jueves, 4 de octubre de 2012

16 Critical Economic Issues That Obama And Romney Avoided During The Debate

Did you watch the presidential debate on Wednesday night?  It is absolutely amazing how they can have an hour and a half debate about the economy and say so little.  It seemed like both candidates were falling all over each other wanting to talk about how much they value education, but will more education really solve our problems?  After all, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor's degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed in 2011.  So perhaps they should just both agree that education is a good thing and start talking about how to create more jobs for all of us.  If you want to grade the debate from a technical standpoint, clearly Romney was the winner of the debate.  Romney was full of energy and was generally sharp with his answers.  Obama looked like he had just popped a couple of antidepressants and was ready for nap time.  As a result, this might have been the worst blowout in the history of presidential debates.  A CNN/ORC International poll that was taken right after the debate found that 67 percent of all Americans that had watched the debate thought that Romney was the winner.  Never before had any presidential candidate crossed the 60 percent mark in the history of their post-debate polling.  So Romney definitely had a big night.  But the reality is that both candidates were telling the American people what they want to hear.  If either Obama or Romney told the truth about what we are facing they would lose votes, and in a race this tight both of them really want to avoid doing that.  Obama and Romney both desperately want to win this election, and the words that are coming out of their mouths have been carefully crafted to appeal to the "undecided voters" in the swing states.  If you actually believe that they can deliver on everything that they are promising, then you must not have been paying much attention to U.S. politics over the past several decades.

Warnings That A Massive Stock Market Crash Is Imminent

In the financial world, the month of October is synonymous with stock market crashes.  So will a massive stock market crash happen this year?  You never know. The truth is that our financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008, and financial experts such as Doug Short, Peter Schiff, Robert Wiedemer and Harry Dent are all warning that the next crash is rapidly approaching.  We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world and Wall Street has been transformed into a giant casino that is based on a massive web of debt, risk and leverage.  When that web breaks we are going to see a stock market crash that is going to make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.  Yes, the Federal Reserve has tried to prevent any problems from erupting in the financial markets by initiating another round of quantitative easing, but 40 billion dollars a month will not be nearly enough to stop the massive collapse that is coming.  This will be explained in detail toward the end of the article.  Hopefully we will get through October (and the rest of this year) without seeing a stock market collapse, but without a doubt one is coming at some point.  Those on the wrong end of the coming crash are going to be absolutely wiped out.

The Federal Reserve Sends Thank You Letters To Congress For Letting Them Destroy Our Economy In Secret

The Federal Reserve continues to pump up this "bubble economy" by recklessly printing money and by setting interest rates artificially low, and the U.S. Congress continues to stand aside and allow them to systematically destroy our economy.  The U.S. Congress could choose to end this madness at any time, but the truth is that Congress won't even pass a law that would allow the American people to see what is going on over at the Federal Reserve.  Congress has voted down every single bill that would authorize a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve.  So the folks over at the Fed will continue to be able to destroy our future in secret.  In fact, back in July Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke actually sent five thank you letters to members of Congress that gave speeches on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives encouraging their fellow lawmakers to vote against the bill to audit the Fed.  Since the U.S. Congress continues to refuse to do anything to hold the Federal Reserve accountable, the Fed will continue to print unprecedented amounts of money, it will continue to set interest rates insanely low and it will continue to pump up the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world.  Unfortunately, all debt bubbles eventually burst, and when this one does it is going to be a financial nightmare unlike anything we have ever seen before.
It was Politico that first broke the story about the thank you letters that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent to five members of Congress back in July.  Bernanke acknowledged in the letters that there was never any worry that the "Audit the Fed" bill would actually get through Congress and be signed into law, but he was still extremely grateful that a number of members of Congress got up and publicly denounced the bill....

Why Does Our Society Look Down On Unemployed Men So Much?

