Obama Misery Index hits a record high

Obama Misery Index hits a record high

By Mitt Romney  |   Tuesday, March  8, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.comOp-Ed

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The unemployment rate has just fallen one-tenth of a percent, from 9 percent to 8.9 percent. Of course, it is indeed progress, and it is being celebrated in the White House as such. But the celebrations bring to mind what a wit once said: An “acceptable” level of unemployment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job. Today, as we move into the third year of the Obama administration, we do not have anything resembling even such an “acceptable” level of unemployment. Far from it. As of this month, 14 million Americans can’t find work.

When Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, he hung the Misery Index around Jimmy Carter’s neck. It consisted of the sum total of unemployment and inflation. Today, we have a different set of ailments. Instead of unemployment coupled with inflation, we have a toxic blend of unemployment, debt, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies. Their sum total is what we can call the Obama Misery Index. It is at a record high; indeed, it makes even the malaise of the Carter years look like a boom. Unemployment has fallen, but it’s fallen to a level that is still, by any historical marker, a national disaster. To suggest it as an achievement is to engage in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously called “defining deviancy down.”

Where should we go from here? Having spent my career in the private sector, I know a thing or two about how jobs are created and how they are lost. The most important lesson I learned is that there are three rules of every successful turnaround: focus, focus, and focus. Turnarounds work when the leader focuses on what’s most important. President Obama did just the opposite: he delegated the jobs crisis to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and he went to work on his own priorities, like cap and trade and government-run health care.

I hope we don’t have to wait two years for a new president to fix things, but I fear we might. What the occupant of the Oval Office needs to do, and do now, is focus on getting Americans back to work.

Take taxes. Our employers pay the highest rates in the world, tied with Japan, and higher than such societies top-heavy with government as Italy and France. Our small companies are hit particularly hard. If employers are going to start investing and hiring, we must reduce the burden. We can offset the lost revenue by ruthlessly eliminating corporate loopholes and the special deals that reward political influence and punish productivity. We also need to stop taxing companies that make money overseas if they want to bring it home. Encouraging companies to keep money abroad makes zero sense. As much as one trillion dollars kept abroad may be at stake; a sum that size invested here would create hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of good, permanent, private-sector jobs.

Our out-of-control fiscal policies are also impinging directly on the labor market. The failed stimulus program cost around $800 billion. Obamacare is going to cost another trillion. The denizens of the White House appear not to know it, but employers and entrepreneurs worry a good deal about the federal deficit and the federal debt. They look at the future and see that the government’s spending binge will mean higher taxes, higher interest rates, and a much weaker dollar.

All these things are the direct enemy of long-term investment. The climate of uncertainty they create has an indirect but no less damaging effect on confidence. Historically, federal spending has ranged between 18 and 20 percent of GDP. Today it has soared to near 25 percent. If we want our politicians to end their free-spending ways, we need to establish an iron-clad ceiling on federal spending, setting it at a fixed percent of the GDP.

These proposals may sound wonkish, but let’s keep in mind what is at stake. Behind the unemployment statistics is a lot of heartbreak. Unemployment means children who can’t go to college; marriages that break up under the financial strain; young people who can’t find jobs and start their lives; and men and women in their fifties, in the prime of their lives, who fear they will never work again. Then there are the job fairs where thousands of people are showing up to compete for a few openings that probably are not as good as the jobs they held two years ago.

Unless President Obama changes course, these job fairs, with their day-long lines of unemployed seeking nothing more than a chance to earn a living, are going to be seen as his Hoovervilles. “I’m the only person of distinction who has ever had a depression named for him,” President Hoover once ruefully complained. Obamanomics, which at extraordinary cost has accomplished extraordinarily little, is earning our president his own dubious place in our history books.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1321747

DOJ Flagship Initiative: Lost at Sea

DOJ Flagship Initiative: Lost at Sea

Michael
Fraley

 

Is it just me, or does the Open Government logo, chosen
to represent the DOJ Open Government Initiative, engender a feeling wholly other
than openness and transparency?

If one peruses their home page, one will see the
touting of the Memorandum
on Transparency and Open Government
and Open
Government Directive
. Why, there is even an Open Government
Plan
.

Who can argue with the noble intent of the following blurb, so
prominently displayed?

In the 21st Century, democracy demands an innovative approach to
policymaking – an approach built on transparency, participation, and
collaboration. These foundational qualities are the keys to creating a more
effective government that taps the creativity and diversity of an entire nation
to generate solutions to the challenges we face.

