Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Better off

September 5, 2012


To the editor:

In his column of Sept. 1, Mr. Simons says: “The country and its citizens are not better off today than in 2008,” a notion endorsed by Mitt Romney in his acceptance speech. What poor memories they have.

In 2000 George Bush enacted his economic growth plan (which Mr. Romney wants to duplicate) passing tax cuts and deregulation, which, along with unpaid wars and other unpaid-for programs, transformed a surplus into a $1 trillion annual deficit for Obama to inherit. The result of this strategy was an increase of the unemployment rate from 4 percent to 5 percent between 2000 and 2007 before the bottom really fell out. In 2008, the last year of the Bush presidency 3,623,000 jobs were lost, and when Obama took over, more than 700,000 jobs were being lost each month. The Dow hit 6,700.

In February 2009, the Recovery Act was passed, and by May the job losses were cut in half. By November 2009, positive job growth occurred for the first time since 2007. In 2010 more private-sector jobs were created than in all the Bush years put together.

Job growth is not as easy as in previous times what with globalization, off-shoring and the emergence of the Third World countries, but today we have 29 straight months of continuous private-sector job growth, the Dow is at 13,000, housing prices are finally going up, General Motors is alive and well, and Osama Bin Laden is still dead.

Not better off than in 2008? Really?


cowboy 5 years, 7 months ago

Perfect example of the need for English as a second language program

Alyosha 5 years, 7 months ago

This comment is worthless. Why the writer bothers, no one knows. But False's comments do nothing to advance a serious discussion of public policy.

Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood thinking American.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

Falsehope, I cannot figure out what you are trying to say.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Romney is claiming he will create 12 million jobs. Bush/Cheney didn't do it. The repubs have done nothing yet is this regard under Obama. How is Romney going to accomplish this working with the same congressional republicans that have been saying no way?

After repeatedly touting his business experience as an asset towards reviving the U.S. economy, Mitt Romney has been put on the defensive by Bain Capital workers who are fighting back against the outsourcing of their jobs.

One hundred seventy workers at a Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Illinois — of which Bain is the majority owner — are calling on Romney to help save their jobs from being shipped to China.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Republicans keep telling us how pathetic the economy which they should know. The republican party put the nation in this position not once but twice, Reagan/Bush and Bush/Cheney both did it in a convincing manner. When is America going to learn this is the republican standard economic policy?

Romney the debt man.

If Romney is going to create 12 million jobs then THE GOVERNMENT will need to step in with tons of tax dollars to make it happen. Romney and the repub party have always said no to government tax dollars creating USA jobs. Romney cannot do it.

Those 11 million jobs lost during the Bush/Cheney financial scandal went abroad with no intention of coming back so I read.

As investigative journalist Matt Taibbi began to cover the Romney campaign earlier this year he was listening to Romney’s stump speech about debt.

Mr. Taibbi claims Romney created this whole image of a prairie fire of debt raging across America that literally could burn children alive in the future. Taibbi kept thinking to himself, does nobody know what Mitt Romney did for a living and how he made his money?

Matt Taibbi: “Mitt Romney is unabashedly a leverage buyout artist. And a leverage buyout artist is a person who borrows lots of money that other companies have to pay back. And that’s the simple formula.”

To which I say often spells bye bye USA industry.

Gov Richard Perry called Romney a vulture capitalist which impacts all upper middle class,middle class and lower income people regardless of party affiliation.

Upper middle class,middle class and lower income republicans have also lost jobs and homes in the two nationwide home loan scandals created by reckless economics such as leveraged buyout mania.

Topple 5 years, 7 months ago

I often have trouble reading comments on this site...

I've never met anyone who spoke the way some people do here.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Facts - Under Obama

Median income down, gas prices up, unemployment up, debt and deficit up. Debt just hit 16 trillion under Obama.

Facts that can be spun by the left but cannot be disputed.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Those facts are true over the last 30 years, most of which was R led, as well, with a little blip during Clinton's administration, in which the economy was great, deficits cut, and a surplus left.

Americans have such narrow windows of awareness, generally speaking.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Jafs - spin away, but the numbers speak for themselves. Under Obama these things occurred and they are worse now then when he took office.

Why not say compared to the the Great Depression he is doing a superb job.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

As I said, narrow windows of awareness.

