Recovery Summer My Ass!

For weeks now, all the economic data have painted a grim picture of an economy that’s rapidly grinding to a halt. And yet Obama, Biden, and the rest of the Clown Car Club Democrats swear up and down, with supposedly straight faces, that the economy is turning around and is headed in the right direction. Either they’re deliberately lying or they’re incompetently insane, take your pick.

/Michael Ramirez

‘Recovery Summer’ goes bust

Declaring a “Recovery Summer” victory tour at the start of June must have looked like a pretty safe wager for the Obama administration. The economy seemed to have shifted firmly into gear during spring. Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, told the Financial Times in early April that the economy was “moving toward escape velocity. You hear a lot less talk of ‘W’-shaped recoveries and double-dips than you did six months ago.”

A big reason for White House optimism was a stronger job market. The economy added an average of 320,000 net new jobs a month during March, April and May, about half of them in the private sector. Granted, the unemployment rate still hovered close to 10 percent. But if the economy kept growing at a 3 percent annual clip or greater — creating lots and lots of new jobs in the process — unemployment would eventually fall, perhaps dramatically.

Since then, however, the economy has fallen back to Earth, and “Recovery Summer” looks more like a bad bet. Private sector job growth has fallen by two-thirds, and the unemployment rate is still at a sky-high 9.5 percent. And if the size of the U.S. work force, as measured by the Labor Department, had stayed constant since April — instead of shrinking by a million — the unemployment rate would be 10.4 percent. Jobless claims are at their highest level since February. Worse yet, the expansion is decelerating. After growing by 5.7 percent in the final quarter of 2009 and 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, gross domestic product advanced by just 2.4 percent from April through June, according to the Commerce Department.

See also:
White House’s ‘recovery summer’ could be slipping away
Grim jobs report undercuts talk of a recovery
GOP Targets Obama’s ‘Recovery Summer’ Amid Economic Gloom
The recovery is losing steam, fast
Doubt keeps people from investing
Recovery a job killer on Highway 66
Obama’s Economic Recovery Hits a Snag

So, what’s Obama’s plan to restore positive economic momentum, where’s the leadership? Aside from blaming Bush, who left office a year and a half ago, and the Republicans at every opportunity, it appears Obama doesn’t have a plan, he’s AWOL on the economy, he has no idea what to do or what needs to be done. In fact, all the policy he has so far foisted upon the country has been economically counterproductive and has created nothing but market confusion and uncertainty.

/I think Obama needs another vacation, don’t you think he’s earned it?

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The State Of The Union Is Not Strong

The U.S. economic forecast looks grim and we’re definitely expecting more rain.

UPDATE: CBO Estimates 2010 Deficit At $1.34 Tln

A new projection from the Congressional Budget Office forecast the federal government’s budget deficit for fiscal 2010 would total $1.34 trillion, improving to just over $1 trillion in fiscal 2011, which begins on Oct. 1.

If the CBO’s figures are reached, the deficit in the current fiscal year would be equal to 9.1% of U.S. gross domestic product, compared with fiscal 2009’s mark of 9.9%.

The latest figures from the nonpartisan agency portray a dreary picture of the U.S. economy, predicting U.S gross domestic product would only grow by 2% between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the same period next year.

It said the unemployment rate would not fall back to the long-term average of 5% until the end of 2014.

The CBO said since mid-2009, the recovery in the U.S. economy had been “anemic” compared with the periods following earlier recessions.

The projections involve several assumptions that likely make them optimistic. They assume the Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2010, for example, and also that Congress makes no further annual adjustments to prevent the alternative minimum tax from hitting middle-class taxpayers.

The projections also don’t include any further government stimulus efforts to accelerate the lagging economy.

Read the report:

The Budget and Economic Outlook:
An Update

See also:
Keeping tax cuts beneficial in short term, harmful over long term, CBO says
Stimulus and tax cuts now, smaller economy later, CBO report says
Analysts: CBO GDP Forecast A Fantasy
Budget analysts: Near-record 2010 deficit of $1.3T
UPDATE 1-U.S. 2010 budget deficit at $1.342 trln – source
$1.3-trillion U.S. budget deficit expected
Projected US budget deficits threaten to curtail growth: CBO
Gloom weighs on fragile US recovery

The economy’s in shambles and getting worse by the day, so what does Congress and Obama do? Why naturally they all go on vacation for the rest of the month! Crisis, what crisis?

