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Letters to the Editor

No clue

October 12, 2011

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To the editor:

So here we are, with what President Obama speculated a year ago could be the “new normal.” That would be sustained unemployment of about 9 percent. In a “60 Minutes” interview last November, Obama said, “What is a danger is that we stay stuck in a new normal where unemployment rates stay high.” Obama went on, “People who have jobs see their incomes go up. Businesses make big profits. But they’ve learned to do more with less. And so they don’t hire. And as a consequence, we keep on seeing growth that is just too slow to bring back the 8 million jobs that were lost.”

Obama has an utter lack of business sense and apparently truly believes businesses not hiring and tightening their belts is not in any way his fault.  This may be the motivation for (or the result of) Obama’s dogmatic class-warfare rhetoric, possibly one of the most defined campaign strategies in the history of American politics.

Democrats took a beating in the last midterm elections. Obama commented on this: “One of the things I think you understand as president is you’re held responsible for everything. But you don’t always have control of everything.”  Didn’t the Democrats have complete control of Congress from January 2007, and Congress and the presidency from January 2009 until January 2011? I think they did.

Obama does not now, nor has he ever had a clue about running an economy. The only way to fix the economy is to vote him out of office in 2012.

Comments

thuja 3 years, 2 months ago

If you say "the only way to fix the economy" over and over and over again, it loses all meaning.

ksrush 3 years, 2 months ago

Seems to have had that effect on Osama Bin Bama

gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

Do you realize how unintelligent you look by making comments like this? Do you realize how unintelligent you make the Lawrence, and even Kansas, look? Do you enjoy being a laughingstock, and helping to secure the reputation of your community and state as such?

parrothead8 3 years, 2 months ago

You're right. I saw "No Clue" and "by Tom Shewmon," and I didn't even need to keep reading. There is nobody more qualified to write a letter about having no clue.

Mike Ford 3 years, 2 months ago

stop drinking the water in stranger creek....it's not helping.....

uncleandyt 3 years, 2 months ago

pill-poppin' dittos, you're a great listener

Flap Doodle 3 years, 2 months ago

les, did we really need to see this same post three times?

gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

"Gives our stolen money to his cronies on Wall St."

Statements like this demonstrate your complete and utter lack of comprehension on issues.

By "our stolen money" I assume you mean taxes.

Do you not understand which party has been co-opted into fighting tooth and nail for the preservation of tax breaks for "cronies on Wall St."?

Since you clearly haven't been paying attention, let me remind you that it has been the Republicans/Tea Party. This is not some spinning lie I'm trying to corrupt you with. Nobody disputes this. It is very much out there in the open.

Remember not too long ago when the Bush tax cuts were set to expire, and the Democrats said, "ok, let's let them expire as planned for the very wealthy, but extend them for the middle and lower income Americans", to which the Republicans responded "Absolutely not, under no circumstances, if you let them expire for the wealthy, then we will insist that they expire for everybody, including middle and lower income Americans"?

Remember that? Because it wasn't that long ago.

Seriously, how does somebody's understanding become so completely twisted as to be the near complete opposite of what actually happened only a year ago? Have you no memory? Have you no common sense?

Getaroom 3 years, 2 months ago

Clueless is, as clueless says. Thanks thuja. Shewmom is as consistent and reliable as Snappy no Pop! So comforting - NOT!

mloburgio 3 years, 2 months ago

Thanks To Obamacare The Healthcare Industry Added 44,000 Jobs In September In April of 2010 when the law was signed the hospitals of America had 4,675,000 employees. Today that numbers stands at 4,774,000 that is an an increase of 100,000 employees in a year and a half. The entire healthcare industry in April of 2010 had 13,739,000 and in September of 2011 it has 14,180,000 which is an an increase of 441,000 employees in a year and a half. http://www.politicususa.com/en/obamacare-heathcare-booming

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Obama's quote is one many economists have predicted as well.

The causes of this are most likely complex - whether or not it's "Obama's fault" is open to debate.