What spin precisely do you mean? I merely stated facts, as far as I can tell.

Obama inherited a huge financial meltdown, probably the worst since the Great Depression, and despite continual obstruction and opposition from R in Congress, managed to keep us out of another depression, and we've seen some gradual improvement in a variety of ways economically.

Is he perfect? Of course not, nobody is, but for me he's clearly better than the other major alternative, just as he was last election.

You know, it would be interesting to have a D president and a D Congress with a filibuster proof majority for a few years. If, after that time, the economy still sucks, I'd acknowledge that their policies don't work well.

There's also an interesting chart that shows, over a wide window of time, that the economy does better with D administrations than R ones.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

LOL, I see you took my advice and compared it to the Great Depression.

The spin is to deflect the issue from the question of whether we are better off today then when Obama took office. The objective answer is no, but you deflect the answer by saying how bad it would have been which can't be proved or disproved.

You spin it by blaming it on the Republicans, but the D's controlled Congress in the first year. And, a good leader will bring both sides together - Clinton did it, Reagan did it, heck Bush even did it.

The is just no way that you can prove he kept us from a depression - that is spin to deflect from the anwer that we are worse off today then when he took office. I provided measures to prove my point. Tell me if they are wrong and give me some other objective measures to prove your point and I'll agree with you.

Let me ask you this - if the mess that Obama inherited was probably worse than the Great Depression and it is worse now, what does that say about Obama?

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

That's not "spin" - it's simply looking at the issue from another perspective.

Some economic indicators are in fact better now than when he took office, others perhaps not.

The D had a filibuster proof majority for a couple of months here and a couple of months there over the 1st 2 years.

The divisions in our country have existed for a long time, and none of the presidents you mentioned brought us together, in my recollection.

You can't prove it, but most non partisan economists I've read have said that's their view of the issue.

I didn't say it was "worse" than the GD, I said it was the worst financial meltdown since then.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

jafs, I rarely agree with you, but I do respect you. You are one of the few posters that can discuss an issue so I ask this question not to try to prove you wrong, but to perhaps learn something.

You mention economic indicators that are better, can you share what they are?

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Thanks - I also respect you for your ability to discuss issues without resorting to personal attacks.

The LTE points out a number of indicators that have moved in a positive direction since Obama took office.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 7 months ago

most of the last 30 years were Republican led? Really? Well, lets see....30 years ago we were in the middle of two terms for a Republican, which had just followed a one-termer Democrat. Bush came through as a one termer Republican in 1988, which were followed up by two terms of a Democrat, which were followed up by two terms of a Republican, which are now looking to be followed up by two terms of a Democrat. Since 1976 this country has seen (by actual count) 16 Democrat years and 20 Republican years. Should Obama be re-elected, which current polling numbers suggest is likely, the last 40 years of this country's history are going to be split 50/50 between the two parties. Hardly a one-sided problem.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago



We had Reagan, Bush1, and Bush2, broken by Clinton. And, now a few years of Obama. By my reckoning, that makes about 11 years of D, and about 20 years of R.

Since 20 is about 2x as large as 11, I'd say my comment is accurate - most of the last 30 years have been R presidents.

Topple 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm not confident you can use gas prices rising as an attack on Obama's administration. If there's one thing gas prices do, it's go up.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree that gas prices alone is not a good indication of whether we are better off today or not. You're right they do go up. Is the rise significant and attributable to Obama's policies? Maybe, maybe not. But, they are still significantly higher than when he took office.

Glenn Reed 5 years, 7 months ago


"Yeah, gas prices might not be Obama's fault (any more than any president's fault) BUT WE'LL BLAME HIM ANYWAY!"


Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Glenn, not exactly. Gas prices are an indication of how well people are doing. When gas prices increase people have less money for other things so they are not doing as well as when prices were lower.

