Economy

Today in Liberty: Obamacare disapproval hits an all-time high, Eric Cantor will leave Congress on August 18

“Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property.” — Milton Friedman

— Economy adds 209,000 jobs in July, unemployment rate rises slightly: The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate increased from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent. Economists had projected 233,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate would hold steady at 6.1 percent. Although the report didn’t meet expectations, this is the sixth consecutive month of 200,000-plus job growth. The labor participation rate — the percentage of Americans working or looking for work — increased marginally from 62.8 percent in June, a 35-year low, to 62.9 percent in July.

— Obamacare disapproval hits an all-time high: The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a new poll finding that unfavorable views of Obamacare have jumped to an all-time high since they began tracking opinions of the law in April 2010. The July tracking poll shows that 53 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, while 37 percent view the law favorably. Sixty percent want Congress to “work to improve” Obamacare, while 35 want to repeal and replace it. The poll also finds that Americans are evenly divided on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

Watch Reason’s absolutely amazing response to the call for a disastrous minimum wage increase

So, last week, Funny or Die released a video featuring actress Kristen Bell as a Mary Poppins who is struggling to work as a nanny on a $7.25 hourly wage. Basically, it’s a nearly 3-minute video making the case for President Barack Obama’s $10.10 minimum wage increase.

“Just a $3 increase can make a living wage,” Bell, star of Disney’s hit animated flick Frozen, sings to the tune of “A Spoonful of Sugar” from the 1964 film, Mary Poppins. “It makes a living wage. It makes a living wage.”

Well, Reason TV respond with its own Mary Poppins-style short. In the video, Remy, a comedian who frequently works with Reason on videos that parody current events and policy in hilarious videos and equally funny songs, plays a chimney-sweeper who explains the unintended consequences of a minimum wage increase.

“Just 3 pages of Econ. And perhaps your mind will change. When free people arrange
Voluntary exchange,” Remy says. “Just 3 pages of Econ. With this talk of ‘living wage,’ tell me, what do you folks pay?”

Watch the video below:

Thanks, Obama! Hillary Clinton may face more conservative MIllennials because of Obama’s failed policies

Obama speaks to Millennials

“The Upshot,” a New York Times blog focused on politics and policy, suggests Hillary Clinton may have a difficult time convincing Millennial voters to join her campaign. And she has President Obama to thank for that.

In a post titled “Why Teenagers Today May Grow Up Conservative,” David Leonhardt writes:

In the simplest terms, the Democrats control the White House (and, for now, the Senate) at a time when the country is struggling. Economic growth has been disappointing for almost 15 years now. Most Americans think this country is on the wrong track. Our foreign policy often seems messy and complex, at best.

To Americans in their 20s and early 30s — the so-called millennials — many of these problems have their roots in George W. Bush’s presidency. But think about people who were born in 1998, the youngest eligible voters in the next presidential election. They are too young to remember much about the Bush years or the excitement surrounding the first Obama presidential campaign. They instead are coming of age with a Democratic president who often seems unable to fix the world’s problems.

Washington’s addiction to spending is hurting the economy

As a child of the 80’s, I vividly remember a bunch of music stars getting together with Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder to sing about how every person in the world is interconnected. This was the historic “USA for Africa” fundraising deal, that paid for tons of food that was meant to help children in Ethiopia. As many well-intentioned initiatives, this didn’t end up precisely as the stars wanted.

While some people that really needed food probably did get some, quite a lot of the items that were shipped there didn’t reach anyone. Political instability, and tyrannical leaders prevented the aid from getting to the ones that needed it the most.

Also, there really wasn’t a plan to send anyone to Ethiopia to help the people there figure out ways to find sustainable food sources. So, “USA for Africa” went quietly into oblivion, and the people were still starving in Ethiopia.

This is what we have here in the U.S., when it comes to government spending, particularly in the Obama Administration’s stimulus program of 2009. Discretionary spending on consumption is just like buying food for Ethiopians in the 80’s. Odd that it took scholars to figure out that concept, considering that we’ve already been there many times in private sector charitable endeavors, like the one mentioned above.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that government on consumption will always hurt the economy, versus investment in infrastructure. Of course, someone might want to ask Obama where that plan went, since he spent a great deal of time talking about “shovel-ready jobs,” meanwhile the vast majority of his stimulus plan went to anything but that.

