Nobel laureate James Buchanan: Obama making Depression Mistakes

Nobel laureate James Buchanan: Obama making Depression Mistakes

September 7th, 2009

By Edmund Conway, UK Telegraph

Barack Obama is committing the same mistakes made by policymakers during the Great Depression, according to a new study endorsed by Nobel laureate James Buchanan. His policies even have the potential to consign the US to a similar fate as Argentina, which suffered a painful and humiliating slide from first to Third World status last century, the paper says.

There are “troubling similarities” between the US President’s actions since taking office and those which in the 1930s sent the US and much of the world spiraling into the worst economic collapse in recorded history, says the new pamphlet, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

In particular, the authors, economists Charles Rowley of George Mason University and Nathanael Smith of the Locke Institute, claim that the White House’s plans to pour hundreds of billions of dollars of cash into the economy will undermine it in the long run. They say that by employing deficit spending and increased state intervention President Obama will ultimately hamper the long-term growth potential of the US economy and may risk delaying full economic recovery by several years.

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“Unpopular”: Congress Scrambles To Cover Their Asses As They Return To Work

“Unpopular”: Congress Scrambles To Cover Their Asses As They Return To Work

September 7th, 2009 Posted By Erik Wong.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Political survival will be high on lawmakers’ minds when the Democratic-led U.S. Congress returns to work on Tuesday amid widespread voter dissatisfaction with its performance.

While the debates over healthcare reform, global warming and banking legislation and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will dominate the airwaves, many incumbents, both Democrats and Republicans, are beginning to worry about holding on to their seats in November 2010 elections.

Polls show only about one-third of Americans approve of how lawmakers are doing, less than a year after President Barack Obama led Democrats to big gains in Congress.

Surveys find voters have a dim view of both parties, but history suggests Obama’s Democrats face greater risks because they control Congress and the White House.

“There’s a lot of discontent out there and when that’s the case the party in power pretty inevitably gets the blame,” said Dean Debnam of Public Policy Polling, a private firm.

Democrats now are expected to lose seats in the House of Representatives in 2010, though not enough to surrender control, analysts say. Democrats currently have 256 seats in the House versus 178 for the Republicans with one independent.

Democrats had been expected to increase their majority in the U.S. Senate but may lose a few seats. Democrats reached 60 this year, giving them the number needed to override Republican procedural hurdles.

Their political fortunes next year are likely to hinge on whether the U.S. economy, in its longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression, improves and if Congress passes a significant healthcare reform bill.

Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean warned Democrats they must pass a major healthcare bill for the nation’s good as well as their own.

“We have very big majorities in the House and the Senate. My experience in politics is if you don’t use your majorities, you lose your majorities,” Dean said on “Fox News Sunday.”


A group of more than 50 fiscally conservative Democrats, known as Blue Dogs, have been particularly problematic for Obama on a number of issues, including healthcare reform.

They are generally from conservative districts that may frown upon a radical overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system, especially if it includes a provision to set up a government-run insurance program.

Obama will seek to boost sinking support for the overhaul with a major speech to Congress on Wednesday, a day after the House and Senate reconvene after an August recess.

“We’re going to get something substantial. (But there’s) going to be an awful lot of screaming and hollering before we get there,” said Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator.

Besides healthcare, lawmakers also must deal with spending bills that are essential to keep the federal government functioning, all of which carry potential political pitfalls.

In addition, they will wrestle over legislation to stem global warming and increase oversight of the troubled U.S. regulatory system. An intensified debate on whether to increase U.S. troop levels for the war in Afghanistan, which has some liberal Democrats uneasy, also is expected.

“It’s an unbelievable agenda and a lot of pressure to do it in a limited time,” said Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar with the American Enterprise Institute.

“There is a lot of anger on the left, and there is a lot of anger on the right,” Ornstein said.

A recent survey Public Policy Polling underscored the anti-incumbent mood.

It found that only 47 percent of voters say they would vote to reelect their member of Congress. Incumbents have long received upward of 60 percent of the vote.

The poor poll figures frustrate Democrats who have touted the major legislation they passed with Obama’s help.

Democrats have pushed through expansion of a health insurance program for children; a $787 billion economic stimulus package; a credit card bill of rights, and given the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco, the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

But Ethan Siegal of The Washington Exchange, a private firm that tracks Congress for institutional investors, said financial matters, by far, top voters’ concerns.

“Until the economy turns around, Congress’s ratings are going to be in the dumpster,” Siegal said.

Government drives costs up

Government drives costs up

Aaron Gee
If anyone wants to get a concrete real world example of how absurd the “the government will bring health care costs down” argument is, go no further than higher education. According to the Digest of Education Statistics 2008 the cost of a four year school has gone up more than 330% in 20 years. That type of price increase makes health care cost increases with a ballooning aging population and longer life expectancies look sane and modest in comparison. What caused such a huge increase? 

The government has steadily pumped more and more money into higher education with predictable results. As more “easy” money is poured into the system, the prices have gone up to what the market will bear.  Think of education like the housing market was a few years ago.  As more “easy money” was poured into the housing market the cost of homes increased drastically.  

Today the government either guarantees or issues 80% of all student loans according to the Wall Street Journal. It didn’t start out that way, but who would oppose helping poor students get an education? Now that the government is so immersed in the market it’s time to get rid of the competition in the 100 billion dollar a year industry.  First the Obama administration wants to eliminate private loans that are guaranteed by the government — which make up 50 percent of all student loans.  It also wants to add new restrictions to the 20 percent of totally private student loans that don’t cost the taxpayer a dime. In addition to those changes, the Obama administration announced earlier this year that they were starting another entitlement for higher education loans which will compete directly with banks.  


I see a pattern emerging. The government interferes in a market place (Health Care, Housing, Student Loans) and when it all goes bad, they claim that the reason it doesn’t work is that there isn’t enough government. Thankfully many people aren’t buying it. The question is will enough people stand and fight against single payer tyranny in all its forms? 

Page Printed from: at September 07, 2009 – 03:49:46 PM EDT

Obama Hits New Low on the Give A Damn Index

Obama Hits New Low on the Give A Damn Index

C. Edmund Wright
After a couple of days of bad news for President Obama in the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll, this morning’s report is the second straight day of deteriorating numbers for the administration.

Without making too much of a four day trend — two days of improvement followed by two days of sinking — here are excerpts from the report:


The Rasmussen Reports daily President Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 28% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove — giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13.
Overall, 48% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove.


That moves our morphing “Give a Damn” Index A to 69%:  the combined number of likely voters who have strong opinions either way.


Of those who disapprove of Obama, 80+% do so strongly while only 58% of his supporters feel strongly about that position, moving Obama to a -22 in our “Give A Damn Index B.” 


This Index puts some perspective on the intensity of public opinion instead of simply counting all raw responses as equal. Rasmussen’s excellent methodology, sampling and weighting is a fantastic template for such a reading.


The two indices show that short of something that dramatically changes the political landscape, Obama’s numbers are more likely to go down than up and that only a small number of registered voters have yet to form strong opinions. 


As one would expect, some parts of the Obama Care reforms and opinions of organized labor are not doing well either in these polls:


On health care reform, 83% say that proof of citizenship should be required before anyone can receive government subsidies.
Just 13% of Americans consider Labor Day one of the nation’s most important holidays. Most view it primarily as the unofficial end of summer. 


While the Obama Administration cannot be pleased with the labor figures, an end to this summer might be welcome enough news.

Page Printed from: at September 07, 2009 – 03:47:47 PM EDT