[guest post by Dana] President Obama met with young young black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian men yesterday. His message to them, in part, was one of being authentic : President Barack Obama told a group of young black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian men on Monday that they need be proud of their backgrounds and draw strength from their cultures, but ignore people who accuse them of “acting white.” Obama shared the advice to the young men as part of his “My Brother’s Keeper” program that is marshalling private and public resources to help more boys from minority groups succeed, a program that he views as an important part of his legacy. Obama said students are sometimes discouraged from “reading too much” or “speaking so properly” because of “the notion of ‘acting white.’” “The notion that there’s some authentic way of being black, that if you’re going to be black you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that has to go,” Obama said. “You don’t have to act a certain way to be authentic. You just have to be who you are – and to go back to the values that you care about.” Ironically, I read this article on the heels of Ron Christie’s open letter to Eric Holder. Christie informs readers that Holder was the commencement speaker at his graduation from George Washington University National Center. He recalls Holder’s words to the graduates: May 23, 1998, was one of the happiest days of my life. After four years of hard work, I joined 485 of my fellow law school students as we were set to receive our Juris Doctor degrees. You may not remember, but you were our commencement keynote speaker that day at the George Washington University National Center. You rolled through the usual platitudes: “To those whom much is given, much is expected,” etc. But what struck me most were your personal stories. You told us about how, when you were a young prosecutor, you were running to a movie only to be stopped by police in Georgetown because of your skin color. You told us that you have carried around a clipping in your wallet from 1971—words spoken by Reverend Samuel Proctor that resonate with me to this very day. “Blackness is another issue entirely apart from class in America,” Proctor said. “No matter how affluent, educated and mobile [a black person] becomes, his race defines him more than anything else.” You went on to challenge us that we all need to strive to change that reality and bring about a day when Americans would be judged as individuals, not as members of a race. Yours was an inspirational challenge, and I’ve done my best since then to meet it. Christie then goes on to express his dismay at the attorney general playing the race card: I reflect back on your remarks that day, I am appalled that you have replaced that old clipping with a race card, and seek to exploit our country’s historic tensions for political ends. “There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” you said on ABC earlier this week. “You know, people talking about taking their country back…There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.” What you don’t understand, Mr. Holder, is that there are many of us who are trying to take our country back—back from a group of politicians who seem intent on our destruction as a pillar of strength and liberty in the world. Many of your fellow citizens are dismayed by your conduct, and our anger has nothing to do with the color of your skin. You are the first attorney general in the history of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress. This had nothing to do with your skin color, and everything to do with your failure to explain how the United States government provided guns to Mexican drug cartels that were eventually used to kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010. His open letter further addresses the lack of responsibility taken by both Holder and the president regarding the IRS scandal. And in conclusion, he protests the accusations that racism is at the heart of any criticism toward the administration. [C]ontrary to Holder’s claim that America is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing race, it is in fact Holder and the president who are the cowards. America’s first black president was expected to usher in a new era of racial equality. Instead, we have watched the bonds that hold Americans together become more frayed. We are now more polarized and more divided along racial lines than the day you took office. By recklessly accusing your opponents of racism, you have turned back the clock on race relations in this country. We are all worse off as a result, and weaker as a country. In light of the president’s meeting with minority young men yesterday and the admonishment to be “authentic” while ignoring those who would accuse them of “acting white”, he conveniently declines to state that it is his own party and his own supporters who play that vile game. And Democrats consider it a perfectly acceptable political weapon to be used at every turn possible. Not ironically, a very quick perusal of comments at Ron Christie’s open letter reinforce the mentality: As for Ronnie C: What can you say about a man who sells out his own people for a few pieces of silver? African Americans who vote Republican are like chickens voting for Col. Sanders. There’s a name for sell-outs like Ronny. Token. And so it goes. –Dana
