Was Paul Ryan really washing pots or is this a photo op? Read the linked story and share your thoughts.
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GUEST BLOGGER By Arthur I. Blaustein, Professor Community and Economic Development and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley
Most Americans have one eye on the nations economic crises and the other on the presidential election. And they are asking themselves, Are the Democrats or the Republicans better for the economic health of the country as well as for my own financial well-being? That is the defining question of this election. A businessman who voted for Bush twice and Obama in 2008, told me, The goals of Barack Obamas social programs-particularly health care, education and the environment-seem good. But Im worried the Democrats cant manage the economy as well. Many voters agree, and a recent poll shows that an overwhelming majority (70 percent) cite the economy as their top concern. For years the pollsters have found that most voters believe the Republicans do better with the economy. Ive heard the businessmans basic point-that the Democrats have better social policies but the Republicans are better managers of the economy-more often than Ive heard Judy Garland sing Were Off to See the Wizard. But is it true? Dont count on this question being examined and answered in a full, open and honest debate. Thirty-two years ago-with the election of Ronald Reagan-we entered an entirely new phase of presidential politics. The focus since then has been who can raise the most money and package the best media image, rather than who can demonstrate the most competence and capacity to govern. Our countrys political, economic and social life has been reduced to a battle of 15-second sound bites and 30-second commercials-most of them negative attack ads-with results reported like a football score. TV news has turned democracy into duhmocracy. Fortunately, we dont have to depend on campaign slogans or advertising bucks to frame the debate. We can look to the record. Heres the Economic Sweepstakes Quiz. The rules are simple. Guess which president since World War II did best on these eight generally accepted measures of good management of the nations economy. You can choose among six Republicans: Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bushes I and II; and six Democrats: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Obama. (No peeking.)
1. The highest growth in the gross domestic product?
2. The highest growth in jobs?
3. The biggest increase in personal disposable income after taxes?
4. The highest growth in industrial production?
5. The highest growth in hourly wages?
6. The lowest Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment)?
7. The lowest inflation?
8. The largest reduction in the deficit?
The answers are 1.Harry Truman, 2.Bill Clinton, 3.Lyndon Johnson, 4.John F. Kennedy, 5.Johnson, 6.Truman, 7.Truman, 8.Clinton. In the Economic Sweepstakes, Democratic presidents trounce Republicans eight times out of eight!
If this isnt enough to destroy the myth that economy has performed better under Republicans, the stock market has also done better under the Democrats. The Dow Jones Industrial Average during the 20th century rose 7.3 percent on average per year under Republican presidents. Under Democrats, it rose 10.3 percent-which means investors gained a whopping 41 percent more. And the stock market during George Ws two terms took a nosedive while it recovered handsomely under Obama. Moreover, since WWII, Democratic presidents have increased the national debt by an average of 3.9 percent per year and Republican presidents have increased it an average of 10.3 percent. During the same time period, Democratic presidents produced, on average, an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent; Republicans 6.4 percent. Thats the historical record. What about economic policies over the past 20 years? The Clinton administration presided over the longest peacetime economic expansion in our history. The national debt was reduced dramatically, the industrial sector boomed, wages grew and more Americans found jobs. How did the Bush-Cheney team fare? In their eight years, we experienced the weakest post-recession job creation cycle since the Great Depression, record deficits, record household debt, a record bankruptcy rate, and a substantial increase in poverty. We went from being the nation with the biggest budget surplus in history to becoming the nation with the largest deficit in history. When Obama took office in January of 2009, this was the America that he inherited from Bush-one that was reeling from the economic fallout from the Great Recession and the worst environmental disaster in our history; a housing mortgage meltdown, with families losing their homes; skyrocketing health-care costs; unacceptable levels of unemployment and underemployment; and an aging and broken infrastructure. If this were not bad enough, local governments, states, and cities-some close to bankruptcy and others