If you are unemployed for an extended period of time, people are going to look at you differently.  Unfortunately, this is especially true if you are a man.  In our society, men are primarily defined by "what they do".  If you have been unemployed for a long period of time, that can make social interactions even more awkward than normal.  Most people will instantly become more uncomfortable around you when they find out that you are unemployed.  Many will look at you with pity, and others will actually look at you with disdain.  Women will not want to date you, and if you are in a relationship unemployment will put a tremendous amount of strain on it.  Once you "don't have a job", you will not get the same level of respect from former co-workers, friends, members of your own family and possibly even your own wife.  So why does our society look down on unemployed men so much?  Well, it is generally expected that men are supposed to be the "breadwinners" for their families.  If a woman stays home with the kids nobody has any problems with that, but if men do the same thing it tends to raise eyebrows.  But there is a big problem.  Our economy is not producing enough jobs for everyone.  In fact, there are millions upon millions more workers than there are jobs.  It would be great if this was just a temporary situation, but as I have written about previously, there will never be enough jobs in America ever again.  So there will continually be millions upon millions of men that are looked down upon by society because they can't get jobs, and as a result we are going to have millions upon millions of men that are constantly battling against soul-crushing despair.
It can be really hard to "feel like a man" when you aren't making any money.
And most women simply are not interested in becoming romantically involved with an unemployed man.  Just check out what one recent survey found....

14 Signs That The World Economy Is Getting Weaker

The United States is not the only one with massive economic problems right now.  The truth is that just about wherever you look around the globe things are getting even worse.  China is experiencing a substantial economic slowdown, and Japan has resorted to yet another round of money printing in an effort to keep the Japanese economy moving.  Unemployment in Europe continues to get even worse, and the riots this week in Spain and in Greece have been absolutely frightening at times.  In the United States there are a whole host of signs that another recession is approaching, and the number of American CEOs that say that they plan to eliminate jobs in the coming months is rapidly rising.  The world economy is more interconnected today than ever before, and that means that we are all in this together.  Just remember what happened back in 2008 and 2009.  The economic pain that started on Wall Street was felt in every corner of the planet.  So anyone that believes that the United States (or any other major nation for that matter) is going to escape the next wave of the economic crisis is simply not being realistic.  Why do you think central banks all over the world are in "panic mode" right now?  They are firing all of their ammunition and printing money like there is no tomorrow in an attempt to keep the system together.  Unfortunately, it is not going to work.

October Surprise? Obama secret Iran deal cut

Look for announcement of temporary halt to uranium enrichment

Iran could announce a temporary halt to uranium enrichment before next month’s U.S. election in a move to save Barack Obama’s presidency, a source affiliated with high Iranian officials said today.
The source, who remains anonymous for security reasons, said a three-person delegation of the Obama administration led by a woman engaged in secret negotiations yesterday with a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The delegation urged the Iranian leader to announce a halt to enrichment, even if temporary, before the Nov. 6 election, promising removal of some sanctions.
The source said the delegation warned that a Mitt Romney presidency would change the U.S. relationship with Iran regarding its nuclear program.
The U.S. representatives reminded the Iranians that President Obama has stood in front of Israel, preventing the Jewish state from attacking Iran over its illicit nuclear arms policy.

Will California Become a Right-to-Give State?


How the Golden State may unshackle workers from their union overlords.
“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “is sinful and tyrannical.”
If the sage of Monticello is correct, then California’s powerful labor unions—along with the state government that both empowers and is empowered by them—are sinful and tyrannical indeed. In the Golden State, as, alas, in several other states, unions automatically deduct employee wages and funnel them to political campaigns—without the consent of the employee.

The Only Practical Way Out of Our Economic Doldrums


Both campaigns have one thing in common: They have not made the connection between their proposed policies and the robust growth rates we need.
In the forthcoming presidential debates, the issue of the federal debt and deficit is likely to come up. Just about everyone agrees that today’s trajectory is unsustainable, so the question is not whether the debt and deficit need to improve, but when, and by how much.  (For example, see a previous piece on this topic, "Why Growth Matters More Than Debt.")
America’s economic experiences during the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton demonstrate that growth is the most effective way to mitigate a debt burden, create jobs, and advance our standard of living. The current presidential campaign, however, lacks a clear growth message from either side.

