent, three points lower than the previous high. Six percent have no opinion on Obama.” #PANIC #DOOM

— Yeah, that Obamacare “boost” is gone: the WaPo/ABC News poll also found that the boost President Obama got from the Obamacare enrollment numbers is gone, just a couple weeks after he spiked the football at a White House press conference. “Following some rare good news about the law — including meeting its sign-ups goal despite a rough launch— 44 percent of voters approved of his handling of it. That number is now down to 37 percent, with 57 percent disapproving,” the paper explains. “Views of Obamacare overall have also dropped after a slight boost. While 49 percent approved of the law last month, 44 percent approve of it this month — the lowest that number has been since November. Forty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of the law.”

CBO sees a bigger river of red ink under Obama’s budget

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that budget deficits will be nearly $1.7 trillion greater under President Barack Obama’s budget than the estimates released last month by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The two agencies frequently conflict on budget projections. The OMB sort of takes a guess on what economic growth will look like over a 10-year period and scores a president’s tax and spending agenda based on those estimates. The CBO, however, is more restrained in its approach.

The discrepancy between the two reports is due to the CBO’s assumption that current law remains largely unchanged. The nonpartisan fiscal research agency also believes that tax revenues will be $1.8 trillion lower than the OMB, which is due to less rosy economic projections over the next 10 years (2015-2024).

President Obama’s budget estimates that budget deficits over the next decade will come in at approximately $4.93 trillion (Table S-1 of the OMB report). But the CBO estimates that deficits will be significantly higher, at $6.56 trillion (Table 1 of the CBO report), or $1.64 trillion greater than the administration’s estimate.

Here’s a look at the year-by-year differences:

Today in Liberty: Senate Dems outline Obamacare “fixes,” growth not keeping up with projections

“The American founders often referred to a ‘Liberty Tree.’ Our generation didn’t plant that tree - we didn’t grow that tree - we were simply handed it by the generations of Americans who came before us….Let us highly resolve not to rest until we have delivered to our sons and daughters a Liberty Tree that is just as healthy, a Constitution that is just as strong; and a nation that is just as free as those that our fathers and mothers gave to us.” — Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)

— Senate Dems finally rollout Obamacare fixes: After months of talking about the need for fixes to the law, six Senate Democrats have finally offered some specifics on how they plan to address at least some of Americans’ concerns. The biggest proposal is the introduction of a “Copper Plan,” which, they write at Politico Magazine, “will give consumers more control over their own coverage, spur competition and, most importantly, increase affordability.” Two of the Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), are up for reelection this year and are thought to be among the chamber’s most vulnerable members. Despite the push for fixes, the Heritage Foundation notes that most of the six “didn’t have strong initial reservations about the massive bill when Obama signed it into law in March 2010.”

Crazy talk: Environmentalists want economic “de-growth”

radical environmentalists to everyone else

Not too long ago, Christiana Figueres, the U.N. climate chief, gained some notoriety after praising China’s communist government for its efforts to combat climate change. She didn’t mention the 94 million deaths for which communists regimes are responsible, nor China’s ongoing human rights abuses.

The crazy from the radical environmental left, however, doesn’t end with Figueres’ fawning over communism. Nope. Believe it or not, a couple of environmental groups are actually arguing that the United States needs to “de-grow” the economy:

Environmentalists at the New Economics Foundation in London and the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C. argue that cutting the 40-hour work week and using less electricity is necessary. This includes a living wage requirement and a more progressive tax code.

“There’s no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the U.S.,” Worldwatch senior fellow Erik Assadourian told Sierra Magazine.

“We have to de-grow our economy, which is obviously not a popular stance to take in a culture that celebrates growth in all forms,” he said. “But as the saying goes, if everyone consumed like Americans, we’d need four planets.”

Club for Growth releases 2013 congressional scorecards

Club for Growth

The Club for Growth released its annual congressional scorecards yesterday, offering concerned constituents a snapshot of how their representatives in Washington voted on issues related to limited government and economic growth legislation during the first session of the 113th Congress.

“2013 saw the emergence of several new defenders of economic freedom as well as continued excellence among old allies,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, himself a former member of Congress. “Some members have seen their voting records improve and will be honored this year with recognition of their efforts for the first time.”

“While there are more champions of pro-economic growth policy serving in Congress than at any time before, it’s clear that our fight against the big spenders in both parties has a long way to go,” he added.

Like many organizations, the Club for Growth states positions on legislation or other matters as a way to encourage House and Senate members to encourage them to vote in a manner consistent with limited government, pro-growth views. The votes scored in the 2013 include the efforts to repeal or defund Obamacare, the Ryan-Murray budget deal, the farm bill, and the Full Faith and Credit Act.

The scorecards offer a look at who is living up to the limited government rhetoric on which they run each year as well as those are voting to put more debt on the back of the taxpayer as well as future taxpayers.

Yes, Secretary Sebelius, Obamacare will reduce employment

While most Democrats seem to be hailing the news that Obamacare will reduce the incentive to work, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seems to be in complete denial.

At a stop in Orlando on Monday, Sebelius told reports that there is no evidence that Obamacare will reduce employment.

