Economy is finally getting back where it belongs

We had some unambiguously good economic news last week. It took longer than most experts predicted. Many thought that the summer of recover would be 2010. Even the more pessimistic thought we would have been in robust recovery by 2012. Republicans blamed Obama for wasting too much on the stimulus. Democrats blamed Republicans for not allowing even more spending. Since we still have President Obama and the stimulus ran out, both were wrong. What happened?

One of the most important factors is time. It is like when you get a cold. You usually recover in a week or ten days. With extraordinary care and special medicine, you get better in a week or ten days. If you do nothing but take reasonable care of yourself, you get better in a week or ten days. Basic government policies shape economies in the long term. but in the short term of years or even decades, politicians have less influence over the economy than we credit of blame. To the extend they do, it is almost all on the downside, i.e. really bad policies can wreck and economy in rapid order, but good ones will take a longer time and be hard to measure.

Let's take the health analogy again. If you are seriously overweight and out-of-shape even the best possible diet and exercise will not make you an athlete in weeks or months. In fact, it takes years.

But there is a very big variable in the economy now. That is the American energy boom. It started about ten years ago, but its effects were hard to see until about five years ago. It is like the fat guy who started to eat right and exercise in December but only starts to look good in May.

The U.S. is now the world's biggest energy producer. We surpassed Russia in the production of natural gas last year. We will probably surpass Saudi Arabia as the largest oil producer in a couple years. We could reach net energy independence by 2020 and be a net exporter after that. This is a really big deal.

The energy boom has pumped billions of dollars in the U.S. economy. It is bigger than the stimulus and we do not have to pay it back. Recent drops in gasoline prices will be like a 2% raise to an average American worker. This is a long term plus for the U.S. It will spread the wealth.

This is the strangest recovery in the post-WWII period. The stock market has done very well and the rich are doing very well. Unemployment has dropped, to a large extend until now because of a shrinking labor force. Median incomes are down and will not recover their 2007 levels for a year or two. But it looks like we are finally coming out of the funk and we can thank the American energy boom.

Posted by Christine & John at December 8, 2014 2:48 AM
Comments
Comment #386379

Yes indeed…thanks to The Creator for our natural resources. Our economy is recovering despite our reaching the $18 Trillion mark in immediate debt and more than a $100 Trillion in unfunded entitlement debt.

Unemployment numbers are dropping and that’s good news. However, when we add in the millions of new “legal” illegals it will climb again.

The good news this week is another huge election thumping the dem party received with Mary Landrieu’s loss of her Louisiana Senate seat.

Americans have voted and they don’t like obama and his crony’s in congress. They kicked a bunch of the libs out and that is good news.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 7, 2014 4:00 PM
Comment #386380

RF,
You write: “Unemployment numbers are dropping and that’s good news. However, when we add in the millions of new “legal” illegals it will climb again.”

Actually, including them will drop the unemployment numbers. The people who have been here illegally for five years or more were the ones covered by the executive order, and they have been already been supporting themselves with jobs for years. Full amnesty for the estimated 11 million or so, as recommended by Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, might be more of a mixed bag. The whole problem with figuring it out is that these are people who are hiding, and often working for cash.

The national debt- $18 trillion- has stabilized at a number lower than anyone would have imagined even a few years ago. It has dropped from about 9% of the GDP when Obama took office, to less than 3% today. The annual federal budget deficit has been reduced every year of Obama’s presidency, and at this rate, will be nearly eliminated two years from now. At the same time, the size of the federal government has been reduced.

C&J,
We avoided a Great Depression or a Japanese “Lost Decade.” Thank goodness for the Obama administration! It will go down as the best one of the modern era, the best since FDR. It really has been a remarkable performance. Glad you finally noticed. This has been going on for years.

One of my favorite moments of recent history: Secretary of the Treasury, former chairman of Goldman Sachs, and proverbial Master of the Universe, Hank Paulsen, going down on bended knee to Nancy Pelosi to beg her to save the American economy with the bailout. The GOP opposed it. Pelosi saved us. She delivered the votes when the GOP refused. She will also be remembered as the greatest House leader of modern history.

