Hush all you sniveling bailout hating troublemakers. Just shut up, you don't need the money. That is the message from Washington Post personal finance commentator Michelle Singletary.
In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama declared that he was going to "speak frankly and directly."
That's what I want to do as well. I want to speak frankly and directly to the many people who have written to me complaining that they aren't directly benefiting from the federal government's efforts to resuscitate our gasping economy.
The sniveling sentiments of these people come down to one question: "What about me?"
It appears that Singletary has an axe to grind. Apparently she sees the same sniveling sentiments across the country and wants to shut them up before they sour the President's bailout efforts.
For the Chicago Tribune, Romney supporter turned Obama man Douglas Kmiec indulged in quite a litany of name-calling, finger pointing and demagoguery against the GOP that would have been amazing from the same man only one year ago. Hopefully questioning "The Death of the GOP," Kmiec has shown that he no longer cares much how he is viewed, going full Democrat Partisan at this point.
In his Tribune article, Kmiec outrageously says that Republicans don't care about "helping" the country, that they denigrate the "values, hopes and planning of others," and have "no interest in family, work or neighborhood." After heaping such calumny onto the GOP, he then does further damage to poor Mitt Romney by happily reminding us that Romney is a "flip flopper" that should join the Obama administration. Some friend he is!
The morning show hosts reduce role of octuplets’ father to monetary supplier.
It’s a battle of materialism vs. morality on NBC’s Today show, and materialism is the clear winner. Apparently, the single mother of octuplets only needs their father for financial support.
In a February 6 preview of an exclusive interview with the Nadya Suleman, single mother of octuplets, the Today Show hosts mention the father of the octuplets only in terms of a financial provider, ignoring any moral obligation he might have, and failing to acknowledge that his involvement might be essential for successful parenting.
Reporter Jason DeParle garnered Monday's lead story slot in the New York Times with an investigation into how the U.S. welfare system, which went through enormous changes in 1996 after President Clinton signed a bill replacing cash entitlement with work requirements and time limits, is functioning state by state during tough economic times ("Welfare Aid Failing to Grow as Economy Lags)."
But DeParle might not be the most objective teller of this particular tale -- his reporting has always been opposed to the welfare reform bill pushed by the GOP and signed by Clinton. At the time, he called it "a bill that begrudges poor infants their Pampers" and warned of more homelessness, drug use, prostitution, and abortions, none of which came to pass.
DeParle doesn't acknowledge that in his story, which began:
Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years.
The trends, based on an analysis of new state data collected by The New York Times, raise questions about how well a revamped welfare system with great state discretion is responding to growing hardships.
Coulter: Double Standard for Liberal Pundits; Calls Olbermann a '57-Year-Old Woman Trapped in a Man's Body'
Being an outspoken conservative in the media has proven dicey lately, as the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House are working toward seeing an $819 billion stimulus bill signed into law.
According to Ann Coulter, there has been a double standard applied to those outspoken conservatives. Coulter appeared on the Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom" on Jan. 30 to promote her new book, "Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims' and Their Assault on America" currently second on The New York Times Bestseller's list in only its second week.
"I think it's just another reminder of how the left hates free speech," Coulter said. "It really is strange how they go after speakers like this. I mean, there is no campaign by conservatives to shutdown Keith Olbermann. In fact, I wish more Americans would listen to him - to see the face of the left, the only 57-year-old woman trapped in a man's body to host his own TV show."
CA and National Press Ignore State’s 12-Year Failure to Get with the National Welfare Reform Program
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's three-year lurch to the left, with the enthusiastic assistance of Democratic majorities in the state's legislature, has sent the state's fiscal situation once again into Gray Davisland -- and this time, unlike in November 2003 when he took office, the Governator doesn't have a growing economy to make getting out of the mess easier.
Finally, the state is attempting to do something about its disproportionately costly welfare (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program.
The howls are predictable, if somewhat understandable (which I'll get to). Excerpts from a Sacramento Bee story by Cynthia Hubert lay out the situation:
First it was Barack Obama's encounter with Joe the Plumber. Then there was his 2001 interview at Chicago radio station. Today, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air highlights yet another in what is turning out to be a long line of links and other items proving that Democratic candidate Barack Obama is a longtime dedicated, doctrinnaire soc-, soc-, (yes, we're still allowed to say it) socialist.
It comes from the March-April 1996 edition of New Ground, a publication of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA).
I'll cite the relevant verbiage after the jump. But what's more important, I will show just how easy it would have been for a journalist searching Google to find this item. The fact that either no one found this, or that those who might have found it obviously ignored it, shows just how lazy and/or negligent Old Media has been in vetting the Illinois senator's fitness to be president.
Here's what Obama had to say at "A Town Meeting on Economic Insecurity: Employment and Survival in Urban America" on February 25, 1996 in Chicago (bullets added by me for clarity, bold is mine):
Food inflation is hitting everyone - even if don't have to pay for food.
According to the July 2 "CBS Evening News," part of its "The Other America" series - a title strangely similar to former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' liberal anti-poverty mantra of "Two Americas" - food stamp recipients are being hit by the rising the cost of food.
