Bush vs. Obama: Unemployment (March 2012 Jobs Data)

Change in Total Private Employment (in thousands), Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Update: Click here for the most recent jobs statistics.

On the first Friday of every month, I update the unemployment numbers so that I can compare the unemployment rate under President George W. Bush with the unemployment rate under President Obama at that time. The genesis of this ritual began when I felt compelled to respond to some left-leaning sites that were comparing Obama’s first two years and four months in office with Bush’s last and worst economic year (the above chart shows the most recent incarnation of this narrative).

In March, the private sector added a modest 121,000 jobs in the twenty-fifth consecutive month of private sector job growth. This development is somewhat positive news. The country had a net employment gain of 120,000 total jobs (private and public). Unfortunately, 120,000 is below the 125,000 jobs needed each month just to keep pace with the growth of the working-age population, which is discouraging news.

More importantly, March 2012 is the third month in which the overall number of jobs lost during the Obama administration is lower than the number lost during the Bush administration. That said, the unemployment rate is still 0.9 percentage points worse today than it was during President Bush’s last full month in office. In other words, the unemployment rate in all 39 months of Obama’s presidency has been higher than that of any single month in President Bush’s 8 years in office.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 to 8.2% — the second lowest month of unemployment during the Obama presidency. This number remains 0.9 percentage points higher than President Bush’s last full month in office in December 2008. It also marks 38 consecutive months in which the unemployment rate has been 8% or higher in the 39th month of the Obama presidency.

Unemployment Rate, Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

That said, the unemployment rate only accounts for the percentage of the unemployed who are actively seeking employment. It does not include people who have given up on finding jobs. The month ended with fewer people employed at the end of March than were employed at the end of February, and the civilian labor force declined faster than the number of new employees entering the work force declined. Therefore, the main reason the unemployment rate declined is that the denominator (the civilian labor force) in the unemployment equation decreased more than that of the numerator (the number of employed Americans).

The civilian labor force ended March at 154.7 million vs. February’s 154.9 million. 142.0 million people had jobs in March, which was an decrease of about 31,000 people from February versus about 164,000 people who left the labor force.

Both the Bush and Obama presidencies have been marked by a steady decline in the labor force participation rate. The labor force participation rate measures the number of people in the labor force as a percentage of the total working-age population. The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points from 63.9% in February to 63.8% in March as people exit the labor force.

Labor Force Participation Rate, Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Putting the Numbers into Perspective

The employment statistics during President Bush’s period in office continue to look better than those under President Obama’s to date if one puts more emphasis on the overall unemployment rate. However, President Obama’s employment statistics seem better if one looks at total private sector employment. Over President Bush’s tenure, the private sector lost a net 646,000 jobs, assuming that he gets credit for all jobs lost in January 2009 and none for those lost in January 2001. I changed my methodology in response to a left-leaning blogger‘s fair point “that CES estimates represent information reported by survey respondents for their pay periods that include the 12th of the month.” Hence, any subsequent numbers for jobs created near the end of January would likely appear in the February numbers.

If one attributes the first 19 days of January 2009′s job losses to Bush, and the remaining 11 days of job losses to Obama, the private sector shed 339,000 jobs during the Bush administration (the private sector gained a net 147,000 jobs if one attributes all of January 2009′s job numbers to Obama, and all of January 2001′s numbers to Bush). Surprisingly, this number includes the 3.78 million private sector jobs lost in 2008, and an additional 839,000 in 2009 (514,000 if one attributes the first 19 days of January 2009′s job losses to Bush).

Change in Total Private Employment (in thousands), Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In contrast, under President Obama’s administration, the private sector has still lost a net 161,000 private sector jobs (486,000 if one attributes the remaining 11 days of job losses in January 2009 to Obama, and 1.00 million if one attributes all of January 2009′s losses to him).

Again, the point of this argument is not to assess blame on either administrations’ policy. It simply puts the numbers into perspective.

For each job the private sector cut under George W. Bush, the private sector eliminated ~0.2 jobs under Barack Obama (if one attributes January 2009′s job losses to Obama, the private sector eliminated ~7 jobs for every job it created under Bush). While the private sector job outlook has improved recently, the economy still must create 161,000 private sector jobs to break even (and that does not account for the 125,000 jobs that the economy must create each month just to keep pace with population growth).

While the President is almost breakeven on private sector job creation, the unemployment rate continues to remain high. It will likely continue to remain so as more people enter the labor force as the economy improves, even if the private sector continues to add jobs at similar rates. The country still has a long way to go to restoring full employment and the President is running out of time. According to The New York Times, no sitting President since Franklin Roosevelt has won re-election when unemployment was over 7.2% on election day.

And President Obama is no FDR.

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
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97 Responses to Bush vs. Obama: Unemployment (March 2012 Jobs Data)

  1. Pingback: Bush vs. Obama: Unemployment (December 2011 Jobs Data) | Reflections of a Rational Republican

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  14. mpbulletin says:

    Well written and detailed post… as your monthly employment report posts always are… but having said that I found it interesting that you bolded this point;
    “the unemployment rate in all 39 months of Obama’s presidency has been higher than that of any single month in President Bush’s 8 years in office.”

    Which seems to be an unfair comparison given the depth of the economic crisis we entered into and dealt with from 2007-2009. Of course unemployment was lower this whole time, because we have been trying to pull ourselves out of such a dire economic mess. It may well take a decade to fully recover as this is no “normal” recovery from a “normal downturn”. In making that comparison, it seems you’re neglecting to note the 2 years of continual private sector growth and the regaining of 3.6 million jobs under Obama, which I believe accounts for over half the jobs lost under his tenure. Credit given to him or not those are still impressive numbers. I guess my point here is that by bolding that statement, it seems misleading because you’re not emphasizing the positive in the same manner.

    A second point I’d like to make, or question I’d like to pose is that, while the unemployment rate did drop again it was due to people leaving the workforce. Of those people, it was evident that most of those were women. Why? What precipitated that?

    Just one more discussion point here. The numbers to “break-even”… I’ve read numerous reports and article about those numbers and it seems they are always changing. I’ve seen 200,000 were needed each month. I’ve heard 150,000 before. Today I heard 100,000 and here you’re saying 161,000. I’m curious about where these estimates come from. Everyone seems has their own opinion on these and it’s hard to determine who is correct.

    • “Which seems to be an unfair comparison given the depth of the economic crisis we entered into and dealt with from 2007-2009.”

      I agree that it is an unfair comparison to an extent. That said, the tech bubble burst just after President Bush took office. Shortly thereafter, September 11th happened. Despite these extraordinary circumstances, the unemployment rate never reached anything like the highs that have become the new normal since President Obama took office. Admittedly, balance sheet recessions tend to take longer to get out of. However, this one seems to be taking unusually longer than normal, and it is not clear to me that the Obama administration seems to be doing anything to improve the situation. I think the passage of the stimulus was a move in the right direction (which the data seems to show had a positive impact on job growth), but the President followed it with a healthcare bill that likely decelerated job growth as employers feared the presumed increase in the cost of hiring a new employee (again, the data seems to point to this effect). While the comparison is unfair, the Obama administration continues to use the first chart in this post as validation of the “success” of its economic policies, while it conspicuously ignores the second chart. That said, Presidents seem to have a limited impact in influencing the course of something as complex as the overall economy.

