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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

On the Friday before Christmas, President Obama announced that he was appointing Mohamed A. El-Erian, the CEO of Pacific Investment Management Company, as the chairman of his Global Development Council. The announcement didn’t get much attention, but it should. It exemplifies what’s wrong with Obama’s approach to economic policy, which amounts to: insult rich people as “fat cats,” raise their taxes, and then choose a favored few of them for special access.


Obama's Crony Capitalism
Obama’s economic policy: insult "fat cats" and then grant special access to a favored few.
Ira Stoll | January 7, 2013 REASON

On the Friday before Christmas, President Obama announced that he was appointing Mohamed A. El-Erian, the CEO of Pacific Investment Management Company, as the chairman of his Global Development Council.
The announcement didn’t get much attention, but it should. It exemplifies what’s wrong with Obama’s approach to economic policy, which amounts to: insult rich people as “fat cats,” raise their taxes, and then choose a favored few of them for special access.
If you’re not familiar with El-Erian, you must not be watching CNBC or attending the World Economic Forum at Davos. The son of an Egyptian ambassador to France and a French mother, El-Erian worked for 15 years, from 1983 to 1997, on the staff of the International Monetary Fund. In 1999 he joined Pimco, a California-based manager of bond funds.
El-Erian’s reputation as a money manager is not without its blemishes. He did a brief tour—parts of 2006 and 2007—as the manager of Harvard University’s endowment, leaving it ill-prepared for the economic downturn that ensued shortly thereafter.
In October 2009, with Pimco colleague Bill Gross, El-Erian forecast a “new normal” of asset returns of half what they were in previous decades. That turned out, at least so far, to have been spectacularly wrong, at least when it comes to U.S. stocks, which were up about 17 percent in 2010 and 16 percent in 2012. A New York Times article published in July 2012 reported that El-Erian had been paid $100 million by Pimco in 2011, a year in which Pimco’s flagship Total Return fund was in the bottom 10 percent of bond funds. Pimco, a unit of the German company Allianz, disputes the pay figures, though it won’t say how much El-Erian actually was paid, and The New York Times has not issued a correction.
The former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan; George W. Bush’s chief of staff Joshua Bolten; and a Bush administration Treasury official, Neel Kashkari, all have consulted to or worked for Pimco in recent years. Meanwhile, the firm, which manages more than $1 trillion for investors who include state governments and foreign sovereign funds, has reportedly been trying to avoid being designated as a “systemically important financial institution” under the Dodd-Frank law governing financial regulation.
Now, maybe Pimco’s El-Erian has agreed to volunteer as chairman of President Obama’s Global Development Council entirely out of an altruistic concern for the people of the developing world. And maybe the CEO of GE, Jeffrey Immelt, volunteered to head Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness entirely out of patriotic concern for jobless Americans.
But you don’t have to be either a skeptic or a cynic to see the presidential appointment as just the latest piece of a business strategy that relies on closeness to the government as an edge. Fortune described it well in a 2009 article: “Pimco’s success stems from shrewd bets on government intervention.”
The Fortune article went on, “For example, in 2008 Gross shifted from Treasuries and corporate bonds into mortgage debt backed by Fannie and Freddie because he believed that the government would ultimately keep those government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) afloat. By May, Gross had moved 60 percent of Total Return into GSE-backed bonds, up from 20 percent the year before. ‘In a way, we’ve partnered with the government,’ says El-Erian. ‘We looked for assets that we felt the government would eventually have to own or support.’”
El-Erian’s new job as chairman of the Global Development Council—which he will do as a volunteer while remaining CEO of Pimco—puts him at the head of a group that the White House says “will inform and provide advice to the President and other senior U.S. officials on U.S. global development policies and practices, support new and existing public-private partnerships, and increase awareness and action in support of development by soliciting public input on current and emerging issues in the field of global development.”
Or, to put it another way, it takes Pimco’s partnership with the government to a whole new level.

175 comments:

  1. Return on assets, in bond funds ...
    Would not be based upon the price of the common stock.

    The author takes three unconnected data points, then combines them to create a picture of Pimco being run by folks of little ability.

    That Pimco is well connected ...
    An obvious observation


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      I think you missed the point, rat.

      It is in the interest of a bond manager to push the notion that the stock market will underperform. It's a matter of risk and reward. As yields on bonds and stock move closer or disappear, a reasonable investor would be looking more at the risk as a deciding factor something that has historically favored bonds.

      Also, I think you overreach when you speak of the 'folk' at Pimco since I think his main criticism was towards El Erian.

      .

      Delete
    2. Sarah Palin has dubs on the term 'crony capitalism'.

      Delete
    3. El-Erian guy just screams moderation. The lobbyists and ideologues in Washington hate that.

      Pimco is also moving into stock funds, which I thought was telling, and at least part if not all of the reason behind the Neel Kashkari hire.

      The former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan; George W. Bush’s chief of staff Joshua Bolten; and a Bush administration Treasury official, Neel Kashkari, all have consulted to or worked for Pimco in recent years.

      It's a hit piece. The East Coast boys have managed to divert the attention to the West.

      Delete
    4. "A moderate Muslim is one that's out of ammo."

      Henry Kissinger

      Always did love that quote.

      Delete
    5. Egyptian Magazine: Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrates Obama Administration

      by John Rossomando • Jan 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      An Egyptian magazine claims that six American Islamist activists who work with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy.

      http://www.investigativeproject.org/3869/egyptian-magazine-muslim-brotherhood-infiltrates

      Delete
    6. BobTue Jan 08, 12:26:00 PM EST
      "A moderate Muslim is one that's out of ammo."

      Henry Kissinger

      Always did love that quote.





      Got any support that he actually said that? I think you make most of this shit up.

