Recovery Bummer

Sep. 6, 2013

THE FOUNDATION

“This gave me occasion to observe, that when Men are employ’d they are best contented.” –Benjamin Franklin

ECONOMY

Recovery Bummer

At first blush, today’s jobs report once again seems to contain good news: 169,000 jobs added and unemployment dropping a tenth of a point to 7.3%, the lowest since December 2008. But beware what we call the “headline” numbers. The Leftmedia employes them to bolster the sorry record of their man in the White House.

Digging deeper, we find trouble quickly. July numbers were revised down from 162,000 to just 104,000, and June was revised down for the second time. The unemployment rate fell once again only because so many people are giving up looking for work – 312,000, or nearly twice the number who found work – and they aren’t counted in the report. The labor participation rate fell to 63.2%, the lowest since Jimmy Carter’s malaise days of August 1978. If labor participation remained at the same level it was in January 2009, the headline unemployment rate would be 10.8%. It would be 7.7% if participation was the same as just one year ago.

As for the U-6 fuller measure, Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey observes that it “dropped from 14.0% to 13.7%, its lowest level in five years.” But, he warns, “[T]hat has to do with the shrinking workforce, too. In order to be counted in U-6, workers have to be at least marginally attached to the labor force. That’s defined as ‘those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months.’”

Meanwhile, Barack Obama and his crack shot economic team promised that if we just passed the “stimulus” unemployment would be 5% by now.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Russian ‘Reset’ Needs a Reset

Barack Obama, attempting to drum up support for an ineffectual assault on Syria, joined the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, this week, where he’s considered little more than a nuisance and a source of endless jokes. Sort of like here. Obama launched his “reset” with Russia when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attempting to use a clever prop, presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a giant “reset” button, only to be told that the Russian word “Peregruzka” printed on the button didn’t translate to “reset” but “overloaded.”

And it’s been all down hill since then.

Unlike George W. Bush, who clearly commanded the respect of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama appears wimpy – and the former KGB agent has taken full advantage of his adversary’s weakness. Indeed, Obama demonstrated to the world prior to his re-election his willingness to subordinate our national interests to those of Russia when he was caught on an open mike assuring then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, “After my election I’ll have more flexibility.”

In regard to Syria, Putin said of Secretary of State John Kerry’s congressional testimony that he “lies openly.” Putin claims – plausibly – that al-Qaida and other Islamist insurgents were actually behind the chemical attacks, endeavoring to bait the U.S. into striking Syria, which will unify Islamists throughout the region. Putin is now threatening to provide Syria with missile defense capabilities if Obama proceeds with an attack.

Of course, the State Department dismissed Putin’s charge, but could Russian intelligence in the region be credible in regard to the rising Islamist threat? Perhaps as credible as the specific intelligence Russia shared with us on the Boston bombers long before their murderous attack at the Boston Marathon – warnings that the U.S. largely ignored.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

News From the Swamp: It’s Budget Time Again

The federal government has once again reached its debt ceiling. And the new fiscal year is fast approaching, with Congress still miles away from a budget deal. Sound familiar? The only thing that seems to change in this merry-go-round is the size of the problem. The debt ceiling is set to max out at $16.7 trillion about the time that Fiscal 2014 begins in October, linking the debt ceiling hike with next year’s budget.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wants spending cuts to offset any hike in the debt limit, but Barack Obama and his sidekick, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, believe that Boehner and his fellow Republicans are merely playing games with America’s full faith and credit. Newsflash: There isn’t much faith in America’s credit anymore. The real game being played here is with America’s fiscal future, as Democrats seek unaccountable, unlimited funding for bloated and unsustainable entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Boehner’s call for spending offsets is not new. Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton all entered into budget agreements that included debt ceiling hikes. That is not Obama’s style, though. Despite the recent modest budget-cutting success of the sequester, he’s packed on $6 trillion in debt since taking office, and he hasn’t the slightest interest in dialing it back. Instead, he insists that Washington’s problem is not about spending but about revenue. And his NeoCom friends in Congress operate from the same assumption. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) wants a “balanced approach” to the budget, which generally means raising more taxes, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) still claims that asking “the wealthiest Americans to pay their faire share” will solve Washington’s spending issues. In other words, things aren’t looking up. Unless, of course, one means the debt.

CULTURE

Inspiration: A Good Deed Goes a Long Way

How about some good news? Several years ago, country singer Tim McGraw released a song titled “Live Like You Were Dying.” McGraw offered both fun and thoughtful answers to the question many of us ponder: What would you do with your last days on earth? One woman in Auburn, Maine, answered that question with an act of kindness that will be remembered long after she’s gone.

The woman went to a local Kmart and paid off 16 layaway orders that struggling families hadn’t yet paid. “She paid off 16 layaways in cash, about $3,000,” said store manager Joyce Beane. “Then she said, ‘I’m not feeling well. I need to leave.’” The woman only explained that she was extremely ill and wanted to do something good before she died. “I wanted to cry,” Beane added. “It was that powerful.”