/if these so called people’s representatives don’t get deadly serious about making the hard and unpopular choices that are necessary to get us out of this massive deficit mess, we’ll soon be past the debt with interest tipping point and unable to avoid total economic collapse no matter what anyone does

Friday Night Bad News Dump

Obama was hoping you wouldn’t notice the new record deficit he set. It’s more than three times as large as the deficit was when Bush left office.

White House predicts record $1.47 trillion deficit this year, 9 percent unemployment next year

New estimates from the White House on Friday predict the budget deficit will reach a record $1.47 trillion this year. The government is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar it spends.

That’s actually a little better than the administration predicted in February.

The new estimates paint a grim unemployment picture as the economy experiences a relatively jobless recovery. The unemployment rate, presently averaging 9.5 percent, would average 9 percent next year under the new estimates.

The Office of Management and Budget report has ominous news for President Barack Obama should he seek re-election in 2012 — a still-high unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. That would be well above normal, which is closer to a rate of 5.5 percent to 6 percent. Private economists don’t think the unemployment rate will drop to those levels until well into this decade.

“The U.S. economy still faces strong headwinds,” the OMB report said. They include tight credit markets, a high inventory of unsold housing and retrenchment by state governments bound by balanced budget mandates. The European debt crisis has also had an impact.

See also:
Mid-Session Review
Budget of the U.S. Government

Federal budget deficit to exceed $1.4 trillion in 2010 and 2011
Forecast for 2011 Deficit Is Raised to $1.4 Trillion
Obama Budget Office Forecasts $1.47 Trillion Deficit This Year
Obama’s budget deficit heading further up
US deficit heads toward record $1.47 trillion
Federal deficit expected to reach record high
OMB: Economic pain will linger
US predicts record budget deficit
U.S. economy faces strong headwinds: White House
U.S. Trims ’10 Deficit Forecast as Economy Faces Headwinds
Republicans pounce on new OMB deficit predictions
Budget 2011: Past Deficits vs. Obama’s Deficits in Pictures

And remember, these record deficit projections are based on rosy White House economic assumptions.

Real GDP is expected to rise by 3.1 percent during the four quarters of 2010 and to increase 4.0 percent in 2011. The growth rate is projected to rise to 4.3 percent in 2012 and 4.2 percent in 2013 as the economy returns closer to its potential output level. Beyond 2013, real GDP growth is projected to moderate, declining gradually to 2.5 percent per year in 2018-2020.

If the U.S. economy falls short of these GDP projections, the now record deficits will become even worse. And you don’t even want to think about what happens if interest rates rise significantly and it costs the U.S. Government even more to borrow these incredibly humongous amounts of money.

/there’s no way that Obama can legitimately blame Bush for this budget mess anymore, although that won’t stop him from trying to revise history

In One Door And Out The Other

Your tax dollars, hard at work, heading for the airport, getting out of town.

Afghanistan: $4.2 billion in mysterious cash flown out of Kabul since 2007

THE “blizzard of banknotes” leaving Kabul airport is worse than originally feared, The Scotsman has learned, with at least $4.2 billion (around £2.8 billion) exported in cash over the last three-and-a-half years.

Congressmen in the United States voted to suspend $4bn in aid to the Afghan government last week, after media reports showed $3bn in cash has been flown out of the country since 2007.

US and British fraud investigators fear that most of the money leaving Kabul has been siphoned-off from international aid contracts, or made from the country’s rapidly expanding opium trade.

Documents seen by The Scotsman show that the Afghan Ministry of Finance puts the real figure at $4.2bn – at least $1.2 billion higher than previously feared.

“Our records show that $4.2bn has been transferred in cash through Kabul International Airport alone during the last three-and-a-half years,” Afghanistan’s finance minister, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, wrote in a letter to US Congresswoman Nita Lowey.

