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Archive for July, 2012

What’s Hiding in Romney’s Taxes?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

What’s Hiding in Romney’s Taxes?
Joan Walsh, Salon
Ed Gillespie got the most attention for telling CNN's Candy Crowley that Mitt Romney "retired retroactively" from Bain Capital in 2002, seeming to acknowledge that he remained as CEO after February 1999, which the Romney campaign denies. But the Sunday-show drumbeat for Romney to release more than two years of tax returns may be equally damaging "” especially because it was led by Republicans.George Will made a point that Democrats have made before him, but his conservative credibility and capacity for pronouncements from on high gave it special…

ACA Helps Some, Hurts Taxpayers & Businesses
Frank Newport, Gallup
PRINCETON, NJ — A majority of Americans say the U.S. healthcare law that the Supreme Court recently upheld as constitutional will make things better for those who do not have health insurance and for those who get sick. At the same time, Americans say the law will make things worse rather than better for taxpayers, businesses, doctors, and those who currently have health insurance. Americans are about evenly divided on the impact of the law on hospitals and on themselves personally.Americans' views of the implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), measured in…

Does Mitt Romney Have a Palin Problem?
Peter Boyer, Newsweek
Mitt still hasn't invited Sarah to the GOP's nomination assembly in Tampa, and the Tea Party is livid. Peter J. Boyer on how the snub could sabotage Romney's tenuous ties to the grassroots”"and why Palin is keeping the week open, just in case.On the day that Mitt Romney formally announced his run for the presidency last year, he found himself competing with a stiff New Hampshire wind, which stood his hair on end and played havoc with his microphones. What blew in later was even more distracting: the red, white, and blue bus bearing Sarah Palin on her “One…

The Millennials are the U.S.’s Generation Screwed
Joel Kotkin, Newsweek
Today's youth, both here and abroad, have been screwed by their parents' fiscal profligacy and economic mismanagement. Neil Howe, a leading generational theorist, cites the "greed, shortsightedness, and blind partisanship" of the boomers, of whom he is one, for having "brought the global economy to its knees."How has this generation been screwed? Let's count the ways, starting with the economy. No generation has suffered more from the Great Recession than the young. Median net worth of people under 35, according to the U.S. Census, fell 37…

Obama Has Nothing to Apologize For

The Education of Groupon’s CEO

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

The Education of Groupon’s CEO
Etter & MacMillan, BusinessWeek

Why This Is the Worst Congress Ever
Ezra Klein, Washington Post

Obama’s Spending on Attack Ads Soars
David Espo, Associated Press
Login | Register | Subscriber ServicesSearch by david espo “? Associated Press stltoday.com | Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2012 12:00 am | (Loading”?) comments. WASHINGTON “? President Barack Obama's campaign has spent nearly $100 million on television commercials in selected battleground states, unleashing a sustained early barrage designed to create lasting, negative…

Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?
Ross Douthat, New York Times
IN 1998, John Shelby Spong, then the reliably controversial Episcopal bishop of Newark, published a book entitled “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” Spong was a uniquely radical figure — during his career, he dismissed almost every element of traditional Christian faith as so much superstition — but most recent leaders of the Episcopal Church have shared his premise. Thus their church has spent the last several decades changing and then changing some more, from a sedate pillar of the WASP establishment into one of the most self-consciously…

The Plan: Axelrod on How Obama Will Win
Beth Reinhard, Nat’l Journal
David Axelrod is the senior strategist for President Obama’s reelection bid, and his mustachioed mug is probably the most familiar face of the campaign. After helping Obama win in 2008, Axelrod was a senior adviser in the White House. In a recent phone interview from campaign headquarters in Chicago, he defended the president’s record and addressed Mitt Romney’s emerging cash advantage. Edited excerpts follow. 

Obama Campaign’s New Depths of Hypocrisy and Mendacity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 14th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Obama Campaign’s New Depths of Hypocrisy and Mendacity

There’s No Time for Grown-Ups
Wesley Pruden, Washington Times
Campaign politics is all about pandering. You can’t expect a candidate to show up to talk anything but drivel when his survival is on the line.But not always. Mitt Romney showed up this week in Houston to speak to the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Some people thought he was brave; others that he was merely foolish and wasting his time. 

Young Obama Voters Stick It to Themselves
Rich Lowry, New York Post
Give the Obama Youth credit for this: At least they didn't vote their self-interest.The cadres of college students and recent graduates who swooned and fainted for Barack Obama four years ago will long be remembered for one of the most ill-considered fliers in the annals of self-defeating enthusiasms. In the cold light of day, the youthful idealists, believers and activists of 2008 look like the lamentable saps, patsies and suckers of 2012.

