Tag Archives: Economy

Mark Caserta: Politicians must learn to put people ahead of politics, power

7 Oct

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

Barack Obama

Last week, I asked the question, “After eight long years of Obama, are you better off?”

For anyone willing to be intellectually honest, the question was a rhetorical one. Frankly, our nation has never been in worse condition. Yet, from the bowels of the progressive prevaricators, we received a deluge of rebuttal.

Liberals leveraging their lexicon of lies continue to try to convince hurting Americans not only are they better off, but frankly should be happy the “anointed one” rode in on his golf cart in 2008 to rescue them from supervillain “Gru” W. Bush and his little red minions.

But, for those just now paying attention to the upcoming election, let’s look at the facts.

Jobs are arguably the primary indicator for our economy, and their availability is “deplorable.”

Liberal Democrats have consistently tried to mislead Americans into believing the job situation is improving when in fact it’s growing increasingly worse. The Obama administration continues to exploit bogus unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Most people don’t realize the ambiguity of the unemployment numbers. These statistics aren’t derived by actually counting unemployed individuals. They’re gathered from a survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS).

Each month, the government conducts the CPS by contacting 60,000 eligible sample households and asking about their “labor force activities” (job holding and job seeking) or non-labor force status of the household’s members. These interviews are supposedly conducted either in person or over the phone. The survey responses are then “weighted,” or adjusted to independent population estimates from the Census Bureau, for the final estimates.

The malleability of these statistics is troubling, especially leading up to this presidential election!

And the current unemployment rate of 4.9 percent is inaccurate since it drops from the equation those who are currently neither working nor looking for work. The U-6 total unemployed number reported by the BLS is actually 9.7 percent. But I believe it’s much higher.

Even this number doesn’t account for individuals driven from their 40-hour work week by Obamacare’s employer mandate and are working multiple jobs to survive.

Furthermore, our nation’s labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, is at a 38-year low with a record 94.7 million Americans out of the labor force, according to the BLS.

In December 2008, before the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, the number was 65.8 percent.

It gets worse.

The real median household income for the United States has decreased from $57,211 in 2008 to $53,657 in 2014. And with soaring prices, even this number isn’t comparing apples to apples.

Tragically, nearly 45 million people are now participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program compared to 30 million pre-Obama, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Even so, liberal Democrats tell us we’re better off.

We need honest leaders, with business acumen, who know how to create good-paying jobs.

But they must first be willing to put people ahead of politics and power.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Obama’s war on coal has a cost

6 Aug

And is based on mythical “man-made” global warming.

mark

Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

Aug. 06, 2015 @ 12:01 AM
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H.  President Barack Obama on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, will unveil the final version of his unprecedented regulations clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The Obama administration first proposed the rule last year. Opponents plan to sue immediately to stop the rule's implementation. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. President Barack Obama on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, will unveil the final version of his unprecedented regulations clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The Obama administration first proposed the rule last year. Opponents plan to sue immediately to stop the rule’s implementation. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

Liberals hate fossil fuels and have no plans to incorporate them into any sort of an “all of the above” energy strategy. And as the U.S. coal industry faces increased regulatory pressures from President Obama and his EPA minions, our state as well as others will continue to feel the economic crunch.

U.S. coal is used to generate about 40 percent of our nation’s electricity. As the Environmental Protection Agency, under Obama’s direction, intensifies regulations on the coal industry, expect electricity prices as well as associated costs to rise accordingly. Obama revealed this as part of his environmental plan early in his presidential campaign.

In a 2008 interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, Obama explained that under his plan of cap-and-trade, it was incumbent that our electricity prices should increase. The president’s progressive strategy obviously includes forcing the nation into pursuing green energy alternatives to avoid the mythical damages of carbon dioxide emissions.

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“Under my plan of cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” Obama told the Chronicle. “Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

Every time I hear a liberal decry carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) as destroying our planet, I can’t help but wonder if they’ve ever taken a biology course. Literally thousands of laboratory and field experiments have conclusively demonstrated that enriching the air with CO2 stimulates the growth and development of nearly all plants. But apparently facts aren’t important to progressives when it comes to defending climate change.

Just this week, Barack Obama unveiled the final version of his unprecedented plan to clamp down on CO2 emissions from existing U.S. power plants in an effort to cripple the industry.

In the president’s proposal, he’s calling for even steeper cuts on greenhouse emissions than previously expected. Calling it the most significant step the U.S. has ever taken to fight global warming, he plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Obama cites decades of data that he insists proposes we are facing more extreme weather and escalating health problems without tough action.

Opponents of Obama’s actions vow to sue immediately, and plan to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out. Many states have already threatened not to comply.

Understand that as the price of electricity increases, every industry that relies on this utility will have to cover their losses by either raising their prices or reducing costs. In other words, there will be higher prices and fewer jobs for the American people.