      “In making that comparison, it seems you’re neglecting to note the 2 years of continual private sector growth and the regaining of 3.6 million jobs under Obama, which I believe accounts for over half the jobs lost under his tenure.”

      I’m not sure where the 3.6 million jobs figure comes from, and it may be slightly dated. Based on the most recent data, the economy added 4.051 private sector million jobs during months when net private jobs were positive, and lost 4.212 million jobs when net private sector job growth was down. This, of course, nets out to the figure of 161,000 net private sector jobs lost in total during the Obama administration.

      “A second point I’d like to make, or question I’d like to pose is that, while the unemployment rate did drop again it was due to people leaving the workforce. Of those people, it was evident that most of those were women. Why? What precipitated that?”

      You make an intriguing point. I just checked the numbers. Apparently 14,000 men reentered the labor force, while 177,000 women left it. Maternity leave may account for part of this effect, but I doubt it explains all of it. Do you have any theories?

      “Just one more discussion point here. The numbers to “break-even”… I’ve read numerous reports and article about those numbers and it seems they are always changing.”

      I can’t vouch for anyone else’s numbers, but my number of 161,000 is simply the total number of net private sector jobs lost since February 2009, the first full month President Obama was in office.

      • mpbulletin says:

        “the tech bubble burst just after President Bush took office. Shortly thereafter, September 11th happened.”

        Well, the tech bubble burst was hardly a recession and may well not have even hit that status if it weren’t for 9/11. But even with that event’s influence on the financial sector, the resulting recession was nothing compared to the Great Recession. Comparing the two is really comparing apples and oranges.

        “Despite these extraordinary circumstances, the unemployment rate never reached anything like the highs that have become the new normal since President Obama took office.”

        I don’t think anyone is saying the unemployment under Obama is the new normal. We’re still recovering. What I’d say needs to change is the way we view recoveries from serious recessions like this one. We can’t compare this one to the 2000 recession or the mid-1990′s one. There MAY be comparative aspects with those we experienced during the early-mid 80′s. But really, we’re dealing with something a magnitude of difference here, more akin to the Depression. And recoveries from those can take a decade to reach pre-crisis levels.

        “However, this one seems to be taking unusually longer than normal,”

        This is my argument here. There really is no “normal” for a recession this bad.

        “I think the passage of the stimulus was a move in the right direction “

        Agreed. It should have been more but…

        Healthcare bill caused a slow down? Well… perhaps due to congressional distraction at a time when we should have been pressing forward on the economy but if this is an argument that the bill itself hurts jobs, I just came across a Politifact article that does disagree. Not sure if you were eluding to that or not :-)
        I do know why Obama pushed for the reform when he did though. There would have been absolutely no way he could have gotten health care reform on the table if it weren’t for the Democratic majorities in Congress. He knew the economy would not be recovered in 2 years and there’d be losses in the midterms so he went for it.

        “Presidents seem to have a limited impact in influencing the course of something as complex as the overall economy.”

        Agreed. Just like GW didn’t cause the gas prices in 2008, Obama doesn’t either. It seems though, what President’s do have to do is try to bring calm to the nation’s worries in situations like this. But of course that ability is limited as well.

        “ I’m not sure where the 3.6 million jobs figure comes from, and it may be slightly dated.”

        Just came across it today in a CNN article about the jobs report.

        “Maternity leave may account for part of this effect, but I doubt it explains all of it. Do you have any theories?”

        Don’t about maternity leave. Is this the best time to have a kid, financially speaking I mean? Otherwise…. I haven’t really had much come to mind as reason myself. I’ve just been keeping any eye out for some information on that. Haven’t come across any speculation yet.

        • “Agreed. It should have been more but… ”

          I don’t think we needed a larger stimulus. I think there are a number of others things the president could have done to spur long-term job growth. See my post here.

          “Healthcare bill caused a slow down?”

          I’m not arguing that it caused a slow down. I am arguing that it likely negatively impacted business’ decisions to hire new employees. To wit is another post I did examining some of the data.

          “Just came across it today in a CNN article about the jobs report.”

          My guess is that the 3.6 million accounts for total nonfarm employment using the same methodology I used for the 4 million number I got for total private employment. Total nonfarm employment should be smaller since public sector job growth has been negative for some time.

          “Don’t about maternity leave. Is this the best time to have a kid, financially speaking I mean?”

          Definitely not. Very weird numbers. I wonder if this is a trend.

          • mpbulletin says:

            “I don’t think we needed a larger stimulus. I think there are a number of others things the president could have done to spur long-term job growth.”

            But isn’t stimulus in a case such as this, recovering from a serious recession, a short-term effort to get things going again rather than one to address longer term efforts. Yes, we need sustainable, longterm jobs policies but at that time we needed short-term jumpstarting solutions.

            Just a quick reply… :-)

  15. Pingback: Anatomy of a campaign lie « Fluctuation Dissipation

  16. Prodigal says:

    Sean, your complaints about the numbers not being put in an honest perspective when you’re guilty of that exact thing. In January 2009 (Bush’s last month in office, remember – and since Obama was in office for only a third of that month, assigning the rate for January 2009 to him is not exactly an honest thing to do), the rate was 7.8%, nearly double the 4.2% it was when Bush took office in January 2001. This makes the current rate 0.4% higher than it was when Obama took office, not the 0.9% you would have people believe. But as long as you want Bush’s full record to be taken into account, let’s do that, and include the peak rate for both of them during the respective periods:

    Bush:
    Jan01: 4.2%
    Mar04: 5.8%
    Peak: 6.3% (Jun03)
    Change: 38% higher than at start, 8% lower than peak, 10 months past peak

    Obama:
    Jan09: 7.8%
    Mar12: 8.2%
    Peak: 10.0% (Oct09)
    Change: 6% higher than start, 18% lower than peak, two years and 5 months past peak

    So the situation that Obama inherited from Bush was almost twice as bad as the one that Bush inherited from Clinton, but he managed to put the brakes on it faster than Bush had done. He may be no FDR, but at least he’s also not Bush.

    • Whether you use 7.3% or 7.8%, the unemployment rate is still worse 3.5 years into the Obama administration.

      Moreover, Obama is running on his record, not against George W. Bush’s. Measured against a starting unemployment rate of 7.8%, the unemployment situation is worse now than when Obama took over. Based on that metric, he doesn’t deserve to be reelected.

      • crstephens says:

        Did I miss something? You seem to be leaving the 2008 market meltdown out of the equation.

        • That was four years ago. It’s time that Obama took some responsibility for his own record.

