Archive for October 2012
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie On Morning Joe on MSNBC Tuesday October 30 speaking about hurricane Sandy:
“The President’s been great. I spoke to him three times. He called me for the last time at midnight last night. He asked me what I needed. I said, if you could expedite the major disaster declaration without all the normal FEMA mumbo jumbo. He got right on it. I got a call from FEMA at 2am for me to answer a couple of questions and then this morning, I understand, he signed the major disaster declaration for New Jersey. The President has been all over this and he deserves great credit. I’ve been on the phone with him, like I said, yesterday personally three times. He gave me his number at the White House and told me to call him if I need anything, and he absolutely means it. It’s been very good working with the President, and he and his administration have been coordinating with us great. It’s been wonderful.”
Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take: The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook makes for gloomy reading. Growth projections have been revised downward almost everywhere, especially in Europe and the big emerging markets like China.
And yet, when looking out over the next four years, coincidentally the next presidential term, the IMF projects that the United States will be the strongest of the world’s rich economies.
U.S. growth is forecasted to average 3 percent, much stronger than that of Germany or France at 1.2 percent or even Canada at 2.3 percent.
Increasingly, the evidence suggests that the United States has come out of the financial crisis of 2008 in better shape than its peers because of the actions of its government.
Perhaps the most important cause of America’s relative health is the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke understood the depths of the problem early and responded energetically and creatively.
The clearest vindication of his actions has been that the European Central Bank, after charting an opposite course for three years with disastrous results, has now adopted policies similar to the Fed’s and, thus, averted a potential Lehman-like collapse in Europe. Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, the leading experts on financial crises, argue that the United States is performing better than most countries in similar circumstances in history.
Consumers are paying down debt and consumer confidence is at its highest levels since September 2007. Every American recovery since World War II has been led by housing, except this one.
But, finally, housing is back. Two weeks ago, Jamie Diamond, the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, declared that housing had turned the corner and predicated that, as a consequence, economic growth in 2013 would be so strong that the Fed would have to raise interest rates.
Corporate profits are at an all-time high as a percentage of gross domestic product and companies have $1.7 trillion in cash on their balance sheets.
American exports, which have climbed 45 percent in the past four years, are at their highest level ever as a percent of GDP.
The key to long-term recoveries from recessions is reform and restructuring and U.S. businesses have been quick to respond. Government intervention, believe it or not, has assisted this process with banks, with auto companies and even in housing.
Banks had to undergo stress tests and had to raise capital. The Economist Magazine, which had initially opposed the auto bailout, reversed itself because of the manner in which General Motors and Chrysler were forced by the government to cut costs and become competitive.
Now, all these good signs in the economy come with caveats. Europe continues to weaken, the fiscal cliff looms ominously. But compared with the rest of the industrialized world and with the arc of other post bubble recoveries, the United States is ready for a robust revival.
This is partly because of the dynamism of the U.S. economy, but also because of the timely and intelligent actions of the Fed and the Obama administration.
The next president will reap the rewards of work already done. So it would be the ultimate irony if, having strongly criticized almost every measure that contributed to these positive trends, Mitt Romney ends up residing over what he would surely call the Romney Recovery.”
Bill Maher “New Rule: America, before you get in bed with Mitt Romney, remember. He may seem like a nice fella from what we know about his core beliefs, nothing, his tax plan, nothing, his faith, off limits, his donors, anonymous. But, a compulsive liar who’s whole life is secret can get you worse diseases than Romnesia.”
Mitt Romney Aug 23 “The government of the United States is not a very good venture capitalist.”
Romney speech Oct 3 “He believes in picking winners and losers. He put money in a whole mess of companies, about 90 billion dollars into green energy companies like Solindra and Tesla…A friend of mine said he doesn’t just like picking winners and losers, he likes picking losers.”
Romney at debate Oct 3 “Half of them, the ones that have been invested in, have gone out of business.”
Stewart “Holy crap! Is that true? Half? 63 energy companies got significant federal stimulus money, and 3 1/2 years later, 5 have gone bankrupt. So that’s half. 50%. That’s amazing, that’s, what? That’s not the same number? Oh, it’s actually 8%. Man, I really have to get a new Zune, and then sell it, and get a calculator. Wow, 8% bankruptcy rate. Still, maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, but compare that to Mitt Romney, top notch Bain Capital venture capitalist.”
Anderson Cooper “The Wall St Journal did some digging for today’s paper. It looked at 77 businesses that Bain invested in, while Romney led the firm. 22% of those companies filed for bankruptcy or closed 8 years after the Bain investments.”
Stewart “See 22% to 8% for the government. The government can’t even beat Mitt Romney at picking failure.”
Stewart “On Thursday we had on the President of the United States…featured all the standards, you know, solid Joe Biden in a wet bathing suit gag, couple of where the hell were you in the first debate zingers…and a smattering of some sober reflection as well, concerning Libya.”