The president cannot directly control prices, but they do have an indirect effect on them with their energy and regulatory policies.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

The president doesn't have any control over gas prices. So even though president Bush had no influence over gas prices, they went over $4 a gallon more than once while he was president.

repaste 5 years, 7 months ago

The car went over the cliff before Obama took office, it did not hit the ground till he was in office - that is not disputed. Blaming the financial collapse on Obama would be spinning fast. The deficit quadrupled under Reagan, decreased under Clinton, doubled during Bush 2.

independent_rebel 5 years, 7 months ago

The economy also was on the uptick at the end of the first President Bush, but nobody ever hears about that. Clinton got credit for an economy his policies had nothing to do with, with the exception of welfare reform (and the key feature of that reform is being cast aside by Obama--forcing people back to work). The real reason for the good economy that occurred for much of the Clinton years was the "dot com" boom.

chet_larock 5 years, 7 months ago

Some people don't understand how to look at a paycheck or how taxes work. They also don't seem to understand inertia, and have an amazing ability to ignore 66% of the last 12 years. To some, this country was an unspoiled land of perfect freedom before Obama and his Kenyan Muslim army snuck in and broke it in just 3 1/2 years. Better off than Sep 08? Maybe not.. Than Jan 09? It's not really debatable.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 7 months ago

The good doctor clearly hasn't experienced the Medicare cuts and new Medicaid payments for healthcare services. I'm sure in time when those cuts reach a point they don't pay his bills he will be the first to kick those Medicaid patients out of his office and down the road to a welfare clinic like health access. As for being better off today compared to any point in the past 30 years I'm not even on the same planet and if Obama is our future I long for the hard work and life of yesteryear when anyone who wanted a job had one. We don't deserve a hand out we deserve a ladder up.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

There are no Medicare cuts. Both Obama and Ryan are referring to Medicare savings. The ACA redirects those savings to other parts of the ACA. Ryan proposes to use the Medicare savings to pay down the deficit.

The lump sum payments possible through ACA would allow clinics and hospitals to budget their resources. (May Clinic model) This allows a clinic to avoid fee for service, which we have now.

chet_larock 5 years, 7 months ago

Hell, even Romney thinks we're better off.

INGRAHAM: You’ve also noted that there are signs of improvement on the horizon in the economy. How do you answer the president’s argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign if you yourself are saying it’s getting better?

ROMNEY: Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession, there is always a recovery. […]

INGRAHAM: Isn’t it a hard argument to make if you’re saying, like, OK, he inherited this recession, he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, and now, we’re seeing more jobs, but vote against him anyway? Isn’t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?

ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the truth.

"life of yesteryear when anyone who wanted a job had one." You mean the past 30 years when wages stagnated and wealth inequality widened to a point not seen since the Great Depression? Perhaps people should consider the effect of the idea behind Mitt's previous company (not that he still doesn't still profit from said company shipping jobs overseas though we couldn't know for sure since he hasn't been forthcoming with his TAXES) and others like it had on jobs here in America. See also: how demand for products is what drives companies to produce, thus creating jobs, and who really drives demand. (Hint: "It's the Middle Class, Stupid!" - James Carville). That's the name of a book, not an insult to any one of our lovely LJWorld neighbors.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 7 months ago

Got more than 2$ a day in your pocket? You are in the top 1/2 of world income. Things are tough but we are whiners.

Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

when exalted texas dummies make huge messes it takes some time to emerge. when countries like greece and ireland drink the goldman sachs cheap money poison and screw up the world economy it takes some time to dig out. when all of us don't have george romney or preston bush as an atm it takes time to dig out. see the message here?

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

tusch.....Obama is not digging us out. We are not moving forward, but going backwards. We are worse off today than we were when he took office in 2009.

Even hard core democrats can't say we're better off. Of course they follow it up with excuses and blame Bush, but at least they acknowledge we're not better off.

fiddleback 5 years, 7 months ago

To paraphrase the GOP ethos, fred, if you're not better off, that's just your problem. I got mine, Jack!

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Doc - you're entitled to your opinion but a prominent democrat, Governor O'Malley MD, said that he doesn't believe we're better off today.

gbulldog 5 years, 7 months ago

The author needs to do more research, as the reality of this economy and the way it is being handled appears to be following the path to increase the control over the masses. Tlhe author apparently is well paid and does not understand that it is very difficult to make ends meet, nor the cost of borrowing money? Why not do a study of pay day loan companies? That way you have another subject to blame Bush for.

fiddleback 5 years, 7 months ago

The cost of borrowing money? Interest rates have hardly ever stayed this low. Pay day loans are a trap avoided by all but the most desperate and stupid.

shawnsmith 5 years, 7 months ago

Dr. Bruner, You are cheerleading the whiners again. Deep debt never helps. Mr Oboma has us down another 5 TRILLION. Better off?

voevoda 5 years, 7 months ago

If you can't even spell the president's name right, why should any reader take your opinion seriously?

ferrislives 5 years, 7 months ago

Some of you must have forgotten the basics taught in Government class. There are three branches of government: the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch.

