IBD’s Merline, “Obama Recovery Turns 5: Are You Better Off?”

In a speech last week in Delaware, President Obama was positively bursting with pride about what his policies have produced since the economic recovery started five years ago.

“Our businesses have now added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months,” he said. “Construction and housing are rebounding. The auto industry is booming. … Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since September of 2008.”

Obama said that “the decisions we made — not only to rescue our economy, but to start rebuilding it on a firmer foundation — those decisions are starting to pay off.”

He continued: “By almost every economic measure, we’re doing a whole lot better now than we were when I came into office.”

If all of what Obama claims is true, that certainly hasn’t sunk in with the public.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, for example, is lower today (at 45.6) than it was in June 2009, the month that marks the official end of the last recession (when it stood at 50.8).

Just 38% of the public say they’re satisfied with the direction of the country, down from 51.5% in June 2009. Just 19% think the economy will improve over the next six months, compared with 34% five years ago.

Even more startling, five years after the recession ended, 45% think the economy is still contracting; more than half (52%) say it isn’t improving.

What do these people know that Obama doesn’t?

What Obama didn’t say in his speech is that the recovery he has overseen — which started six months after he took office — also has been the weakest on record since World War II.

Real per-capita GDP is up just 6% since the recovery started, and if the economy had merely kept pace with the average postwar recovery, total GDP would be $1.6 trillion bigger than it is today.

Job growth is about half the average pace of the previous 10 recoveries — which translates into 7 million fewer jobs than an average recovery would have produced.

Nor did Obama point out that, as a result of this anemic growth, many Americans are doing a whole lot worse than they were when Obama’s economic recovery began five years ago.

Real median household income is down almost 4% from where it was when the recovery started in June 2009, according to Sentier Research, which tracks such data monthly. During the recession itself, household income dropped only 2.6%, Sentier data show.

Real median weekly earnings for full-time workers are also down 3% since Q2 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At the same time, the prices for basics like food and gasoline have climbed much faster than the 10% overall inflation rate. Milk is 25% more expensive; apples are 26% more. Meat prices have climbed 27%; eggs, 33%. Gasoline costs a whopping 40% more.

Earlier this year, the financial website Interest.com published a report finding that a median-income household could no longer afford to buy the “average priced” new car or truck in 24 of the country’s 25 largest metro areas.

Unfortunately, the value of a home — the biggest asset most families are likely to own — has barely budged. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index climbed 13% since 2009, putting it just a hair above the inflation rate.

Other indicators that things have gotten a whole lot worse for a whole lot of people since June 2009 follow:

More poverty: There were 2.9 million more people in poverty in 2012 — the latest annual Census Bureau figures available — than in 2009. And the number getting food stamps climbed 11 million from June 2009 to June 2014.

More are quitting the labor force: In the past five years, 11.4 million people dropped out of the labor force entirely, while the number of people employed climbed only 6.2 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Longer average unemployment: Those without jobs are worse off, on average, than they were five years ago, with the average jobless spells going from 23.9 weeks to 33.5 weeks.

Much bigger debt: The national debt per person is 40% higher than it was five years ago.

A weaker Social Security program: Future retirees face greater financial risk, as the Social Security program’s outlook deteriorated sharply under Obama. In 2009, the program’s annual report projected that the Social Security Trust Fund had until 2037 before it ran out of money. Now it’s 2030, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The two areas that have done well under Obama are the stock market and corporate profits.

The Dow Jones industrial average has nearly doubled since June 2009 and is trading near record highs. And corporate profits in the first quarter of this year were 52% higher than they were in Q2 2009.

The problem is that, unlike in previous recoveries, those gains have not made it out into the broader economy. That could explain why, in his speeches, Obama doesn’t ask his audience if they are better off than they were five years ago.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/072314-709656-obama-economic-recovery-turns-five-are-you-better-off.htm#ixzz38TtaGUIJ
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“Is the Tea Party good or bad?” – The Public Square


The Tea Party: Good or Bad?

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Who created the Tea Party? Was the Tea Party honestly responsible for the recent victory of David Brat over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor? We’re talking about the differences between perception and reality in American political life this weekend. Join in this enlightening and encouraging discussion on The Public Square®. This conversation just might change the way we all look at politics in America.

Topic: Elections

The Public Square® Long Format Program with hosts Dave Zanotti and Wayne Shepherd


Hobby Lobby Protest – Kevin O’Brien (Cleveland PD)

If patients were the real customers, health costs wouldn’t run a fever:   Kevin O’Brien – The Plain Dealer on July 15, 2014 at 4:46 PM, updated July 15, 2014 at 11:47 PM 

Hobby Lobby Protest

hobby lobby

Protesters took up station outside of a New Jersey Hobby Lobby after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision was announced. Elizabeth Lara, Record of Bergen County via AP

CLEVELAND, Ohio — What American health insurance needs is a new customer: the old customer.

There was a time — and it wasn’t that long ago — when people paid doctors and hospitals on their own. They formed private alliances called mutual aid societies to help one another with big medical bills. Government wasn’t involved. Employers weren’t involved.