And, it's interesting that a right-wing letter has the phrase "running an economy" - I thought those on the right didn't believe in that sort of thing.

Finally, who's the better choice in the next election?

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Except that "anyone but Hillary" doesn't seem to have worked out well for you.

I'd rethink the "anyone but..." idea.

weeslicket 3 years, 2 months ago

so......... you plan to vote for hillary in 2016?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Darrell Lea 3 years, 2 months ago

The only way to fix the economy is to fix the economy. Voting President Obama out of office in and of itself will not fix the economy. Voting out a few crazed right wing corporate lackeys might help the functionality of government somewhat, but in and of itself will not fix the economy.

An economy is based on the creation and sale of goods and services. The U.S. is said to have lost twenty per cent of its net worth as a direct result of the economic collapse of 2008. For the economy to return immediately to the level it was pre-recession, the U.S. would have to regain the 20 per cent net worth it lost, or shed 20 per cent of it's population.

Since we currently live in a polarized society where the primary function of one political party is to confound and block at all costs any initiative taken by the other party, the citizens who are not benefitting directly from this ongoing game of chicken are basically on their own.

I support President Obama and his agenda, but as long as there are people like Eric Cantor and John Boehner in power, nothing will ever get done. If Obama is re-elected, we will have four more years of political gridlock. If one of the non-Obama candidates currently blathering on the Republican debate circuit gets elected, the best a reasonable person can hope for would be four more years of the same political gridlock.

It's said that one gets the government they deserve. Considering the level of public discourse that defines the US in 2011, I have to agree.

gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

"The only way to fix the economy is to vote him out of office in 2012."

Sadly, this is the corner that so many bitter, thoughtless conservatives have resorted to.

The power players who control the message for the political right have far surpassed their counterparts on the left in crafting and marketing an uncompromising polticial identity that is necessarily anti-Obama everything, and by proxy, anti-Liberal everything, anti-Progressive everything, anti-Democrat everything.

This uncompromising anti-Obama feature of the political identity is necessary since the whole goal of the political identity is to defeat Obama, and return to power those favorable to business. That's the whole point.

The problem with this, of course, is that there's plenty of common sense overlap between Republians and Democrats.

So what you end up with is a class of people like the LTE writer (and many others who post on this site) who end up sounding ridiculous, refuting what most people would consider common sense, in defense of a rigid political identity that necessarily requires that they remain anti-Obama everything.

I feel like the upcoming election is a battle between the common sense of individuals, and the betrayal thereof by adherence to a political identity that has been crafted and marketed by the most powerful political interests.

The winner will not be determined in the general presidential election. The winner will be determined in the Republican primary. If Romney loses to Herman Cain, Rick Perry, or Michelle Bachmann, then common sense will have been defeated. Right now, Romney is the only hope for common sense among Teapublicans.

Jean1183 3 years, 2 months ago

Herman Cain would be a great person to have on the Republican ticket. Check out his bio.

gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't think a regressive tax structure is what the U.S. needs. We already have gross wealth inequities and regressive tax structures clearly benefit the already wealthy much, much more than they do the middle and lower classes.

People glom onto this idea mainly because it's simple, and it has the illusion of being fair.

And perhaps if we could hit a reset button and all start out in the same place financially, then a flat tax would indeed be fair.

But the reality of our context is that not only are we not all starting out in the same place financially, the discrepancies between the places we're currently at are record distances apart.

A flat tax is a regressive tax, and regressive taxes favor the already wealthy. If wealth distribution were more equal in the U.S. today, perhaps Cain's 9-9-9 plan would be a good effort at simplification of the tax code. However, given the lopsided wealth distribution we currently experience, a regressive flat tax would only work to exacerbate the inequalities to levels unprecedented.

Which is why the party of big-business (i.e. the Republican party) is totally in favor of it. On average, it will allow the rich to get much richer, much faster than anybody with middle or low incomes.

gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

No, I just understand what a regressive tax will do to an America in which the wealth is already so unequally divided.