The Executive Branch could not have signed off on anything without the help of the Legislative Branch (who actually writes the legislation), and without the official backing of the Judicial Branch. So now a lot of those same people who asked for stimulus money, voted for the auto-bailout, and wrote similar legislation to that touted by the President are now whining about the same positions they themselves held not long ago (Paul Ryan anyone?).

Maybe they should invest more of their hard-earned money (with a 13% tax rate) into a new flip-flop company. God knows the world always needs more flip-flops.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

ferrislives - you make a valid point. All three branches do deserve the blame or credit as the case may be. Be sure to tell this to those that criticize Bush for the things he did. He couldn't have screwed up the country as bad as he did without the help of Congress and the SCOTUS.

ferrislives 5 years, 7 months ago

My point exactly. And in turn, I hope to see you and others spread the blame around in future postings.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

I am a bit partisan at times, but I really do try to give credit where it is due and put the blame where it is due. I was as critical of Bush as I am of Obama, critical of Brownback as well.

We all have different filters and lens that affect our perspective, but we should try hard to remember that we should not be on the R or D team, but the people team and hold all elected and appointed officials accountable. And to apply the same standards of accountability to all of them regardless of party affliation.

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 7 months ago

Stay tuned in folks, it will get better in the up coming days-----------

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 7 months ago

Great letter, Steve. Good to know my doc is "right on"!

Romney is a liar and a flop flipper. On a video on the convention coverage last night he was shown with Ted Kennedy and was roundly supporting a "woman's right to choose". Really!!

Romney is a clueless wok who "adapts" to the political flavor of the hour. His lies about the President cancelling the requirement for work to obtain welfare is well known, his comments about "let Detroit fall into bankrupcy" and many other ZRepuvlican mantras is only further proof that we do not need this idiot in any public office. Maybe his sort of misinformation and fraudulance is adequate for his church followers, but most regular people should be distressed and dismayed that this guy has ascended to the nomination for the highest job in the land.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

We are most certainly better off than if McCain had won, and Republicans had had a free hand in dismantling the middle class over the last three plus years. And we're certainly better off today than we will be if RyanRomney are elected, and the full-speed dismantling of the middle class is given real legs, accompanied by a dismantling of the EPA, allowing the poisoning of millions, and accelerating us off the global warming cliff.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I detect just a wee bit of hyperbole in your post, Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

No hyperbole whatsoever. The middle class has been shrinking steadily for the last thirty years, specifically because of (primarily) Republican policies that overwhelmingly favor the wealthy-- policies that RyanRomney would put on steroids. And the willful ignorance that powerful special interests pay the Republicans to have w/respect to the environment would also be put on steroids. Talk about leaving the next generation an unpayable debt.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Opinion, not fact, but you are entitled to your opinion.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Care to supply me with some facts that show my opinion to be wrong?

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Bozo, you're so silly. Really, come on. You make a statement that is opinion and you want me to supply facts to prove you wrong. There are no objective measures or facts that can prove you right or you wrong.

Let me turn the tables and see how you respond. Under McCain, the debt and deficit would not be as high as it is now. Bozo, now prove me wrong - not just your opinion, but some undisputable facts to prove me wrong.

Opinions are good and there is nothing wrong with supporting Obama, but don't let the Kool Aid cloud your objectivity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

If McCain and the Republicans had been in control for the last few years, this is what would have happened.

The recession would be worse because they would have taken even more extreme austerity measures. Taxes on the wealthy would have been reduced even lower than they are today. Both of these measures would have increased the deficit, not reduced it.

Medicare, SS and Medicaid and all other forms of the social safety net would have been slashed, (but not enough to counteract the reduced tax collections) and unemployment would be even higher than it is today, as austerity measures exacerbated the downward economic spiral.

But the wealthy would be doing just great while the rest of the population gasps for air.

