War on the middle class

Victor Davis Hanson suggests that the middle class is hardest hit on many political issues:

  • ObamaCare
  • student loans
  • immigration
  • gun control
  • energy policy
  • the Fed’s quantitative easing

Hanson writes (my emphasis):

On almost every left-right issue that divides Democrats and Republicans — as well as Republicans themselves — there is a neglected populist constituency.

The result is that populist politics are largely caricatured as Tea Party extremism — and a voice for the middle class is largely absent.

The problem with ObamaCare is that its well-connected and influential supporters — pet businesses, unions and congressional insiders — have already won exemption from it.

The rich will always have their concierge doctors and Cadillac health plans. The poor can usually find low-cost care through Medicaid, federal clinics and emergency rooms.

In contrast, those who have lost their preferred individual plans, or will pay higher premiums and deductibles, are largely members of the self-employed middle class. They are too poor to have their own exclusive health care coverage but too wealthy for most government subsidies. So far, ObamaCare is falling hardest on the middle class.

Consider the trillion-dollar student loan mess. Millions of young people do not qualify for grants predicated on either income levels, ancestry or both. Nor are their parents wealthy enough to pay their tuition or room-and-board costs. The result is that the middle class — parents and students alike — has accrued a staggering level of student loan debt.

Illegal immigration also largely comes at the expense of the middle class. The supporters of amnesty tend to be poor foreign nationals who desire amnesty. Corporate employers and the elites of the identity-politics industry do not care under what legal circumstances foreign nationals enter the United States.

Lost in the debate over “comprehensive immigration reform” are citizen entry-level job seekers of all different races who cannot leverage employers for higher wages when millions of foreign nationals, residing illegally in the U.S., will work for less money. …

Middle-class taxpayers are most responsible for providing parity in subsidized housing, legal costs, health care and education for those who entered the country illegally, especially once corporate employers have let their undocumented older or injured workers go.

There is a populist twist to proposed new federal gun-control legislation as well. The wealthy or politically influential, who often advocate stricter laws for others, usually take for granted their own expensive security details, many of them armed.

In contrast, new gun-control initiatives would mostly fall on the law-abiding who hunt and wish to defend their own families and homes with their own legal weapons.

Energy policy has become a boutique issue for the wealthy who push costly wind, solar and biofuels, subsidized mostly by the 53% of Americans who actually pay federal income taxes and are most pressed by the full costs of higher fuel, electricity and heating costs.

The Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing and de facto zero interest rates have stampeded investors desperate for even modest returns from the stock market — to the delight of wealthy Wall Street grandees. The poor are eligible for both debt relief and cheap (and often subsidized) mortgage rates that remain near historic lows.

The real losers are frugal members of the middle class. For the last five years they have received almost no interest on their modest passbook savings accounts. In other words, we are punishing thrift and reminding modest savers that they might have been better off either borrowing or gambling on Wall Street.

 

Democrats Are the Out-of-Touch Extremists

The public overwhelmingly believes the country is headed in the wrong direction, that current economic policies aren’t working, that President Obama is doing a bad job, that government should be smaller and that ObamaCare should be repealed. But not Democrats.

Those are findings from a new poll by Investor’s Business Daily. On issue after issue, large majorities of the public tilt one way, but the Democrats tilt the other way.

Is the country headed in the right direction? 64% say no. Among Independents, 71% say we are headed in the wrong direction along with 92% of Republicans. But 66% of Democrats think we are headed in the right direction.

On all of the poll’s questions, Independents aligned with Republicans and against Democrats.

Obama’s biggest failure

No, it’s not ObamaCare. Daniel Henninger suggests that Obama’s biggest failure is that he “hobbled the U.S. economy.”

After almost five years of Obama policies, we still have a very sluggish economy with high unemployment.

Unemployed middle-aged men look in the mirror and see someone who may never work again. Young married couples who should be on the way up are living in their parents’ basement. Many young black men (official unemployment rate 28%; unofficial rate off the charts) have no prospect of work.

