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Opening Arguments

Mixed signals

Can someone explain the contradictory evidence? On the one hand we have this:

The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.

And this:

Two-thirds of likely voters say the weak economy is Washington’s fault, and more blame President Obama than anybody else, according to a new poll for The Hill.

But on the other hand, we have this:

Barack Obama averaged 46.8% job approval during his 14th quarter in office, marking a slight improvement from quarter 13.

And this:

Is the race for president already over?

[. . .]

Most Americans have locked in their presidential decisions, polls released Thursday suggested, and the already small number of persuadable voters shrinks by the hour.

[. . .]

Recent polls show those who have decided are split almost evenly between Obama and Romney.

I think any suggestion that the race is already over should be greeted with the utmost skepticism. The story doesn't actually say how many people haven't made up their minds yet, but it notes that 92 percent had their choices locked in by June in 2008. If the same thing is true this year, 8 percent is a whole lot of voters if this really is a dead heat. And a lot of people will say they have made their minds up already but will change them later on.



Harl Delos
Mon, 07/23/2012 - 1:03pm

The reason Obama is both in trouble in the polls and yet likely to win in November is that people don't vote for president, they vote for electors.  If you win by a million votes in Indiana, and lose by one vote in Ohio, you are in trouble because Ohio has more electors than Indiana.

As I understand it, Obama loses big-time in red states and wins by a small margin in blue states. and since blue states are high population states, that gives Obama the lead.

The winning presidential candidate has received less than half the votes cast in three of the last five elections - 1992 (43%), 1996 (49.2%), 2000 (47.9%), and in a fourth election, the winner had only 50.7% of the votes (2004).

The GOP actually has a built-in advantage in presidential elections, because they are strong in small states.  States get electors proportional to their population, plus an extra two electors.

Any guesses as to how many times the Electoral College got together to elect a president in the history of the country.  (Yes, it's a trick question.  They never get together.  Instead, each state's electors get together in their own state to vote.)

Rebecca Mallory
Mon, 07/23/2012 - 2:18pm

The people who blame Obama must be racist because the private sector is  "doing fine."   But "somebody else made that happen." 

In the meantime we can build roads and bridges... just like the Spanish and the Greeks.

Harl Delos
Tue, 07/24/2012 - 11:42am

Public sector employment has declined as state and local governments have cut back - and it's state and local government that builds most bridges and highways.

It makes sense to fepair and replace bad roads and bridges now.  We save on unemployment compensation and collect more income taxes.  If we wait until we can "afford" to do it, we'll end up paying more for scarce resources - and drive up construction costs for the private sector.

It's widely known that most new jobs are created in small businesses, but a rep from the Census Bureau was on Cspan last week with charts showing that it's not just any small business, but new small businesses - startups - that are the job creators.  A plumber who's been around for 30 years isn't likely to grow from 10 employees to 11 employees except by taking business from other plumbers.  That's moving jobs, not creating them.  On the other hand, when Kwik-Lok invented their bag closure, they created new jobs, making not only the closures but equipment to print or label, and equipment to apply the closures.

Do income tax cuts help new businesses?  Not much.  Start-up costs and heavy first-year depreciation generally result in little or no taxable income.  What we should be doing is building (or rebuilding) facilities that can be rented by startups, with loading docks, utilities, easy access to road and rail, space for offices and showrooms and adequate parking. (Renting the buildings helps startups conserve cash - and with luck, they'll need to move to a bigger location before long, freeing up the location so someone else can start a business.)  Best of all, this isn't regular government spending - it's an investment that should recoup itself through rents, giving us a "profit" in more and better jobs.

As Mr. Romney pointed out to athletes in 2002, "You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities."

Neither party is doing much to responsibly help those who create jobs. Obama seems clueless as to what to do, and Romney seems likely to aggravate a bad situation.