This is precisely what the election of RyanRomney would bring, especially if they get control of the House and Senate.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

okay I read and reread you post and I see your opinion but no facts to back it up.

Are you able to read minds or see into the future? Of course you aren't so it is like I said, this is opinion not fact.

Opinions are just opinions and belong to the individual. They can not be proven or disproven. Cite facts and we can talk.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

We've been following the same policies for the last thirty years, and they've led to a massive transfer of wealth to the already wealthy, and a shrinking middle class. Doing the same thing, on steroids, and expecting a different result is, as the saying goes, insane.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Here is the real question everyone needs to answer for themselves. it doesn't matter what Bush did and it doesn't matter what Obama did in his first term. The question is who will do a better job in the next four years - Romney, Obama or Johnson (yes, there is a 3rd option).

I will not vote for the lesser of two evils and will voter for Johnson, but for this discussion let's compare Obama and Romney.

We are worse off today than when Obama took office. Unemployment, the debt and the deficit are higher. Everyone has to agree these are bad things so will Obama continue with the same policies that got us to this point or will he do something different? If you believe he can adopt new policies that will work then by all means vote for him.

If you don't believe he will do anything different then vote Romney. Try something new.

If you believe that Romney's policies will make it even worse then vote for Obama.

It really is that simple.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"If you believe that Romney's policies will make it even worse then vote for Obama."

It's pointless to even vote in Kansas, since Romney is assured of winning.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Right - I forgot, principles mean nothing. Johnson has no chance of winning but I feel like I must vote and I must vote for, in my opinion , the best candidate.

But to each their own.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

I'll probably vote for one of the third-party candidates, too, (not Johnson.) But that doesn't mean that my vote will really mean anything in this largely corrupted electoral system.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Your vote may not mean anything in the big scheme of things, but it will mean something in the sense that you are voting and voting for the candidate that you believe is the best one. That means a lot even if they don't win.

lawrencian 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, there is one good reason to mobilize the vote for other candidates: if they win 5% of the popular vote, then they receive federal election funding for the 2016 election!

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

It is simple, and correct, to ask which candidate will be the better president.

In my view, that's Obama, without any question. Romney/Ryan's plans are the same ones that got us into this mess in the first place, over the last 30 years, so they're nothing new.

And, your critique of Obama's policies would be more convincing if the R hadn't obstructed him from the beginning - as I said above, let's give the D full filibuster proof majorities in Congress and a D president. If that combination fails to deliver, then I'll acknowledge their policies aren't good enough.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

jafs, do you think the makeup of Congress will change? I think it is unlikely so we are probably in for four more years of the same things which do not bode well for our country.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

No - it's just a "thought experiment", one in which D policies get full power and responsibility for the outcomes.

Peacemaker452 5 years, 7 months ago

Interesting thought, but (by rough math) since 1945 there have only been 24 years that one party held both houses of Congress and the Presidency. 20 years were Dems, 4 years were Pubs. The experiment seems to have failed every time, I am not sure the country can survive too much more. We may be better off if they just keep obstructing each other.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Maybe, maybe not.

I remember a chart showing that the economy does better with D administrations, and I believe even better when they had both the presidency and Congress.

Peacemaker452 5 years, 7 months ago

Hard to really say since you always have the fence sitters, filibusters....

Dems had both houses and the Presidency for the begining of Obama, 2 years of Clinton and all of the Carter years.

It is interesting that many people like to mention that Clinton built a budget surplus but fail to mention that he did it with 6 years of the Pubs holding both houses.

My disclaimer: I don't support most of the policy decisions of either party, I just enjoy finding info and discussing it.

lawrencian 5 years, 7 months ago

You can hardly use the word "blame" when the FACT that Congress has been more obstructionist than any time in recent history is well documented. If they truly wanted what is best for us, then they would work together with Democrats for COMPROMISE, instead of blocking everything they can at every opportunity.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

The House is Republican controlled. Was there even an effort to make the bills palatable to the DEMS in the Senate? Or, did they send over their usual confrontational stuff?

ferrislives 5 years, 7 months ago

If you believe the President can accomplish things without help from others (e.g. Congress and the Supreme court), then you probably also believe that a man or woman can create and build a business without help from others (e.g. family, banks, employees, and so on). If that was the case, then Browny wouldn't be trying to get so many of his like-minded politicians voted in around Kansas.