Texas’ Poll Tax in Disguise
Ackerman & Nou, Los Angeles Times
In 1964, the American people enacted the 24th Amendment, to prevent the exclusion of the poor from the ballot box. In his speech last week at the NAACP convention, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. wasn't indulging in election-year rhetoric when he condemned Texas' 2011 voter photo identification law as a poll tax that could do just that. He was speaking the hard legal truth.The Justice Department would be right to challenge this new law as an unconstitutional poll tax. The department has temporarily blocked the Texas law under special provisions of the Voting Rights Act that…

Medicaid Expansion a Tough Sell to Governors

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Medicaid Expansion a Tough Sell to Governors
Aizenman & Tumulty, WP
While the resistance of Republican governors has dominated the debate over the health-care law following last month's Supreme Court decision to uphold it, a number of Democratic governors are also quietly voicing concerns about a key provision to expand coverage.At least seven Democratic governors have been noncommittal about their willingness to go along with expanding their states' Medicaid programs, the chief means by which the law would extend coverage to millions of Americans with incomes below or near the poverty line.

Fossil-Fuel Democrats: An Endangered Species
Joel Kotkin, Daily Beast
In an election pivoting on jobs, energy could be the issue that comes back to haunt Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as the cultural and ideological schism between energy-producing Republican states and energy-dependent Democratic ones widens.As the economy has sputtered since 2008, conventional energy has emerged as one of the few robust sources of high-paying work, adding roughly half a million jobs since 2007 as new technologies and changing market conditions have opened up a vast new supply of exploitable domestic reserves. This is good news for Mitt Romney: nine of the ten states…

Obama and the Politics of Desperation
Michael Walsh, National Review
The Obama campaign’s desperate “felony” charge against Mitt Romney ought to serve as a wake-up call for the Romney campaign and for the American public regarding the utter amorality of the president and his functionaries. Although the jejune Boston Globe story was quickly debunked, that of course won’t stop them from pounding home the Big Lie that Romney continued to run Bain in 1999 while he was saving the Winter Olympics as long as it’s useful and “fits the narrative.” Here’s why:The larger issue is the…

Scott Walker: Hope Among America’s Political Class

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Scott Walker: Hope Among America’s Political Class
Roger Kimball, PJM
By Roger KimballBioA week or two ago, I wrote a brief column about some signs of hope among America's political class — a perverse undertaking, you might think, given the tawdry, preening, grasping character of most American politicians of both parties today. But there are, thank God, some exceptions.In that earlier column I mentioned in particular Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and the Indiana senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock. Today I'd like to mention one other: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.Thanks to his spectacular victory in Wisconsin's preposterous…

Storm Coming for American Patients and Doctors
Marc Siegel, NRO
There may be a debate over whether Obamacare's individual mandate is a penalty or a tax, but there is no debate among doctors and their patients about the fact that Obamacare will be bad for America's health.The climate in my medical office is changing; my patients sense that a storm is coming. They are worried, and there is little I can do to reassure them. They are used to my office manager getting approvals for the CT scans, mammograms, PSAs, and MRIs I order, and they realize that many of these tests will no longer be covered by insurance once Obamacare's committees…

GOP to the Uninsured: Drop Dead
Matt Miller, Washington Post
The House is voting (again) to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday. Meanwhile, six Republican governors (so far) say they won’t go along with the law’s planned Medicaid expansion for 4 million uninsured people in their states, even though the feds would pick up nearly all the tab.See the pattern here?The Republican message to uninsured Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling couldn’t be clearer: You’re on your own.

California Demon: Our Version of Greece
John Fund, American Spectator
A state fast becoming America's version of Greece.THE LATEST UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS show the economic recovery stalling. But as weak as the national economy is, it's nothing compared to the condition of some states whose policies are guaranteed to scare away jobs and investment.Call it the European Disease: Run up spending and debt, raise taxes in the name of balancing the budget, and then watch as jobs flee, deficits rise, and credit ratings fall. 

Romney’s Summer Reading Assignments
Ross Douthat, New York Times
Last week, on the assumption that neither he nor Mitt Romney has anything better to do between now and the conventions, I offered a summer reading assignment to President Obama. Now it’s the Republican nominee’s turn to get his recommended reading.Let’s start with a book about foreign policy, traditionally an area of Republican strength but not — barring unexpected events — this time around. The Republican Party’s reputation for competence is still damaged by the Iraq era, Osama Bin Laden is leagues deep in the Indian Ocean and…

The President Is in Denial

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 10th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

The President Is in Denial
Michael Gerson, Washington Post
WASHINGTON — One would think, given so much practice, that the Obama White House would have been better prepared for last week's wretched jobs report.Instead, we witnessed the five stages of bad public relations. Delusion: It was a “step in the right direction.” Dismissiveness: Don't “read too much into any one monthly report.” Grudging acceptance: “It's still tough out there.” ClichĂ©: “There are no quick fixes.” Self-pity: “I suspect that most people in Cincinnati would acknowledge that I've tried real hard.”