          • crstephens says:

            That’s reasonable-now tell me why won’t Republicans take responsibility for theirs? Name me one instance where they have admitted a shred of responsibilty for any of it. When haven’t they blamed it all on a Democratic president, a Democrat Congress or Democrat policies? They are now in the process of trying to convince the public that the entire mess is all Obama’s fault, as the effects of eight years of Bush that ended in economic collapse just disappeared the day he left office, and that “blaming Bush” is a lame excuse while in the same breath they blame it on something the Democrats did thirty years earlier. Just once I would like to hear a Republican say “we screwed up- let’s try to fix it” instead of “It was really all the Democrats’ fault.”

            • I don’t know. The reason I started this site is because the Republican Party was moving away from its more rational principles. For instance, the President offered the Republicans a fairly reasonable compromise before the S&P downgrade and they refused it. Not smart in my opinion.

              I’m frankly sick of both parties, and it drives me crazy watching Democrats continue to blame the current economic environment exclusively on someone else. Does Bush have a part of the blame. Absolutely. However, it is disingenuous for Democrats to blame the entirety of the last 4 years on him.

          • John says:

            That’s a little disingenuous. The main weapon you use on Obama is the jobs lost in the first six months of 2009. You continually refer to unemployment rate being higher in any month of the Obama administration.
            You have to be aware that unemployment is a lagging economic indicator, yet you refuse to consider that in your indictment of Obama. The vast majority of laid-off employees are laid off due to the economic declines in the previous quarters..
            An honest evaluation of the Obama presidency would credit the job losses of the first quarter or two to the economic decline of the last two quarters of 2008.
            You don’t want to give Bush credit for unemployment caused by economic activity that took place during his presidency, but you want Obama to take full credit for the unemployment caused by the GDP dropping 6% in the final quarter of 2008.

            • texinwien says:

              This is absolutely the case, and I’m surprised the author of this article hasn’t responded. To waver between cutting off Bush’s responsibility at either 1/19/2009 or 1/31/2009 is obviously a transparently tricky attempt to try to appear fair by ‘generously’ offering to include the first 11 days of statistics after Obama became president in Bush’s record.

              In reality, this is pure bunk. The question should be whether to include one or two quarters of 2009 in Bush’s statistics, since there’s practically no way a new president can have a material effect on this kind of lagging economic indicator in such a short time. The effects of policy on unemployment numbers is measured in months, quarters and, often, years. 11 days is pure, disingenuous absurdity.

              How about updating the numbers, showing how they look if Bush’s responsibility is ended on 12/31/2008, 3/31/2009 and 6/30/2009 rather than spending so much time calculating the difference between the last 11 days in January 2009 (which, let’s be honest, is completely ridiculous).

  17. Prodigal says:

    And his record is, as I demonstrated in my previous post, better than Bush’s was at the equivalent point in the Bush administration.

    • So what?

      Millions more Americans are unemployed today than they were then. And Obama is running on his record this time around, not against Bush’s.

      • Prodigal says:

        So the numbers prove you wrong about who did a worse job. Obama is still working to repair the damage that Bush did, so your attempts to compare all eight years of the Bush administration to the three years and two months Obama has been in office are at least as, if not more, deceptive than you complain the original chart was.

        • Really? You do realize that the unemployment rate at any point in the Obama administration is higher than in any month of the Bush administration right?

          I don’t deny that Obama inherited a mess. That said, he’s had over three years to turn things around with Democratic majorities for two of those years. Yet, unemployment is higher than when he took office, he’s added $5 billion to the national debt, government spending as a percentage of GDP is near all-time highs (only WW2 was worse), over 45 million people (or 15% of the US population) is on food stamps – a record high, 47% of the population pays no federal income tax whatsoever while the top 10% of wage owners pays 40% of federal income taxes. Yet Obama’s solution is to demonize these people and demand that they pay more of their “fair share.”

          It’s time for Obama to stop blaming his predecessor and start owning up to his share of the mess.

  18. Prodigal says:

    When people brought up the fact that Bush’s tax cuts would create deficits, Cheney’s answer was “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” Which was the GOP party line up until a Democrat was elected, whereupon Republicans immediately started pretending that they cared about deficits.

    And in your robotic parroting of the talking point that unemployment is higher than it was in January 09, you continue to ignore the fact that it’s been decreasing since October 09 – which is yet another way in which Obama has done better than Bush, because Bush took two and a half years to stop the unemployment rate from getting worse, whereas Obama took nine months.

    • So what if it came down faster from its peak? The peak was 10%. It far easier to make headway on such a catastrophically bad number than if it were much lower at 6.3%. If only we could dream to have a number that low again.

      This is the typical tortured logic Democrats use to make a bad record look good – construct a scenario to make the numbers look better for Obama. Who cares if unemployment came down from a peak of over 10% when over 8% of the working population is unemployed. Moreover, a big reason reason that number came down is because people are so discouraged that they quit looking. Furthermore, most of the new jobs created are lower paying ones. It’s time that people look at the facts and that hope is not a method. Obama’s not working.

      • crstephens says:

        I really have to take issue with the phrase “tortured logic Democrats use to make a bad record look good” as if using “tortured logic” is exclusive to Democrats. Anyone who was around during the Reagan years knows that is exactly what the Republicans have been doing with his record.

        • Sure both parties distort the record, but why are Democrats still talking about Reagan and Bush, when neither is running for President? Could it be that Obama’s economic record is too weak for him to run on?

          • crstephens says:

            Probably because Republicans are circulating a completely revisionist account of what happened under Reagan. As someone who was around during the Reagan years I can assure you that St. Ronnie did not provide over a golden age, as they are now claiming. A lot of our economic problems arguably started at that time- and among other things they are trying to claim that anything that has gone wrong since that time was entirely the fault of Democrats in Congress. Reagan himself said it when he left office, in response to questions about his staggering deficits.-it was All the fault of spending by Democrats.” The kindest thing I can say about that is that Reagan probably believed at the time. It isn’t true- and it disturbs me to see history rewritten this way.

      • Roger says:

        I hate statistics. You can make a “technicially” “HONEST” statement and it is absolute deception. The exact same numbers can be statistically manipulated to say whatever view you support. Both sides do it.

        The only way to fix America’s problems is to reform the way government is run inside the beltway. Truly make the representatives accountable to those who elect them, not accountable to those who “bribe” them with loopholes dealing with lobbying.

      • Yo Hinck says:

        I don’t seem to get your point like you would like us to! President Bush’s unemployment rate almost doubled to 7.8% from 4.2%. President Obama took over in the worst economical crises since the great depression, during which the continued effect of the Bush administration policies continued to effect our economy in a negative way. Now it is true the unemployment rate hit the 10% mark but now it is almost back to where it was when he took office….so where are you trying to get to with your Republican response to everything…It’s Obama’s fault. Seriously, I believe he has done a tremendous job on our recovery be it ever so slow it still is happening. 4 MORE YEARS!!!!

