In case you haven’t already, Mitt Romney, the day after a very strong showing in Florida, stuck his foot in his mouth during an interview on CNN by saying that he is “not concerned about the very poor”:
After winning the Florida primary, GOP presidential nominee hopeful Mitt Romney explains to CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien that he is focused on a particular portion of the American population in his campaign. Romney says, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair , I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich…. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
O’Brien asked him to clarify his remarks saying, “There are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, ‘That sounds odd.’” Romney continues, “We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor…. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus…. The middle income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.”
Both anti-Romney conservatives and Democrats reacted to the comments, using them as another example of Romney being out of touch. Other, more reasonable conservatives, are just concerned that it feeds perceptions about Romney. For example, the Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll writes:
Austan Goolsbee, who until recently served as Obama’s chief economic advisor, says that he wouldn’t have backed the failed “Cash for Clunkers” program if he had to do it all over again:
Former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said Thursday that if given a second chance he would not have backed the Cash for Clunkers program or the home buyer tax credit passed in 2009 to stave off further economic distress.
“Because we didn’t know if [economic recovery was] going to be short or long,” the Obama administration tried measures to address both scenarios, Goolsbee explained on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“If you look at Cash for Clunkers or the first home buyer tax credit, they were geared to trying to shift [recovery] from 2010 into 2009. Given it’s taken this long [to recover], I don’t think you would do that short-run stuff,” Goolsbee added.
Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the administration misjudged how quickly the country could recover from the economic damage of the 2008 economic collapse.
“It has proved a longer, tougher ride than we thought at the time,” Goolsbee said. “At the time we come in, it’s an awful, awful moment. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month and the economy is in a tough spot. There was a debate, and it continues now, of ‘Can we come back quickly from this?’”
While many apologists of President Barack Obama still defend Cash for Clunkers program, it’s clear that it was a failure and has had adversed effects; including driving up the cost of used cars on the market.
The Congressional Black Caucus admits that they’re doing things differently because Obama is in the White House than if someone else, like even Bill Clinton, were sitting there. I picked it up in a piece over at The Hill.
Unhappy members of the Congressional Black Caucus “probably would be marching on the White House” if Obama were not president, according to CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).
“If [former President] Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House,” Cleaver told “The Miami Herald” in comments published Sunday. “There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president.”
In this instance, the problem is the unemployment rate for African-Americans that is still moving upwards. Members of the caucus want action, but don’t want to undermine the president.
“We’re supportive of the president, but we getting tired, y’all,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said in August. “We want to give [Obama] every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is.”
The thing that bugs me is that, if by their own admission they’re treating Obama different, aren’t they simply doing the exact same thing they would criticize others for? After all, they’re giving preferential treatment to Obama because of his skin color. How is this not racism?
It looks like Americans aren’t buying President Barack Obama’s latest stimulus gimmick — which includes more than $460 billion in tax hikes, according to a new poll from Bloomberg:
By a margin of 51 percent to 40 percent, Americans doubt the package of tax cuts and spending proposals intended to jumpstart job creation that Obama submitted to Congress this week will bring down the 9.1 percent jobless rate. That sentiment undermines one of the core arguments the president is making on the job act’s behalf in a nationwide campaign to build public support.
Compounding Obama’s challenge is that 56 percent of independents, whom the president won in 2008 and will need to win in 2012, are skeptical it will work.
In all of the categories gauging Obama’s performance on economic issues, the president’s disapproval rating among independents is above 50 percent.
That’s not the end of Obama’s troubles. The poll also shows that 62% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy. Only 33% of respondents approve (one has to wonder what world their living in). Overall, Obama’s job approval rating stands at 45%.
Since the bill has a lot of opposition already in Congress, many observers say that it serves only one real purpose; to have another fight between the White House and Republicans over the economy. That may very well be the case, but the numbers are already against Obama on this. Republicans really need only point to the failed 2009 stimulus bill as evidence that Obama is throwing a Hail Mary.
With President Obama proposing more stimulus spending, Dale Franks posted this chart over at QandO reminding us how well the last stimulus bill worked:
The jobs report for the month of August was released just a few minutes ago by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The news isn’t encouraging:
The US economy created no jobs and the unemployment rate held steadily higher at 9.1 percent in August, fueling concerns that the US is heading for another recession.
It was the first time since World War II that the economy had a net zero jobs created for a month.
Economists had been expecting the report to show a net of 75,000 jobs created, an unusually low number considering the US is technically more than two years removed from the end of the last crisis.
Keep in mind that the employers need to produce around 130,000 jobs just to keep up with population growth, so even the estimates for this month were anemic. The silver lining is, as noted, the unemployment rate didn’t go up.
The report puts even more pressure on President Barack Obama to deliver a strong proposal to Congress to encourage job creation, especially after his stunt of trying to upstage the GOP presidential debate. Odd are, however, that he’ll resort to the same policies that have held the economy back.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an updated budget forecast yesterday in the wake of the debt ceiling deal (ie. based on current law) that requires some $2.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years.
The good news is that the budget deficit will be less than expected for FY 2011, only $1.3 trillion or 8.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), but still the third highest budget defict on record; only the the last two fiscal years were greater.
So what’s the bad news? Peter Suderman explains:
Employment is expected to expand, but only very slowly, remaining above eight percent through 2014, and that’s without factoring in some very recent bad news. By 2013, public debt will equal roughly three quarters of the country’s total annual economic output, and, under the most likely scenario, continue upwards from there.
That’s not something that President Barack Obama wants to run on during his re-election; moreover, if Republicans keep control of Congress and manage to take the White House, they’d be running in a very difficult mid-term if unemployment doesn’t significantly improve. I’m saying that no one can jump for joy because it has omnious consequences for everyone, either in this election or the next.
Gallup recently released numbers showing President Barack Obama’s ever-falling approval ratings on the economy. Yeah, it’s is a few days old, but it underlines a big bump in the road to President Obama’s re-election.
Obama’s approval rating on “creating jobs” is 29/65 and the “federal budget deficit” has an even larger gap that his approval rating on the economy at 25/71 (remember that time he said we’d have a net spending cut during his first term?). These are big problems for Obama since economic forecasts for the next two years predict slow growth and unemployment to remain at roughly the same level. Obviously, that’s not a position that any incumbent wants to run on.
Not unlike what the Federal Reserve did last week, Moody’s Analytics has lowered the United States’ short-term economic prospects:
Moody’s Analytics, a sister company to credit-ratings company Moody’s Investors Service, now expects real gross domestic product to increase at an annualized rate of about 2% in the second half of this year and just over 3% next year, compared with its estimate a month ago for growth of 3.5% for the second half of this year and through 2012.
The firm attributes most of the expected decline to a loss of business, investor and consumer confidence, noting the economy’s improving fundamentals such as the strengthening of business’s balance sheets and consumers’ strides in cutting household debt.
The credit-rating company also said it thinks the odds of a renewed recession over the next 12 months — now at 1 in 3 — will increase if stock prices continue to fall. Moody’s maintains that the odds of a renewed recession rise with each 100-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. While Moody’s expects the economic recovery will continue, prospects for economic growth and job creation have “diminished substantially.”
Though the U.S. economic recovery looked healthy at the beginning of the year, a series of events have hurt business, consumer and investor confidence, Moody’s said. These include surging prices for food and gasoline, natural disasters in Japan, Europe’s debt crisis and, most recently, the U.S. debt woes.