Could Presidential Election End in a Tie?
Erin McPike, RealClearPolitics
Early this spring, as the new electoral map began to take shape, an intriguing scenario began circulating in political circles: the very real possibility that the 2012 presidential election could result in an Electoral College tie.The most likely combination that would produce such a result requires Mitt Romney to carry all the states John McCain won in 2008, which after the redistricting process account for 180 electoral votes. Add to Romney's column Indiana (11), Virginia (13), North Carolina (15), Florida (29), Ohio (18), and New Hampshire (4). That would yield 270 electoral votes for…

Despite Bain Attacks, Obama Still Struggling
Josh Kraushaar, Natl Jrnl
Two things have become clear in the presidential race over the past month. One, it'sevident that President Obama's campaign team believes, with good justification,that attacking Romney's record at Bain Capital to portray him as a wealthy,out-of-touch millionaire is their most effective line of attack. Second, it'sbecoming clear that the attacks are doing more to buy the Obama campaign timethan seriously change the trajectory of the race.For all the attention paid to the effectiveness of PresidentObama's Bain-themed attacks, it's remarkable how Obama has been…

High-Speed Rail: Unsafe at Any Speed
Debra Saunders, SF Chronicle
Democratic California state Sen. Joe Simitian probably is best-known as the author of California's bill to ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. After Friday's vote, Simitian may be best-known as the Democrat who warned his colleagues not to issue $4.6 billion in bonds for big-ticket high-speed rail.”Any of us who talk to our folks know that they're asking the same questions,” Simitian reasoned. “They're saying, 'Really? You made these cuts. We're threatened with more. And you want to build a high-speed train?'”The state…

Mitt Romney’s Flat-Footed Tax Dodge
Daniel Stone, The Daily Beast
It's been almost two weeks of nonstop attacks on Mitt Romney's personal wealth. And not just that he's wealthy, but specifically where he keeps his money. The Obama campaign has hammered Romney for accounts in Bermuda, Switzerland, and the Cayman Islands"”all of which, Team Obama alleges, allow Romney to take advantage of tax loopholes only accessible to the super-rich.A Vanity Fair investigation last week detailed the suspected reach of Romney's offshore money and the presumed reasons to move it out of U.S. banks. Now, after trying to change the subject…

Democrats & the Tax Cliff

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Democrats & the Tax Cliff

Obama Poised for Fight With GOP Over Taxes
Mark Landler, NY Times
WASHINGTON — With a torpid job market and a fragile economy threatening his re-election chances, President Obama is changing the subject to tax fairness, calling for a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for people making less than $250,000.Mr. Obama plans to make his announcement in the Rose Garden on Monday, senior administration officials said. The ceremony comes as Congress returns from its Independence Day recess, and as both parties and their presidential candidates head into the rest of the summer trying to seize the upper hand in a campaign that has been closely…

The Economic Blunder of the Sixties
Robert Samuelson, Newsweek
WASHINGTON — Wondering why government can't restart the sluggish economy? Well, one reason is that we are still paying the price for the greatest blunder in domestic policy since World War II. This occurred a half-century ago and helps explain today's policy paralysis. The story — largely unrecognized — is worth understanding.Until the 1960s, Americans generally believed in low inflation and balanced budgets. President John Kennedy shared the consensus but was persuaded to change his mind. His economic advisers argued that, through deficit spending and modest increases in…

Another Reminder That Banks Are Busted
Nicole Gelinas, City Journal
The West’s financial industry remains broken, and Western politicians continue to flail about in their halfhearted attempts to pretend that they’re confronting the problem. This week’s titan-turned-villain is Bob Diamond, until Tuesday the head of Britain’s Barclays Bank. The American-born Diamond ran the investment arm of the bank half a decade ago, when it consistently manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate, better known as Libor—the interest rate that big banks report having to pay to borrow funds from global markets. If Libor is…

Sliming Romney Won’t Reelect Obama
Jonathan Tobin, Commentary
A USA Today/Gallup poll of 12 swing states doesn't tell us much we didn't already know about the presidential race. It's very tight, with President Obama holding a slim 47-45 percentage point lead over Mitt Romney in the 12 states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) that are likely to decide the election. However, the significant figure Democrats will be crowing about is not that two-point edge that is well within the poll's four-point margin of error.Rather, it is the fact that…

Mitt Romney’s Financial Gray Areas

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2012 11:09 pm by HL

Mitt Romney’s Financial Gray Areas
Paul Krugman, New York Times
Once upon a time a rich man named Romney ran for president. He could claim, with considerable justice, that his wealth was well-earned, that he had in fact done a lot to create good jobs for American workers. Nonetheless, the public understandably wanted to know both how he had grown so rich and what he had done with his wealth; he obliged by releasing extensive information about his financial history.But that was 44 years ago. And the contrast between George Romney and his son Mitt "” a contrast both in their business careers and in their willingness to come clean about…

Obama Has Little to Say in the Rust Belt
Michael Barone, DC Examiner
“A step in the right direction.” That's what Barack Obama said in Poland, Ohio, about Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment report, which showed only 80,000 net new jobs and unemployment remaining at 8.2 percent.The thought will occur to many, not all of them Obama detractors, that this was at best a baby step. It's not enough to keep up with population growth, much less to restore the low unemployment rates of most of the 1990s and 2000s.Another thought will occur to professional amateur political strategists: Why did the president's campaign schedule…

Republicans Are Failing Us on Economy
Betsey Stevenson, New Republic
Most reporting on today's employment report will lead with the fact that the economy added 80,000 jobs in June. But that number combines two distinct sectors of the economy"”jobs added in the private sector and jobs lost in government. Employment growth in the private sector reflects how businesses feel about the economy. And while the rate of growth is moderate, it is steady and broad-based, with most industries adding jobs.By contrast, the public sector continues to shed jobs. This is the direct result of deliberate policy decisions to get rid of teachers,…

The Drone Zone

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 7th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

The Drone Zone
Mark Mazzetti, New York Times Magazine
Holloman Air Force Base, at the eastern edge of New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range, 200 miles south of Albuquerque, was once famous for the daredevil maneuvers of those who trained there. In 1954, Col. John Paul Stapp rode a rocket-propelled sled across the desert, reaching 632 miles per hour, in an attempt to figure out the maximum speed at which jet pilots could safely eject. He slammed on the brakes and was thrust forward with such force that he had to be hauled away on a stretcher, his eyes bleeding from burst capillaries. Six years later, Capt. Joseph Kittinger Jr., testing…

Obama Bus Tour Hits Unemployment Pothole
Alexis Simendinger, RCP
PITTSBURGH — Mitt Romney may be President Obama's political challenger, but the president's real nemesis is time.His chances of winning a second term teeter on economic progress, and June's 8.2 percent unemployment rate, reported Friday, offered no glimmer of surging growth before November. Romney called the news a “kick in the gut,” but Obama declared the addition of 80,000 jobs last month "a step in the right direction."Unemployment that doesn't go up in the next four months, in other words, will be cast by the president and his team as…

Libor’s Dirty Laundry
Joe Nocera, New York Times
Here in the early stages of the Libor scandal — and, yes, this thing is far from over — there are two big surprises.The first is that the bankers, traders, executives and others involved would so openly and, in some cases, gleefully collude to manipulate this key interest rate for their own benefit. With all the seedy bank behavior that has been exposed since the financial crisis, it’s stunning that there’s still dirty laundry left to be aired. We’ve had predatory subprime lending, fraudulent ratings, excessive risk-taking…

American Conservatism’s Apogee
Sean Trende, Law & Liberty
Happy HypocriteLanded a Plum role.A continuing storyDistilling Social ScienceKafkaesque200 years later. Still MysteriousTroubled geniusSays forget you.

Disability Rolls Outpace New Jobs in Obama Recovery

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Disability Rolls Outpace New Jobs in Obama Recovery
John Merline, IBD
More workers joined the federal government's disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation's jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.The economy created just 80,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But that same month, 85,000 workers left the workforce entirely to enroll in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, according to the Social Security Administration.

Bad News, Job Seekers: Recovery Will Stay Slow
Catherine Hollander, NJ
Bad news, job seekers–the economic recovery is probably occurring even more slowly than you thought. The Labor Department will release its latest jobs report on Friday. Economists expect the unemployment rate to remain at 8.2 percent, the same as the previous month but nearly 2 percentage points lower than the recession-era peak reached in October 2009.That’s a frustratingly slow decline, especially if you’re out of work. But when you compare it to the rate at which three other important indicators of labor-market health are improving–job openings, hires, and…

The Man Who Could Swing Ohio for Mitt
Joe Hallett, Columbus Dispatch
Rob who?Ask the question — “Does the name Rob Portman ring a bell?” — on Main Street in this Ottawa County hamlet and that answer will register on most voters’ faces.It was posed randomly to 15 on a sizzling day this month; only five said they had ever heard of Portman. And only two of those five knew definitively that he is a U.S. senator from Ohio who reportedly tops the list of candidates to be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate.