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State Of The Union And The State Of The Obama Presidency

We’ll dive into President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Analysis — and where the President stands — with Riehan Salam, Kristen Welker and Amy Davidson.

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address in front of the joint session of the U.S. Congress on Jan. 28, 2014. (AP)

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address in front of the joint session of the U.S. Congress on Jan. 28, 2014. (AP)

The state of the union is strong, the President said last night, but he gave the credit not to Washington but to the nation.  Our work.  Our effort.  And essentially told Congress he’s tired of being bottled up, bogged down, embattled.  This year, it’s executive action wherever he can push it.  On jobs.  On the minimum wage.  On savings.  On skills.  But the issues are big and executive action only goes so far.  The president has three years to go.  Where are we headed?  This hour On Point:  the State of the Union, and the state of the Obama presidency.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Amy Davidson, senior editor at The New Yorker. (@tnycloseread)

Reihan Salam, writer for National Review and Reuters Opinion. Co-author of “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.” (@reihan)

Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent. (@kwelkerNBC)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Obama to Press for ‘Year of Action’ – “The speech repackages many of the policy proposals Mr. Obama has so far failed to achieve, including infrastructure projects, early childhood education programs and plans for making college more affordable. He’s also renewing calls on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, covering all U.S. workers, and pass an overhaul of the immigration system.”

New York Times: Obama Taking Up Economic Issues on His Authority – “Promising ‘a year of action’ as he tries to rejuvenate a presidency mired in low approval ratings and stymied by partisan stalemates, Mr. Obama used his annual State of the Union address to chart a new path forward relying on his own executive authority. But the defiant, go-it-alone approach was more assertive than any of the individual policies he advanced.”

Washington Post: Obama prepared to avoid Congress, go it alone on carrying out modest initiatives – “For the first time since taking office, Obama spoke to Congress on Tuesday evening from a clear position of confrontation. The areas he identified for possible cooperation with a divided Congress have shrunk, leaving an agenda filled out by a growing number of modest initiatives that he intends to carry out alone.”

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  • Carlina

    I look forward to the President declaring that he will do whatever he can, through his executive powers, to help the U.S. people, economy and infrastructure, in the gross absence of cooperation by Congress. At some point (now), Pres. Obama must call Congress out for not accepting his hand-across-the-aisle and perhaps, in the process, shame Congress into taking some action on immigration and other issues that should demand their attention, if they weren’t so busy trying to sabotage the President (& the American people, as collateral damage).

    • OnPointComments

      Hand-across-the-aisle? Three days after his first inauguration, President Obama told Republicans “I won. So I think on that one, I trump you.” Obamacare was passed without a single Republican vote, without being read by those Democrats who voted for it (“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”), and on the basis of the lies “You can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor.”

      The only time the hand was across the aisle was to give the other side the middle finger.

      • northeaster17

        Well he did win. And then he won again.

        • harverdphd

          Right: so did Bush

          • Don_B1

            Much more narrowly, and the first time Bush did not get a total vote win.

      • Shag_Wevera

        He did win, and it should have meant something. The opposition uniformly set out to destroy his presidency. Am I wrong?

        • William

          Yes, elections do matter so the Republicans won the House and Obama has been out to destroy them. Am I wrong?

          • sickofthechit

            Do the math please. The house is 1/6th of our government, not 1/3, not 1/2, 1/6th! If you want to exclude the the Judiciary then it is 1/4th. So It should not be controlling so much of what does or does not get done.

          • William

            They control the money and they are the majority. Obama has tried to bully them from day one and remember his famous “I won” speech to Rep. Ryan. He never intended to treat them with respect.

          • Don_B1

            As hennorama points out below (the next response to OPC after this subthread), you are taking the words out of context, as you often do.

            Read henorama’s full quote, or read my post of the headline used by ABC News:

            ‘I Won:’ President Obama Works to Be Bipartisan But Shows There Are Clear Limits

            and the text goes on to point out that Obama’s words were in his denial of Republican requests to lower the minimum individual tax brackets from 15% to 10% and 10% to 5%. And if you can’t see that those changes would only exacerbate the current income inequality, then …

          • John_in_Amherst

            you might have noticed that Obama won the popular vote, and that the GOP leadership declared from day one of the Obama presidency that they would do whatever they could to obstruct him. If it weren’t for gerrymandered house districts and the fact that 2 senators from a sparcely populated state like Wyoming have as much clout as 2 from California (despite a huge difference in the # of people they represent, Obama’s agenda would have been enacted long ago. The GOP is not on the moral high ground, they are scamming the system to get their way.

      • hennorama

        OPC — thank you for once again quoting what the President said in “an hour-long private meeting with Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders … on the economic stimulus package,” without providing any context.

        Here’s the context, as reported at the time:

        “Despite being the lowest person on the totem pole in attendance, sources say the ideas presented by Cantor — who brought handouts to the meeting — provided some of the day’s most engaging moments.

        “House Republicans have been complaining about not being consulted, and as Cantor explained the details of some of the ideas he and his GOP colleagues would like to see in the package, President Obama read the one-pager and told him, “Eric, I don’t see anything crazy in here.”

        “Among some of the things Republicans requested: tax deductions for some small businesses, making unemployment benefits tax free and a provision that would let businesses losing money carry the losses over to pay fewer taxes in a different fiscal year.

        “Mr. Obama did voice opinion on some differences on the issue of whether the lowest individual tax rates should be cut from 15 percent to 10 percent and from 10 percent to 5 percent.

        “As the president, he had told Kyl after the Arizonan raised objections to the notion of a tax credit for people who don’t pay income taxes, Obama told Cantor this morning that “on some of these issues we’re just going to have ideological differences.”

        “The president added, “I won. So I think on that one, I trump you.”

        See:
        http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2009/01/i-won-president/

        • Don_B1

          I thank you for posting the context, which OPC and the other trolls seem to always leave off when it is to their advantage.

          But for those with no time to read your full post and thus no time to read the original source, in this case (for once!) the headline of that article does carry most of the context:

          ‘I Won:’ President Obama Works to Be Bipartisan But Shows There Are Clear Limits

          It shows that OPC and the other trolls have no desire to conduct an honest discussion, but are much more interested in making “gotcha” points, even when they are completely false. In fact, the more false the more likely they are to make them.

          • hennorama

            Don_B1 — thank you for your kind words, and your excellent point about the headline.

            I do have to disagree with you however, as OPC is not a troll.

            [PS] I added the headline to my original post. Thanks again.

          • Don_B1

            When an individual continually posts the same arguments when those arguments have been shown to be false, without doing the due diligence to refute, in detail, why the argument showing his claim false should not be accepted, he meets my definition of a troll. [There seems to be some people on this blog who think they can redefine words when they have used them in a way that does not help their argument; i do not believe I was doing that here.]

            Otherwise, I guess we will “have to agree to disagree”?

          • hennorama

            Don_B1 — fair enough.

            My exchanges with OPC have generally been reasonable and respectful, but as the French say “à chacun son goût.”

        • OnPointComments

          Provide us with the context of the 38 times he told us that we could keep our health plan, we could keep our doctor.

          • Don_B1

            It was during the campaign, when every politician has to simplify their message and sometimes oversimplify them.

            But why don’t we start with all the times (1000s?) YOU have misconstrued the facts to advance your cases on the economy or climate change?

            When YOU do that, then we might consider your other arguments. You seem to be a member of the compulsive liars or mythomaniacs on this website and do not deserve a response.

          • hennorama

            OPC — thank you for your deflection.

      • sickofthechit

        It was VP cheney who gave the other side the finger, not President Obama.

    • John_in_Amherst

      Shame as a motivator for the GOP?? Good luck. The party’s conscience was bought off a long time ago.

  • StilllHere

    The president is going to stick with his go-it-alone strategy because showing any leadership is too difficult for him. Having never had a leadership position in his life, it is understandable that he finds this an easier path. Thankfully the impact that his executive orders can have is generally limited, and reversible when saner heads occupy the seat. 2014 is an election year, and the race for 2016 is heating up; at some point this year it’ll probably make sense for him to move permanently to Hawaii as he’ll be on an island politically anyway.

    • anamaria23

      Inaugeration Night 2009: Secret meeting by leading Repubs : Pledge “unyielding opposition to any Obama economic policy” Read “Do Not Ask What Good We Do”
      by Robert Draper for a full report of the planned obstructionism before this President even took office.

      • StilllHere

        His economic policy is a train-wreck and America knows it.

        • John_in_Amherst

          the economy he inherited was a train wreck. Did you whine about Bush’s Medicare drug benefit? How about the off-budget wars? Would you rather see GM back to profitability, or would you prefer if it had been sold off to Toyota?

          • StilllHere

            Yes, I disagreed with it.
            They weren’t off budget, check your facts.
            GM would’ve gotten to the same place more quickly if it had gone thru bankruptcy; in fact, it’d be stronger.

          • Don_B1

            GM did go through bankruptcy; it was the type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 (total dismemberment) or Chapter 11 (restructuring) that made the difference. Without President Obama’s “bailout,” there would not have been the money to go through Chapter 11 and GM would be a bunch of torn-down shops with a few making some parts for other cars. Even Ford Motor Company was terrified of the consequences of GM going through Chapter 7.

            I really think you should know this; it has been discussed here many times and if you think there is a problem with that analysis, show it in detail. Do not just repeat false claims.

          • StilllHere

            What happened to the bondholders? This was no bankruptcy, this was a union handout.

        • nj_v2

          StillHere is a troll and we know it.

  • George Potts

    Obama has never met a Republican he has liked.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Meaningless.

    • StilllHere

      He likes sheeple.

      • Don_B1

        And you want your comments treated with respect?

  • George Potts

    This is the equality that is in our future.

    I just want to be the Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General.

    http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html

    • OnPointComments

      “THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.” –HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

      In the story, the government forces citizens to wear “handicaps” (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast). The satire raises a serious question concerning desirability of social equality and the extent to which society is prepared to go to achieve it. (Wikipedia)

      Would you give up liberty to achieve equality?

      • jimino

        Vonnegut certainly was prescient about how the USA was heading when he wrote in “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater”:

        “Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and
        entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that
        praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang inthe noonday sun.”

        • OnPointComments

          From the Vonnegut library:

          “Eliot [Eliot Rosewater, primary character in the story] does care about people, of course, which gives him the moral high-ground over Lister [Eliot's father], but Eliot doesn’t seem to accomplish much by simply throwing money at or dispensing bits of “fortune cookie” wisdom to the poor people of Rosewater.”

          Prescient indeed.

          • Don_B1

            It just says that once the oligarchy completes its takeover of the election process, which is well underway, no one in the 99%, which probably includes you, will have much freedom of opportunity, which is what this is all about, not everyone having the same life as everyone else. Most people would be quite unhappy living lives of other people.

          • HonestDebate1

            I wonder what Kilgore Trout would say.

  • lobstahbisque

    Don’t feed the troll.

    • nj_v2

      Which one?

  • Shag_Wevera

    I didn’t watch it, but here is what I guess may have happened: The president makes a bunch of bold proposals that will never happen. Joe Biden and half of congress stands and claps after every one. John Boehner sits stone faced through most of it. Once or twice the president points out someone in the gallery, probably a “war hero” or some small businessman. When it is over, the talking heads waggle their tongues for an hour or two. Today is business as usual. Was I close?

    • John Cedar

      Dodged that bullet…no new “bold proposals”.

  • John Cedar

    I watched a few minutes of his address last night but fortunately Pawn Stars, Counting Cars and Tosh.O were having reruns.

    Obama’s demeanor reminded me of his first 2012 debate when he got his gluteus maximus handed to himsssself.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    I didn’t get to watch the speech last night. I was wondering if he reiterated his promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. PERIOD.” If anyone can’t remember that particular promise in light of all of the other “spend more money and increase the national debt” promises, I understand. No talk of trying to balance the budget, was there?

    • Shag_Wevera

      Never miss an opportunity to beat the dead horse.

      • StilllHere

        That’s a good summation of Obama’s speech.

      • jefe68

        As your comment is perfect example of.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      There was an oblique reference to ‘broken promises’. One of the networks had a panel of Obama voters dial testing the speech. The low point of the speech was when he defended Obamacare.

      The panel was also very negative on his proposal for unilateral executive action.

    • John_in_Amherst

      I am wondering why you are joining a discussion of the speech you did not watch.

    • sickofthechit

      I take it you think it is still a good idea to continue to spend double as a percentage of gdp on health care as the rest of the world and still not cover everyone? please wise up, discover your soul or your heart please. This is ridiculous. Out of control health care expenses costs us all. We all pay for health care for the military, we all pay for health care for those on Medicaid. If we had a universal system of even just universal “Wellness Care” we would be tens of or hundreds of billion ahead.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    For those citizens concerned with CO2 emissions:

    ” Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye…”

    ‘…they’ll wonder why a guy with a carbon footprint estimated at 41,000 tons, who sends his family and dogs off on separate flights for vacations in far off ritzy spots, who takes crosscountry flights to give 30 minute speeches, who keeps the White House at a toasty 77F, and who goes to the golf course every couple of weeks in a 17 vehicle motorcade has the cajones to lecture anyone.’ *

    * borrowed without apology from a message board

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    For everyone — carbon lovers and carbon haters:

    ” Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye…”

    …they’ll wonder why you left them $20+T debt of which more than half created by Obama and over $100T in unfunded liabilities with zero action to address the problem in your 8 years at the helm.

    • NewtonWhale

      Obama spending binge never happened

      Government outlays rising at slowest pace since 1950s

      WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.

      Here are the facts, according to the official government statistics:

      • In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. Check the official numbers at the Office of Management and Budget.

      • In fiscal 2010 — the first budget under Obama — spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.

      • In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.

      • In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.

      • Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion.

      Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%.

      Why do people think Obama has spent like a drunken sailor? It’s in part because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the federal budget.

      What people forget (or never knew) is that the first year of every presidential term starts with a budget approved by the previous administration and Congress. The president only begins to shape the budget in his second year. It takes time to develop a budget and steer it through Congress — especially in these days of congressional gridlock.

      The 2009 fiscal year, which Republicans count as part of Obama’s legacy, began four months before Obama moved into the White House. The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress.

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama-spending-binge-never-happened-2012-05-22?pagenumber=2

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        The term ‘fuzzy math’ comes to mind especially when the TARP money was signed off by Obama then paid back but used for other purposes during Obama’s tenure.

        Obama campaigned on going through the budget line by line and eliminate wasteful spending. Not only didn’t he fulfill that promise; he was unable to shepard any budget through in his first 4 years.

        • NewtonWhale

          CNN Money:

          How spending has fallen under Obama

          It’s unlikely that President Obama will ever shake his reputation among Republicans as a big spender. But a key fact counters that rap.

          As a share of the economy, spending on domestic and defense programs has been on the decline since 2010, and is on track to reach the lowest level in more than 50 years by 2023.
          http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/27/news/economy/spending-obama/

          FactCheck.org:

          Mitt Romney claims President Barack Obama’s spending amounts to an “inferno.” But who is really responsible for the huge jump that took place in fiscal 2009? Here are some undisputed facts:

          Fiscal 2009 began Oct. 1, 2008. That was before Obama was elected, and nearly four months before he took office on Jan. 20, 2009.

          President Bush signed the massive spending bill under which the government was operating when Obama took office. That was Sept. 30, 2008. As The Associated Press noted, it combined “a record Pentagon budget with aid for automakers and natural disaster victims, and increased health care funding for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

          Bush also signed, on Oct. 3, 2008, a bank bailout bill that authorized another $700 billionto avert a looming financial collapse (though not all of that would end up being spent in fiscal 2009, and Obama later signed a measure reducing total authorized bailout spending to $475 billion).

          On Jan. 7, 2009 — two weeks before Obama took office — the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued its regular budget outlook, stating: “CBO projects that the deficit this year will total $1.2 trillion.”

          CBO attributed the rapid rise in spending to the bank bailout and the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – plus rising costs for unemployment insurance and other factors driven by the collapsing economy (which shed 818,000 jobs in January alone).

          Another factor beyond Obama’s control was an automatic 5.8 percent cost of living increase announced in October 2008 and given to Social Security beneficiaries in January 2009. It was the largest since 1982. Social Security spending alone rose $66 billion in fiscal 2009, and Medicare spending, driven by rising medical costs, rose $39 billion.

          http://www.factcheck.org/2012/06/obamas-spending-inferno-or-not/

          Deficits rapidly shrinking, spending flat under Obama

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Does it really matter if the Democrat controlled congress authorized the spending in 2008 or 2009?

            The bottom line (and that is all that really matters) is the debt will be $20T+ on Obama’s last day in office and it was $10T on his first day.

            You also fail to acknowledge that much of the TARP funds were paid back during Obama’s tenure so the OMB report ‘credits’ Obama for those funds but ‘debits’ Bush as an expenditure. Get real.

          • Don_B1

            The safety net spending was the biggest contributor to that “rise in spending” which was the law from before 2007, when your “Democrat controlled Congress” passed its spending bill. That spending was not an explicit line-item for some new project or service, it was what the workers of this country needed and expected so they could survive the horrific downturn (around 8% of GDP) of the economy due to the deregulation and poor regulation of the George W. Bush administration. And because it was a private sector overleveraging, the debt fell on everywhere from banks to mortgagees, leaving their balance sheets severely in debt and with job losses, foreclosures made things worse. People could not return to buying goods and services at anywhere near the level that they had before the financial crisis hit in the fall of 2008.

            Somewhere you do remember that, but it does not suit your argument to mention it or take it into account. So not doing that leaves anyone reading your account with a false impression, which is what you want to create.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The recession ended in June of 2009.

            I’ll be happy to blame Bush for what happened on his watch. However, I’m more than a little annoyed by using OMG ‘statistics’ that distort the debt record and who is responsible.

            And why take refuge in government gimmicks like the ‘non discretionary’ spending? The bottom line is the Federal government spent $7.4T in deficit spending during the last 5 years. Deficit spending is defacto stimulus. Isn’t it reasonable to ask what is the ROI for this stimulus spending?

            We should have seen robust economic growth long before now. It is sheer incompetence that no adjustment was taken after the failed stimulus in 2009.

          • Don_B1

            The “Recession” as defined by the changes in GDP being no longer negative was what ended in June of 2009.

            There has been no comparative recovery in the rate of unemployment to this day, so the Job Recession is not ended, which, again, is something that you do know, but refuse to acknowledge because it works against your argument.

      • George Potts
        • nj_v2

          What was the highest income-tax rate during most of the period of the decline in debt (1946–early 70s)?

          What happened in the 80s when debt began to climb?

          Free prize to the winner!

          • jefe68

            Did you not get the memo? Reagan has been canonized by the right, so nothing he did counts.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Why are the increases (after 1980) always during Republican presidents and the declines always during Democratic presidents?

          • sickofthechit

            Double digit interest rates! 12, 14, and sometimes 16% mortgages. Yee Hah

            What do I win?

        • Vic Volpe

          George:
          Did you notice that during the ’60s, when we had one deficit after another, the Debt/GDP decreased from approximately 60% to 40%. The reason: We had a productive economy. Getting debt under control is important. But we also need to get back to a more productive economy — one in which everyone contributes and benefits.

      • sickofthechit

        Gosh! if people actually took the time to read this type of information and digest it, we might actually be able to have a rational, reasoned discussion about charting out our country’s future. Thanks for sharing this info.charles a. bowsher

        • hennorama

          sickofthechit — thanks for confirming that there are still some who value “a rational, reasoned discussion about charting out our country’s future.”

          – from a fellow Quixote devotee

          • sickofthechit

            Quixote my eye, I am a full fledged idiot, For nearly the last three years I have been “prosecuting” a pro se case against my hometown government of 57 years because for the last 17 years thousands of gallons of sewage has flooded my home no less than 8 or 10 times (you lose track after awhile) and they refuse to do anything about it.. In the next two weeks I will be getting the court’s final and appealable order which will declare the city has won on it’s motion for Summary Judgment based on Sovereign Immunity. Yet this same city in what can must have been a moment of schizophrenia actually passed a local no smoking ordinance with the express intention of “Protecting Public Health”. They had to take it to the KY supreme court to get it upheld. If only I could convince them that I am a public health worthy of their protection….charles

          • hennorama

            sickofthechit — fighting city hall is rather quixotic, but best of luck to you.

            Your circumstances sound terrible. Is it an engineering issue that’s causing the flooding? (And if you don’t want to rehash the issues here, that’s understandable.)

      • OnPointComments

        Do you really think anyone will believe that President Obama had nothing to do with the spending?

        “The House approved an $819 billion stimulus package on a near party-line vote yesterday [244 Democrats voting yes, 11 Democrats and 177 Republicans voting no], a plan breathtaking in size and scope that President Obama hopes to make the cornerstone of his efforts to resuscitate the staggering economy.

        Obama engaged in an all-out lobbying push for the bill, which is among the most expensive pieces of legislation ever to move through Congress, and marked a big victory for his presidency a little more than a week into his term.”