Is the Nation of Immigrants Becoming a Nation of Emigrants?


Vivek Wadhwa on the immigrant exodus that threatens the United States.
Editor's Note: Vivek Wadhwa has emerged in recent years as one of the most influential thinkers on entrepreneurship, technology, and immigration. In his new book, “The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent,” he documents how the United States is experiencing an unprecedented slowdown in the number of high-growth, immigrant-led start-up companies. He discussed America’s immigration landscape with THE AMERICAN’s editor-in-chief Nick Schulz.
Nick Schulz: If a spaceship were to land in the United States and extraterrestrial visitors were to listen to the nation's discussion on immigration, they would conclude America is being overwhelmed by immigrants. And yet you have published a book called The Immigrant Exodus. What's going on?
Vivek Wadhwa: The extraterrestrials would wonder why America is even debating this issue.

Karl Rove: Can We Believe the Presidential Polls?

Karl Rove: Can We Believe the Presidential Polls?

Last week's CBS/New York Times poll had Obama ahead by nine points in Florida. That's not very likely.

I've seen a movie like this one before. I was in my 20s and director of the Texas Victory Committee for Reagan-Bush. Our headquarters was in an old mortuary in Austin. That seemed an appropriate venue when, on Oct. 8, 1980, the New York Times released its poll on the presidential race in Texas, one of 10 battlegrounds. (Yes, the Lone Star State was then a battleground.)
According to the Times, the contest was "a virtual dead heat," with President Jimmy Carter ahead despite earlier surveys showing Ronald Reagan winning. A large Hispanic turnout for Mr. Carter—and the fact that Texas was "far more Democratic than the nation" (only 16% of Texans identified themselves as Republicans then)—meant that Mr. Reagan "must do better among independents" to carry the state. Our hurriedly called strategy session at the mortuary had more than the normal complement of hand-wringers.
Then came more hard punches. On Oct. 13, Gallup put the race nationally at Carter 44%, Reagan 40%. The bottom appeared to fall out two weeks later when a new national Gallup poll had Carter 47%, Reagan 39%.
imageAssociated Press
Reagan trailed in October but won in a walk.
That produced more than a few empty chairs in phone banks across Texas. But most volunteers, grim and stoic, hung on, determined to stay until the bitter end. Only Election Day was not so bitter. Reagan carried all 10 of the Times' battleground states and defeated Mr. Carter by nearly 10 points.

Barone: Thoughts on the first presidential debate

Barone: Thoughts on the first presidential debate

Did Mitt Romney win the first presidential debate between him and Barack Obama? Did Sitting Bull win at Little Big Horn?

You would have been surprised, if you had been the proverbial man (or woman) from Mars, to guess which candidate—the incumbent president of the United States or the former one-term governor of Massachusetts—had a better command of either the details of public policy. Obviously Mitt Romney did. And you would have gotten the sense that one of the two candidates had a sense of command and the other was hugely on the defensive. Romney was looking confident, with consistent smiles; Obama was constantly looking downward, on the defensive, irritated and—astonished.

Romney Politely Cleaned Obama's Clock

By Larry Kudlow

Mitt Romney politely cleaned Barack Obama's clock tonight. A lethargic and at times tired looking President Obama was out-hustled, out-facted, out-energized, and out-informed by Former Governor Mitt Romney. Completely unlike Romney's convention speech, tonight he focused on strong economic issues, developed his philosophy of limited government, and convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is in fact a pro-growth tax reformer who wants to lower the rate, and broaden the base in a revenue-neutral fashion that will actually create jobs and spur the economy.
This is the first time I have been totally convinced of his tax reform bonifide and principles. Elsewhere in the debate, Romney had to correct President Obama on a number of issues, including oil tax breaks, healthcare issues, job training programs in the federal government and even how Obamacare works. Romney's knowledge base was broad and deep, much broader and deeper than President Obama showed tonight.

