Obama administration

The pivot that isn’t

Featured image Charles Lane writes about President Obama’s “pivot” to economic inequality. Like other commentators, Lane misses the fact that there is no pivot. Addressing inequality has been the organizing theme of the Obama administration — from the stimulus to Obamacare to “regionalism.” Until now, Obama has tried to conceal his redistributionist agenda. Indeed, when a congressman told Michelle Obama that the stimulus plan was the best anti-poverty program in a generation, »

This Is Indeed Out of Proportion

Featured image From Phil Terzian at the Weekly Standard: Number of US presidents attending funeral of Nelson Mandela: 4 Number of US presidents attended funeral of Winston Churchill: 0 (Actually, Phil adds, Eisenhower did attend–as a private citizen–but LBJ did not, and didn’t send VP Humphrey either.  The official U.S. delegation was headed by . . . Earl Warren.) JOHN adds: The whole Mandela thing is, to put it gently, out of »

Obama Pivots to Income Inequality

Featured image Today President Obama announced to an audience at the far-left Center for American Progress that he will spend the remainder of his term in office focusing on income inequality. He began by saying that middle-class Americans are struggling, and the American Dream is threatened. He is right. Statistics on the White House’s own web site indicate that since Obama took office, median family income has fallen, per capita income has »

Even a Stopped Clock . . .

Featured image As the old saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, but it behooves us to take note of the rare occasions when the Obama Administration gets something right.  I’m sure it is an accident or an oversight, or occurred when someone unaccountably blundered while O-bambi was out on the Back Nine, but still. . . First, props to the Pentagon for flying B-52s the other day »

Arab Media Do Another Job American Media Won’t

Featured image I’m currently reading Paul Sabin’s new book The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future, just out from Yale University Press.  It was a genius idea to write a book about this epic clash between the neo-Malthusianism at the core of modern environmentalism and one of its most persistent and profound critics, the late Julian Simon.  Simon won that famous bet with Ehrlich, of course, and »

“Remember boys, we’re all Democrats”

Featured image A former court of appeals judge, now deceased, used to tell the story of the meeting he had with President Lyndon Johnson after his confirmation by Congress. Johnson met not only with this judge, but with several others who had just been confirmed. Johnson’s performance, colorful and profane, gave rise to several priceless anecdotes. The most telling was Johnson’s parting words. According to this former judge, he said: “Remember boys, »

Obama’s “whatever” approach to Obamacare

Featured image According to the Washington Post, state insurance regulators across the country were blindsided by President Obama’s insurance “fix”. Obama didn’t see fit to let them know it might be coming or to find out how they will respond. The Obama administration’s lack of courtesy and respect for state commissions is hardly surprising. However, its lack of interest seems extraordinary. Much depends, after all, on how state commissions respond to Obama’s »

Does Obama Have Any Idea What Is Going On In His Own Administration?

Featured image Earlier this evening, Steve asked whether President Obama is any good at politics. A fair question. Here is another: Does Obama have any idea what is going on in his own administration? When President Obama speaks off the cuff, he is often revealing, if you can penetrate his trademark incoherence. I found this riff from today’s press conference to be particularly interesting: One way I — I described this to »

Oh Yeah, Record Poverty Levels, Too

Featured image Thank goodness we don’t have a Republican in the White House! If we did, the country would be in awful shape. Not only would millions of people be out of work with millions more losing their health care coverage, we would also be experiencing record levels of poverty. By one measure, California has the nation’s highest poverty rate, with the District of Columbia in second place. Go figure! I guess »


Featured image George Will draws attention to a serious study of the Cash for Clunkers program by Ted Gayer and Emily Paker, published by the Brookings Institution. Will quotes the study’s conclusion: “The $2.85 billion in vouchers provided by the program had a small and short-lived impact on gross domestic product, essentially shifting roughly a few billion dollars forward from the subsequent two quarters following the program.” Will also extracts a view of »

How quickly they remember

Featured image A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that President Obama’s job approval has fallen to 42 percent, a new low in this survey. 51 percent of respondents disapprove of his performance. Earlier this month, buoyed by the partial government shutdown for which Republicans took most of the blame, Obama’s approval rating stood at 47 percent. At the end of 2012, following his reelection, Obama had an approval rating of »

The Sebelius thrust & the Jarrett jam down

Featured image Is Kathleen Sebelius really the principal behind the fiasco that the Obamacare rollout has become? Drawing on her CNN interview with Sanjay Gupta, Rich Lowry has fun with her in “Heckuva job, Sebelius,” and Rich doesn’t even touch on her memorable appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Sebelius pushed back yesterday in Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s New York Times story “Sebelius thrust into firestorm on exchanges.” Don’t shoot her, »

On the Need for Prudence

Featured image Back in the fall we noted the counsel of Harvey Mansfield given the Wall Street Journal after the election loss: “Conservatives should be the party of judgment, not just of principles.  Of course there are conservative principles—free markets, family values, a strong national defense—but those principles must be defended with the use of good judgment. Conservatives need to be intelligent, and they shouldn’t use their principles as substitutes for intelligence. »

Barack Obama’s Era of Hopelessness

Featured image Of all the bitter fruit of the Barack Obama disaster, the most bitter may be the sense of hopelessness that has descended on Americans, especially the young. Has there ever been anything like it in our history? Even on the eve of the Civil War, was there this much pessimism about our future? Gallup wasn’t around in those days, but I wonder. For a simple measure of how the Obama »

Jeh Johnson to head Department of Homeland Security

Featured image President Obama reportedly will select Jeh Johnson to succeed Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Johnson is a New York lawyer. He served as General Counsel of the Defense Department during Obama’s first term. I’m not a fan of Johnson, with whom I had some slight, peripheral contact when I practiced law. I criticized his manipulative role in ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” here. I expected »

Adventures in Obamacare

Featured image The Wall Street Journal has an important editorial on “Obamacare’s black box,” commenting on the Healthcare.gov portal brought to us by Obamacare. It usefully summarizes the issues we have sought to document in this series. The Washington Examiner adds an exclamation point to one of question marks behind Healthcare.gov — how many bidders did the government take for the contract to design the site? Answer: It’s better not to ask. »

The High Cost of High Cost

Featured image I’ve been waiting for this: the New York Times whinging about the high cost of the faux-government shutdown.  With so many of the government statistical bureuax closed down as “non-essential,” how would we know? One of my rabbis on economic matters, Brian Wesbury of First Trust, wrote two days ago that “The bottom line on the economy right now is that there is no sign the partial shutdown, or anything »