“There is absolutely no evidence, and every economist will tell you this, that there is any job-loss related to the Affordable Care Act,” Sebelius said. “Part-time physicians are actually down since 2010, not up. The number of full-time workers continues to increase. I know that’s a popular myth that continues to be repeated, but it just is not accurate.”

Well, there is evidence.

The Congressional Budget Office recently determined that Obamacare would reduce employment by 2 million full-time workers by 2017, up from an earlier projection of 800,000, rising to 2.5 million by 2024. The reason for the decline in workers is because the subsidies, which are tied to income, would encourage people to work less.

Budget committee chairs float tax reform prospects in 2014

Paul Ryan and Patty Murray on "Meet the Press"

Fresh off a budget agreement that rolls back spending cuts approved with strong bipartisan support in 2011, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of respective House and Senate budget committees, openly and optimistically discussed the possibility of a tax reform deal that could happen next year.

“But the fact that we’re doing this, prevent shutdowns, passing bipartisan legislation, it passed the House— 332 to 94, majority of both parties.  That’s a good step in the right direction,” Ryan told Meet the Press host David Gregory in a joint appearance with his Senate counterpart. “You gotta, you know, crawl before you can walk before you can run.”

“I’m hopeful, as a Ways and Means member as well, that we can start moving tax reform legislation,” he said, before Gregory, who surmised that Republicans don’t want tax reform, cut him off.

Ryan disputed that notion, telling the host to “[w]atch the Ways and Means Committee in the first quarter of next year,” which, he said, will be “advancing tax reform legislation because we think that’s a key ingredient to getting people back to work, to increasing take-home pay, to grow this economy.”

House Democrat welcomes “stealth socialism” in America

Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) says that “stealth socialism” has been “created” in the United States through the Federal Reserve’s bond buying program, which essentially monetizes the government’s debt. What’s more he’s happy about it.

“The one good thing that’s happened in the past five years, in the sense of making people hopeful that the economy might survive a collapse, is that the Federal Reserve’s unconventional monetary policy put us back on a low-level track toward growth,”Grayson, a far-leftist firebrand, told Salon.com in a recent interview. “They showed that monetary policy in extremis can work to some degree.”

In a surprise move, the Federal Reserve announced last week that it would continue the bond buying program, known as “quantitative easing,” in hopes that it would stimulate an economy that is still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession. This is the third round of quantitative easing (QE3) since 2009, bringing the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, according to the Los Angeles Times, “to nearly $3.7 trillion from about $900 billion in mid-2008.”

“We’ve had a government takeover of the bond market. Stealth socialism’s been created. Government simply ends up owning more and more and more,” he said. “If government had taken over the steel industry, maybe it would have been more noticeable. They’ve taken over the financing of housing industry as well, with a desired result.”

House Republican: Barack Obama should be more like Bill Clinton

Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton

It’s not often you hear Republicans looking fondly on the days of President Bill Clinton, who served from 1993 to 2001. But in a speech from the floor on Wednesday, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) hailed Clinton’s willingness to recognize political realities and work with Republicans.

“I was deeply saddened to see the President begin the sixth year of our nation’s economic malaise by renewing his partisan name-calling and finger pointing on Monday,” said McClintock.

Fortunately, we have a model for bi-partisan economic cooperation. In 1995, when President Clinton realized his policies weren’t working, he reached across the aisle to work with a Republican House, and despite their political differences, they did some amazing things,” he recalled.

McClintock noted that the bipartisan policies forged between a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled Congress led to “a period of prolonged economic expansion and unprecedented prosperity for America’s middle and working classes.”

“Republicans have been eager to repeat these successful bi-partisan policies of the Clinton years,” added McClintock in his speech from the floor. “Why isn’t the President?”

That’s the $6.1 trillion question, the number by which the national debt has increased on President Obama’s watch. It begs an actual answer.

Earlier this year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has served in Congress since 1999, said that the country’s severe fiscal problems would’ve been fixed if Clinton were still in office. McClintock specifically cited a handful of bipartisan accomplishments forged as a result of Clinton’s willingness to work with Republicans.

Report: ObamaCare, economy to blame for record part-time hiring

The surge in part-time hiring is beginning to catch the attention of some in the media. Reuters reported on the phenomenon yesterday and explained that there are a couple different reasons for it — ObamaCare’s employer mandate and an economy that has yet to fully recover from a recession that officially ended in four years ago:

Faltering economic growth at home and abroad and concern that President Barack Obama’s signature health care law will drive up business costs are behind the wariness about taking on full-time staff, executives at staffing and payroll firms say.

Employers say part-timers offer them flexibility. If the economy picks up, they can quickly offer full-time work. If orders dry up, they know costs are under control. It also helps them to curb costs they might face under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

This can all become a less-than-virtuous cycle as new employees, who are mainly in lower wage businesses such as retail and food services, do not have the disposable income to drive demand for goods and services.
[…]
Obamacare appears to be having the most impact on hiring decisions by small- and medium-sized businesses. Although small businesses account for a smaller share of the jobs in the economy, they are an important source of new employment.

Some businesses are holding their headcount below 50 and others are cutting back the work week to under 30 hours to avoid providing health insurance for employees, according to the staffing and payroll executives.


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