Posted by: phx8 at December 7, 2014 6:09 PM
Comment #386381

C&J,

Appreciate your recognition of the continued improvement of the economy. Still can’t bring yourself, though, to give any credit to Obama or the Democrats. Best recovery of all the industrialized western nations from the Great Recession. But, Obama and the Dems had nothing to do with it!

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the following responses from the Republican leadership as satirically suggested by Andy Borowitz:

“If President Obama doesn’t stop fixing the economy, Congress has ways to make him stop.” John Boehner

“Appearing on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the President of “cynically fixing the economy to distract the American people.”

“This country faces serious problems, and I don’t think they can be swept under the rug by creating prosperity,”
http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/republicans-question-obamas-motives-fixing-economy

Posted by: Rich at December 7, 2014 7:28 PM
Comment #386383

The silence in the blue column is deafening. Another Democrat Senate seat lost. Some say it could be a decade before any of the southern seats to be regained by Democrats. I guess the American people are still talking to liberals; but are they listening???

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 7, 2014 8:26 PM
Comment #386384

phx8

I don’t believe the Obama policies avoided a great depression. The steps needed to stop the economic collapse were in place in January 2009. The Obama stimulus did little except move economic activity forward.

I was in favor of TARP, BTW. Bush was still president when this happened.

Re Nancy Pelosi - yeah. Wait for that.

Rich

The economy improves. This improvement took a longer time than usual. The stimulus ran its course before there was any significant improvement.

As I wrote, I believe much of the U.S. success can be explained by the American energy boom, of course on top of the usual American resilience. The energy boom is really the only big variable that changed. It is worth more than the the stimulus in real dollars and need not be paid back.

Posted by: C&J at December 7, 2014 8:27 PM
Comment #386387

Sam Jones,
Landrieu was a conservative Democrat who represented the fossil fuel industry. She chaired the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She will be replaced on that committee by a relatively moderate Republican, Murkowski (AK), who will represent the fossil fuel industry. She will not be missed.

The winner of that seat, a guy named Cassidy, does not seem to have an agenda in mind other than opposing regulation of oil & gas, and opposing Obama. That seems to be it.

This completes the GOP Southern Strategy, a consciously pursued strategy to appeal to racism against African Americans in the southern states, the former slave states of the Confederacy. The Republicans now own complete control of the whites in that region- the poorest, least educated, and most racist portion of America.

They seem to have no agenda other than hating a black president for no coherent reason, and shilling for corporations, especially the fossil fuel industry.

In 2005, the former head of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, formally apologized to the NAACP for pursuing this strategy and turning away from black voters.

Nevertheless, here we are. Complete Republican ownership of the South.

Congratulations. You must be very proud.

Posted by: phx8 at December 7, 2014 11:56 PM
Comment #386388

phx8

Republicans picked up three senate seats in the old Confederacy and picked up six that were not.

One of the states Republicans picked up was Iowa. Recall that mostly white Iowa is what made Obama a viable candidate.

Talk about diversion. This racist crap is really so 1960. There are lots of reasons not to like President Obama. If you see only race, you will remain unable to see it. Did you dislike Bush because he was white? Recall also that only 13% disapproved of President Obama in 2009. Maybe those were racists, probably not all. But the others were not. They changed their minds.

Posted by: C&J at December 8, 2014 12:10 AM
Comment #386389

Oh, it’s not just race. There is also homophobia and xenophobia at play- that is, hatred of gays and hatred of immigrants- along with a generous side dish of misogyny justified in the name of ‘religious belief’. There is a strong anti-science bent, funded by the fossil fuel industry, which claims scientists are participating in worldwide hoax to convince everyone Global Warming is a hoax, not to mention the whole ‘evolution is just a theory’ crowd.

