May 1, 2010

WSJ on ‘The Recovery So Far’

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:28 am


Growth is about half as strong as it was after the last deep downturn.

President Obama yesterday hailed the first quarter growth rate of 3.2% as “an important milepost on the road to recovery,” and let’s hope he’s right. From our own current vantage point, the first quarter numbers reveal a respectable cyclical recovery, though one that is so far less robust than we’d expect after an especially deep recession.

One way to judge the strength of a recovery is to compare it to the growth after downturns of similar severity. The best recent comparison to the recession of 2008-2009 would be that of 1981-1982. They had different causes—interest rate increases in 1981 and a financial shock in 2008—but both periods had steep declines in output and jobless rates that hit 10%.

The 1982 recession officially ended in November, and the recovery came roaring out of that year, gaining momentum throughout 1983 and carrying 8% growth into 1984 with an expansion that lasted six more years.

… By comparison to that boom, the current recovery has been about half as strong.

But it’s also worth noting another less than favorable contrast with the recovery of 1983: government policy. The full incentive-enhancing impact of the 25% Reagan reduction in marginal tax rates finally kicked in on January 1, 1983, and Paul Volcker’s Federal Reserve was starting to cut interest rates from the record highs that broke the back of inflation while causing the recession. At the same time, an era of deregulation was lowering costs across most industries. The groundwork for a durable expansion had been laid in lower taxes, lower inflation and lower business costs.

In the current recovery, the policy headwinds are very different. Taxes are set to rise significantly on January 1, 2011, and the political class is signaling the need for still more taxes to pay for the costs of stimulus and the expanding entitlement state.

… Regarding its (the recovery’s) strength and duration, the jury is still out.

It should also be noted that the economy was adding lots of jobs by the first quarter of 1983, the first strong quarter of recovery, while the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy continued to shed seasonally adjusted jobs during its first strong quarter of growth in 4Q09. Growth through tax cuts and lower regulation in 1983-1984 clearly outperformed what we have seen thus far in 2009-2010.

One of Rush’s Finest Hours (Also a Steyn Excerpt)

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:08 am

There are so many fine hours that it takes a special riff to get into the titled category, but this one from Wednesday (will be gone behind his subscription wall next Wednesday evening) was special, especially in its identification of the people who are reasonable, and those who are extremists (bolds are mine; additional paragraph breaks inserted by me):

We have a federal government that refuses to enforce federal immigration law and a state that is. The president ought to just come out and say right now, “Look, even though I took an oath to uphold the Constitution and the law of the land, I’m not going to. I don’t give a damn about the people of Arizona or the people in any of the border states. I don’t give a damn about the people of this country generally. I’m on a worldwide stage now. My number one job’s to impress other governments and other people, not to look out for the best interests of the American people.”

… In fact, what President Obama is doing, if you want to get down to brass tacks here, is siding against Americans. And this is the argument we need to universalize, I’m telling you, from the health care bill to whatever other piece of legislation he has planned or has passed — TARP, stimulus — Barack Obama is siding against Americans. A better way of saying he’s governing against the will of the people.

Barack Obama is siding against us. He does not stand up for the law-abiding citizens of this country. He does not stand up for the legal immigrants in this country. He goes to bat for the illegals, the malcontents, the lawbreakers. Because it is their votes he needs. And he can’t get those votes if we ever get to a point where voter photo ID is required at the polling place. That’s what’s undergirding all this.

Look at the war on terrorism, my friends. Obama and his attorney general have spent months trying to insure that terrorists receive constitutional rights. No president before has ever conferred on this kind of an enemy. It’s suicidal. But he does it. He doesn’t care about the American citizen. He doesn’t care about the dire consequences of his actions. He is reckless. He borders on lawless.

Here’s the thing, the people of Arizona and their state government are not acting in a radical way. The president and his regime are. The radicals in this argument are the pro-amnesty, pro-illegal alien people, the Democrat Party, the government-run media, and everybody in this regime. The people of Arizona are the epitome of reasonable, they are the epitome of controlled but at their wits’ end. The president and his administration and his regime, they are the radicals.

When a president, by his actions and words, makes clear that he is not going to protect the citizens of a state, it is the duty of that state to step up and protect its citizens when the president of the country refuses to do so. And that’s all that is happening here.

Mark Steyn has more on reasonableness, and the arrogance of limousine liberals and leftists who don’t have to live in the hell they have fostered:

To the coastal commentariat, “undocumented immigrants” are the people who mow your lawn while you’re at work and clean your office while you’re at home.

(That, for the benefit of Linda Greenhouse, is the real apartheid: the acceptance of a permanent “undocumented” servant class by far too many “documented” Americans who assuage their guilt by pathetic sentimentalization of immigration.)

But in border states illegal immigration is life and death. I spoke to a lady this week who has a camp of illegals on the edge of her land: She lies awake at night, fearful for her children and alert to strange noises in the yard. President Obama, shooting from his lip, attacked the new law as an offense against “fairness.”

Where’s the fairness for this woman’s family? Because her home is in Arizona rather than Hyde Park, Chicago, she’s just supposed to get used to living under siege? … this lady has to live there, while the political class that created this situation climbs back into the limo and gets driven far away.

Positivity: Earring Saves Philly Student From Bullet

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:02 am

From Philadelphia:

Apr 30, 2010 9:26 pm US/Eastern

A teen claims her favorite pair of earrings saved her life from a bullet fired inside her high school Thursday.

The incident happened Thursday morning inside the Communications Technology High School in Southwest Philadelphia.

The 15-year-old was struck by the bullet after it was accidentally discharged by a classmate who slipped the gun into the school.

The bullet slammed into her earring, which deflected it from slamming into her head.

“The bullet actually went through my collar and ricocheted off my earring,” explained the teen, who asked to not be identified.

The teen miraculously only suffered minor cuts from fragments on her neck. Ironically, the teen told Eyewitness News she only put the earrings on moments before the bullet was fired. …

Go here for the rest of the story.