Energized Romney again slams ‘trickle-down government’

Energized Romney again slams ‘trickle-down government’

DENVER — In his first public appearance since his well-received presidential debate showing, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney made a surprise appearance here Thursday morning before a thrilled audience at CPAC Colorado, a gathering of conservative activists meeting here.
“We need to take Colorado, and if we do, we’re going to take the White House,” Mr. Romney told the gathering of several hundred at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport.
His son Tagg Romney, appearing at the podium with three of his brothers, first apologized for the absence of the fifth brother, Ben, explaining that he was unable to take time off from his job as a doctor to attend the event.

Romney’s silent majority

Romney’s silent majority

Republican is more in touch with Middle America than Obama

President Obama spent a lot of time during the first presidential debate on Wednesday saying what he would do if elected to another four years in the Oval Office. He has a plan to cut spending, another plan to cut deficits and the national debt, a plan to boost employment, and all kinds of plans to strengthen Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while somehow saving money throughout the system. He has a plan to cut taxes and another plan to raise revenue. Mr. Obama has a plan for everything. The problem is this man has been president for almost four years already and spending, deficits, debt and taxes are all going up while unemployment has been stuck above 8 percent for 43 months and entitlement programs are bankrupt. After squandering one term in the most powerful job on the planet, it would be foolhardy to give him another term to dig the hole deeper.

Obama assails ‘real’ Romney’s debate claims

Obama assails ‘real’ Romney’s debate claims

Campaign team plans ‘adjustments’ after lackluster performance

DENVER — In his first appearance since his widely panned debate performance, President Obama Thursday accused Republican nominee Mitt Romney of deceiving voters in the rivals’ first face-off of the campaign Wednesday night.
“When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” Mr. Obama told supporters at a rally in Denver. “But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy.  The fellow on the stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”

Poll: 85% of Middle Class Say They're Worse Off Than 10 Years Ago

Barack Obama portrays himself as the great defender of the middle class. But the American public seems to agree with Vice President Joe Biden that under Obama’s watch, the middle class has been “buried.” According to a new poll, 85 percent of self-described middle class people say it’s tougher now than it was 10 years ago for middle class people simply to maintain their standard of living. 62 percent of those people say blame lies largely with Congress; another 54 percent blame banks; 47 percent blame corporations; 44 percent blame Bush; 39 percent blame foreign competition. Surprisingly, just 34 percent blame the Obama administration. 

Andrew Sullivan: Obama May Have 'Lost the Election Tonight'

Andrew Sullivan, the Daily Beast’s designated Obama sycophant (or one of many) declared the debate for Romney early. He described the debate as a “wipe-out for Romney.” He explained that it is a “rolling calamity for Obama. He’s boring, abstract, and less human-seeming than Romney! I can’t even follow him half the time. Either exhausted, over-briefed … or just flailing. He is throwing this debate away.”

When You've Lost Huffington Post...

The headline on the liberal Huffington Post after Wednesday's debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney said it all: "Romney Wins The Night."

Others on the left were more vicious than the Huffington Post. Those like Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, James Carville, Andrew Sullivan, Nicholas Kristof and even Bill Maher criticized, lambasted and ridiculed Obama's performance.
For nearly a month, the mainstream media has hit Romney over the head with on and off-the-record criticism from people on the center-right like Peggy Noonan.
If the mainstream meda is even somewhat fair and unbiased, they would give Obama the same treatment they gave to Romney now center-left pundits, media figures, and political advisers are shredding Obama.

Hollywood in Mourning: Celebrities Admit Obama Got KO'd in Debate

Bette Midler's Tweet last night might have said it all.