already bankrupt-were faced with massive layoffs of teachers, police, firefighters, and human-service professionals. These were hard times, and a growing majority of Americans have been telling the pollsters, for the past twelve years, that our nation is headed in the wrong direction and that their children will be the first generation to do worse than their parents. Bush and his economic team allowed the banks, Wall Street wheelers and dealers, and real estate speculators to drive the country into near-bankruptcy. And when Obama proposed economic stimulus legislation to get us out of this financial ditch; the Republicans in Congress opposed it and complained about the size of the tow truck. From the first day Obama took office Republican leadership in Congress dusted off their old Nancy Reagan Just Say No buttons and purposefully and cynically obstructed any effort by Obama to get the economy back on the right track and to create more jobs. In spite of this political reality Obamas critics-in the media and the Republican Party–never let up attacking and blaming. They behaved like we live in the unreal world of television commercials, where a problem gets resolved in sixty seconds. You buy a new car and mysteriously, the guy or gal of your dreams suddenly appears. You switch stock brokerage firms, and you suddenly make a bundle of money. You take a pill, and all your sexual problems are resolved. All this happens with the snap of a finger. In the real world, especially politics, nothing works that way. There are no quick or painless fixes. I am reminded of an admonition from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah: Judge us not by the heights we have achieved but by the depths from which we have come. Considering the absolutely dire circumstances of the economy and the total opposition of the Republicans, Obama has done a better than decent job. His American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-the economic stimulus package-spurred economic growth, created and saved 2.6 million jobs and prevented the unemployment rate from climbing to over 12 percent. What is downright frightening is that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan seem to still believe that an unregulated free market will solve Americas economic problems. They want to privatize Medicare and water down Social Security. They want to return to the very same failed trickle down economic policies of Reagan and both Bushes. In 1980, Bush I called supply-side policies voodoo economics. But he embraced these trickle-down policies in order to become Vice-President and then President. Reagans and both Bushes royalist economic policies were failures-fools paradises built on the sands of borrowed time and borrowed money. The consequences were staggering debt, industrial decline, shrinking wages, six painful recessions, increased poverty and structural unemployment. The reckless Reagan-Bush-Bush spending and borrowing brought us to the brink of social chaos and economic catastrophe. With Romney and Ryan, (as Yogi Berra observed) its déjà vu all over again. Just like in The Wizard of Oz, when we finally get to see who is operating the smoke puffing machine, we find a consummate pitchman. If his overall Etch A Sketch campaign policies are dictated by holding a finger to the wind, the economic policies of the Wizard of Bain defy the basic rules of math and gravity. When you get beyond the smoke and mirrors it is essentially the same economic game plan of George W. Bush: cut taxes and reduce regulation to jump-start the economy. Its the new-old trickle down potion; and as grandpa always said: snake oil sells but it doesnt cure. Beyond that, Romneys deficit reduction scheme, tax plan, and proposal for creating 12 million new jobs are all based on vague pledges and bogus numbers that are seemingly plucked out of thin air. So, while the Romney-Ryan ticket composes hymns to patriotism, rugged individualism, trickle-down economics, staying the course on Bushs tax cuts and family values, they are also embracing the very economic policies that both undermine the middle class and subvert the security of American family life. American families need less pious rhetoric, and more policies geared toward a healthy economy, secure jobs, decent health care, affordable housing, quality public education, renewable energy and a sustainable environment. Romney seems unable, or unwilling, to grasp that the government has an important leadership role in this. In fact, providing tax giveaways for the rich and for corporate America is the only policy that seems to energize Romney and the Republicans in Congress; while Obama has pledged to repeal those very same giveaways. And contrary to the G.O.P. rhetoric, 90 percent of Americans-people making under $112,000 a year in individual income-would pay less taxes under Obamas tax plan. Moreover, according to research from Professor Larry Bartels of Princeton, real middle class wage growth when a Democrat is President is double that of when a Republican is President.
