The October jobs report surprised analysts, many of whom thought that the government shutdown would have a negative impact on the economy. Not only were 204,000 jobs added last month, the two previous months were revised upward by 60,000.
The bad news is that the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.3%, as did the U-6 unemployment rate, now at 13.8%. The worse news is that number of workers not in the labor force exploded by 932,000 in October, according to Zero Hedge, bringing the labor participation rate to 62.8%. Not only is this the lowest rate since the aftermath of the 2007-2008 recession, it’s the lowest since 1978.
The Employment Policy Institute (EPI), a leftist think tank, offered a rather grim take on the jobs report and the long-term outlook.
An important battle is brewing in the Senate that could send shockwaves through the United States’ judicial system. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is trying to push through three of President Barack Obama’s nominees to fill vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
While this issue hasn’t received a lot of attention as other political fights over Obamacare and NSA spying are currently raging in Washington, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is one of the most influential courts in the country, holding the responsibility of reviewing regulations and rules written by federal agencies.
Since the sequester took effect in March, the White House has been quick to claim that lagging job growth is a result of the these very modest cuts to spending growth. In Obamanomics, government spending and deficits are virtues. But last week, Conn Carrol pointed to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco making the case that tax hikes — not spending cuts — are to blame for the poor economic recovery:
Why is the Obama recovery the weakest recovery since the Great Depression? According to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, it is not because the federal government failed to borrow and spend too little during the height of the economic downturn.
In fact, the San Francisco Fed reports that “federal fiscal policy was unusually expansionary during the Great Recession” thanks largely to the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009. As a consequence, federal government saving in the recession fell faster—that is, the deficit grew faster—than our historical norm would predict.”
Looking ahead, however, the Fed does see fiscal policy slowing growth, but not, as liberals would have you believe, due to spending cuts:
As we all know, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under fire for its targeting of Tea Party groups. This scandal, while outrageous and demanding of answers and accountability, isn’t exactly a new thing for the United States’ most disliked bureaucratic entity.
The Cato Institute has a released a new video highlighting the past administrations’ — from FDR to LBJ to Nixon — uses of the IRS to target political and ideological opponents. The video features comments from David Keating, President of the Center for Competitive Politics; Michael MacLeod-Ball, Chief Legislative Council at the ACLU; John Samples, Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Representative Government; and Gene Healy, Vice President of the Cato Institute.
Samples and Keating noted that there are efforts in and outside of Congress to give the IRS more power to monitor groups that have tax-exempt status, which they explain is an ironic notion, given this most recent scandal. Healy also points to recent comments by President Obama, who decried voices warning of tyranny in a recent commencement address.
“I think if you’re one of these Tea Party groups that spent, in some cases, two years, under an IRS inquisition, you might start to think that these voices are onto something,” said Healy, just before a clip of President Obama joking about auditing university officials who had refused him an honorary degree.
I’ve explained on many occasions that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was bad news for the economy. The same can be said of Herbert Hoover’s policies, since he also expanded the burden of federal spending, raised tax rates, and increased government intervention.
So when I was specifically asked to take part in a symposium on Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt, and the New Deal, I quickly said yes.
I was asked to respond to this question: “Was that an FDR-Sized Stimulus?” Here’s some of what I wrote.
With the impending decision on ObamaCare, the Left is already trying to knock the Supreme Court. For example, Juan Williams, a frequent contributor on Fox News, explained yesterday in The Hill that, if they do strike down ObamaCare, the Court will be betraying the trust of voters:
Every political strategist working the fall elections sees a game changer coming by the end of the month.
That’s when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.
The Democrats have a nuclear option in this political game if the high court throws out the healthcare law as unconstitutional.
the heart of any attack on the Supreme Court for derailing healthcare reform will come from Obama.
After oral arguments at the Supreme Court, he signaled his willingness to target the court’s conservative majority during the presidential campaign. Obama told reporters that if the court overturns “a duly constituted and passed law,” the justices will be guilty of “judicial activism.” With words that sounded like a threat he added: “I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”
The hardball political fact is that attacking the court will help the president’s campaign and it will damage the court for years to come.
A CBS News/New York Times poll released last week shows most Americans already believe the ruling on healthcare reform will be based on justices’ personal and political views. According to the survey, 55 percent of Americans believe the justices’ political ties will play a role in the healthcare decision.
There is always ego involved in politics, there is no denying that. Some elected officials may say that they are public servants or what have you, but that’s a talking point more than anything else, so a certain amount of arrogance and narcissism is expected when dealing with elected officials. But what you don’t expect is a president to go through White House biographies of their predecessors to invoke themselves:
Many of President Obama’s fervent devotees are young enough not to have much memory of the political world before the arrival of The One. Coincidentally, Obama himself feels the same way—and the White House’s official website reflects that.
The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on www.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford). Here are a few examples:
Many of the Occupy Wall Street crowd undoubtedly think very highly of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After all, he espoused many of the same things they believe. One pro-OWS post I read recently on the internet went so far as to quote Roosevelt at some length. It was there that I came across this quote:
Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money, it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
I personally believe he’s only partially right. The other side of that coin is that joy lies not just in achievement and creative effort, but in being rewarded for that effort. However, that’s neither here nor there.
You see, FDR correctly argues that money in and of itself isn’t a wonderful thing. The quote in question seems to mean that earning it matters far more than simply having it. In this, I agree completely. Money that just appears in your wallet is meaningless to you. Money you’ve earned truly matters.
However, contrast this with the demands of some of the Occupy Wall Street crowd who want a “living wage” for all people in this country, regardless of employment history. Maybe it’s just me, but this actually flies in the face of what FDR himself seemed to argue in this quote. After all, money — and this includes any welfare proposal — is easily categorized as “the mere possession of money”.
His opposition all hopes that President Obama follows in the footsteps of George H.W. Bush and becomes a one term President. However, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wrote a piece pondering the possibility that Obama will simply not seek re-election rather than lose the election outright. He cites parallels with post FDR presidents who did just that, with the closest parallel being with Lyndon Johnson.
Obama’s popularity has plummeted recently, as Morissey cites that it’s also dropped in places where the President should be strong:
But the decision may end up being out of his hands if the political environment doesn’t improve. Obama’s numbers are plummeting in places Democrats can hardly afford to lose. In Pennsylvania, where Obama will top a ticket that also includes Bob Casey’s bid for a second Senate term, he’s either at 43% approval (Quinnipiac) or at 35% (Muhlenberg). Wisconsin turned Republican last year and a series of elections this year confirmed it, and Herb Kohl’s seat in the Senate is up for grabs. Obama can be expected to drag down the ticket in Virginia (James Webb’s seat is open), Florida (Bill Nelson), Ohio (Sherrod Brown), Maryland (Ben Cardin), and Michigan (Debbie Stabenow). Obama is underwater in New York and New Jersey already, two normally staunch Democratic states, both with Senate races on the line as well. If Obama runs at the top of those tickets, he might eke out victories in the two states, but his presence on the ticket will depress Democratic turnout and might endanger Kirsten Gillibrand and Robert Menendez; Democrats would almost certainly have to spend a ton of money to bolster them that they’d normally spend elsewhere.