        • So your argument is that unemployment is almost back to where it was when President Obama took office, and you consider that a success? Enough that the man deserves 4 more years of mediocre performance?

          Unacceptable.

          • Yo Hinck says:

            No my comment not argument is that Bush put us in a mess and Obama is turning us back around. It is always darkest before the dawn. How can you expect this President to do it in a hurry? He has done it correctly so far by doing what is right not just necessary for everyone not just the few. Bush messed us all up in 8 years and you think Obama should of been able to create the changes needed in just a little over 3 years (UNFAIR). He should be allowed to continue the changes he has created to the end. Hell Bush only got reelected because we thought he would complete his wars and find Osama Bin Laden by the end of his 2ND term, he did not do any of the above! 4 MORE YEARS!!!!

            • “How can you expect this President to do it in a hurry?”

              A hurry? If that’s your definition most people finish college “in hurry.” They finish high school “in a hurry.” We’re closing in on four years and the unemployment rate is still higher than it was in January 2009. Four years is a very long period of time to show some, hell any progress. Today, the debt is $5-6 trillion higher, the average income is down $4,000, 46 million people are on food stamps, and 47% of the population doesn’t pay any federal income taxes. Statistics don’t lie.

              “Bush messed us all up in 8 years and you think Obama should of been able to create the changes needed in just a little over 3 years (UNFAIR).”

              I keep hearing liberals blame Bush entirely for the credit crisis. What specific policies did he pursue that “caused” the credit crisis (given that you seem to lay the blame entirely on him).

  19. Prodigal says:

    We don’t have to construct anything, Sean; the numbers prove Obama to be better than Bush on their own. All we have to do is keep pointing out that you are not being honest about them.

    • What about consistently having a higher unemployment rate than Bush every month’s Obama’s been in office is been office is better? Or about 50% more people on food stamps? Or $5 trillion more in debt? Or a lower median household income? Or a lower labor force participation rate?

      • Prodigal says:

        If Obama had been as incompetent as Bush, then we’d be seeing an unemployment rate of 10.5% at the end of March, rather than 8.2%. No matter how desperately you try to spin it otherwise, Sean, Bush did a worse job than Obama.

          • Prodigal says:

            Already have done. Perhaps you should have tried paying attention to what I wrote in my previous comments, rather than being too busy looking for excuses to avoid admitting the truth.

            • Are you kidding me? That was your analysis?

              And you’re accusing me of intellectual dishonesty?

              You can’t extrapolate how President Bush would have done under current conditions by applying data from 2001. The economic and geopolitical conditions are completely different.

              Even if someone flew two planes into several buildings killing over 4,000 Americans, nine months into Obama’s administration, you still wouldn’t be comparing apples to apples. Again, another attempt by a Democrat to torture statistics in order to generate a favorable result.

              • Prodigal says:

                The only person torturing statiustics here is you, Sean, in your continued attempts to make us forget that Bush handed Obama a wrecked economy and job market.

                So yes, because you’re being dishonest, I continue to point out that you’re guilty of intellectual dishonesty.

                • Why?

                  I’m not the one extrapolating results from 2001 and applying them to 2009.

                  • Prodigal says:

                    You’re the one who’s not only trying to compare the entirety of the Bush administration to the three and a half years that Obama has been in office, but also quoting statistics out of context in order to try to make Bush look good at Obama’s expense.

                    As for me comparing 2001 with 2009, that’s because that’s what you do if you want to make an honest comparison of how each of the two Presidents handled the situation his predecessor left him. Bush sent us into a tailspin that Obama hasn’t completely gotten out of us yet, but no matter how you try to spin it, and no matter what talking points you choose to parrot, he’s done a better job with the economy that Bush left him than Bush did with the one he inherited from Clinton.

                    • ProdigalIdiocy says:

                      “….that Obama hasn’t completely gotten out of us yet….”

                      Obama worked on a platform of unsubstantiated claims, race ticket, and “change”. You’re telling me the president hasn’t been able to get out of this mess because of Bush. Yet why was he on his entire 2008 campaign espousing that huge claim he would have fixed the economy and right the wrongs Bush had committed.

                      I don’t know if you’re just incompetent or a lemming. In either case you’re succeeding at being a failure.

                  • Yo Hinck says:

                    LOL, I am sorry to show my ignorance or the fact I didn’t look it up, what does extrapolating mean? But my understanding is you think he is trying to compare oranges to apples, but in reality u r the 1 doing this. Bush came into office with a much better economy and a much lower unemployment rate. As for 911, Bush let the world know what he was doing before he did it, so much so that the war was worse then it should of been giving all the advance warning for them to prepare a defense. Then instead of going after Osama Bin Laden he decided to go after Sudam Hussein on a lie.

                    • “Bush came into office with a much better economy and a much lower unemployment rate.”

                      You make it seem like everything was rosy during Bush first term in office. Just to remind you, the stock market bubble collapsed and airliners literally stopped flying. Had Bush not provided the tax cuts he did, the situation would have been much worse. You either believe that stimuli work or you don’t.

                      “s for 911, Bush let the world know what he was doing before he did it, so much so that the war was worse then it should of been giving all the advance warning for them to prepare a defense. Then instead of going after Osama Bin Laden he decided to go after Sudam Hussein on a lie.”

                      Frankly, this is tin foil hat talk. You can’t move thousands of soldiers without the world knowing what you’re doing. He went after both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and built up the military infrastructure to do so. Moreover, going into Iraq wasn’t built on a lie. The United States and the UN still cannot account for the WMD Saddam had following the Gulf War (some have speculated that likely moved them to Syria based on intel from an Iraqi Air Force general). Their absence in Iraq does not imply that they never existed.

      • crstephens says:

        Surely you know that unemployment figures are lagging indicators? That a “lower labor force participation rate” relates to unemployment? That the $5 trillion was mostly from stimulus and bailouts approved before Obama took office and would have occured no matter who got into office? That “a lower median income ” was the case (as the bulk of the wealth shifted upward), before Obama even thought about running?

        • Sure unemployment is a lagging indicator – for last month, not four years ago. When are Democrats going to stop blaming Bush? If Obama gets reelected and his policies still fail for another four years, Democrats will probably still be blaming Bush.

          • crstephens says:

            What Bush did is going to take longer than a single election cycle to fix and that fact doesn’t change no matter what you think of Obama or his solutions. And one aspect that doesn’t get the attention it deserves if the degree to which Bush-or more accurately Cheney- gutted and politicized the machinery of government. When Obama took office it was almost nonfunctional and the determined obstruction by Republicans that of every appointment he has made, or tried to make is hamstringing the recovery effort, and they have been doing it for purely partisan reasons. Don’t try to tell me that isn’t a contributing factor.
            And would the Democrats still be blaming bush after another four years of sluggish recovery? Maybe. But I am certain that the Republians will still be blaming the Democrats- i’ve been hearing them do it for the last thirty-odd years.