Implementing the
President’s Memorandum on Open Government

Central to
this new spirit of government transparency is the Flagship Initiative,
or FOIA Dashboard. This is to be a central “dashboard”, full of information
regarding FOIA compliance, that “transforms this information from static data in
annual reports into readily visible, usable, and ‘mashable’ information that
will provide key insights on agency FOIA activities, government-wide.”

The Dashboard will be an interactive Web site containing
comprehensive data on FOIA compliance by all 94 federal agencies that are
required to report on FOIA data. At present, federal agencies compile and
publish this data each year in Annual FOIA Reports, and the Department makes
those reports available at a single location on its Web site. For the first
time, however, the Dashboard will present the annual reporting data graphically
where it can be easily tracked and compared from year to year and agency to
agency. The Dashboard will also take this previously available information and
present it in new, easy-to-understand, interactive
formats.

Sounds terrific! So, I try to find this new
flagship “dashboard” and stumble across the following: “Current plans indicate
that in early August 2010, Dashboard development will reach a stage at which
public evaluation and input will be of great …”

I continue to search,
following this link, then another, then yet another, following a circular course
which brings me back to this
statement
:

Over the next year, we will launch the Dashboard and upload a full
set of FOIA compliance data. We expect that the bulk of the work will be
completed by March 2011.

So, it being March 2011, and all, I
figure there must be something awesome out there…this is, after all, their
Flagship Initiative!

Finally, I discover the hidden treasure – a link to that glorious “flagship.”
Huh…not much of a flagship…something more akin to the S.S. Minnow.  What I
discover is a grid of “self-assessments” regarding FOIA compliance, and such.
And wouldn’t you know? The vast majority rate themselves as “Meets Expectations;
a few rate themselves as “Progress Toward Expectations”; not a single “Fails to
Meet Expectations” anywhere! Gee…they must be REALLY transparent and
open…just like they tell us all the time…while never really answering a
question…and all the while breaking granting FOIA requests only
to their favorite liberals
.

Some dashboard! I’m left to wonder how
many tax dollars were spent on this little junket (a three hour tour). I’m left
to wonder if this so-called “flagship initiative” has run aground on an
uncharted desert isle.

Obama Asks Terrorism Help — from Muslim Brotherhood Spinoff

Obama Asks Terrorism Help — from Muslim Brotherhood
Spinoff

March 7th, 2011

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com
As more sober
minds consider ways to keep
the Middle East from falling into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood
,
Barack Obama is “fighting terrorism” by reaching out to the leader of one of the
Brotherhood’s American creations. In the process, a White House official
revealed that radical Muslims frequently advise the White House office headed by
the president’s top adviser and alter ego, Valerie Jarrett.
Preemptive Groveling
Flush with instances of American Muslims supporting Islamic jihad,
Rep. Peter King is set to launch his investigation into the radicalization of
U.S. mosques, imams, and the faithful they serve later
this week
. Barack Obama, ever keen to reach out to the Muslim
community
, decided to get ahead of this by sending a deputy to plead with
the extremists for cooperation. On Sunday, Deputy National Security Advisor
Denis McDonough spoke
to a Sterling, Virginia, mosque
some believe is a model of moderate Islam:
the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), led by imam Mohamed Magid. Indeed,
McDonough began by thanking Magid by name.
Although the Sudanese-born imam presents himself as an ecumenical,
anti-terrorism leader active in “interfaith” outreach, his current associations
— and those of others at his mosque — present a different picture.
A Dangerous Mosque

This author exposed
ADAMS’s radical connections nearly seven years
. At the time, ADAMS’s
chairman was Ahmad Totonji, an Iraqi-born citizen of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia
who was named as a
defendant
in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by more than 600 relatives of
people who died in the 9/11 attacks. He served as Vice President of the Safa
Group and the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), which
officials have linked to al-Qaeda,
Palestinian
Islamic Jihad
, and Sami al-Arian.
(Al-Arian served more than five years in prison after pleading guilty to
conspiracy to aid terrorism, and he is currently under house arrest awaiting his
contempt trial, which has been mysteriously
stalled
.) ADAMS’s legal counsel, Muhammed Ashraf, was the attorney for
Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now serving 23 years in prison for laundering
money for Muammar Qaddafi
in a plot to kill a Saudi prince.
Magid was on the premises of ADAMS’s Herndon, Virginia, offices when federal
agents stormed the facility in March 2002. The “Grove Street Addresses” provided
the homes of more than 100 interlocking Muslim organizations that the government
accused of providing material support for terrorism. After the raid, Magid
assembled a “community building” meeting at ADAMS attended by a variety of
extremists.
FBI Snitch, Reagan Euglogizer?
Somehow, this record got Magid invited
to speak at Ronald Reagan’s funeral
in 2004….
Read
more
.