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It’s fundamental economics, which this president simply cannot grasp.

This is yet another attempt by an autocratic, egotistical president to force his progressive ideology upon the American people with total disregard as to the ultimate price we’ll pay.

But, the cost to Americans and our nation has never prevented Barack Obama from his pursuit of fundamental change.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: President paints inaccurate picture of nation’s economy

9 Oct

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Oct. 08, 2014 @ 11:40 PM

With less than one month until the midterm elections, President Obama is attempting to pivot the national conversation back to the economy after months of scandal and foreign crises.

During a speech last week on the campus of Northwestern University, President Obama told Americans they were “better off” now than when he took office.

“It is indisputable that our economy is stronger today than when I took office,” Obama said. “By every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office.”

It’s very telling that the president feels compelled to “convince” Americans they’re better off economically. Obviously, his advisors have their fingers on the pulse of the majority of Americans who are feeling the crunch of this president’s economic policies.

According to a recent Gallup poll, more than half of Americans said they had virtually no confidence in Obama’s ability to improve the nation’s sagging economy — the highest rate during his years in the White House. Only 42 percent said they believed Obama had the necessary economic skills to turn the economy around.

Here are some “indisputable” economic measures you’ll never hear from this administration.
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Under the ultra-liberal presidency of Obama and his progressive minions, poverty has soared while he has been president to nearly 50 million Americans, more than at any other time in the history of the Census Bureau tracking poverty.

Obama has become the food stamp president, with the number on food stamps increasing during his administration to a record high of 47.7 million, up 80 percent over the past five years as reported by the Department of Agriculture.

And while the administration boasts a recent drop in unemployment to 5.9 percent, they’re using the collapsing labor force and long-term unemployment as smoke and mirrors to deceive the American people. The number of people not participating in the labor force is the highest it’s been in 36 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the government stops tracking the unemployed if they haven’t looked for work in the last four weeks. Our nation’s true rate of unemployment, including the discouraged workers and those who have had to accept a part-time job for economic reasons, is 12.9 percent.

Despite calling George W. Bush “unpatriotic” for increasing the national debt by $4 trillion over eight years, Barack Obama has hypocritically increased the debt nearly $7 trillion in only six years.

And in perpetrating arguably the most nefarious scheme in history upon the American people, President Obama lied to Americans about nearly every aspect of Obamacare, which is now eroding the 40-hour work week for employees whose hours are being cut by employers who can’t afford to provide health care coverage as mandated by the president’s signature health care law.

Despite this president riding his promise to fight for the middle class all the way to the White House, the ironic truth is the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer under his ineffectual economic policies.

America needs to end this failed liberal experiment in November.
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Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

GOP Slams Obama Economic Speech, Calls for ‘Real Leadership’

4 Oct

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By Todd Beamon

 Republicans blasted President Barack Obama’s economic speech at Northwestern University on Thursday, charging that his remarks merely sought to deflect criticism from his administration’s many debacles and only promoted policies that have set Americans back on several fronts.

“The president can talk about an improving economy, but try telling that to those Americans who are suffering so much in the Obama economy,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “What about the poor and middle-class who can’t find jobs or whose wages have barely budged during the Obama administration?”

Tennessee Rep. Diane Black reference the now-infamous question Ronald Reagan posed that carried him into the White House in 1980.

“When President Reagan asked Americans if they were better off now than before he took office, he did not have to answer the question for them,” Black told Newsmax. “The reason President Obama has to try and convince Americans that they are better off under his policies is because Americans know otherwise.

“Our country continues to suffer from joblessness, stagnant wages, and while the president touts his economic recovery, Americans continue to show great anxiety about our country’s future,” Black added. “Another speech will not change this. The president needs to show real leadership.”

In his speech, President Obama argued that the American economy had improved during his six years in office. He said that the nation had made steady progress and blamed Republicans for rejecting steps said would help American families.

“These truths aren’t incompatible,” he said in a speech coming just four weeks before the congressional elections. “Our broader economy in the aggregate has come a long way, but the gains of recovery aren’t yet broadly shared.”

Obama defended policies ranging from bailing out the automobile industry to Obamacare — adding that his economic policies are on the ballot in November.

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“I am not on the ballot this fall,” the president said. “Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”

He charged the GOP with blocking such initiatives as increasing the minimum wage, refinancing student loans, and extending unemployment benefits — while pushing for bigger tax cuts for the wealthy.

“When push came to shove this year, and Republicans in Congress actually had to take a stand on policies that would help the middle class and working Americans — raising the minimum wage, enacting fair pay, refinancing student loans, extending insurance for the unemployed — the answer was ‘no,’ ” Obama said.

“When nearly all the gains of the recovery have gone to the top 1 percent, when income inequality is at as high a rate as we’ve seen in decades. I find that hard to swallow.”

