Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Governor Barbour Fails The Diggapedia Litmus Test

Last Sunday at the end of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the host informed his audience that if they had questions for either of his guests, former governors Howard Dean and Haley Barbour, they could tweet them with #ThisWeek hashtag.  Needless to say, yours truly accepted the offer:
@HaleyBarbour you say Obama policies have failed. Which policies? #thisweek
Several hours later I received this string of tweets from Governor Barbour.  Let me say that while I obviously disagree with just about everything that comes out of his mouth, I do give him credit for responding as I am sure I was not the only one to whom he bothered replying.
So, remember my question was what policies of President Obama had failed.  Barbour comes back with the GOP fact-free talking points:
1)      Exploding federal spending failed to improve the economy.
a.       Economist Mark Zandi: "The stimulus did exactly what it was intended to do. It was intended to end the recession, jump-start the economy, and it did that.”
b.      Congressional Budget Office’s  analysis found that the package added as many as 3.3 million jobs to the economy during the second quarter of 2010, and may have prevented the nation from lapsing back into recession.
c.       Federal spending by year below shows that yes spending did spike in 2009 as a result of the stimulus being added onto Bush’s already bloated budget.  But to call this exploding implies that Barbour believes austerity is how to combat a recession.  I do not think there is a single economist who would agree with that concept.  By the way Bush’s first budget was for $2,011B; a 48% increase from 2002 to 2008.  I guess I missed Barbour’s criticism of those Bush/GOP controlled Congress ‘explosive’ spending years.
Spending ($,000)
% Increase
2)      Obama’s proposals for record tax increases, falling hard on employers hurts job creation. 
a.       The Governor talks about mythical proposals, while ignoring the extension by Obama of the Bush tax cuts as well as payroll tax cuts, and new tax credits for businesses.  All of which are Republican core beliefs.  I guess it was no mystery that Barbour didn’t attack Obama’s ACTUAL tax policy for the last 3.5 years because it is exactly what he would have done.
b.      As far as future tax increases, Barbour must believe that debt can be eradicated by spending less.  For a state executive, one would think he would understand that revenue needs to increase.
c.       Finally, as far as record tax increases goes, the ACA isn’t the highest, or the 2nd highest, or third highest.  But don’t trust me, see for yourself.  In fact, when looking at the attached you will see the majority of the largest tax increases occurred during Republican presidencies.
3)      Obamacare has hurt job creation by increasing cost and uncertainty for employers re: obligations to pay healthcare.
a.       This one is laughable for a number of reasons.
b.      From Fitch Ratings “Uncertainty about US fiscal policy is the single biggest near-term threat to the global recovery.”
c.       The Affordable Care Act is not an uncertainty, it has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
d.      According to Forbes magazine in a recent Sageworks survey of “accountants, bankers and others who work closely with private companies found that about 32 percent of these professionals believe their clients aren’t hiring because they are concerned about the economy in general. Another 22 percent of those surveyed said private companies have become more risk averse because of lingering anxiety from the last recession. In addition, technology and other productivity improvements have helped boost per-employee sales and profits in recent years, which could reduce the urgency for some companies to hire. In the Sageworks survey, 23 percent of respondents said their clients’ efficiency has reduced the need to hire additional people.”
e.      And anyone who has ever worked or owned a business can tell you, companies hire when demand exceeds their current capacity and only after they have exhausted other measures such as productivity gains.
4)      Regulation policies have raised costs across board as have energy policies, hence $3.85/gallon  now vs. $1.84 in Jan2009.
a.       This is even funnier than the previous tweet.  Barbour actually compares gas prices from the time the global economy seized and was facing the abyss with today.  Once again, the concept of supply and demand is foreign to the former state chief executive.
b.      Again Barbour offers no details, other than regulation polices.  No specific regulations, just regulations.  Ditto for energy policies.  Nothing specific, just policies.
Like I said, I do appreciate the Governor responding to my tweet, but his responses were once again the lame baseless GOP talking points lacking any facts or relevance.  Most disappointing is the fact that this isn’t your run of the mill pundit, but a former chief executive of a state and at one time a potential presidential candidate.  The GOP has nothing; nothing but obstruction and mythology.

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