Friday, June 1, 2012

The Final Five: June 1, 2012

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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Black Bear Crashes California Graduation
Students and parents attending graduation at Sierra Middle School were surprised to see a black bear on the school's property.

Topic One: The Jobless Numbers
Even given the pathetic predictions being made in advance of the release of May's employment report this morning, the release of the May jobless numbers was a huge disappointment. The unemployment rate ticked up .1 to 8.2%, and the economy created less than half of the prediction: 69,000 (versus the prediction of 158,000). The labor force participation rate was up slightly to 63.8%, but it remains over two points below the pre-recession levels. Furthermore, April's jobs report was also revised significantly downward.

Reaction from PowerLine's John Hinderaker: "In the segment I did on the Kudlow Report last night, the former Clinton aide who tried to defend Obama’s record claimed that unemployment was at 10% when he took office. This is ridiculous, of course, and he was swiftly corrected: the unemployment rate in January 2009 was 7.6%. After 3 1/2 years in office, the unemployment rate is higher today than when the Obama administration began, and that doesn’t even take into account the millions of Americans who have left the job market since 2009. When President and Mrs. Bush were at the White House yesterday, President Obama couldn’t resist (as Paul noted here) whining about the terrible economy he inherited. Can you imagine a CEO who ran a company for four years, and was still complaining about how tough he had it as his company continued to slide downhill? The Board would summarily dismiss him. Let’s hope that’s what the voters do with Obama in November."

Liberals are trying to blame Republicans for the bad report (of course): "Only a liberal could believe there were "deep spending cuts" in a budget sporting a trillion dollar deficit. It takes a special kind of disconnect - as in a rational mind from one that gorges itself on fantasy - to believe that the rotten jobs numbers are the result of anything except the failed, unimaginative, trite, and brutally ineffective policies of the Obama administration. I am waiting for the next shoe to drop in this narrative; that the bad unemployment report is the result of GOP "obstructionism."

Time for a Laugh:
"New York City's Mayor Bloomberg is cracking down on the most dangerous threat to the Big Apple: sodas."
-Jay Leno

Topic Two: Bloomberg's Ban
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sodas sold in containers larger than 16 ounces. While the effort to combat obesity is understandable, this is unlikely to do any good. Instead of buying the 32 ounce soda, people can now just purchase two 16 ounce sodas. Furthermore, this is another example of government overreach. Just because something is good to do does not mean that government should legislate it. (This then leads to the question: How do we define what is "good".)

CBN reporter Lorie Johnson admits that it could benefit the health of the city's citizens, but questions whether this is the proper role of the government: "There is no debating whether these large sodas are bad for your health. They're terrible. The debate then centers on whether people should educate themselves and, utilizing self-control, avoid soda voluntarily, or whether the government assumes a parental role and deprives its citizens of the right to choose because the government leaders believe citizens don't have the intelligence or self-discipline to make proper decisions on their own."

The Coca-Cola Company issued this statement about the proposed ban: "The people of New York City are much smarter than the New York City Health Department believes. We are transparent with our consumers. They can see exactly how many calories are in every beverage we serve. We have prominently placed calorie counts on the front of our bottles and cans and in New York City, restaurants already post the calorie content of all their offerings and portion sizes -- including soft drinks. New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this. They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase. We hope New Yorkers loudly voice their disapproval about this arbitrary mandate."

Finally, if Bloomberg wants to show that he is serious about combating obesity, perhaps he should pull his support of this proposal.

Debt Watch:
( As of Thursday, May 31, 2012 )

Change: +$54,059,784,913
Your share as a citizen: $50,435.83
Share per household: $138,053.55
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,143,808,036,451

Topic Three: The Spending Debate
Jonah Goldberg lays out the argument Romney should be making on spending and the debt: "Republicans in Washington helped create the problem, and Romney should concede the point. Focused on fighting a war, Bush -- never a tightwad to begin with -- handed the keys to the Treasury to Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert, and they spent enough money to burn a wet mule. On Bush's watch, education spending more than doubled, the government enacted the biggest expansion in entitlements since the Great Society (Medicare Part D), and we created a vast new government agency (the Department of Homeland Security)."