Ms Lowey, chairwoman of the aid appropriations sub-committee in Congress, has vowed not to send another dime to Afghanistan until she was confident “that US taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords and terrorists”.

Dr Zakhilwal’s letter acknowledges allegations that Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s government is “assisting or partaking in this fraud” but the minister hits back by pointing out that most of the money America spends in Afghanistan circumvents the Afghan government.

. . .

The sheer volume of cash couriered out of the country’s main airport is huge relative to Afghanistan’s gross domestic product which was just $13.5bn last year, and it easily dwarfs the amount of tax revenue collected by the government.

The figure doesn’t include cash exported from any of Afghanistan’s other international airports, which include Kandahar International, Mazar-e Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, and the main US base at Bagram, north of Kabul.

. . .

Afghanistan relies on a cash economy and there is no limit to how much money can be exported, as long as it is declared to customs. Official records show most of the money that was declared leaving Kabul since 2007 formed part of the traditional Islamic hawala system, in transfers to Dubai. The often informal nature of the hawala contracts, based on trust, honour and lender’s reputation, make the transactions almost impossible for financial investigators to track.

See also:
4.2 billion dollars have left Kabul airport: report
4.2 billion dollar worth ‘blizzard of banknotes’ have flown out of Kabul since 2007
Afghanistan minister rejects US corruption allegations
Afghan leader: Foreign contracts fuel corruption
Finance Minister Calls for Probe of Afghan Money Network
US freezes $4b of aid to Afghans
US cuts $5.6b Afghan aid amid graft charges
Afghanistan: US lawmakers block $4 bln in aid
Over $4 bn in cash flies out of Kabul

It looks like Karzai and his cronies have put together quite the U.S. financed retirement fund.

/no wonder it seems that Karzai doesn’t really care which side wins in Afghanistan, as long as he can make it to the airport to don his golden parachute

And The Loser Is . . . The American People

The last Democrat Senator has literally been bribed and his vote bought and paid for. Harry Reid has the 60 votes he needs to screw the American people who, by the way, are rapidly souring on this travesty.

Nelson Accused of Selling Vote on Health Bill for Nebraska Pay-Off

What started as Sen. Ben Nelson’s personal stand against covering abortion with taxpayer money translated, somehow, into millions of dollars in federal aid for his home state.

The Nebraska Democrat, following weeks of negotiations with his caucus, finally agreed to back the Senate’s health care reform bill this weekend after Democratic leaders made a series of concessions. Nelson’s support gives Democrats the 60 votes they need to overcome a filibuster, barring any last-minute defections.

But critics by Sunday were heavily questioning Nelson’s motivations, given that the abortion restrictions he sought and won did not satisfy several major anti-abortion lawmakers and groups and that it took a major federal payoff to his state to seal the deal.

Critics were calling it the “cornhusker kickback” and the “Nebraska windfall,” lobbing accusations of political deal-making at Nelson.

“It’s pretty obvious votes have been bought,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said.

And if anyone tries to tell you that passing this monstrosity is budget neutral, will lower health care costs, will save money, won’t add to the national debt, or will “bend the cost curve” down, well, they’re just flat out lying.

CBO: Real 10-Year Cost of Senate Bill Still $2.5 Trillion

The Congressional Budget Office’s score is in for the final Senate health bill, and it’s amazing how little Americans would get for so much.

The Democrats are irresponsibly and disingenuously claiming that the bill would cost $871 billion over 10 years. But that’s not what the CBO says. Rather, the CBO says that $871 billion would be the costs from 2010 to 2019 for expansions in insurance coverage alone. But less than 2 percent of those “10-year costs” would kick in before the fifth year of that span. In its real first 10 years (2014 to 2023), the CBO says that the bill would cost $1.8 trillion — for insurance coverage expansions alone. Other parts of the bill would cost approximately $700 billion more, bringing the bill’s full 10-year tab to approximately $2.5 trillion — according to the CBO.

In those real first 10 years (2014 to 2023), Americans would have to pay over $1 trillion in additional taxes, over $1 trillion would be siphoned out of Medicare (over $200 billion out of Medicare Advantage alone) and spent on Obamacare, and deficits would rise by over $200 billion. They would rise, that is, unless Congress follows through on the bill’s pledge to cut doctors’ payments under Medicare by 21 percent next year and never raise them back up — which would reduce doctors’ enthusiasm for seeing Medicare patients dramatically.