It said, "Gore 2016!!!!!"
Yes, even Hollywood's most liberal stars couldn't deny the drubbing President Barack Obama took during Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver. Mitt Romney's win was so obvious the usual spin wouldn't be enough.
Adam McKay, who co-created the liberal humor site Funny or Die and works with Will Ferrell on left-leaning comedies like "The Other Guys," was gracious (and scared) in defeat.
Adam McKay tweet
Bill Maher, who deposited a cool $1 million into an Obama Super PAC, sounded like a Republican in his despondent take on the night.
i can’t believe i’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter
Comedian Patton Oswalt of "Ratatouille" fame called Obama's closing, "A room temperature bowl of oatmeal.”
Others, like Samuel L. Jackson, pretended such a lopsided victory meant nothing. Really.
"What Really happened tonite?! NOBODY changed who they’re voting for!! NOBODY!!!"
Perhaps no other celebrity was as eloquent as rapper Lil Jon, whose debate tweet captured the nuance, passion and integrity of the Hollywood Left.
Lil Jon curse

Fact Check: Top 5 Liberal Excuses for Obama Losing the First Presidential Debate to Romney

Gov. Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama soundly in the first presidential debate in Denver, and even Obama’s supporters knew it. The media quickly went to work spinning excuses for their candidate, claiming that "the deck was stacked against Obama" from the start, and that Romney had not fought a fair fight. 

Al Gore Blames The Altitude For Obama's Poor Performance

Mitt Humiliates The Media and Now They Will Seek Revenge

"Who is this guy?" tens of millions of American voters asked themselves last night. "This isn't the Mitt Romney the media's presented to me over the last six months?"

Free of the corrupt media's corrupt filter; free of the spin, the lying fact-checkers, the gotchas, and the desperate effort to cover up any and all bad news that might hurt Obama -- by every standard, every measure, every opinion and every opinion poll, what we witnessed last night at the first presidential debate of 2012 was a commanding, dominating blow-out performance by Governor Mitt Romney. 

Romney Wins Big in First Debate

Halfway through, they should have stopped the fight. 

Gov. Mitt Romney eviscerated a staggering and bewildered President Barack Obama tonight in one of the most lopsided presidential debates in American history. Throughout the debate, which focused on domestic policy, Obama looked shaken, rarely looking at the camera, reciting old talking points and filibustering as Romney gave a master class at the University of Denver.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Issa: Obama Admin Ignored Requests for Increased Security in Libya

Issa: Obama Admin Ignored Requests for Increased Security in Libya

Today, Reps. Issa and Chaffetz sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking why requests for more protection at the Benghazi embassy were denied. Rep. Issa is the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and Rep. Chaffetz is the Chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations. The full committee will hold a hearing on October 10, 2012 to assess the security situation preceding the terrorist attack of September 11. 

Flash: White House Knew al-Qaeda Was Rising Threat In Libya Region

Flash: White House Knew al-Qaeda Was Rising Threat In Libya Region

The information we're learning today about the Obama administration's incompetence and dishonesty surrounding the terrorist attack in Libya that cost four American lives, is breathtaking. 

WaPo Cooks Swing-State Poll For Obama

WaPo Cooks Swing-State Poll For Obama

My colleague, John Nolte, has already covered how absurd the Washington Post poll of voters in "swing states" was. For the last few months, I have become convinced that the media is actively trying to use their polls to impact the Presidential election. Not the pollsters per se, but the media sponsors who pay their tab. They are active participants in the campaign. The Washington Post  confirmed that my suspicions were correct. They are totally an in-kind contributor to the Obama campaign.

Obama Urges Companies to Break Federal Law for His Reelection

Obama Urges Companies to Break Federal Law for His Reelection

For Obama and the left, the law is merely a suggestion for what they can do. Can't get something through Congress? Simply issue an executive order. Can't get an appointment through the Senate? Simply "declare" the Senate in recess and appoint away. Act now and let the judges sort it out later. 

Benghazi: Multiple Requests for Increased Security Denied by Washington

Benghazi: Multiple Requests for Increased Security Denied by Washington

The security lapses in Benghazi that led to the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans trace back to security decisions made in Washington. That's the message of a letter Rep. Darrell Issa sent to Secretary Clinton Tuesday. The letter indicates that the US mission in Libya made repeated request for increased security prior to the September 11th attack but that these requests were denied. Issa's House Oversight committee is planning a hearing on Wednesday, October 10, to investigate the failure.