Rina Thibeau was one recipient of this gracious gift. She’s a grandmother working nights as a janitor, and she also runs a charity called Christmas Smilez that gives to needy kids. The gifts she had on layaway at Kmart were for these kids, meaning the generosity of the “Layaway Angel” will go even further. Beane concluded, “It takes something like this to make you think, ‘Oh, my word. If I were facing the end of my life, would I take time to reach out and help people?’” Only if you live like you were dying.

BRIEF OPINION

Political Futures

National Review’s Jim Geraghty: “As we await Congress’s decision on authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Syria, Democrats are suddenly realizing that their foreign-policy brain-trust completely misjudged the world. Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no ‘international community’ ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be. You can pin this on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Susan Rice, but most of all, the buck stops with the president. Those of us who scoffed a bit at a state senator ascending to the presidency within four years on a wave of media hype and adoration are not quite so shocked by this current mess. We never bought into this notion that getting greater cooperation from our allies, and less hostility from our enemies, was just a matter of giving this crew the wheel and letting them practice, as Hillary Clinton arrogantly declared it, ‘smart power.’”

Re: The Left

Columnist Ann Coulter: “As for chemical weapons – the casus belli for the current drums of war – in a matter of hours on March 16, 1988, Saddam Hussein slaughtered roughly 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja with mustard, sarin and VX gas. The victims blistered, vomited or laughed hysterically before dropping dead. Thousands more would die later from the after-effects of these poisons. Saddam launched nearly two dozen more chemical attacks on the Kurds, resulting in at least 50,000 deaths, perhaps three times that many. That’s to say nothing of the tens of thousands of Iranians Saddam killed with poison gas. Indeed, in making the case against Assad recently, Secretary of State John Kerry said his use of chemical weapons put him in the same league as ‘Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.’ Not even close – but may we ask why Kerry sneered at the war that removed such a monster as Hussein?”

Essential Liberty

White House Dossier’s Keith Koffler: “When you start turning desirable commodities into fundamental rights, you must, by definition, have more government, because only government can guarantee ‘rights.’ And you know what that means: More red tape, more bureaucracy, more rules, and of course more policing, for you cannot be denied your ‘rights.’ Choice is eventually removed from the equation, because federally written standards must apply to ensure that no one’s rights are being abused or denied. This is not what America is about. The founders, in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, specifically do not guarantee pleasant outcomes. Seeking to limit government and preserve freedom, the rights they provided … guarantee only the means to achieve desired ends and create a successful life. … With Congress failing to fulfill what he thinks is its constitutional role to cooperate with him, Obama has been achieving his ends by fiat and vows to step up his use of executive power. And why shouldn’t he – if you are being denied your rights? … [W]hen rights become something the government can grant you without changing the Constitution, then rights are something the government can take away too.”

For more, visit The Right Opinion.

CHRONICLE QUOTES

Upright

Rep. Jeff Duncan: “The same administration that was seemingly so quick to involve the U.S. in Syria now was reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal to attempt to rescue the four brave Americans that fought for their lives in Benghazi. Mr. Kerry, you have never been one that’s advocated for anything other than caution when involving U.S. forces in past conflicts. The same is true for the president and the vice president. Is the power of the executive branch so intoxicating that you would abandon past caution in favor of pulling the trigger on a military response so quickly?”

Demo-gogues

Barack Obama: “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. … [M]y credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress' credibility’s on the line.”

The BIG Lies

John Kerry: “[The Syrian opposition] has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership, and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution.”

Kerry: “I just don’t agree that a majority [of the Syrian opposition] are al-Qa'ida and the bad guys. That’s not true. There are about 70,000 to 100,000 oppositionists. … Maybe 15 percent to 25 percent might be in one group or another who are what we would deem to be bad guys.”

Kerry, who voted “yes,” now says he opposed Iraq: “You know, Senator Chuck Hagel, when he was senator, Senator Chuck Hagel, now secretary of Defense, and when I was a senator, we opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq, but we know full well how that evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given.”

Village Idiots

Clintonista James Carville blames Bush for Syria: “I think what really is freaking people out is the incompetence of the Bush administration in Iraq. … [T]he Iraq thing is why people have so much trepidation about going into Syria.”

Dezinformatsia

The Los Angeles Times: “Since Democrats led the passage of civil rights legislation that marchers pushed for in 1963, Republicans have struggled to recover with black voters, leaving a stark racial divide in American politics.”

History Lesson: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 received greater support from Republicans than Democrats, both in the House and in the Senate. Senate Democrats, in fact, staged an 83-day filibuster in opposition to the measure.

This Week’s ‘Braying Jackass’ Award

Michigan State University (MSU) professor William S. Penn: “[Republicans] don’t wanna pay taxes because they’ve already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could. … Republicans are not a majority in this country anymore. They’re a bunch of dead white people. Or dying white people.”

Short Cuts

Comedian Jay Leno: “Vice President Joe Biden said today that ‘Syria must be held accountable.’ Unfortunately, the Obama administration has never employed an accountant, so they have no idea how to do that.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team