      Delete
  2. The Man is Obviously our Manchurian President,
    only two here deny this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. (The Video Depicts one of the biggest blowouts I have ever seen.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oregon Ducks would have at least been competitive, while losing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bing West reports Dakota Meyer is happily employed in construction in Kentucky

    The Case of Dakota Meyer

    He got a chance to work for another company, BAE Systems, which has revenues of more than a billion and a half dollars in government contracts. He learned that the company was “pursuing sales” of advanced thermal-optic scopes to Pakistan. He thought that the scopes were better than what most American soldiers had. In an e-mail to his supervisor, Bobby McCreight, quoted in the suit, Meyer writes that he’d joined BAE to help make equipment to protect American troops (“This is where I could see me still ‘doing my part’ ”):

    I feel that by selling this to Pakistan we are doing the exact opposite. We are simply taking the best gear, the best technology on the market to date and giving to guys that are known to stab us in the back…. These are the same people who are killing our guys.

    After Meyer “made his views known,” according to the suit, McCreight “began berating and belittling” him, “taunted” him, and, as his Medal of Honor nomination worked its way through the system, “sarcastically and disdainfully ridiculed what he called Sgt. Meyer’s ‘pending star status.’”

    Meyer quit his job. He got in touch with Tom Grant, his manager at Ausgar, who said he’d be glad to have him back. And then things went wrong. Grant sent Meyer an e-mail, cited in the lawsuit, saying that he couldn’t hire Meyer after all: BAE’s McCreight had told a defense official, who had to OK the hiring, that Meyer was “mentally unstable,” and had a problem finishing tasks and with his “activities in a social setting related to drinking.” Meyer’s lawsuit argues that this description was false, and was retaliation for his position on Pakistan.

    Part of the question here is whether BAE should have been marketing sophisticated thermal-optic scopes to the Pakistanis. The company’s answer involves the varying uses of import licenses, the approbation of the State Department, and absence of any completed sale. But that is largely beside the point. Our country, with the help of firms like BAE, has armed Pakistan’s military, even as the Pakistanis have helped people fighting our own troops, and put our weapons to uses at which we can only guess. Meyer may not have caught BAE doing anything illicit, but he does seem to have had a close-up glimpse of how our policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan work at cross-purposes, and to have decided, definitively, which axis he didn’t want to be on. Too many politicians and private companies have simply looked away, or looked for a profit. He may have been very blunt with his supervisor; perhaps that seemed unco√∂perative. But that wouldn’t be Dakota Meyer’s problem. It wouldn’t even, strictly speaking, just be BAE’s. It’s all of ours, because our relationship with Pakistan does not, at the moment, make a whole lot of sense. (A lawyer for McCreight didn’t respond to a request for comment; Meyer’s lawyers declined to comment, too.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. ---

    But there are veterans who come back with far less support and love, their bodies and minds much less solid. Does anyone know what happens to them if one manager, on the phone with another, makes a remark about drinking, or instability, or what everyone supposedly knows about what combat does to a person? Are they helped, or are they written off? What is it like to be called a hero publicly, and be distrusted privately and in the workplace? Dakota Meyer will probably always have somewhere to turn, not least to the families whose children’s bodies he brought back. (He’d asked if, at the same time he got his medal, there could be ceremonies for them, too.) But it is well established that being a veteran is a risk factor for homelessness.

    There are other kinds of abandonment in the story, too, and many other questions, going back to the ambush itself, and earlier. Our troops’ position seems to have been betrayed by our Afghan allies; air support was denied, leading to the reprimand of a number of officers. The war continues, and it’s hard to say why. President Obama, reciting the official account of the battle at Ganjgal, said, “The story of what Dakota did next will be told for generations.” Will we have come to terms with it, even then?

    ReplyDelete
  7. 400 Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to the Whitehouse.

    - Steve Emerson

    ReplyDelete
  8. Grrrr, I got to tell you, if you get that flu shot, you might want to pass on the super booster. Muscles and joints really ache. Hard to even turn over. Thankfully the cat doesn't want out. Out.


    \

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super Booster?
      Is that for old fucks like you?
      (I'm taking the Fifth...
      ...and your advice not to get one.)

      Delete
    2. Taking medical advice from a b00b in a political blogs comments section - is this the fruit of the great American medical system? Sure is cost effective!

      Delete
    3. Yes Doug, the nice young lady told me we old farts, if we've made sixty I think it is, maybe it was sixty five, are eligible for what she called the 'super booster'. Our immune systems having been a little 'weakened by age', as she put it.

      The pneumonia vaccine sounded interesting. A one time deal. Was talking this up with the wife, who said I've probably already had one as a matter of course, having been admitted to the physical therapy out at 'the rest home'.

      I urge Ash to never take any vaccines at all, for any purpose, at any time.

      I seem to be recovering now.

      Doris don't get her wish, hah!

      Delete
    4. I turn to Drudge, and see this -

      TENTS SET UP FOR FLU VICTIMS

      and think......Ash!

      Delete

    5. Hospital Opens Emergency Tent in Midst of Increasing Flu Cases
      Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest opens an emergency triage to care for the increased number of people with flu-like symptoms
      By David Chang and Dan Stamm
      | Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 | Updated 10:29 AM EST


      It’s the most miserable time of the year for many people in the area. Flu season is in full effect and this one in particular is shaping up to be more extreme than usual.

      Flu Spike: Here's How to Stop It

      The State Department of Health reports that four Pennsylvanians have already died of complications from the influenza virus.

      In response to the early start of flu season, the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest had to open an emergency space to care for the increased number of people with flu-like symptoms.

      The hospital tells NBC10's Katy Zachry why the tent was erected.

      "If we can remove them from the main ED and put them in environment where everyone is masked and everyone can be protected, it's safer for them and certainly safer for the staff," said Terry Burger, hospital director of infection control.

      The mobile surge tent is set up outside the emergency department.

