Obama refuses to make promises he isn’t sure he can keep

REUTERS/Jim Young
President Barack Obama accepting the 2012 U.S Democratic presidential nomination during the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

President Obama’s Charlotte acceptance speech wasn’t one of the five best of the convention, and maybe not in the top 10. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, and it was far more honest and realistic than those of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan from last week. But the president didn’t have much new to say last night. I never caught a thread running through the speech. I was listening hard for concrete proposals for the second term, and heard none.

He put out some numbers on things like the number of jobs he hoped to create and how much he hoped to reduce the deficit. But those are merely goals, subject to not only the unknowable political developments that will determine how much cooperation he will have in Congress but to the even more unknowable vagaries of the economy.

In a way, I could appreciate Obama’s unwillingness to make promises he isn’t sure he can keep. The latest Repub refrain —  Mitt Romney himself conveyed this Thursday during a brief appearance before reporters — is that Obama is a proven promise-breaker. Romney claims to have no interest in what Obama says he wants to do in a second term, because the country knows he won’t do it anyway.

This is a garbage argument. As anyone who watched the convention knows, Obama can cite a long list of 2008 pledges that he has fulfilled. And the ones he didn’t fulfill were not for lack of trying. It would be such a great thing for the country and for the rest of the campaign if Romney would limit himself to provable facts and honest arguments he can back up.

Perhaps the summary of the Repub case against Obama’s reelection was mockingly summarized by Bill Clinton Wednesday night. I quoted it yesterday but here it is again: “We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in…”

Obama did have a little fun in summarizing the Republican prescription for all that ails you, thus:

Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.

Many analysts noticed that Obama constantly tried to frame the election not as a referendum on his first term but as a choice between what will happen in the next four years if he remains versus what will happen if the Repubs take over – or, as Obama put it last night, “a choice between two fundamentally different visions for America’s future.”

That works for me. Although the political niceties don’t permit this kind of candor, Obama is (and long has been) willing to acknowledge that the recovery is not as robust as he once hoped it would be. And that his plan for a second term apparently is to keep doing what he has been doing and prevent the Republicans from repealing everything he has done, as they keep pledging to do if they ever acquire the position to do so.

Other speeches

Sen. John Kerry, whom many analysts believe is auditioning to be secretary of state, gave a foreign policy address and got off perhaps the applause line of the night: “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.”

Joe Biden’s speech was a minor disaster, mostly because it went on too long and went over the same ground (Obama saved the auto industry; Obama killed bin Laden) that everyone else had been talking about all night.

If it’s simple eloquence you want, take seven minutes out of your busy day and watch U.S. Rep. John Lewis, 72, who was a Martin Luther King disciple and one of the original Freedom Riders, talk about his first trip to Charlotte in 1961. Here it is:

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Comments (63)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/07/2012 - 10:32 am.

    Why would Obama have the same enthusiasm for the job that he had four years ago?

    He is leading a country and government where a sizable portion has been convinced he is a near associate of Lucifer, bent on destroying all this is good and holy in America. They do not accord him the minimal respect due to the democratically elected leader of the country. The purchases of guns and ammunition are at an all time record high in the fear of the time that Obama is supposed to usher in. Every day he is in office and out of office he and his family will have to fear the deranged actions of someone who has lived in the on-line cesspools of Obama hatred. And the more rational end of the right end of politics have engaged in an absolute stonewalling strategy to deny him the ability to claim any accomplishments. The last thing they need is to cooperate on major issues and turn Obama into as popular a person as Clinton is now.

    Why would he continue?

    I believe he really feels that the people at the convention “gives him hope”. Because there is certainly much that would not.

    If I faced the significant personal bitterness of the attacks of the opposition and the refusal to countenance solutions, I know what I would say as I walked out the door, “@#$% $%& !!, You can drown in your phony non-solutions based on a misunderstand of what worked in America and what the world is now.”

    But hey, I’m not him, and that is good.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/07/2012 - 10:35 am.

    Oh, please.

    He’s failed to keep plenty, but there is one that stands out in particular:

    “I will be held accountable….If I don’t have this done in three years, this is going to be a one term proposition”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCN5-ovvFL0

    As luck would have it, the American people are ready to step up and help Obama keep his word.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 09/07/2012 - 12:41 pm.

      what Obama failed to realize…

      …was that the Republican agenda was to stop him at any cost for the sole sake of gaining power for themselves with no regard for what may be good for the United States, its people or its government or its future. They say their refusal to compromise is based on principle but the only principle involved it the principle that power at any cost is good. Back in the 70s or 80s there was a group called the Posse Comitas or something like that. Their sole goal was to bring down the United States government. Apparently they put their guns back in the closet and were reborn as the Tea Party, who has now taken over the Republican party. That means that all true patriots of this country will fight them and their facist anarchy however possible.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/07/2012 - 01:55 pm.