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/28/AR2009012800196.html

        • sickofthechit

          Amazing how you seem to have forgotten that 1/3 of that “stimulus” went to continuing the “TEMPORARY” Bush tax cuts that have devastated our economy and the Federal budget, 1/3 was direct aid to the 50 States whose economies were on the verge of collapsing with the prospect of hundreds of thousands of teachers, police and fireman being laid off. The final 1/3 was for actual stimulus spending..

          Charles A. Bowsher

        • Don_B1

          What you forgot to mention is that Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI) was working on a $700 to $800 BILLION stimulus bill in late December and early January, but killed it when all the Republicans decided to oppose every bill that President Obama proposed, as has been documented elsewhere on this blog. See Michael Grunwald’s The New New Deal.

      • jefe68

        The right wing, as witnessed on this forum, are not interested in information that does not line up with their ideology. If you were to tell them that former President Reagan made 381 executive orders and President Obama to date has made 167 the answer will still be Bengazhi.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Squirrel!

        • sickofthechit

          Highlarious! thank you.

      • HonestDebate1

        Obama is spending 22 to 23% of GDP. That’s outrageous, unique and unsustainable.

        • NewtonWhale

          Prove it.

          I cite facts and you make asserrtions.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            CBO:
            “In 2011, federal spending (outlays) exceeded 24% of GDP, the third-highest level in the past 40 years”

            Looks like HD undershot the spending levels.

            http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/budgetinfographic.pdf

          • Don_B1

            And the economy was not in its “normal” state, being in a “Lesser Depression” because of the refusal of Republicans that you support to provide sufficient stimulus to put the unemployed back to work so they could pay down debt and recreate the needed demand to support the creation of new private sector jobs that would carry the economy to new heights and drop the federal government’s spending level back to the more normal 20% of GDP range.

            The whole bit by the Republicans is part and parcel of the “scare the public with debt and kill off the social safety net, and while it is not as successful as Republicans wish, it is serving a second purpose, which is to be able to blame President Obama for the weak recovery and gain power in the House and maybe the Senate through voting by low-information voters.

          • hennorama

            NewtonWhale — best of luck.

            That this person believes “Obama is spending …” is fantasy all on its own.

    • dfg

      Virtually all the debt incurred under Obama would have been incurred under McCain and Romney had they been elected. Remember, TARP was passed under Bush and the GOP version of the stim pkg was only about $300B less than what was eventually passed. Arguments can be made that the $$ spent in the stim pkg saved a lot overall.
      And remember, spending is only half of the deficit equation, the other half being taxes. You can argue that Obama is spending too much… OR… the GOP isn’t taxing enough. It’s an equally valid argument.

      • HonestDebate1

        TARP was passed under Bush but Obama spent half of it. Then another trillion of the failed “stimulus” then the disaster that is Obamacare. He owns this debt.

  • Caroline

    What I heard is that President Obama cares about simple, working people and wants to make their lives better. Working with Corporations and Industry to create a stronger economy is a better approach than trying to work with an angry and sour House of Representatives. He is doing what he can and if it means working around that group, so be it.

    • HonestDebate1

      He has you right where he wants you.

      • Caroline

        I am no fool. I understand politician-speak just fine. I am not a government hater. I recognize when someone cares and when they don’t. The Republican rhetoric puts out the impression that they see the poor and needy as the enemy. Lifting people up not grinding them down is the answer.

        • HonestDebate1

          Republicans do not see the poor and needy as the enemy, nothing could be further from the truth. But that is all Obama has so he sells it. Don’t buy it.

          • Caroline

            Ok if Republicans care so much then why do they take every opportunity to take away things that are keeping people afloat. (Unemployment benefits and food stamps). We have a homeless problem because in 1980 Ronald Regan initiated the defunding of Government supported health facilities. I don’t see that as caring.

          • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

            Regan was definitely a piece of work, He started the destruction of America for the middle class, followed up by Clinton, and the destruction is on going today. The American middle class is vanishing and Regan can take credit for starting it.

          • lobstahbisque

            You would get more up votes if you spelled Ronnie Raygun’s name correctly. It’s Reagan.

          • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

            I made my point

          • jefe68

            Don’t you know it’s for their own good.

          • HonestDebate1

            Paying people not to work is not compassionate. But even so you mischaracterize their position. They just wanted it paid for, that is reasonable.

          • Don_B1

            The unemployed do need financial support while they are looking for work! And when there are still 3 (three) unemployed for every open job, how is putting the unemployed in a position where they cannot even pursue a job if they cannot eat or keep a home?

          • HonestDebate1

            The government should help since it is the government that shrunk the universe of available jobs by about 9 million with horrible policies. So I get that, but can’t we pay for it with a cut elsewhere?

          • Don_B1

            And those policies are the ones begun by President Ronald Reagan through President George W. Bush.

            We can pay for it with a tax increase on those who benefitted from the tax cuts passed with George W. Bush’s signature.

          • Caroline

            I competed with and beat out 15 other people to get the job I have now. In the 90′s it was totally different. The last 3 years were very difficult. I was grateful to have the benefits when I wasn’t working and the work when I was.

          • Caroline

            I’m not mischaracterizing anything. If anything. The prevailing Republican attitude about the long-term unemployed is that these “people” are lazy and are free-loaders. Industry changes and the roles in industry change. Looking for work, sending out resumes, networking for positions, going to interviews is work. To presume that the LTU don’t work because they don’t want to is absurd and callus.

          • HonestDebate1

            That is a talking point. And yes you did mischaracterize the position. Republicans offered legislation to extend the benefits if paid for. You essentially said they were just being mean.

          • Don_B1

            So who are you to talk about “talking points?” Just about everything you post here is a conservative “talking point.”

            They were being “mean” because the cuts were from other low-income people who do not deserve the cuts while the wealthier coast on untouched.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “”people” are lazy and are free-loaders.”
            Do you have quotes of GOP politicians? Where do you get that in impression?

            What do you say about the recent experience in North Carolina where they reduced unemployment benefits and the unemployment rate decreased faster than the national unemployment decreases?

            There is a reasonable argument that simply extending benefits past 99 weeks is no solution. There may be better alternatives for the long term unemployed than mindlessly extending the benefits.

          • Caroline

            “extending long-term benefits will only hurt the chances of the
            unemployed in the job market,” because longer benefits will make them choose to stay unemployed longer—” Rand Paul, Senator of KY.

            He is stating that these “people” are choosing to stay unemployed. As if they can waive a magic wand and get hired.
            .

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ah, so you haven’t found a GOP politician who called the >99 week unemployed lazy or free loaders.

            Also, you ignored my other point that there may be a better way for long term unemployed than mindlessly extending benefits. There are clearly some that are staying on benefits by choice and others that aren’t. You also ignore the real world example of North Carolina.

          • Caroline

            “So the North Carolina case is worth watching closely, in part because it speaks to this debate directly. “The consensus view right now is that when unemployment insurance ends, the unemployment rate will go down because people will drop out of the labor force rather than getting jobs,” says Stone. This came from an article in the Washington Post. . Frankly, the assumptions about people’s motives about working or not working is fruitless. What is not fruitless is helping these people get back to work and in the meantime survive.

          • Don_B1

            Exactly!

            No one thinks unemployment insurance should be anything but temporary. What is at issue is the length of time, and that should be until the unemployment rate is back down out of the stratosphere to normal pre-crisis levels!

            And that is where the federal government should be spending some additional money (bigger deficit) on infrastructure and hiring teachers and first responders who lost their jobs due to state cutbacks to balance their budgets.

          • Don_B1

            The people that dropped out of the unemployment rolls were largely those who quit searching for work because they could no longer afford it.

            This is well documented if you care to look.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Well documented?

            In the NYTs comment section?

            Did they say how many rejected job offers because they felt the new job was ‘beneath’ them.

            Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

          • Caroline

            Maybe you don’t know this. Unemployment benefits are termed when one is offered a job regardless of the salary. If one applies for a position and gets an offer they are required to take it. It’s a question on the certification process which a beneficiary must do each week. In TN they check certification records and are strict for compliance.

          • jimino

            Half right. The poor and needy Republican voters, of which there are many, see the other poor and needy citizens as their enemy. That is the ugly beauty of the strategy utilized by those they elect.

          • hennorama

            jimino — I thought you were going to write, “Republicans do not see the poor and needy,” but your point is superior. Well done.

          • Labropotes

            Is it possible that the “poor and needy” either don’t agree with your description or value policies other than redistribution? You assume a position of infallibility in not considering their point of view.

          • jimino

            I don’t really understand your critique of my comment. I expect many of those receiving food stamps, having their or their children’s medical care paid for by Medicaid, etc., don’t’ see themselves as poor and needy because they are employed and work hard, but earn so little they are eligible for these and other needs-based anti-poverty benefits. Regardless of how they see themselves, they are poor and needy by any rational definition. If they really got what they say they want when they vote for Republican candidates, they would be very shocked and upset.

          • Labropotes

            My point is that a group of people that you have defined don’t vote as you think they should, and you conclude that they are tragic doops. I feel that the poor who believe Obama can fix their problems are fooled, knowingly and intentionally. Maybe you’re right and I’m wrong, but nothing you say is designed to persuade, just to put down. We are the country we are being right now. Let’s love and respect one another.

          • Caroline

            Getting back to my original point. I don’t believe that the poor and needy are a monolithic believing group. I do believe that a government that cares and acts to improve access to people’s needs, food, shelter, employment is a better government than one who lets them fend for themselves.

          • Don_B1

            The Republicans claim to want to support the poor and needy, but their ACTIONS (i.e., bills proposed and voted favorably on) indicate the exact opposite!

          • HonestDebate1

            What helped the poor more than the Bush tax cuts?

          • Don_B1

            The Bush tax cuts helped the wealthy much more than the poor. What helped the poor was the increases to the safety net passed in 2006 and President Obama’s stimulus (ARRA) which kept the economy from totally cratering.

            What has not helped the poor are the Republican tactics of opposing all subsequent attempts to stimulate the economy, even to the extreme of cutting needed support to the unemployed and ensuring that those needed new jobs would not appear.

          • HonestDebate1

            6 million of the poorest were taken off the rolls altogether. The lowest bracket was lowered from 15% to 10% which is a bigger cut that the rich got two years later. Because so many of the poor no longer paid taxes the rich took up the slack and are paying a higher portion of the bill that ever.

            So you’re wrong.

          • hennorama

            Don_B1 — good points, all.

            A minor quibble: I would recommend that you consider the differences between the terms “the poor” (which you did not introduce), and “people with low incomes/low AGIs.”

            Many who have low AGIs are far from “poor,” as they have significant net worth, tax-free income, and/or an ability to adjust their income and tax advantaged spending so they pay little to no Federal income tax.

          • sickofthechit

            They see them as lazy is all.

    • OnPointComments

      Humph. It’s the first time I’ve seen the phrase “angry and sour” without the words “Harry Reid” following them.

      • Caroline

        You must be talking about the Republican contingent of representatives from TN.

    • Guest

      I wish that Obama would become less of a repetitive automaton. It was somewhat of a lack luster performance and I wish he had refrained from so many glittering generalities. I’m tired of hearing about how wonderful the United States is and how great we are doing as a country when in reality I think the United States has a steep hill to climb. I don’t think we’re greatly poised to take on the rest of the century. When the state of our country is great for small minority, I don’t see that as being poised for greatness.

      There were no risks in what Obama was saying. The few things I heard that really showed Obama was taking a stand were about Equal Pay for Equal Work, vetoing any bill that continues to sanction Iran, increasing the minimum wage for federal workers and continuing to act as Commander and Chief with his security initiatives (which is kinda disappointing from my standpoint). Obama used to come across as a powerful man with a strong, personal foundation of beliefs. But that has ebbed away over the years.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Does anybody have a problem with the format of these addresses. The president makes a statement such as “We need to support universal Pre-K” then everybody claps and so on. Nothing but sweeping statements that have no substance ,and it is prolonged with constant applause. Our political system has truly degraded from statesmanship to this sham. When does a politician these days ever intellectually discuss a topic like a true leader should. Go home tonight and tell your wife “I plan for us to be successful in our old age, to raise our children in a home safe, stable, and full of love, I also plan for us to take care of our parents as they took care of us…” she would ask for details on how to do this. Why can’t we get the same consideration.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Thomas Jefferson agreed with you. He opted to release a written statement on the ‘state of the Union’. That tradition continued for over 100 years until Woodrow WIlson (father of the income tax) started the current tradition.

      • Ray in VT

        Considering that income taxes were used during the Civil War, that Taft proposed an income tax and amendment in 1909 and that the 16th Amendment came into effect prior to Wilson having been sworn into office as President, then how is Wilson the “father of the income tax?

        • Bluejay2fly

          George Carlin said America is full of bull sh*t and he was right. We set up this farce called political leadership where the politician does not commit to any serious discussion of the issues. It evolved over time because the populous are greedy, have a short attention span, and the politicians realized circumventing the populous creates a haven for graft. Now we have a system where johnny voter gets angry over low priority issues and falls hook, line and sinker, for the big distraction that our political system has created. More people know about the progress of gay marriage or about Bengazi than the economic stability of the state or town they live in.

    • hellokitty0580

      It’s true. Obama said nothing but glittering generalities. I feel like he was trying to “play it safe” so to speak. I feel like he is smarter than this and it’s unfortunate that it seems he feels he can’t truly speak his mind with passion because of neocons calling him a “fascist” or a “dictator”.

  • wauch

    Translation of POTUS SOTU = Blah Blah Blah Blah
    Translation of GOP Response = Blah Blah Blah Socialist Blah Blah Blah Freedom Blah Blah Blah Terrorism
    What it means for US citizens? We have a bunch of children in DC and the need for a 3rd, 4th, or 5th party option like Germany has never been more necessary.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Senator Tom Coburn is losing his cancer doctor due to Obamacare.

    Yet, Paul Krugman is reality denier. Krugman is real piece of work.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/01/29/paul_krugman_on_coburn_losing_his_doctor_its_a_garbage_story.html

    • sickofthechit

      Huh, I think he is losing his cancer doctor because his cancer doctor refuses to accept a lowered reimbursement level under the ACA. Get your horse in the right place please.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Who said:
        “You can keep your doctor”

        • Steve__T

          How do you keep a Doctor that doesn’t want you as a patient?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Then why did the President promise that you could keep you doctor?

            Also, you miss the point. The doctor finds the ACA reimbursements inadequate. It isn’t the patient that is the problem but the ACA reimbursement rates.

          • Don_B1

            How do you think doctors end up being dropped or dropping out from an insurance plan? The doctor simply does not come to an agreement with the private insurance company on what he will be paid!

            If you actually thought through your comments before making them you might not be so embarrassed (oh, that’s right: conservatives are never embarrassed by their actions to pull money up the income chain while claiming “trickle-down” works).

          • Steve__T

            No I didn’t miss the point. You missed mine.

            If you came to my business and had a job for me to do but it only pays x$, a little less than my going rate. If I say no I don’t want you as a customer.

        • Don_B1

          sickofthechit hennorama

          To WftC:
          Try reading about the new Republican counterproposal to Obamacare:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/opinion/comparing-obamacare-to-its-alternative.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

          and read at least some of the comments (those selected by TNYT are representative).

          When you read that one of the proposal’s authors is that Senator Tom Coburn, you might want to throw up!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m not sure what your point is?

            First you want me to read an op-ed by Dr. Death Panel himself and then look over cherry picked NYT comments written by GOP haters selected by the objective NYT editors?

            I haven’t read the alternative plan yet but it certainly negates the myth that Obama and the Dems that the GOP has no alternative plan.

          • Don_B1

            I thought you didn’t just shoot the messenger but read the source material carefully, fully evaluating it?

            The “alternative plan” just came out on Sunday, so since you did not know of it until now, maybe, just maybe, you will give the same slack you expect for yourself to those you slander here? Because, until Sunday, the Rs did not have an alternative, and this one pretty much fails the workers.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Touche!!

            Ole Zeke is obnoxious as all get out but maybe he does have a point. However, pointing me to the comments section to sift through to find my own gems is a bit much.

            Wrong on the alternatives. Dr. Tom Price in the house has been pushing an alternative for months. This is just the latest. And since the Rs had the alternative on Sunday Obama was lying last night when he said there are no alternatives (but he is open). That was my original point.

            I’m still not sure of the process of vetting any alternative (Price’s or Coburn’s) until Obama is willing to listen.

          • Don_B1

            Glad to see that you recognize Dr. Emanuel’s clear and respectful OpEd where he commends a couple of ideas that might well have been accepted back in 2010 if Republicans had been more thoughtful and not played games with the process of writing the bill.

            There is no REASON for President Obama to “listen” unless Republicans show that they are willing to work to improve the current law, which embodies what the President felt was achievable at the time it passed. At that time, Democrats had listened and incorporated many Republican proposals, some of which have had bad consequences, though you won’t find Republicans admitting that since they are using them to denigrate the PPACA. But the President has always said he would work with anyone who wanted to improve how PPACA works!

            There is another review out there:

            http://prospect.org/article/gop-working-poor-drop-dead

            which you should read. Just enjoy!

    • hennorama

      WftC — please report back when Sen. Coburn actually “loses his cancer doctor” by changing doctors.

      Questions:

      Were there any choices of plans available to Sen. Coburn that included “his cancer doctor” in their network?

      That’s a rather significant and unmentioned detail, wouldn’t you agree?

      Sen. Coburn’s story is not new in any way, and not a unique outcome of the PPACA.

      Both before and after passage of the PPACA, whenever one switches health insurance plans, the new plan comes with a new set of doctors and other providers. This sort of thing happened with a change of employer, when employers change insurers or adopt a new plan with the same insurer, when one moves from the individual or employer-sponsored market to Medicaid or Medicare, etc., etc., etc.

  • alsordi

    Unfortunately, just more intellect-insulting, business-as-usual, and obfuscation-filled infomercial barking at the comatose clapping penguins.

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing, if not re-assuring, if a real leader addressed the people in a normal non-patronizing respectful voice, and stated his goals clearly. Such goals to include, prosecuting Wall Street bankers, re-establishing a new 9-11 investigation…to include the amazing collapsing info-filled Building 7 this time, and hosting war-crimes tribunals for Guantanamo and the false Iraq War, etc.

    …all said without the used-car salesman intonations, nor a “new and Improved” australian accent, nor attempting to de-ethnitize one’s voice resulting in that Obama mouth full of cotton effect.

  • Ed75

    Very bad. We’ve had 40 years to stop abortion, and we haven’t done it. Worse, recently, although it hasn’t been made a right, it’s been institutionalized in our health care system. So we are showing that we are unwilling to end abortion. When that happens, God ends it, and this might be the year. We need to repent while we still can.

    • George Potts

      Can we all agree that both sides don’t listen to each other?

      Can we all agree that 4th trimester abortion is wrong?

      • DeJay79

        yes and yes

      • Don_B1

        Since a 4th trimester is fictional, why does it matter?

      • Ed75

        Funny! (Actually Peter Singer thinks we should be able to kill children up to 2 years of age or so, but he’s a lunatic.)

    • TFRX

      What do you mean “we”, Kemosabe?

      • Ed75

        I just used ‘we’ to be inclusive, and in a sense we as a society are responsible. But I appreciate the movie line!

    • hellokitty0580

      It would seem that “we” don’t really want to stop abortion then, eh?

      • Ed75

        The world certainly doesn’t, and now they aren’t even saying ‘a necessary evil’ but declaring it as a right. We might not end it, but God will. ‘The mills of God grind mightly slowly (it takes time for God to act, gives us time for repentance), but they grind mighty fine.’

    • Don_B1

      The Israeli government added abortion to its standard health plan which pays for everything covered, just a few weeks ago. In Israel, abortions don’t need to be just for victims of incest and rape.

      • Ed75

        I hear that many people in Israel are ‘secular Jewish people’ so it makes some sense. The world is turning to abortion more and more. We won’t end it, but God will … and when God ends something (like the Nazis or the Civil War) it’s not pretty.

  • George Potts

    A bunch of Democratic Senators decided to “retire early” last night.

    Another bunch of Democratic Senators will be retired this November.

    Gotta get in the Carbon Credits before then.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Fool
      1) 5 is “a bunch”?
      2) “retire early”?? Here are the original election years for those 5: 1978, 1978, 1984, 1984, 1996
      3) There are 3 Republican senators retiring, years first elected: 2002, 2004, 2008

  • sickofthechit

    I can’t believe President Obama is so lazy or has such a low opinion of our intellects that he persists in using the change in average wages as his gauge for talking about income inequality. He’s not stupid, He must think we are. Wise up Mr. President.

    If there is an employer with 9 employees and they all earn $10,000/year and the CEO pays himself $910,000/year the “average” wage is $100,000. Wow, what a great place that would seem to be to work. Quit insulting our intelligence Mr. President, Mr. Congressperson. Mr. Governor, Mr Newsperson.
    Mr. NPR Host!
    Charles A. Bowsher

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Too true. The “average” is meaningless.
      Show us the “top paid get what % of the bottom paid” numbers.
      I take issue with anyone at the top thinking they provide 1000 times the value as the people who actually make and sell the company’s product/service. Without those people, those at the top would be unemployed.