C&J, I think it would be fair to characterize your political beliefs as belonging to the establishment wing of the GOP. That wing is fighting for control of the party with the Tea Party radicals. The establishment wing is willing to forget about continuing to discriminate against gays. The Tea Party is having none of that- it is pure homophobia. The establishment wing, led by Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, just called for full amnesty for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. The Tea Party is having none of that either; Congressman Steve King and Michele Bachmann wrote an immigration bill for the House advocating deportation of 11 million people! That is pure xenophobia. Racism is part and parcel of the Tea Party, along with Birtherism, the idea Obama is a muslim, etc. As for the establishment wing and women… remember that primary debate, where Mitt Romney was asked what he thought about birth control, and he was so surprised? He thought it was working just fine. He didn’t even realize it was an issue for the Tea Party wing. We see the same sort of thing happening with Global Warming. The establishment wing- the money people, the finance guys, the Romneyites and Bushies et al- know full well Global Warming is the biggest danger we face…

Buy the GOP is falling into the hands of the Tea Partiers and the fossil fuel money guys, led by the Koch Brothers. And they have a LOT of money, and they want to kill the EPA and any kind of regulation that interferes with their profits, which means backing the Tea Party and all the darkness it brings along with it.

Normally, I would bet on the establishment money guys to win the day. They almost always do. But this time might be different, because the radicals and extremists have two of the richest guys on the planet backing them, and this time, not even Romney and Jeb Bush may be able to stand up to them.

It’s an ugly thing to see. These people are the worst of America. And there are a lot of them.

Posted by: phx8 at December 8, 2014 12:49 AM
Comment #386390

By the way, the focus of politics is about to change radically this week. The report on torture will be released. It supposedly avoids blaming Bush, Cheney, Rice, Gonzales, and Addington, and instead pins the tail on the CIA donkey. Some Senators may be unwilling to play ball. If not satisfied, outgoing Senator Udall has threatened to read the report into the Senate record, and no one- no one- can stop him from doing it. It is totally legal.

Supposedly the report to be released has redacted the names of individuals who broke the law, as well as the names of countries that harbored secret prisons, allowed renditions, and countenanced torture… a LOT of torture.

The Obama administration is desperate to keep this thing under wraps, but there are those who will not give it a pass.

Posted by: phx8 at December 8, 2014 12:58 AM
Comment #386393

All the old segregationist Democrats of the south, who voted against civil rights, have been removed. Thank God the south is now controlled by freedom loving, anti-racist Republicans. This is a great moment in history.

On another thought, Obama is releasing another terrorists from GITMO. Thus fulfilling is promise to close down GITMO and put the terrorists back on the frontlines against American troops or blow up American cities. Thanks Obama for your continued war against America.

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 8, 2014 4:09 PM
Comment #386395

Sam,

Not one of those freedom loving, anti-racist Southern Republicans voted for the Civil Rights bill at the time. Some of the Southern Democrats, however, did vote in favor.

The truth of the matter is that the national Democratic party conceded the South on the issue of segregation. It began with Harry Truman’s strong civil rights platform in the Democratic Convention of 1948 resulting in the Dixiecrat revolt within the Democratic Party and culminated with Lyndon Johnson’s ramrodding of the Civil Right’s bill of 1964.

The Republican party exploited the split within the Democrats over civil rights with Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

Posted by: Rich at December 8, 2014 5:01 PM
Comment #386397

Why aren’t we calling out the politiphobes when they bash one party and not the other?

Some of these comments are politiphobic in the extreme. I’m offended!

These politiphobes should be forced to apologize for their politiphobia and take sensitivity training in an effort to make amends for the shameful, politiphobic comments seen here.

Politiphobics cannot be tolerated!

Just kidding! :)

However, this oil boon might be short lived. Saudi Arabia is lowering the price of their crude oil in an effort to make it cheaper than the oil aquired by fracking. Some are saying the price of fracking oil is 70$ bbl. I’ve heard oil could go as low as 50$. This would make fracking unprofitable and would stop production.

Would conventional drilling fields be opened to pick up the slack and keep the economy in it’s idle mode?

