Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Obamanomics Still Not Working 

Today the Labor Department reported that a puny 74,000 jobs were created last month. That is well short of the 200,000 jobs economists had expected. The "good news" is that the unemployment rate fell from 7% to 6.7%. 

So how does a little job growth lead to a big drop in the unemployment rate? Only when seven times more people (525,000) drop out of the work force, meaning fewer people are working and paying taxes. Only 62.8% of the work force has a job or is looking for one. Welcome to the bizarre world of Obamanomics. 

"Morning Joe" Piles On 

I doubt most of you get up and turn on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," hosted by former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough. The show typifies the liberal worldview. I watch it in between the treadmill and breakfast only because it is a media favorite and widely watched by D.C. insiders. So it gives me good insight into what the Beltway is buzzing about and what I'll have to deal with throughout the day. 

Today I nearly lost my breakfast. Not surprisingly the focus was Chris Christie. Guests included former Obama campaign operative David Axelrod, liberal marketing guru Danny Deutsch, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and NBC political reporter Chuck Todd. 

The discussion was about whether the aggressive, table-pounding atmosphere Christie creates in his administration led to this scandal. The two people leading the charge blaming Christie's attitude were Axelrod and Deutsch. 

Now maybe someone offered a counterpoint after I had turned off the show in disgust. But while I was watching, Steele agreed with this absurd analysis, and all heads were bobbing up and down. I had to double check that I wasn't watching the Comedy Channel. 

How can you have such a discussion without anyone pointing out the atmosphere created in Barack Obama's White House by Obama and people like Axelrod? 

Obama and his allies have frequently compared conservatives to dangerous extremists and terrorists, likely contributing to the atmosphere that led IRS zealots to target the Tea Party. It was Obama's Justice Department that threatened to charge a Fox News reporter as a co-conspirator in an espionage case. 

It was Obama's socialist atmosphere that spawned the violent Occupy Wall Street movement and led Kathleen Sebelius to badly botch a website. After all, they had already seized 18% of the economy, who cares about a website? 

It is the atmosphere of political correctness that is leading the Pentagon to promote homosexuality while suppressing the religious liberty of our soldiers. And let's not forget that Obama has urged his supporters to get in the faces of those who disagreed with them, and routinely urges supporters to ruin holiday family gatherings with his propaganda. 

And while we're comparing Obama to Christie, did you catch Jay Leno's quip last night? He said, "Pundits are saying this could hurt his 2016 presidential campaign. The ironic thing is now that Christie is denying everything he sounds even more presidential, doesn't he?"  

50 Years Later… 

There was a lot of talk this week about the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty." Fifty years and $20 trillion later (yes, that's trillion with a "T"), the statistics suggest we don't have much to show for it. The poverty rate in 1965 was 17.3%. Today it's 15%. Perhaps it's time to try something different that would actually help the poor. 

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of ideas floated this week to combat poverty. For example, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) suggested a massive overhaul of the federal welfare system by essentially turning the funds over to the states and letting the "laboratories of democracy" take the lead. But he also highlighted another critical factor: the family. Senator Rubio said: 

  • "Social factors also play a major role… The truth is, the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82%. But it isn't a government spending program. It’s called marriage. Fifty years ago … 93% of children born in the United States were born to married parents. By 2010 that number had plummeted to 60%. It should not surprise us that 71% of poor families with children are not headed by a married couple."

Values issues matter. No government program can make up for the breakdown of the family. When talking about economic policies, more conservatives should follow Senator Rubio's lead and emphasize the importance of strong families to the successful formation of strong and stable societies. 

Obamacare Blunders On 

Here are the latest headlines from the ongoing Obamacare blunders. 

  • On Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius accusing her of perjury during her congressional testimony regarding the security of the Obamacare website. We know from the House oversight investigation that top officials had warned repeatedly that the site was not ready and should not have launched on October 1st. Issa demanded that Sebelius "correct the record" and "be truthful with the American public about matters related to Obamacare going forward."
  • On a related issue, the House of Representatives brought up legislation for a vote today requiring the Obama Administration to notify individuals if their personal financial information was compromised by the Obamacare website. The bill passed overwhelmingly with the help of 67 Democrats who acknowledged the gross failures with the glitchy site. 
  • In recent days, we've told you about tens of thousands of Americans who were told to start the application process all over again because of a glitch involving bad data related to Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid. Now a different glitch is creating thousands of so-called "Obamacare orphans" -- people who signed up through, but whose information was not transferred to insurers. There are also cases of "ghost files" where the insurers have records but the federal government does not! 
  • The insurance company Humana reports the health status of individuals signing up for Obamacare is "more adverse than previously expected." In other words, far more sick people than healthy people are signing up. That means even higher premiums are likely, which means more people will be priced out of the market. This will renew fears that Obamacare is creating a "death spiral" for the insurance industry, likely leading to a massive taxpayer bailout of the insurance companies.