Can you grasp that concept? Do you understand? It's not that hard.

gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like you're ignoring the obvious context of where America stands right now in regards to disproportionate wealth distribution.

Sounds like you can't do math very well if you don't understand that given such disparity in wealth distribution, that a flat tax would only serve to exacerbate the inequity.

Sounds like instead of using common sense, you're drumming up a Marxist quote in a feeble effort to label me a socialist, or communist or what have you, all the while living in a state of denial that the U.S. already incorporates myriad degrees of socialist principles within our policies.

Sounds like you're beholden to a rigid political identity that keeps your own common sense held hostage.

gudpoynt 3 years, 2 months ago

I know it Ag. The prevalent conservative political identity of the day is rife with them.

Granted, the left has them too. I wince whenever I hear a liberal ranting on the economic destruction caused by "big corporations" without evaluating the benefits that big corporations have had on our society and economy.

However, the rigidity and labeling coming out of the right puts anything on the left or in the center to shame.

This new flavor of political identity is a dead weight to our political process. The rotten apple that spoils the bunch.

I'm thinking about registering as Republican and campaigning for Romney simply as an effort to attempt to restore some sanity to the right... .to cut loose that dead weight that has been way too successful in rendering common sense moot.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

omg. The 999 plan is 666 upside down. Cain. Cain and Abel. All those Nostradamus shows on the History Channel make sense now!

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

You should credit Michelle Bachmann for that one - she said it first.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Did she really? I suppose I shouldn't be shocked. I was kidding just a tiny bit.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

You started off sounding like a thoughtful respondent yourself...regardless of Tom Shewmon. Sadly, that thoughtfulness didn't last more than a sentence. Any more than Tom's LTTE comment was reasonable after the first paragraph.

Radical past? What radical past? Jeez Louise. As a 60s hippie from back in Boston and NYC, I knew a ton of "radicals". I got interviewed by the FBI. Harassed by the cops.

But what are all these "radicals" now? Same as me. Being doting grandparents (and great-grandparents...mine is 11 months old and I worship the ground he tries to walk on :-) Old farts with knee and hip replacements finding each other on Facebook...because our kids and grands made us sign up! We're business owners. Workers. And retirees. We're people who are 45-50 years older than we were back then. So why on earth do people like you still find us old farts frightening??

And what hatred are you talking about?? What loathing? It sounds like you're the person filled with hatred and loathing - and I feel sorry for you. It's a terrible way to live. Hating someone you don't even know.

Tom Shewmon himself appears to have "an utter lack of business sense" because he apparently doesn't grasp why business owners make the hiring decisions we do.

Sure. He wants to believe it's because of this particular person or that particular political party. That things are black-and-white. That all Democrats are alike...despite the vast amount of evidence to the contrary.

If he were honest, though, he'd admit that we've NEVER had a President who knows how to run a national economy. Or Senators or Congressmen or economists or businessmen or...well, ANYONE who actually knows how to run an economy.

All we have ever have are people who think they do. Economists with theories. And politicians who misinterpret and/or misuse those theories.

But the truth is that real-world economies are based on the often-irrational behavior of real-world human beings, while economic theories are designed in a vacuum. (Then, as I said, misinterpreted/misused by politicians. As a result, real-world people affected by those theories often fall for something that actually works against their own best interests.)

Voting out Obama will not fix the economy. Re-electing Obama will not fix the economy, either. Obama is simply NOT the problem.

Like it or not, as Obama said...as have many President before him, and will after him, the President does NOT always have control of everything...and anyone thinking that having the same party in "control" of Congress translates to the President having control is silly.

We're living in a time, for example, when any one party needs at least 60 members of the same party to even have a chance of "control" of the Senate. And Tom Shewmon...and you, oh math person, darned well know it. Whether you'll admit it or not, or that it has an effect is another thing entirely.