"And yet, to listen to Obama and his allies, the Bush years were a time of "market fundamentalism" and government inaction. That's in part because when it comes to domestic policy, Democrats will always want to spend more than Republicans, so Republicans are always branded as mean-spiritedly frugal by comparison. Nearly every problem with spending and debt associated with the Bush years was made far worse under Obama. The man campaigned as an outsider who was going to change course before we went over a fiscal cliff. Instead, when he got behind the wheel, as it were, he hit the gas instead of the brakes -- and yet has the temerity to claim that all of the forward momentum is Bush's fault."

Daniel Mitchell agrees with Goldberg's point: "Jonah’s point about “fixing what’s wrong with Washington” is not a throwaway line. Romney has pledged to voters that he won’t raise taxes. He also has promised to bring the burden of federal spending down to 20 percent of GDP by the end of a first term. But even those modest commitments will be difficult to achieve if he isn’t willing to gain credibility with the American people by admitting that Republicans helped create the fiscal mess in Washington. Especially since today’s GOP leaders in the House and Senate were all in office last decade and voted for Bush’s wasteful spending."

Tweet of the Day:
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner): The most important thing we can do now to turn the jobs picture around: stop Taxmageddon. The GOP House is ready. But Dems are silent.

Topic Four: Fixing Education
What should Romney do about America's education problem? "He should begin by reducing Washington-imposed regulatory burden. No more bureaucratic millstones. Abolish Department of Justice edicts about racial disciplinary quotas, end the anti-bullying task forces, and forget about national standards (these are always avoided anyhow). Then dismantle all the Department of Education one-size-fits-all mandates on testing and proficiency. And on and on. In an instant, teachers could teach, not battle Mickey Mouse rules, and students will benefit."

"Then, turn the national education agenda away from uplifting the bottom (massively expensive and ineffective, anyhow) to energizing science and engineering education. A few strokes of the pen could reverse Washington's decade-long war on gifted programs (see here). Not all that difficult, either. Local constituencies for genuine gifted education already exist, but these have been stifled by the Bush NCLB requirements to uplift the bottom. If, as usual, the ACLU attacks a local gifted program as "discriminatory," Washington should now defend the program. Within a year, thousands of school districts will have authentic gifted programs."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

-Thomas Jefferson

Topic Five: We Can't Afford Medicare
Bryan Lawrence on why most American's cannot comprehend the true size of Medicare: "Put another way, Medicare is a transfer of wealth from younger to older Americans."

"As long as the baby boomers were working and paying taxes, their large numbers made this transfer to their parents and grandparents affordable. But the boomers began to retire last year. In its 2011 annual report on the nation’s financial position — compiled in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget — the U.S. Treasury described the federal government’s finances as unsustainable. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in testimony to Congress this year, cited the ballooning cost of the transfer inherent in Medicare as a key driver."

"The net present value of the transfer — the amount that would have to be set aside today to fund Medicare’s future intergenerational promises — has grown to at least $25 trillion, as calculated by the Government Accountability Office. This number is buried in footnotes of the annual Treasury-OMB report and is so large (almost twice the $14 trillion value of all public U.S. companies) that it defies comprehension. It’s not surprising that Americans can’t relate the alarming cost of this transfer to their own lives."

Tomorrow in History
June 2, 1835 - P.T. Barnum's circus begins its first tour of the United States.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Indiana teen gets visa to return to US

DOJ halts Florida's push to clean up voter rolls

Rapper Drake brags about his million; Billionaire oil tycoon puts him in his place

Groupon: "Celebrate the man who gave birth to you"

Regulation: the hidden tax on capital and growth

Solyndra debate hits Wikipedia

Kayak stalls IPO after Facebook flop

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