Tag Archive: unemployment

President Obama’s high-water mark

President Obama at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Nov. 11, 2016.

President Obama at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Nov. 11, 2016.

President Barack Obama is leaving office on a high note. Many people might not remember what it was like when Obama took office in January 2009. The Bush Recession was underway, and America was losing 779,000 jobs per month. Stores were closing. Restaurants were empty. And our treasury was also empty (in fact, trillions in debt) from Bush’s disastrous Iraq War. Obama, with no help from the Republicans, turned things around to the point where he will be turning over a country that, by most objective measures, is doing very well. Let’s take a look at some of those numbers, so that we will have a comparison for the future:

High-water mark for President Obama and the Democrats

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bring toys to support U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bring toys to support U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots

Take note of December 2014 as the high-water mark for President Barack Obama, the Democrats in Congress, and the United States itself. Starting in January 2015, when Republicans take over the U.S. Senate, life in America could get much worse.

The nihilism election

Vote Nihilism

Vote Nihilism

Ve believe in nossing, Lebowski. Nossing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.
–The Big Lebowski, 1998

What to make of last night’s mid-term election? Democrats never articulated a positive unifying theme. Most of the Democrats’ endless fundraising appeals tried to scare supporters about the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove pouring millions of dollars into Republican campaigns. Republicans ran a national campaign on a unifying theme, but that theme — “President Obama is bad” — was also wholly negative. Most voters didn’t vote for anything.

Conservatives sell selfishness

Pig at the trough, West Palm Beach, FL

Pig at the barrel, West Palm Beach, FL

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

John Kenneth Galbraith

The one-word definition of conservatism is “selfishness.” How else to explain conservatives’ (and most Republicans’) opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which will allow millions more Americans to obtain health insurance? How else to explain the Republicans’ opposition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP“), which feeds millions of poor children in America? Or to raising the federal minimum wage, which now sits at just half the poverty level? How else to explain Republican opposition to the extension of long-term unemployment benefits, or the GOPs zeal to cut benefits for Social Security and Medicare, which keep millions of seniors barely out of poverty? How else to explain the Repubilcans’ love affair with the draconian sequestration cuts, except when it comes to military spending?

This holiday season, as many privileged Republicans gorge themselves on a bounty of food, tax cuts and high-flying stock market investments, and many of their followers inexplicably back them up, ask them why they support such selfish conservative policies.