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Posts Tagged ‘New York Post’

In a recent post comparing Reaganomics and Obamanomics, I explained why I think Barack Obama’s policies have been hurting the economy.

In today’s New York Post, I do a full-scale indictment. Here are my bullet points.

* The unemployment rate is still above 8 percent, even though the White House promised it would drop to about 6 percent today if the stimulus was enacted.

* Several million fewer Americans have jobs today than five years ago.

* The poverty rate has jumped to more than 15 percent, with a record number of Americans living below the poverty level of income.

* According to the most recent data, median household income is lower than when the recession began.

* The burden of government spending remains high, and record levels of red ink are a symptom of that bloat in Washington.

* The threat of higher taxes is omnipresent, serving as a Sword of Damocles over the economy’s neck.

* Continued weakness in the housing and financial sectors reminds people that bailouts and intervention have left lots of problems unsolved.

I also explain that some of  the recent good news is in spite of the President’s statist policies.

* The recovery began just as Obama’s stimulus spending ended, thus confirming suspicions that lots of money was wasted as part of a process that hindered the economy’s growth.

* The job numbers only began to improve at the end of 2010, right as Republicans took control of the House and presumably ended Obama’s ability to further shift the nation’s course.

The final point is one deserving of elaboration. People in the private sector necessarily have to make educated guesses about the future economic environment. With this in mind, I think it’s quite reasonable – as I commented last month – to argue that the GOP takeover on Capitol Hill boosted the economy since entrepreneurs could feel more comfortable that the federal government wasn’t going to be imposing additional burdens.

This indictment of Obama’s dismal economic track record does not suggest, I should hasten to add, that Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum would be any better. Both of them seem closer to Bush than Reagan, so it’s not clear they would make any substantive changes in the burden of the federal government.

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I have a piece in this morning’s New York Post, and I did not try to be polite. Commenting on the end-of-year orgy on Capitol Hill, I slam corrupt deal making that leads to ever-bigger government. Here’s part of what I say about the “omnibus” spending bill.

The weeks since Election Day have provided nauseating confirmation of Mark Twain’s observation: “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Exhibit A is the “omnibus” spending bill Harry Reid is trying to push through the Senate. This monstrosity contains about 6,500 earmarks — special provisions inserted on behalf of lobbyists to benefit special interests. The lobbyists get big fees, the interest groups get handouts and the politicians get rewarded with contributions from both. It’s a win-win-win for everyone — except the taxpayers who finance this carousel of corruption. …earmarks and pork-barrel spending are the gateway drug that turns good legislators into big spenders.

And here’s some of my commentary on the tax deal.

Regardless of what you think of its core elements, it’s also packed with provisions — known as “extenders” — that reek of corruption and special-interest deal making. Extenders are the tax version of pork-barrel spending: special tax breaks put in the law by powerful politicians in exchange for campaign cash and other support. …There are strong policy arguments against these kinds of special tax breaks, especially since we could use the revenue to finance lower tax rates — but most people are even more upset by the dead-of-night process used to put these goodies into the tax bill. The behavior on Capitol Hill reminds me of the movie classic, “Animal House”: After their fraternity has been placed on “double-secret probation,” John Belushi and the rest of guys at the Delta House decide to go out in a blaze of glory with a toga party. Likewise, the politicians on Capitol Hill just got placed on the equivalent of probation by a Tea Party uprising. Yet rather than mend their crooked ways, they’re throwing a massive party with our money.

But after further thought, I feel compelled to apologize to the guys at Animal House. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, at least they were partying with their own money.

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