      Officials say a similar measure was taken during the H1N1 flu a few years ago.

      For information on the flu, including treatment and prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

      http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Growing-Number-of-Flu-Cases-Causes-Hospital-to-Open-Emergency-Space-185947762.html

      Delete
    6. I'd bet the vaccines handed out in Canada are made here in the USA.

      Another reason for Ash not to take one.

      Delete
    7. I regularly get the flu shot. I thought the version of flu shot this year, as did my injector, seemed pretty 'light'. The H1N1 shot wasn't. In any case it is rare to develop any flu symptoms from the shots because, I think, they are using very dead versions of the virus as opposed to the old days when they used weakened live versions. Pretty late in the game to be getting one today but better late than not.

      Why, Bob, do you think the flu shot I received would have been manufactured in the US? Most of those drug companies are big multi-nationals with manufacturing facilities all around the world.

      Delete
  9. Hollywood submits their scripts to the Brotherhood, for vetting on Islamophobia.

    - Emerson

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nancy Pelosi raised $400,000 for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    - Emerson

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great time to give 200 Abrahms Tanks and F-16's to Egypt.
    Jews and Christians in the USA are dupes in fear of being called Islamophobes, according to Emerson.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. The Man is Obviously our Manchurian President,
      only two here deny this.


      A person would really have to be dumb not to see a pattern here. I'm guessing that your two that don't are Rufus and Ash.

      Delete
  12. As Senate Candidate, Hagel Opposed Abortion Even In Cases Of Rape Because It Was "Rare"

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/as-senate-candidate-hagel-opposed-abortion-even-i

    Ooo Roooofuuus.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roo roo rooooo Roooofuuus!

      Delete
    2. This can all be overlooked for the greater good of the ummah.

      Delete
  13. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures
    on this blog loading? I'm trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
    Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.
    Also visit my site :: piano mover new york

    ReplyDelete
  14. You're interested in "Manchurian candidates?"

    How about this guy GW Bush. He increased Spending $1.6 Trillion over 8 Years (10% per year.)

    Obama, on the other hand, has held spending basically flat

    ReplyDelete
  15. BTW, the reason I didn't include 2012 is that the chart hasn't been updated since 2011. Two thousand and twelve was, obviously, an estimate, and the real number came in at $3.538 Trillion, considerably lower.

    ReplyDelete
  16. So far, it looks like Obama has been responsible of increases of 1/10th of 1%, annually. (0.001 per year)

    ReplyDelete
  17. The Truth can be a bitch, cain't it, kiddos?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ROFLAO

      Rufus, you are bonkers.

      Delete
    2. .

      I have to agree.

      Obama has been running trillion dollar deficits since he took office.

      Any comparison has to take into consideration the base.

      More lying with statistics.

      .

      Delete
  18. In his first four years, Bush spent 8,000 billion.

    In his first four years, Obama spent 13,600 billion.

    The trillion dollar spike in baseline spending was signed by Obama, not Bush.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Obama insists we do not have a spending problem.
    Do you agree?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great Structure

    ...unless it's hot or cold, raining, windy, snowing, or you need to shit, shower, eat, sleep, or have sex.
    ...and etc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What in the hell is that thing?

      Is it taxpayer funded?

      An ObamaShelter for Occupy Wall Street folk?

      Mississippi Heating and Cooling Lightweight Temporary Shelter?

      Delete
  21. Foodstamp spending has almost doubled under Obama.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's not the "first four years." It's where he left us. After 8 Years.


    Of course food stamps have increased. Bush destroyed all the jobs (the ones he didn't sent to China.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give it up, Rufus. Nobody is listening anymore.

      Delete
  23. How do you dumbfucks expect to go forward, when you can't even figure out where you are, and How You Got There.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bush didn't spend enough.

      Rufus

      Delete
    2. Give it up, Rufus. You have been shedding credibility like my cat sheds hair.

      Delete
    3. Bush spent too much.

      Rufus

      Delete
    4. You admit to "having a cat," and you say I'M shedding credibility?

      :)

      Holy Schmoly

      Delete
  24. Trillion Dollar Coin Officially Dead - Now Butt Of late night Jokes

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/08/bad-news-trillion-dollar-platinum-coin-idea-now-officially-ridiculous/

    ReplyDelete
  25. We Have a "Spending Problem" in the context that Unemployment (and, thus, unemployment insurance payments,) along with food stamps, EIC, etc,) is way too high.

    Also, those wars overseas are a heavy drag.

    Having said that, it's "Revenues" that are WAAaay out of line - much more so than outlays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody can hear you, nobody can hear you, nobody wants to hear you anymore.

      Delete
    2. Spending is about 1.3% of GDP out of line, whereas Revenues are about 4.0% of GDP below the long-term average.

      Delete
  26. Negotiations between Chinese editors and propaganda authorities in a high-profile dispute at a popular newspaper have made no progress, an editor said, as the journalists demanded an end to prepublication censorship.

    ...

    Multiple rounds of negotiations with the newspaper's senior managers, who are appointees of the province's Propaganda Department, "haven't produced any particularly clear result,"...

    ReplyDelete
  27. An independent chemical and biological analyst, Dr Sally Leivesley, said: “If there really was an attack involving Sarin, then one would expect a significant number of fatalities. From what one hears about the symptoms it’s possible that a harassing agent rather than a nerve agent was used.”

    ...

    The problems with biological agents, Dr Leivesley held, may start by accident rather than the design of either the regime or rebels. “Pathogens such as anthrax, plague, tularemia, botulinium, smallpox, aflotoxin, cholera, and ricin can become exposed by people stumbling across them in insecure bases.

    If this happens we have the real possibilities of pandemics which will be very difficult to control” she said. “Of course one must guard against being alarmist, but what is necessary is to get as much information as possible so that we can at least know what we are facing.”