Costs were clear and transparent. And because an ocean of third-party money wasn’t sloshing around the medical system, costs were far more reasonable. There was a genuine market for health care, pegged to the means, needs and preferences of health care consumers and health care providers. And every individual had a say in it.

Americans today not only do not remember those times, they may well be incapable of imagining such a system.

They can’t imagine walking into a medical office and seeing prices posted on the wall. Most can’t imagine paying a whole medical bill out of pocket. Many can’t even understand a medical bill, because they’re complicated — some would say intentionally so.

That’s because the bills are written for the customers — who are most emphatically not the patients. The customers are huge insurance companies and government agencies. The customers are the people who pay the bills, which means not the patient.

You and I would not knowingly pay $10 for an aspirin tablet or $2.50 for a Band-Aid during a hospital visit.

If it were up to us whether to pay out of pocket for a battery of tests just to rule out the remotest chance that we would sue a doctor for malpractice, we wouldn’t waste our money or the lab staff’s time.

But those things aren’t up to us. Almost everything we patients do — at whatever prices others decide after the fact — is dictated by a system over which we have no influence. No one in a position of power cares what we think.

The customers are the third-party payers, and the entire system is geared to suit them. You and I? We’re just so much meat on the examining table.

It has been that way since the accident of employer-provided health insurance came to be. It will be worse — probably within a decade, if the laughably misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is allowed to remain in force — when a government-administered system replaces the employer-provided system. Your employer at least has an interest in keeping you healthy and productive. The government, by contrast, has no particular interest in you, specifically, at all.

But imagine with me for a moment. Think about how different the medical system would be if the patients were the customers — if the same people who got the care bought the care.

In all other facets of American consumer life, firm prices are a given. We can go bargain-hunting. We can negotiate. We can choose to pay for top-of-the-line services if we wish. We can walk away and take our business elsewhere. Think AutoTrader.com.

American consumers demand information on quality, service and reliability. Think Consumer Reports or Angie’s List.

American consumers are perfectly capable of buying what they want and not buying what they don’t need. In fact, they’re experts.

Want contraception, just for example? It’s out there in myriad forms for you to buy. Want a Plan B abortion pill? Yours for $35 or so if you’re a smart shopper. If brand matters to you, you might pay more. Contrary to the caterwauling over the Hobby Lobby decision, no one is being “denied” any of that stuff. It’s still on the market.

To buy it or not is your choice, as it should be. Why should anyone other than you have a say in the decision? Why should it be a political issue?

To answer the first question: By setting up employers as the primary buyers of health insurance for Americans, Americans have ceded their power to make decisions about health insurance. To answer the second: By allowing government to involve itself in health insurance and health care, we politicize everything about health insurance and health care. In both cases, we surrender power that should be ours.

When we get sick, instead of looking at costs, options and medical strategies and deciding what to do, we have to wait around for someone else to tell us what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not.

Worried about an employer or the government taking away your options? Demand a health care system that makes the patient the customer.

Don’t want to pay for someone else’s contraceptives? Demand a market-based, consumer-based system under which health insurers must offer the broadest possible range of coverage packages and a la carte add-ons at competitive prices to stay in business — a system that lets you buy what you need without buying what you won’t use.

Your health care ought to be your business and no one else’s.

But to make that happen, you’re going have to wrap your aching head around the admissions that this newfangled idea of employer-provided health insurance hasn’t worked out well economically and that turning it over to the government will be a disaster, both politically and medically.

You can take a $10 aspirin if that makes you feel better, though I don’t know why it would. I get mine for about 7 cents.

O’Brien is The Plain Dealer’s deputy editorial page editor.

“Learning Curve – Are we a one party system?”

Posted on July 13, 2014 by Diana Skaff

“Today, I am a discouraged American. I am a Christian conservative wife, mother, grandmother who felt it time to contribute to the community in the political arena for the first time. I’ve had some pretty shocking lessons in the last year.

I know after talking with people that a majority of people I’ve met think that;

1) politicians are corrupt,
2) the system is corrupt and
3) no one in their right mind wants to associate or become involved in this arena.

But my feeling was and remains: how can you change it from the outside? Avoiding the political class certainly hasn’t proven very successful, now has it? By good moral people avoiding getting involved in politics, the power hungry have taken over. Anyone who attempts to rock the incumbent boat is destroyed.

The Republican party platform stands for smaller government, individual freedom, lower taxes, and the right to life. I believe in those things as well, so naturally I voted and call myself Republican.

However, I’m discovering that the two party system is really in essence a one party system. That one party is for the protection of the elite, not the ordinary citizens. Our Constitution is no longer the law of the land. The Rule of Law is being replaced by the Rule of Man. The country I grew up in has been fundamentally transformed and is no longer. I am a discouraged American.

The example I want to use is our own Senator Rob Portman contributing to the campaign of Senator Thad Cochran to the tune of $40,000. Then Senator Thad Cochran using those funds to pay democratic voters to vote for him in the election in Mississippi earlier this month. Is that what the Republican Party has come to? Paying Democrats to vote for them, instead of listening to their constituents and playing fair! This really just makes me sick to my stomach to be associated with such disgusting behavior. There is Silence from Rob Portman on this issue. Even though Rob Portman has done an awful lot of good things and stood up for things I believe in, this saddens me to the core because it goes to the heart of fairness in elections. Why are incumbents entitled to this kind of behavior and the voters dismiss it as politics as usual. Why are voters accepting this from their representatives as normal?