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Democrats And Accusations Of ‘Acting White’
It’s official: there is no debt problem. Paul Krugman says so — so it must be true : [D]ebt and deficits have faded from the news. And there’s a good reason for that disappearing act: The whole thing turns out to have been a false alarm. I’m not sure whether most readers realize just how thoroughly the great fiscal panic has fizzled — and the deficit scolds are, of course, still scolding. They’re even trying to spin the latest long-term projections from the Congressional Budget Office — which are distinctly non-alarming — as somehow a confirmation of their earlier scare tactics. So this seems like a good time to offer an update on the debt disaster that wasn’t. About those projections: The budget office predicts that this year’s federal deficit will be just 2.8 percent of G.D.P., down from 9.8 percent in 2009. You see the trick, right? He’s using 2009 as our baseline. But 2009, the Year of Our Stimulus, produced the worst deficit-to-GDP ratio since the late 1940s. This chart , produced in 2010, shows the historical perspective. Look at the yellow line at the bottom; that’s the deficit-to-GDP ratio. See how it spikes up in 2009? More Krugman: It’s true that the fact that we’re still running a deficit means federal debt in dollar terms continues to grow — but the economy is growing too , so the budget office expects the crucial ratio of debt to G.D.P. to remain more or less flat for the next decade. The economy is growing? Well . . . if we are using GDP as our measure (and Krugman does), Q1 was actually a contraction of a percentage point . But let’s return to the big picture as explicated by Krugman: Things are expected to deteriorate after that, mainly because of the impact of an aging population on Medicare and Social Security. But there has been a dramatic slowdown in the growth of health care costs, which used to play a big role in frightening budget scenarios. As a result, despite aging, debt in 2039 — a quarter-century from now! — is projected to be no higher, as a percentage of G.D.P., than the debt America had at the end of World War II , or that Britain had for much of the 20th century. See? Debt to GDP is no worse than just after World War II! Once again, of course, Krugman is playing with the numbers, as you can see by consulting the handy chart above again. This time, look at the green line on top. See the hugely monstrous spike in 1946? The total outlier, caused by years of destructive world war? The economic disaster caused by the crippling of an economy that spent four years without millions of its most productive citizens? We’re headed back there, on the natural . . . with no world war to explain the tremendous rise in the debt-to-GDP level. And nothing to stop us from breaking through the disastrous WWII levels. (Note how the trough of that graph was 1971, when we finally went off the gold standard for good. That’s when we began our inexorable addition to the mountain of debt.) Reassured yet? Oh, but Krugman says the problem is easily fixed: Still, rising debt isn’t good. So what would it take to avoid any rise in the debt ratio? Surprisingly little. The budget office estimates that stabilizing the ratio of debt to G.D.P. at its current level would require spending cuts and/or tax hikes of 1.2 percent of G.D.P. if we started now, or 1.5 percent of G.D.P. if we waited until 2020. Politically, that would be hard given total Republican opposition to anything a Democratic president might propose , but in economic terms it would be no big deal, and wouldn’t require any fundamental change in our major social programs. Love how the only possible roadblock might come from Republicans. Let’s be honest: he’s not really talking about spending cuts, or he would talk about Democrat intransigence too. Anyway, Krugman again cooks the numbers by expressing these tax increases or spending cuts in terms of a percentage of GDP. What are these piddling numbers in reality? 1.5% of GDP ($15.68 trillion) is $235 billion . That’s the tax hike or spending cut that Krugman says would be no problem. Yet the sequestration “cuts” (actually reductions in increases in spending) were only $85 billion off the hoped-for increases — about 1/3 of that $235 billion number. And Krugman wailed that they would cost us 700,000 jobs and that we needed to spend more . The problem that Krugman “forgets” to confront is that, historically, no matter how high you raise that top rate, you never get federal revenue much above 20% of GDP. I have discussed that here before . Even with a top income tax rate of 90%, you still get 20% of GDP as revenue — because people change their behavior as you raise the top rate. So we need to do it through cuts — and Krugman told us that a mere 1/3 the cuts he says are required were far too damaging to actually implement. So you can pretend the numbers are small, and shrug off the political difficulties — but you are contributing to the situation and helping ensure it will never be fixed, Krugman. So yes, we’re still headed towards the cliff. Clip and save Krugman’s column; it’s a keeper. Like his early 2000s call for a housing bubble, it will make fun reading sometime in our bleak future.
Krugman: Debt Crisis? What Debt Crisis?