And what would Americans get in return for this staggering sum? Well, the CBO says that health care premiums would rise, and the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that the percentage of the Gross Domestic Product spent on health care would rise from 17 percent today to 21 percent by the end of 2019. Nationwide health care costs would be $234 billion higher than under current law. How’s that for “reform”?

See also:
H. R. 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Manager’s Amendment
Nelson vote triggers firestorm
An Unholy Compromise
House Dems cool to Nelson compromise
Senate Democrats seek to seal health care overhaul
McCain: GOP can’t stop health care

So, barring a miracle, there’s not much left at this point that can stop this deficit busting citizen suppository from becoming law. Bend over American taxpayer and get ready to pay more to wait longer for less health care. Remember, for Democrats, this isn’t even about health care reform, it’s about expanding the size and scope of the Federal government and making more Americans dependent on it. Because a dependent voter is a Democrat voter.

/beginning in 2010, get ready to clean House and start to repeal the socialist bull[expletive deleted]

In The House Corner . . . Weighing In At 1990 Pages . . . The Affordable Health Care For America Act

From behind the closed doors of Nancy Pelosi’s office, submitted for your perusal . . .

Affordable Health Care for America Act

If you start now and read several hundred pages a day, you might be able to get through it by the time they start to debate it on the House floor next week. As with all these bills, written in legislative gibberish that would make a challenging read for a lawyer, pack a lunch and leave a trail of bread crumbs.

Oh look, PBS has already posted a summary of the bill only a few hours after it was unveiled. I wonder who they got that from, Pelosi and the Democrats? PBS staffers certainly haven’t had time to read the bill for themselves yet.

Bill Summary: Affordable Health Care for America Act

House Democrats on Thursday unveiled the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The 1,990-page legislation is a combination of bills passed by three House committees earlier this year. Key tenets include:

· New regulations | New insurance industry regulations would prohibit insurers from rejecting customers based on pre-existing conditions. The regulations would also prohibit annual or lifetime caps on benefits.

· Insurance exchange | The bill would set up a new national health insurance exchange, a marketplace where individuals who do not have employer-sponsored insurance would be able to shop for plans. The exchange would also be open to small businesses, and more would be able to join each year. Companies with 25 or fewer employees would be able to join in 2013, companies with 50 or fewer employees could join in 2014, and companies with fewer than 100 employees could join by 2015.

· Public insurance option | The health insurance exchange would include a government-run public plan. Federal officials would negotiate payment rates with doctors and hospitals that accept the plan.

· Employer mandate | Employers with annual payrolls greater than $500,000 would be required to either provide health insurance for their employees, or contribute 8 percent of their payroll to a federal fund to help subsidize employees who purchase coverage through the exchange. Employers with payrolls less than $500,000 would be exempt from the mandate.

· Individual mandate | Individuals will be required to purchase health insurance, or pay a penalty fee. Some people would be eligible to apply for a hardship waiver.

· Medicaid expansion | Medicaid would be expanded to cover everyone whose income is below 150 percent of the poverty line, or about $33,000 per year for a family of four.

· Affordability subsidies | People who earn between 150 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level would be eligible for subsidies on a sliding scale to purchase insurance through the exchange. Those subsidies would ensure that people who make 150 percent of the poverty level would not have to pay more than 3 percent of their income in premiums, while those who make 400 percent of the poverty level could pay up to 12 percent of their income in premiums.

· Out-of-pocket expenses caps | New regulations would cap yearly out-of-pocket medical expenses for individuals at $5,000 and families at $10,000. Those who earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level would have lower caps, on a sliding scale.

· Tax surcharge | The bill would help pay for itself by imposing a 5.4 percent tax surcharge on individuals earning more than $500,000 per year and families earning more than $1 million.

· End-of-life counseling | The bill retains a controversial provision that allows Medicare to pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling

Oh yeah, and did you catch the part where Pelosi said that the House bill would cost less than $900 billion? Would it surprise anyone to know that she’s lying her ass off through her Botox induced permagrin teeth?