"With food prices climbing, more and more Americans these days are struggling to feed their families," anchor Katie Couric said. "Nearly 28 million rely on food stamps for an average benefit that comes to only about $24 a week for each person. Many are living hand-to-mouth, month-to-month."
One man's pork spending is another's "relative bargain" according to the "Follow the Money" segment on the April 15 "CBS Evening News."
The newscast commemorated Tax Day by featuring what federal tax dollars are spent on, but what they chose to highlight was peculiar.
"The biggest tab for taxpayers is defense," CBS correspondent Bob Orr reported. "The average American household is paying $2,761 in 2007 - or put another way, enough to cover 12 car payments for a new Honda Accord. Social security is nearly as expensive, $2,663 - enough to heat and cool a home for a year. In total, the average tax bill this year tops $13,000 and most taxpayers have no idea what the government is doing with their cash."
Leading into a soundbite from a representative of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, reporter Bill Whitaker ominously intoned: “With jobs declining and prices for basics -- food, fuel, medicine -- on the rise, more Americans are expected to turn to food stamps in the next year than at any time since the program began in the 1960s.”
Whitaker moved on to more emotion, how one woman “is still stretching beans and her budget to feed her four boys and granddaughter,” but “with Congress fighting over funding, millions like” her “won't find much more in the pot.”
That in a nutshell is Eduardo Porter's thesis in his NY Times column of today, Race and the Social Contract. Porter, a graduate of Mexico's UNAM who began his journalism career with the Mexican news agency Notimex, is now a member of the NYT's editorial board.
Porter believes that the US needs to make "big investments in the public good" to deal with the "enormous challenge" of "globalization." But that goal is thwarted by our selfishness that in turn is prompted by our diversity.
The columnist begins by noting that, when it comes to taxes and public spending, we rank toward the bottom among developed countries. Now, you might cheer that fact, but Porter sees it as a bad thing. And he cites a number of studies suggesting that in ethnically homogeneous countries, citizens support higher taxes and public spending levels because they're confident their cohorts will be the beneficiaries. But in the more diverse USA, "racial and ethnic antagonism all too frequently limit" public spending.
In a Wednesday story on food stamp program participation in West Virginia that is still being linked at Drudge this evening, Charleston Daily Mail writer Justin D. Anderson fell into the same trap reporters have been falling into for nearly a year, but later largely made up for it by acknowledging that the program is a supplement, and is not designed, or intended, to pay for all of its beneficiaries' food costs.
Here are paragraphs 1, 5, and 6 of Anderson's report:
Here we go again.
"Food stamps provide only about $1 per person, per meal. Who in the world is buying groceries with that?" asked Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank.
On average, food stamps are now providing less than two weeks of groceries.
"There's the presumption that folks have the cash to make up the rest. Well, they don't" .....
Sigh. As noted time, and time, and time, and time again, the benefits (called "Maximum Allotments" by the government) for families with no other resources are higher (graphic link is to related page at the USDA web site):
On Sunday’s "60 Minutes," anchor Morley Safer did a segment on Demark being ranked the happiest country in world consistently for the past three decades and wondered: "What makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self doubt like so many of the rest of us?" Later in the segment, Safer discovered that low expectations of the Danish people was the key to their happiness and he concluded that:
Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age -- wanting a bigger house, fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest that the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest, like the Upper East Side of New York.
It’s interesting that many liberal media figures reside in New York’s Upper East Side.
Barely four years after California's historic recall of sitting Governor Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger's landslide election to replace him, the Golden State is, again, in a budget crunch of its own making.
Oh, it's not as bad as the Gray days -- yet. The $35 billion budget deficit Davis papered over long enough to win reelection in 2002 over Bill Simon, with the help of the state's ignorant and non-inquisitive news media, is 2-1/2 times higher than the $14 billion gap the state is facing over the next 18 months.
The state's Old Media, as would be expected, is moaning about cuts that might have to be made, obsessing over the possibility that "universal health care" might be derailed, and of course giving visibility to anyone and everyone who thinks even more taxes will solve the problem.
As has been the case for well over a decade, nobody that I know of in California's Old Media is considering the idea that the state is paying the price for failing to sufficiently go along with the rest of the country in aggressively reducing welfare rolls. But the numbers support the idea that if the state had done what the rest of the country has "somehow" done without visible suffering, it would be in a much better situation.
(A table and graphs illustrating the situation are after the jump.)
As Republican primary campaign slogans go, "Endorsed by Frank Rich!" might not be a candidate's strongest play. But for better or worse Mike Huckabee is essentially stuck with it after Rich's NYT's column of yesterday. The ostensible theme of "The Republicans Find Their Obama" is that Republican voters are leaning toward Huckabee for the same reasons that Dems are trending to Obama: that both men are relatively young, speak across racial lines, are witty and avoid hyper-partisanship.