Mike Ford 3 years, 2 months ago

you are sooo full of it I will laugh at you now in disrespect. I remember going to an Ann Coulter speaking engagement that I and about thirty other people brought to a halt by laughing out loud at her a couple of years ago at the Lead Center. I've heard these lies long enough and their lies and they deserve laughter and pity upon the segment of the population that promotes these lies and the belief of them enough to the point of becoming truth through repetition which still isn't truth. Go watch your television thinking they're coming through the tv to get you....take flouride out of your tap water like those laughable tea party dimwits in florida this week and watch out for the silent helicopters and most of all believe your own lies. dumb america fueled by am radio dummies... halelujah.....

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

It must be horrible to be as angry as you.

esteshawk 3 years, 2 months ago

" . . . businesses not hiring and tightening their belts is not in any way his fault." How is it Mr. Obama's fault, Shewmon? Typical baseless rhetoric with nary a fact to support (or is this an "ad hominem" attack repubs typically accuse dems of?).

Companies aren't hiring because the middle class has no money to spend, thus no demand; this is not a supply side issue, where tax breaks could help. The gross income inequities are what is keeping the economy from rebounding from the recession that was most definately caused by republican ideals of smaller goverment (e.g. not monitoring the banking industry).

Amazing how right wingers can continue to hold ideas in the face of contrary evidence. I believe that's a sign of insanity (or maybe just stupid).

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

There are countless businesses out there that cannot export their goods or services, so don't sneer at them because of the businesses they* chose to run.

There are also countless businesses out there who already fill a niche. Whose money and resources is already tied up in another niche. The idea that everyone can simply jump from niche to niche at will is absurd.

The fact that you have a couple of exceptions as your "customers" doesn't mean that this is a solution to everyone's problems. Something to look into...sure. Automatic solution so that anyone who doesn't "do it" is a whiny baby? Nah.

voevoda 3 years, 2 months ago

President Obama isn't responsible for "businesses not hiring and tightening their belts." Nothing he or Congress or the courts have done inhibits businesses from hiring or requires them to reduce their productivity. Business can hire any time they want and they can increase their productivity any time they want. But businesses choose not to do so. Why? Because they don't have enough customers to make more of a profit if they do. Why don't they have enough customers? Because too many Americans don't have enough income to make more purchases. Why don't so many Americans have enough income to make more purchases? Because their wages aren't high enough, they pay too much in taxes, and they can't get credit any more because their wages aren't high enough. Solution: Raise wages. Increase full-time employment. Cut taxes on ordinary wage-earners. If the advocates of the megarich and their defenders will stop with their class-warfare, attacking the working poor, the unions, and government employees, then we might all join together to bring real prosperity--prosperity that isn't just for the top 5%--back to this country.

voevoda 3 years, 2 months ago

You only embarrass yourself, Liberty_One, with postings like this one.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

OK...I'm waiting. Back up everything you say with sources.

voevoda 3 years, 2 months ago

You shouldn't confuse consumer spending and government spending. I didn't in my comment. Government statistics for consumer spending back up what I said. I checked the government's own figures. 2011 figures aren't out yet, but in 2009 and 2010, the average household disposable income dropped each year. Judging from the charts of volatile fluctuations in 2011, consumer spending has not regained its pre-crash level. See also the Gallup survey, which similarly shows considerably less spending now: http://www.gallup.com/poll/112723/Gallup-Daily-US-Consumer-Spending.aspx

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

I disagree. The business killer is uncertainty. If I do not know how I will be regulated or what tax rate I will be paying, I will hold back until I have a better idea about the future. Businesses do the same thing on a bigger scale. Why would a company want to hire when it is unsure about future health care costs? Why would a bank want to change business models when it is unsure how it will be regulated in the near future? When a business understands what it faces it can take appropriate actions, but until there is more certainty in the business environment we can expect some of these issues to continue.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Uncertainty of the sort you mention is a constant factor today.

You never know for sure what the next administration will do, as far as taxes, etc.

