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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. The attacks and counterattacks in this presidential campaign are, I supposed, inevitable. But let’s be honest, they’re largely untrue or irrelevant.

Whatever the paperwork shows, Mitt Romney was not running Bain Capital after February 1999. Even if he had been, outsourcing jobs to lower a company’s costs and, thus, ensure its survival is not sleazy; it’s how you run a business efficiently. Is President Obama suggesting that we put up tariff barriers to prevent outsourcing in the future?

On the other side, Romney’s recent claim accusing the president of shoveling government grants to his political supporters is so twisted that it earned him “The Washington Post Fact Checker’s highest score for distortion, “Four Pinocchios.” And his recent refrain that Obama’s views are “foreign.” It is frankly disgraceful

Below all this mudslinging lies a real divide. Obama has been making the case that the U.S. economy needs investment in infrastructure, education, training, basic sciences and technologies of the future. Those investments, in the president’s telling, have been the key drivers of American growth and have allowed people to build businesses, create jobs and invent the future.

Romney argues that America needs tax and regulatory relief. The country is overburdened by government mandates, taxes, rules that make it difficult for businesses to function, grow and prosper. He wants to cut taxes for all, reduce regulations, streamline government. All this, in his telling, will unleash America’s entrepreneurial energy.

Both views have merit. It would make for a great campaign if the country had a sustained discussion around these ideas. Then, the election would produce a mandate to move in one of these directions.

Now, I think Obama has the stronger case. We do need a tax and regulatory structure that creates strong incentives for businesses to flourish. The thing is we already have one.

The World Economic Forum’s 2011-12 Global Competitiveness Report ranks the United States No. 5 in the world and number one among large economies. Whether compared with our own past of, say, 30 years ago or with other countries, the United States has become more business- friendly not less over the last 30 years.

America is worse off than it was 30 years ago in infrastructure, education and research. The country spends much less as a percent of GDP on infrastructure, research, development, education, and training than it did in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. We spend half as much on R&D as we did in 1960.

The result is that we’re falling behind fast. In 2001, the World Economic Forum ranked U.S. infrastructure second in the world. In the latest report, we’re 24th. 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.

In other words, the great shift in the U.S. economy over the past 30 years has not been an increase in taxes and regulation, but rather a decline in investment in human and physical capital. President Obama has real facts on his side, which makes it somewhat depressing that his campaign has focused on half-truths.”

 

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1207/22/fzgps.01.html

 

Posted July 23, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Over the last week, the signals have been abundant that congressional Republicans are pivoting from their total opposition to “Obamacare” toward supporting the more popular chunks of the law.

It’s an election-year strategy to mitigate the fallout if the Supreme Court grants them their wish and strikes down the law next month. The House GOP is weighing a replacement plan to reinstate its more popular components, such as guaranteeing coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, letting people under 26 stay on a parent’s policy and closing the Medicare “doughnut hole.” The idea is also percolating among Senate Republicans.

Publicly at least, numerous GOP leaders are sticking to the anti-Obamacare script. Many Republicans aides and sources close to leadership declined to weigh in, but the rest said discussions have been brewing.

“I think it is all part of the fact that repeal was so far away in 2010 and even in 2011. Now, as the possibility arises that part of the law could be repealed is only a month away, there is some disorder,” said a well-connected health industry lobbyist and former GOP aide.

Republicans don’t want to be accused of throwing a swath of disabled people, young adults and seniors to the wolves if they succeed at scrapping “Obamacare.” But those fixes were made possible thanks to the unpopular provisions that accompanied them, most notably the individual mandate. Forbidding insurers to turn away sick customers is ultimately unworkable without a provision to expand coverage to healthy people. Health policy experts — and policy-savvy Republicans — recognize this economic reality.

“I still think it is pretty tight and much is a result of some members not understanding the Republican POLICY behind how to do some of those same things [the health care law] does without using a mandate or 2,700 pages to do so,” the former GOP aide said in an email.

In other words, Republicans are offering voters an implausibly rosy proposition: Enjoy the popular pieces of the Affordable Care Act but don’t worry about the unpopular components. But if the GOP actually tries to put that plan into effect, they’ll run into a world of problems — not least of which would be an all-out assault from the insurance industry, which will feel the hardest pinch from the GOP’s “have your cake and eat it too” proposal. That raises questions as to how serious Republicans are about the replacement plan.

“Market reforms won’t work without a mandate,” said an insurance industry source. The industry has been at pains to explain the inextricable link between guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions and a mandate to purchase insurance.
As one Republican health care aide put it to TPM, “I do think some Republicans are finally starting to realize they could be the dog that caught the car.”

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/06/obamacare-health-care-reform-supreme-court-insurance-individual-mandate.php?ref=fpb

Posted June 2, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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New York Times columnist Paul Krugman once again pushed back on the notion that America needs to engage in massive suspending cuts now to deal with the country’s debt Friday evening.

Appearing on CNN’s Up Front With Erin Burnett,  Krugman rejected Burnett’s premise of advocating for austerity measures to tackle America’s debt and deficit, offering his usual recommendations for more spending.

“The fact of the matter is vast countries, with their own currencies able to borrow on their own currencies, are able to carry heavy debt loads for a long time,” he said. “This is not an urgent crisis. Give me an economic recovery (and) I’ll become a fiscal hawk, but not now.

“The other thing to say is that, right now, trying to bring that budget deficit down doesn’t even work, doesn’t even work in purely fiscal terms. It shrinks the economy that reduces tax revenues. It damages our long run growth because when workers have been unemployed for a long periods of time, they eventually drop out of the work force, they don’t come back . When students can’t get jobs coming out of college, they never get their careers started. And those are our future tax payers that you’re undermining. So this is not the time.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/19/krugman-tells-austerity-advocate-burnett-the-debt-is-not-an-urgent-crisis/

Posted May 20, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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