    ReplyDelete
  28. Gov. Pat Quinn this afternoon floated a desperation plan on pension reform, throwing his support behind a bill that would set up a commission to decide how to fix Illinois' financially failing government worker retirement systems.

    ...

    Testifying before a House panel, Quinn said the measure represents "extraordinary action" to break the gridlock. It is modeled after federal military base closing commission reports to Congress.

    ReplyDelete
  29. But Mali’s civilian prime minister was overthrown by the army in December. The military chiefs, notably Capt Amadou Sanogo, wield de facto control over what remains of the central government.

    ...

    Even if these suspicions could be overcome, any force would take months to assemble and would also be hampered by the local rainy season. An operation to recapture the north is unlikely to start before September.

    In the meantime, AQIM and its allies appear to be taking the opportunity to capture more territory and strengthen their hold over the northern two-thirds of the country.

    ReplyDelete
  30. That's because all of Obama's Stimulations have been so spectaculary successful at creating jobs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those autoworkers in Michigan, and Ohio certainly think so.

      Delete
    2. Judging by the way they voted, anyway.

      Delete
  31. “In this Annex, the president reserves the right to veto such specific prohibition. Initially, Obama sought to transfer some detainees to U.S. soil, but found considerable resistance on Capitol Hill.

    Despite his firm opposition to these and other measures adopted by the Bush administration during his two tenures, Obama, a constitutional lawyer, has failed miserably to remove regulations that violate the most basic principles that helped create and maintain the United States as a place where both citizens and foreigners could be assured that their civil liberties would be safe.

    Obama has not only maintained Bush’s violations of the Constitution, but he has also empowered his executive office while undermining and eroding hundreds of years of legal achievements that guaranteed that due process was the rule and not the exception.

    ReplyDelete
  32. ...but, of course, that is Shrubs fault.

    Will be at end of BHO's second term too.

    In RufieWorld, where down is up and vice versa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You guys are letting your Obama-Hatred cloud your perception of reality.

      Delete
  33. US drones have also attracted the interest of the South Korean government as it seeks to beef up its ability to monitor North Korea, after last month's successful launch of a rocket that many believe was a cover for a ballistic-missile test.

    The US's Global Hawk is piloted remotely by a crew of three and can fly continuously for up to 30 hours at a maximum height of about 60,000 ft. It has no attack capability.

    The US deployed the advanced reconnaissance drone to monitor damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on Japan's north-east coast.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Come on Bob, man up. Offer some support for your statements!

    You wrote:


    BobTue Jan 08, 12:26:00 PM EST
    "A moderate Muslim is one that's out of ammo."

    Henry Kissinger

    Always did love that quote."





    Got any support that he actually said that? I think you make most of this shit up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Wall St. Journal agrees that Henry Kissinger said that.

      Here

      Delete
    2. You call an author saying

      "A moderate Iranian is one who ran out of ammunition, Henry Kissinger once said."

      in a Wall Steet journal article by a guy named Amotz Asa-El as support for bob's suposed direct quote? Pretty damn sketchy. That's almost as good as saying, oh, I read it on the internet it must be true.

      got anything else?

      Delete
    3. No, because I really don't give a fuck.

      Delete
    4. Do you really think he said what Bob said he did? Or even that Iranian bull you posted? It sure doesn't pass the smell test.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, I think he did.

      I remember it being widely quoted, and no denials.

      Delete
    6. google doesn't yeild much at all if you search for it...

      Delete
    7. Kissinger said what he said Bob said he said and Rufus agrees he said it.

      Delete
    8. Yeah and the highest number of references online to that quote point right back to this thread.

      Kissinger was a cold riot but also a diplomat. At most he say something like that about the Soviet Union but Muslims? I doubt it.

      A b00bie dropping backed up by the master of BS, Rufus the doofus's "memory"? I don't think so!

      Delete
    9. "cold riot" = "cold warrior"

      friggin phone

      Delete
  35. What do you call the first Afghan off the boat?

    Amhere


    What do you call the second Afghan off the boat?
    Amhere Azwel

    What do you call the third Afghan off the boat?

    Amhere Azwell Azhim

    ReplyDelete
  36. War does not determine who is right, it determines who is left.

    ReplyDelete
  37. All the usual suspects are aligning against Hagel.

    The right wing conservative talk-jocks, draft-dodgers one and all, are reading from the same script. Do any of them have an independent thought? Ever?

    The bully pulpit of the Jewish lobby is complaining because Hagel noticed that there is a Jewish Lobby and was impolite enough to notice it. Imagine a two time Purple Heart recipient, US combat veteran, nominated to running the US War Department, having to pass the test of how dedicated he is to Israel? No Jewish Lobby there.

    Hagel did serve in the US military fighting an American war in Viet Nam and has the scars to prove it.

    Hagel had the temerity, 15 years ago, to have said something insensitive about a gay man. Well, no shit. There is not a straight man alive, who served in Viet Nam, that hasn’t said or heard the same thing.

    Can we just tell the usual suspects that if their allegiance and priorities lie outside US borders, have at it. A non-hyphenated American, who has actually faced war, is a great selection for running the Pentagon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran, having served in the United States Army infantry from 1967 to 1968. Holding the rank of Sergeant (E-5), he served as an infantry squad leader in the 9th Infantry Division.[11] Hagel served in the same infantry squad as his younger brother Tom, and they are believed to be the only American siblings to have done so during the Vietnam War.[12] They also ended up saving each other's lives on separate occasions.[12] While serving during the war,

      he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.[13]

      They have exactly zero chance of stopping His nomination.

      Delete
    2. You know, some of this stuff is awful damn sweet.

      Especially when I look at the (almost) viral picture of a flinty-eyed Hagel.

      I have to make supper.

      "Get over it" comes to mind.