Obama continually talks about “middle-class folks”. But just what has he done?

The no-decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and its union jobs; the 2,000-page regulatory law draped in 2010 across the entire financial sector; the shutdown in 2010 and then the slow-walking of offshore oil drilling; siccing the EPA on the utilities industry and the National Labor Relations Board on all industry; a 2010 FCC decision to regulate Internet growth; a significant tax increase this year; support this month for jacking up the federal minimum wage to over $10, certain to smother new jobs; the Justice Department’s $13 billion looting of J.P. Morgan bank; and of course Hurricane ObamaCare.

Barack Obama has the U.S. economy on lockdown. It’s the worst thing this president has done. American resilience, and elections, mean it won’t stay this way forever. But for a lot of poor and middle-class folks, living with mom in the basement is getting old.

More at the link.

See also: Gallup: Record number say not much economic opportunity 

Gallup: Record number say not much economic opportunity

Fewer and fewer believe that there is “plenty of opportunity” to get ahead in today’s America – and that number is trending downward. As recently as fifteen years ago, optimists outnumbered pessimists by almost five to one. Today it is about even.

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Barely half of Americans believe that today’s youths will have a better life than their parents.

Related: America’s best days are in the past

Some benefits of global warming

Do plants grow better in warm weather or cold weather? When people retire do they generally prefer to move to warmer climates or  cooler climates? Is the total cost of heating&cooling higher in a cold state such as New Hampshire, or a warm state such as Florida?  Do more people die from exposure to cold weather or to hot weather?

The point is that global warming has had and will have some benefits even if it will have some harmful effects. A team of economists analyzed the costs to global society of ten different challenges such as climate change, illiteracy, malnutrition, and surprisingly, indoor air pollution.

They estimated the costs from 1900 to now, and predicted the costs from now to 2050. Worldwide illiteracy, for example, was about 70% in 1900 and caused a loss of 12% of GDP. In 2050, they predict illiteracy will be down to about 12% and will cost 4% of the world’s economy.

The world’s most costly problem in the 20th century was “indoor pollution from cooking and heating with dirty fuels.” The team estimates that it cost 260 million lives in the third world – twice the total lives lost in all armed conflicts.

The purpose of the study is to suggest that we spend our limited resources where we will get the most bang for our buck. Wouldn’t it be better to save 10 million lives fighting one problem rather than save half a million lives fighting a lesser problem?

As for global warming, they estimate that from 1900 to 2025 it will have benefited the world’s economy by 1.5%. After 2070 it will have a net cost to the world.

Poll: America’s best days are in the past

More than half (52%) of likely voters think the nation’s best days are in the past. Only 31% think the best days lie still ahead. — Rasmussen Reports

It is understandable that so many people think that. But they are wrong. The economy does stink. We are in the worst, most prolonged recovery in 70 years. Unemployment is awful. Millions of people have given up even looking for a job. Median family income is down. Debt is up. Growth is down.

But these bad things don’t just happen. They are the result of bad policies from politicians who do not understand the Law of Unintended Consequences, who do not understand that good intentions are not the same as good results.

The right policies can put us back on the right track to growth and prosperity. Most people think the country is headed the wrong direction. We need to elect politicians who agree with us, who know that we are on the wrong track and that we need to change direction. 

 

All before its first official day in effect

Obamacare increasingly appears to be converting America into a nation of part-time workers, crushing the opportunity of businesses to expand and create new jobs, robbing millions of families and individuals of the doctors and health insurance President Obama promised they could keep, stifling medical innovation that could someday save countless lives, compromising the financial and medical privacy that was before sacrosanct, and in countless other ways subverting a private sector-based health care system that draws the lame, the ill and the injured from around the world.

That is a nice summary by Mark Tapscott. The rest of the article is a not so nice summary of all too many Republican “leader”s.