Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Trump Sides with the Kremlin, Against the U.S. Government.

(If that isn’t sitting in the lap of Treason, I don’t know what is.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?"

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I frequently use Andrew Sullivan's "The Daily Dish" as a resource, and often link to articles by him.

This week he has the lead story in Newsweek about President Obama, and here are some of the highlights to that piece:

"The right’s core case is that Obama has governed as a radical leftist attempting a “fundamental transformation” of the American way of life. Mitt Romney accuses the president of making the recession worse, of wanting to turn America into a European welfare state, of not believing in opportunity or free enterprise, of having no understanding of the real economy, and of apologizing for America and appeasing our enemies. According to Romney, Obama is a mortal threat to “the soul” of America and an empty suit who couldn’t run a business, let alone a country.

Leave aside the internal incoherence—how could such an incompetent be a threat to anyone? None of this is even faintly connected to reality—and the record proves it. On the economy, the facts are these. When Obama took office, the United States was losing around 750,000 jobs a month. The last quarter of 2008 saw an annualized drop in growth approaching 9 percent. This was the most serious downturn since the 1930s, there was a real chance of a systemic collapse of the entire global financial system, and unemployment and debt—lagging indicators—were about to soar even further. No fair person can blame Obama for the wreckage of the next 12 months, as the financial crisis cut a swath through employment. Economies take time to shift course.

But Obama did several things at once: he continued the bank bailout begun by George W. Bush, he initiated a bailout of the auto industry, and he worked to pass a huge stimulus package of $787 billion.

All these decisions deserve scrutiny. And in retrospect, they were far more successful than anyone has yet fully given Obama the credit for. The job collapse bottomed out at the beginning of 2010, as the stimulus took effect. Since then, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs. That’s not enough, but it’s far better than what Romney would have you believe, and more than the net jobs created under the entire Bush administration. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created, while a net 280,000 government jobs were lost. Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.) To listen to current Republican rhetoric about Obama’s big-government socialist ways, you would imagine that the reverse was true. It isn’t.

The right claims the stimulus failed because it didn’t bring unemployment down to 8 percent in its first year, as predicted by Obama’s transition economic team. Instead, it peaked at 10.2 percent. But the 8 percent prediction was made before Obama took office and was wrong solely because it relied on statistics that guessed the economy was only shrinking by around 4 percent, not 9. Remove that statistical miscalculation (made by government and private-sector economists alike) and the stimulus did exactly what it was supposed to do. It put a bottom under the free fall. It is not an exaggeration to say it prevented a spiral downward that could have led to the Second Great Depression.

You’d think, listening to the Republican debates, that Obama has raised taxes. Again, this is not true. Not only did he agree not to sunset the Bush tax cuts for his entire first term, he has aggressively lowered taxes on most Americans. A third of the stimulus was tax cuts, affecting 95 percent of taxpayers; he has cut the payroll tax, and recently had to fight to keep it cut against Republican opposition. His spending record is also far better than his predecessor’s. Under Bush, new policies on taxes and spending cost the taxpayer a total of $5.07 trillion. Under Obama’s budgets both past and projected, he will have added $1.4 trillion in two terms. Under Bush and the GOP, nondefense discretionary spending grew by twice as much as under Obama. Again: imagine Bush had been a Democrat and Obama a Republican. You could easily make the case that Obama has been far more fiscally conservative than his predecessor—except, of course, that Obama has had to govern under the worst recession since the 1930s, and Bush, after the 2001 downturn, governed in a period of moderate growth. It takes work to increase the debt in times of growth, as Bush did. It takes much more work to constrain the debt in the deep recession Bush bequeathed Obama."

More HERE.


Sue said...

I LOVE LOVE this article!

Are the critics dumb, or do they hope their followers(the haters)are the dumb ones who care nothing about facts? The dumbing down of America so they will keep voting against their own best interests!

Not Brainwashed said...

It proves how weak this President is, that you compare his policies to Republican policies, and declare him great. It doesn't say much about his policies, or character, that he is just better than Republicans. Compare anything to shit and of course it looks good.
The recession (depression) is running its course. There is no proof that Obama's policies had anything to do with slightly lower unemployment.
There is proof that the deficit is greater. There is proof he had no stomach to prosecute (enforce the law) Bush administration officials for crimes. There is proof that he makes decisions based on his best choices to get reelected. There is proof that his health care bill only promotes corporate control over the industry, and if he gets his way we will be forced to by products from these corrupt insurance companies.
this timid weakling of a President is just kicking the can down the road for another leader to do something productive.
There are proven ways to change the economic and fiscal messes, but he tried none and so we call this stagnation Obama's triumph?
This President is blowing smoke up your #*# and you love it.
Low expectations are easily met. To bad you don't expect more from your leader.

nabsentia23 said...

To "not brainwashed"

So its okay to compare Obama to a Republican President to say he's just like them, but not okay to make this same comparison when saying how different he is?

Many of Obama's critics are not just dumb, but they are also inconsistent.

Shaw Kenawe said...


So you dislike this president for being like a Republican and, as Nabsentia23 said, for not being one as well?

The fact that extremes on the left and right destest him is proof that he's doing a lot that is good and practical.

The fact that he hasn't delievered rainbows and unicorns to you and that he hasn't turned this country into a theocracy where gays are shoved back into military closets and we don't go around the world sticking our finger into the air bleating "We're Number One!" shows me that this president absolutely knows what he's doing, and people like you don't.

I'm pretty sure there hasn't been one president in our country's history who could have pleased you, since everyone of them have had to deal with this country and the world as it is, and not as they wished it to be.