      Delete
    3. Commentary from DRR's very fine graph, above:

      There was little wage inequality in the 1970s, but in the 1980s, the bottom was falling, the middle flat, and the top rising—a basic fanning out of the wage distribution.

      The latter 1990s were once again different. The high end continued to rise but low and middle real wages grew together, and at a pretty decent clip. The cause of the nice bump was the full employment conditions that prevailed for a few years back then, and as I’ve stressed, that dynamic leads to broad-based growth which pushes back against rising inequality.

      Middle and low-wages flattened in the much weaker job market of the 2000s, while the top just kept on ticking.

      Delete
    4. The very fact that American Jewish groups are combating Mr. Hagel's appointment subscribes to his previous claim that the Senate is infiltrated with Israeli supporters, either the Senators (Republicans) themselves or the lobby groups they support. That any candidate for any office in the US must support at any cost is preposterous. This has made Israel thuggish in its negotiations with Fatah or Hamas. When Israel talks about give and take, it’s the Palestinians who have to give and Israel to take. Sounds like the Republicans in the US Congress, doesn’t it? No wonder they support Israel at any cost (borne by the American taxpayer and American lives, of course).

      Delete
    5. Jared Bernstein's been talking it up since 2009/10 (??)

      Certain parties don't want to hear.

      Delete
  38. Not controversial: John Brennan: Served in CIA during the torture program, designed the current US drone program that has extra-judicially killed hundreds, including children and including at least 2 American citizens.

    Controversial: Chuck Hagel: Thinks war should be a last resort, doesn’t think an air strike on Iran would be effective, wants to do diplomacy with all major factions of the State of Palestine, including Hamas.

    Quelle horreur !

    ReplyDelete
  39. U.S. contractor pays more than $5-million for alleged torture at Abu Ghraib

    "A defence contractor whose subsidiary was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to torture detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has paid $5.28-million to 71 former inmates held there and at other U.S.-run detention sites between 2003 and 2007.

    The settlement in the case involving Engility Holdings Inc. of Chantilly, Virginia, marks the first successful effort by lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other detention centres to collect money from a U.S. defence contractor in lawsuits alleging torture. Another contractor, CACI, is expected to go to trial over similar allegations this summer."

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-contractor-pays-more-than-5-million-for-alleged-torture-at-abu-ghraib/article7057925/

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sounds to me as though Hagel is a good choice of Mr. Obama’s-- experienced, thoughtful and independent-minded. This is a great choice. A man who has personally been in a war and knows what it's all about. We need someone who doesn't think the whole idea is to send someone else's kid to go fight. America needs a big dose of truth about a lot of things and this guy is a step in the right direction. I owe allegiance to no party and didn't vote for Obama the last time around, but the mindlessness of the Republican support of Israel no matter what is one of the things I think they're idiotic about. Hagel's approach seems about right-- to be a friend to Israel, but not so relentlessly that it enables moral hazard in the Israeli conservatives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn't have said it better.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, and keep up your good work!

      Delete
    3. You have a very interesting and varied blog.

      Delete
    4. Deuce has the Patience of Job. :)

      Delete
  41. Speaking of Hagel:

    "Why Hagel Was Picked

    Americans don’t particularly like government, but they do want government to subsidize their health care. They believe that health care spending improves their lives more than any other public good. In a Quinnipiac poll, typical of many others, Americans opposed any cuts to Medicare by a margin of 70 percent to 25 percent.

    In a democracy, voters get what they want, so the line tracing federal health care spending looks like the slope of a jet taking off from LaGuardia. Medicare spending is set to nearly double over the next decade. This is the crucial element driving all federal spending over the next few decades and pushing federal debt to about 250 percent of G.D.P. in 30 years.

    There are no conceivable tax increases that can keep up with this spending rise. The Democrats had their best chance in a generation to raise revenue just now, and all they got was a measly $600 billion over 10 years. This is barely a wiggle on the revenue line and does nothing to change the overall fiscal picture.

    As a result, health care spending, which people really appreciate, is squeezing out all other spending, which they value far less. Spending on domestic programs — for education, science, infrastructure and poverty relief — has already faced the squeeze and will take a huge hit in the years ahead. President Obama excoriated Paul Ryan for offering a budget that would cut spending on domestic programs from its historical norm of 3 or 4 percent of G.D.P. all the way back to 1.8 percent. But the Obama budget is the Ryan budget. According to the Office of Management and Budget, Obama will cut domestic discretionary spending back to 1.8 percent of G.D.P. in six years.


    Advocates for children, education and the poor don’t even try to defend their programs by lobbying for cutbacks in Medicare. They know that given the choice, voters and politicians care more about middle-class seniors than about poor children.

    So far, defense budgets have not been squeezed by the Medicare vise. But that is about to change. Oswald Spengler didn’t get much right, but he was certainly correct when he told European leaders that they could either be global military powers or pay for their welfare states, but they couldn’t do both.

    Europeans, who are ahead of us in confronting that decision, have chosen welfare over global power. European nations can no longer perform many elemental tasks of moving troops and fighting. As late as the 1990s, Europeans were still spending 2.5 percent of G.D.P. on defense. Now that spending is closer to 1.5 percent, and, amid European malaise, it is bound to sink further.

    The United States will undergo a similar process. The current budget calls for a steep but possibly appropriate decline in defense spending, from 4.3 percent of G.D.P. to 3 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But defense planners are notoriously bad at estimating how fast postwar military cuts actually come. After Vietnam, the cold war and the 1991 gulf war, they vastly underestimated the size of the cuts that eventually materialized. And those cuts weren’t forced by the Medicare vise. The coming cuts are.