Friday, September 28, 2012

US: Signs Of The Gold Standard Are Emerging From Germany

US: Signs Of The Gold Standard Are Emerging From Germany – by Ralph Benko

“Indeed, the fact that central banks can create money out of thin air, so to speak, is something that many observers are likely to find surprising and strange, perhaps mystical and dreamlike, too  – or even nightmarish.”  Jens Weidmann
On September 18th, the London office of Deutsche Bank  — one of the most respected banks in the world, and a bellwether of elite opinion — published a Global Markets Research paper entitled Gold: Adjusting for Zero. It was written by two esteemed, mainstream analysts Daniel Brebner and Xiao Fu:Figure 7: USD devaluation vs. gold (rebased) log scale:
“[G]old is not really a commodity at all. While it is included in the commodities basket it is in fact a medium of exchange and one that is officially recognised (if not publicly used as such). We see gold as an officially recognised form of money for one primary reason: it is widely held by most of the world’’s larger central banks as a component of reserves. We would go further however, and argue that gold could be characterised as ‘‘good’’ money as opposed to ‘bad’ money which would be represented by many of today’s fiat currencies.”

US: Obama’s Un-’Patriotic’ Economic Plan

US: Obama’s Un-’Patriotic’ Economic Plan – Investors.com

Leadership: With the already weak economy faltering, the president goes on TV to offer nothing but recycled promises, job-killing tax hikes, a sham deficit plan, phony tuition cuts and more of the same failed energy policy.
In a two-minute TV ad now airing in swing states around the country, Obama tells viewers about his plan for the next four years. It’s a good thing he gave himself only two minutes, since any more would have exposed just how vacuous his ideas are.
His “plan,” in fact, is just a grab bag of retread promises he’s already failed to deliver on, new promises he has no hope of fulfilling, a budget plan already exposed as a complete fraud and a tax hike guaranteed to destroy jobs. Not one of these ideas will turn around the increasingly desperate economy.

China and Japan

China and Japan

Could Asia really go to war over these?

The bickering over islands is a serious threat to the region’s peace and prosperity

THE countries of Asia do not exactly see the world in a grain of sand, but they have identified grave threats to the national interest in the tiny outcrops and shoals scattered off their coasts. The summer has seen a succession of maritime disputes involving China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines. This week there were more anti-Japanese riots in cities across China because of a dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known to the Japanese as the Senkakus and to the Chinese as the Diaoyus. Toyota and Honda closed down their factories. Amid heated rhetoric on both sides, one Chinese newspaper has helpfully suggested skipping the pointless diplomacy and moving straight to the main course by serving up Japan with an atom bomb.
That, thank goodness, is grotesque hyperbole: the government in Beijing is belatedly trying to play down the dispute, aware of the economic interests in keeping the peace. Which all sounds very rational, until you consider history—especially the parallel between China’s rise and that of imperial Germany over a century ago. Back then nobody in Europe had an economic interest in conflict; but Germany felt that the world was too slow to accommodate its growing power, and crude, irrational passions like nationalism took hold. China is re-emerging after what it sees as 150 years of humiliation, surrounded by anxious neighbours, many of them allied to America. In that context, disputes about clumps of rock could become as significant as the assassination of an archduke.

A mandate of slackers

A mandate of slackers

Turning out your base, not winning arguments, is increasingly the key to electoral success

AS THEY wake on November 6th, political-science students at Temple University in Philadelphia will receive e-mails reminding them that it is election day, via their department’s automated mailing list. Once out of bed, they will find student Democratic volunteers bustling about with iPads and smartphones, ready to tell them which is their polling station and to provide directions. Democrats are in a thumping majority on this diverse, inner-city campus, and for weeks the Obama campaign has deployed a paid field organiser at Temple, registering students to vote. The college Democrats’ president, Dylan Morpurgo, has honed a special pitch for students uninterested in elections. He points out that politicians decide such things as tuition fees and student-loan interest rates and that thanks to Barack Obama, young graduates can stay on their parents’ health insurance.
The nannying at Temple is bipartisan. Erik Jacobs, leader of Temple’s small Republican society, will be e-mailing his own members with details of where to vote, and sending them to the polls in gaggles. It can be intimidating to hand over a Republican voting card at a Philadelphia polling station, he explains: “We try to make it easy.”