            • I am not asking for the problem to be completely “fixed.” All that I expect a leader to do is improve things even a little bit. A cursory look at the current unemployment rate is a pretty good gauge of how our president is currently performing. If any executive had numbers like this even a year after he took over, and even if it was to turn around a flailing company, he’d be fired. Obama’s had four years to show some improvement, yet Americans are poorer, the unemployment rate is higher, and his only solutions are wealth redistribution and more regulation. Obama doesn’t get a pass, and he deserves a lot of blame.

              • Ray says:

                The unemployment trend is down!

              • Yo Hinck says:

                You must be part of the newer generation, you know you want everything to happen immediately. Sorry to be the one to tell you this, nothing as bad as this could ever be fixed as quickly as you want it to be.

                • “You must be part of the newer generation, you know you want everything to happen immediately. Sorry to be the one to tell you this, nothing as bad as this could ever be fixed as quickly as you want it to be.”

                  You must be part of the boomer generation — promiscuous, irresponsible, and now sucking down Medicare and Social Security at an unsustainable rate while the 16-24 year old crowd suffers unemployment rates of 16-17%. A generation that learned nothing useful from the selfless, Nazi-defeating generation before it. My generation not only will support yours in its old age, but also pick up the pieces of your generation’s broken and selfish legacy.

      • Yo Hinck says:

        Again the difference in the unemployment rate between the 2 are minimal at best (7.8% or 8.1%) The reason we have more people on food stamps is because of the economical turmoil Bush left us, Jobs lost verse Jobs gained, Salary is at a lower point at this time then when times were better, people lost their homes, their savings and their retirement all in one swoop. How would you expect someone who made a good living where they could afford a home, savings etc., now they have nothing but yet they need to be able to eat and live. This is why the food stamp act was put into place during the great depression so we can survive until things turn around. President Obama had to continue to spend to make a difference in what Bush did to us. Under Bush the cost of an education skyrocketed along with the interest rates and banking regulations. Causing more people to drop out for the lack or inability to pay back their student loans. When you have an unemployment rate as high as 10% you have an abundance of people willing to earn less just to have a job to put food on the table, along with the GDP heading south which all included is the reasons for lower wages in the work force. 4 MORE YEARS!!!!

  20. Mabuhay says:

    Prodigal is a typical fanatic Democrat. My husband, who by the way is also a Democrat, is one of the statistics of the unemployeds. The 8.2% is the government’s figure, but, in reality, the percentage of unemployeds would hover around 10%. Where I work, my company is still laying off people. My department alone is now down to 68 from 205 at one point. And this decrease in personnel was just within the last two years. How do you explain that Prodigal?

  21. toby928 says:

    How much of the economic decline under Bush occurred while the Democrats controlled Congress? And how much of the recovery has occurred since the Republicans took back the House?

    Perhaps the President is less influential than we like to presume.

  22. Jeff Fordham says:

    Fact……The debt to GDP ratio has increased 48.1 % under Republican presidents from 1980 through 2008…….it DECREASED under Bill Clinton by 10.1% ……its risen under Barak Obama by to date by 13.3 %. I will cut Obama some slack on this because he did indeed come into office with not only a huge economic crash but with two unfunded wars, (which by the way were kept off the budget until 2010)…TARP, unfunded tax cuts ( which Obama stupidly has extended) and a 400 billion medicare drug giveaway. Anyway you dice this……when you look at the real data, it cuts through all the bullshit on this sudden new found zest for fiscal responsibility.. And if you try and bame Democratic congresses……as your first course of action…….I will say yes but please don’t cherry pick the facts…… …..remember that not one budget bill was vetoed by Reagan, Bush 1 and GWB, and if you dig deeper and look at who voted for the pork ………..the Republicans are just as guilty if not more………………see, I expected Ronny Reagan to veto all those Dem Congress spending bills…….as I expected Bush senior and junior to do as well……..BUT THEY DIDN’T …..they went right on and SIGNED them all . So stop with all this fiscal bravado, and the parsing and skewing of numbers. The Republican solution over the last 30 years hasn’t been too spectacular. Please take the time to review the data and the links to the chart proving the data.
    …and I will link the debt to gdp ratio here

    http://www.skymachines.com/US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Percent-of-GDP-and-by-Presidental-Term.htm

    • crstephens says:

      Why don’t Republicans seem to remember the crash in 1987? Or that Reagan NEVER submitted a balanced budget during his two terms as president? Or that his increased defense spending eclipsed nearly all other spending put together? That Congress actually DECREASED Reagan’s inflated budgets for six out of his eight years? Regarding the boondoggle that was Medicare Part D, this is one of the best articles I’ve seen on the subject-note that it’s from a Republican:
      http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/19/republican-budget-hypocrisy-health-care-opinions-columnists-bruce-bartlett.html
      This is also relevant to all discussions about the economy-it was eerily prophetic since it came it months before the 1987 crash:
      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1987/01/the-1929-parallel/4903/?single_page=true
      It still resonates today- especially since the Republican candidate made his money from those practices.

      • Why don’t Democrats ever defend Obama’s economic record? Why do they instead retort with an attack on people who aren’t running for office. It’s actually very telling.

        • crstephens says:

          “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s what the current neocon leadership of the Republicans seems to be counting on. Perhaps you can explain to me how they are going to fix anything with the same policies that got us to this point.

          • You’re assuming that they won’t try anything new. There are a number of easy wins President Obama could have had, that he’s completely ignored. For instance, he could have easily granted corporations a one-time tax holiday for US corporations to repatriate the ~$1 trillion they have overseas, and he could have done it with conditions – i.e., only if they use the money to build manufacturing facilities in the US, etc. But what did he do? Nothing.

            Obama could have also reduced US corporate tax rates and simplified the tax code so that it is easier to do business in the US and to increase revenue (by eliminating loop holes). What did he do? Nothing.

            Instead, Obama’s plan for economic prosperity is the Buffet Rule. Never mind that it wouldn’t raise tax revenue one wit. Moreover, it might actually decrease it. Just ask Eduardo Severin why.

            Republican policies aren’t perfect, but they are better than anything the clowns currently in office are proposing. Take Dodd-Frank for instance. Did it prevent JP Morgan from losing $2B? Has it made lending any easier? It’s actually made it harder at a time when interest rates are at multi-generational lows. Does that make sense?

            Increased red tape and wealth redistribution is this administration’s answer to every economic problem. Any alternative is better than that.