    • Don_B1

      I think the President was talking about the average low- and middle-income workers, where there are sufficient numbers earning about the same wages so the difference between average and median is really not that much. When you look at the range of wages in each of the lower three quintiles, I think that would apply.

      And the general public in its great innumeracy probably does understand “average” better than “median.”

  • George Potts

    Bill Gates better move out of the US before Obama takes all of his money to pay for my health care.

  • George Potts

    NPR should be required to hire 5,000 people who have been unemployed for more than 2 years.

    • OnPointComments

      And pay them at least $10.10 an hour, which is more than they pay their interns.

  • George Potts

    “More oil produced” despite all of my efforts.

  • William

    Obama just endorsed FRACKING!

    • George Potts

      He will criticize fracking later in his speech. He likes to have his cake and eat it too.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      You didn’t build that.

  • nj_v2

    There was a speech?

  • OnPointComments

    My comment from 6 days ago in response to criticism about Republican anecdotes on the failures of Obamacare:

    My prediction: at the State of the Union address next week, the POTUS will point to someone sitting next to the FLOTUS and tell us their health care story.

    I was right.

    • Don_B1

      Sort of like betting that the Moon will be visible on a clear night [even a new Moon can be perceived on a clear night when you know where to look].

  • George Potts

    Obama will be able to use all of those relationships in Congress that he has nurtured over the years.

    When he loses 15 Senators this fall due to Obamacare, he will be a shell of a man.

  • psinotte

    If President Obama truly cares about climate change and future generations, he’ll put the kibosh on Keystone [XL].

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      How so?
      The oil will be extracted with or without the pipeline. Wouldn’t it be better to get the oil to refineries in the US where we can add value and the reap the resulting revenues?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        It cannot be sold and burned w/o the Keystone XL Pipeline.

        Ask yourself what do we use after the tar sands bitumen are exhausted? Is it okay for us to keep using as much as we can, as quickly as we can?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          I agree with Obama’s rhetoric. “All of the above” energy including nukes and alternatives.

          Where I differ is pushing technologies before they are ready or competitive. See Solyndra and Fisker.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            I disagree with President Obama’s “all the above” energy policy. That makes it seem like all energy sources are the same – the true cost of fossil fuels and nuclear mean they are immoral and irresponsible to use.

  • George Potts

    What does an increase in the minimum wage do other than reduce employment for teenagers?

    • sickofthechit

      Maybe it will give employers the nerve to tell their workers that they are not being paid $10.10 an hour to text their friends while at work? Charles A. Bowsher, an old fogie.

  • George Potts

    Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Does that cheapen the prize or did Obama already do that?

    • StilllHere

      Instant classic!

  • hennorama

    Has anyone determined when Republicans are going to take Gov. Jindal’s advice, that Republicans should “stop being the stupid party”?

    While looking for something else, this HuffPo piece popped up:

    “And The Award For The First GOP Congressman To Call Obama A ‘Socialistic Dictator’ Goes To…

    FTA:

    “With around 50 minutes until President Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address, freshman Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) took to Twitter to let everyone know that he was getting impatient, while simultaneously becoming the first GOP congressman on Tuesday to call the president a “socialistic dictator”:

    [Randy Weber @TXRandy14

    On floor of house waitin on "Kommandant-In-Chef"... the Socialistic dictator who's been feeding US a line or is it "A-Lying?"]

    “A spokesperson for Weber’s office later confirmed that “it is our tweet.”

    “It was a classic troll move and perhaps a rather obvious cry for attention. As the National Journal reported last year, Weber, the Texan who replaced retiring GOP Rep. Ron Paul in 2012, fancies himself the next “Republican troublemaker, if only someone would pay attention.”

    Source:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/28/randy-weber-obama_n_4683947.html

    • George Potts

      He appreciates your attention.

  • Coastghost

    Would “executive authority” permit Obama to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act?
    If so: 1) why hasn’t he done so already? 2) if he is able to do so, he could thereby help our emerging domestic cannabis production industry, which also could help take “the war on drugs” out of the immigration debate. (The US could begin exporting cannabis to Latin America, if we really want to indulge in blowing smoke.)

  • William

    “unauthorized immigrants”…that’s a new one…it makes one look at criminals and criminal behavior differently..

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      What’s next, unauthorized bank robbers?

      • J__o__h__n

        It would be unauthorized bank withdrawals. You need euphemism writing lessons.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Thanks for recommendation. I knew there was something off when I wrote it.

    • George Potts

      Unauthorized immigrants who vote and collect benefits.

  • William

    Congress said no to Obama-care….Obama-care bombed…Congress was right…Obama needs to get with the winners and get off the losing team…losing political drama…get beyond the reach of his radial base…do something for the American people….

    • J__o__h__n

      Congress passed it.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Congress said yes to the ADA. The losing team are those who call for repeal, funding removal, etc of the ADA. They have NO plan other than the prior status quo which left millions without insurance and those without employer subsidized insurance carrying the load for the “big pool” insured.

      What an individual pays for the SAME procedure at the SAME facility is NOT the same as everyone else pays.

      Look at your medical statements if you have insurance. There is the “price charged”, the discounted “agreed upon price” and the remainder splits between the insurance company and the insured. The more “pull” the entity wrangling the “best deal” for their pool, the lower the “agreed upon price”.

      The TRUE cost of the procedure, drug, whatever is NOT the “price charged”, it is between the “price charged” and the “agreed upon price”. The providers are NOT going to lose money running their businesses. The “price charged” is inflated to cover the difference between the “agreed upon price” and the true cost. If you don’t have insurance you pay the “price charged”. If you are part of a small “little pull” pool, you pay more than those in the “big pool with pull”. Both cases subsidize the medical costs of those associated with “big pull” insurance.

  • wauch

    You don’t have to tell me this my friend I voted for Nader twice and was ridiculed by my fellow progressives. I gave the Dems a chance with Obama and was hugely disappointed will not vote for either institutional party again.

  • Labropotes

    QE causes inequality by pumping the nominal value of assets which are disproportionately held by the “rich” and by reducing the purchasing power of wages. It frightens me that government can exacerbate a problem and use that fact as justification for more power.

  • Kathy

    I am very uncomfortable with the expansion of governing by executive order, but when the Republicans offer the choice of “implement our agenda or let the country go to ruin,” I’m not sure what else we can do.

  • John_Hamilton

    I was with him for most of what he is saying, but once he said “Race to the Top” it made everything else sound like “Race to the Top.” Just on the face of it, the language – Race to the Top – means – in America of winner-take-all, the “Super Bowl,” the “World” Series, and ad absurdum – winners take all. A race has one winner, and everybody else loses.

    The content of the program is corollary to its title. It is just old wine in new bottles, and the old wine is No Child Left Behind. Teach to the test. If you look at what Obama crony Rahm Emanuel is doing in Chicago with school closings and attempts to crush the teacher’s union, you get the idea of what this plan means for the rest of the country. Chicago, where Arne Duncan earned his stripes, so to speak.

    I remember the first time I heard Obama say “Race to the Top.” it was in Madison, at Wright Middle School, in 2009. My reaction at the time was that he didn’t know what he was talking about. Not one bit. It’s just a slogan, a rhetorical device.

    Now it turns out it is even less. If it is put in place it will fail, just like the previous labeling did. Of course, in the next three years it is likely to go nowhere, so let’s just assume he knows what he is talking about on everything else. Now, about that good price I’m getting for the Brooklyn Bridge…

    Here’s a wish list. At the bottom is a recommendation in regard to Arne Duncan. http://www.salon.com/2014/01/28/send_arne_duncan_to_mars_a_state_of_the_union_wish_list_for_liberals/

  • Labropotes

    Robert Gates on Obama and Afghanistan: “As I sat there, I thought: the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” This is the Commander in Chief that Cory Remsburg was serving under when he was wounded.

    • JGC

      How long do you think we should stay in Afghanistan? Until the job is done? How many deployments would you order for the servicemen and -women to reach your goal? 10? 15? More?

      • Labropotes

        We should exit Afghanistan ASAP. If no one wants his son to be the last to die for a mistake, do you suppose they would be happy with second to last?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Left leaning Constitutional expert on Obama’s power grab.

    “Turley: Obama’s “Become The Very Danger The Constitution Was Designed To Avoid”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/12/04/turley_obamas_become_the_very_danger_the_constitution_was_designed_to_avoid.html

  • William

    FDR had the most executive orders – 3,522

    • jefe68

      I think it was 3727. But he was president during the Great Depression and WW2. Kind of need some context with these kind of numbers. At least I think context means something.

  • William

    Hey Carl, “Can we keep our medical insurance if we want too?

  • James

    sometimes I wonder if these callers are political operatives, or if they are just brainwashed. People find talking points and cling to them.

    • truegangsteroflove

      It’s a mental condition. Brainwashing is an appropriate term, but it’s a self-brainwashing as well as from without. One of the aspects of this mental condition is a need to have people to judge and look down upon, paranoia about people who are different from them in some way, like “race,” ethnicity, gender, economic status, religion, political beliefs.

      I worked for a guy once who was in the John Birch Society. He was a crook, literally, cheated me on pay, was a slave driver, violated his company rules by selling off-brand gas (it was a gas station), got himself kicked out of the company (they caught him), hated his customers.

      In this kind of system there will always be this type of person. Self-esteem can be hard to come by, and in lieu of a real sense of self-worth, looking down on others will do. In some extremes, like the Ku Klux Klan, looking down on others isn’t enough. Violent action is required in order to have a sense of well-being.

  • John_Hamilton

    If it was a speech contest, Obama looked like Lincoln, FDR and JFK all rolled into one compared to the “Republican” response. It was pathetic and tasteless. A politician has no business posing in front of the funeral flag of a fallen soldier. Even worse is to use his death as a prop to score political points. Completely tasteless. Obama’s praise for a living, present soldier was an appropriate symbol for all returning veterans. It’s the State of the Union Speech, and he was honoring all who have served. The difference couldn’t be more stark. I think I’m far from the only veteran who noticed this.

    • Don_B1

      Thank you so much for pointing this out; I was listening on the radio and while I found much to disagree with, this really is huge and disgusting.

      And from a Vietnam-era vet, that you for your service.

  • sickofthechit

    It’s because we have states that refuse to have runoff elections if a candidate doesn’t get atl east 50% +1 vote. Until then any third party is essentially stymied. charles a. bowsher

  • George Potts

    If you like your freedom, you can keep your freedom.

    • StilllHere

      Add it to the list of lies.

  • Michiganjf

    Take it from a lifelong Texan…

    Texas Democrats were HARDLY difficult for Bush and Texas Republicans to push around and compel to get on board with the Republican majority.

    Is your Guest joking about the absurd comparison to Obama and Congressional Republicans??!!!

  • J__o__h__n

    This hasn’t been a very good panel. The comparison of Bush, Clinton, and Obama and their prior legislative experience didn’t hold up. Another was surprised that Obama didn’t bring up gun control. Why waste political capital on something that has no chance of passing this year and could make the 2014 elections difficult for Democrats in rural areas?

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I doubt that caller Carl is right that we will never see another Republican president in our life time. The suggestion shows he is ignoring the half of the country that currently leans right. There would have to be a huge shift away from the right for his claim to be possible.

    However, I agree that the president needs to push through whatever he can given the immediate calls upon his first election by the Republicans of “one term president” and stonewalling anything he supports to this day.

    The Republicans applauded GWB’s “my way or the highway” approach and are continuing it. Obama tried the “work toward cooperation” approach and saw nothing but a wall, a bunch of Don Quixote types tilting at the “kill the ADA” windmill at every turn, including linking same to anything they might vote on.

    If the Republicans want to govern, they need to:
    1) Eject the Tea Partiers to their OWN party. If they have enough of a following, they should be able to become a viable 3rd party. If not, they need to get off their high horses and work for the good of the American people.
    2) Start looking at what is good for the MAJORITY of the people in the country, not the majority of those who identify as Republican.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      The Tea Party ‘brand’ is down because of distortions by Dems and they MSM enablers. However, Tea Party principles are very popular. In fact there are recent polls that show vast majorities of the public believe big government is the biggest threat to the country.

      They would be better to embrace and own tea party principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        … and the clown show that was the Republican primary has nothing to do with it?

        Nobody had to distort anything.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Gee Neil, I think my comment went over your head.

          Have you been to a Tea Party meeting?

      • hennorama

        WftC — an alternative view is that “The Tea Party ‘brand’ is down because” the “Tea Party” (I use quotation marks because the Tea Party Movement is not an actual political party) seems extreme to many Americans.

        The following is an excerpt of a post from November 2012, a few days after the election:

        “The vast majority of Americans are somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum – they lean toward liberalism or conservatism, but aren’t anywhere near the extremes. Many favor conservative fiscal policies, and liberal social policies. Or vice versa. The point is few Americans favor political extremism.

        “Republicans co-opted the Tea Party, and this resulted in the election of many TP candidates in the 2010 midterms. What happened as a result? No compromise, no solutions, no bi-partisanship. Instead we [got] the “party of No!,” a debt ceiling crisis, and the fiscal cliff.

        “The 2012 election changed some of this. Tea Party-endorsed candidates for Senate did not do very well, with 12 of 16 losing. Several of the most prominent TP House members lost, notably Allen West and Joe Walsh. Michelle Bachmann barely eked out reelection.The failure of TP Senate candidates Akin and Mourdock effectively cost Republicans a Senate majority. The Tea Party Caucus in the House lost several members, too, and fewer Republicans were elected to the House overall.

        “However, the TP remains a significant minority of Congressional Republicans, and they seem in no mood for compromise, even with fellow Republicans. This internal battle will be interesting to watch, and holds the key to the future of the Republican Party. The more extreme they become, the more losses they will endure.

        “During the 2012] campaign, Republicans talked about “expanding the base” regarding taxes, when they should have been talking about “expanding the base” of their party. As Sen. Lindsey Graham said about the Republican Party: “The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

        “Failure to act on the obvious will result in the Republican Party becoming less and less relevant in the future.”

        See:
        http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/11/12/whats-next-for-the-gop#comment-708428827

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Could it be that they seem extreme to many americans because they’ve been told by entrenched interests in both parties and the MSM that they are extreme?

          Yet, the polls show that the vast majority of Americans believe that the large Federal government is the largest threat to the future of the country.

          It appears the majority is in alignment with the key message of the Tea Party and therefore the Tea Party is NOT extreme but mainstream.

          Yes, the Statists (in both parties) have won the marketing and messaging war for now.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree, the tea partiers are anything but extreme.

          • Don_B1

            hennorama

            [Dis]HonestDebate1:

            There are a lot of people who strongly disagree with you:

            http://prospect.org/article/james-madison%E2%80%99s-worst-nightmare#.UuklIGRdXpV

          • HonestDebate1

            There are not only people who disagree there are people who will stop at nothing to destroy the Tea Partiers any way they can. And they won’t even attempt to do so in the arena of honest debate. Those are the extremist.

          • hennorama

            WftC — there seems to be no lack of coverage of the views and actions of TPM supporters and politicians, which speak for themselves, quite loudly.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        Then they should start it as a REAL political party, separate from the Republican party and see if they can stand on their own. That fits with both their belief systems, that those who can not compete on their own should fail on their own.

        IF what you say is true, the Republican party will collapse as everyone runs to the TP.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          So a political party can’t be a coalition?

          Sorry. I see a successful Republican party as a coalition of limited government, libertarian and economic growth interests.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            Certainly all political parties are coalitions, no two people think exactly the same on all issues. But the TPers are pulling the Republican party further right and have a narrow focus.

            The government is supposed to work for the good of ALL people in the country. Since you can’t please all of the people all of the time, government needs to please the majority of the people as best possible. Basically that means satisfying those in the middle because you will never satisfy those at the ends.

            If the TPers think THEY are the “middle”, secede and prove it. A viable 3 party system would require people to work together or they will get nothing done. Just as we have now with a 2 party system.

            The difference between our government and many others is that they have numerous parties and have to create coalitions with many other parties after every election.

            In ours, it is winner take all, majority party owns the House or Senate. This works if there is an overwhelming majority of either party. But it doesn’t work as it is currently with nearly even representation. In the House, only bills that the “majority of the majority” will support get to a vote even though a “majority of the majority” is currently a MINORITY of the HOUSE and represent a MINORITY of the people.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Actually, it didn’t work very well in our system from 2009-2010 with Dem super majority control + the presidency. That is what gave us Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and a wasted stimulus.

            We’ve always had a system of divided government. Bush was able to work with Pelosi/Reid. Reagan with Tip O’Neil. Clinton with Newt. The difference now is Obama is a poor leader and an ideologue. I think the root of his problem is he doesn’t know what to do so he turns to politics and full time campaigning.

            He could have gotten Simpson-Bowles passed if he had pushed it. That is what leaders do.

          • Don_B1

            Neither Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, or the Stimulus failed the people in that they are working to protect the people from the worst aspects of the predations of the wealthy. Could they do more in better ways? YES, but the voters will have to put more progressive people in Congress first.

            It is the Republicans, particularly those adopting the Tea Party label, who are refusing to work with President Obama. See:

            http://prospect.org/article/james-madison%E2%80%99s-worst-nightmare#.UuklIGRdXpV

            for how it is the Republicans that are threatening the demise of real democracy, or any democracy, in the U.S.

          • Don_B1

            I hope you saw my response to WftC’s response to your post.

            The link that supports your post is here:

            http://prospect.org/article/james-madison%E2%80%99s-worst-nightmare#.UuklIGRdXpV

            [Edit] Sorry, I had forgotten my earlier direct response to you, which I see now and I duplicated here.

    • TFRX

      The Tea Party sorts are basically there when the GOP needs TheBase rahrah, but our press corpse (no sic) largely lets them go away when their talk gets crazee.

    • Don_B1
  • George Potts

    If you don’t want a job that pays minimum wage, make yourself more valuable.

    • Don_B1

      Unfortunately, making yourself “more valuable” is much easier said than done.

      That is the whole point of making education more available to the poor, who now often find themselves working at a no-benefits job and no way to get tuition support for any type of training. Employers no longer even make a motion to offer training classes or financial support for those who would go to night classes, etc. They just tell the town they are in to provide the training in its schools without any financial help from the company; in fact, many threaten to leave to “greener pastures.”

  • J__o__h__n

    $10.10 is kind of gimmicky. Why not propose $9.99 and get Herman Cain on board?

    • TFRX

      Do you mean: Why not say nine-nine-nine just to rub the GOP’s faces in it?

      After all, Obama has the most calm demeanor of any president I can think of, and it’ll just make the Foxfkers scream louder.

    • hennorama

      J__o__h__n — thank you for reminding me to not sip anything while reading new comments.

    • sickofthechit

      I always imagined someone would do a comedy skit where Herman was standing there holding his 999 sign up and it would keep flipping over and saying 666. Why aren’t I a sketch writer? charles

    • HonestDebate1

      Just think how much better off we would have been right now if we had implemented 9-9-9.

  • George Potts

    Obama didn’t talk about gun control. Gun shop owners will see less guns sold as a result.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Possibly quite true. They certainly see an increase every time the subject comes up. Geez, there he goes again with his job killing (lack of) initiatives! ;-)

  • George Potts

    The exemption amount should be raised.

  • sickofthechit

    Reihan, Increasing and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit it sounds a lot like Socialism to me to have everyone paying to help the poor. Oh MY!

    To really work the EITC benefit needs to be spread out throughout the year. It doesn’t help me in July to pay my mortgage to be getting a big EITC refund next January or February.

  • George Potts

    Are criminals and people who don’t know English the groups that we should payoff or challenge to do better?

  • Scott B

    New IRA? Save? At sub-$8 min wage, save what? How? The caller had it right:Pay Congress min wage and see what happens. Most are already millionaires, and those that aren’t usually are when they’ve been there a few years. Being in Congress sure beats working for a living.

  • Coastghost

    Why does no one propose a means-tested minimum wage?

    • hennorama

      Coastghost — this amounts to different pay for the same work, does it not?

      Please explain your idea a bit further, and how it might differ from the old practice of paying married men more than single women, because married men were assumed to be supporting their spouses and offspring.

      • Coastghost

        hen: I’m not committed to the imposition of economic equality, whatever that could possibly be construed to consist of. I hold the only measure of “equality” to consist in terms of our common exposure to mortality.

        • hennorama

          Coastghost — TYFYR.

          I understand your response, but it was not terribly responsive to my request for explanation.

  • Scott B

    What Republicans want to do with taxes is cut them for the wealthy and tell the 99% it will trickle down to them, which is never has.

    • George Potts

      the top 1% pay 40% of the federal government budget
      the top 10% pay 70% of the federal government budget

      The bottom 50% pay less than 3%.

      • MrNutso

        Those that have the most income/wealth/money will pay the most and those with the least will pay the least.