Socialising in America

Socialising in America

The decline of an American institution

  by C.C.
AMERICANS are still famously neighbourly (especially compared to Europeans) but they’re getting less so.
A new book released last week, "Social Trends in American Life", sees a group of prominent American social scientists presenting and explaining the results of the General Social Survey—an ongoing study that has regularly recorded and tracked changes in social attitudes and make-up since the early 1970s. Every other year, researchers collect detailed information from a large random sample of American adults in order to understand how American society is evolving.
For the most part, the results are unsurprising. Americans are now more tolerant towards minorities (immigrants, gays and blacks) than they were in the 1970s—an outcome that is probably a function of tolerant younger people replacing conservative elderly. Americans now express less confidence in public institutions (except for the military) than they once did. Happiness levels have stayed relatively constant, which many think might be a product of religious observance remaining relatively steady.
But one trend in the pattern of American social life is curious: Americans have never been less likely to be friends with their neighbours than before. In 1974, 44% of respondents said that they had spent a social evening with neighbours more than once a month. By 2008, that number had dropped to a tick over 30%. Over the course of the study’s existence, the number has been dropping consistently.



The French budget

The French budget

One cheer

  by S.P. | PARIS

THE French government has hailed its 2013 budget, unveiled on September 28th, as the “most important effort made for 30 years”. The good news is that it demonstrates a firm commitment by President François Hollande and his Socialist government to keep to its deficit-reduction promises. The less good news lies in the balance of taxes and spending that it uses to get there, its over-optimistic growth assumptions, and the political slight-of-hand in presenting this as a package that soaks only the rich.

Missing in Action: Growth


Neither party denies that our growing debt is rapidly taking us in the wrong direction, but neither party is giving the best remedy—economic growth enhancement—the top billing it deserves.
In the economic policy debate, there are two elephants in the room: The size and growth of our national debt, and the size and growth of our national economy. They belong together; when we address one, we should address the other at the same time. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been happening.
At the Republican convention, the size of the national debt received top billing—but it was headlined in isolation, when it should have been displayed in tandem with the size of the national economy. By contrast, the Democratic convention essentially ignored the debt. Although both parties gave honorable mention to economic growth, the Republicans’ top priority was to highlight the bad things their opponents have done to the debt, while the Democrats’ priority was the divide-and-conquer strategy of pointing out how much better off the middle class would be under their leadership.

Obama and Second Chances


The voters who really matter are those who, like me, were willing to give Obama a chance the first time around, but who, after watching his performance over the last four years, are not at all sure that they are willing to give him another.
Many American voters didn’t think Obama deserved to be president in the first place and have no interest in giving him a second chance this time around. Obviously there is no point in the Democrats trying to win them over to their cause. Similarly, there are still lots of Americans who will vote for Obama no matter what—and the Democrats need not waste time or resources persuading them to do what they are going to do anyway. This means that the voters who really matter are those who, like me, were willing to give Obama a chance the first time around, but who, after watching his performance over the last four years, are not at all sure that they are willing to give him another. We aren’t racists or right-wing fanatics. We are just worried—not because we think Obama is a mad socialist or crypto-Muslim, but because we fear he just isn’t up to the job of being president. In short, we are the people that need to be convinced to vote for Obama a second time, because if we don’t vote for him—or simply don’t vote at all—he is in danger of becoming another failed president, like the ill-fated Jimmy Carter.