Future health care costs are likewise unpredictable.

Given the way our system works, and the fact that political administrations can change every four years, and midterm elections can affect things as well, there is no certainty possible on the issues you mention.

I think it's a red herring, and that it's not really why businesses aren't hiring, etc. I think consumer demand is low, and that's more of a determining factor.

Also, in my cynical moments, I think that business may very well be deliberately refraining from doing things that will help the economy in order to try to get rid of Obama, and reinstate a Republican president, who will have more "business friendly" policies.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

I think it is multicausal. Sure, one doesn't know what the next administration will do regarding taxes but we are currently in a situation in which very big debates (using the word loosely) have nearly ground the economy to a halt. Yes, there is a certain level of perception vs. reality but perception can become reality.

Future health care costs haven't been unpredictable statistically in the past across relatively stable populations of employees. The new health care regulations have introduced uncertainty into those models. I don't wish to debate the merits of the regulations but when you have serious economists disagreeing about the costs one can imagine that larger companies are concerned.

Is consumer demand down? Sure, in some sectors. I think uncertainty works the same in the consumer sector. If you aren't sure what the next year holds for you financially then you are likely to be more conservative in your expenses. Maybe you put off buying a car. Maybe you trade down from Target to Wal-Mart.

I disagree with your cynicism. Businesses are about making money and I don't think they would sit on unproductive money right now simply to prove a point because, to be honest, the Republican candidates aren't likely to do much for them either.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, uncertainty affects consumers - if you're afraid of losing your job, getting foreclosed on, you're bound to be more cautious.

Also, people have less disposable income due to rising health care costs, people are being laid off, etc.

It's a downward spiral.

If they don't think consumer demand is there to support expansion, they won't expand their business - that's their part of the downward spiral.

But, I completely disagree that Republican politicians won't do much for business - their policies are notably "pro-business" in a variety of ways.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

I think that is the perception but I also think that our political system only allows for incremental change. Personally, I think most politicians are primarily concerned with gaining and preserving their own power. Other than the health care stuff, do you honestly think John McCain would be handling the situation better? Do you think business would prefer him? I don't.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree about the power stuff.

But yes, I think McCain would be handling things differently (certainly not "better", in my view).

Republicans generally favor less regulation of businesses, which they tend to like.

They also favor lower taxes, which well off business owners tend to like.

Etc.

For example, this administration has passed some new regulations on credit card companies and banks - I'm pretty sure that a Republican administration wouldn't have done that.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree with what you are saying that McCain would be handling things differently but the difference is incremental when you look at the context and go further down the decision tree of possibilities. For example, if McCain was elected you could make a plausible argument that the Tea Party - such as it is - wouldn't exist and, quite possibly, the Democrats would have control of both houses. It's very possible that different regulations could have been jammed down the throat of a Republican president if the economy was still going badly.

I think one indicator of this incrementalism is when you look at how companies donate to elections and, in particular, presidental elections. Quite a few hedge their bets by sending money both ways.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

That's ridiculous. Good grief...business is all about uncertainty.

And, if I have enough customer demand that I need to hire someone, I hire someone. I don't worry about "OMG, at some point in the future I may face higher taxes or more regulations or killer health insurance costs"

No. I hire someone because the demand is NOW!! Do you seriously think I'm going to blow off meeting customer demand...and earning profits...NOW because of something that "might" happen in the future??? That's frickin' absurd!

Do you folks not realize that businesses can always lay off those new hires in the future? That we aren't stuck with them forever? That we can lay them off even if the new regulations and increased taxes and health care costs NEVER occur???

Frankly, I'm appalled at the apparent lack of common sense so many people exhibit and the resultant bizarre claims they make about business. (Hint: Maybe you ought to know something about running a successful business with employees before making pronouncements about how they operate?)

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Hint: I'm pretty sure I have handled more financially in a year than your web design company has done in its entire operating history... but don't let that stop you.