Alyosha 5 years, 7 months ago

You're wish isn't likely to come true. It was no error when a majority of the People of the United States — whence true governmental authority comes — chose President Obama. It was the will of the American People.

You might not like it — for whatever your idiosyncratic reasons (see, for instance, your bizarre avatar on this site) — but reality has a way of not caring a whit whether you like it or not.

Obama stands a far greater chance — nearly 3 times the probability — of being re-elected than Romney does of being elected President.

What, RockChalk1977, will you do then, if the majority of Americans once again elect Obama? I presume you will patriotically accept the results, as I will if Romney somehow beats the odds and gets elected.

Also, a President doesn't control Congress. Certainly you learned that in a civics class.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Alyosha - on what do you base your 3 times claim? Past history shows that it is difficult for a president to get elected with an economy this bad and the polls have them even.

Maybe you're right, but I'd like to know on what you base the 3X statement.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

A reader's blog for proof? Heck, I'd might as well take Alyosha's word for it.

If you notice she hasn't come back with any explanation.

fiddleback 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm showing you that there's indeed a mathematical analysis behind what she stated. If you bother to read it, you'll see that Silver is not rooting for either side but analyzing trends and probabilities, probably more thoroughly than you'll find anywhere else.

fiddleback 5 years, 7 months ago

I'd let a little air out of your chest, rockchalk77. It's looking more and more like 2004 when that other aloof Mass. flip-flopper and his pretty boy running mate lost. Except it doesn't even look to be that close.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

True public servants don't obstruct their political opponents to the detriment of the nation.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

jafs, there are two sides to your statement. The GOP legislators who are voting no against Obama policies are following the wishes of their constituents. None of the KS delegation were shy about saying they would vote against Obama and they got elected so they are doing what their constituents want.

No different than the Lawrence delegation voting against Brownback. To many in Lawrence, Brownback's agenda is bad for KS and so it is good to vote against it. The same applies to the nation, to many, Obama's agenda is bad for the nation so it is a good thing to vote against it.

The truth depends on which side of the coin you stand.

Trumbull 5 years, 7 months ago

Very sad. When I was growing up I thought of legislators as I would a judge. They would analyze a bill and vote to the best of their conscience and what they believed was best.

Thank goodness for the supreme court. This seems to be the only operable branch of government.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Trumbull - really? The SCOTUS is just as political as the other two branches. Look at their major decisions; they more often than not based on party lines.

if they truly analyzed an issue based on the Constitution then there would not be as many 5-4 decisions.

All branches of our government are corupt.

Peacemaker452 5 years, 7 months ago

This would be the Supreme Court that has said:

Blacks are not people Corporations are people Never mind, blacks are people Separate but equal is OK Warrantless searches are OK as long as the government says it really needed to Never mind, separate but equal is bad Holding citizens of Japanese decent in camps without a conviction is OK Holding any citizen in camps without a conviction is OK as long as you call them a terrorist

Need I go on?

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Except that many of the things Obama has proposed have been R proposals in the past, but suddenly they're terrible since he's a D.

I'd say that elected officials do have a responsibility to represent their constituents, but they also have a responsibility to work for the good of the nation as a whole. If they abdicate that, as they seem to have done, then we have partisan bickering instead of working together.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

You make valid points, but let's look at it from the other side. The House has passed budget and bills that the Democrat controlled Senate won't even consider. Why not bring them to the floor for debate, amendments and a vote? Isn't not even considering them obstruction too. If the House bad is not perfect then amend it and take it to committee to see if a compromise can be hammered out.

My point is let's be fair. Both sides are not working together.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

The country is clearly better off than four years ago, in large part because of Obama's actions.

Yes, unemployment is still high, but overall the economy has stabilized and has started to grow again. Just look at the stock market.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

The interest rate on our mortgage is really low, now. My 401k is doing well. From what I have been reading - from S&P to Federal Reserve and various news media-, it's the inability of congress to formulate a revenue and cost cutting plan that has business and personal spending at a low. They need a plan, stability. Not, the unstable congress we have now.