      As the federal government becomes a health care state, there will have to be a generation of defense cuts that overwhelm anything in recent history. Keep in mind how brutal the budget pressure is going to be. According to the Government Accountability Office, if we act on entitlements today, we will still have to cut federal spending by 32 percent and raise taxes by 46 percent over the next 75 years to meet current obligations. If we postpone action for another decade, then we have to cut all non-interest federal spending by 37 percent and raise all taxes by 54 percent.

      As this sort of crunch gradually tightens, Medicare will be the last to go. Spending on things like Head Start, scientific research and defense will go quicker. These spending cuts will transform America’s stature in the world, making us look a lot more like Europe today. This is why Adm. Mike Mullen called the national debt the country’s biggest security threat.

      Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks. If a Democratic president is going to slash defense, he probably wants a Republican at the Pentagon to give him political cover, and he probably wants a decorated war hero to boot.

      All the charges about Hagel’s views on Israel or Iran are secondary. The real question is, how will he begin this long cutting process? How will he balance modernizing the military and paying current personnel? How will he recalibrate American defense strategy with, say, 455,000 fewer service members?

      How, in short, will Hagel supervise the beginning of America’s military decline? If members of Congress don’t want America to decline militarily, well, they have no one to blame but the voters and themselves."

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/opinion/brooks-why-hagel-was-picked.html?hpw&_r=0#h[]

      Delete
  42. Even after shutting down, completely, the War In Iraq,

    Defense Spending is Higher than when Obama Took Office


    Hagel's got his work cut out for him.

    ReplyDelete
  43. The anti-semitism is certainly seeping out of the woodwork here today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When a man with a couple of Purple Hearts, and a Combat Infantryman's Badge, tells you that you might want to be thoughtful about sending your kids off to War in Asia,

      you might want to listen to him.

      Delete
  44. Identify one line from any post that is anti-Semitic.

    ReplyDelete
  45. All of it, right under the surface.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, Tom, we even got "Mind-readers" on the list.

      Delete
  46. Rufus is playing the Purple Heart card again which is meaningless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might be meaningless to a draftdodger, I guess.

      Delete
    2. The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is the U.S. Army combat service recognition decoration awarded to soldiers—enlisted men and officers (commissioned and warrant) holding colonel rank or below, who personally fought in active ground combat while an assigned member of either an infantry or a Special Forces unit, of brigade size or smaller, any time after 6 December 1941.

      Delete
    3. I'll walk past a thousand chicken-hawks to talk to this man.

      Delete
    4. I don't know what draft dodgers might think, but I think it is meaningless as a qualification for Secretary of Defense. People with Purple Hearts are all over the political spectrum.

      Because you rolled off the bar stool dead drunk and rolled into the recruiting station to go off and fight the yellows in a country that you had never heard of for no real reason you can explain doesn't really qualify you for anything in my mind.

      Delete
    5. No Marine with any "salt" in his utilities, whatsoever, ever gave anything but the Greatest Respect to any Dogface wearing that particular piece of hardware.

      Delete
    6. Would you give your Greatest Respect to the kid I knew in Walla Walla that was decorated and told us about the old man he shot in the back just for the hell of it?

      To be fair, he was crazy from the day of his birth, and an 'outlier' but he was 'decorated' though he was in Air Borne not the Marines.

      Delete
    7. Now, the true feelings are coming out.

      Delete
  47. We have the MB sitting in the White House and Deuce is worried about 'the Jewish lobby', the usual suspects, and talking of the State of Palestine. Bibi will be mentioned next.

    ReplyDelete
  48. John Kerry had two Purple Hearts. He must be qualified as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chuck Hagel was in combat in Vietnam in 1968 (interestingly, with his brother I believe), a peak year of violence for the American forces. Where were you in 1968?

      Delete
  49. Hagel and Brennan are “America Firster’s" and great choices. You are not. You are a member of the extreme pro-Israel camp has to be labeled for what it is: the extreme pro-Israel camp. The pro-Israel and evangelical crowd are anti American, and of those who are American, they are plainly treacherous in intent and action towards America. Your ideas should be labeled as wrong and irresponsible, because your definition of what is “pro-Israel” and "anti-Israel" is unreasonably extreme. I doubt that you ever served in the military and I will go further and speculate that you avoided military service.

    This selection signals Obama’s move back to his more pragmatic and independent views on American power and the extension of it. Without an election to win or voters to convince, his second term should be more of what I originally expected of this man. Socially liberal, but Security conservative. His economic agenda is also coming into focus, as he won't outright dismantle entitlements as it is the key safety net for the nation's poor, but there are going to be big changes that anger both Democrats and Republicans. I think Obama's legacy will be written on how his second term goes down, as he asserts his independent thought and "divergent centrism".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "divergent centrism" is an apt (and, interesting) phrase.


      The man actually is more "centrist" than many here recognize.

      Delete
    2. I'm not saying that he isn't a Liberal; he is.

      But, he's not nearly as "extreme" as the right wing makes him out to be (nor, as much as the far left would like him to be.)

      Barring Extreme External Events, Obama's legacy might look considerably different to mid-century scholars than many of us are thinking it will. As you said, it Does depend on the next 4 years.

      Delete
    3. "divergent centrism"

      Very good phrase. Be interested to know who coined it, since you put it in quotes.

      Delete
    4. I recall - a reformulation of "radical centrism".

      Delete
    5. I think "incrementalism" is most apt.

      Delete
    6. .

      I think it apt description.

      You have dicks on left and dicks on the right and Obama shares the worst of both extremes.

      .

      Delete
  50. It's absurd, all this talk about Hagel's 'qualifications'.

    Barky is just looking for a lap dog that will do his bidding, and Hagel fits the profile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Hagel!" as lap dog?

      I think someone missed his nap. :)

      Delete
    2. And I think you have the mentality of a brain stem.

      Delete
    3. And, you are a guilt-ridden, old, crazy coot without a non-racist bone in your body.

      Wanna go for round II?