      • OnPointComments

        When you take into account the value of government transfers received, the bottom 60% pay zero federal taxes. The CBO has issued a report on the distribution of household income and federal taxes. It is not until the fourth and fifth quintiles that federal taxes paid exceeds the amount of government transfers received, i.e., only the fourth and fifth quintiles pay more into the government than what they receive.

        • Don_B1

          And a big part of those “government transfers” are Social Security payments to retired people who are in those middle and lower quintiles!

          • MrNutso

            Who by the way paid into the system.

      • Don_B1

        As MrNutso pointed out, the amount of the income is roughly similar to the amount of taxes paid. Because the income tax code is set so that successive dollars earned are taxed at slightly higher rates (the marginal tax rates), you would expect that those earning globs of money would pay a bit more, and rightly so.

        According to Forbes, in 2012 the top 40 hedge fund managers and traders had a combined income of $16.7 billion. See:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2013/02/26/the-40-highest-earning-hedge-fund-managers-and-traders/

        It would take the salaries of 200,000 teachers to roughly equal those earnings of those 40 super-wealthy!

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          The richest 85 people in the world have as much income as the 3.5 BILLION poorest people in the world.

          • OnPointComments

            If you have a net worth of $0.01, then your wealth exceeds that of the poorest quarter of Americans combined.

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          And every one of those 200,000 teachers work as hard or harder than the hedge fund managers and traders.

          • MrNutso

            But they get the summer off.

          • TFRX

            Heeheehee–nice jujitsu.

            PS Any truth to the rumor that this year’s Jeopardy! Teachers’ Tournament will be paid not in money but filler paper, ballpoint pens, and binders?

  • George Potts

    People who make minimum wage should work harder or get a different job.

    • MrNutso

      How much harder can a cashier or a lawn cutter work? And what other jobs are available to them that pay more money?

      • George Potts

        You can make $50/hour cleaning houses or mowing lawns.

        • Don_B1

          And how many jobs are there cleaning houses or mowing lawns relative to the millions who do not have a job?

          • HonestDebate1

            There are tons of foreclosed houses sitting empty. The banks will pay to have the yards kept up so thy can be more easily sold. I know someone who is making a killing.

          • hennorama

            Don_B1 — there are of course an unlimited number of such jobs, or at least the limit is theorized to be equal to the number of persons who do not have a job, and who actually WANT to have a job.

            The theory, of course, is that anyone and everyone has the money, skills, temperament, physical abilities, etc. that are needed to be either employed or self-employed cleaning houses or mowing lawns, and that there is a NEED for all these millions of people to perform these services.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Where?

          What is the net income from that after you have purchased the equipment and the gas and the insurance? Where do you get the money to invest in these?

          I work for $40/hour and my wife is a professional with an Masters degree – and we can’t even come close to affording to pay $50/hour for landscaping or housecleaning. We can’t afford anything for those things.

      • Enuff_of_this

        If being a cashier or yard worker is the best you can do, it would be time to re-evaluate your life and make some adjustments

        • MrNutso

          And what adjustments would there be?

          • Enuff_of_this

            Education, training, relocation.Take your pick. If improving your personal situation is a priority for you, then you will find a way.

          • Mike

            Amen.

    • Mike

      Learn more skills, be better at what you do, become more valuable, provide additional services, be better than your competition… Sweep up after you mow if no one else is doing it. Check for convenient times to mow… You can do many things to make yourself more valuable.

    • Labropotes

      Man, you do go on! I agree with most of what you say, but you say soooo much. Could you channel what is obviously a real talent into making inspirational rightwing fortune cookies? Imagine how fat Rush would be if he could resort to one of your cookies every time he needed ideas?

  • Mike

    Employers only have one responsibility – pay the employee as much as they need to. If an employee is worth more they will be paid more. If an employee does not think they are being paid what they are worth – they should take their labor somewhere else. On the other hand, if an employer wants quality employees they will have to pay competitive wages. Artificially setting wages is not the solution. (I know – I am living in dream world…)

    • MrNutso

      Your theory doesn’t apply to minimum wage jobs. I’m a cashier at Walmart and I think I should pay more, so I’ll quit and get the same paying job at Target.

      • Mike

        How about management training? What about cross training to move in to a higher paying area? I did that when I worked a grocery store.
        .

        • Euphoriologist

          Becoming a manager in this scenario is only a possibility for a few lucky employees. For every relatively well-paying manager job that exists, there will always be something like 50 times as many minimum-wage cashiers/baggers/greeters/etc. needed. This is a solution for at most 1-2% of employees while ignoring the unlucky rest.

          • Mike

            Nothing to do with luck. I crossed trained, got a better job. Not because I was lucky but because i was willing to do it and worked hard enough to be successful..

          • Euphoriologist

            It’s *all* about luck.

            30 cashiers could undertake the exact same workplace training and possess the same level of intelligence, ambition, character, determination, resolve, likability, and devotion to getting ahead. Yet, in the end, only one will win the prize of becoming manager. The other 29, who would have been equally suitable for the job and equally profitable for the company, will nonetheless have to stay with their minimum-wage jobs. And they can’t go anywhere else because the situation is the same at every other store.

            Employer to 29 left behind: “I’m so sorry, but we only had one opening. Do remember to try again next year. Thanks for playing.”

          • Mike

            So the one who was selected was drawn from a hat;they were not the best candidate? Take your labor somewhere else where you stand a better chance or where you feel you will be “luckier”.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Those 29 people are *still* being treated unfairly. Hanging a carrot out there might help for a short while, but some/many of the 29 will quit, and the employer has to hire and train more new employees, and any problem solving and helpful feedback to the management goes away.

            What about the possibility that the 29 people getting a living wage become much more responsive to management? They don’t need a second job, and they are willing and able to have more flexible working hours?

          • Mike

            “Unfairly” if they are not the best candidate for the job? This is sounding a lot like “…From each according to his ability, to each according to his need…”

            An employer risks losing good employees if he doe not pay a wage that entices the workers to be productive. That’s a chance he takes.

          • Euphoriologist

            “So the one who was selected was drawn from a hat?”

            Right now, yes. I’m not saying training or self-betterment is useless. But when there are 2-3 times as many jobless people as jobs out there, companies are flooded with equally trained and qualified candidates. In this scenario (and it will be the most typical one for a while), one’s future comes down to luck.

            And it will be the same at every comparable company a minimum-wage employee might apply to. In fact, switching companies is a great way to start all over again at the bottom rung, not leap ahead.

            In the 90s economy, I might have agreed with you. But today, low-level such employees are stuck without much hope. At the very least, let’s give these employed people a high enough wage to let them live properly without the need for benefits until we return to an economy where hard work and ambition are once again properly rewarded (if it ever truly existed).

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            “In fact, switching companies is a great way to start all over again at the bottom rung, not leap ahead.”

            Or keep your job. The company where I worked for decades switched cleaning companies every year or two. The PEOPLE doing the work were the same, and as they were always “new hires”, they always started at the bottom.

          • Mike

            Sorry you feel that. I know from experience one start at the bottom, educate themselves, work hard, take risks and move on. I have done exactly that.

          • Euphoriologist

            I wasn’t refuting your personal experience. I congratulate you in fact. I just want to give all Americans the same opportunity to follow in your footsteps.

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          How many managers are there at the store? You can’t have all leaders and no workers.

        • hennorama

          Mike — first of all, congratulations on your success.

          Now, please allow a little bubble piercing:

          You got breaks along the way, as you have written:

          - Academic scholarships
          - Employer-allowed/encouraged cross-training
          - An economy in which you could find jobs while you were in college
          - An academic institution that was either publicly or privately built by forward-looking entities.

          Not everyone gets these breaks.

    • John_in_Amherst

      employers are also citizens of the country. as such, they have at least a few other responsibilities, including behaving in a fashion that enhances the long term stability and prosperity of the country

      • jefe68

        What! You want a society that is engaged and civil?

      • Mike

        Who decides what that is? What if I believe paying someone more than their labor is worth is teaching the employee wrong lessons? If a state requires $15 an hour to flip burgers and the worker leaves they think their labor is worth $15 an hour. What if I see part of my responsibility as making sure people understand they get paid based on the value they add to their business, enterprise or employer?

        • John_in_Amherst

          leaving wage fairness or lack there of aside, how about encouraging/insisting that employees are honest and scrupulous? The recent housing bubble / mortgage debacle, various schemes by which the wizards of high finance have enriched themselves, police departments winking at racial profiling and roughing up suspects, etc. etc., all require either a lack of oversight or down-right encouragement of malfeasance. All so that employers “look good” (often synonymous with making larger profits) – at least until they are caught out. Being a “corporate citizen” of the country means sharing in a common vision of decency, playing fairly by the laws of the land instead of finding ways to skirt around them, etc.

          Responsibility is not just a “bottom line” thing.

          • Mike

            As an employer I am sure you would love to work for me. I would treat my employees well because I care and I know that that will encourage them to add value to to enterprise. But who determines what an employer should do? Do we have a massive list of rules and regs that make my business so complicated i don’t even try?

          • John_in_Amherst

            Start by following the law. Mortgages are reviewed according to a set of laws that help prevent fraud. Handling industrial and agricultural pollutants are regulated. Treating customers or citizens with courtesy and respect, let alone according to statutes that enhance safety and legal rights, is something employers are morally and legally supposed to do, and too often issues like “maximizing shareholder value” trumps everything else. As I can see is the case in your argument. The SCOTUS wants us to think of corporations as citizens? OK, then they need to act like citizens, paying penalties when the fail in their duties, legal and civic.

    • TFRX

      Go Galt, then. Nobody’s stopping you.

      And while you’re at it, don’t take any inheritance from relatives who got law-mandated minimum wages, but only what you can determine they were worth at the time.

      It’s hilarous to listen to folks sitting on top of 80 years of The New Deal and 50 years of Medicare say “I got here myself”.

      • Mike

        That doesn’t even make sense…By the way, the New Deal most likely caused the Great Depression, it didn;t help. Things were getting better until the ND started and then we really fell apart.

        Oh and I did get here myself. Academic scholarships, sleeping three hours a night while a working college student, working several jobs, relocating for a better job, spending less than I made, regardless of what I made, working hard to improve myself to get that next- better job… … …

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        The railroads and the highways and the bridges and the Internet and the clean water … yeah – other than that, what has the government done for me, lately?

  • bobshaw31

    It is inexcusable to me that the President continues to publicly champion expanding our dependence on fossil fuels (natural gas, oil, “clean” coal) while speaking forcibly about climate change. Natural Gas extraction is fraught with problems not the least of which is excessive water use and pollution (toxification might be a better word). Oil is hugely dirty and dangerous at every step of the process from extraction to refining, to transport on on down the line. Global warming is perhaps the greatest threat to life on earth and President Obama refuses to lead on doing something about it. I just don’t get it!!!

    • William

      CO2 emissions are down, the EPA can’t find anything wrong with FRACKING, we are becoming an exporter of oil and the Middle East oil countries are worried about losing their grip on us. Green power has failed despite billions in taxpayer dollars. Windmills needed a 30 year government waiver so they can kill as many birds as they want. People are open to all forms of energy but we have to go with what works.

      • sickofthechit

        We need everyone to think in much longer time frames than you seem willing to imagine. Poisoning vast quantities of water and land for fuel is a fools errand, wise up.

  • sickofthechit

    Gun control- to protect our children in our schools I say “Teachers with Tasers” is the most effective, safest and sanest solution. At least if they discharge accidentally no one is killed.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Um, you expect a person shooting up a school to stand still, hold fire so they can be Tasered?

      • sickofthechit

        Haven’t you seen the movie Hangover or The Fockers? They have tasers that shoot out little darts attached to cables that send the current right into the target. If they try to move after being tasered you can give them another jolt to subdue them. Very effective. At Sandyhook I think the Principal and the office worker could have subdued the assailant if they had had tasers.

    • hennorama

      sickofthechit — the idea has some merit, but remember:

      - Tasers have limited range
      - Tasers have limited capacity for multiple “firings”
      - Accuracy when under fire or at risk of being fired upon, with adrenaline coursing through one’s system, falls off sharply

  • George Potts

    Bill Gates is rich enough to pay my health care.

  • George Potts

    If you are making minimum wage, do you have cable or a smart phone?

    • MrNutso

      So we should have means tested possession ownership?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Inconsiderate and ignorant comment. How about rent and food and health and clothing and heat and electricity?

      • jefe68

        I hope you understand that replying to this guy is a waste of time. It’s obvious this clown is here to wind people up.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    The last two callers are spot on.

  • hellokitty0580

    I am SO SICK of hearing about free markets and a government that is the Other! First of all, we have seen that unleashing a radically free market does not provide support for all people especially when existing institutions have been created that don’t allow for equal access into the market! Hello, can we look at the past 15 years where financial regulations have been loosen? Now we have rampant wealth inequality and a middle class that is slowly disappearing. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Let’s be real here. We DO NOT have an equal playing field. Can we stop pushing a neocon agenda that just doesn’t work?

    And have we forgotten BASIC CIVICS? The people ARE the government and therefore we are responsible for the path that the government takes. It is not an entity separate from us, we are the entity and we, the people, need to take responsibility for the obstructionists we have sent to represent us. I want a government that is involved in my life because the only trends I’ve seen is that when the government makes huge strides like ending slavery, creating equal voting rights, creating an income tax, ending segregation, instating Title 9, etc. it’s made life better for a lot of Americans. And I believe time will tell how great universal health coverage is. When the government loosens its grip our historical monsters come out to play: discrimination and inequality. The sad fact that no one seems to want to admit is that discrimination and inequality work for some people and those people have done well in the past several years.

    • bilbo44

      You talk about the last 15 years and what deregulation is done to the US. I think you really have to look at what’s happening in the world in the last 50 years. We are no longer the super economic power that we were 50 years ago. Many countries such as China India Europe have gained. Outsourcing globalization major structural changes for the US. Whether you think it’s good or bad companies in order to survive or to make a profit have outsource and limit their expenses. If they don’t the companies go bankrupt. We can look at some companies that would mainstays 40 years ago Polaroid Kodak. Where they are today? I think you have to look at structural problems in the United States. Manpower is no longer that important, brainpower is the main important ingredient. So people who don’t have a high school education have a very low probability of income security in the US. Maybe you think it’s a good idea that we should just send up paychecks to the federal government and get benefits in return. That will create income equality for all.

  • Mike

    How about we attack income inequality as and when we attack tax inequality?

    • StilllHere

      Flat tax, no deductions.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        GRADUATED tax, no deductions. There is nothing reasonable in suggesting someone like Romney who made $20M in 2010 (doing ZERO WORK and creating ZERO jobs) should pay the same tax rate as someone working 40 or more hours a week at minimum wage.

        Romney paid ZERO into Social Security and Medicare. People who work pay 7.65%. At the PROPOSED $10.10 minimum wage rate, a person working 40 hours a week would make $21,008. Sucked right off the top would be $1,607.11 for SS and MC. I would like to see Mr. Romney try to live on $19,400 a year – no money in savings, no blind trust income, just income from WORK.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          It appears you don’t understand the importance of investment capital for job creation and the economic engine.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            Investment capital only benefits the entity the ONE time they receive the capital from the original shareholder. All future trades of the “paper” provide NO benefit to the entity, they provide NO jobs (other than the the trader on Wall Street).

            The “economic engine” is people buying things which then provides jobs for people making things. Trading “paper” is not a benefit to the economy.

            Here is a plan, based on the ORIGINAL purpose of stock ownership where you bought stock in companies that you expect to do well and collect the dividends they pay to “rent” your money:
            If you buy stock from a company raising money to start or increase their business, you pay nothing on the dividends and nothing on the gain when you sell. Everyone else pays on the dividends and gains since THEY did NOTHING to fund the expansion and provide more jobs, etc.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Most economists (including Zandi) disagree with you.

            The wealth effect due to a rising stock market is ‘fiction’?

        • Mike

          The $20M Romney earned was earned from money that has already been taxed. Next question.

          • sickofthechit

            The money he “earned” was taxed at a reduced rate thanks to the wealthy using their influence to reduce capital gains tax rates, to reduce taxation on hedge fund income, etc. etc. Further, much of his money was “created” when he went into an employer who had an overfunded defined benefit pension fund which he and his minions converted to a defined contribution fund and took promptly took out the excess as “profits”.

          • Mike

            Even the reduced rate was the second or third bite of the apple. Bite the apple once and then let the owner eat it with the man taking it away again and again and taking more and more of their bites.

        • hennorama

          BHA_in_Vermont — that’s not accurate.

          For tax year 2010, Mr. Romney paid $29,151 in Self-employment tax, on his $593,996 of net income derived as an author, speaker, director fees.

          His SE tax rate was slightly over 4.9 percent.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            OK.

            - He paid a lower tax rate than poor working people pay in SS and MC taxes.

            - He paid a lower tax rate than I, as an employee, paid on 1/10th the income and that does NOT include the SS or MC taxes I paid.

            - The lowest 2010 rate was 10% on the income between $0 and $16,750. Based on the 2010 tax tables, he would have paid $181K in taxes on ~$600K for a marginal tax rate of ~30%. Thus he wrote off ~$430K for an actual marginal rate of ~18% on THAT SE income. Given his actual tax rate on ~$20M of income was in the neighborhood of 13%, a lot of his “blind trust” income was very low, or no tax.

          • hennorama

            BHA_in_Vermont — thank you for your response.

            I simply wanted to point out the facts of the matter, but I’m right next to you in the choir, singing the same song.

      • TFRX

        “Flat tax” is just another gambit to use on suckers people who think their 1040A requires the time and accountancy skills that Paul Allen or Mark Cuban need for their returns.

    • MrNutso

      Agreed. Money earned from labor should be taxed less than money earned from money.

      • Mike

        So tax earnings multiple times? If my money was earned at work it should be taxed once but if i invest the already taxed money any profits should be taxed again? If my profits are reinvested and they earn profits they should be taxed again and so on and so on? How ’bout we tax money once and leave it at that?

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          In what universe is your original income being double taxed? The profits on your after tax investment are not at all related to your original “work” income.

          And to short circuit a likely reply. The only people who fund a business are those who are original share holders. If you did not buy stock from the COMPANY (directly or through a broker), YOU have provided ZERO benefit to the company. I would support a lower tax rate on income for original share buyers and a higher one for subsequent holders.

          • Mike

            Let’s try that again…

            If I bring home $75 K it has been taxed already. If I invest $10K a year for many years and after a period of time I pull out $5000 to buy something that $5000 will be taxed as a capital gain (assuming the investment increased in price). I may $1000 of my earnings. I will only get to keep $4000 of my $5000. That $5000 was generated by money that has already been taxed and it was taxed again.

            Hope that helps.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            Not at all, your $5,000 has NOT been taxed, it was “given” to you. If your investment had not increased by $5,000, only the GAIN will be taxed. Your original investment is NOT taxed.

          • Mike

            Sorry, let’s try this again… My $5000 was earned. I could have used it to buy a mower to mow yards or a computer to build web sites, instead I used it to earn a return directly. That money is earned as much as my hourly wage is earned.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            I’m pretty sure there is a reason it is called UNEARNED income in the tax codes. YOU did nothing to earn the money, no work, no product, no service.

            You are letting your money “work” for you. I don’t have a problem with that and I have money working for me as well. However, *I* am not providing any benefit to anyone while I do so. OK, well maybe my investment advisor who I pay to decide where my MONEY will best work for me.

          • Labropotes

            Mike did not consume his $5000. He created value, put it in the hands of another so that that guy could put the capital to some productive purpose. It is this productive purpose that Mike is entitled to some compensation for. If he doesn’t get it, he has no incentive to delay consumption. If we don’t incentivize effective capital investment, we will be poorer as a nation.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            First, he created no value unless he bought stock or bonds when they were first issued to raise capital. A vast majority of daily trades are between John and Joan, not between John Deere and Joan.

            Second, he WAS rewarded for his decision to not immediately consume, receiving $5,000 MORE from the company than he put in.

          • jimino

            The “incentivization” is that one will make money on the investment. What more incentive do you propose? You want the rest of us to guarantee you will make a profit?

          • jefe68

            Here’s some free advice, invest in index funds and fire your investment advisor.
            I bet if you asked he or she that’s where the bulk of their investment is.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            I have index funds as well. I have diversified ;)

          • Mike

            I do plenty of work – I research which companies I invest in and which funds I invest in. Letting others use my money to build a business and profiting from that is free enterprise. Without it we wouldn’t have businesses of any size.

            I feel like an Econ 090 teacher….

          • Mike

            One more time… Nothing is given to me. i earn everything i have. The “earnings” on my investment should not be taxed since the original investment was already taxed. If I buy a widget for $10 and sell it for $11 should the $1 profit be taxed? No, not if the original $10 has already been taxed. . Otherwise you completely discourage investment.