            • crstephens says:

              What evidence do you have that Republicans are willing to try anything new? And where haven’t they led the charge to prevent ending loopholes? Or subsidies to Fortune 500 companies (and just how is that defensible under the free market principles they claim to espouse?)? All I have heard are the same policies that they been pushing for years. First it was “trickle-down economics” then it was “supply-side economics” and it’s latest incarnation is embodied in Ryan’s so-called “Pathway to Prosperity.” Republicans keep pushing it even though it has never worked no matter what it’s called. They have always resulted in the redistribution of wealth upward, into the hands of a few, and without benefit to anyone or anything else.
              And spare me the “regulation is the problem” mantra. If that were true the economy should have been roaring under Bush/Cheney when regulation and oversight were at an all-time low. And now we’re living with the results . Deregulation of the markets led to an economic crash (more than once). Deregulation of food and medicines have put the health and safety of the public at risk- it’s no accident that the incidents of contaminated food and medicine has gone up significantly. Deregulation has led to numerous environmental disasters, including BP, all of which ended up costing the taxpayers staggering amounts, which could have been avoided with a little far less costly prevention. (Do some serious research into “full cost pricing.” Start with examples from the fossil-fuel industry. ) This are good articles on the subject of regulation and taxes, and note that gthey’re from a Republican:
              http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/regulation-and-unemployment/
              http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/taxes-and-employment/
              Here’s another, about the S&L debacle that occurred during the Reagan years. Why is it still relevant? We’re STILL paying for it. And it was essentially those same practices that led to the 2008 meltdown.
              http://wps.aw.com/wps/media/objects/7529/7710171/appendixes/ch11apx1.pdf

              • “What evidence do you have that Republicans are willing to try anything new? And where haven’t they led the charge to prevent ending loopholes?”

                None, but I do have nearly four-years of evidence that overregulation and wealth redistribution don’t work.

                “Deregulation of the markets led to an economic crash (more than once). Deregulation of food and medicines have put the health and safety of the public at risk- it’s no accident that the incidents of contaminated food and medicine has gone up significantly. Deregulation has led to numerous environmental disasters, including BP, all of which ended up costing the taxpayers staggering amounts, which could have been avoided with a little far less costly prevention.”

                I’m not calling for complete deregulation, sometimes regulation can be a good thing. I’m arguing that Democrats overregulate to the point of insanity. Take a look at Gibson Guitar for instance, or the 8,000+ page regulation of Dodd-Frank, when something like the 32-page Glass-Steagull Act would have worked just fine.

                The New York Times offers an excellent example of why overregulation doesn’t work:

                Say you want to start a home catering business in New York. According to the city government, you’d need, among other things, a food protection certificate, a food service establishment permit, a gas authorization, professionally installed range hoods, a licensed carting company for waste, registration as a sales tax vendor as well as compliance with portable fire extinguisher rules and the unincorporated business tax.

                Which may be why people often wait for jobs to be ‘created.’”

                • crstephens says:

                  I take your point about overregulation. But the current neocon leadership of the Republican party isn’t making that distinction. According to them ALL regulations are just pesky things things eat into profits and discourage They have been fighting any and all regulation of the financial sector and they were doing it while the dust was still settling from the crash. They fought regulation of the oil industry even before the gusher from the BP spill had been contained. They were insisting that liabilty for the oil industry be capped as if it’s reasonable to have the taxpayers foot the bill for demonstrated negligence. I could go on and on in this vein.
                  And you never did answer my question: How can they possibly defend the billions that for for corporate welfare if they claim they are proponents of free markets? How is THAT not wealth distribution? They defend these subsidies with the same tired rhetoric that they’ve been using for several generations with a few new twists- now the recipients are “job creators” (another soundbite from Frank Luntz) even though there is not a shred evidence to support that claim. They constantly harp about “government interference (any and all regulation) while defending the right to loot the public till, and without conditions. How is that not appalling duplicity? Here’s another link, also from a conservative site:
                  http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb105-9.html
                  And I agree that closing tax loopholes would make more economic sense than tax increases. Here is a loophole that Obama wanted to close and Republicans, led by archhypocrite Eric Cantor, refused to consider:
                  http://www.epi.org/publication/pm120/
                  And this:
                  http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/01/opinion/coburn-welfare-to-wealthy/index.html

                • Jeff Fordham says:

                  Sean says: “The New York Times offers an excellent example of why over regulation doesn’t work”

                  As a modern day consumer…..would you want to eat food thats prepared by an establishment that has no food protection certificate ? or no professionally installed range hood over their grilles thats supplied by a proper and legal gas hook up? Would you also feel better knowing that the establishment you are eating from has proper trash disposal, and a routine rubbish removal service using a contained dumpster? And being registered as a business that collects sales tax is somehow Draconian ? Do I even have to bring up fire protection equipment and safety?

                  Have you ever been out in the world and seen what happens when people try to skirt the rules and regulations that makes most of the USA a world class society? I have………and its not a pretty sight. I would lay good odds you and your wife (if you are married) would not, did not…..and would never, pick a banquet hall and catering facility that resembles a cafe in Somalia or Chi Hua Hua Mexico…..because thats what you get with all this bullshit de-regulation talk. The list provided in the NY times quoting the simple rules for a food service operation have been around since before you were born, or even earlier. And how its hindered the establishment of restaurants……push carts, and catering businesses in NYC…….yeah ! Those 4,200 restaurants and the 3,100 push carts really show how the regulations have stifled food service in NYC.

                  I say…………if you can’t be mature and responsible enough to meet the criteria for a proper food establishment ….and want to cry like a baby instead of following the rules, then you have NO business trying to sell prepared food to anyone…….case closed. See, I want to know that there is a level of professionalism at the eating establishment I choose, and I like the fact they have my safety, and my families safety in mind.

                  Yes regulations can suck and cost money…….but the upside is a standard by which I can easily claim is the best in the world. If it takes my government to weed out the hacks and the fly by nighters….so be it. Another flip side to the regulations which you fail to see …..is that… in order to meet those standards you must employ the plumber………….the electrician, the fire protection companies…….. the accountants, to build that facility and help to set it up.

                  Why is everything so cut and dry with many conservatives? Most of the problems we have are multi faceted, and are not that simple, and take more than a black or white answer…….You can go back through the history of the this great country and see through so many examples that regulations have made us the great nation we are…………….as hard as they may be. From the triangle waistshirt fire to the great muckrakers who exposed various industries, and their horrible regard for workers or the standards of food quality or factory safety.

                  Do I trust a company to police itself…..No…….do I trust a heavily lobbied politician not to bend the rules for a private corporation………..NO. Regulations are what separate us from the 3rd world, and I for one do not want to live in a nation where we have none…….thank you.

                  • “As a modern day consumer…..would you want to eat food thats prepared by an establishment that has no food protection certificate ? or no professionally installed range hood over their grilles thats supplied by a proper and legal gas hook up? Would you also feel better knowing that the establishment you are eating from has proper trash disposal, and a routine rubbish removal service using a contained dumpster? And being registered as a business that collects sales tax is somehow Draconian ? Do I even have to bring up fire protection equipment and safety?”

                    Yes. In my day, some people called them “lemonade stands,” and they were wonderful. Anyone could set one up, and they taught children the value of entrepreneurship. I would happily eat at an establishment with no food protection certificate, provided it had been in business for several years.

