Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that a good catch phrase could stop thinking for 50 years. One of the often-repeated catch phrases of our time — "It's the economy, stupid!" — has already stopped thinking in some quarters for a couple of decades. There is no question that the state of the economy can affect elections. But there is also no iron law that all elections will be decided by the state of the economy.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected for an unprecedented third term after two terms in which unemployment was in double digits for eight consecutive years.
We may lament the number of people who are unemployed or who are on food stamps today. But those who give the Obama administration credit for coming to their rescue when they didn't have a job are likely to greatly outnumber those who blame the administration for their not having a job in the first place.
An expansion of the welfare state in hard times seems to have been the secret of FDR's great political success in the midst of economic disaster. An economic study published in a scholarly journal in 2004 concluded that the Roosevelt administration's policies prolonged the Great Depression by several years. But few people read economic studies.
It has been all the talk on Wisconsin political blogs, talk shows, and editorial pages for the past several months. Now it is official: on November 15 virulent opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially launched a recall drive against him, in what can only be described as a vindictive attempt at political payback for his success at reining in collective bargaining for state employees. But just who Democrats will choose to run against the popular conservative state leader — should they garner the half a million or so needed recall petition signatures — is still up in the air.
Trilateral Commission member Lucas Papademos, an unelected career central banker with decades of experience, is taking over the Greek government after being sworn in as Prime Minister last week. His main priority will be to keep Greece in the crumbling euro-zone he helped erect by raking in more bailout money from European taxpayers.
“Our membership in the euro is a guarantee of monetary stability and creates the right conditions for sustainable growth,” Papademos claimed after rising to power. “Our membership of the euro is the only choice.”
Other reforms at the top of his agenda include chipping away at what little remains of national sovereignty in Europe and instituting better Brussels “oversight” of member states. He also hopes to expand the emerging bailout regime — which critics have referred to as a “dictatorship” — by giving it more “firepower.”
"Dealing with Greece's problems will be more difficult if Greece is not a member of the euro-zone," Papademos alleged in parliament on November 16. "We must take more radical measures to deal with the crisis which include ... boosting the resources and the flexibility of the [European Financial Stability Facility bailout machine] and creating a stronger framework of economic governance in the euro-zone."
The hits just keep on coming from Occupy Wall Street. Since The New American last reported on the 204 crimes the nationwide OWS movement has been charged with committing, the movement has added another 50 or so to the list, including a rape in the city of Brotherly Love. As well, the death toll in or near the squalid OWS camps is now seven. Late last week, a man was found dead in his tent at the Occupy Salt Lake City protest.
Though the radical left, led by President Obama, has repeatedly said the OWS movement is merely a manifestation of the same concerns as the Tea Party Movement, the level of criminality and danger associated with the protests suggests otherwise.
Writing in Business Week, Hans Nichols announced that with the improvement in the economy President Obama’s chances for reelection in 2012 are improving as well. He noted that the unemployment rate fell last month (from 9.1 percent to 9.0 percent) while unemployment claims dropped (by 10,000). And the outplacement firm of Challenger Gray & Christmas noted that government layoffs have slowed as well. Then he reviewed several different polls that showed improvement in President Obama’s ratings (each still below 50 percent), and then concluded that this mass of positive data is improving the president’s “political prospects.”
When 70 students attending economics professor Greg Mankiw’s Economics 10 class on November 2nd walked out in protest, they wrote an open letter to him explaining why: "Today, we are walking out of your class…in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course…...
At an APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit last weekend in Hawaii, President Barack Obama told CNSNews that the United States needs to step up its courtship of foreign dollars. He said America has been “a little bit lazy” in promoting itself to overseas investors.
He added, “It’s important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world, and there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity — our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture.”
But the concepts of stability and free markets have taken a hit during his administration, and not because free markets don’t work. A real unemployment rate of what critics say is closer to 20 percent than nine, a downgrade of the United States' debt rating, and a huge national debt don’t reflect stability. How does Obama propose to promote this climate as stable, open, and innovative?
“One of the things that my administration has done is set up something called SelectUSA that organizes all the government agencies to work with state and local governments where they’re seeking assistance from us to go out there and make it easier for foreign investors to build a plant in the United States, and put outstanding U.S. workers back to work in the United States of America,” he told CEOs and others at the summit.
Italy’s new Prime Minister Mario Monti, who rose to power in what critics called a “coup d’etat,” is a prominent member of the world elite in the truest sense of the term. In fact, he is a leader in at least two of the most influential cabals in existence today: the secretive Bilderberg Group and David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission.
Nicknamed “Super Mario,” Monti is also an “international advisor” to the infamous Goldman Sachs, one of the most powerful financial firms in the world. Critics refer to the giant bank as the “Vampire Squid” after a journalist famously used the term in a hit piece. But its tentacles truly do reach into the highest levels of governments worldwide.
One of the biggest mistakes taxpayers made in this country is permitting government employees to unionize. They created a real Frankenstein: unions that can hold the taxpayers hostage in order to get all of the benefits they feel entitled to. Governor Walker in Wisconsin was successful in curtailing the bargaining power of the government employee unions, but now that the unions have won in Ohio, they are determined to unseat Governor Walker and restore the benefits they lost. Will the taxpayers of Wisconsin allow that to happen? We shall see.
Meanwhile, conservatives have learned a hard lesson in Ohio. The unions will stop at nothing to retain their power and privileges, and the taxpayers will be forced to pay for it all — or go bankrupt. Of course, President Obama was overjoyed by the results of the election in Ohio. He is totally dependent on the unions for their power to keep him in office, and the signal from Ohio is that the unions have the means and strategy to give him a second term.
How did this upset happen in Ohio, where Governor John Kasich has done all in his power to reduce the cost of state government and expected the taxpayers to back him up by voting for the proposition that would have curtailed the bargaining power of the unions? It happened because the unions spent more money than the opposition and frightened the public by painting dire pictures of what would happen if cops and firemen were laid off and the public was left at the mercy of criminals.
“Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder,” said British historian Arnold Toynbee.
We’re seeing exactly that today in Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. In all those cases, the ineptness of government and the mismanagement of domestic economic policy have turned once-great nations into beggar states.
In Italy, bloated levels of government spending, rising levels of red ink, political opposition to any meaningful austerity package, and the prospect of a debt default have spooked investors, ignited a capital flight from Italian bonds and raised borrowing costs.
In August, Italy paid buyers of a new 10-year bond a yield of 5.22 percent. By October, the rate was 6.06 percent. In early November, the price of borrowing to Italy via the same 10-year bond rose to 6.73 percent, an escalation in costs that only added to the red ink and deepened the debt crisis.
Economist Mario Monti, a former European Union Commissioner, was named “senator for life” by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on November 9, followed several days later by the appointment of Monti as Italian prime minister after Silvo Berlusconi stepped down.