          • Salvor Hardin

            What you are talking about in your current scenario is how business taxes work. You buy widgets and sell them to people with money they provided (that has in most cases already been subjected to taxes as well). The business is taxed on the profit of their income – expenses. Even though their income is derived from money that has already been taxed as well.

            You are taxed on your capital gains and you are also protected to some
            extent in that you can deduct capital losses from your taxes as well.
            But it is a tax on the gain which is money you didn’t have before.

            You can yell and scream as much as you want but this double taxation theory of yours has never gone anywhere and never will because you, yourself are not double taxed. The system you propose that somehow money can never be taxed more than once no matter how many entities exchange that money is unworkable fantasy.

          • Mike

            Not a theory. The current system discourages investment and work. A system that moved in my direction would take the MAN out of people’s lives and support liberty. Yeah, probably a pipe dream. Not many will understand this though.

          • jimino

            Hey, I used money I earned during the summers of the early 1970′s, which I paid taxes on, and invested it in my college education which has allowed me to earn a living ever since. So I should NEVER have been taxed on anything I have ever made. Do I have that right?

          • Mike

            That is just weird… I am not sure what you mean. Money should be taxed once – when it is earned the first time, not again and again and again… … …

    • HonestDebate1

      Are you suggesting putting the six million poor back on the tax rolls that Bush freed them from; or getting rid of the 10% bracket Bush made. Are you suggesting having the rich pay a smaller portion of the bill since they are paying more than at any time in the history of the universe? I hope so but may have missed your point.

      • Mike

        I am saying that everyone should have skin in the game and pay something, even if it is $100. I am also saying we get to the point when someone has paid their share. Taking 50% or more of one’s money is immoral and it happens when you add national, state and local taxes. Why risk 100% of your money to start a business when at best you can keep only 60% to 50% of the profits?

        • hennorama

          Mike — let’s examine your idea a bit, OK?

          Let us assume that we all agree that “Everyone should pay something” when discussing Federal Income Tax (FIT), which is the view that you express. Fine. Everyone has to pay at least one hundred dollar ($100.00) of FIT, annually.

          First, we need to define “everyone.” Every person living in the US? Every citizen? Everyone over age 13, 18, 21? Everyone under age 100? Everyone who votes? Everyone who drives? Everyone who has income of any kind?

          OK, let’s assume this gets resolved somehow and we’ve defined “everyone.”

          Now let’s think about the incomes of “everyone.”

          What happens if I have no income? I got injured while playing soccer, and can’t work the whole year. I have no health insurance, no disability insurance, and no savings. I lose my house and my car and move into a homeless shelter, Do I still have to pay the $100?

          What happens if I have income of $1.00, or $10, or $100 or $1000? Do I still have to pay the $100? Does the answer change if I have dependents?

          What if I run a business, the economy goes into a Great Recession, and I lose all my customers and have a loss? Do I still have to pay the $100?

          What if I have no income, sell $10 million of stock at a loss? I have $10 million in the bank, but I lost money on the stock, and show only a capital loss on my tax return. Do I still have to pay the $100?

          Do you see how things get a bit silly when you say “everyone should have skin in the game and pay something”?

        • HonestDebate1

          Thanks, You’re singing my tune.

          • Mike

            It’s sad that not many people understand this…

      • William

        I would love to see everyone, EVERYONE, pay something in federal income taxes.

        • HonestDebate1

          I agree. I’m even okay with making it a prerequisite for voting.

    • Sy2502

      How about the government gets out of the Social Engineering business?

      • Mike

        I agree completely.

  • Jerry C. Adams

    If raising the minimum wage will discourage employment hiring, then conversely reducing it would increase employment. So why don’t the Republicans just try to eliminate it altogether?

    • hellokitty0580

      Some want to. And that to me smacks of disgusting lack of human compassion because their will be those employers who would pay severely less than what is federally mandated just to make a bigger buck.

    • William

      I wonder if the government offered an incentive to a business to raise wages. If the business owner raises the wages to 15-20 dollars an hour they don’t have to pay FICA tax for that employee, or drop unemployment insurance payments or workman’s comp. insurance. Let the employee have the option to pay it or not. I think there are a lot of business owners that might jump at the chance to reduce their paperwork and various taxes, insurance they have to pay now.

      • Eric Reagan

        I think they should just suck it up, do the withholding like their supposed to, pay higher wages — and after pouting about for a little while, they’ll figure out they and the economy are all the better off for it.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Are you suggesting we can legislate in place of morality and ethics?

    • HonestDebate1

      It absolutely should be eliminated altogether.

  • Mike

    How ’bout we only tax spending at the point the product or service is delivered to the end user? No other national taxes at all. No income taxes, not corporate taxes. Through in a rebate or prepaid credit for the poor to take care of the regressive nature. Set the rate at a compensating level to equal the desired level of income the nation needs. Simple and it does not discourage labor or investment.

  • tbphkm33

    I for one would make the strong case that President Obama is one of the better Presidents the Union has seen. Especially coming on the heels of the recognized worst “President” since Hoover (or maybe of all time)

    All of President Obama’s accomplishments have come despite the opposition of a “party of NO.” Nopublican’s have, and continue to, commit treason on the American people. Nopublican’s lack even the most basic understanding of leadership and governance.

    This discussion board today is full of the conservative evilness. Like a bad Hobbit movie with more-and-more Orcs crawling out of the dirt. A Nopublican cabal that bases its opposition on bigotry and racism. Still unable to come to terms with the reality that The People elected a populist President who happens to be of mixed race.

    It is a failure of American society and educational system that today we still have pundits spinning hatred based on -ism’s. Unfortunately, the -ism propaganda machine within the Nopublican party is in full swing.

    Nopublican’s offer nothing but half-truths and brainwashing. They spin their evilness in opposition, yet offer zero actionable plans for the future. Their only goal is it anoint another stooge to the throne in 2016, like they did in 2000. Another stooge of the corporate/super rich oligarchy that in reality will be incapable of leadership. The only plan the Nopublican’s have is to embark on more unfunded wars, with no-bid contracts to their cronies, and further attacks on the social safety net at home.

    Conservatives are the henchmen of the corporate/super rich oligarchy. Incapable of critical thought, they unknowingly fight against their own best interest. Irrationally caught up in a 40 year battle to impose government on women’s bodies – yet hypocritically claiming they want less government. Nopublican’s are all for governance, as long as it is their minority social values being imposed upon the majority.

    2016 is a critical juncture. Given conditions similar to that of 2000, look for civil strife to ignite when Nopublican’s once again try to anoint one of their own through money and power. The People would be much better off without the Party of No, a failed Party that is in need of replacement by a middle of the road conservative faction that understands the role of government.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      And when they can’t win elections, they suppress voting. They declare that corporations are people, and that money is the same as speech.

      If money wasn’t the same as speech, how else could they buy elections?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Are you seriously telling us the DNC folks don’t suck the toes of Wall St as much, if not more, than the Rebubs, especially conservative, and extra-especially libertarian types?

        The partisan zombie-hood you guys display daily is astounding and damaging to efforts at real reform.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Hillary Clinton (D-Goldman Sachs)

          • HonestDebate1

            She did alright with cattle futures.

          • Labropotes

            Wasn’t that pork futures? I loved it when the WSJ published everything they had written on pork futures in the period of time that she had claimed to be relying on their prescient reportage to make her little fortune. It was a single sentence.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            LOL. Now why didn’t I read about that story in the NYtimes?

          • Labropotes
          • jefe68

            So if the 1% make a lot of money on the stock market it’s OK if they are Republicans but not if they are Democrats?

            You really need to make up your mind.
            Either your for people making money using investments or your not.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am all for anyone making as much money as possible if it’s legal.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          I am not a Democrat and I am not defending them. They are certainly guilty of bad politics, but not to the degree that Republicans are.

      • HonestDebate1

        If I wanted to suppress your vote, how would I go about it? How is it possible?

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          You would do what so many Republicans are doing: ex-cons lose the right to vote for life, cut polling places and polling hours, reduce voter registrations, require voter ID, have unverifiable electronic voting machines, gerrymander voting districts, purge voting lists without actual confirmation.

          • HonestDebate1

            None of that would stop me from voting.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            But that doesn’t mean it is not having the effect that Republicans intend.

          • HonestDebate1

            I disagree. I think it’s disingenuous to say Republicans have a monopoly on shenanigans. For one thing Democrats are gerrymander kings. You should see some of the districts that exited her in NC. Requiring voter ID is a logical and prudent. I hate early voting, it should be one day and one day only.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Did I say the Republicans are the only bad actors?

            We have had virtually zero in-person voter fraud, and voter ID is essentially a poll tax.

            If voting is on one day only, then there cannot be lines longer than 1/2 an hour, and/or it should be a paid holiday.

            What’s wrong with early voting?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The UN voting monitors sent into Texas were shocked that there was no voter photo ID required as it is in most of Europe. It is not a poll tax.

            How do you know how much voter fraud exists under the current system? There is virtually no way to measure it.

            I do agree that we need a system that ensures short lines.

          • William

            Senator Al Franken. got elected due to voter fraud.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, you certainly at least implied it.

            How do you measure voter fraud?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Since you say voter ID is needed to prevent fraud – how do you prove there is voter fraud?

          • HonestDebate1

            You assume there is because the door is wide open.

          • jefe68

            It could and it has.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        “The case against early voting”

        “Early voting not only limits the set of information available to voters; to the extent that it decreases the importance of debates, it might also systematically help incumbents and quasi-incumbents like vice presidents, who generally have the advantage of having been in the public eye longer.”

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/early-voting-the-case-against-102748.html#ixzz2rlG3rPzw

    • Labropotes

      Your comment only alienates those who disagree with you. I guess you want civil unrest and are willing to play your part in bringing it about. Let’s see, your opponents are liers, racists, treasonous, anti democratic… why would you let such people even live?

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Give this guy the button, and he would vaporize everyone right of left of center in a heartbeat.

      The ends justify the means don’t you know.

      Stupid people don’t deserve to participate in self-governance.

      Thank god we have smart ones like tbph! If only we could give him benevolent dictator powers!

      First step, trash the constitution.

    • jefe68

      There wont be any civli strife anytime in the near future. Americans who have jobs are too afraid to lose them. The long term unemployed are despondent.

      Noam Chomsky has said that there is only one political party in this country, it’s the business party. President Obama is not exactly a pro worker president. Witness the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which makes NAFTA look like amateur hour. This has been negotiated by the Obama administration behind closed doors without Congress. Not good.

    • Sy2502

      If you think Obama is one of the best Presidents, your standards must be very low.

    • OnPointComments

      Your comment is like a proclamation from Saruman. “Something festers in the heart of Middle-Earth. Something that you have failed to see. But the Great Eye has seen it. Even now he presses his advantage. His attack will come soon. You’re all going to die.”

    • Labropotes

      You would make a strong case…? Let’s hear it.

      • tbphkm33

        Hmm, all I am seeing is rhetoric from the Tea Baggers. No intelligent
        arguments for why the Nopublican Party has indeed not been committing
        treason against the American people for the past 5 years. No informed
        plans for how the Nopublican’s will bring benefits to The People, not
        only the corporations/super rich. Only one truth in Nopublicans, namely
        the “NO” part. A failed party and a failed ideology (using the term
        “ideology” loosely here). More wishful thinking that change is not
        coming. A minority “Party” ruled by extremists, with its head in the
        sand not realizing that it already has entered the dustbin of history.
        Irrelevancy is all Nopublicans and Tea Baggers offers the Union or The
        People.

        • Labropotes

          The hate breaks my heart, it really does. I’ve been thinking about your rantings all afternoon. No one has done more lately to empty me of hope than you have.

        • Labropotes

          Let’s hear the argument you would make on behalf of the president and less name calling. Let’s hear the intelligent argument I for one believe you have.

          • pete18

            The clever and compelling, “NO-publicans” is all he’s got. Takes his cues from the president. A leftist lawyer pounding on the table because he has no
            facts nor arguments.

    • pete18

      “All of President Obama’s accomplishments have come despite the opposition of a “party of NO.’”

      And those accomplishments are….?

    • semperparatus1

      No facts cry racism! Evidence of such? Can’t produce any so just repeat the lie. Way to go Dr. Goebbels, keep up the good work. Still waiting for that long list of “accomplishments”.

  • Eric Reagan

    I see the brand new conservative stance of “government subsidizing” of low wage workers as a bait’n’switch, running the deer into the fence corner.

    Say they did get their way, no minimum wage increase to a more livable wage on the rationale that the economy is better off if low wage workers make up the difference of too low pay with government social programs. We know that the GOP wants deeper cuts than what they’re getting through compromise with the Democrats. They are dismayed that they didn’t get a deep enough cut on food stamps in the Farm Bill. We know that their philosophy is one of limited government and they’ve vowed to be relentless in politics on this matter — and, they are.

    So, if they got their way and kept wages as low as they are for the bottom rung of workers, they’re going to work to limit government benefits, not raise them — so the working poor will be cornered between two disparate policy objectives of conservatives. That doesn’t bode well for the working poor. It’s all a bait’n’switch to keep minimum wage workers where they are — then, the Republicans will conveniently forget the “subsidize the low wage workers” meme (because it doesn’t really fit their overall worldview, anyway) and then complain about people scamming the government and how we need to tighten the fiscal belt.

    The other part of this is, they want to make it sound like it’s too complex for the economy for companies that offer these jobs to make that raise to $10.10. per hour.

    When you look at the actual data, how much these companies earn, how much they pay their top executives and what their profit margin and stock market values are, it becomes apparent that saying that it won’t work is, frankly, disingenuous. But, somehow, it makes sense to go against the Republican principle of doing all you can to get people OFF government programs.

    Doesn’t square up. I don’t buy it. Pure cynical, running of the proverbial deer into the fence corner.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      The Republicans are spiking all the policies they don’t like – and then they can say: “See, we told you government doesn’t work!”

      Totally. Cynical.

      • MrNutso

        Government doesn’t work. Elect us and we’ll prove it.

    • OnPointComments

      11 Facts About The Minimum Wage That President Obama Forgot To Mention
      http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/28/11-facts-about-the-minimum-wage-that-president-obama-forgot-to-mention-during-the-state-of-the-union/

      1) Only 1 Percent Of The U.S. Labor Force Earns The Minimum Wage
      2) Teenagers Comprise The Single Largest Age Group Of Minimum Wage Workers
      3) Most Minimum Wage Workers Are Under The Age Of 25
      4) A Majority Of Those Who Earn The Minimum Wage Work In Food Preparation Or Sales
      5) Less Than 5 Percent Of People Who Earn The Minimum Wage Work In Construction Or Manufacturing
      6) A Majority Of Them Also Worked Less Than 30 Hours Per Week
      7) Less Than One-Third Worked Full-Time
      8) A Full-Time Minimum Wage Worker In 2014 Will Make 24 Percent More Than The Federal Poverty Limit
      9) One-Third Of Minimum Wage Workers Either Dropped Out Of Or Never Attended High School
      10) There Are Nearly Six Times More Minimum Wage Workers Today Than In 2007
      11) A Change In The Minimum Wage Often Triggers Union Wage Hikes And Benefit Renegotiations

      • hennorama

        OPC — please allow a clarification of Mr. Davis’ first “Fact”:

        Using the same BLS sources, one finds an additional 1.984 million workers who were paid an hourly wage BELOW the Federal minimum wage. This is an additional 1.29 percent of the 154.975 million people in the U.S. Civilian labor force in 2012.

        • OnPointComments

          In looking at the BLS statistics, I suspect that many of the 1.984 million workers with an hourly rate below the prevailing federal minimum wage are supplemented by tips (1.147 million in food preparation and serving related occupations), commissions, and piece work. Do you know if my suspicion is correct?

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            That was my guess as well. Depending on the establishment and the “generosity” of the diners, those people can make well more than minimum wage. Not true for all of course.

          • hennorama

            OPC — thank you for your reply.

            I don’t know the answer to your question, but it is likely that many or most of those paid at rates below the FMW are tipped workers whose total earnings are at or above FMW when tips are included. However, that still leaves many whose pay is actually below FMW.

            The point is that leaving nearly two million workers out of the discussion is misleading, as it does not present the entire picture.

          • OnPointComments

            I have many clients that pay a base hourly wage that is low, below FMW, but these employees earn commissions and bonuses that raise them far above minimum wage. If you deduct the number of employees who receive tips, commissions, and any other sources that supplement their hourly wage from the BLS number of employees paid below minimum wage, the number is much smaller.

          • hennorama

            OPC — TYFYR.

            That’s true, but the resultant remainder certainly isn’t zero.

            Failing to mention these workers at all is at best misleading, especially in an article titled “11 Facts About The Minimum Wage That President Obama Forgot To Mention.”

        • Bruce94

          I must have been typing my reply when you posted yours. I’ve read estimates that phasing in the min. wage increase to $10.10 over 2 years would directly and indirectly benefit 30 million hourly wage earners (see EPI projections). Does that sound about right to you?

          • hennorama

            Bruce94 — thanks for your response, and your posts in this thread.

            30 million sounds reasonable, although the majority would be impacted by the third increase, assuming three increments of $0.95. As of this date, 6 states and D.C. would be unaffected by the first increment, as their local/state miinimum wages are currently higher than $8.20.

            On a side note, BLS data likely under-reports the actual number of workers who are paid at or below the FMV, as they do not delve into the details of salaried workers and the hours they work.

            Thanks again.

          • HonestDebate1

            Jobs will be lost. If an employer is paying 3 people $7.25/hour then labor cost him $21.75/hour. Now he can afford only two.

            Anyone not making $10/hour is not worth it or they would be making it.

      • Bruce94

        #11 demonstrates another compelling reason to raise the fed. min. wage–the “push-pull effect” it would have on all hourly wages enabling both unionized and non-union wage-earners to receive more of the benefits from the record productivity gains and corporate profits–gains and profits that have gone disproportionately to boost CEO & management compensation to obscenely high levels relative to the stagnant wages of their
        employees.

        But that aside for the moment, the stats you quoted (specifically #1) grossly understate the percent of workers who earn the fed. min. wage which, according to the BLS, is roughly 2.6%. If you add those earning less than the min. wage, who might benefit from the
        “push-pull” ripple effect of an increase, the percent rises to 4.7% of all hourly paid workers.

        I’ll leave it to others to fact-check the rest of the so-called “11 Facts about the Minimum Wage…” that you evidently gleaned from some claptrap, conservative website. In the meantime, I recommend perusing the following sources for your edification:

        http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012.htm

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/dec/08/rob-portman/rob-portman-says-about-2-percent-americans-get-pai/

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        Your summaries hide the truth:

        From your linked article:

        “Teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 years comprise 31 percent of all minimum wage workers
        in the U.S. according to the BLS. Workers between 20 and 24 years of
        age comprise 24 percent of all minimum wage workers, those between 25
        and 34 years comprise 15.5 percent, workers between 35 and 44 years
        comprise less than 10 percent, and those 45 years and up comprise
        roughly 20 percent of all minimum wage workers in the U.S.”

        So yes, over half are under 25 but 45% are OVER 25. Maybe a high school or college student can make do with a (in fact don’t have time for more) part time minimum wage job, the 25% that are 25 to 44 and the 20% who are 45 and over can not.

        Is it not disingenuous to say that 36% of minimum wage workers either dropped out or never attended high school when 31% of those making minimum wage are 19 and under? I don’t think many people in high school have a high school diploma.

      • Eric Reagan

        ” 11) A Change In The Minimum Wage Often Triggers Union Wage Hikes And Benefit Renegotiations ”

        Which is the main thing for the overall economy: Upward pressure on wage earners individual economic power. The statistics cited in the Federalist facts are for workers that are earning right at the minimum wage. What of those who are hourly wage earners that only make within $10 over of the proposed $10.10 increase?

        Many of those people are older than 18, have families and a certain large portion are high school graduates with at least two years college or beyond. Many of the workers in this in different sectors could have specialized training for their work — yet, make less than they should be in comparison to the wealth that’s being created by the economy.

        That said, by increasing the minimum to this level because, despite the statistics, there are people who are trying to survive providing for their families on such low wage jobs.

        Raising the minimum wage to this level not only helps to alleviate the gross economic disparity that impacts the lowest rung workers, it puts pressure to increase earnings and benefits of the worker strata above, thus strengthening the middle class and helping to equalize (somewhat, relatively speaking) the balance of wealth amongst the population.

  • NewtonWhale

    Tom, I know you were trying to close out the hour, but you should not have let Reihan Salam get away free with his parting shot against Obamacare.

    First, the President did not ignore it last night. Here’s what he said:

    “For decades, few things exposed hard-working families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system. And in case you haven’t heard, we’re in the process of fixing that.

    A pre-existing condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a physician assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn’t get health insurance. But on January 1st, she got covered. On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. On January 6th, she had emergency surgery. Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that surgery would’ve meant bankruptcy.

    That’s what health insurance reform is all about—the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything.

    Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than three million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents’ plans.

    More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.

    And here’s another number: zero. Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman. And we did all this while adding years to Medicare’s finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors.