                    “or no professionally installed range hood over their grilles thats supplied by a proper and legal gas hook up? Would you also feel better knowing that the establishment you are eating from has proper trash disposal, and a routine rubbish removal service using a contained dumpster?”

                    Again, I would be happy to eat at such an establishment. Millions of Americans happily did so for centuries before these stupid laws were created.

                    • Prodigal says:

                      And countless Americans died because of the lack of those laws you so ignorantly dismiss as “stupid”. You might want to try googling “1948 Donora smog”, “Cuyahoga river fire”, or “United States Army beef scandal” sometime, just to name the first three examples of how you’re wrong about the regulations you are opposed to that spring to mind.

                    • Prodigal,

                      I googled all three of your examples. Two of them are industrial accidents, which have nothing to do with food permits and range hoods. The third has to do with the large scale purchase of low quality beef, which again has nothing to do with obtaining a food permit for a lemonade stand.

                      Again, I am not arguing that all regulation is bad, just that overregulation is.

                    • Prodigal says:

                      So unlike most conservatiuves you’re in favor of the air and water quality legislation that was passed because of situations such as the 1948 smog and rivers catching fire then? Good for you!

                      As for the third, it wasn’t a matter of merely low quality beef; it was about meat packers being allowed to sell food that was of such low quality that people died because they ate it – and no matter how you try to spin it, that makes it the exact sort of regulation you complain about being unnessecary.

                    • “So unlike most conservatiuves you’re in favor of the air and water quality legislation that was passed because of situations such as the 1948 smog and rivers catching fire then? Good for you!”

                      Are you familiar with the Clean Air Act of 1990? It set up a cap-and-trade system for SOx and NOx emissions, and a Republican President sponsored it, so I don’t think you can make such a sweeping generalization.

                      “As for the third, it wasn’t a matter of merely low quality beef; it was about meat packers being allowed to sell food that was of such low quality that people died because they ate it – and no matter how you try to spin it, that makes it the exact sort of regulation you complain about being unnessecary.”

                      No, the sort of legislation I’m complaining about is the sort that overregulates businesses that are downstream in the production process, not those who pack and process food. The meat-packing industry ought to be regulated given the potential for contamination from high levels of bacteria. I’m talking about selling somebody a book you wrote or some lemonade you processed from a packet. There’s a difference.

                    • Prodigal says:

                      “Are you familiar with the Clean Air Act of 1990?”

                      Current Conservative dogma is that any regulation of air or water quality is the very overreaching thing you say you’re opposed to, but I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt and npot assume that you were as mindlessly opposed to it as the mainstream of your party.

                    • VR Kaine says:

                      Haha! Owned.

                      I’d say even the most Libertarian among us will argue that the government plays a role in protection and I would say food inspection qualifies. However, what concerns me is when “fair share” liberals give a free pass to government on the waste side of this issue. It’s like they see that there’s not enough health or environmental protection in their opinion so they just say, “more money” and they’re done with it. (And similarily, tighy-righties simply saying “less money” and then doing the same thing). I think the problem is both sides need to take a much closer look, but it so mired in rhetoric right now that almost seems impossible.

                      And come on – protecting us from the possible dangers of pre-packaged lemonade crystals? That’s ridiculous. Both sides should agree that these organizations are largely inept and far too overly bureaucratic to be much good.

                    • Jeff Fordham says:

                      Sean says: “I would happily eat at an establishment with no food protection certificate, provided it had been in business for several years.”

                      So being in business for several years without the proper training and certifications somehow offers a degree of safety which is OK for you, but to hell with those who desire that protection. Does your establishment carry liability insurance? ……why bother……….what insurance company today would insure such an unprofessional restaurant or caterer who choses to gamble with peoples lives? ……… So if your kid dies from salmonella or E-coli, or loses all kidney function…..exactly what recourse do you have?……Oh thats right……….. you want to hike up your gun belt and swagger around like Ronny Reagan in a B movie……am I am sure being the Libertarian stud you seem to be…………….you took out your pen and drew up your own “hold harmless clause” before entering that establishment……………….and signed it, then gave it to the restaurant owner ?…… I mean, if you gamble your families welfare and health ………..I am sure you would have no problem with walking away from your tragedy if you LOST ……….right?

                      I could spend all day offering examples of how doing business with untrained, unlicensed, uncertified and unregulated businesses…… could lead to levels of litigation and disasters that make todays nonsense seem like a picnic. …….and just imagine that even if you could find an insurer to insure you…….you wouldn’t be able to afford the premimums to run your unregulated business with any profitability. You would have chaos ……and you know it. Its pure fantasy to think that this country could operate with everyone policing themselves.

                      Bottom line: like I said before: try telling your wife you want to book your wedding party for 300 guests at an establishment that has followed zero rules for proper food safety and fire protection……………just because they have been in business for a few years………and see what kind of response you get. This Libertarian bravado is for the birds

                • Yo Hinck says:

                  I believe these rules are in effect to protect the citizens from bad food, illegal dumping, food borne illnesses. A permit means they will be over seen by the health dept. professionally installed range hoods are to prevent fires, in this case your probably living in a multi family home in NYC. A licensed carting company is because your regular garbage p/u is included in your water bill (personal garbage, not business) They want you to register for a sales tax license so you do pay the taxes you collect when you sell your merchandise. Fire safety should be #1 in the food industry. You pay incorporation tax, why not unincorporated tax? Most people will follow all the rules they need to in order to open their own business, only someone who is looking to do the wrong thing will try to skate by. I know because I have been there.

    • SIR says:

      you DO know the only reason Obama did continue the bush tax cuts to the wealthy was because the GOP held $56 billion in unemployment insurance, an approximate $120 billion payroll tax cut for working families, about $40 billion in tax cuts for the hardest hit families and students, and 100 percent expensing for businesses during 2011 HOSTAGE?? , without that extortion,…the tax cuts to the wealthy would have been left to die the death it should have never of been born to have.

  23. VR Kaine says:

    “Libertarian bravado is for the birds”
    I think people are missing the point here. Sean made a comment about a lemonade stand and the choice for he himself to take INDIVIDUAL risks, and you’re comparing that decision to a 300-person wedding where he’d in effect be making decisions about OTHER peoples’ safety.

    Not once did anyone say we don’t need protection in our society. The argument comes with the question of “how much”. Are you going to tell me I can’t drink from a kid’s lemonade stand on the corner, or let them even have one, or prevent me from grabbing a burger from a vendor I’ve known for years? You criticize Libertarian bravado, but with respect I think you fail to grasp what Libertarianism really is.

    So if what Sean’s describing is somehow Libertarian “bravado”, here’s an example of “Liberal Nanny State Stupidity” to go along with it: you’ve known your neighbors for years and they’ve cooked bbq’s for you and your family often over that time. Based on a few “mad cow” cases, the government is now telling you that if your friend wants to cook dinner for anyone over two people (i.e. him and his spouse), then he must first pay $100 for a government-sanctioned safe cooking class and pay a $50 “Summer BBQ” license fee annually. Note that this counts even if he’s cooking for his kids – I mean, how can you be sure he didn’t leave the burgers out too long that day before feeding them, or did he hit the proper internal cooking temperature before serving? Those kids need to be protected from salmonella, don’t they? Imagine the headlines: Kids “lose all liver functon” because Daddy had family burger day without a permit!