[guest post by Dana] An article came out on Friday titled Governors livid over border crisis and was was covered at a number of conservative sites. However, when I read the article, what jumped out at me – and made me livid – was something altogether different. In the article, readers were informed that state governors ( about 30 of them ) assembled in Nashville for the National Governors Association’s meeting. Apparently, a number of the governors are livid about a lack of support and information coming from the federal government with regard to the influx of illegal detainees. “I found out in the last 48 hours that approximately 200 illegal individuals have been transported to Nebraska [by the federal government],” said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, in an interview. “The federal government is complicit in a secret operation to transfer illegal individuals to my state and they won’t tell us who they are.” And from Governor Mary Fallin (Oklahoma): …whose state is housing 1,100 immigrant children at Fort Sill – just 100 shy of total capacity – said she’s still grasping at the scope of the problem and worried about the conditions the children now face. “We had one case of chicken pox. We’ve had many cases of scabies and lice,” Fallin said. She added that there’s been no guidance about how long the children will be housed, whether they’re entitled to any taxpayer-funded benefits, from education to Medicaid to foster care. And she’s unsure whether they might be “let loose in the United States” once they turn 18. “Those are all the questions and concerns that governors like myself,” she said. “They are children so we want to treat them very humanely, but we also have a lot of concerns.” The governors are clearly right to be so concerned (and frustrated) about an ongoing crisis that threatens them with staggering hits on state resources. And there is no doubt that the federal government is being anything but transparent, thus leaving states to muddle through the mess as best as they can. But here’s the rub: keynote speaker at the NGA meeting was Vice-President Joe Biden and after his speech, held a Q&A session with these frustrated governors. And what did these, our elected representatives, bring up at the Q&A session? The border crisis was on the tip of nearly every governor’s tongue in the early part of their meeting here, yet the group passed on the chance to grill Vice President Joe Biden on the subject when he appeared before them Friday. During a question-and-answer session that followed a keynote address by Biden to the governors, the state executives asked him relatively tame questions about workforce development and jobs . Livid, my ass! Because this is not what livid looks like to me. I am not a politician nor an elected official, but I am a reasonably intelligent person and know that if I, a private citizen, had the opportunity to speak to the Vice-President of the United States, the second in command, about the most significant “humanitarian crisis” we face – regardless of whether he were in a position to do anything other than placate – you can be certain that I would take full advantage of such an opportunity. So how much more should our elected officials take advantage of every such opportunity – especially in a room packed with state leaders? At the very least (and perhaps at the most), Biden has the ear of the president to some degree and could have gone back and reported the frustration of the governors. (“Wow, Barack, these governors are seriously pissed off at us! I mean, like they are seething with frustration! We gotta do something, man.”) Even that would have been … something. But instead, they remained silent. And what did Biden say in turn? [B]iden — who also may run for president in 2016 — didn’t refer to the controversial topic , either. And why would he? Too bad these governors didn’t take a tip from that other governor’s playbook . Note: This was the thrust of Biden’s address delivered to the governors. However, in no way did it provide an excuse not to bring up the staggering “humanitarian crisis” our country faces. Vice President Joe Biden called on the nation’s governors Friday in Nashville to help break partisan gridlock and lead the way in building infrastructure and investing in job training programs. “You’ve got to lead us out of this mess we’re in,” the Democratic vice president said. The vice president’s speech focused on two main goals: to shore up infrastructure, especially for transportation, and to build the nation’s workforce. He encouraged the governors to push for federal legislation such as the Grow America Act, which would pump $302 billion over the next four years into highways, bridges, transit and rail systems. –Dana
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Governors Livid, But Don’t Speak Up
We’re just dumb, or something. Via Washington Examiner: You poor, misguided Republicans. If only you could get with President Obama’s program, everything would be right in America again. That’s how Obama sugarcoated his latest round of criticism of the GOP in his speech on the economy in Denver on Wednesday. “Now, I always have to […]
I didn’t think it was possible, but Lurch is actually a worse Secretary of State than Hillary Clinton. Via The Blaze: Secretary of State John Kerry was photographed on Thursday doing something that has raised eyebrows in the past — kiteboarding in Nantucket as America faces crises abroad and at home. TheBlaze once again obtained exclusive […]