      Delete
    4. Nay, it's futile. And, we would be violating DDR's Rule number whateveritwas of personality disorders, the one about going round, round, round overoverover.

      Delete
  51. Ah,
    The Race Card!

    A True Obama/Alinsky/Wright syncophant brain dead believer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No "Believing" goin' on here, Dude.

      The man has proven his own racism, in black and white, right here on this blog.

      Delete
    2. "sychophantic," not syncophantic, btw

      Delete
    3. heavy duty retort:
      ...a spellchecker rises from the swamp.

      Delete
    4. If I'm going to be insulted, I want to at least be insulted "accurately." :)

      Delete
  52. In the shower, farmer Bob, it occurred to me that I did get the Flu Shot for Seniors.

    ...no problems.

    Now my only worry is that the Shrub diabolically had a time-delay poison pill included to wrack further havoc on The Great Obamanomics Second Term Rebound.

    The loss of me alone might tip us into Depression.

    (why does Hagel always look like he's been clinically depressed his entire lifetime?)

    Ans:
    ...it ain't easy living in the land of the free when your deepest desire is to bend over and grab your ankles for despots around the World.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to suggest you get at least the regular flu shot Doug. I am glad you got a flu shot.

      Don't worry too much about Shrub. I don't think his magical diabolical powers extend to putting a time release poison pill in your flu shot........I hope not anyway.....but, but, can we be sure?

      Delete
  53. Obama has proven his racism repeatedly, yet you support him 100 percent.

    I'm sure the Widow Evers is a fine woman, but Obama should have stuck with tradition and had a man of the cloth oversee the Inaugural.

    Reverend Wright,

    His guiding star, teacher of his girls and his wife, a racial healer of stupendist proportions.

    ReplyDelete
  54. boobie is jumping up and down, fingers in his ears...
    ICan't Hear You'

    While Tom reads boob's profile to a 'T'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are showing your personality disorder again, Rat.

      Delete
  55. I think a far-left person might refer to one that has slipped back toward the "center" as a "divergent centrist."

    More than just an Insult?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "far-left person," in this case, being "Communist."

      Delete
  56. How many people here think -

    1) The French had any business in Indochina

    2) We had any business in Indochina

    3) The Vietnamese had no business trying to eject foreigners from their land

    4) We could have prevailed had we 'stuck it out'

    5) That the dominoes would fall if we didn't 'stick it out'

    6) That Eisenhower was right when he said don't get in a land war in Asia

    7) That we should have 'nuked Hanoi' as a guy from the Naval Academy told me we should do

    8) That if we had nuked Hanoi the Chinese would not have reacted

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) No
      2) No
      3) No
      4) No
      5) No
      6) Yes
      7) N0
      8) Who knows

      Delete
  57. 9) How many people here think Rufus had any business in Indochina, trying to bring the benefits of Mississippi civilization to the yellows

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know about those other people, But Rufus is damned sure he didn't have any business there.

      Unfortunately, Rufus was 18 at the time, and was allowing some older idiots to do his thinking for him.

      Delete
    2. That's an honest reply.

      If you didn't have any business there, then neither did I.

      Delete
    3. The Nation called, but boobie did not hear.

      He has 'Selective' hearing.
      Using it he avoided Selective Service

      Delete
  58. On a health care sidenote:

    I played golf with a guy down at Disney who was a "Physicians Assistant". We don't, yet, have those in Canada. It seems Doctors cost so much the insurance companies have put less qualified (and thus cheaper) folk in a diagnostic role. Good idea actually. Almost like union busting only different (right Doug?). Who needs good diagnosis when cash is at stake ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and in America, well, one can always SUE if one has doubts...

      ...and extra cash...

      ...oh right, America, you don't need pay your lawyer, they get a cut of the winnings.

      Delete
    2. ...and the doc and hospitals have malpractice insurance...

      ...seems the game is rigged!

      Delete
    3. .

      You just insulted my sister you little pissant.

      .

      Delete
    4. I won't dignify his verbal garbage by identifying insults meaningful to me in his smartass rants.

      I will repeat that it is well known that thousands of Canadians have availed themselves of medical care in the USA when their system came up short, or more accurately, usually long.
      ...as in long waits.

      Delete
    5. Sorry for the insults!

      Actually, I think PA's are a great idea but it does raise issues around competence, mal-practice, and patients expectations of getting top-notch care. PA's sound like a good way to streamline the system keeping the cost down but such ideas lead folk like Bob to scream DEATH PANELS!

      Delete
  59. The fiscal cliff deal did much less to reduce the deficit than either political party had promised: It included $750 billion in deficit reduction, a far cry from the $1.8 trillion to $2.5 trillion deficit proposals that the White House and House Speaker John Boehner had put forward earlier in the debate. That’s prompted deficit hawks to insist that much more still needs to be done in the next phase of budget negotiations.


    (Source: CAP)

    But the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff deal represented just one portion of the deficit reduction that’s been going on since 2011. The Center for American Progress calculates that President Obama and Congress have successfully enacted $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, which began in September 2010.

    About one-quarter of that comes from revenues (primarily the fiscal cliff deal) and almost two-thirds from spending cuts: In it’s research, CAP totals up $585 billion in discretionary cuts from the fiscal 2011 budgets passed under a GOP-controlled House and a lame-duck Democratic Congress and a GOP-controlled House. The debt-ceiling debate brought $860 billion in discretionary spending cuts through the Budget Control Act, which CAP calculates is a “10.6 percent reduction from inflation-adjusted 2010 spending levels.” Combined with the fiscal cliff deal and accounting for interest savings, that totals $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the past two years, CAP concludes:

    More Cuts than Rushbo might have mentioned

    ReplyDelete

  60. Iran strangely cheered by US SecDef nomination
    posted at 10:01 am on January 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/08/iran-strangely-cheered-by-us-secdef-nomination/

    Iran is on board with Hagel.

