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Discussion: (50 comments)

  1. “But it turns there was nothing wrong with America that couldn’t be fixed with what was right with Americans. Deregulation and tax cuts (under Reagan) and reduced spending (under Clinton) unleashed our inherent entrepreneurial and innovate talents. Our resources were shifted from government to the private sector where they could be used more productively and efficiently.”

    Doo-dah, doo-dah.

    The old song and dance, full of fury and signifying NOTHING.

    You had your bloody tax cuts, and your deregulation, and it brought the nation nothing but misery. Breadwinners committed suicide thanks to the policies you so stupidly advocate. They failed. Get off it, already. THEY FAILED.

    1. There has been no recovery. It has limped along since the recession ended. It has been terrible Obama’s entire Presidency. More Americans are on foodstamps than ever. Unemployment is over 8% and real unemployment is well higher than 10%. Huge deficits.

      This is the worst recovery in modern times…..what on earth do you still support this non-sense for?

      1. “This is the worst recovery”

        Polly want a cracker? Ever consider that REAL economists who know how to parse through data and use empirical evidence don’t make stupid statements like that?

        Like I said- we’ve thrown everything at this massive ramp up of leverage we’ve built up. There’s been no “recovery” because didn’t create an “economy.” All steroids, no substance. And we’ll be working that off FOR YEARS.

        Live with it.

        1. I take home $4000 less a year. My children can’t find jobs.
          My home is worth half of what I owe on it.
          But wait a minute… real economists who know how to parse through data and use empirical evidence… blah blah blah….never was an economy … No substance, no kidding.

    2. Speaking of suicides, more people are dying now than in car crashes in this country….under Obama.
      http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/27/suicides-outpace-car-crashes-as-leading-cause-of-deaths-from-injuries/

      Misery is off the charts….and you want 4 more years of it?

      1. Here’s your suicides from misery, pal. Looking for WMD that never existed while Cheney and his buddies got all those nice no-bid contracts:

        http://www.voanews.com/content/for-pentagon-soldier-suicides-a-frustrating-problem/1262993.html

        Disgusting…..You’re proud of that legacy?

        1. SEIU worker

          Tell the Kurds that the WMD’s never existed.
          Fool.

          1. We scoured the entire country after we invaded.
            We found nothing.
            Case closed.

  2. Terry Martin

    I noticed the Post Office is going to have a 2nd delinquent $5 billion payment. Hard to say how long Social Security will last. And Medicare? That’s totally impossible to judge since it was last raided. How’s that government bureaucracy working out for you.

  3. Too many bailouts. Too much government. Too much spending. Too little economic freedom where markets decide winner and losers, not bureaucrats.

    I think you really get to the heart of the issue here.

    The Institute for Justice reports that about 75% of low- to moderate- income occupations require licenses. Furthermore, the IJ reports obtaining those licenses are often unreasonably difficult. I can see licenses for things like doctors or even lawyers, but hair-braiders and dance instructors? How can the government possibly expect people to work if it continuously makes working harder?

    International Trade is a similar issue. How can we expect prosperity when we disallow (or tax) goods coming into our country? Things like tariffs are a highly regressive tax.

    I say most emphatically that the way to bring great prosperity back to America is to allow individuals to trade with one another. These useless and often arbitrary rules accomplish nothing. Throughout history, free trade and free enterprise has been the fastest and most equal path to prosperity, bar none.

    If Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney, and Congress is serious about wanting us to return to a path of prosperity, then the best thing they can do is step back and let us discover the best ways to help one another.

    1. I apologize, my grammar is horrendous in that post. If anyone has trouble understanding me, please ask and I will clarify.

    2. “I can see licenses for things like doctors or even lawyers, but hair-braiders and dance instructors?”

      Yeah, if its one thing the BLS has repeatedly noted, its that big fall off in hair braiders and dance instructors that’s giving us that low participation rate.

      Jesus Christ….

      1. Yes?

        1. Jesus, please help these people!

          1. Why cannot you, my son?

          2. Lord, I am trying. Give me the patience to teach the blind to see, and the lame to walk.

            A couple of good stock tips wouldn’t hurt either, while you’re at it.

          3. If you wish to help, then patience you must have. Talk, do not berate. Help, do not hinder. Lift up, do not cut down.

            You must be a servant unto these people. When the Son of Man came, He did not strike back at those who accused Him. Turn the other cheek. If you wish to teach them, then you must rise above them. Do not fall to their level, either preemptively or after.