Business is all about uncertainty that is within certain ranges of risk. Most of this can be modeled. Most businesses large businesses do as much as possible to reduce this risk. When the environment is uncertain one way to reduce risk is to retain liquidity.

You are right that companies must keep up with demand but you are entirely wrong that it is simple to hire and then lay off employees. Go try it sometime. There are costs involved.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

There may be some costs involved, but in KS, an employer can fire any employee at any time without cause of any sort given.

It's hard to imagine how that could be made any easier for an employer.

voevoda 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, the uncertainty in the economic future is a factor, in both business spending and in consumer spending. The consumer confidence index was 112.6 in July 2007; it is now 45.4. But the tax rates have gone down, so that couldn't be putting businesses off development. The health insurance rates have been skyrocketing for years, so that couldn't be what is detering businesses. The volatility in the stock market and financial markets around the world certainly deters business lending, and thus the amount of capital available for business growth. If the crisis is one of confidence, then how does a country overcome it? Nazi Germany provides one answer, but it's not one I'd like the US to copy.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Tax rates may have gone down but the perception is that this could change. Insurance costs have gone up but that was relatively constant and certain. This has changed. Can you tell me what a business of ten employees will pay for insurance in three years? Capital is available but loans are difficult because of the regulatory environment. Honestly I don't have a comprehensive answer but reducing uncertainty would help.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

No...but can you point me to a single successful business that worries about how much they'll pay in health care costs 3 years in the future ..and makes current hiring decisions based on that?

Didn't think so.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

I am not trying to say that there is any one single cause. It is a multi-causal problem and some of the causes are perception rather than reality. Some of them are entirely psychological.

I am not trying to have a political argument about government health care. That is an entirely different discussion. What I am saying is that corporate health care costs have had a somewhat predictable course over the last few decades. Businesses could plan for it. Now they can't. Eventually that uncertainty will shake out one way or another but right now, yes, I would say it is part of the uncertainty hanging over the heads of decision makers.

How to solve it? I'm not sure. I have seen studies that have compared consumer uncertainty against the budget crisis and the debt ceiling debate. Uncertainty rose during those debates and one can assume that consumer spending decreased. Perhaps trying to find ways of coming to an imperfect middle road on some issues is better than fighting an ideological battle into the ground.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Nice last sentence - I completely agree.

Mike Ford 3 years, 2 months ago

let's see... hearing dimwits bait arguements and calling other people hateful for calling out your nonsense.....that's O Reilly's schtick right????

weeslicket 3 years, 2 months ago

what if tom shewmon is "the new normal"? (shudders. still shuddering.)

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 2 months ago

Interesting that many economists are now saying that without the emergency bail out and later moves by the Obama adminstration and Democratic Congress, unemployment would have been around 25% instead of the current 9%. A lot of our most important companies would have disappeared forever.

Right wing conservatives such as the writer of this letter would have you believe that we did not need the help of the federal government and that things are much worse now. They would have you believe that allowing the federal government to default would be no big deal either.

Today we have a group in Congress who believe they have the Divine Authority to halt the work of the federal government in the hopes that they can make this administration a failed administration and subsequently promote an agenda designed to benefit the upper 1% at the expense of the rest of us.

State legislators continue to attend indoctrination seminars funded by the Koch brothers where they can learn how to do the same thing on a state level.

The best thing about the current political debates is that Americans have become interested in the issues and eventually logic and truth will prevail.

Perhaps after that, Americans will go to the polls and elect more responsible and sensible people to manage our government. They should realize that the people we elect will dramatically impact our quality of life in America as we face the challenges of the next decade as either a global power or a rapidly declining power in the world.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Nicely said.

I only disagree with the last part about maintaining our power.

I think it would be ok for America to lose some of our influence and power in the world, and focus on fixing our own problems and making our country work better for the majority of citizens.

And, it might be ok for our assumptions about standards of living to change a bit downward as well - we use an enormous amount of resources relative to our population.

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