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 8, 2014 7:42 PM
Comment #386398

The seat Landrieu held had been in the hands of the Democrats for 132 years. Was Landrieu a Dixiecrat? No, she was an Obama Democrat. Cassidy ran on one point and that was to tie Landrieu to Obama. It was a clear anti-Obama vote by the people of Louisiana.

Note: “Southern”, as used in this section, refers to members of Congress from the eleven states that made up the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. “Northern” refers to members from the other 39 states, regardless of the geographic location of those states.

The original House version:
Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)
Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%)
Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%)
Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)

The Senate version:
Southern Democrats: 1–20 (5–95%) (only Ralph Yarborough of Texas voted in favor)
Southern Republicans: 0–1 (0–100%) (John Tower of Texas)
Northern Democrats: 45–1 (98–2%) (only Robert Byrd of West Virginia voted against)
Northern Republicans: 27–5 (84–16%)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

80% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill. Less than 70% of Democrats did.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/28/republicans-party-of-civil-rights

Actually,80% of House Republicans voted for Civil Rights compared to 63% of House Democrats; and 82% of Senate Republicans voted for Civil Rights compared to 69% of Senate Democrats. There were 21 Senate Democrats in the old south compared to only 1 Republican Senator in Texas. The Democrats have now lost all of those Senate seats.

Had it not been for the Republican House and Senate; LBJ’s Civil Rights Bill would not have passed.

Not one of those freedom loving, anti-racist Southern Republicans voted for the Civil Rights bill at the time. Some of the Southern Democrats, however, did vote in favor.

The Republicans only controlled about 2.5% of southern Senate seats and about 8% of southern House seats; but over all, the Republicans voted for Civil Rights at a higher percentage than the Democrats.

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 8, 2014 8:05 PM
Comment #386399

Sam,

Thank you for reinforcing my point. The South voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was a regional issue.

Posted by: Rich at December 8, 2014 8:52 PM
Comment #386400

phx8

My political views fit comfortably nowhere. I am pragmatic. I like things that work. My thinking split from liberalism in the 1970s, when a previously noble ideology was hijacked by victim glorification and identity politics. Actually, I think this happened to many Americans around that time. It explains the Reagan landslides.

My big complaint today is the wimpification of society. We have to worry about the feelings of any group or individual. I say, F them if they can’t take a joke, but that is not PC.

Re the Tea Party - they did a lot of good in stopping the Obama agenda in 2009-10. Sometimes passionate people get a little nuts. A guy like me is unable to do it. Do I disagree with much of the Tea Party? I suppose we have differences. But we share enough that we can work toward a common goal.

I would be happy to work with liberals if they would give up that victim/identity/equality crap. We agree on the need to support science. Science seeks truth. Truth is usually unPC.

In any case, you say that “my” wing of the party is in conflict with the TP. Maybe that is true. I perceive more divisions among Democrats with the Elizabeth Warren types against the Schumer types, against the Clinton cabal, against the moderate governors.

In this last election I voted for two Democrats - Rep Jerry Connolly and Senator Mark Warner. I hope that they can work with Republicans now in majority. As far as I am concerned we can all do without Cruz and Pelosi types. But if I have to choose, I know which way I need to go.

Posted by: C&J at December 8, 2014 9:20 PM
Comment #386402

Rich, the south voted against civil rights in 1964, but if we use the same statistics as in 1964; the south would now vote for Civil Rights. The Republican Party had a higher percentage of support for Civil Rights than the Democrats. The idea presented by Democrats that we still have the same racial problems that we had in 1964 is ridiculous. Obama won in 2008 with many Republican votes. While it is true that Democrats have several House members who are black; they are from predominantly black congressional districts and DC. On the other hand, there are several black Congressmen and Senators from the previously controlled southern Democrat states; also women and minority women hold many state and federal positions. Here is a good article showing how the southern states were controlled by Democrats after the Civil War and their war against blacks:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Americans_in_the_United_States_Congress

The left loves to bring up “Jim Crow”, but it was the Democratic Party that was responsible.

There are a lot of liberal talking points about racism; but they are only talking points; it is a fact that the Republican Party is much more inclusive of minorities and women than the Democrat Party. It is for this reason that Democrats push the issue of racism; to shift blame.