    That may sound ridiculous, but to people like us so does making a couple kids file a permit and pay a fee for a lemonade stand, or some government health “A+” in a window giving me a false sense of confidence that it’s OK to eat. Either turns in to a ridiculous money grab and over-nannification that starts with a few good ideas and ends up in the realm of stupid and overreaching really fast, the result being maximum waste and minimal good in spite of perhaps the best intentions in the beginning.

    • Well said, Vern.

      Jeff,

      Do you eat food at BBQ’s? If so, do you demand that your neighbors provide you with evidence that they’ve passed a food handler’s course? If you don’t, what makes a BBQ any different than a lemonade stand?

    • Jeff Fordham says:

      VR Kaine says: “Sean made a comment about a lemonade stand and the choice for he himself to take INDIVIDUAL risks, and you’re comparing that decision to a 300-person wedding where he’d in effect be making decisions about OTHER peoples’ safety”………..Wrong dude, in the original thread Sean claimed that over regulation hurts the creation of jobs, and as an example he listed an article in the NYT which lists all the things you have to do if you wanted to start a catering business that would SELL prepared food to the general public for profit, My argument was that by having standards that you have to adhere only benefits the public. The lemonade stand commentary while sound, is a straw argument which does not stand up when it comes the real meat of what I am debating here. And your comment about having to obtain permits for home barbecues is absurd. Having friends or family over for dinner is not the same as operating a business FOR PROFIT by selling foodstuffs and prepared foods to the general public who you do not know………and they don’t know You. By having your proper certifications (which always has to be posted by law in my state) you are offering proof to your clientele that you have met the minimum standards as required by law. You can cry about the nanny state all you want, but when it comes to food safety and the well being of the general public its sound policy. Nobody is stopping you from setting up a lemonaide stand, but once you cross over a volume amount of goods sold and income collected……..the rules change, and I am greatful they are there.

      This touches the whole question of regulation, and even now as I write this I am hearing about the latest scandal in the banking industry. Just 3 years after the mega collapse of the financial industry, and the ensuing public bailout……..The industry flush with cash and profits is at it again. Peregrine, a futures firm is under investigation for 225 million in missing deposits from clients….Barclays and its outrageous LIBOR interest rate fixing scam where 16 large banks are found to also be invloved………..Chase and its 2 billion…..no ……10 billion in bad investments…… is also involved in the LIBOR scam as of 2 days ago. There are also a host of other financial firms and banks that are also currently under investigation for nefarious practices…………..or how about the 1-3 trillion? ( nobody knows for sure) in worthless bonds that are out there being sold and resold worldwide like hot potatos……that story hasn’t really hit the news, but I saw an analyst talk to Charlie Rose about it earlier this week. It seems like nearly every day another scam pops up proving the UNREGULATED financial industry is still out of control…….but this involves the very fabric of our economies and the money thats needed to run them. These people have stepped beyond the barriers and are risking everything for all of us…………….without any confidence in the markets……who are people to trust?

      If I was under 30 years old today and trying to properly plan for my family and my retirement, I would be scared shitless………cause all I see is unbridled greed that could suck away a lifetime of hard work and diligence in an instant. Is any investment safe?…..I don’t think so….its far riskier than its ever been………Unless we bring back parts of Glass Steagall and start installing barriers and protections, it will be nothing more than the casino it is now. Sorry boys…………but you can’t convince me that regulation is a bad thing

      A good read from Matt Taibbi on the criminals of Wallstreet

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-wall-street-killed-financial-reform-20120510

      • VR Kaine says:

        Jeff,

        The barbecue argument is only absurd if you don’t want to take it to the left to the same degree you’re taking the “freedom” argument so far to the right. Whether a restaurant is for profit or not profit is irrelevant, same as if I decided to charge for the food at my own BBQ. You already have to get a liquor permit to sell booze “safely” at a private, not for profit function, why is one to serve food such a stretch? Why not make it so that any BBQ serving minors and seniors (for instance), requires a license or a permit just to ensure their safety? The whole argument is around reach and extent, and I think everyone can agree that shutting down lemonade stands goes too far.

        “Nobody is stopping you from setting up a lemonaide stand, but once you cross over a volume amount of goods sold and income collected……..the rules change, and I am greatful they are there.”
        What?!?! It’s not the IRS shutting down these lemonade stands, it’s public safety. And yes, there are people preventing me from setting up one, and that’s those who say I have to have a food permit to do so.

        Either way, I agree that there needs to be a base level of standard for public protection (every libertarian agrees the government should be there for public safety), but I think the government goes too far in shutting down a kid selling lemonade or cookies. If you don’t, cool – we can agree to disagree there.

        “If I was under 30 years old today and trying to properly plan for my family and my retirement, I would be scared shitless………cause all I see is unbridled greed that could suck away a lifetime of hard work and diligence in an instant.”
        I agree, Jeff – for the average person it would be scary especially when you can’t trust pension funds anymore for the reasons you’ve mentioned.

        “Sorry boys…………but you can’t convince me that regulation is a bad thing
        Haha – we keep coming back to this. Show me one post anywhere on this blog that says we should do away with ALL regulation, where even the most libertarian among the commenters here don’t want any. Again, the agreement is that we need regulation and the question is how much.

        I agree with you that there’s not enough right now, but where I think you blame corporations I blame government because the buck stops there – they are the ones who are in charge of making the laws, and also enforcing them. If a murderer or thief is allowed to run rampant in the streets, you yell at the cops and you hope that he gets arrested and tried in a court. All that starts and ends with government, which starts and ends with the people we vote into it. Not sure they would have gotten anything different with a Republican in the White House, but the fact is anyone who voted Democrat voted for someone who caves to big finance just as badly. If anything’s going to change, it has to start with voters getting off their ass and getting smart about who they’re electing and keeping them to task all four years (or less) that they serve.

  24. Pingback: Fluctuation Dissipation | Anatomy of a campaign lie

  25. puzzled says:

    Just curious, why the back and forth about who “owns” the january 09 numbers? Obama was sworn in on the 21st. Are you seriously suggesting that holding him responsible for 3 weeks when Bush was still President is somehow one reasonable way to view the data? If you want to attribute 25% (one week) to him, that might make some sense. But the 75% under Bush has to belong to Bush. He was the President, not Obama.

    • I’m not. I am holding Bush accountable for the last days of January when he wasn’t in office, which also isn’t necessarily fair. That’s why I provide calculations for all three methods (i.e., January goes to Bush, January goes to Obama, and a pro rata split in January between Bush and Obama). That way the reader can decide which one they want to use. I personally think the first method is the most accurate one.

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