This week finds our organists caught up in a strange mixture of giddiness and dread, as they claim a couple of victories even while they realize that there's a chance that they might fall apart before too long. It seems there's plenty of time for fussing and fighting....
President George W. Bush became only the second sitting American president to visit the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. As he moved from trading post to trading post, floor brokers and assistants stopped their work and started to cheer.George Bush has apparently managed to find the last place in New York City that isn't full of people who hate him.
Huge cheers. Loud applause.
The most accurate employment gauge, called “adjusted households” (which the Bureau of Labor Statistics created in order to combine the non-farm payroll survey with the civilian-employment household survey), shows nearly 3 million new jobs annually over the past three years — all since Mr. Bush’s supply-side tax cuts of 2003.Or is it all bull? There's no doubt that the economy has been adding jobs. But as the Center for American Progress points out:
Job growth is the weakest for any business cycle. Despite the 2003 tax cut, job growth has averaged only 1.5% since then—the lowest growth of any recovery of at least the same length. Monthly job growth since March 2001 has averaged an annualized 0.6%.This is what Kudlow calls "carping." Kudlow does not like carping, because it harshes Kudlow's buzz. And nothing seems to harsh that buzz more than carping about inequality:
And the president (or anybody else) shouldn’t fret about so-called wage stagnation, or inequality. Hourly earnings for non-supervisory wage earners averaged $16.76 in 2006, a near 20 percent gain from the last business-cycle peak in 2000 and a 64 percent increase from the $10.20 cycle peak in 1990.Of course, as people like Jonathan Chait have pointed out, Alan Reynolds is what you might call a "faux economist." American Progress, by contrast, observes that "The gap between productivity growth and wage growth is wider today than ever." The Economic Policy Institute further illustrates this "unprecedented income inequality:"
Comparing the first five years of the Bush economic expansion with the first five years of the Papa Bush/Clinton cycle, average hourly earnings are 44 percent higher today in nominal terms and 9 percent higher in inflation-adjusted terms. Washington economist Alan Reynolds has written voluminously on the absence of wage inequality since the tax-reform bill of 1986. This is a faux issue.
Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis through the third quarter of 2006 show that a historically high share of corporate income is going into profits and interest (i.e., capital income) rather than employee compensation. And a newly released Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of household incomes shows that a greater share of this capital income goes to the richest households than at any time since the CBO began tracking such trends. In other words, our economy is producing more capital income and that type of income is more likely to go to those at the very top of the income scale. Together, these dynamics are contributing to a uniquely skewed recovery.Indeed: huge cheers. Loud applause.
Murder and graffiti are two vastly different crimes,” Rudy Giuliani once said. “But they are part of the same continuum, and a climate that tolerates one is more likely to tolerate the other.”Indeed, says Jeffrey. Likewise, a politician who tolerates gay marriage is more likely to tolerate the destruction of human civilization. Touche!
We're talking about the troop surge. Really. What if attacks, bombings, injuries, deaths, all decline precipitously in Iraq in the next two years? [...]Indeed, Quin: what if reality really didn't bite?
What if, meanwhile, the American public finally starts giving President George W. Bush credit for the economy that has been doing so splendidly for about four years now?
What if, as seems increasingly likely, the jury in the Scooter Libby trial decides that Libby is not guilty? What if, on the other hand, Harry Reid's questionable real estate transactions continue to stink to high heaven, and what if, as expected, Democratic Rep. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson of Louisiana is indicted and then convicted for various financial misdeeds? What if, in short, it is the Democrats and not the Republicans who get blamed for having a "culture of corruption"? [...]
What if somebody of the high caliber and brilliance of the SEC's Chris Cox, or with the combination of communications skills and genuineness of Tony Snow, steps in to the presidential race and unites conservatives around him? [...]
What if Karl Rove re-establishes his reputation as a political genius and designs a stunning political comeback for the president?
The new religious right that Republicans like Huckabee and Brownback are trying to build is in many respects admirable and appealing. The moral implications of the Christian faith are obviously broader than single-issue politics and sex, something an older breed of organized religious conservatives sometimes seemed to forget. But four decades of activist government have taught us the pitfalls of effecting social change from Washington; those consequences won't be ameliorated simply by putting more faithful bureaucrats in charge.AND... Bernard Chapin, who "is currently at work on a book concerning women," interviews Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism, which, like many conservative books, has a subtitle beginning with the word "How". Sommers talks about the distinction between "gender feminists," who hate men, and "equity feminists," who "embrace equality and individual rights." If you're reading this post, you're probably a "gender feminist."
One of the things I say in my lecture is that American women -- as a group -- are not oppressed. In fact, they are among the most favored, privileged and blessed group of human beings in the world.Now substitute "conservatives" for "women." Hell, given the way the right has tried to re-frame the culture wars, substitute "white men" for "women."
If Iraq is stabilized this side of chaos, the congressional Democrats will be remembered as the people who fought to prevent it, who tried to kneecap the commander and demoralize the armed forces, and all in all make the mission more difficult. If, on the other hand, the surge is seen to fail, they will be the ones who made it more difficult, demoralized the armed forces, kneecapped the commander, and telegraphed to the enemy that our will was cracking, and we would shortly be leaving.Damned if we do, damned if we don't, damned for just existing. And the party that created the greatest foreign-policy disaster in American history gets off scot free! You've got to admire the neocon's mental agility. They're like tiny little mental gymnasts.
That in places like AEI and the editorial offices of The Weekly Standard Kagan himself has emerged as the man of the hour testifies to the depth of neoconservative desperation. Kagan’s insistence that his surge will do the trick postpones the neoconservative day of reckoning. Believe Kagan and you can avoid for at least a bit longer having to confront Iraq’s incontrovertible lessons: that preventive war doesn’t work, that American power has limits, that the world is not infinitely malleable, and that grasping for “benign global hegemony” is a self-defeating proposition.All together now!