But dig down a bit deeper, and it appears that Huckabee's real appeal for Rich is that, social issues aside, he is the most liberal of the GOP frontrunners. Making his case for Huckabee, Rich goes so far to dabble in Christian theology [emphasis added]:
What's another $1 trillion here and there among friends - especially when it promotes a leftist agenda?
Throwing around a big number like that obviously isn't a problem for one liberal executive. Woody Tasch, the chairman of Investors' Circle wrote in the November 15 Christian Science Monitor that since we can spend money on Iraq, we can spend $1 trillion over five years for socialist causes.
"Economists project that the cost of the war in Iraq, when all is said and done, will come in at $1 trillion or more," wrote Tasch. "I say: Let's do it again! Let's allocate another trillion dollars - but this time for the good of all humanity and all species. Let's do it with the same moral urgency and vision that has made America great at so many critical junctures in history."
In an interview with obscure Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Sunday’s "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked the Texas Congressman: "What is it that you see that the government ought to do besides deliver the mail?" This followed Schieffer’s description of Paul’s limited government philosophy:
Well, let me -- I want to just get your take on what you think the government ought to do. You've already said your anti-war. We know you're anti-abortion. You're anti-drug administration. You're anti-Medicare. I wrote all this down. Let's see. You're anti-income tax. You want to do away with that. You're anti-United Nations. You're anti-World Bank. You're anti-International Monetary Fund. And there must be some other things that you're against.
In an article counseling readers to cancel the pity party the Washington Post wants to throw for "Young Altruists In the Crowded Field of Public Interest," Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings nails it, and in the process hammers home a reality that Old Media reporters and pundits never seem to comprehend (links were in original post):
..... Who is it that really changes the world, and for the better?
I would argue that it is the people like Bill Gates, or Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison, or the Wright brothers, who have a much larger and more beneficial effect on the world than people who "want to make a difference."
OVERVIEW: An underappreciated accomplishment of the past six years has been the continued reduction in the number of people on welfare.
The welfare caseload, after declining dramatically in the first four years after Welfare Reform was enacted, might have been expected to level off, or even rise slightly with overall population growth, after the initial impact of the 1996 law wore off.
After all, the reduction in the number of welfare recipients during the 1990s was stunning. From a peak of over 14 million in 1994, and over 12.5 million at the end of 1996 (over 4.5 million families) when the new took effect, the number of those receiving welfare came tumbling down to about 5.5 million by the end of 2000 — a decline of nearly 2 million per year.
I’m not sure that anyone expected the numbers to steadily fall after the first four years of reform, but that is exactly what has happened. Here are the details for families and recipients on welfare as of the end of each calendar year beginning with the turn of the century (000s omitted):
David Herszenhorn's front-page "Political Memo" for Wednesday's New York Times was devoted to the fight over Graeme Frost, the boy pushed forward by the Democrats to deliver the response to Bush's weekly radio address on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP).
The inimitable Mark Steyn is one of several conservative writers unhappy with Democrats "desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job."
Herszenhorn accused Republicans and "conservative bloggers" of attacking the boy and his family. While not as bad as the local coverage in the Baltimore Sun as outlined earlier by Ken Shepherd, there is a hostile tone:
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," for the fourth time this year, the ABC program skewered America for not being generous with paid leave and openly lobbied viewers to support a Democratic, big government initiative. After lumping the U.S. in with countries such as Liberia and Lesotho, as being one of only five countries that don’t provide paid maternity leave, GMA contributor Tory Johnson appeared with Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to promote his legislation.
"First and most important is to make your voice heard, Johnson exclaimed. Openly advocating this government expansion, she added, "On the GMA website, we have links to all the senators’ and congressmen’s offices. Call them. E-mail them. Let them know where you stand." Would GMA promote legislation for family friendly television that a Republican presidential candidate was sponsoring? Also, there was almost no mention of the expensive cost of providing eight weeks of paid maternity leave and how that would effect the U.S. taxpayer. Instead, co-host Robin Roberts mentioned that unpaid leave is already available and wondered, "What's stopping the government from making the law truly family friendly?" Johnson alternatively described paid leave as "government’s relief" and "great benefits" without much consideration of where these "benefits" are coming from.
The Times' recycles findings from the left-wing "Urban Justice Center" [emphasis added]:
[O]f 9,500 recipients surveyed, more than 5,800 had their benefits cut off within 20 months of enrollment. The vast majority remained eligible for food stamps, but, in most cases, they simply did not show up to get their aid renewed. Many said they could not deal with the paperwork and long waits, or get time away from work or children to reapply at a city office.Got that? It's not that government is heartlessly kicking people off welfare. It's that eligible welfare recipients "simply did not show up" to renew their benefits.
So, what's your solution? Measures like reducing taxes and regulation to make U.S. manufacturers more competitive, perhaps? Of course not! Remember, you're a liberal. No, your solution is what you yourself describe as a "massive" new welfare program for affected workers and communities that will contribute to making U.S. manufacturers even less competitive and destroy even more jobs!
That is the approach proposed by Gary Chaison in his Boston Globe column of this morning, Disaster relief needed for manufacturing: