Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Allahpundit’s post about Donald Trump is essentially a report on Mr. Trump’s latest whining after getting hit with negative publicity. According to the headline of AP’s article, Trump’s attorney will sue the Club for Growth if they don’t immediately stop running a negative ad about Mr. Trump’s liberal positions.

According to AP’s post, Alan Garten, Trump’s general counsel, said “Mr. Trump does not support higher taxes. This is the very definition of libel.” Unfortunately for Mssrs. Garten and Trump, Mr. Trump recently said “that he’d lower taxes on the middle class but ‘would let people making hundreds of millions of dollars-a-year pay some tax, because right now they are paying very little tax and I think it’s outrageous.'”

In other words, Mr. Trump is threatening to sue Club for Growth for telling the truth about his position on raising taxes. Good luck peddling that with a jury. That’s if it makes it that far, which isn’t likely.

The threat of litigation is meant to distract attention from what Mr. Trump doesn’t want people to think about. With that in mind, let’s focus on what Mr. Trump doesn’t want us to focus on. I’m betting that they don’t want people focusing on Trump’s support “a one-time tax of 14.25 percent on the superwealthy 15 years ago.” In 2000, the federal government was running a massive surplus. They were on track to eliminate the debt by 2020.

At a time when the economy was humming along, creating jobs, wealth and huge surpluses, why tinker with what’s working? Despite that, that’s precisely what Trump proposed.

Mr. Trump loves portraying himself as a genius who will get America’s economy growing again. Though there’s proof that he knows how to make money for himself, there’s nothing in his past that says he knows what policies will get America’s economy growing again.

UPDATE: Trump’s whining is getting tiresome. Trump’s Twitter obsession with Megyn Kelly is beyond tiresome:

Do you ever notice that lightweight @megynkelly constantly goes after me but when I hit back it is totally sexist. She is highly overrated!

What I’ve noticed is that Megyn hasn’t complained about Trump’s attacks. She’s repeatedly said that she’s a big girl that shrugs attacks off. The same can’t be said of Trump.

He’s the poster child of thin-skinned whiners.

Simply put, Trump tweeted this to draw attention away from his pathetic substance-free replies on national security. That won’t work, Mr. Trump. Why pick a whiny reality TV host when we can pick a real commander-in-chief? That’s right. We shouldn’t.

Greg Sargent’s post highlights how the Democrats will attempt to use Donald Trump’s and Jeb Bush’s words against Republicans during the upcoming budget fight. Republicans should reject the Democrats’ proposal outright. Then they should launch a counteroffensive to hit them at their weakest points. At this point, most readers of LFR are probably laughing, saying that congressional Republicans don’t have the spine for that. I don’t disagree. I said that’s what they should do. I didn’t say that that’s what they would do.

Sen. Schumer is planning on using Mr. Trump’s and Gov. Bush’s statements on taxes against Republicans. According to Sen. Schumer’s office, he’ll say today “There is a developing solution that could help us strike a budget deal. If closing the carried interest loophole, ending subsidies for oil and gas, and tackling inversions are good enough for Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, it ought to be good enough for Republicans in Congress.”

Republicans should attack Democrats for recommending the shrinking of the military to dangerous levels, especially in terms of size of force structure and military readiness in terms of protecting against terrorist attacks and destroying ISIS.

Further, Republicans should make the moral case against funding Planned Parenthood. There’s no justification for funding them when there are other, less objectionable options. If Democrats want to turn this into a front in their contrived ‘war on women’ campaign, Republicans should be prepared to offer a better alternative.

I wish I could say that I’m surprised with President Obama’s Labor Day diatribe but I’d be lying if I said that. If people haven’t noticed by now, 2 of President Obama’s dominant character traits are his love of NBA-style trash-talking and his inability to resist bragging up his pathetic economic policies. Simply put, he’s a legend in his own mind. He’s also a confirmed liar.

Part of the freshest proof that he’s a confirmed liar is when he said “The fact is the verdict is in: Middle-class economics works.” Mr. President, that isn’t a fact. That’s an opinion. Actually, it’s an opinion that’s shared only within the farthest left part of the Democratic Party. Vice President Biden doesn’t  even believe that. Mr. President, if “middle class economics” is working, why did Vice President Biden say that “the U.S. economy” was “devastating for workers”? Mr. President, if “middle-class economics” work, why are the U.S. economic policies you’ve put in place producing the most anemic ‘sustained’ economic growth since the Great Depression?

This part of President Obama’s speech is exceptionally ironic:

“Unfortunately, there are some folks in Washington and some folks who are trying to get to Washington who don’t want to face these facts … in their world, the only way to help the country grow and help the country get ahead is to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.”

“And then you just wait,” he said, “you look up at the sky and prosperity will come raining down on us from whatever high rise is in your city. But that’s not how the economy works. These folks are pretty stubborn. I will give them credit. They don’t let facts or evidence get in the way.”

Mr. President, why do you insist that your opponents “don’t let facts or evidence get in the way” of their economic arguments when it’s you that has ignored anemic GDP statistics and things like the Workforce Participation Rate, which is at its lowest rate in 38 years? If “middle-class economics” works, why are 94,000,000 people who normally would be in the workforce not looking for work?

The truth is that President Obama’s policies are failed policies. It’s time to stop this disaster. It’s time to implement pro-growth economic policies. It’s time to roll back 90% of the Obama administration’s job-killing regulations.

President Obama still hasn’t admitted that you can’t be for a strong middle class and anti-job creators.

Recently, President Obama’s sympathizers have tried making the case that he’s as consequential as Ronald Reagan. If they define consequential as doing historic things that are disastrous, then President Obama has been consequential.

Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. Premiums are sharply higher. Deductibles have exploded. Choices are fewer. Networks are limited. We’re forced into buying policies that cover things that we don’t need. We couldn’t keep our doctors even though we were promised that we could.

Despite that, President Obama insists that he’s protected the middle class:

After having a friendly chat on the tarmac at LaCrosse Regional Airport with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, President Obama made fun of the GOP field jockeying to succeed him and ripped into Walker’s actions as governor.

“You all have enough for an actual Hunger Games,” Obama said about the large Republican presidential field. “That is an interesting bunch,” he quipped before explaining why trickle-down economics doesn’t work.

He said that many of the contenders are proposing ideas that they say would benefit the middle class. “Tammy, Ron, me — we were talking about the middle class before it was cool,” he said referring to Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Ron Kind, whose district encompasses LaCrosse, who were in the audience at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse auditorium. “We were talking about it before the polls” said politicians “should be talking about it,” he added.

Mr. President, talking about the middle class isn’t the same as improving middle class lives. President Reagan created more high-paying union jobs than you’ve created jobs. That’s before talking about how many companies shifted from full-time employees to “29ers.” Mr. President, is it a triumph that companies shifted from full-time jobs to part-time jobs?

That’s what Obamacare did. It also created “49ers.” Let’s review. 29ers are employees whose hours were cut from 40 hours to 29 hours to avoid having to provide health insurance to the. 49ers are companies that’ve chosen to not expand past 49 employees so they don’t have to comply with the employer mandate.

In September, 1983, the US economy created 1,100,000 good-paying full-time jobs. Thanks to President Reagan’s policies, we had 6 straight quarters of economic growth of more than 5%. Internationally, the United States vanquished the Evil Empire, aka the Soviet Union. President Obama resurrected it. Israel knew it could count the United States as a steadfast ally. President Obama couldn’t push Israel to the side quickly enough.

Thanks to President Obama’s policies of non-intervention, the global terrorist network is expanding rapidly. President Reagan’s policies of militarism checked Soviet expansionist policies.

We’ll be cleaning up President Obama’s messes for years. By comparison, President Reagan’s economic policies ushered in a quarter century of unprecedented economic growth.

Gov. Dayton is proudly proclaiming that Minnesota is the best state to do business in. He’s basing that propaganda on CNBC’s latest ranking. After looking at how they arrived at the categories that they ranked states on, it’s easy to see how CNBC arrived at their ridiculous ratings. First, it’s important to know this about the rating system:

For example, if more states tout their low business costs, the “Cost of Doing Business” category carries greater weight. That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.

According to CNBC’s report, workforce is the most important category, followed by cost of doing business and infrastructure, economy, quality of life, technology & innovation, education, business friendliness, cost of living and, finally, access to capital.

Minnesota ranked 13th in workforce, 35th in cost of doing business, 9th in infrastructure, 5th in economy, 3rd in quality of life, 6th in technology and innovation, 2nd in education, 23rd in business friendliness, 32nd in cost of living and 23rd in access to capital.

CNBC’s ratings only tell us what the states think of themselves. They don’t tell us what businesses think of the state. The fact that more businesses are leaving Minnesota than are moving to Minnesota is the best indicator of what businesses think.

That isn’t to say that Minnesota is getting everything wrong. There are some things that we can build off of. It’s just that there’s a handful of important things that we’d better correct if we want to be the best. Lowering the cost of doing business is essential. That’s only possible by streamlining government, especially regulations. Cutting special deals with a couple companies to entice them here, then shafting businesses that are already here, which the Dayton administration has done, needs to change, too.

UPDATE: King Banaian’s article for the Center for the American Experiment highlights similar points. This point is especially noteworthy:

If you’re a state that isn’t particularly business friendly, you don’t talk about that in your marketing materials. You emphasize other things. You puff your materials with discussion of quality of life and how hardworking your workers are and ignore the areas where your policies might make business a little harder to conduct. And CNBC will go right along and take weight off those things, if the rest of the states are doing the same thing.

I can’t emphasize enough the fact that CNBC’s article isn’t a serious economic statement. It’s a statement based off of the states’ PR statements.

Hillary is getting desperate in rebuilding the Obama coalition. There’s no policy too stupid that Hillary won’t support if she thinks it’ll win a handful of votes. Check this out:

Speaking by telephone, Clinton told the more than 1,300 fast food workers gathered at a convention in Detroit that every worker deserves a fair wage and the right to unionize. “I want to be your champion. I want to fight with you every day,” said Clinton, who kicked off her presidential campaign in April saying she wants to be the champion for “everyday Americans.”

The call was another step to the left for Clinton, as she vies for the Democratic nod with progressive candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. She told the assembled crowd that they should continue building the Fight for 15 movement, which is pressing employers to raise workers’ pay.

Bill Clinton, John Kasich and Newt Gingrich put policies in place that created a vibrant economy, something that President Obama hasn’t done. While Wall Street got rich during the Obama administration, Main Street workers got left behind. By pushing for a doubling of the minimum wage, Hillary is signaling that she’ll fight for the same economic principles that’ve led to this stagnant economy.

Paying fast food workers $15/hr. won’t improve the economy. It’ll cause fast food operations to trim the number of employees. Unemployment rates for young people and minorities will go higher.

Clinton’s support for the movement also comes at a time when a growing number of states and cities are raising their minimum wage. Los Angeles is among the latest locales to boost minimum pay to $15 an hour. Just how high a wage hike Clinton supports, however, remains a mystery. The candidate has not provided a figure yet.

Since Hillary explicitly supported the Fight for Fifteen movement, that means Hillary supports a $15/hr. minimum wage. If Hillary wants to explain why she isn’t supporting an increase to $15/hr., let her. That’ll just expose her as a political opportunist to the Fight for Fifteen people. It’ll say that she isn’t one of them like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders are.

Frankly, I’d love seeing people attack Hillary as a parasite feasting off of corporate largess while pretending she’s fighting for “everyday Americans.”

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Sen. Franken’s solution to high home heating prices isn’t a serious proposal:

The Democratic senator’s measure would put in place a coordinated response to growing coal supply emergencies that affect power plants across the country, including in Minnesota. “In Minnesota, we know that our utilities need dependable fuel supplies so they can provide heat to homes and businesses, and prevent rising energy costs for consumers,” Franken said.

The proposed Severe Fuel Supply Emergency Response Act of 2015 would direct the Secretary of Energy to lead the response to coal fuel supply emergencies by:

  1. Promptly investigating the cause of the fuel shortage and informing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Surface Transportation Board.
  2. Convening a meeting with stakeholders involved.
  3. Making written publicly available recommendations for actions that would help alleviate the problems.

If Sen. Franken won’t propose a serious solution that doesn’t create a different crisis, he shouldn’t be a U.S. senator. This isn’t a serious proposal because Sen. Franken is still owned by environmental activists. These environmental activists, along with the Putin administration, don’t want the Sandpiper Pipeline project built. Before progressives start questioning the logic, here’s why the Pipeline is at the heart of the coal shortage problem. Because the Sandpiper Pipeline hasn’t been built, oil from the Bakken is getting shipped via rail to refineries in Superior, WI, and elsewhere. The last I heard there were either 6 or 7 trains dedicated to transporting oil from the Bakken to the refineries in Superior.

That’s led to a railcar shortage that’s affecting the shipping of iron to steel mills in the Rust Belt, the shipping of agricultural products to the Twin Cities in addition to the shipping of home heating products to anywhere in Minnesota.

Sen. Franken knows this. He doesn’t care about creating rail space to transport agricultural products to market or taconite to steel mills. Sen. Franken’s highest priority is to appease the environmental activists. Instead of appeasing theses special interests, he should attempt to represent his constituents. I know that’s a revolutionary concept with Democrats but it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

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I’ll cut straight to the chase. Nan Madden’s op-ed in the St. Cloud Times is disgustingly dishonest. Check this lie out:

Large tax cuts passed at the end of the 1990s and 2000s proved to be unsustainable, and were followed by deep cuts in higher education, affordable child care and other services.

That’s total BS. First, the “large tax cuts passed at the end of the 1990s and 2000s” weren’t unsustainable. What happened is that the US economy took a major, lengthy hit because of 9-11, then the first banking crisis. If not for that major recession, the Jesse Checks would’ve been totally sustainable. Madden’s disgust with tax cuts is based more on misinformation and misguided ideology than by facts.

Her ideology is hard left. First, Madden is the director of the Minnesota Budget Project. MBP is part of an organization called Invest in Minnesota, an organization that “was founded by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition(JRLC) and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN).”

According to IIM’s website, “Invest in Minnesota is united around two core principles:

  1. Revenue-raising must be a significant part of the solution to resolving the state’s budget deficit.
  2. The overall package of fair revenue-raising must make the tax system fairer.

It isn’t difficult to figure out why The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Budget Project hates tax cuts of any kind. Check out MCN’s agenda page:

I’d also argue that the tax cuts were large. Here’s some details on the Jesse Checks program:

“In late summer, I get to stand here and say, the checks are in the mail.”

Ventura pushed for returning surplus money in the form of a sales tax rebate, which some Minnesotans have come to call “Jesse checks.” This year, the average check is $512 for a married couple or head of household, and $232 for a single filer. State officials say all eligible taxpayers should receive their checks by Labor Day. But Ventura cautions that this may be the last year of rebate checks, since the state has cut taxes and the economy has slowed. “We are not bringing in the money that we used to bring in prior to my administration, and in light of that, and the economy, there may not be a fourth,” says Ventura.

Nan Madden is the type of person that thinks the government and the NPOs they support should get first dibs on the money Minnesotans earn. She thinks that because she can’t envision a world where NPOs don’t get first dibs on the taxpayers’ money.

Minnesota Budget Project, like Invest in Minnesota, pushed hard to pass a major minimum wage increase that includes cost of living adjustment. They’re currently pushing for a law that would require companies to pay for sick leave for their employees. It isn’t surprising that businesses have left Minnesota.

For nearly two decades, the Minnesota Budget Project has analyzed state tax and budget choices, and called for policies that propel Minnesota toward a future where all of us have access to opportunity and economic well-being.

That’s similar to the truth but it isn’t complete. Here’s the whole truth about the Minnesota Budget Project. The Minnesota Budget Project supports economic policies that support intrusive, ever-growing government. If that means intruding on businesses’ decisions for ‘the greater good’, they’re fine with that.

They aren’t a pro-growth organization any more than the Obama administration is a pro-growth administration.

If anything is clear, it’s that Hillary Clinton’s policies can be purchased. Russia wants to buy American uranium. Not a problem. Hire Bill to give a speech and I’ll approve the purchase. The Saudis wanted Hillary to ignore their treatment of women. Not a problem. Contribute $25,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation and I’ll develop a blind spot. Hillary thinks that the United States is waging a war on women because taxpayers won’t pay for birth control pills they think are abortifacients. Hillary doesn’t think that the Saudis are waging a war on women even though they treat women like property and allow genital mutilation.

It’s amazing the types of twisted thoughts a deceitful person can pretzel themselves into if they’re desperate to please everyone all the time. Hillary desperately wants to keep the Democratic field all to herself. She desperately wants to keep Elizabeth Warren on the sidelines. To quote Ron Fournier, “If Elizabeth Warren called for full Communism, Clinton would be at the barricades the next day.” Hillary desperately wants to convince people that she’s listening to them. She isn’t:

Hillary has been a presidential candidate for weeks. (Some might think it’s years.) She still hasn’t said how she’d grow the economy for the middle class. All she’s said is that she wants to be “a champion for everyday people.”

It’s impossible to be “a champion for everyday people” when you’re putting your policies up for sale to the highest bidder. It’s impossible to be that champion if your family’s foundation is constantly accepting multimillion dollar contributions from multinational corporations, international businessmen and foreign countries with terrible human rights records. Champions for everyday people should fight for small businesses and reduced regulations. Hillary the Champion of Everyday People has fought her entire political career for overregulation of small businesses and higher taxes on entrepreneurs.

She’s done that because she’s a wholly owned subsidiary of major multinational corporations. When they contribute to the Clinton Foundation, she dances to their tune. BTW, shouldn’t Elizabeth Warren, who’s always talking about how the game is rigged against everyday people, be upset about Hillary’s betrayal of everyday people? Shouldn’t Hillary’s sellout be enough provocation to get Sen. Warren into the race? Isn’t it possible that she isn’t interested because Sen. Warren isn’t worried about the game being rigged?

You can’t be for everyday people when your highest priority is pandering to multinational corporations and foreign countries with terrible human rights records. That’s what bought-and-paid-for corporatists do.

The question before the American people is whether they’ll settle for the political equivalent of a used car salesman or whether they’ll demand a fresh face with new ideas.

It isn’t surprising that AFSCME is singing Gov. Dayton’s praises. It’s as surprising as finding out that the Clinton Foundation isn’t a charity.

Facing a deep natural recession and a $6 billion budget deficit, Minnesotans voted in progressive Gov. Mark Dayton, who ran on a tax-the-rich platform that included investment in people and infrastructure.

Dayton pushed a sharp increase on taxes for the top 2 percent to pay for his plan. And soon he and legislators passed laws that expanded unionization, froze college tuition, increased the minimum wage, required equal pay for women, legalized same-sex marriage, eased voter restrictions, boosted primary education spending and established all-day kindergarten.

AFSCME is right. Minnesota’s economy took right off after they legalized same-sex marriage and required equal pay for women. It’s established fact that entrepreneurs insisted that they wouldn’t hire another worker until government implemented those policies.

Legalizing same-sex marriage and requiring equal pay for women had as much to do with Minnesota’s economic growth as raising taxes on small businesses.

In Minnesota, Dayton turned that $6 billion budget deficit into a more than $2 billion surplus in just one term. Minnesota added 172,000 jobs and its 3.6 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.

Let’s compare that with this information:

Since February 2011, Wisconsin’s employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly.

But how does it compare with national employment growth? One important measure is the percentage of the employable population that is actually employed, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the employment-population ratio. The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge. Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

First, creating 172,000 jobs vs. creating 135,000 jobs is good news for the additional 37,000 people. Still, that isn’t a huge difference. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s LFPR is impressive:

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

The national LFPR is currently 62.7%. If that was the same as it was when President Obama was inaugurated, the national unemployment rate would be over 9%.

Wisconsin’s economy is creating jobs while cutting deeply into Wisconsin’s long-term unemployment rate. Minnesota should be that lucky.