            Threats of violence and beratements only reduce the message you are trying to sell. You will never get any support if you treat those who disagree with you with utter contempt. Treat them with respect, whether they have earned it or not.

            If you truly want to send your message, you must love your opponent. Otherwise, you are no better than the false and foolish pharisees who insulted, berated, and ultimately destroyed the Son of Man.

          4. Where are the stock tips?

          5. Here’s a stock tip for you:

            It is easier for a camel to pass through the head of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

          6. All right. When the market opens tomorrow, I’m long camels.

            I hope this works….

  4. What a nice story about President Reagan. Sadly it is just a story. You conveniently left out the part about Paul Volcker lowering interest rates substantially after breaking the back of inflation which provided some major monetary stimulus. Or the part where Reagan increased government spending. Or the part where he had to undo a large percentage of his tax 1981 tax cuts because of deficits by raising the payroll tax and gas tax substantially. Or the part where we had another recession in the early 90′s despite the magic of lower taxes and deregulation and then had a growing economy despite higher taxes in the aftermath of said recession. Gee it’s almost as if taxes at the margin aren’t correlated with the business cycle.

    1. Wow. Someone else get it.

      The AEI Fairy Tale:
      20% decline in top marginal rate: Magic
      1300 basis point decline in interest rates: nothing.

    2. How much effort did it take for you to intentionally misread the history of the ’80′s for this to actually make sense?

      You make these points as if they’re inconsistent with what Pethokoukis wrote. Volcker brought interest rates back down to their historical norm AFTER sending them well into double digits. We still had stratospheric growth. We’ve had basement-level interest rates for 4 years and Obama can’t manage 2% growth off of a recession this nasty. Are you suggesting Reagan had a MORE accommodative interest rate environment than Obama?

      Pethokoukis doesn’t credit Reagan with cutting spending, he credits Clinton. We can go into detail about how the budget battles with Congress unfolded in the ’80s and how they were essentially a compromise between Reagan’s defense and tax programs vs Democrats preserving entitlement spending, but what’s the point? The bottom line is Reagan left spending as a percentage of GDP roughly where it was when he took office, he didn’t jack it up to historically monstrous levels and propose it stay there.

      On Reagan and taxes is where you guys get schizophrenic. You try to argue Reagan was reckless tax cutter AND, simultaneously, a tax raiser. TEFRA in 1982 didn’t undo nearly as much of the ’81 cut as you suggest; the economy still experienced a huge net tax cut. So what’s your point?

      The early 90s recession (after 7 fat years of GDP and job growth, no less) was one of the shallowest on record, linked mainly to the effect of the ’86 Tax Reform Act on real estate. (Wasn’t helped either by the ’90 Bush tax hike you curiously didn’t mention) No one ever argued tax cuts and less regulation eliminate recessions altogether. Nor did Bill Clinton go anywhere near restoring the 70% rate Reagan steadily brought down, he bumped it up to only 39%. This is an implicit admission the 70% rate was enormously too high and counterproductive.

      The broader point is that the Reagan and Clinton years were a long trend of lowering taxes, reducing regulation, and eventually, cutting spending, and it was a SUCCESS. We have reversed this trend for the past four years and FAILED. Why is this so hard to comprehend?

      1. “You make these points as if they’re inconsistent with what Pethokoukis wrote. Volcker brought interest rates back down to their historical norm AFTER sending them well into double digits.”

        Uh, yeah, that was the point. Dropping interest rates, especially from a high double digit level, is what got us the growth. You DO recall that inflation was a huge problem in the aftermath of the loss of the VietNam War and Nixon’s resignation? You DO recall President Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now” buttons? It was Carter who appointed Volcker in 1979, who proceeded to rachet up rates to squeeze the life out of inflation. Unfortunately, it also squeezed the life out of the economy, but this was the bitter medicine we were given. J.K. Galbraith likened this to holding someone’s head underwater up until the moment they died from drowning, only to lift it out of the water at the last moment. I remember that recession well. It sure as hell felt like it.

        Here’s where you go wrong: Volcker had to tame an economy where inflation went out of control. Bernanke, post-Lehman, had to do the opposite, i.e., reflate an economy that was DISINFLATING at horrific speed.

        It’s one reason why any person with a shred of economic knowledge doesn’t go around saying this recovery isn’t like the others. That’s damn right. This recession isn’t like the others either, and again, to even hint at making a comparison means you’re no economist. Mr. Pethokoukis’ CV seems a bit lacking in this department, as are the rest of the speech writers and hacks around here. These people never ran ANY business, have no economic background, and they simply repeat the stupid pieties that have been drilled into their heads.