With four years of Romney continuing Bushs failed policies, we could well wake up one morning on the economic endangered nations list. Deficits and debt could strangle our economy for the next generation, and all but the wealthy will have a tough time making ends meet because of a shredded social safety net. On the other hand, Obama has demonstrated a willingness to confront these painful realities. On overall economic policy, he offers qualities indispensable to genuine leadership for America-patience, fairness, candor, and vision. At this critical time we need an administration that understands and believes in coherent, comprehensive and equitable policies that promote sustainable and healthy economic growth-and, on that count, Democrats have a winning record.
About Arthur Blaustein
Professor Arthur Blaustein teaches Community and Economic Development and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent books are Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport and The American Promise-Justice and Opportunity. He served as chairman of the Presidents National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity under Jimmy Carter and on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities under Bill Clinton.
Was the reporter trying to put words in Paul Ryan’s mouth or was he wrong to end the interview? Share your thoughts.
When you’re caught in a lie just admit it, but not if you are Paul Ryan. This guy will stick to a story in spite of the truth being placed before his very eyes. Watch the clip and share your thoughts.
Reuters 4:45 p.m. CDT, September 3, 2012
– A top California Democratic Party official on Monday compared Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan to Nazi Germany’s infamous propagandist Joseph Goebbels, drawing rebukes from both parties the day before the Democratic Party’s nominating convention formally begins. In a story reported Monday by the San Francisco Chronicle, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton was quoted as comparing distortions Ryan made in campaign speeches to lies used by Goebbels, a fierce anti-Semite and one of Adolf Hitler’s closest cohorts. “They lie and they don’t care if people think they lie,” Burton reportedly said, referring to Republicans broadly, at a breakfast on Monday with Charlotte delegates. Ryan told “a bold-faced lie and he doesn’t care that it was a lie. That was Goebbels, the big lie,” Burton told reporters from the Chronicle and CBS News. Republicans pounced on Burton’s remarks. “President Obama promised to lift up American politics. Unfortunately, some of his supporters, by employing rhetoric that has no place in our political system, are bringing it down to the gutter,” said former Minnesota congressman Norm Coleman, who works on Jewish voter outreach for the Romney campaign. “All people of good will should repudiate such disgraceful words,” Coleman said in statement.
Burton’s analogy drew fire from an Obama campaign spokesman after an opening press conference for the Democratic National Convention, in which Democrats will formally adopt their policy platform and nominate President Barack Obama to run for a second term and fend off the challenge from Mitt Romney in November’s election. “That obviously doesn’t reflect the views of the campaign,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. “That doesn’t have any place in the political discourse in Charlotte.” Democrats have cried foul over comments Ryan made recently, including those in his speech at the Republican National Convention last week, suggesting that Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul guts billions from the government healthcare program for the elderly, known as Medicare. The plan aims for cost savings by lowering reimbursements to hospitals and insurers and eliminating waste, Democrats say, quick to point out that these savings have been included in Ryan’s own budget proposals. LaBolt did not comment on whether Burton should step down from his position in California, a liberal stronghold and a huge source of campaign cash for Obama. The Nazis have no place in current political debates, said Matthew Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “Apparently the offense such remarks cause to Holocaust survivors and their families are of less concern to him than the prospect of partisan gain,” Brooks said in a statement. Burton has been known to make unfiltered comments on a range of topics.
He recently suggested Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey who has for years battled a weight problem, spend less time concerned about California and more time concerned about his health.
“Christie’s time would be better spent taking up first lady Michelle Obama’s White House Fitness Challenge than bashing our great state,” Burton said in a statement on the California Democratic Party’s website.
Burton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.” This is September and the crazy talk has really only just begun, but let’s be clear Paul Ryan is not a Nazi. This is extreme talk and it should not be tolerated. Ryan has lied that is documented, but talk about the facts don’t get lost in hyperbolic nonsense. Let’s stick to the facts.