    Now, I don’t expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice—tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. But let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda. The first forty were plenty. We got it. We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against.

    And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who’s here tonight. Kentucky’s not the most liberal part of the country, but he’s like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families. “They are our friends and neighbors,” he said. “They are people we shop and go to church with…farmers out on the tractors…grocery clerks…they are people who go to work every morning praying they don’t get sick. No one deserves to live that way.”

    Steve’s right. That’s why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. It will give her some peace of mind—plus, she’ll appreciate hearing from you.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/28/full-text-of-president-obama-s-2014-state-of-the-union-address.html

    Second, Obamacare is working:

    Uninsured Rate Drops as Obamacare Starts, Gallup Finds

    The percentage of adults without health insurance in the U.S. fell this month to the lowest level since the end of 2012 as the core provisions of Obamacare took effect, a Gallup poll found.

    The uninsured rate dropped to 16.1 percent in the Jan. 2-19 poll, from 17.3 percent in December, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The uninsured rate fell more for nonwhites and for those 35- to 64-years-old.

    The ability to extend health care to most of the nation’s 48 million uninsured will be a main measure of success for the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The people benefiting most so far appear to be those who are unemployed, where Gallup said the uninsured rate fell 6.7 percentage points.

    “The unemployed remain the subgroup with the highest uninsured rate at 34.1 percent, but the initial decline among this group suggests the health-care law may be working as intended for unemployed adults,” Jenna Levy, a methodologist at Gallup, wrote in the report.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-23/uninsured-rate-drops-as-obamacare-starts-gallup-finds.html

    Third, as millions of Americans get coverage they otherwise would not, Obamacare will become increasingly popular. It’s already begun:

    President Obama’s Approval Rating Jumps 5 Points as Millions Sign Up for Obamacare

    President Obama is beginning 2014 on the upswing as millions are signing up for the ACA, and his approval rating has increased by 5 points according to Gallup.

    Now that the ACA website is repaired, and millions of Americans are signing up, the media’s endless drumbeat of negativity has temporarily stopped. Without the Republican fueled Obama bashing from the corporate media, the president’s approval rating has gone up, and his disapproval rating has gone down.

    http://www.politicususa.com/2014/01/01/president-obamas-approval-rating-jumps-5-points-millions-sign-obamacare.html

    • William

      Why are millions of people that were paying for their medical insurance losing it? Why are millions of people being forced to buy medical insurance with items in it that they will never need or use. How can this be called a success?

  • JGC

    Yesterday’s guests for “A New Report on American Economic Mobility” were all affiliated with Harvard University, either as alumni or professor. All of today’s guests (Amy Davidson, Reihan Salam, and Kristen Welker) are also Harvard alumni.

    This is one of the ills of our society, that only a very few who gain the imprimatur of a narrow slice of the upper educational system, are given the soap box to direct the conversation and the policy. They own the podium.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Ashbrook is a Yale alum

      • JGC

        Diversity rules!

      • brettearle

        So was Chris Lydon

    • brettearle

      NYT had its Safire

      The Globe has its Jacoby.

      I take your point. But a specifically implied Ideological Culture has its Deviations.

      • JGC

        Well, at least thanks to MOOCs, someday we can all be Ivy League alumni. I should be ready to offer my expert opinion later this spring. (Message to Tom Ashbrook: have your people call my people.)

        -JGC (Yale, 2014; University of Pennsylvania, 2014)

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Is anyone excited that President Obama assigned Joe Biden to be in charge of job training programs? Is that the best choice for something seemingly so important? Was Kathleen Sebelius unavailable?

    Let’s hope he does a better job than he did tracking and reporting on the effectiveness of the stimulus in 2009.

  • Cari

    Problem is entitlement. Why do people think that they are entied to everything? To include children. If you can’t afford them, don’t have them. Choose appropriately. I work as an ER nurse and continuously deal with people that want to take from the system, all the while holding their smartphone and designer handbag. Why is this rarely addressed???

    • anamaria23

      Maybe you should find another line of work, if all you see continuously are takers. Sounds pretty demoralizing.

      • HonestDebate1

        But surely you will acknowledge there are indeed takers.

        • anamaria23

          Yes, there are. In every strata of society from the most well off to the least well off.
          Sadly, most of them seem to be arriving at Cari’s ER.

          • HonestDebate1

            Look for it to get worse.

    • Sy2502

      I agree completely. But these days saying it is not PC. Apparently the government has a new function that used to be the domain of the Fairy Godmother: granting all your wishes.

    • andic_epipedon

      I’m not sure I understand your position. Can you clarify what you are talking about?

      I haven’t been to the ER since the year I lost my last professional job and eventually lost my health insurance. I believe the stress from the job job is what landed me in the ER that last year. I have a condition it which I am supposed to be monitored 4 times a year by a doctor to manage my meds and I only go once a year to a clinic. My girlfriend and I don’t have any children because I lost my professional job. I only have a smartphone because it is almost a necessity in order to work for an electronics retailer as a part-time salesperson. Also, I get a huge discount because of who my current employer is. I don’t own a designer handbag, but I live in a wet climate and put my ten year old jacket aside for a $170 high end jacket from the same company that I hope will last another ten years.

    • William

      Well said.!

    • jefe68

      Why is this rarely addressed???
      How do you know what the people you are dealing with have or have not when they come into the ER?
      Or what the economic situation is?

      First off are you asking for their EBT cards?
      You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about people. Not the kind of person I would want for a nurse.

    • hennorama

      Cari — it must be terrible to see those well-to-do rich people “holding their smartphone and designer handbag” and who “want to take from the system.”

      Indeed, what IS their problem, and “Why is this rarely addressed???”

      • StilllHere

        Do you have some data on ER use and wealth? You seem to be making an assumption with no evidence.

        • hennorama

          StilllHere — do you have some data on OP sarcasm and comprehension?

          • brettearle

            Henn….

            What’s your take on the recent Woody Allen fracas–with regard to his step- daughter’s tell-all column, in the aftermath of the Lifetime Achievement Award?

            I know the public’s been around-the-block with this thing, a number of times before.

            But somehow, to me this time, it might be different:

            You know….as in reaching a point of critical mass, where it’s being advertised and readvertised so often that its credibility might very well have been increased from serious speculation to valid truth?

            As a crude analogy from a film….

            (ironically….but not because it’s one of his films…ironically, simply because it comes from any film)

            When Senator Smith in, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, is in the middle of his Filibuster, a group of colleagues in chambers are surrounding Smith’s senior Senator partner and observing that [I'm paraphrasing], `We don’t believe that anyone would have survived that long on the floor of the Senate and been so adamant, for days and days, beforehand, if there weren’t some Truth to it….”

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I hadn’t been aware of this until your comment.

            As in similar matters, I always favor the victim. This is especially true in the case of a powerless victim and a powerful offender, as it is far more difficult for such a victim to come forward in public.

            This puts a different light on what to do with the disc in my DVD player — Blue Jasmine — which I’m now going to return unviewed.

            Thanks for informing me.

          • brettearle

            Here’s my take on my own personal judgements vis a vis Art vs Real Life:

            If I were privy to all the serious improprieties that are hidden from us [and meted out judgments, therewith]–of all those men and women whom I admire, before the public, in the arts, sciences, public office, etc–I might have a lot more time on my hands that might ordinarily otherwise be taken up with reading and watching.

          • hennorama

            True dat.

  • davecm

    I was kinda disappointed Obama did not touch on his crowning achievements during the SOTU.
    HUh??? are there any???????
    A question about “upward mobility”
    We ask why other counties, like China, have improved their people’s chances for upward mobility and out of poverty. Why is America lagging behind?????
    Possibility, We have shipped all of our good paying jobs over there!!!!
    Over 60+% of new jobs created in 2013 were temp jobs.
    Prediction, you will hear more and more in the future about “shared responsibility” by Obama and his news media.

  • George Potts

    Why didn’t Obama say anything about gun control?

    • brettearle

      That is one major omission. Big Time.

      It is almost a disgrace.

      • HonestDebate1

        It’s a non-starter. If he wants to proactively enforce new legislation then he needs to be able to she it will work. There is no evidence.

        • Ray in VT

          If one is talking about expanding background checks, then the record of over 1 million people failing background checks due to criminal records, mental health issues or drug use is plenty of evidence for me.

          • HonestDebate1

            A million? It sounds like the system is working, no? Why do you think Obama didn’t bring it up?

          • Ray in VT

            Because the NRA and its allies have proven that they can kill even measures with overwhelming public support, and an organization where one of its top people has referred to the President as a “subhuman mongrel” can’t be brought to any table, especially when they’re making oodles of cash convincing people that the evil Obama is trying to steal their guns.

          • HonestDebate1

            So now he’s a wimp? Who is more powerful, Mitch McConnell who single handedly thwarted Obama’s entire agenda with one pull quote or uncle Ted?

            The NRA is a big proponent of background checks.

          • Ray in VT

            More like the pansies in the House and Senate who fear a bad rating from some dirtbag like Nugent. The NRA is most concerned with its bottom line, and they don’t seem to be too big of a proponent of background checks, given their actions last year.

          • HonestDebate1

            Do you think the NRA just wants murder and mayhem everywhere so Obama is intimidated because he knows that’s what those rascally Republicans want too? The Tea Partiers are big into murder and mayhem you know.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that they want to keep the money flowing, and anything that could hurt sales, donations or memberships is opposed by them. Maybe some kids just have to die in order for the cash to keep coming, just like how the Kochs fight efforts to reduce carcinogens that they profit from. Republicans and the Tea Party certainly seem to profit from murder and mayhem, at least in the sense that they seem to benefit when some people get convinced of some sort of “epidemic” of crime, especially when it is supposedly being fueled by the actions of a certain shade of people.

          • HonestDebate1

            So murder and mayhem is just a tolerable consequence, alrighty then. That’s rational.

          • Ray in VT

            It sells guns and puts eyeballs in front of some media outlets. Imagine how much business might be lost if everyone realized how much violent crime has dropped over the past 20 years, despite the fact that self reported gun ownership rates are lower now than then. One could, though, always go with the very rational position that the President is fueling violence in Mexico to steal ‘Mericans’ guns.

          • HonestDebate1

            “… the President is fueling violence in Mexico to steal ‘Mericans’ guns.”

            That’s a very good point, I guess some people really are not concerned with murder and mayhem. I can’t relate.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s the lamewad conspiracy theory that gets kicked around (just one of many). I can’t relate to the people who spread such nonsense or the people whose circles breed and keep alive things of such a nature.

          • HonestDebate1

            How is it possible to say there was a concern about violence when the guns had no tracking devices? Or when the Mexican government was not informed? Whose head has rolled over the debacle?

            You really ought not to be spitting on graves purely for ideological reasons. It’s shameful.

            And please don’t tell me it was Bush’s idea… again.

          • Ray in VT

            Whose heads rolled when thousands died in Iraq? Medals and promotions all around. Mission accomplished.

            Who is spitting on graves? Amazing the caricature of me that you have created. You make up something about what I am doing, and then you criticize me for doing it. More dishonest debate.

            The Bush administration certainly began walking guns, and losing some of them, in Arizona. Do you have a problem with that fact?

            I don’t think that it’s much of a conspiracy theory to observe groups overhyping crime and violence and spreading conspiracies about the gub’ment trying to steal your guns when it can be seen that such statements are not in line with the facts and it brings in the cash. Maybe they have a good reason for such things that don’t have to do with raking in money, but I don’t see it.

            I also can’t see the purpose in fighting the regulation of a known carcinogen except that the company fighting such regulations are making a bunch of money pushing it. Maybe the Kochs have a good reason that doesn’t involve money. Maybe they have some sort of alternative science that says that such things are good. Maybe we all just need the liberty to have those things in our products, just like convicted felons need the liberty to legally acquire guns, which the NRA has fought for.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bush again? I knew it.

          • Ray in VT

            Why? Have you not had the chance today to try to sell everyone some line of b.s. about how Bush’s lies weren’t lies? Feel free. Give us all once again your partisan diatribes that excuse what they did.

            Let me guess, his gun walking program, which lost track of most of the guns, was totally fine and no one had to pay for that. It was under a Republican after all. I’m fine with the hammer falling on people who screw up, but we’re a bit behind on that. There’s plenty of people whose misdeeds and lies have cost us far more in blood and treasure than what some of Obama’s people have done, but those true conservatives don’t have to pay. That’s just for the Democrats.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t care about party, you’re being silly.
            Bush worked closely with the Mexican government, had RFID chips and aerial and video surveillance to track them. There were about 300 weapons and when the bad guys thwarted the tracking device Bush ended the program. It was years later and well into Obama’s term that “Fast and Furious” was born. Not before.

            Obama didn’t even tell Mexican authorities much less work with them. There were no tacking devices and no attempt to track the weapons. These are not small differences. There were over 2000 such weapons, about 1400 of which were lost and 700 or so recovered at crime scenes. No one died under Wide Receiver but 2 Americans and countless Mexicans were killed as a result of Fast and Furious.

            But all you see is ideology. And I will say again that your constant excusing of bad behavior by citing other bad behavior is shallow and holds no water. And when the bad behavior is alleged it’s disgusting. The programs had nothing to do with each other, were not alike at all and you have been brainwashed into believing so. Where’d you get the marching orders? Media Matters? BTW, did they ever apologize to Rush of making up quotes he never uttered?

          • Ray in VT

            “Worked closely with the Mexican government” isn’t a position supported by the IG’s report. As seems to be so often the case, either your memory or your sources have once again failed you as you attempt to carry water for the Bush Administration. Tracking chips were not used except for on a very small number of the guns, and nearly all of the 474 guns were lost. You claim that no one died. Interesting. I suppose that you know that the Wide Receiver guns that were recovered at the scenes of gun battles in Mexico, as well as the several hundred that have never turned up, didn’t kill anyone. How, may I ask, do you know that?
            I am not excusing anyone’s misdeeds. I am merely saying that it is disgustingly hypocritical to judge one case differently than another, as you so often do as you attempt to spin the current administration in as bad of a light as possible, while ignoring the misdeeds and lies of an administration that you prefer. I guess, though, that seeing as how hypocrisy doesn’t bother you, then you are not bothered by being such a tremendous hypocrite.
            No one needs to brainwash me. I can think for myself, which seems to be a quality that is severely lacking in dittohead nation. All he has to do is claim that the “polar vortex” has just been made up and his ant-intellectual sycophants will foam at the mouth to run down them darned lib’ruls and their decades old meteorological term that they just made up.
            I try not to misquote people, which is something that you don’t seem to have a problem doing historically. Please tell me when I have misquoted your favorite pill popping gas bag.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, Bush worked with the Mexican Government, they knew all about it. Obama did not even tell them. Obama made no attempt whatsoever to track the guns. Defend away, it’s sad. And don’t talk to me about hypocrisy.

            And you just hate Rush with a passion don’t you? Now he’s popping pills, fine. I didn’t accuse you of misquoting him. I asked if Media Matters (the ones who tell you what to think about Rush) had apologized for making up quotes he never uttered. Having said that I’m sure you probably have misquoted him on occasion. Maybe about Chelsea.

          • Ray in VT

            I do wonder why the agent in charge pushed to not work with the Mexican officials. Perhaps he had concerns about corruption or infiltration by the cartels. Nah, that can’t be it. I’m sure that he got his marching orders straight from Obama.

            Again, where am I defending? I am merely pointing out your rank hypocrisy, which smells so strongly that it is somehow managing to seep right through the Internet, which I didn’t even think was possible, but it is just a series of tubes, so….

            I merely despise the sort of overblown bluster, half truths and outright lies that El Rushbo shovels into the empty heads of his dittoheads. It’s just the bottom rung of the intellectual ladder, and I have no respect for such things.

            Please tell me where Media Matters has made up stuff about old Rusty. They generally have the audio. Maybe they have an impersonator to do his voice. You seem to have a problem with a source that merely points out the very outrageous and disingenuous things that people whom you “love” utter. Why is that? Is it difficult to have such ideology countered by facts? I believe that what I said about him and Chelsea is accurate. I just don’t buy that it was an accident, based upon some of this other rhetoric, such as regarding Sandra Fluke.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are defending “Fast and Furious” by comparing it to “Wide Receiver”. They were not the same. What part of “no attempt at all to track the guns” do you find so hard to get? Maybe you think it’s a phony scandal. Don’t talk to me about hypocrisy.

            Rush is a harmless lovable fuzzball of high intellect. And no, you didn’t quote him correctly regarding Chelsea, you just parroted the infamous Molly Ivins narrative. But who cares? Not me.

            Media Matters is a hack site specializing in manipulation. When Rush was reported to be buying the St. Louis Rams they attributed racist quotes to him that he never uttered. They made them up. I don’t think they apologized.

            Regarding Fluke, if you know anything about Rush then you know the Fluke was a fluke and out of character. I’m sure you think he rants all day with that kind of rhetoric. MM told you so but it’s the opposite. But Rush is a radio guy, he has no power, he gets no tax break, he doesn’t use your money. Do you object when an Obama sanctioned group calls women the same thing to get Obamacare enrollees? Probably not?

            http://newsbusters.org/sites/default/files/2013/gotinsurance600jpg.jpg

          • Ray in VT

            I am defending nothing. I am merely pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of screaming to high heaven when the Obama administration does something yet being mute when Bush administration did something very similar. Haters of Obama can’t even take a real scandal when one arises. They, for some reason, feel the need to push a bunch of phony angles that work up those who seem prone to believing in the sorts of conspiratorial nonsense that so often gets peddled. Fast and the Furious, Benghazi and the IRS are all fine examples of such a phenomenon.

            Media Matters merely publicizes the worst trash from the right. They wouldn’t have anything to complain about if dips like Rush weren’t so full of b.s. It’s funny that you refer to Media Matters as a “hack site” while linking to a site that attempts to do much the same thing but just on the right. Media Matters, though, has the distinction of not having a long history of pushing a discriminatory agenda, as Mr. Bozell has done regarding the LGBT community.

            Rush is a tool, pandering to fools and dimwits. I don’t have a problem with witty or coy attempts to get people to get and use contraceptives. People are going to do it, you know. Such ads aren’t going to make people do it more, and they might just prevent some STD transmissions or unintended pregnancies. It’s not like it’s says that “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, thus pay for you to
            have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is: We
            want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” Yet another gem from the font of all knowledge who talked up a terrorist group when Obama provided resources for governments to go after it. More honest debate from your idol, I guess.

          • HonestDebate1

            It wasn’t similar. that’s the point. And who said I was silent? Bush is gone. So you are saying F&F is a phony scandal. And “Wide Receiver”? Treasonous no doubt. Your defending, yes defending, is astonishing. It’s all Bush’s fault. That’s logical. No hypocrisy there.

            Brent Bozell is doing the Lord’s work. God bless him.

            Media Matters made up the Rush quotes and didn’t apologize. and that’s fine with you.

            The ad was making the exact same point Limbaugh was trying to illustrate. Exactly. No problem. And I’m the hypocrite. Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            It was similar. That is the point. If you were all over Bush, then please tell me when, as you have previously taken every opportunity to excuse or deny the lies and various misdeeds that his administration perpetrated, while hammering Obama for situations which were much less severe in my estimation.

            Again, I am not defending anything, so please don’t tell me what I am doing. Your inability to grasp an argument is truly often astonishing.

            The lord’s work indeed. Some might call it partisan hackery if one is being equal in assessments, and I don’t see any benefit or anything worth lauding in the sort of anti-gay campaign that such people have waged for years.

            What quotes have been made up? Please provide examples. If they have done so, then that would be worthy of condemnation. I don’t see much in the way of similarity between El Rushbo’s disgusting comments and that ad, but, then again, I don’t see the validity in other comparisons that you have promoted, defended or repeated.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, Bush didn’t end the program. It was shut down by the ATF’s agent in charge out in Phoenix.

    • Sy2502

      Because he knows it won’t take him anywhere. America has 85 firearms for every 100 families. Colorado taught a lesson too.

  • OnPointComments

    What did Paul Krugman think about the minimum wage in 1998? As a column in The Huffington Post noted, “Krugman the pundit [as he is now] writes from a fantasyland that should embarrass Krugman the economist [as he was in 1998].

    Paul Krugman’s Review: “Moral Economics: What the Campaign for a living wage is all about”
    http://thefederalist.com/2013/12/05/case-study-wonk-gap-progressive-regresses/

    “So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment… the centrist view is probably that minimum wages “do,” in fact, reduce employment, but that the effects are small and swamped by other forces.

    “What is remarkable, however, is how this rather iffy result has been seized upon by some liberals as a rationale for making large minimum wage increases a core component of the liberal agenda–for arguing that living wages “can play an important role in reversing the 25-year decline in wages experienced by most working people in America”…Clearly these advocates very much want to believe that the price of labor–unlike that of gasoline, or Manhattan apartments–can be set based on considerations of justice, not supply and demand, without unpleasant side effects.

    “What a shift from income supports to living wage legislation does is move the costs of income redistribution off-budget.”