        Very nicely put Bill

        Your summary will look good on the tear stained epitaph of Obama’s one term.

        Honestly, I don’t think I can remember a President that made more excuses or threw more people under the bus to cover up ineptitude.

        Even Jimmy Carter upheld Truman’s manly declaration.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/07/2012 - 03:46 pm.

        Ben Franklin Stated it Succinctly

        “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else”

      • Submitted by Ginny Martin on 09/07/2012 - 04:11 pm.

        promises kept

        On the day President Obama was elected, Mitch McConnell said the most important issue for repubs was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president. He and his followers have done all they can to try to make good on that promise–at the expense of the rest of the country and the world.
        We have to make sure that vow is never fulfilled.

        • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 09/07/2012 - 08:46 pm.

          Americans are so good at holding Presidents accountable.. .

          just ask George W(ar Criminal) Bush and his follw war criminals how easy it is to commit crimes as a President, and say “I’m accountable” (not)!

  3. Submitted by frank watson on 09/07/2012 - 10:56 am.

    Water Boy?

    Here are Eric’s Headlines from his ‘reporting’ on the recent RNC and DNC conventions.

    Chris Christie’s GOP convention speech: 20 truths make a lie
    By Eric Black | 08/29/12

    Gallup: Thumbs down on Romney’s convention speech
    By Eric Black | 09/04/12

    A cautious reaction to Democrats’ convention: They had a great night
    By Eric Black | 09/05/12

    Bill Clinton: Our arithmetic teacher
    By Eric Black | 09/06/12

    Obama refuses to make promises he isn’t sure he can keep
    By Eric Black | 10:02 am

    Eric’s Minnpost position: Eric Black writes Eric Black Ink for MinnPost, analyzing politics and government of Minnesota and the United States…

    LOL!

    • Submitted by Justin G on 09/07/2012 - 12:12 pm.

      Indeed

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/07/2012 - 01:07 pm.

      Call ‘Em As You See “Em, Mr. Black!

      Isn’t it fascinating how, after a deadly uninspiring RNC (God did them a favor by allowing them to shorten it to one LESS day of ineptitude on display),…

      SOME of us seem to think that reporters, if they are to demonstrate “balance” must say only NICE things about even the worst, most boringly disastrously dishonest National Political Convention on record.

      To tell the truth about the lies, is somehow “not fair!” (said in that whiny, utterly unconvincing voice that only an angry 4th grader whose not getting what they want can summon).

      In order to achieve the “balance” some people think reporters and commentators owe them…

      (i.e., make my side look good no matter how much we’re pathetic liars who prove, over and over again, that the reason we’re interested in politics is to try to distract ourselves from the reality that we can’t manage the businesses we’ve tried to start, as clearly shown by the way we can’t manage political events, let alone an entire nation),…

      a reporter would have to bend over backward so far as to have the back of their neck up against their belt buckle and be looking forward with the back of their head bumping up against their navel.

      Just because our “conservative” friends spend their days in that position, doesn’t mean the perspective it gives them is truthful, accurate, or even useful.

      Thanks, Mr. Black, for refusing to be the kind of contortionist so many reporters are pressured to become, these days, in order to PROVE they don’t have a “liberal bias” (which, makes no difference anyway because, no matter what they do, the “conservatives” will continue to accuse them of the same any time they tell the truth those “conservatives” can’t bear to consider).

  4. Submitted by jon Schumacher on 09/07/2012 - 11:19 am.

    Obama’s failure

    Obama’s primary mistake was in believing he could convince the republicans to put our country’s success above their partisan stonewalling intended to make him a one term president. Much of his inability to follow through on his promises can be laid at the feet of this overconfidence in the embrace of our common good by the party of elephantine extremism.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/07/2012 - 11:23 am.

    Accountable

    As Neal points out, the American people will know who to hold accountable for the gridlock of the past four years.

    • Submitted by frank watson on 09/07/2012 - 12:48 pm.

      You forgot that the Democrats controlled the House, had a Super Majority in the Senate and held of the the office of the President of the United States during the first two years of Obama’s term. It is those policies voted on then that are affecting the economy today. Just as Bill Clinton said you can’t fix things overnight but apparently you believe the Republican policies the past 18 mos have had a bigger influence on the economy than those enacted by the current administration four years ago???

      What Bill did the Republicans sign in the past fours years that you don’t like?

      The House has passed a budget. The Senate has not. Obama hasn’t presented a budget in two years.

      Maybe you can blame Bush for that? Clinton was memorizing all-right, he’s got people drinking the purple kool-aid. When does the buck finally stop with Obama?

      Don’t worry once Romney becomes President it will all be Obama’s fault anyway.

      At least be objective.

      • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 09/07/2012 - 02:17 pm.

        “You forgot that the Democrats controlled the House, had a Super Majority in the Senate and held of the the office of the President of the United States during the first two years of Obama’s term”

        That is flat out false. That “super majority” in the Senate existed for a whopping 24 days of session. That renders your first paragraph moot.

      • Submitted by Joe Williams on 09/09/2012 - 07:10 am.

        You forgot

        Byrd and Kennedy. The Democrats did not hold the supermajority Senate for two years. Maybe 12-18 months. Considering how long it took to get the ACA passed, that’s not a whole lot of time.

        Also, is the Senate obligated to pass a budget? One could just as easily that Congress failed to pass a budget because they lacked the leadership to cobble a realistic budget in the first.

  6. Submitted by Tim Brausen on 09/07/2012 - 12:13 pm.

    Obama’s realism vs. Romney’s empty promises

    The election will be decided by whether the electorate again wants to delude itself that a politician like Romney can deliver on his non-specific, non-detailed promise to create 12 million jobs, or the President’s established path (scheduled tax increase for high income earners, more infrastructure spending, reduced defense spending) that appears to be working, if slowly. What we fail to understand is how little impact the President actually has on the economy, as every President would have low taxes and high employment, assuming that they could dictate the results simply with government policy. However, the economy works in spite of the Presidents or Congress’ policies, dependent on many more local and global factors than government. Accordingly, we need to expect less of our Presidents and be less willing to judge them solely on the performance of a national economy that is beyond their control.

    I think Obama will win again, as the American people will see in the debates that Mr. Romney is short of ideas, except for “roll back taxes, roll back regulation.” The only plans they have involve dismantling middle class entitlement programs that we baby boomers have worked very hard to support for years and now look to collect the benefits that earned, in order to pay for the tax cuts.

  7. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/07/2012 - 12:22 pm.

    Gitmo

    Yesterday, CNN published this story about the PolitiFact Obamameter:

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/06/politics/obama-report-card/index.html

    Excerpt:

    “PolitiFact evaluated 508 promises and concluded that the president has kept 37% of them, compromised on 14% of them, has broken 16% of them, has gotten stalled on 10% of them and 22% are still “in the works.””

    Shutting down Gitmo and trying terror suspects in NYC; what happened to those two?

  8. Submitted by Robert Owen on 09/07/2012 - 01:31 pm.

    Repub

    Why is it the writer can’t spell out “Republican”?

    • Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/07/2012 - 03:20 pm.

      Dem

      Why is it the writer can’t spell out “Democrat”?

      In other words, Mr. Black is very even handed in this regard.

      Maybe those quick to criticize should take a little extra time to learn the facts.

      You’re never too old to try something new!

  9. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 09/07/2012 - 03:41 pm.

    One Logical Choice.

    President Obama keeps his eyes on the ball and moves the country forward. The conservative in this election, Romney, is one who can’t see the ball, goes in the direction of the political winds, and over promises. President Obama is moving the country forward, maybe not at the pace you expected, but never-the-less forward. Candidate Romney manages for profit, not for people, and has no idea where the ball is to lead us toward. He has made two outrageous “Conservative” claims. First, he will generate 12 million jobs. Trouble is no economists agree with that. He has also come out with the standard “Conservative” baloney, no new taxes promise. Desperation is not pretty when you are looking for a leader. Romney wants to make women’s decisions for women, tell you who can vote and who can’t vote, and deregulate those who stole your 401K dollars. The term “Conservative” for Romney has no meaning, just as it shouldn’t have any meaning to you. President Obama has met many of his promises. By their own proclamation there wasn’t anyone and there won’t be anyone on the other side of the aisle to work with the President. If you still love gridlock, then Romney and his tea party is your man. If you want to move the country forward, then President Obama continues to be your choice for president. Voters, the Republicans are proving over and over they are bankrupt. The choice is yours in November.

  10. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 09/07/2012 - 04:55 pm.

    Another Swiftian selective snippet

    How about he Jobs Bill that Obama proposed one year ago? Republicans killed it because, to quote that McConnell, ” our goal is to make him a one term president”. The Republican Congress would rather have control than to what they are sworn to do constitutionally. They are subverting our system for power and personal gain. To hell with the union, all for ME,ME and ME.

    • Submitted by Joseph Skar on 09/07/2012 - 05:30 pm.

      Your argument would be far more meaningful if Sen McConnell was the majority leader. But as long as you mention constitutional responsibility, I have not seen a budget get out of committee in the Senate few years. How many budgets has the President signed in his first term?

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/08/2012 - 05:25 pm.

      The most patriotic act in the past year

      Celebrate with me the one year anniversary of the killing of the Jobs Bill, which was the most patriotic act in the past year in America. I thank our Democrat and Republican lawmakers for doing the right thing.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/08/2012 - 08:24 pm.