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 9, 2014 5:34 AM
Comment #386403
This is the strangest recovery in the post-WWII period. The stock market has done very well and the rich are doing very well. Unemployment has dropped, to a large extend until now because of a shrinking labor force. Median incomes are down and will not recover their 2007 levels for a year or two. But it looks like we are finally coming out of the funk and we can thank the American energy boom.

C&J, I completely agree. The stock market has done well because the government continues to print money. There are two ways for company stock prices to increase; increased production and sales, or cut expenses (including labor). I fear the stock market increase is based upon false numbers. Some economists even say the market is very volatile and over inflated. The rich are doing well because they have made money from the markets increase. On the other hand, the working and middle class income has been stagnant for many years. This means they don’t have the money to invest in the market. The old saying, “it takes money to make money” holds true. Add to this the theft of middle class or working class income, for the purpose of redistribution to the some 1/3rd of America that does not work, and a great strain has been placed on the country.

The production of fossil fuels has been the countries salvation; but it was done by the private sector. Obama and the Democrats have done all they can to stop this production. Obama’s EPA’s latest regulations are proof of this. The left would love to see production of fuels through fracking to be disrupted as a result of the drop in oil prices, but private enterprise in America is very resilient.

It’s interesting that you hear nothing about America’s strategic oil reserves anymore. Wouldn’t this be a good time to replenish the reserves. The Democrats are the first to call for release of strategic oil reserves, when the price of oil goes up. Of course it’s done simply for the purpose of putting a band aid on the problem, rather than increasing production.

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 9, 2014 5:55 AM
Comment #386404

It doesn’t matter if Obama and the Democrats are talking about the economy, racism, foreign policy, or the many scandals that have plagued the administration; we hear nothing but lies. But the truth eventually comes out. Here is some interesting facts that were denied by the Democrats and turned out to be more lies and deception:

Yes, Dems did funnel money to ‘independent’ in Kansas Senate race

Anyone who followed this year’s Senate race in Kansas — the one longtime GOP incumbent Pat Roberts appeared to be losing to Greg Orman, the businessman running as an independent — knows Orman and his supporters vigorously denied Roberts’ allegation that Orman was really a Democrat running to further the Democratic agenda.

“By word, by deed, by campaign contribution, this man is a liberal Democrat,” Roberts said of Orman during a debate in October. “A vote for Greg Orman is a vote to extend the Barack Obama/Harry Reid agenda.”

Not true, Orman answered. “The senator can say that over and over again, but it doesn’t make it so.”

What voters did not know was at that very moment, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid’s political action committee, the Senate Majority PAC, was preparing to pour more than a million dollars into the pro-Orman effort in Kansas. Reid was just waiting to make sure the donations came so late in the campaign that the public wouldn’t find out about them until after the election.

The key day was Oct. 16. Election law stipulates that any contribution received before Oct. 16 had to be publicly disclosed to the Federal Elections Commission before election day. But anything received on Oct. 16 or later would not be disclosed until after voters went to the polls.

Stung by Roberts’ criticism, Kansas Democrats were putting out the story that the party wasn’t helping Orman, even though Reid and his colleagues had forced the actual Democratic candidate out of the race because they believed Orman had a better chance of beating Roberts. Word was that the outside groups supporting Orman, one called the Committee to Elect an Independent Senate and another called Kansans Support Problem Solvers PAC, weren’t getting help from the big Democratic organizations.

“[Orman] has been hindered by a lack of support from outside groups,” National Journal reported on Oct. 15. “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Senate Majority PAC, wary of backing a candidate who has said he will caucus with whatever party holds the majority, have declined to help his campaign.”

The very next day, Oct. 16 — at the very moment the pre-election disclosure blackout began — the first of Reid’s Senate Majority PAC checks arrived at the pro-Orman Committee to Elect an Independent Senate.

That check was for $450,000. The next day, Oct. 17, another $250,000 arrived. There was $500,000 on Oct. 28. And $35,000 on Oct. 30. And $75,000 on Oct. 31.

