May 4, 2016

Spending, not guns, on our minds

A funny thing happened to President Obama on his way to increasing federal regulation of firearms. Members of Congress noticed that gun control wasn’t a top priority for their constituents and handed the President his first major legislative loss. Instead, Americans are still more concerned about the economy and the state of our fiscal house. […]

Financially, we’re not better off, says the US Census. Especially young workers.

With 53 percent of 18-24 year olds living back at home with their parents, it should come as no surprise that support among the young for Obama has fallen. Young voters between ages 18 and 29 have been among the groups hit hardest by the recession, with 12.7 percent unemployed and nearly a third underemployed. Support for Obama in this group has fallen from 49 percent to just 41%, a blow to a group that was important to the President’s 2008 win.

Should the rich pay more taxes (than they already do)?

If where the “fair share” line is up to private opinion, what does it say about President Obama’s opinion that, when the economy is struggling and unemployment is high, he wants to take wealth out of our country to balance the debt? Wouldn’t it be better to grow the economy and lower the cost of government? Why would we soak the rich–most of them owners of businesses and investors in businesses–at the very time capital is most needed to grow business and expand? [cont…]

Losing sight of the forest for the trees

The state of the debate, says the Economist, is poor, though. On the right, taxes can never balance the deficit (even though the Economist cites Milton Friedman just a sentence before) and expansive spending is justified for prisons, national security, and big business subsidies. On the left, reform is impossible, with Obama methodically “unpicking welfare reform” passed over the last twenty years, including under President Clinton’s administration. Further, “Mr Obama seems to think the public sector is inherently more moral than the private one. Companies are at best cows to be milked, at worst prey to be hunted.” [cont…]

Presidents ranked by job creation [infographic] [via Political Math]

Hat tip to Matthias Shapiro, a friend and local policy wonk who’s got a penchant for making numbers make sense.
First, his infographic:

One does not simply lose 129,000 millionaires…

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the headline was: “What? Where did we put them? Are they under the couch cushions?”

It’s no joke, though. Because of losses on the stock market, America is down 129,000 millionaires, while the rest of the world added 175,000 millionaires. Growth is happening, evidently, in the “emerging markets” of the world. Just not here at home. [cont…]

Book Review: “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis can tell a story like no other. In fact, even before I finished reading his “The Big Short,” I wanted to work the book into every conversation I had. The story was that interesting and compelling. Anyone who can take the financial crisis of the last few years, find a story in it that centers around subprime mortgages and shorting the market (if you understand what that means and how to do it, you’re more than a step ahead of me and about anyone else I’ve mentioned it to over the last couple weeks), and then make it interesting to the lay reader deserves to be read. [cont…]