CBO: House Bill Costs $1.055 Trillion

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its analysis of the House Democrats’ health care bill. The headline number — likely to be widely cited in media accounts — is that the bill costs $894 billion over 10 years. But in reality, the CBO says that the gross cost of the bill will be $1.055 trillion. The $894 billion number reflects the taxes being paid by individuals who don’t have insurance and employers who don’t provide insurance.

In addition, the bill relies on some of the same budgetary gimmicks as the Senate Finance Committee’s bill. Once again, we see that the Democrats backload the spending provisions into the final six years of the CBO’s 10 year budget window to make it appear cheaper. Specifically, the CBO says the bill’s gross spending will be $60 billion in the first four years, and $995 billion in the next six years (or 94 percent of the total).

Also, while the CBO says that the bill will reduce deficits by $104 billion over 10 years and keep reducing the deficit (albiet slightly) beyond that, it cautions that these estimates assume that proposed budget cuts will actually get enacted by future members of Congress. “These longer-term projections assume that the provisions of H.R. 3962 are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation,” the CBO director Douglas Elmendorf wrote. “The long-term budgetary impact of H.R. 3962 could be quite different if those provisions generating savings were ultimately changed or not fully implemented.”

The CBO estimate doesn’t include the more than $200 billion it will cost to prevent scheduled cuts to doctors’ payments under Medicare, which Democrats intend to pass through separate legislation.

The bill would also add 15 million people to the Medicaid rolls, costing states an additional $34 billion over 10 years.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the CBO report doesn’t say anything about whether the bill actually bends the health care cost curve. To be clear, while it estimates — with caveats — that the bill will reduce deficits, that isn’t the same thing as reducing national health care expenditures, which is how people derive all those statistics about how high of a percentage of GDP we spend on health care compared with other countries. If you hike taxes high enough, you can get the CBO to say it reduces deficits on paper, but that’s a lot different from bringing down the actual costs of health care to our nation.

Wait a minute, it’s not just Pelosi who’s lying about the 2000 page path to socialized medicine . . .

See also:
House Democrats announce health-care bill
Statement from President Obama on the Affordable Health Care for America Act
House health bill clocks in at 1,990 pages
House Dems unveil health care bill
House Democrats unveil healthcare legislation including public option
House Dems announce health bill
Pelosi Unveils House Health Care Bill
House takes another step on healthcare reform
Details on health care bills in House, Senate
A 1,990-Page Medical Monstrosity
It’s alive! End-of-life counseling in health bill
Clyburn: ‘Cadillac tax’ in healthcare would violate Obama’s pledge
House Healthcare Bill Longer Than ‘War and Peace’
Democrats’ Unhealthy Reform Plans
1502 Pages Of Senate Deficit Deepening, Health Care Razing Gibberish

Of course, this monsterous sham has to be passed by the House and then Reid has to come out from behing his closed office doors and unveil the Senate’s gigantic mockery of health care “reform”, which will have to be passed by the Senate. Next, Pelosi and Reid will have to take the ~4000 pages of both bills behind closed conference doors, to conjure the final bloated shamockery bill, that’ll need to pass both houses of Congress.

/hopefully, there’s still enough hoops to jump through and divisions between Democrat factions that, somewhere along the line, they’ll come up short on needed votes and the entire national debt boosting travesty will collapse under it’s own socialist weight

How’s That Trillion Dollars In “Stimulus” Working Out?

What does a trillion dollars in wasteful deficit spending on Democrat pet pork projects buy, besides record deficits and the most unsecured national debt in American history? Well, lets see, 2.7 million jobs lost since the “stimulus” just had to be passed immediately, without anyone even having read it, and the highest unemployment rate in 26 years, with no net job growth in sight. Hip, hip, hooray, you go Obama and the Democrats (hopefully starting in 2010)!

dd
gr2009032100104

Job losses accelerate to 263,000 in September

The nation’s job losses accelerated in September, driving the unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8% and casting a cloud over the incipient recovery, economic data showed Friday.