Kansans Support Problem Solvers PAC received $123,000 from Reid’s group on Nov. 3. On that same day came another check for $23,000. Then, on Nov. 4, election day, another $5,300.

Other liberal groups sent money, too, after the blackout began. On October 25, the League of Conservation Voters sent $250,000 to the Committee to Elect an Independent Senate. On October 29, the League sent another $200,000.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/yes-dems-did-funnel-money-to-independent-in-kansas-senate-race/article/2557116

The American people are finally getting wise to the deception from the left, and because of the lies, everything Obama does is brought into question. Why is the Senate report on enhanced interrogation coming out today…because this is the day Gruber appears before the House committee. Try to shift the topic. I promise, the MSM that has ignored Gruber will spend all their energy talking about enhanced interrogation for the next week.

Another deception by the left, even in this post is the constant talking about a split in the Republican Party; another lie to cover up the great divide in the Democratic Party. All of the Democratic Senators who voted for Obamacare and were up for re-election have lost the seats. Now we see the great divide as Democrat senators like Schumer, trying to CYA, slamming Obamacare and running as fast as they can. Hillary Clinton tried to get NHC passed when she was 1st lady and the American people said no way. Hillary Clinton was in total support of Obamacare, but will now try to run from it. She don’t have a snowballs chance in Hades of getting elected in 2016; in fact I don’t think she has a chance of getting the nomination.

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 9, 2014 8:40 AM
Comment #386422

“Landrieu was a conservative Democrat…”

What a great laugh. A senator who kissed obama’s royal ass on demand is conservative?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 9, 2014 2:02 PM
Comment #386423

Landrieu was part of an old Democrat family of politicians from LA. Her family has been in politics for decades. You’re right Royal; she never met an Obama agenda that she was against. There was absolutely nothing conservative about her. She was stomped.

I watched the Jonathan Gruber and Marilyn Tavenner hearings. It was embarrassing. Gruber stuck his head between his legs and kissed his and Obama’s ass. Gruber is a true arrogant liberal who thinks he knows more than anyone else. Anyone who has seen the many videos of Gruber knows the absolute elitist arrogant attitude he had. He was so smug at pulling one over on the American people. But by the time the Obama administration got finished coaching him; he had to do the unthinkable. A grad of Harvard and a professor at MIT had to humble himself, play stupid, admit to arrogance, and pretend he knew nothing. Do you know how hard that was for him? It would be like Stephen Daugherty telling everyone he is arrogant, elitist, and stupid…times 100. Tavenner’s answers were just as bad. I thought she was going to start crying at one point. She is the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and yet looked stupid for not being able to answer any of the questions. I predict the SCOTUS will absolutely destroy Obamacare in the Spring. After Gruber’s comments about tricking and using the American people and the Supreme Court. CJ Roberts was used. Nothing like Obama lecturing the SC at the state of the union address, and then Gruber using the court to call a penalty a tax; when Gruber knew it was a tax all along, but the WH lawyers argued it was a penalty. The court was tricked. “The chickens are going to come home to roost”.

Finally, most of the Democrats didn’t even show up to the hearing…what could they say. Cummins simply looked at Gruber and told him he was stupid. The strategy was to somehow isolate Gruber as someone who is stupid and alienated from the Obama administration. They wanted to separate Gruber from Obamacare as far as they could. Again, embarrassing. To American people who already have little confidence in Obama, this will only make things worse. All we need now, is for someone to be killed as a result of Obama and the Senate Dems release of info today.

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 9, 2014 3:03 PM
Comment #386425

You’re right Sam. I found it amusing when obama called for the next president to have that “fresh new car smell”. Obviously he wasn’t referring to Hillary. She has that three day old, laying in the sun, tuna fish salad smell.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 9, 2014 3:23 PM
Comment #386430

LOL

Posted by: Sam Jones at December 9, 2014 3:52 PM
Comment #386475

Royal and Sam

Hillary has that old bag smell.

Posted by: C&J at December 10, 2014 10:31 PM
Post a comment