Stewart Thursday Oct 18 “I would say even you would admit it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as us all being on the same page.”
Obama Oct 18 “Here’s what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.”
Stewart “OK, guess which part of that lit up the conservative media complex? Yup, Biden’s bathing suit. No, that’s not right. Aah, it was hashtag #NotOptimal. The conservative twitterati pounced, and by 10pms On the Record with Greta VanSusteren Senator John McCain expressed his deep and in no way opportunistic disappointment.”
McCain “Even from someone like the President, who has never known what these kinds of tragedies are about, and the service and sacrifice that people make, it’s still just, I can’t even get angry. It’s so inappropriate, and I’m sure that the families of those brave Americans are not amused.”
Stewart “Yea, I can tell how not angry you are. Strong and definitive condemnation from McCain, of an interview the Senator could not possibly have seen, as it didn’t air until one hour later. And, I’m pretty sure McCain stopped watching this show. I just miss you, that’s all. So, to see the Senator commit to something without first vetting it was really (shows picture of McCain and Palin) well, OK, yea, I guess that was usual. I think jokes like that are why he stopped watching. Anyway, I figured, give conservatives a night to sleep on it, see the interview in context, perhaps the reaction will be less knee-jerk.”
Fox Reporter 1.) “Not optimal, some people are not happy about that.”
Fox Reporter 2.) “That is an embarrassing word for the President of the United States to use.”
Fox Reporter 3.) “This shouldn’t be exploited, this is a national tragedy.”
Fox Reporter 4.) “Not acceptable.”
Mike Huckabee “Cold and callous”
Fox Reporter 5.) “clinical language…a little cold, I would say tragic.”
Stewart “Wow. Well it’s still jerk, but I guess less knee. Uhm, see, I thought the tone and context of the conversation in no way reflected a President dismissive of the gravity of what happened in Libya. But, I guess, the conservatives wouldn’t be satisfied unless the President clearly labeled Benghazi a tragic event, as Varney suggested. But, the President would have to be really clear. He would have to say the words tragic event. And, he would have to say it, like, 20 seconds before not optimalgate.”
Obama Oct 18 with Jon Stewart 20 seconds before saying not optimal “Nobody’s more interested in figuring this out than I am. When a tragic event like this happens on the other side of the world…”
Stewart “Right. Like that. If he had said that.”
Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. The second presidential debate has been studied and analyzed mostly as a prize fight, who punched hard, who missed a swing. That’s fine.
But there was a substantive aspect to the debate as well. President Obama actually showed up this time and he was engaged and articulate, as was Governor Romney.
As a result, we got a sense of the issues and there is an important and honorable difference between these two candidates. The central question in this election is what will grow the American economy.
Governor Romney’s basic answer is lower taxes and a more streamlined tax code and fewer regulations. President Obama’s answer to the same question would be investments in education, infrastructure, science and technology, as well as support for important sectors like energy and advanced manufacturing.
Both arguments have merit to them so the question is which is our more urgent problem now? Well, the United States is the 7th most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. It’s dropped a bit over the last four years.
Overall, however, whether compared with our own past of, say, 30 years ago when airlines, banks and telecommunications were tightly controlled by government rules or compared with other countries, the United States remains a pretty business-friendly place.
The U.S. economy boomed in the 1950s with tax rates that were much higher than today and Germany, the country that has come out of the current crisis best, is not exactly known for low taxes and low regulation.
As I’ve often pointed out, America is worse off than it was 30 years ago in infrastructure, education and research. The country spends much less than it did on infrastructure.
And, by 2009, federal funding for research of development was half the share of GDP that it was in 1960. The result is we’re falling behind and fast.
A decade ago, the World Economic Forum ranked U.S. infrastructure 5th in the world. In the latest report, we were 25th. The U.S. spends only 2.4 percent of GDP on infrastructure, the Congressional Budget Office noted in 2010, whereas Europe spends 5 percent and China 9 percent.
In the 1970s, America led the world in the number of college graduates. As of 2009, we were 14th among the countries tracked by the OECD. Reversing that decline will cost money.
In other words, the great shift in the U.S. economy over the past 30 years has not been a dramatic increase in taxes and regulation, but rather a decline in investment in human and physical capital.
Now, we should really push on both fronts; a better tax and regulatory system and more investments. But, on the substance, Obama is right to emphasize investments.
You may still think he’s not a good president, but, by the way, Governor Romney, as he pivots to the center, now talks about spending money on retraining and education and boosting manufacturing and exports.
So let’s hope that whoever wins, America gets the investments it sorely needs. Let’s get started.
FedEx CEO Fred Smith “In the month of September, it was the biggest sales month ever for the Toyota Prius. That’s a Hybrid gas-electric vehicle. And, the Chevy Volt has been panned in the media, it’s a marvelous bit of technology. And, the diversification of transportation away from petroleum and into, for light duty vehicles, hybrid electrics and pure electrics, is as big a part of our national security as buying F-35 fighter planes.”