Ignoring that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has passed more than 40 economic proposals that have stalled in the Democratic-majority Senate, Obama charged that “a true opposition party should have the courage to lay out” its platform for improving the economy.

“If there were any credibility to the argument that says when those at the top do well, eventually everyone else will do well, it would have borne itself out by now,” the president said.

Republicans responded quickly and decisively to President Obama’s speech.

House Speaker John Boehner’s office released his remarks two weeks ago to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington that included a program for “resetting” the American economy.

The agenda included repairing the tax code, cutting government spending, reforming the legal system, reining in regulation, and strengthening education.

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“The president’s economic record is beyond dismal, and families and small businesses are literally paying the price,” Kevin Smith, a Boehner spokesman, told Newsmax.

“Republicans are offering a different approach — and that’s why Speaker Boehner outlined his five-point plan for resetting America’s economic foundation.

“It’s also why House Republicans have passed more than 40 jobs bills, but they’ve been rejected by Harry Reid’s do-nothing Senate,” Smith said.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune called Obama’s speech “a familiar pivot back to jobs and the economy” and released data from a new report by Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee that detailed “the true state of the Obama economy.”

The document reported a $3,000 average yearly decline in household income — and included statistics showing that 9.6 million Americans remained jobless and that gas prices had risen 82 percent during Obama’s years in the White House.

“Congressional Republicans have remained focused like a laser on passing legislation that would help the middle class by creating jobs, growing the economy, and increasing take-home pay,” said Thune, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. “Unfortunately, those solutions are stuck in the Democrat-controlled Senate.”

McConnell accused Obama of “throwing a wet blanket over the economy with its focus on spending, borrowing, taxing and regulating — and those things clearly haven’t worked.

“What about Americans who work in industries that liberals in Washington don’t approve of, like coal?” the Kentucky senator asked. “Congress needs to pass legislation that helps create jobs instead of smothering economic opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus released the GOP’s own agenda — “The Principles of American Renewal” — that he said would seek to unite the party on such issues as national defense, immigration, and conservative family issues.

“If the American people hire us, we’ll be ready on day one,” Priebus said at the George Washington University in Washington. “People know what we’re against. I want to talk about the things we’re for.”

On immigration, Priebus called for stronger border security.

“We must fix our broken immigration system,” he said. “We can’t reward those who break the laws and punish those who lawfully wait in line.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

FOOD STAMP ENROLLMENT AT SUSTAINED HIGH

26 Aug

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President Barack Obama and vulnerable Democrats facing tough midterm elections in 71 days are scrambling to prop up the moribund U.S. economy in the minds of disgruntled voters. However, one of the quickest shorthand economic measurements–food stamp enrollments–paints a startling portrait of the “new normal” in the Obama economy. 

According to the Department of Agriculture’s most recently released data, the number of individuals enrolled in the food stamp program (known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) has remained above 45 million every single month for three years straight. 

In May 2011, 45,410,683 individuals received food stamps. As of May 2014 (the most recent date for which data are available), 46,225,054 people were on food stamps. At no point between the two dates did the number of food stamp enrollments ever fall below the 45 million mark. 

Food stamp enrollments have soared due to President Barack Obama’s categorical eligibility provisions, aggressive enrollment marketing, a bleak economy, and intense lobbying by large corporations who bag millions of taxpayer dollars as food stamp enrollments climb. Indeed, a report by the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) found that JP Morgan bagged well over half a billion dollars ($560,492,596) since 2004 processing the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards of 18 of the 24 states it holds contracts with.  

Still, despite historic levels of Americans now dependent on welfare, and with the middle class poorer now than it was in 1984, Obama continues to claim that his economic policies have made things better. 

“Since I have come into office, there’s almost no economic metric by which you couldn’t say that the U.S. economy is better,” Obama said in an interview this month with the Economist

According to Gallup, just 39% of Americans believe the U.S. economy is “getting better” versus 56% who say it is “getting worse.”

Mark Caserta: Progressivism extracts a price from middle class

31 Jul

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Jul. 31, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Not unlike an accomplished illusionist who deceives the mind into believing something that is not true, the Obama administration and liberal abettors are using smoke and mirrors to fool Americans into believing our economy is trending in the right direction.

In the fourth of my series exposing the stratagem of the progressive movement in our society, we’ll look at how liberals leverage auspicious economic metrics to obscure our nation’s troubling long-term economic outlook.

Let’s begin by examining how liberal media outlets exploit the U.S. stock market to espouse economic success for the Obama administration.

The Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee is the single most important federal agency to the stock market. Its action or inaction on interest rates has immediate consequences for investors, and the market tracks and anticipates those actions very carefully.

Now, by law, the Fed must conduct monetary policy to achieve maximum employment, stable prices and moderate, long-term interest rates.