Clinton gave us Nafta and because he didn't veto it, the end of Glass-Steagall, which three GOPers gave him to sign. Plus, Clinton, thanks to his stupid behavior, gave us Bush II. Before him we had Jimmy Carter, who didn't exactly leave a glorious legacy (even though I liked him, personally), and his defeat at the polls proved it.

I'm not sure which Democratic president would have made your all-star list since, as far back as I can remember, every one of them in modern history has done something to piss someone off. And do would you like to review the GOP legacy? GWB? Reagan and Irangate? Nixon?

Accepting that our presidents are mere mortals AND politicians who work within what politics and the law allow them to do is a step on your way to maturity.

Some presidents do well with what's thrown at them in their presidencies, others, not so much.

So far, I think this president is doing a good job. You don't.

Anonymous said...

"Barack Obama has put no one on food stamps. Population growth together with the most severe recession since the advent of the modern American welfare state, which was in full swing when Mr Obama came into office, conspired to make a record number eligible for government food assistance. The Obama administration has moved to expand eligibility for the SNAP programme, but the initiative has not come to fruition. That there is a safety net, and that it succeeds in keeping millions of Americans from the misery and humiliation of hunger, may be an uncomfortable fact for Mr Gingrich, but not for Mr Obama or for any of those among us who do not lament this humane achievement.

A thought experiment: On Twin Earth, does anyone call President John McCain the "food-stamp president"? Is it "politically incorrect" there to call him that? Or is it just so tactically weird to pin that label on a white Republican who inherited a huge recession that the idea simply never occurred to anyone? If, back in our world, it's not "politically correct" and not tactically weird to pin that label on a black Democrat who inherited a huge recession, then why not?"

Rational Nation USA said...

Shaw -Ya just gotta love politics and all the spin. Dizzying!

Harry Truman perhaps.

Shaw Kenawe said...

RN, there are people in this world who point to America as the only country on earth that used nuclear weapons on civilians. That's a fact.

Whether it helped to end WWII is beside the matter. Harry Truman, whom I admired for a lot of other reasons, used nuclear weapons on non-military targets, yet he is esteemed by millions of people, despite that legacy.

He also got his hands dirty by involving himself with a Missouri Democratic "party boss" Tom Pendergast, who was a crook. Ultimately, Truman rose above it, and you don't hear much about his involvement with that political machine--sound familiar? How many GOPers like to drag Mr. Obama down because he's from Chicago?

Radicle Redneck said...

When I eat my tapioca pudding, it pleases me to rub it all over my thighs and toes.

I like them nice soft rabbits too!

Shaw Kenawe said...

RR, whatever floats your boat.

Here's a post by Smartypants that neatly answers @Not Brainwashed attack on Mr. Obama:

"...when we look at specific policies, there are a few areas where he's actually out-flanked most of his critics on the left. Its been interesting to watch that happen and go completely unnoticed. Usually that's because his critics made an early judgement of who he is (Oh-No's, he nominated Geithner!) and then literally failed to see anything that contradicted their assumptions.

One of the most obvious places this happened was with health care reform. For many progressives, THE ONLY thing they focused on was the public option. And when that wasn't included in the final bill, it simply confirmed their pre-concieved notions about the President.

Of course that meant that the largest expansion of Medicaid in our country's history - to cover an estimated 30 million people - went almost completely unnoticed. But even more importantly, no one paid attention to the medical loss ratios (MLR) that were included, and just recently went into effect. As I've talked about before, MLR's require health insurance companies to spend 80-85% of their premium dollars on direct medical services for their customers. As Rick Unger has written about on a couple of occasions, that is the "bomb" buried in Obamacare that will likely lead to a single payer system.

So while progressive critics were screaming about the public option, President Obama was passing the largest expansion of publicly funded health insurance in decades and setting up a bomb in health care reform that could lead to a single payer system. In other words, what he actually got done was to the left of what his critics on the left were advocating for.

And then there's the issue of civil liberties. I notice that in the last few days both Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges have written about this topic and continue to refer to the 'endless war' as if it were inevitable. Apparently they can't conceive of a way to end the global war on terror started by Bush/Cheney. I wonder why that is so hard for them to imagine?"

Shaw Kenawe said...

(cont. from Smartypants):

"As I've talked about here recently, I'm not the only one who is seeing this administration move towards ending that so-called 'endless war.' David Ignatius said this:

It was easy to miss the impact of Obama’s words: He was declaring that the era that began on Sept. 11, 2001, is over. Al-Qaeda’s top leader is dead, and most of its cadres are on the run; secret peace talks are under way with the Taliban. And across the Arab world, the United States is talking with Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist organizations that a few years ago might have been on terror lists. It’s a process that’s similar to the way Britain ended its long war with Irish terrorists, by engaging in negotiations with the IRA’s 'political' wing.

Once again, while President Obama's critics on the left are distracted with their misplaced focus, they're completely missing the story about an end to the endless war and the fact that President Obama has outflanked them on the left.

Of course there are other issues that have gotten almost zero attention - like the administration being on track to fulfill Obama's promise of securing all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. That's the kind of thing progressives used to care about a lot. But it doesn't fit the image too many of the loudest critics have developed about President Obama. So its not worthy of attention.

Let me be clear. I'm not suggesting that we place this administration on the far left of the continuum. What I'm actually trying to say is that those kinds of labels don't fit. And people who made up their minds early about which one to affix to President Obama are missing an awful lot of what he's getting done."