Stop Apologizing for Our Liberties


You cannot apologize to a fanatic. It only serves to convince him that he was right all along, and that is the last course the United States should be pursuing at this critical juncture of world history.
The last few weeks have witnessed a peculiar and disturbing spectacle: An American administration that has spent a great deal of time and energy apologizing for our liberties—in particular, for what many would regard as the foundation of all our other liberties, namely, the freedom to express our minds as we see fit. This signature freedom, of which Americans were once so boastful, has clearly become a source of befuddled embarrassment to the current administration and many of its liberal supporters. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the speech President Obama delivered before the UN Assembly yesterday. The president was bold and strong in making clear that there can be no excuse for the riots that have swept the Muslim world, but he was weak in his defense of our most fundamental freedom. The president came across as if he regarded the right to free speech as a bothersome and irritating nuisance that Americans put up with solely because it’s one of our quaint and bizarre local traditions, instead of celebrating it as a moral lesson to mankind and a blessing bequeathed to us by our ancestors.  It did not seem to bother Obama in the least that he was apologizing to the world for the First Amendment, and that is very troubling.
Unfortunately, the president is not alone in his mixed feelings about the First Amendment in our post-Arab Spring era. Many of the same liberals who have always pushed the First Amendment as far as they possibly could have suddenly decided that it has been pushed a bit too far. Some of them seem to regret that the First Amendment to the Constitution left out a clause prohibiting insults to Islam and its prophet Mohammed. Of course, the Founding Fathers couldn’t think of everything, and it is hard to blame them for failing to foresee, more than two centuries in advance, just how useful such a prohibition would be in dealing with the Muslim cultural revolution known as the Arab Spring. For let there be no doubt about it, what is currently standing in the path of peaceful coexistence between the United States and the Muslim world is not the state of Israel, much less the producers of the film, Innocence of Muslims—no, it is that troublesome First Amendment. That is what is really fanning the flames of fanaticism, and nothing else—a moral utterly lost to the current administration in its misguided efforts to appease Muslim fury by pursuing a policy of abject apologetics.

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Michael Bordo: Financial Recessions Don't Lead to Weak Recoveries

The evidence since 1880 shows a faster pace of recovery. The Obama years are the exception.

There's a belief among policy makers that serious recessions associated with financial crises are necessarily followed by slow recoveries—like the one we've experienced since mid-2009. But this widespread belief is mistaken. To the contrary, U.S. business cycles going back more than a century show that deep recessions accompanied by financial crises are almost always followed by rapid recoveries.
The mistaken view comes largely from the 2009 book "This Time Is Different," by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, and other studies based on the experience of several countries in recent decades. The problem with these studies is that they lump together countries with diverse institutions, financial structures and economic policies. They also conflate two different measures of speed—how long it takes a country to get back to its previous business-cycle peak, and how fast the economy grows once the recovery has started.
Milton Friedman had a different way of looking at recoveries from cyclical downturns: the "plucking" model. Friedman imagined the U.S. economy as a string attached to an upward sloping board, with the board representing the underlying long-run growth rate. A recession, in this view, was a downward pluck on the string; the recovery was when the string snapped back. The greater the pluck, the faster the bounce back to trend.

Homosexuals in the military demand special privileges

Toleration doesn’t cut both ways

The American armed forces exist to defend our nation, not to conduct social science lab experiments in which our troops serve as human subjects. Try telling that to this administration.
The first anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Sept. 20, has come and gone. Now, there is mounting evidence that proves our warnings were not idle chatter. The threat to freedom posed by this radical sexual experiment on our military is real: It is grave and it is growing.
Activists inside and outside our government who pushed the repeal have deployed a smoke screen around the fact that once the military was forced to exalt homosexuality in the ranks, the all-too-foreseen consequence reared its ugly head.

Mitt Romney was right about the 47 percent

Americans are too dependent on Fedzilla

Mitt Romney hit the bull’s-eye with his comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans who do not have any skin in the game as it pertains to paying federal income tax. Facts are facts.
Mr. Romney is not backing down. Good. The truth is the truth and it’s long past time someone said it.
As I’ve written before, for at least the past 50 years the Democratic Party has intentionally engineered a class of political “victims” who have been bamboozled into being dependent on the federal government for their subsistence, including food, housing and now health care. They get this without paying any federal income taxes, and that’s wrong. Something for nothing is always a scam. This is how you buy votes, plain and simple.

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