    I'd kind of take that as a beeping warning sign, others might view it as another valued endorsement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hagel is another Shinsecki.

      Remember him? He's the one (Combat, Decorated) that told the Bushies that Iraq wasn't going to be as "quick and easy" as they were supposing

      (for which he was, almost immediately, fired.)

      Delete
  61. Sony Corp. said it aims to establish itself as one of the world's top-three smartphone manufacturers as part of its turnaround plan, but it doesn't see the need to acquire another handset maker to solidify its position behind the industry's two heavyweights, Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

    In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said he sees the company as having the necessary assets to become a formidable third force in the fast-growing smartphone segment.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Congress is now more unpopular than head lice.

    They still beat out gonnorhea, though. :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. It takes real skill to be less appreciated than one of the most phobia-inducing insects on the planet, but somehow Congress managed, hitting new lows in a new Public Policy Polling survey that found even cockroaches more appealing.

    Also more popular than Congress: root canals, NFL replacement referees, head lice, Canadian hard-rock band Nickelback, colonoscopies, carnies (that is, carnival employees), traffic jams, Donald Trump, France, Genghis Khan, used-car salesmen, Washington D.C. political pundits and Brussels sprouts.



    Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/08/congress-now-less-popular-than-head-lice-cockroaches-and-the-donald/#ixzz2HRbDexrf

    It wasn’t all bad news for Congress, however; the elected body still managed to beat out John Edwards, lobbyists, telemarketers, the Kardashians, North Korea, Lindsay Lohan, playground bullies, Fidel Castro, meth labs, communism, gonorrhea and the ebola virus.

    PPP contacted 830 American voters between Jan. 3 and 6 through automated telephone interviews, and the margin of error for the apolitical, independently funded survey was +/- 3.4 percentage points.


    Well Outside the Margin of Error

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hell, I believe I could hold my own against head lice. :)

      Delete
    2. btw, PPP was not only the most accurate, Nationally, but they also got all 50 States correct.

      slightly better results than bubbledumb polling

      Delete
    3. Or, was that "doubledumb" polling?

      Delete
    4. Tripledumb.

      I am out of the polling bidness, my desires always influencing my poll results, and the clients don't like it.

      Delete
    5. Further, I've found it impossible to estimate the amount of fraudulent voting the Dems are up too, and my best estimates always seem to turn out low in that regard.

      Delete
  64. NYTIMES: OBAMA SKEWS TOWARD MALE APPOINTEES...

    WH: We pick Cabinet based on qualification, not gender...drudge

    WH grilled about all the new male appointees to Obama’s cabinet

    White House Admits Women Don't 'Have What It Takes'

    ReplyDelete
  65. Oh well, one more. Remember how Rat said it was the Republicans behind the Coin idea?

    Of course, there's a hitch or two in the plan to mint The Coin. For one thing, numismatizing the debt by striking trillion-dollar debt discs is not exactly what former representative Mike Castle (R., Del.) had in mind in 1995 when he introduced the legislation that turned into the provision in public law 104-208. Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post tracked down this "unsuspecting godfather" of the platinum gambit, and Castle confirmed as much. "That was never the intent of anything that I drafted or that anyone who worked with me drafted," Castle told Matthews. Indeed, the legislation was designed to give the Treasury flexibility to create more affordable platinum coins for collectors. To use that authority to backdoor the 17th and 18th trillion dollars of the national debt would be, according to Castle, "so far-fetched and so black helicopter-ish a type of methodology of trying to resolve something like this that I think the public would totally scoff at it."

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/01/the_insanity_of_minting_a_trillion_dollar_platinum_coin.html


    ((((numismatizing the debt))))

    Now there is a nice phase.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unintended conseqences of legislation, poorly written.

      We just had to pass it, to learn wat was in it?

      Delete
  66. .

    Is Obamacare Holding Down Healthcare Costs or Driving Them Up?

    That explains some of the increase. But not all of it. Which is why those looking for another culprit should consider the possibility that a provision intended to help consumers get better value for their money is actually costing them higher premiums.

    That provision, often referred to as the 80/20 rule, sets mandatory medical loss ratios (MLRs) for health insurers. The MLR is an accounting requirement which says that insurers have to spend at least 80 percent of their total premium revenue on medical expenses, leaving just 20 percent for administrative costs, marketing, and other non-medical expenditures. Any insurer that fails to meet this target must issue rebates to customers. This year, insurers rebated about $1 billion.

    The MLR provision creates two incentives for insurers to jack up health insurance premiums. One is the plain fact that with profit and administrative costs capped as a percentage of premium revenue, the easiest way to generate larger profits is to charge higher premiums.

    The other is that the rebate requirement means insurers may need to charge higher up-front premiums in order to protect themselves from the risk of a bad year. As Scott Harrington, a professor in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Health Management, explained in a November 2012 paper, that’s because health insurance claims — and thus MLRs — fluctuate significantly between years. Harrington's paper, which got funding from a health insurance trade group, argues that the annual variation, and the resulting uncertainty, creates a problem for insurers: If claims are low in a given year, they end up rebating the difference to the customer because of the MLR rule. If claims are unexpectedly high, however, they end up eating the difference. Insurers thus have a incentive to protect themselves by charging high premiums at the outset, and then paying those premiums back in rebates should claims come in at low or expected levels...


    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What governments do on good years is abscound with the money, as Abercrombie did with our Hurricane Emergency Fund which homeowners have been paying into since 1993, following Hurricane Iniki.

      Since there have been no significant hurricanes here since then, the fund had grown nicely.

      Abercrombie simply skimmed some of it to cover some of his deficit spending, just as the Feds do with Social Security Taxes.

      Obamacare as written is already worse than most other socialized healthcare systems.
      In practice, it will be a nightmare.

      Delete