    • hennorama

      OPC — shouldn’t anyone who supported Mr. Romney, the ultimate public changer of mind, applaud Mr. Krugman, assuming they believe Mr. Krugman has changed his mind?

      And one must note that Mr. Krugman’s quote in your post discussed “large minimum wages increases,” and “living wages.” President Obama has not proposed a so-called “living wage.”

      • OnPointComments

        Has Mr. Krugman stated that he was wrong and changed his mind?

        The president has proposed an increase in the minimum wage of over 39%.

        • HonestDebate1

          Krugman is a useful idiot for the establishment left.

        • hennorama

          OPC — why are you asking ME about something YOU posted? You clearly read the article, as you truncated the part of it that you quoted.

          Thank you for pointing out the percentage increase proposed. One notes your complete lack of response as to the “living wage” aspect, a term that was mentioned twice in your post.

          It’s also obvious that you read the article, as the final sentence in your original post does not actually appear in the linked article, and is found only via web search, since the link referring to the quote in the subject article from your original post returns the following:

          “Error 404-Page NOT Found”

          The final sentence can be found here, in context:

          http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/02/14/krugman_minimum_wage_1998_column_took_a_skeptical_look_at_minimum_wage_hikes.html

          And this is where the broken link was intended to wind up:

          http://www.pkarchive.org/cranks/LivingWage.html

          • OnPointComments

            Personally, I believe Mr. Krugman gets more liberal with each passing day, and his change of opinion has more to do with the liberal position than one based on economics.

            As you pointed out, Mr. Krugman discussed “large minimum wages increases.” In my opinion, the increase in the minimum wage of over 39% that President Obama has proposed qualifies as “large.”

          • hennorama

            OPC — you do realize that the 1998 quotes from Mr. Krugman were from a review of the book “The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy,” right?

            Still waiting for ANY response to the “living wage” aspect from you.

  • George Potts

    Did the party of Bill Clinton and Carlos Henriquez says that the Republicans have a war against women.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Don’t forget, they lauded Ted Kennedy at their last convention. It isn’t only the waitress sandwiches. You also have the first confirmed kill in the war on women.

  • marygrav

    I suggest that listeners tune into Davos. The billionaires have noticed income disparity. The GOP/T-Party reminds me of Tzar Nicolous, the Russian Tzar who didn’t want to yield to the people for more money or whatever, and then Lenin took over and the rest is the history of Communist Russia.

    Of course we have been in Class Warfare ever since Regan, but the people never fought back. It isn’t Class Warfare until you fight back. This is why the GOP/T-Party can mouth off so much.

    The Occupy Movement was the first strike, but they did not have the history of the Greening of America to run with. But that can be forgiven when we examine the education that the Neoconservatives put in place. 1960s history of activism was null and void, so the young did not understand the power they held in their hands. But a teacher will come to fill the void.

    Obama realizes as one caller said, cannot get anything through Congress. Of the three branches of government, the Presidency is the weakest. This is part of the Balance of Powers so that a Dictator would not rule the Republic. But the President must work for all the people, not just for the Right-wing or the Liberals. He is sworn to uphold the Constitution.

    If it were not for the fact that President Barack Obama is black, the coalition of the GOP–Tea Party would have broken down long ago. They are united around the task of getting that n***er out of office. And this is their mantra. As the saying goes, “Blacks don’t look right in charge.”

    This may be insight or prejudice on my side, but Capitalism was on its last leg in the 21st century and an educated many by the sheer force of his personality, like FDR, saved it.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Your accusation of racism without a shred of evidence is disgusting.

      Did you see John Boehner sitting behind President Obama last night? Did you notice anything that bothered you?

      • marygrav

        The Tea Party does not like Boehner because he understands that politics is about compromise, not obstruction when the whole world economy is going to hell around you.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Why is it so hard to understand that HALF or more of the country think the whole world economy is going to hell around us because of corruption between political elites and bankers along with pandering debt spending by “liberals” who spend more on votes than we can afford. Repubs are really no better, but they at least nominally support fiscal reality.

          Libertarian Populism is the future.

          • Caroline

            Can Libertarian Populism build and repair roads, bridges, water plants, electrical grids?

          • semperparatus1

            Sure it can. All those things that you listed were done by private industry. In those instances The government is just a glorified bag man that launders the money.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Sure. People would love to have those jobs. Companies would love to bid for them, and if there is a truly good reason why competitive bidding for construction and maintenance won’t work, that is what taxes and municipal projects are for.

        • William

          The problem with compromise in Washington is one side has to lose.

    • William

      Class war since Reagan? Reach back to FDR and his class warfare policies.

    • semperparatus1

      Wow how many moons on the planet you are from?

  • jipengipe

    Yes, let’s “give ‘em a raise.” Cut taxes and reward Americans with the money they already work hard to earn.

    • Labropotes

      Can’t. We need their money to give to our friends. Great idea, though.

    • Sy2502

      Funny, just this morning these words came out of my mouth watching Obama in the news: “Isn’t it fun to spend other people’s money to solve other people’s poverty?”

  • marygrav

    Reihan Salam seems to believe that President Obama does not understand White people. Obama for all intents and purposes had to learn to be Black. He was raised in a predominantly White World; most of his friends, even today are White; he went to Harvard; and I believe his first African American girlfriend was Michelle.

    People whose comes into American society from outside never quite get the relationship between blacks and whites, but there is always a tacit relationship which “outsiders” don’t understand: We are bound together by the chains that were American Slavery and that chain can never be broken.

    Obama understands his colleagues, but in most cases they don’t understand themselves. They think that they can allowed the United States to fall to get their jollies at defeating Obama. America is diverse society and as soon as some people realize that Whiteness does not equate to rightness of mind and soul, the better people like Mr. Salam will understand that there really is only ONE AMERICA.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      President Obama understands white people. Yup. He made the racist comment that his grandmother was “a typical white person” .

      • marygrav

        At least he acknowledges her. What is typical in America besides racism? But that is all over the world.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Let’s all pray racism can be eliminated. However, looking for racism where it doesn’t exist is a form of racism.

          From my personal observations we’ve made great progress. I hope you find the same.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree but it seems those who care most about a colorblind society and not judging people by the color of their skin are the biggest targets of those screaming racism. It seems we can no longer have an honest discussion about race and that’s sad. Obama has not helped.

          • John Morse

            When the ultra-liberal Hollywood casts a Black actor as the next James Bond then you can claim that we’ve made progress.

          • John Morse

            When ultra-liberal Hollywood casts a Black actor as the next James Bond then we can say we’ve made progress on the issue of race in America. Don’t hold your breath.

          • StilllHere

            How about when a black actor plays Lincoln? That seems like a good benchmark.

          • HonestDebate1

            Maybe a black Santa.

          • John Morse

            Nah, that’ll never happen….Lincoln was a Republican

        • Sy2502

          Yes America is so racist that it voted a black president. Twice.

          • brettearle

            It is, indeed, a paradox.

            But there is still a great deal of racism to go around, my Friend.

            Don’t kid yourself.

          • HonestDebate1

            But that’s a non-sequitur. There is racism everywhere,on both sides of the aisle and in every ethnic group.

            Obama is a horrible President with no accomplishments that have improved anything. It has nothing to do with race.

          • brettearle

            “Oh, a hit, a very Palpable Hit!…

            Knave, thou has slain me!”

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m not interested in such.

          • brettearle

            That’s telling me..

          • Sy2502

            Of course there’s still racism in America, who’s denying that? But to say the only thing that Americans have in common is racism, as the poster did, is right down ridiculous.

      • hennorama

        WftC — again with the out-of-context quote, this time from Presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama, in March 2008?

        Here’s the full quote, in context:

        “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity — she doesn’t — but that she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know there’s a reaction that’s been bred in our experiences that don’t go away, and that sometimes come out in the wrong way. That’s just the nature of race in our society — we have to break through it, and what makes me optimistic is to see each generation feeling a little bit LESS like that.”

        Yeah, that was a “racist comment.” Sure, sure.

        You can listen for yourself here:

        http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4s45v_obama-typical-white-person_news

        • pete18

          Just substitute “typical black person” for “typical white person” and consider how
          that would be taken if said by a white, conservative politician.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — TYFYR.

            Your point is well-taken, in a sense.

            However, if your hypothetical “white, conservative politician” had been born to a black mother and a white father, and raised in large part by his black maternal grandparents, and his maternal grandparents had grown up in Kansas during the height of the Jim Crow “separate but equal” era, your hypothetical “white, conservative politician” might say something similar.

            Of course, if that was the background of your hypothetical “white, conservative politician,” this politician would be a “black conservative politician.”

            Further context of then-Senator Obama’s remarks:

            He had recently given a thoughtful and honest speech about race in America, in which he rejected Reverend Wright’s controversial statements, and in which had said the following about his grandparents:

            “I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas.”

            AND

            “I can no more disown him [Reverend Wright] than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”

            In case you’ve forgotten this speech, you can read it here:

            http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/03/18/text-of-obamas-speech-a-more-perfect-union/

          • HonestDebate1

            “He had recently given a thoughtful and honest speech about race in America, in which he rejected Reverend Wright’s controversial statements…”

            If that is truly your view then you are beyond hope. Your skepticism, and lack thereof, is completely one-sided.

          • brettearle

            HD….Let’s get this out of the way, once and for all.

            Despite your own one-sidedness, Hennorama is likely to be among the most–if not the most, ideologically and cognitively–flexible of anyone who contributes on this Thread.

            [With the exception of myself, of course.]

            And make no mistake:

            Even though my shameless self-referencing, of an attaboy selfie, is in brackets–and it is for satirical purposes–let the record show, that even if it WERE NOT in brackets, it does not detract, whatsoever, from my definitive statement, above the brackets.

            “So it shall be written so it shall be done.”.

          • HonestDebate1

            I could not disagree with you more.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — thanks for the mention, and “10-Q fur yore sue pert,” despite it being far too kind, ya rebel treat ya.

          • brettearle

            But you know something, Henn….as much as I dig the President personally

            ….[more than any other President that I can remember, since I've been on the planet; [or, perhaps, since I've taken a leave of absence from my real home in the solar system] and as overjoyed at his election and reelection [despite all his administrative flaws] that I’ve been….

            I’ve always been troubled by the years of his devotion to Wright’s congregation–before he ran for office.

            Listening to those rants, got to me….

          • hennorama

            brettearle — TYFYR.

            Your position is completely understandable.

            In some ways, the circumstances are like an extreme example of the uncle you see regularly, who then gets tipsy each Thanksgiving and goes off on a rant.

            In the speech, the President said the following:

            “I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.”

            AND

            “Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

            But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.”

            In other words, a complicated relationship.

            Thanks again for your comments.

            See again:
            http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/03/18/text-of-obamas-speech-a-more-perfect-union/

          • HonestDebate1

            There is nothing complicated about it. Obama sat there for twenty years. Twenty years. Even Oprah ran way from Wright.

          • brettearle

            The Speech is compelling for the purposes of an explanation.

            Nevertheless, it is AFTER the fact.

            If I were the President, even if it were before I was a state Senator and had decided–even back then, one day–to run for President, I might `recuse’ myself from such sermons for political reasons.

            But suppose that occurred to the President and he did not leave the congregation even if that occurred to him?

            Did it mean he didn’t care?

            Or, more likely, did it mean he was willing to `take the hit’ because he saw so many other qualities in Wright’s approach to Christianity?

            My own greater Take is that the President, unconsciously and semi-consciously (while not, mind you putting his `Bill Ayers’ hat on), sided with a certain part of the anti-American mentality, sometimes espoused by the Reverend [while at the same time, feeling resonant with the Reverend's approach to God].

            And he is now NOT fully owning up to it.

            Remember, now:

            We are still talking about own personal favorite President in our lifetime.

            And by the way….

            I think that Obama’s Presidency, being somewhat out of control, is not simply because of his administrative flaws.

            But rather it somehow seems that the Greater Spectrum of events–in this country and throughout the world, during his time in office–have somehow become more and more complex.

            And that it seems, more and more that the powers of the Presidency fall further and further short of a critical sphere of Influence.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — thank you for your thoughtful response.

            You might be right about some underlying anger on the President’s part, which might explain his long-term relationship with Rev. Wright. There are of course multiple other explanations, including that being a long-term member of the congregation confers various social and political advantages, as well as the very human advantages of familiarity and simple comfort. (“Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came…”, etc.)

            This would be true whether or not the young Barack (and/or Michelle) Obama had political aspirations.

            And clearly any relationship has its own dynamics. Remember, Rev. Wright also gained advantages from having the Obamas as members of his flock.

            We all likely have at least one person in our lives that have said or done things that we feel are outrageous and with whom we vehemently disagree on occasion, but on balance they contribute positively to our lives. So we accept them as they are, and live and let live. That’s how I view the Obama/Wright relationship.

            And then, the dynamics changed, and they split. Such is life.

            We are also in an era where every action we take, and every relationship we have ever had, can be put under a microspope. This is especially troublesome for political candidates, and is a major reason we get a low number of really good people willing to have their lives put under this scrutiny, and whose past can past some reasonable muster.

            I’ll leave the topic of the complexity of the Presidency for another time.

            Thanks again for your thoughtful remarks.

          • brettearle

            Definitely, all good points. And I see them…

            It’s likely a mixture of motivations that, I think, still included Obama’s understandable ambivalence about American culture.

            About this `microscope business’ of opposition research in politics–because, partially, of the power and damage, `conferred’ by the 24/7 media cycle in post-modern America…..

            Have you noticed what works in tandem with this?

            Something very obvious and powerful:

            That more and more men and women, running for office, are increasingly photogenic, more than ever.

            The JFK syndrome IS out of control.

            Had the Camelot look never been naturally bestowed upon Jack and Jackie, their legacy would never, ever
            have enjoyed anywhere near the same cache…..assassination or no.

            Such is the superficiality of human nature.

            Thanks for taking the time to respond.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — my reply is “awaiting moderation” due to some slightly colorful language.

            While you wait, please know that I enjoyed your comments, and backatcha.

        • HonestDebate1

          What the hell is a typical white person? What the hell is a typical black person? It’s sick.

    • OnPointComments

      All right, who turned on marygrav’s sound so she could hear the program? Her frequent comments of “WHERE IS THE SOUND?” are her most intelligent postings.

      • marygrav

        THANK YOU! I just live in America and fully understand the mental limits of my fellow Americans.

  • jefe68

    Also, how is it any of her business what their finical status is?

    • anamaria23

      It is none of her business what anyone’s financial status is, let alone, as a professional, seemingly holding their status against them.
      Even criminals in hospital care are regarded as patients, nothing more or less.

      • Cari

        You all miss the point. I work hard for what I have. I do not have certain material things because I cannot afford them, or I realize that in buying them, I sacrifice financial security. Same with how I PLAN on children. I don’t expect that someone should help me. I PLAN. I do not feel entitled. All I’m saying is that there should be a discussion in this country regarding the overwhelming entitlement issues.
        For those of you that responded defensively, maybe you feel guilt or fear that this is directed towards you? I don’t know. I don’t know you personally…but if the shoe fits….

        • Cari

          Oh, and I don’t hold people’s status against them. I became a nurse to help people. But the people I’m referring to are the ones that bring all 3 of their children in for the sniffles and fever, don’t bother to medicate their children at home…and stand there asking for samples of medicine while they hold their iPhone and their 4$ frappucino, telling me they have no money. And they’re all on medical, but have nicer clothes than my family.
          It’s ridiculous. Maybe that clarifies what we deal with. And it’s only getting worse.

          • anamaria23

            You need to find another job. This one seems to be eating you up. You sound very bitter. ER nurses are generally well paid.

          • anamaria23

            You said that “consistently deal with”, Where do the heart attack and trauma victims go?

          • Cari

            Please leave this discussion unless you have something to contribute to a healthy debate. You seem angry.

          • anamaria23

            You opened up a very sensitive issue. As an RN myself, it is disappointing to see one use patients to make a political point on social media. Gives the profession a bad name. Comparing a patient’s clothes to your families and eyeing their 4.00 drinks and handbags! How many people really come into the ER with 3 children with sniffles begging for medication while donning a designer handbag and 4.00 drink?

            If you are seeing rampant fraud, as you suggest, there are avenues to pursue .
            Go to your administration for direction if you haven’t already.

          • Cari

            I should not respond, but I can’t help myself. “Gives the profession a bad name”. Seriously?
            Since you say you’re a nurse, let me use a medical example: if I’m watching a CPR in progress and someone is doing the compressions incorrectly–to where it could prevent the patient from having a good outcome–do I say something or so I keep my mouth shut because it might offend? I am the person that chooses to say something.
            That said, this country needs CPR. So if my viewpoint on what I see happens to effect sensitivities and provide awareness, so be it. It’s not me giving nursing a bad name, it’s people taking advantage of our country.
            Stop with your snarky comments.

          • jefe68

            I hate to say this, but I think being an ER nurse may not be a good job for you.
            I don’t know if you’re a good nurse or not.
            I know a few and some move into different areas due to not being able to cope with the ER. If you’re an RN one would think you could find something less stressful.

          • Cari

            You guys are missing the point entirely.
            I love my job. What I don’t love is the people who continue to drain this country. Our country needs a strict parent so people learn what is morally and ethically the way to work, behave, manage money, etc.
            if you don’t care to hear my opinion, so be it. I think it’s sad to be closed minded to the issues preventing us from becoming stronger people, a stronger country. We are spiraling down. Quickly.

          • HonestDebate1

            We have a boarder here at the horse farm in NC who is an ER doctor. So is her husband. He works here and she actually works in Florida and commutes weekly. They both tell me exactly the same thing as you do.

          • anamaria23

            So. it is the well off, able to afford designer clothing and food, who are scamming the system with undeserved medical care cards. It does not seem to be the truly poor. Medicare fraud by health care providers costs the taxpayer hundreds of millions per year.
            There are numerous hot lines to report fraud.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not so much fraud as it is exploitation of the system. I don’t think it’s illegal by any stretch.

          • HonestDebate1

            I think you are missing the point, it’s not the well off. The poor can buy $4 coffee and designer handbags if taxpayers buy their food and health care.

          • anamaria23

            Most of the truly needy people I know would not be caught dead with a 4.00 cappuccino and they eagerly await the 1/2 price sale days at the Salvation Army outlet
            Seems that you are acquainted with a different breed of poor.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am truly happy that don’t know the riff raff.

          • anamaria23

            I don’ t regard anyone as riff raff. It is always much more complicated than that.

          • HonestDebate1

            There are bad unscrupulous people in the world but you are charming. Stay that way.

          • anamaria23

            Namaste!

          • jefe68

            I’m not closed minded. What I see here is you passing judgment on people who have smart phones and for some reason you don’t think they should because they might be on some form of subsidized health care plan. You then go on about your morals, and how you think the country is going to hell in hand basket because of small segment of people in need you happen to come into contact with. It reads as a right wing screed that one would hear on the Bill O’Reilly show.

          • HonestDebate1

            I know what you mean about O’Reilly. When he isn’t calling Republicans idiots for not getting on board with a minimum wage hike and accusing his guest of spreading propaganda for opposing it, or Juan Williams isn’t screaming about the war on women, The Factor is all about imposing morals.

            I can tell you watch often. You have him pegged.

          • hennorama

            Cari — you wrote “they’re all on medical…”

            If you meant “Medi-Cal” rather than “medical,” that means two things:

            1. You’re in CA, and a quick search on salary.com found median salaries of a “Staff Nurse – RN – Emergency Room,” to be about $70.5K in SanDiego, $72.0K in Los Angeles, and $80.5K in San Francisco, which are not too bad as salaries go.

            2. You had better be prepared for a LOT more people “on medical,” as California has significantly expanded eligibility for this program.

          • HonestDebate1
        • jefe68

          No you miss the point.
          It’s not your job to judge the people coming into the ER. Also how do you know they are receiving benefits?

          • Cari

            I miss the point? Ummm, it was my point to make. I know what’s going on with my patients because I speak with them.
            I think when the decisions other people make potentially affect the country/system as a whole, I can have my opinion.
            As to the person that referenced my status. Stop being silly. I’m am RN with a BSN, practicing for over 15yrs.
            I’m still waiting for a conversation on entitlement. All I hear is very defensive remarks being made…

  • davecm

    Go to Walmart and see how many products are made in USA, almost none. I can remember when Obama took office, he stated they.he and Dems, were now in the driver’s seat and the Repubs. were to sit in the back and in a sense, shutup!

  • gslouch

    The president’s speech last night was concise and to the point. In one way it was almost a little embarrassing, because as often he reaches out to others we all know that the obstructionist party(repubs) are again going to block any significant, serious legislation that is presented to congress to help the American people. How the republicans have the nerve to verbalize phrases like”America is going in the wrong direction,” is beyond me. This is the party that held government employees hostage by shutting down the government. This is the party that is hesitating to extend unemployment benefits. This is the party that fails to tell us about the people with existing health problems that can only get health care coverage because of the ACA. You might disagree , but facts don’t lie

  • John Morse

    Obama delivered a concession speech last evening. He conceded that he lacks the leadership qualities required to get his agenda passed. His leftist ideology has finally been exposed and his only legislative “accomplishment” was achieved by deceit. As a conservative I fully support the extension of unemployment benefits…not for three months but for the next four years. The fact that such an extension is needed is a further indictment of Obama’s complete ineptitude on all matters economic. As for the $ 10 an hour minimum raise I’m all for that as well. It would make the minimum wage current with inflation since the last increase. The Republicans should have gotten out front on that issue.