While the three major indexes, the NASDAQ, the Dow and the S&P 500, have all been experiencing consistent gains and record highs, many fail to understand the volatile bubble forming around our economy.

Consider that $1 doesn’t buy as much as it used to in the grocery store. Thanks to inflation, you have to make more money today to be able to buy as much as you did just a few years ago. The same is true for the stock market.

While many believe the Federal Reserve literally prints money, it actually doesn’t. It engages in a creative form of bookkeeping called “quantitative easing,” which provides an illusion of gain and essentially props up the nation’s economy along with investor confidence.

Never in recent economic history have interest rates been so low for so long. I believe the Fed comprehends our economic instability primarily caused by our nation’s unemployment and realizes raising rates would cause this so-called recovery to crumble like the walls of Jericho around us!

But liberals use multiple illusions of grandeur to hide the fact Obama is hurting the very people he promised to liberate.

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When the government reports the unemployment rate is down to 6.1 percent, remember this represents only those who are available and have actively sought employment over the prior four weeks. Our nation’s true unemployment rate, or total unemployed including those working part-time due to economic conditions, is around 12.9 percent.

While liberals celebrate meager job creation, remember the actual number of Americans participating in the labor force, currently at 67 percent, is the lowest it’s been since 1978. And sadly, according to the Heritage Foundation, nearly 20 percent of households now depend on food assistance from the U.S. government.

It should anger America that Barack Obama built his presidential campaigns on fighting for the middle class, yet the gap between the haves and the have-nots has grown wider than ever.

Under the current administration, America is increasingly moving away from a society that flourishes under self-reliance and personal responsibility and toward one which traps families in a long-term relationship with big government.

Just more fruit of the progressive movement.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

THE IMPENDING STORM OF UNEMPLOYMENT

4 May

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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

7:34PM BST 02 May 2014

The US economy has delivered two minor shocks in a week, prompting concerns that bond tapering by the Federal Reserve may be doing more damage than expected.

Non-Farm Payrolls data released on Friday shows that the workforce shed 806,000 jobs in April, a stunning drop that cannot plausibly be blamed on the weather. Wage growth and hours worked were both flat and the manufacturing hours per week fell.

This follows news earlier in the week that the economy to a halt in the first quarter. Growth plummeted to 0.1pc and is now well below the Fed’s “stall speed” indicator. Analysts blamed this on the freezing polar vortex over the winter.

Yet the jobs data confirm a disturbingly weak picture. The headline unemployment rate fell to 6.3pc but that was only because the labour “participation rate” plummeted back to a modern-era low of 62.8pc, last seen in 1978 when there were far fewer women in the workforce. The rate for males is the lowest ever recorded at 69.1pc.

The jobs market is highly volatile – and is often revised later – but the data are a warning that the US recovery may be losing momentum. Lakshman Achuthan, from the Economic Cycle Research Institute, said the trend was already weakening long before the cold weather. “We see a failure to launch. We’re decelerating, not accelerating, and that is a big concern,” he said.

The Fed has gradually been turning down the spigot of dollar liquidity, reducing its bond purchases by $10bn a month at each meeting, even though the bank’s measure of core PCE inflation has dropped to 1.1pc. The net stimulus has dropped from $85bn a month to $45bn.

This is a form of monetary tightening. Interest rates have not risen – though they are rising in real terms – but the quantity of money mechanism may nevertheless be having a powerful effect. The broadest measure of the money supply – Divisia M4 – has dropped from a growth rate above 6pc a year ago to just 2.6pc in March.

The Fed is unlikely to blink yet. Even the once dovish San Francisco Fed has warned that quantitative easing no longer serves a useful purpose and may be doing more harm that good at this stage, fuelling asset bubbles without much benefit for the real economy. Analysts say it would take several months of bad data to force the Fed to halt tapering and change course again.

US policy-makers no longer pay much attention to the monetary data. Robert Hetzel, from the Richmond Fed, said this led to a grave error in mid-2008 when the Fed’s voting board began to talk up rate rises even though the money supply was already buckling. He argues that this played a key part in the Lehman crash several months later.

Erica Groschen, from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, said the sudden drop in jobs last month was caused by fewer people joining the workforce, rather than people leaving. That is hardly reassuring, and conflicts with theories that the participation rate is falling because people are choosing to retire early.

The weakness may be nothing worse than a pause for breath – or a mid-cycle correction – as the US gears up for a second leg of the post-Lehman expansion. The risk is that this instead proves to be the end of growth cycle that is already long in the teeth by historic standards.

The possibility of a fresh downturn with the interest rates already at zero, the Fed’s balance sheet already at $4 trillion, and gross public debt above 100pc of GDP for the first time since the end of the Second World War is what keeps US economists awake night. There is little margin for policy error.

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