        You continue:

        “We’ve had basement-level interest rates for 4 years and Obama can’t manage 2% growth off of a recession this nasty. Are you suggesting Reagan had a MORE accommodative interest rate environment than Obama?”

        Not at all. But again, the fact that we’ve had ZIRP for this long, along with all of the other tricks we’ve used to spike the economy doesn’t speak to Obama’s failure, real or imagined. It speaks to the depth of the recession we’ve had to climb out of.

        You may have seen the earlier thread of the Top 10 firms in the Fortune 500 in 2007. In 10 months time, the cream of American finance and manufacturing enterprises were laid waste.

        What fool would EVER THINK we were going to unwind this mess in this little time? No rational person would even dream of it.

        You continue:

        “Nor did Bill Clinton go anywhere near restoring the 70% rate Reagan steadily brought down, he bumped it up to only 39%. This is an implicit admission the 70% rate was enormously too high and counterproductive. ”

        Again, this shows how your comparisons are utterly worthless and how little you know about tax law. Like most, you boil the entire tax code down to a handful of brackets.

        We had a NINETY PERCENT top bracket during one of the most prosperous times in our nation’s history: the 50s. But what you leave out are the dozens of changes made to tax laws and deductions that went along with successive reductions in rates alone, along with the income brackets themselves, which were also heavily modified. Not only that, in the seed of each percentage reduction is a built-in tax hike. Again: If I am in a 90% bracket, and have $10,000 worth of deductions to subtract from Line 1 of a 1040, that’s worth $9K to me. Drop the top bracket to 28%, and those deductions are only worth $2800. That’s assuming I’m still in the top bracket. That, buddy, is a TAX INCREASE, that offsets the drop in the percentage rate depending where you live, how much house you own, and a host of other factors. There is more sleight of hand with these formulas that no one admits to, or brings into the conversation, because it minimizes their argument.

        In the meantime, most posters on “Conservative” forums are so stupid, they don’t know that a plumber pays the same effective tax rate on the entire $60,000 he makes that Donald Trump pays on HIS first $60,000 of income.

        Like it or not, we have a huge deficit problem, and while any sensible person acknowledges we have some cuts to make, taking tax increases off the table is preposterous. And just by looking how Romney gamed the system to pay a 9% rate gives us plenty to work with by itself. What a joke of a man to lecture the nation on spending!

        Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to write my Congressman, and have him draft the Omnibus Hair Brading and Dance Instructor Assistance Act.

        1. “What fool would EVER THINK we were going to unwind this mess in this little time? No rational person would even dream of it.”

          I think the “fool’s” name was President Barack Obama! Who projected 6% UE by this point.

          This is really is a sweet standard you folks have set up for yourselves. Obama gets to sieze credit for every last decimal point of (pathetic) GDP growth from a recovery that was underway by June of ’09 before essentially any of “stimulus” had made its way into circulation, AND every single job created (the grand total of which still leaves us with Depression-level real UE rates), but is responsible for absolutely NONE of the output gap between this and any mediocre recovery in the post WWII era! The progress is all his, the lack of progress is NOT. Unreal!

          And if anyone questions this narrative – pulled out of your collective asses when it was apparent stimulus was a giant bust – then they’re self-evidently “stupid.”

          BTW, I’m a CFP and have been in the investment industry for 11 years. Your point on 90% tax rates in the ’50s ignores two things: 1.) that we were the sole economic superpower in a world still digging out from under rubble after WWII, and China and India were still Communist and impoverished backwaters, respectively, and 2.) that the code was so full of loopholes hardly anyone PAID a 90% tax rate! Taxes were only 17% or so of GDP in the ’50s. Even the top half-percent paid only 40%!

          http://www.nber.org/papers/w12404.pdf?new_window=1

          Are you seriously arguing the math of the high-rate tax code allowed the rich to pay a LOWER effective tax rate before the Reagan cuts than after it?? If that is true, (and it isn’t) then what in God’s name have your friends on the Left been complaining about for the past three freaking decades?

          Take a look at the “Average Federal Tax Rates” table in the paper above and in the link below and tell me if you find the trend somehow unclear or confusing. Because your argument is gibberish.

          http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/tax_demagogues_are_lying_liars_in_one_graph.html

          “It speaks to the depth of the recession we’ve had to climb out of.”

          We are NOT criticizing “depths!” We are criticizing PACE. Deep recessions equal strong recoveries. Conservatives would have very little argument if we hadn’t yet reached pre-crisis metrics of economic health, but we were experiencing a strong, sustainable rate of growth on pace to get us there. We AREN’T.

          1. “This is really is a sweet standard you folks have set up for yourselves. Obama gets to sieze credit for every last decimal point of (pathetic) GDP growth from a recovery that was underway by June of ’09 before essentially any of “stimulus” had made its way into circulation, AND every single job created (the grand total of which still leaves us with Depression-level real UE rates), but is responsible for absolutely NONE of the output gap between this and any mediocre recovery in the post WWII era! The progress is all his, the lack of progress is NOT. Unreal!”

            You’re turning my argument on its head. I’m not giving Obama any extra credit for WHATEVER progress we have made, I am telling you that, as many others have realized “This Time Its Different,” and there are some economists who believe that THIS “recession” is WORSE than the REAL DEPRESSION we went through in the 30s.

            http://www.voxeu.org/article/tale-two-depressions-what-do-new-data-tell-us-february-2010-update

            And in some aspects, it IS, precisely since as you perceived, these are indeed different times. You can’t assign an effect to them when it bolsters your argument, and then ignore them when they don’t.

            Right?

            What you people can’t tear yourselves away from is constantly harping on the pace of the recovery, while completely ignoring how and how fast we SANK, and of course, why not? Ignoring the root of the problem and pretending this era is easily comparable to others is the only way to make your complaint spin. As I have consistently maintained: NO, YOU CAN’T.

            “And if anyone questions this narrative – pulled out of your collective asses when it was apparent stimulus was a giant bust – then they’re self-evidently “stupid.”

            No, they’re self evidently blind, because the problem with these forums is you’re all so married to these narratives without looking at empirical data, you can’t even elevate these statements to what rational people might rightly call an “opinion.” It’s not an “opinion.” Its self delusion.

            “BTW, I’m a CFP and have been in the investment industry for 11 years. Your point on 90% tax rates in the ’50s ignores two things: 1.) that we were the sole economic superpower in a world still digging out from under rubble after WWII, and China and India were still Communist and impoverished backwaters, respectively, and

            WELL THANK YOU FOR POINTING THAT OUT! Now sir, since the 21st century has given us a multilateral economic world where we no longer manufacture 50% of the world’s goods and we can’t con the Arabs into selling oil at $4 a barrel, would you concede that bailing us out of this situation just MIGHT be a BIT different this time around?

            “2.) that the code was so full of loopholes hardly anyone PAID a 90% tax rate! Taxes were only 17% or so of GDP in the ’50s. Even the top half-percent paid only 40%!”

            Thanks for pointing that out too. Know what the top half percent’s net tax bite is today? Less than 25%, or if you’re a real con like Romney, you can work that down further still. I’m 60 years old. I know all about the write offs and gimmees that existed. I took advantage of them myself.

            “Are you seriously arguing the math of the high-rate tax code allowed the rich to pay a LOWER effective tax rate before the Reagan cuts than after it??”

            No, I am saying they are far more inconsquential than most people are led to believe, especially if they self- indoctrinate themselves on sites like these, with its pseudo economic “science.” You would think the only economic dynamic that spoke for the U.S.s economic performance was it’s marginal tax rate. That is ludicrous on it’s face. It’s not economics, it a FETISH.

            “Deep recessions equal strong recoveries.”

            Really? Is that an ex-cathedra remark, or would you like to use GENUINE HISTORY AND DATA to back that up?

            “Conservatives would have very little argument if we hadn’t yet reached pre-crisis metrics of economic health, but we were experiencing a strong, sustainable rate of growth on pace to get us there. We AREN’T.”

            And guess what? There isn’t one damn thing you can do about beyond what’s already been done. You think Hubbard’s little shell game is going to help? Drop rates, cut deductions, eliminate tax free status for municipal bonds, or maybe this or maybe that? Wonder why Romney’s message isn’t resonating? There’s nothing behind it.

            When you get your magic wand, give me a call.
            Remember it was YOUR “Conservative” philosophy that got us here.

          2. “Really? Is that an ex-cathedra remark, or would you like to use GENUINE HISTORY AND DATA to back that up?”

            Max, I’m not an “ex-cathedra” kind of guy. I indeed prefer “GENUINE HISTORY AND DATA” in backing up my assertions! So play with the tool here, plug in any damn recession you want by checking the boxes at the bottom of the graph, look at the GDP and job growth trends off of the troughs, and tell me if you see ANYTHING like the zombie performance from 2009 on, with the exception of the 1980 recession which double-dipped.

            One caveat, the 2001 recession saw continued job losses for 2 years as the economy liquidated the overhiring glut from the tech boom, and absorbed 9/11, war uncertainty, and the corporate accounting scandals. That recovery brought us back to normal, 5%-ish unemployment, down from the unsustainable, “bubble” job market of the 90s. Bush 43 inherited that PEAK. Obama inherited the TROUGH of an employment base as shrunken as this one.

            http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/studies/recession_perspective/

            And as to the rest, we get it. Everyone who disagrees with The New Normal is “delusional.” There’s nothing more even Christ himself could have done, so we should just enjoy our sh*t sandwich and be quiet. If that’s the case though, have your people kindly shut up about Republicans foiling Obama’s additional (snicker!) “jobs” bills.

          3. Me: “You can’t compare this to other recessions, and comparisons do no good because they share no similar characteristics. This is more like the Great Depression in many respects.”

            You: “Here’s a chart showing the recovery rates of every post war recession. So there.”

            This is like talking to furniture.

            And yeah, this IS the “New Normal” whether you like it or not. Put the poms poms away. As a CFA wrote on one of the industry boards I follow, when some interloper soiled the conversation with his partisan tripe:

            “We live in a global economy, and your analysis suffers from an acute case of media induced myopia. I assume that you believe Obama has influence over German bund rates, or BOJ and BOE policy as well. Wake up and smell the austerity led global deflationary cycle we are in, and it ain’t going to be over for another 3-5 years. Oh wait – maybe CNBC’s chart of gold prices over the past 4 weeks will fire you up to reply to this post. ”

            Get in the game. This isn’t over by a long shot.

          4. “Here’s a chart showing the recovery rates of every post war recession. So there.”

            Now you’re just being an ass for the sake of it. I gave you the link because you ASKED me for “HISTORY AND DATA” to support my correct assertion about recoveries historically. If you had your mind made up to reject the data, why the hell did you insist I produce it in the first place?

            At least “furniture” doesn’t contradict itself in the span of two paragraphs.

          5. Sir, you are setting a record for cognitive dissonance:

            “Now you’re just being an ass for the sake of it. I gave you the link because you ASKED me for “HISTORY AND DATA” to support my correct assertion about recoveries historically. If you had your mind made up to reject the data, why the hell did you insist I produce it in the first place?”

            Because I told you 50 times this wasn’t even comparable to any post war recession, and you went ahead and POSTED IT ANYWAY. You responed to an assertion I never made.

            In the meantime, the piece I linked is gaining considerable traction in the economic blogosphere. Here it is again: http://www.voxeu.org/article/tale-two-depressions-what-do-new-data-tell-us-february-2010-update

            The romantic, gauzy infatuation with the “Reagan Recovery”- which Reagan’s policies had little to do with in the first place- still dominates the “Conservative” narrative, even when the evidence doesn’t support it.

            At least Reagan never used a TelePrompter:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKVsq2daR8Q

  5. By the way, Jim, looks like the BLS just discovered we created over 453,000 more private sector jobs than originally estimated.

    Poor man: you’re going to have to recalibrate your entire narrative, right?

    But would it matter to this site if it were 4 million jobs?
    Of course not.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/09/27/nearly-400000-more-jobs-added-than-first-thought/

    1. This translates to an only an extra 32k jobs a month, dude. You do realize this still SUCKS, don’t you? Still uniquely anemic by historical standards, still not enough to keep up with population growth, still … everything.

      I don’t think Pethokoukis will be changing his “narrative” one bit. Nor should he.

      1. Your mistake – and Mr. Pethokoukis’s empty conceit- is that there was anything anyone could have done to make it materially better.

        I see no evidence of that.

        1. Your mistake max is simple arithmetic…

          Your odd desire to ignore reality

          BTW if the job employment picture is supposedly so rosy then why the following? Federal Government Offers Bribes to Hide the Coming Job Losses … Until After the Election

          1. It takes a special person to think the Fed is offering bribes to hide job losses from reading that memo.

            Kind of highlights what I’ve been talking about.

    2. Shawn is correct.
      But what amuses me is that the amount of jobs the BLS just discovered like votes in a trunk seems to be increasing every time I read about them.

      Magical. Like unicorns and whatnot.

  6. yes, yes the economy COULD be so much better. if the teahead republicans had not blocked and obstructed 19 – nineteen! – of Obama’s and democrat jobs bills. and that does not EVEN include the just blocked jobs for veterans bill! house and senate teahead republicans are un-american. period. full stop.

    1. I think submitting 32 attempts to repeal ACA, which Boehner and Cantor, those great patriots and stewards of the fiscal weal, knowing full well they were dead on arrival also speaks well of the kind of leadership we have in the House today.

      Doesn’t it.

    2. if the teahead republicans had not blocked and obstructed 19 – nineteen! – of Obama’s and democrat jobs bills“…

      ROFLMAO!

      That’s right! Give us more Solyndras!

      2008 Obama Supporter Interviews Herself in 2012

  7. Look at how the recoveries of CHile, Greece and the US compared. Chile, more of a Free Market than the US, had a real recovery from this worldwide recession.

    http://cosmoscon.com/2012/09/28/obamanomics-recovery-compared-to-a-free-market-recovery/

    It can be done. We just need to remove Obama, Reid and the other Leftists.

    1. From your article:

      “Most of Iraq’s chemical weapons were destroyed by military forces in 1991 during the first Gulf War or by U.N. inspectors after the fighting. The inspections halted just before the invasion.”

      1. I love that ‘Most’. As in ‘most’ of the WMDs have not been delivered into terrorist hands. I feel so ‘much’ better.

        1. Sir, look at the article AGAIN. There was nothing there worth the lives of 4000 American kids, 100,000 Iraqis and a trillion added to the deficit you care so much about.

          “Terrorist hands?” Who are you kidding?

      2. Please keep in mind that after the first Gulf War the senior Bush Administration encouraged dissension against the Sadam Regime and Mr Sadam responded by using WMD’s chemical/Biological against his own people at least 250 times according to US Marine estimates.

        Veterans of the first Gulf War strongly belive that many WMD’s were wisked away to Syria.

  8. chris draus

    RE: Oblamo’s defender

    Progressive policies have created this mess for the past 100 years. The current leftist brand is Obamonics and it is an utter disaster. Jimmy P’s analysis is spot on. At a macro level, Obamaites defend failure, corruption and incompetence. Before the house of cards collapses serious changes to be implemented. New Dealism, Great Society, Community Reinvestment Act, bailouts, stimulus, QEwhateverXYZ, and of Obamacare…………FAILED POLICIES. Stay bitter and angry lefties, keep drinking the koolaid and ignore reality.

  9. OK, what am I missing here?
    We have more government under O than we would have had under McCain. And will have than under Romney. That much at least seems safe to say.
    More taxation, regulation, and spending must necessarily result in higher prices as they add to cost but not output. If prices rise, you sell less thus employing fewer inputs, i.e. workers. Or to keep prices constant, you must pay less to workers and/or owners. Most likely a combination of the two which is what we have had under O – fewer jobs and lower incomes. Demonstrably he has made things worse than they would have been otherwise.
    Help me here. It seems that simple.

  10. LOL!! That certified moron, Jennifer Rubin, just linked this page to her Sunday WaPo column.

    We’ll all be famous!

  11. Max Planck

    Good point by Invictus:


    Mother Jones released another video of Mitt Romney, this one from his Bain Capital days, circa 1985.

    Here’s an interesting excerpt (emphasis mine):
    Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startup companies and ongoing companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit.

    There are two aspects of the new video that I think are noteworthy:

    Romney asserts that it takes “five to eight years” to manage a company (either a startup, ongoing venture, or a turnaround) to the point where Bain could “harvest” it at a significant profit. Five to eight years. As David Corn points out: “Romney mentioned that it would routinely take up to eight years to turn around a firm—though he now slams the president for failing to revive the entire US economy in half that time.” Enough said.

    The Romney excerpt above is essentially a mission statement for private equity firms. This is what they do. In fact, I don’t fault Romney for making that comment. It is the job of private equity firms to make (often outsized) returns for their investors. Romney clearly had a very good grasp of that fact. What neither Romney nor any other private equity player will likely ever name as an objective is “job creation.” It is, simply, not on their radar. And to the extent it happens (see: Staples), it’s always secondary and incidental to the primary objective of doing what it takes to achieve the highest possible return on investment (ROI, otherwise known as “harvest”). Hence, for Romney to tout his private sector experience at Bain as somehow translating into an ability to create jobs is just so much gibberish. It probably more often the case that private equity improves its ROI by cutting jobs, not creating/adding them.

    Romney’s comments undercut two of his central arguments – 1) That Obama should have the economy 100 percent turned around by now and 2) That his experience at Bain translates into skill as a “job creator.

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