Diana Skaff
Jerusalem 1
Lucas County

Source: http://toledoteaparty.com/learning-curve-are-we-a-one-party-system/”>

If you feel as I do, let Mr. Portman know about it!

Diana Skaff
Jerusalem 1
Lucas County

Source: http://toledoteaparty.com/learning-curve-are-we-a-one-party-system/

“The Enemies Within” author Trevor Loudon to Speak

Trevor coming to Amherst June 4, 2014.

Trevor speaking in Lorain County June 4, 2014, 7:00 pm.

Well known author, Trevor Loudon, will be speaking on Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 pm, at Mainstreet Community Center, 255 Park Ave, Amherst OH 44001.  

Event is free and open to the public. Trevor will have copies of his book to sign.  RSVP

Trevor Loudon’s newly released book “The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress” is like no other book written on American politics. The book is designed to expose, in layman’s terms, the comprehensive communist, socialist and extreme progressive infiltration of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

“The Enemies Within” profiles fourteen Senators and more than fifty Representatives and Their ties to Communist Party USA, Democratic Socialists of America, Workers World Party, and The Institute for Policy Studies, Council for a Livable World and other radical anti-American organizations.
Ever wondered why the US Congress has moved further and further left over your lifetime, even while much of the electorate has become more and more conservative? Why government regulation and taxes have exponentially increased, even though most Americans still oppose Big Government? “The Enemies Within” is designed to show American voters exactly how modern communism works and how it impacts on your life, every single day.

Just how do the communists win big on things like Obamacare and immigration “reform,” which go completely against the wishes of the American people? “The Enemies Within” names names and takes no prisoners. If you want to know exactly who is tearing your country down, this is a MUST READ.

Trevor is an activist and political researcher from Christchurch New Zealand. He believes in freedom with responsibility, not freedom from responsibility. His ideal society is one in which government is confined to protecting its citizens from criminals and external enemies and he believes in working with all those who are moving in broadly the same direction.

Trevor is also the founder and editor of KeyWiki.org, a rapidly growing website with the goal of unlocking the covert side of U.S. and Global politics.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 pm, to come hear Trevor Loudon, a fantastic speaker.  A confidential RSVP is available at Eventbrite.

Prepare yourself to VOTE in Primary

Vote Primary 2014Little known fact:  Your vote in the Primary Election has much more of an impact than the General Election. 

When can I vote?
The Primary Election is Tuesday May 6, 2014.  The polls open at 6:30 am and close at 7:30 pm. Anyone who is in line at 7:30 pm will be allowed to vote.
Where do I go to vote?​

If you would like to check on your polling location, you can find it on the Secretary of State’s website by clicking here:http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx.  Other useful information you will find is your U.S. Congressional District #, your Ohio State Senate District # and your Ohio State Representative District # at this website.​

Wh​ich​ ballot do I want?You will be asked by the poll worker which political party ballot you want to vote on.  There are candidates on the Democrat, Green, Libertarian and Republican ballots.  

What candidate races are on the ballot​s​?You can view the list of the candidates for all the parties HERE.

What ​tax and governing ​is​sues are​ on the ballot​s​?You can view the list of the issues you can vote on HERE.

Feel free to ​share this post with others.

Beck: ‘Progressives Are Nothing More Than Patient Communists’

Friday night, Glenn Beck delivered a rousing keynote speech to a packed ballroom at the Summer Retreat for David Horowitz’s Freedom Center. Before the speech, Beck told TheBlaze that he hoped to “inspire people to learn who they are and to stand as an example for others.”

Speaking for nearly an hour, and without a teleprompter or a written speech, Beck inspired the gathering of conservatives by showing them dozens of historical artifacts from his own personal collection, while explaining each item’s significance and its connection to what is happening in America today. George Washington’s compass, Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, wooden sandals worn by a Japanese-American held in a WWII interment camp, and Tokyo Rose’s microphone (below) were all part of the presentation. While displaying the microphone, Beck shared the real story of her patriotism — a story too often left out of history books.

On more than one occasion, the audience gasped audibly as Beck showed items such as Auschwitz mastermind Dr. Mengele’s signed order for a barrel of the deadly chemical luminol (used for killing children), a fake passport forged by Raoul Wallenberg in his efforts to save Hungarian Jews from being transported to Nazi death camps, and Walt Disney’s original proposal for Disneyland.

Speaking about the importance of “taking back the culture,” Beck surprised the audience by sharing the shocking statements about eugenics from playwright George Bernard Shaw and the underreported story of President Woodrow Wilson’s connection to the pro-KKK movie “Birth of a Nation.”

The audience listened with rapt attention as Beck opined, ”We win in the end if we are strong, if we are gracious, if we are decent, if we are humble, and if we don’t care what the world does or says about us.”