Nonfarm payrolls fell by a greater-than-expected 263,000 in September, the Labor Department reported. It marked the 21st consecutive month of job losses.

Since the recession began in December 2007, 7.2 million jobs have been lost and the unemployment rate has doubled.

While disappointing, the September numbers were not catastrophic, economists said.

“We are more inclined to view September as a temporary setback than as a signal that the decelerating trend in job losses has stalled out,” wrote Stephen Stanley, chief economist for RBS Securities. “It is far too early to be pulling the alarm on this nascent recovery.”

But another economist sounded the warning.

The “weak employment report lessens hope for a sustainable recovery,” wrote Harm Bandholz of UniCredit Research. “Once the impact of the inventory cycle and the fiscal stimulus has run its course, gross domestic product growth will slow down substantially again.”

The employment figures also carried a political dimension, as Republicans said the continued job losses proved the stimulus had failed, while Democrats said they proved that government support is essential.

“Today’s job report is a sobering reminder that progress comes in fits and starts — and that we’re going to need to grind out this recovery step by step,” said President Barack Obama. “I’m working closely with my economic advisors to explore any and all additional options and measures that we might take to promote job creation.”

“We are headed for what appears to be, at best, a jobless recovery,” said Rep. John Boehner, the Ohio Republican who leads the GOP in the House. “That is not what the American people were promised.”

Details of the report were almost universally dismal, with the number of unemployed people rising by 214,000 to 15.1 million.

And of those, 5.4 million have been out of work longer than six months, accounting for a record 35.6% of the jobless.

Stimulus Spending Doesn’t Work

The global recession and financial crisis have refocused attention on government stimulus packages. These packages typically emphasize spending, predicated on the view that the expenditure “multipliers” are greater than one—so that gross domestic product expands by more than government spending itself. Stimulus packages typically also feature tax reductions, designed partly to boost consumer demand (by raising disposable income) and partly to stimulate work effort, production and investment (by lowering rates).

The existing empirical evidence on the response of real gross domestic product to added government spending and tax changes is thin. In ongoing research, we use long-term U.S. macroeconomic data to contribute to the evidence. The results mostly favor tax rate reductions over increases in government spending as a means to increase GDP.

. . .

The bottom line is this: The available empirical evidence does not support the idea that spending multipliers typically exceed one, and thus spending stimulus programs will likely raise GDP by less than the increase in government spending. Defense-spending multipliers exceeding one likely apply only at very high unemployment rates, and nondefense multipliers are probably smaller. However, there is empirical support for the proposition that tax rate reductions will increase real GDP.

Gee, who would have ever figured that tax cuts were more effective at stimulating the economy and creating jobs than massive government deficit spending on Democrat pet pork projects that do nothing to create sustainable jobs. Just a thought, maybe the Democrats should have passed more tax cuts instead of wasting most of a trillion dollars in taxpayer money on incredibly stupid crap like frozen sliced ham, turtle tunnels, and outhouses in national parks.

See also:
US unemployment at 26-year high
Jobless rate reaches 9.8 percent in September
263,000 Jobs Lost, Worse Than Views; Jobless Rate 9.8%
Unemployment rate rises to 9.8% as employers cut more jobs than expected
UPDATE: Fed’s Rosengren Sees High Unemployment Next 2 Years
2.7 Million Jobs Lost Since “Stimulus” Bill Enacted
Stimulus can’t ease job pain for U.S. states and cities
Biden on Unemployment: “Less Bad” Isn’t Good
Republicans Seize on Jobs as Proof Obama’s Policies Have Failed
Job Numbers Released, GOP Pounces
As Biden lays out stimulus goals, GOP demands specifics on new jobs
Romney: Stimulus Not Working, Time to Fix It
Stimulus: New Research on Government Stimulus Spending and Tax Cuts
How Bad Does The “Stimulus” Suck?
Where’s The Stimulus And Why Do We Need Any More Of It Anyway?

/so, Obama and the Democrats have lost 2.7 million jobs, the U.S. unemployment rate is the highest in 26 years, and their trillion dollar “stimulus” has failed miserably, I guess there’s only one thing left for them to do, blame Bush!