Tag Archives: Intentions

Has Obama succeeded in spreading the wealth around?

Obama Economic Record November 2011
Obama Economic Record November 2011

From Investors Business Daily.


According to an IBD review of various economic data, while corporations and Wall Street investors have made significant gains under Obama’s economic leadership, average Americans have seen their fortunes steadily decline.

Since the start of the Obama administration, corporate profits have climbed 68% (about 59% after inflation), and are now 19% above their pre-recession peak, according to the latest Commerce Department data out Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, companies are sitting on a pile of cash that’s grown 38% from Q1 2009 to Q2 2011, according to the Federal Reserve’s quarterly “Flow of Funds” report.

And since Obama’s inauguration, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 45%.

However, these solid gains haven’t translated into prosperity down the economic ladder.

Since Obama took office, median weekly earnings have dropped almost 5% after inflation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Home prices are below their January 2009 levels; unemployment is higher, as is the inflation rate. Gas prices alone have more than doubled since January 2009.

[…]Household income: Since the recovery started, household income has fallen 6.7%, according to a study by former Census Bureau officials. That’s a bigger decline than during the 18-month recession, when income fell 3.2%.

Jobs: Despite job growth since the recession ended, there are still 1.4 million fewer private sector jobs today than when Obama was sworn in, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the pace of growth — 1.6 million new jobs over the past two years — is far below what’s needed just to keep up with growth in the labor force.

Income inequality: After remaining essentially flat under President Bush, the gap between rich and poor has climbed in each of Obama’s first two years, according to the Census Bureau.

Consumer confidence: The Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 39.8 in October, down almost 10 points from when the recession ended, and almost right where it stood when Obama took office.

Misery Index: This index, which combines the unemployment rate with the inflation rate and is meant as a proxy of middle class pain, is 60% higher than when Obama took office, and it’s at a level not seen since mid-1983.

Home prices: The median price for existing home sales has dropped 4.6% since January 2009, according to monthly National Association of Realtors data. And the number of underwater mortgages is up, according to Core Logic.

Union membership: The share of private sector workers who belong to a union fell to 6.9% in 2010, compared with 7.6% the year before Obama took office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The article explains why Obama’s rhetoric differs from reality – it turns out that the very policies he enacted created the poverty he claims he was going to reduce. Because he’s not an economist. He’s trying to do things that sound good so that people will like him. But those things don’t work.

Is Obama smart? How can we measure his intelligence?

Here’s a very interesting assessment of Barack Obama’s intelligence from the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Melissa)


When it comes to piloting, Barack Obama seems to think he’s the political equivalent of Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager and—in a “Fly Me to the Moon” sort of way—Nat King Cole rolled into one. “I think I’m a better speech writer than my speech writers,” he reportedly told an aide in 2008. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m . . . a better political director than my political director.”

On another occasion—at the 2004 Democratic convention—Mr. Obama explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter that “I’m LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game.”

[…]Then there is Mr. Obama as political tactician. He makes predictions that prove false. He makes promises he cannot honor. He raises expectations he cannot meet. He reneges on commitments made in private. He surrenders positions staked in public. He is absent from issues in which he has a duty to be involved. He is overbearing when he ought to be absent. At the height of the financial panic of 1907, Teddy Roosevelt, who had done much to bring the panic about by inveighing against big business, at least had the good sense to stick to his bear hunt and let J.P. Morgan sort things out. Not so this president, who puts a new twist on an old put-down: Every time he opens his mouth, he subtracts from the sum total of financial capital.

Then there’s his habit of never trimming his sails, much less tacking to the prevailing wind. When Bill Clinton got hammered on health care, he reverted to centrist course and passed welfare reform. When it looked like the Iraq war was going to be lost, George Bush fired Don Rumsfeld and ordered the surge.

Mr. Obama, by contrast, appears to consider himself immune from error. Perhaps this explains why he has now doubled down on Heckuva Job Geithner. It also explains his insulting and politically inept habit of suggesting—whether the issue is health care, or Arab-Israeli peace, or change we can believe in at some point in God’s good time—that the fault always lies in the failure of his audiences to listen attentively. It doesn’t. In politics, a failure of communication is always the fault of the communicator.

Much of the media has spent the past decade obsessing about the malapropisms of George W. Bush, the ignorance of Sarah Palin, and perhaps soon the stupidity of Rick Perry. Nothing is so typical of middling minds than to harp on the intellectual deficiencies of the slightly less smart and considerably more successful.

Obviously, you can’t really measure a person’s intelligence using their statements about their own intelligence in speeches read from a teleprompter. And it’s hard to assess the intelligence of someone who refuses to release any of his university transcripts. The WSJ article is right to imply that a more important way to measure intelligence is by measuring success. And we certainly are capable of looking at raw numbers to measure Obama’s success – like the unemployment rate:

The Five Worst Job Creation Presidents
The Five Worst Job Creation Presidents

And the budget deficit:

Obama Budget Deficit 2011
Obama Budget Deficit 2011

It’s pretty easy to assess someone’s intelligence from those two numbers alone. Obviously, none of these numbers are going to matter to people who get their news by watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Obama is the Comedy Channel president. If provoking laughter is your standard for measuring intelligence, then Obama is very smart indeed.

What are Obama’s smart policies?

Who voted for Obama?

I notice that some people in the mainstream media have begun to pick on Texas Governor Rick Perry. It turns out that Perry is also a dastardly Darwin-doubter. (H/T Mary) For the mainstream media, if you believe in traditional Christian views on theology and morality and free market capitalism, it doesn’t matter that you created more jobs than all the other states combined. You’re still “stupid” because you value prayer and doubt materialist explanations of the origins of life.

But the mainstream media thinks that secular leftists are smart regardless of practical measures like job creation. If you are a secular leftist, and you support abortion and same-sex marriage, and you spend 864 billion taxpayer dollars on things like building underground turtle tunnels, and you actually raise the unemployment rate instead of lowering it, then you are are “smart”. Understand?

So who is smart?

Thomas Sowell is smart in the traditional sense of understanding how things work in the real world.

Thomas Sowell is smart: he understands economics

If you want to understand the realities of economic policy, why not pick up some books by an actual economist?

Here are some of his books that I recommend:

Disclaimer: I have only read the first editions of Applied Economics, Economic Facts and Fallacies, A Conflict of Visions, and The Housing Boom and Bust. And I’ve only read the second edition of Basic Economics.

I have male and female friends who go through multiple Thomas Sowell books per month. It’s impossible to read just one. The first Thomas Sowell book you should read is Intellectuals and Society. That one is an introduction to his thought over a wide range of topics.

Sometimes good intentions meet unintended consequences

A funny video from those crazy libertarians. (H/T Ari)

We should avoid making decisions on the basis of wanting to feel good about ourselves, because it can harm the very people we say we want to help. The right thing to do is to consider the consequences for ALL parties involved in a policy.