This will come as no surprise to most regular readers of this blog. I support the President and he will get my vote this November, but I am also listening to what the Republicans are saying. Not what Democrats say Republicans are saying, but what they are actually saying. Over the next 3 days we have the opportunity to listen to them make the case for Mitt Romney, and outline in broadstrokes their map for change. You need to be watching and listening because they could win. Yes, I said it they could win and you need to listen to their plans. Now is not the time to cover up your ears because you don’t want to hear any Obama bashing. Sure there has been and there will be plenty of that, but you need to hear what Paul Ryan, the architect of the House Budget has on his mind, and you need to also hear what Mitt Romney wants to share with America. The Republicans plan on changing things and some of those changes might not be to your benefit, but if you don’t watch you won’t know. So now is not the time to bury your head in the sand and repeat the 2008 mantra Hope and Change, now is the time to Look and Listen because in 2012 Change is not just in the air it is a part of the GOP platform.
MIKE HUCKABEE SENT THIS EMAIL IN SUPPORT OF TODD AKIN TO HIS SUPPORTERS THIS AFTERNOON
“The Party’s leaders have for reasons that aren’t rational, left [Akin] behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding, a casualty of his self-inflicted, but not intentional wound. In a Party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican. Not for a moral failure or corruption or a criminal act, but for a misstatement which he contritely and utterly repudiated. I was shocked by GOP leaders and elected officials who rushed so quickly to end the political life of a candidate over a mistaken comment in an interview. This was a serious mistake, but it was blown out of proportion not by the left, but by Akin’s own Republican Party. Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates? Do we forgive and forget the verbal gaffes of Republicans who are “conveniently pro-life” for political advantage, but crucify one who truly believes that every life is sacred?
Who ordered this “Code Red” on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out. Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees. Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out. Money has changed hands to push him off the plank. It is disgraceful. From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not. There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don’t like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied. If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I’m waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves. It wasn’t just Todd Akin that was treated with contempt by the thinly veiled attack on Todd Akin. It was all the people who have faithfully knocked doors, made calls, and made sacrificial contributions to elect Republicans because we thought we were welcome in the party. Todd Akin owned his mistake. Who will step up and admit the effort being made to discredit Akin and apologize for the sleazy way it’s been handled? I’ve always believed and still do, that if you don’t honor your friendships, you don’t honor yourself. And I consider Todd a friend. So I will join Todd as often as I can, in his fight for our Party’s pro-life policies, traditional marriage and our efforts to rein in the massive expansion of government under President Obama. Todd is being systematically scourged for one thing he said. Is that more important than what Claire McCaskill has DONE over her 6 years in the Senate? If you’d like to join the fight, and help defeat a Democrat Senator standing in the way of a conservative majority, I encourage you to join me. The party has decided it won’t help. In fact, it has decided that it will try to cut off the supply lines to Akin to pressure him to exit and let the party bosses overturn the voters of Missouri and pick their own candidate. If this can happen to Todd Akin, who is next? I’ve heard the talk of new deadlines and the nonsense about the Republican Party running a 3rd party candidate, but I am no longer listening to that noise. The idea that our Party would continue to play games behind the scenes and feed the Democrats make-believe narrative of the GOP’s fictional war on women is equally ridiculous. Now is the time to focus on electing a conservative Senate Majority. And if the NRSC and RNC and the money-rich PACS won’t help Todd Akin get us to the majority, then we’ll do it without them. And his seat will not have been sold to the highest bidder, but obtained by the highest principles.”So not all Republicans have abandoned the embattled candidate. Mike Huckabee is scheduled to speak at the GOP convention, how is his support going to play with them? Share your thoughts.
Paul Ryan has railed against the President’s Stimulus Plan and he said he never asked for any of the money. Letters have surfaced with his signature on them requesting stimulus money. He now says his office requested the money. Isn’t that still him asking for the money? Am I missing something here?
Fox News loved Sarah Palin when she stepped on the national stage 4 years ago, and now they love Paul Ryan. Watch the slip and you will see the affection and the words are the same.