Today in Liberty: Economy shed 523,000 full-time jobs in June, conservative groups take IRS scandal to federal court

“Governments never learn. Only people learn.” — Milton Friedman

— Yeah, about June’s jobs report: On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 288,000 jobs were added in June. That sounds great on the surface, but the devil is in the details. “The Labor Department’s household survey reveals that the economy lost 523,000 full-time jobs in June. At the same time, it gained an astounding 799,000 part-time jobs - the largest such monthly jump in two decades. Part-time jobs now top 28 million for the first time since last July,” the Washington Examiner notes. “This shift to part-time labor is an echo from June 2013, when the economy added 360,000 part-time jobs and shed 240,000 full-time ones. So why has history thus seemingly repeated itself? One possibility is that Obama decided last July to delay Obamacare’s employer mandate from 2014 to 2015.” Interestingly, Politico ran a story over the weekend pointing out that many Obamacare supporters are now “abandoning the employer mandate” because the provision of the law does “more harm than good.” The relevant data from the June jobs report can be found here (under “full- or part-time status”).

Today in Liberty: Americans say Obama is the worst president in 70 years, Senate Dems push for vote on crony Ex-Im Bank

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt

— Obama is the worst president since World War II: But George W. Bush isn’t far behind, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University. “President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today,” Quinnipiac notes. “Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.” Richard Nixon was a distant third, with 13 percent. Ronald Reagan was the top-choice for best president over the same timeframe, followed by Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. It’s worth noting that Obama finished fourth on that list, while Bush 43 was tied for last place. Also worth noting is that Americans believe that the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election.

No, Barack Obama, the United States should not be more like France

President Barack Obama has an idea, you guys. In his latest pivot on the economy, because everything else his administration is doing failing so spectacularly, he said the United States should offer the same sort of benefits that France requires businesses to offer their workers:

Extolling the business virtues of helping workers balance family and employment demands, including providing paid time off for the birth of a child, Obama said that if France can provide the benefits, so can the United States.

“Other countries know how to do this,” Obama said. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out.”
[…]
Obama made the comment at the first White House summit for working families, which sought to amplify issues like paid maternity leave and the ability to take paid leave to take care of elderly loved ones.

“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said. “There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not a list you want to be on, by your lonesome.”

The White House hosted the summit jointly with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and it served in part as a campaign pep rally focused on turning women voters out in November.

Barack Obama’s economy makes it hard for the unemployed to get up off the couch

Unemployment in the Obama Economy

The agonizingly slow Obama recovery is taking a toll on American couches, according to Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight, who painted a picture of the long-term unemployed American — “Mark”:

Mark, 22 and unemployed, sleeps late in the morning.

His roommate has to get up for work, but Mark has nowhere to be. He rolls out of bed at 11 a.m. He checks his email — still no response to his last round of resumes — and heads out for a run. When he gets home, he spends 45 minutes filling out job applications, then plops down in front of the television for a couple hours before cleaning up the house — he’s taken on more chores since his roommate is cutting him a break on the rent. In the evening, his buddies are catching a game at the local bar, but Mark has class at the local community college, where he’s working toward a certificate in HVAC repair.

Mark isn’t a real person. Or rather, he is an amalgamation of thousands of people struggling to get by in an economy still stuck in second gear.

There’s an avalanche of bad news for Obama and Democrats in the latest Fox News poll

There are nearly five months — 148 days, to be exact — between now and election day, and the latest Fox News poll shows that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are in terrible position.

President Obama’s approval rating is still anemic, at 40 percent, and his disapproval rating has jumped from 49 percent in May to 54 percent this month. But the low approval ratings have been around for a while, as Real Clear Politics’ poll aggregator shows, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of his problems.

Obama’s approval rating on key issues has taken a nose dive

President Obama’s approval rating on the economy and healthcare were in the 40s last month — 46 percent and 43 percent, respectively — and though he was still underwater the disparity wasn’t that large. His approval rating on foreign policy fell from 39 percent to 34 percent this month and his disapproval jumped from 49 percent to 56 percent.

Voters believe his administration less competent than Bush, Clinton

Get government out of the way: Ending subsidies and bailouts for crony industries will lower consumers’ costs

all the things

From dire warnings about imminent hyperinflation to the leftist dismissal of the risk of any inflation at all to Internet memes showing near-empty grocery carts now costing ONE BILLION dollars, the debate over rising prices won’t be settled anytime soon. Some prices have gone up, some have gone down, yet government measure of inflation hasn’t budged much in the last few years.

There has been a graph floating around for a few months now showing the difference in price increases and decreases for consumers over the last 10 years. It appeared first in an April New York Times story about how we define poverty. It then showed up on Twitter this morning with some annotations highlighting government’s role in those increases or decreases. Here’s a slightly better looking version:

prices

At the very least this shows a clear correlation between government subsidies and tax credits and consumer price increases.

College tuition is paid for largely by student loans, which were absorbed by the federal government in early 2010. State governments also provide funding for the schools themselves. Tuition has subsequently increased over 40% over the last 10 years, and in some places has doubled.


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