  • John Morse

    Obama gave a concession speech last evening. He conceded that he lacks the leadership qualities that are required for a president to get his agenda passed. His far left ideology has been fully exposed, his only legislative “accomplishment” was achieved by deceit. As a conservative I fully support the extension of unemployment benefits. The very fact that they are needed by millions of Americans is a final indictment of Obama’s utter ineptitude on all things economic. I also support the increase in the minimum wage to 10.00/hr. It brings it to where it should be adjusted for inflation since the last increase. The Republicans should have gotten out in front on this issue.

    • tbphkm33

      Ah, another Nopublican stooge of the corporate/super rich espousing the Party line propaganda. Ignoring the reality that Nopublican’s have committed TREASON against the American people for 5 years now. Like spoiled children, refusing to complete their sworn responsibility of governance. Instead becoming the party of NO, crying over the reality that a progressive President was elected… who happens to be of mixed race.

      • pete18

        And the those treasonous activities would be….?

        • John Morse

          Refusal to rubber stamp the socialist agenda of course.

          • pete18

            Bring out the guillotines!

          • semperparatus1

            It may come to that someday my friend. Robespierre may be lurking in the shadows awaiting his (or her) moment.

      • John Morse

        Funny, race was never mentioned in my post. Of course when a leftist is incapable of honest fact-based debate the fall back position is an ad hominem attack with a little race baiting sprinkled in for good measure.

  • Vic Volpe
  • Caroline

    If they did the work, you don’t think private industry would pad the cost. They do now.

    • semperparatus1

      Pad the cost? You mean like Muchelle’s buddies at CGI did on the obamacare contract?

      • hennorama

        semperparatus1 — one hopes your writing “Muchelle’s” was an unintentional typo.

        As to the remainder of your post, there’s no evidence that First Lady Michelle Obama’s connection to an executive at CGI had anything whatsoever to do with the contract awarded to CGI.

        • semperparatus1

          No typo I wrote just what I intended. No bid contract, senior VP at CGI Toni Townes-Whitley Princeton classmate of Muchelle, and obama campaign contributor. Given the contract despite a documented record of failing to meet deadlines on numerous previous contracts….nothing to see here folks, move along.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — thank you for your response.

            Please spell out two things:

            1. Why you used the term “Muchelle” when referring to First Lady Michelle Obama.

            2. Any evidence that First Lady Michelle Obama’s connection to an executive at CGI had anything whatsoever to do with the contract awarded to CGI.

          • semperparatus1

            1. Should probably be modified to Moochelle. As in a lifelong mooch on the taxpayer. I’d love to she a list of her accomplishments while holding the position of VP of “Community Relations” to the tune of $ 316,962. I guess the $ 121,910 starting salary just wasn’t enough to scrape by on. Lucky for her she got it bumped to the
            $ 316,962 when her hubby got elected to the Senate. It was such a vital job the position was eliminated when she moved on to D.C.
            2. Don’t think CGI obamacare contract was an inside job? I won’t further your delusional thinking with the truth about the tooth fairy.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — thank you for your revealing response.

            1. You might want to get your facts in order prior to posting, as First Lady Michelle Obama worked in the private sector during the early part of her career.

            2. Translation: you cannot provide any evidence and must deflect rather than respond directly.

            You might also want to read your own words as to “shaming yourself” and “ad hominem attack.”

          • semperparatus1

            Keep drinking that kool aid sister.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — more evidence-free and deflecting words. Again, thank you for your revealing response.

          • semperparatus1

            Present evidence that refute the facts that I have presented. Or would you only believe it if you read it in the NY Times?

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — thank you again for your response.

            1. Your “lifelong mooch” nonsense has already been refuted. Mrs. Obama’s bio is available from many sources, which you apparently have not checked.

            2. You have presented absolutlely nothing to refute as to any connection between First Lady Michelle Obama and her college classmate, and the contract awarded to CGI. In addition, you have presented nothing at all to support your initial claim that the First Lady’s “buddies at CGI” padded “the obamacare contract.”

            I’ll politely ignore your silly “NT Times” question, as it is obviously rhetorical.

            Now that your deflection has been dealt with, I look forward to the evidence supporting your claims.

          • semperparatus1

            1) CGI was paid more than 1 billion. Tech experts from all sides concur it was a $10 million project at most. That’s about $999,990 in pad for you to ponder.
            2) The facts as previously stated in regard to her position and salary prior to and after BHO’s election to the Senate are public record.
            3) Your petulant need for evidence of a connection between the wife of the POTUS and CGI reveals naïveté beyond reason. You could be presented with photos and recordings of the numerous meetings at the White House but you would still remain a zealot. I suppose you believe that there is no cronyism in D.C.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — thank you again for your response.

            1. Making more claims is not evidence. “Padding” (per m-w.com) in this context means “to expand or increase especially with needless, misleading, or fraudulent matter.” There’s a difference between incompetent and poor performance and “needless, misleading, or fraudulent” dealings.

            As your claims are mere innuendo absent evidence, please provide evidence for your claims that:

            A. “CGI was paid more than 1 billion,” related to what you have described as “the obamacare contract.”

            B. the First Lady has “buddies (plural) at CGI”

            C. the First Lady’s “buddies at CGI” padded “the obamacare contract.”

            2. You are now refuting your own prior claim about Michelle Obama being “a lifelong mooch on the taxpayer,” as you have further narrowed the timeframe.

            You also seem to be ignorant of the fact that the University of Chicago is a private school, and that the University of Chicago Medical Center, which is operated by the private Univ. of Chicago, is also a private, non-profit entity.

            3. Again, you might want to read your own words about “ad hominem attack.” One notes (again) that you have presented absolutely no evidence WHATSOEVER that First Lady Michelle Obama’s connection to an executive at CGI had anything at all to do with the contract awarded to CGI.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • semperparatus1

            The University of Chicago Medical Center, while a private institution, received a $1,000,000 earmark after BHO joined the Senate. Just a fortuitous coincidence I guess.

            Washington Post, hardly a right wing organ, conservatively estimates CGI’s take at $650,000,000. But hey what’s a $350,000,000 difference among cronies?

            That said you provide no evidence to refute the initial charges of cronyism relative to Mrs. BHO’s UCMC employment. It does seem to expose a curiously elevated level of sensitivity from you. An exposed nerve in that area perhaps

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 – thank you for the favor of your reply.

            Let’s review your claims, innuendos, and insinuations, and the validity and evidence, or lack thereof:

            - the First Lady’s “buddies at CGI” padded “the obamacare contract.” (Zero evidence offered.)
            - the First Lady is ”a lifelong mooch on the taxpayer.” (Absolutely false, confirmed by your own words.)
            - the “CGI obamacare contract was an inside job.” (Again, zero evidence offered.)
            - “CGI was paid more than 1 billion” for “the obamacare contract.” (Absolutely false, again confirmed by your own words.)
            - “experts from all sides concur it was a $10 million project at most.” (Zero evidence offered. Again.)

            Now you claim that you made “initial charges of cronyism relative to Mrs. BHO’s UCMC employment.”

            Despite no such direct claim, regarding this, some facts, per biography.com:

            [[Michelle [Obama] joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as associate dean of student services, developing the university’s first community-service program.

            She then worked for the University of Chicago Hospitals beginning in 2002, as executive director of community relations and external affairs.

            In May 2005, she was appointed vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she continued to work part-time until shortly before her husband’s inauguration as president.]]

            This means Michelle Obama had been working for the University of Chicago in some capacity for nearly ten years, and for eight years prior to her spouse’s election to the U.S. Senate, when she was appointed VP for community and external affairs. Not exactly a surprise that she would get the job, based on her prior experience.

            See:
            http://www.biography.com/people/michelle-obama-307592?page=2

            And from a September 27, 2006 chicagotribune.com article, which was more contemporaneous:

            [[Hospitals spokesman John Easton said [Michell] Obama’s salary was in line with the compensation received by the not-for-profit medical center’s 16 other vice presidents.

            A tax return for the hospitals covering the 12 months ended June 30, 2005, shows most of the organization’s vice presidents earning between $291,000 and $362,000.]]

            AND

            [[Michael Riordan, who was University of Chicago Hospitals president at the time, said he had planned early on for the position to evolve into a vice president's post as a way of showing the organization's commitment to community outreach.

            "I knew where I wanted to go with this position," said Riordan, who now is the top executive of the Greenville Hospital System in South Carolina. "I wanted to identify someone to grow into it."

            Riordan said Obama's promotion had nothing to do with her husband becoming a U.S. senator.

            "She was hired before Barack was Barack," Riordan said. "She is worth her weight in gold, and she is just terrific."]]

            See:
            http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-09-27/news/0609270216_1_greenville-hospital-system-university-of-chicago-hospitals-michelle-obama

            And per politifact.com, on May 17, 2009:

            [[Michelle Obama had been promoted in 2005 to vice president for community and external affairs after three years as the executive director for community affairs. It’s true, as the e-mail (and National Review column) says, that she received a sizable pay raise that year. She went from earning $121,910 in 2004 as an executive director at the hospital to making $316,962 in 2005 as a vice president, according to tax returns filed by the Obamas for those years. But the suggestion made by the email’s author – and not made by the National Review – that she was being paid more than $300,000 for a "20 hour a week job" is not true.

            University of Chicago Medical Center spokesman John Easton said Mrs. Obama didn’t reduce her work schedule from full time to part time until 2007 when it became clear that her husband would run for president. "As she reduced her hours, beginning early in 2007, her salary decreased proportionately," Easton told us in an e-mail. "She switched to half time shortly before her husband formally announced his campaign, then to 20% later that year and to 0% in 2008."

            In fact, Mrs. Obama’s income in 2006, a year after her promotion, had decreased to $273,618. And for 2007 (the year she actually started working part-time), her income was $103,633, according to the couple’s tax return for that year. She took an "unpaid leave of absence to work on her husband’s presidential campaign" in 2008, but still received $62,709 from the hospital. However, Easton noted that her final reported salary "consists of accumulated but unused vacation time plus the final payout from a supplemental executive retirement plan."

            Easton said the nearly $317,000 figure is "misleading" anyway because it includes more than just her salary. He said the figure "also includes a performance bonus, a one-time signing bonus (she had other, competing offers at the time), and a one-time mandatory payout from a terminated retirement plan." This is reflected in the fact that her 2006 earnings were less than in 2005.]]

            See:
            http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/michelle-obamas-salary/

            And here’s a suntimes.com article from March 13, 2008 that contains all of Senator Obama’s earmark requests since he entered the Senate in 2005, including the “$1 Million For Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago.”:

            http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/03/sweet_scoop_obama_after_initia.html

            Thanks again for your response. Perhaps next time you make claims, you will have some facts and evidence to support them, rather than mere innuendo and insinuation.

          • semperparatus1

            Evidence? The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Times? Liberal mouth organs. U of Chicago spokesperson ? No self interest there now is there. I stand by my assertions. Case closed. Have a lovely day.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 – thank you for replying.

            It matters not one iota whether or not you “stand by [your] assertions,” because they are nothing but innuendo. You failed to present evidence to back them up, and/or have shown by your own words that they are false.

            Very well done.

            In addition, your words provide significant evidence of hypocrisy, as you decry ad hominen attacks when you believe they are directed at you, then employ them freely in your responses. Not to mention your self-righteous words directed to another forum member decrying something you felt was false: “You shame yourself with these false dichotomies …”

            Thank you again for your self-revelatory comments.

          • semperparatus1

            It matters not one iota what you assert as you provide zero credible support for your claims. You choose to dwell in an echo chamber for your beliefs. I’ll leave you with one final ad hominem attack…you sound like a lawyer.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — TY for your response.

            No claims were made by me; I simply refuted the claims and innuendo you put forth, and you refuted your own words as well.

            Again, perhaps next time you make claims you will have some facts and evidence to support them, rather than mere innuendo and insinuation.

          • semperparatus1

            Your refutation exposes you for the ruling class lackey that you are. ‘Nuff said.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — please allow me to again point to your own words:

            “… when a leftist is incapable of honest fact-based debate the fall back position is an ad hominem attack…”

            Thank you for your, once again, revealing response.

          • semperparatus1

            “…when a leftist is incapable of honest fact-based debate the fall back position is an ad nominee attack…” Thank you for reiterating that fact. Also an effective tool when one engages someone from the left who is incapable of rational thought.

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — is your term “ad nominee attack” intended as an example of what you consider to be rational thought?

            If so, thank you again for your revealing response.

          • semperparatus1

            Curse that wretched iPad auto correcting function!

          • hennorama

            semperparatus1 — I see. Rather than it being an example of rational thought, it was an example of robotic inattention.

            Thank you again for your revealing response.

          • semperparatus1

            Precisely. Exactly as one would accurately describe the behavior of the main stream media in addressing the ineptitude and corruption of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvaia Avenue. “Robotic inattention” I rather like that. Well spoken counselor.

          • HonestDebate1

            Next thing you’ll be calling her Muchell MuBelle, the former veep Algore, the former governor of NY Coomo and voting for Hillary in Operation Chaos.

            I can’t imagine why but I like it.

  • Caroline

    One in four bridges in the U.S. today are either structurally deficient, meaning that their condition has deteriorated to the point that they require annual safety inspections to remain open, or functionally obsolete, which means that they were built to such a low standard that they would be illegal to build today.
    “Almost half of America’s public school buildings were built to educate the baby boomers – a generation that is now retiring from the workforce,” the report found. Meanwhile, annual spending on school construction fell to $10 billion in 2012, down 50 percent from pre-recession levels.
    Congestion alone on U.S. highways costs the economy $101 billion in fuel and lost productivity every year. This Quote is from the Fiscal Times.
    The Anti-Government, Anti Regulation folks are satisfied with these stats? is this healthy?

    • semperparatus1

      You shame yourself with these false dichotomies and shallow straw man arguments. If one is opposed to crony based, wasteful and corrupt government beaureacracy then they are anti-government Neanderthals? Please. The ruling class in D.C. thrives as long as they have us divided and pitted against one another. I maintain the hope that a true leader with a voice of reason and honest unity will emerge someday. But, to be truly candid, I find it increasingly difficult to sustain that hope.

      • Caroline

        Cronyism exists on both sides of this isle. Those people working K Street in DC are no different than the those who prowl the local lobbies of City Halls all over the Nation. Influence peddling is a serious problem. I find it curious that same people that vie for Government contracts complain about the costs of those projects that are passed on to the taxpayer.

      • Steve__T

        I recognize you as a Costy by your handle. I was on WHGC 67 Minnitonka.
        As for your statement. Agreed.

        • semperparatus1

          Politics ain’t beanbag Steve.

          • Steve__T

            No it’s not beanbag, It should be something that unites people to a common good, instead, as it stands now, It divides.

            “The ruling class in D.C. thrives as long as they have us divided and pitted against one another.”
            Your words.

          • semperparatus1

            And my words ring true. I speak against all those that speak in defense of the ruling class, irrespective of party affiliation.

  • HonestDebate1

    2012′s GDP was a paltry 2.8%. 2013 clocked in, after the big speech, at 1.9%.

    There is no recovery. This is awful.

    • Salvor Hardin

      I believe that the President has pretty much zero control over the GDP. The only control the President or Congress does have over GDP is on government spending. And that control is primarily in the hands of Congress since they are the ones tasked with creating the spending bills that the President has only to sign. And decreases in government spending as sought by Congress in 2013 with the sequestration and the government shutdown had a significant negative impact on GDP last year.

      Here is a nice chart showing GDP growth or decline by year:

      http://useconomy.about.com/od/grossdomesticproduct/a/US-GDP-Growth.htm

      I certainly didn’t complain when GDP growth was subpar during some of Bush years. And if you look at the chart the GDP growth during the Bush years never achieved the level that it had under Bill Clinton’s presidency.

      Now I personally didn’t think that Clinton had a thing to do with that growth but since you feel that the President can just make the figures go up and down with his policies then Bill Clinton must be your ideal for a president.

      • HonestDebate1

        GDP is a reflection of the economy and the President does have a large influence on the economy. Clinton certainly deserves some credit, maybe not for the tech bubble, but for working with Congress to solve problems. He listened in 1994 and proclaimed “The era of big government is over”. He vetoed welfare reform over and over but in the end they got it done and 6 million people went from collecting a check from the taxpayers to paying taxes. That’s a huge factor in GDP. Huge. He rejected 5 or so budgets but they kept after it and balanced it. Also huge.

        GWB didn’t have much control over the recession he inherited after the tech bubble burst and then the finical center of the universe got annihilated on 9/11 but his policies turned it around and record revenues came in that have yet to be matched. the unemployment rate dropped for over 50 straight months.

        He or Obama had little to do with the banking crisis but it should have been a blip. Look at your link. By 2010 GDP was 2.5% signaling we got over the hump but 2011 was 1.8%. That wasn’t the banking crisis it was horrible fiscal policy. Obamacare is a huge hit on the economy. 92 million people out of work is a huge hit. The failed “stimulus” added nothing but debt. there are 9 million fewer available jobs and this that are left are largely part time. The Labor Force Participation Rate is at a 40 year low. Energy cost are sky high as are fuel prices which affect everything. It doesn’t have to be like this and Obama’s policies are squarely to blame.

        We must have a GDP of 7 to 9% sustained for years to have any hope at all and even then its sketchy. This is awful.

        • jimino

          Man, one would have to be a simpleton to not understand what the GDP growth during the ENTIRE Bush administration was based upon and how the bursting of that foundation would definitely not result in a “blip”. With that said, I agree our country’s economic policy during Obama’s terms has been a failure for it’s focus on the deficit and not on jobs, but the Republicans have done nothing but try to force him to be even more wrong-headed.

          • HonestDebate1

            Well I am a simpleton but it’s not complicated. Are you saying Bush was responsible for the banking crisis? Surely not because that would be the simplistic view. Maybe I missed your point.

            But what about the 2.5% GDP in 2010? I am not smart enough to know exactly how TARP worked and it was implemented horribly under terrible circumstances. I get that, but I do think it got us through the crisis and got us on the mend by 2010. I am not alone in that view. I understand the theory that it would have been better to let it crash and burn then start from scratch but I think the pain would have been too great. But again, I’m not that smart.

            But why the back slide in 2011? Or 2013 after a slight rebound? No, I disagree, the banking crisis should have been behind us by now and in fact it is. This is on Obama’s policies.

          • Salvor Hardin

            The housing and credit bubbles in 2008 and 2009 were major events. Housing can’t and shouldn’t get as big as it was pre 2008. So a lot of those jobs in construction and real estate are gone and never to return and there is nothing to replace them with. In the last decade offshoring has reduced millions of jobs that were previously in the U.S.

            So there are systemic problems in the U.S. economy that I haven’t seen an answer to from either party.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree.

          • semperparatus1

            Oh there is an answer my friends. An ugly and violent one I’m afraid, but given the direction in which we are headed it may be the only one that we will be left with. Sorry to say.

  • hourly_PA

    The last two callers got it right.
    What’s good for the majority is out the window.
    Washington is focused on the interests of the wealthy elite.
    And most of the pundits paraded on corporate owned channels
    side with and speak well of this interest.

  • HonestDebate1

    Here is the view from Chicago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7mYg6Gt15o

  • semperparatus1

    E.M. I support the increase in the minimum wage. It has not been adjusted for inflation in years. I do not see it as a burden on business as any well run business more than likely already pays its productive employees above the current minimum. Make no mistake that it will increase the cost of work that is mandated to be at union labor rates as many collective bargaining agreements have a built in escalator clause that is tied to the minimum wage rate. I also concur with your statement that ” Ametican tax dollars are not a corporate slush fund.” However neither should business profits be a government slush fund.

  • Patrick James

    I had a comment marked as spam earlier so I won’t include any links here, but I would like to open the dialogue here about the fact that the number of members in our house of representatives was arbitrarily fixed at 435. The founders of our country had originally intended for a ration of 30,000 citizens to 1 representative. Currently there are about 689,000 citizens for every one representative. One can see how it may be more difficult to reach out to someone with decision making power with this ratio. Alternatively, how can one representative maintain nearly 700,000 relationships? In my opinion this is the elephant in the room with regard to the state of the union. I think our voices are being drowned out by those(lobbyists, business, etc.) with more access to members of congress. Congress passed a bill in 1929 to make this change so this is a relatively new change to our government system. At the risk of sounding fringy(is that a word?) I’ll point out that 1929 was a time of extreme weakness for the American public. I’ll stop here, but please just think about it.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

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Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
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This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

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