Richard Payton 5 years, 7 months ago

16 trillion and growing makes each man and woman owe $50,000 for their share of our debt. Doesn't four years make a difference.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

The federal deficit is not increasing because of more spending. It's more of a bad credit card debt. The interest keeps building up. We're having trouble getting on top of it. I think I read somewhere that spending under president Obama has been less than under president Bush. The cost of our military interventions were not part of the budget, thus, the costs add to our debt liability. That is probably a factor, too.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Am I better off now than I was 3.5 years ago? Yes, a little. Of course, I did a little better during the previous 8 years and the 8 years prior to that. Hmmm.

Alyosha 5 years, 7 months ago

For those actually interested in facts, not blind ideology (unlike the editorial writer referenced in the letter above), yes, we are better off.

See, for instance:

Being wrong is a human trait, not one of only a single political party. Being reluctant to face facts is a human trait, not one of only a single political persuasion.

But the capacity to learn, admit one's faulty thinking, and actually accord one's beliefs with reality is also a human trait. May we all work towards that goal instead of lamely believing our own particular party or political persuasion has a monopoly on truth.

Smarten up.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

How does your chart show we're better off. As I read the chart unemployment is a little over 8% Dec 2011 and just over 6% in 2008. Am I reading the chart wrong, if not, then how does that prove we're better off today?

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

I think you're reading it wrong.

By the end of Bush's term, unemployment was over 9% according to the chart, and today a little over 8%, which is better.

Why would you ignore the huge mess Bush left us with at the end of his term in office?

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

I may be reading the chart wrong, but if so, the chart itself is wrong. Unemployment wasn't at 9% at the end of 2008. I've looked and sources vary a bit, but none close to 9%.

Here is an excerpt from one source. I tried to pick one that was not a pro-Bush.

The U.S. economy lost 524,000 jobs in December, the 12th straight month of decline. “Nearly 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008, with 1.9 million destroyed in just the past four months.” It’s the biggest job loss in any calendar year since 1945. The unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent, the highest since early 1993 — just after the last Bush left office. USA Today charts the job losses over the past year:

Here is a link to a graph.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

I can't get into a battle of the sources, it's too tiring.

Either Alyosha's or yours is wrong, they can't both be right, that's for sure.

Do you dispute that Bush left a huge mess when he left office? That seems clearly true to me.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

jafs, I've never disputed that Bush left a mess, but as far as sources if you do a quick google you'll see lots of info that suggests that Bush didn't leave with unemployment at 9 %.

I think the chart may be right as some sources say it was around 6% when Bush left and the chart may show the Dec of the year which would then match.

What is interesting is tha Alyosha doesn't defend her source.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

That doesn't make sense.

Even though the election is in November, the president continues to serve until the end of the year. So when Bush left = December.

If I have the time/energy, I'll do a little research. It would be nice if Alyosha provided a source for us.

Ok, I've found a variety of numbers, anywhere from about 7% to about 8%, but none at or above 9%. Alyosha, source?

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Okay, I realize this is from Fox, but they list their sources and it jives with the other sources I've found. And, if it was not credible then you know lots of people would be calling them on it.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

"But the capacity to learn, admit one's faulty thinking, and actually accord one's beliefs with reality is also a human trait."

Alyosha, good word to live by. Are you ready to admit that unemployement was not higher at the end of Bush' term then it is now under Obama?

fiddleback 5 years, 7 months ago

I'll gladly acknowledge that fact, so long as you're not blaming Obama for the bottoming out in 2009. Otherwise, it's like you threw a rock off a skyscraper and blame the guy left on the roof when it hits the ground.

I suggest you start with fiscal year 2010 (July 2009) since the stimulus was being implemented by then.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

You're right that it probably isn't fair to blame Obama for 2009 since it is hard to put the brakes on something that had momentum.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Here is a lie being told by the democrats to make Obama look good. It is about the jobs he says he created.

However, CNN fact-checked that claim and found it to be "not the whole picture." Instead, CNN found that there has been a net increase of just 300,000 nonfarm payroll jobs since Obama took office. And if you count government jobs, there are actually 400,000 fewer people working today than in January 2009.

When Democrats use the 4.5 million jobs number, they're referring to jobs created after the economy bottomed out in January 2010, one year after Obama took office. That time frame excludes the worst job losses, which took place in 2009, and which many Democrats argue were the result of Bush policies.

CNN concludes: "The figure of 4.5 million jobs is accurate if you look at the most favorable period and category for the administration. But overall, there are still fewer people working now than when Obama took office at the height of the recession."

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, that's disturbing.

But, you left out the last part of the article, which points out that Obama's record on job creation is better than both Bushes at this point in their presidency.

Also, it seems very plausible to me that things continued to get worse for a bit after Bush left before Obama could stabilize them - it takes a little time to fix things, and they were struggling with how to do that.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

I did include the link so everyone could read the entire article. My point was only that Obama and his supporters are not pure and innocent, but also mislead. Just as Ryan should be called on his 2:50 marathon, Obama needs to be called on misinformation too.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree - they should all tell the truth.

lunacydetector 5 years, 7 months ago

I've never met a doctor that wasn't filthy rich, so I'm sure Dr Bruner is better off than 99% of the people out there. But thank you doctor, I'm glad I'm better off since you say so.

If I'm sick and the treatment isn't making get well, I'm glad there are doctors out there who will tell me I'm getting better when I'm not.

hipgrrrrl 5 years, 7 months ago

Naw - they won't tell you you're getting better. They'll tell you that it's all in your head and send you off for psychiatric help. Then, you'll be prescribed some sort of drug that fogs you up so badly that you think you're getting better. Of course, when you go off said drug it, you'll realize that it was just a band-aid with lasting residue and your problem remains.


yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's check back with Brownback in three years.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

We are far better off than four years ago.

Remember back to that time. Credit frozen. Banks failing. Auto industry on the brink. Hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost a week. Stock market at 6000.

Obama saved the economy, and is doing the right things to keep it growing.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, upon reflection, the better question would be "Are we better off than we would have been if McCain had been elected?"

And, will we be better off with Obama or Romney over the next 4 years.

Of course, those are hard questions to answer.

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Who knows. I know I'd probably not be happy if McCain was president. While I can respect McCain, he irritated the heck out me. I do like that a reporter was asking him for the reasons he lost the election, giving him opportunities to make excuses, but he simply said it was my fault. I didn't run a good enough campaign. Got to respect a man who takes responsibility.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, upon reflection, the better question would be "Are we better off than we would have been if McCain had been elected?"

And, will we be better off with Obama or Romney over the next 4 years?

Of course, those are hard questions to answer.

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

Better off? Really?

•5.1% - The current unemployment rate for government workers, which is the lowest unemployment rate for any of 17 different categories and subcategories of industries for which employment is tracked and published on a month-to-month basis by the Department of Labor. •8.1% - The current national unemployment rate, which dropped .2% because 368,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force in August. Do you understand what you just heard? These people –368,000 of your neighbors and friends – just said the hell with it and gave up. •8.4% - What the unemployment rate would be if the labor force participation rate had stayed the same as just last month – if those people had stayed in the job market and kept looking for work. •11.2% - What the unemployment rate would be if we had the same number of people either working or looking for work now as we did when Obama took office. •14.7% - The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes all of those who are unemployed and under-employed (part-time workers who want full-time work). •39 - The average number of weeks that workers find themselves out of the jobs market (the long-term unemployed). •43 - The number of consecutive months with joblessness above 8%. •63.5% - The current labor participation rate, which is the lowest share of Americans over age 16 in the workforce since September 1981. •2025 - If we continue to create jobs at a rate of just 96,000 per month, it will take until 2025 just to return to pre-recession unemployment levels. •41,000 – The number of jobs created for the prior two months were revised lower by 41,000 jobs. •96,000 - The total number of nonfarm jobs created in August. •119,000 - There were 119,000 fewer Americans employed in August than there were in July. •173,000 – The increase in the number of food stamp recipients for the last month for which we have data (June). Compare that to the number of jobs being created … •250,000 - The number of jobs per month needed to have significant job creation impact and bring down the unemployment rate. •368,000 - The number of Americans who dropped out of the labor force in August. •5 million – The number of jobs still needed to get back to the point where we were in the end of 2007. •20 million - The number of unemployed, underemployed and discouraged workers who’ve left the labor force altogether. •31 million – That’s the population growth since 2000, yet fewer Americans are working today than in April 2000.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, really. How is your retirement plan doing?

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