        A reminder to our MinnPost moderators . . . .

        that Mr. Effenburger agreed that the perjorative use of “Democrat” as an adjective would be considered unacceptable.

        From http://www.minnpost.com/inside-minnpost/2011/12/minnpost-reaches-75000-comments-good-time-review-rules:

        “Submitted by Don Effenberger on December 20, 2011 – 4:00pm.

        # 5, 10. A very good point. Consider it done.

        We’ll do our best to prevent the use of Democrat as an adjective in the comments.”

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/10/2012 - 07:52 am.

          Pejorative?

          Explain how the use of “Democrat” is pejorative, considering that pejorative means, in a mocking or derisive manner; insulting and critical.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2012 - 08:23 am.

            Context matters

            When used in this way, “Democrat” as an adjective (rather than “Democratic”) has long been considered pejorative. Here’s a Wikipedia article on the subject:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democrat_Party_%28epithet%29

            In addition, the actual name of the national party is “Democratic Party”, not “Democrat Party”.

            Knowing those two things, is it all that difficult for you to take the trouble to type those additional two letters?

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/10/2012 - 09:29 am.

              Is this really an issue?

              You make issue of this in the comments for an article in which the author uses the terms “dem” and “repub”? Perhaps, you have a wiki reference for us on that.

              • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2012 - 11:29 am.

                When it has a history of being pejorative, you bet I do

                “Dem” and “Repub” are abbreviations. Shortening a word by two letters in a way that has an established negative history behind it is a slight.

                You bet that’s an issue.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/10/2012 - 08:56 pm.

                  Actually, they are not abbreviations

                  1. Abbreviations end with a period.
                  2. Abbreviations represent a full word, and are pronounced as that full word.

                  If Eric were to read this column to us aloud, he would use the terms “dem” and “repub”; he would not substitute the term from which these words were derived.

                  If his column contained the abbreviations “St. Paul” and “Mpls.”, he would read “Saint Paul” and “Minneapolis”. That is how abbreviations work.

                  • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2012 - 10:31 pm.

                    Wow

                    Apparently it is incredibly important to you to continue to be allowed to be insulting, with full awareness that the language you’d like to be permitted to use is considered to be insulting.

                    All this over two little letters that you can’t be bothered to type.

                    I think that’s pretty sad.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/11/2012 - 10:02 am.

                      Commenters held to higher standard than columnists?

                      Repub, which is a synonym for repug and repuke, is OK with you, but you cannot tolerate a commenter’s use of Democrat? Perhaps you are looking to be offended, as you take no umbrage with the writer’s repeated use of a pejorative term. Wow.

  11. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/07/2012 - 06:22 pm.

    The Jobs Bill

    On the heels of the failed $800+ billion stimulus ,the plan that was to have prevented unemployment from ever reaching 8%, the President wants to double-down that bad bet with a $447 billion “jobs bill”. What could possibly go wrong? Epic fail again. The jobs bill needed killing.

    Labor force participation is at a new 30-year low of 63.5%; real unemployment is north of 10%. 43 consecutive months of unemployment over 8%. In August alone, 15,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. If an $800+ billion stimulus could not right the ship, why would a $447 stimulus get the mast out of the mud?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/08/2012 - 02:48 pm.

      The stimulus bill did not fail

      It was originally supposed to be over a trillion dolllars.
      It was cut to ~$800 million for political purposes — the President’s economic advisers did not think that this would be adequate, but it was all he thought he could get passed.
      And it did work — the economy HAS been steadily improving; just not a complete recovery.
      A FRED graph showing gross domestic product as a function of population shows a clear pattern of growth since the 2009 trough.
      Under these conditions a further stimulus is very reasonable.

  12. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 09/07/2012 - 11:38 pm.

    Promises

    Eric actually mentioned promises made in the context of a democrate!!! I wish Eric will list the dozen of B.O p;romises made last electon.

    Quick – name 3 promises Amy K made last election and 3 promises she is making this election?

    It would be great to the DFL to concentrate on DFL Promises and the failure rate of these promises.

    In reality it will not make much of a difference forDFL voters. As long as the DFL worship at the altar of abortion on demand for any reason is promoted and GAy narriage is approved, promises make no difference. if other promises are not kept,

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/08/2012 - 06:38 am.

    On his second term, Obama will be more realistic and more effective. I would compare it to Bill Clinton’s second term duel with Newt Gingrich’s House Leadership. More stick and less carrots.

    Mr. Romney has no idea how polarized Congress has become and how limited his executive powers would be. The nation cannot afford the time to educate him.

    Perhaps Obama should have kept repeating that he has a plan, and if you don’t vote for him you’ll lose because he won’t tell you what it is unless he wins.

  14. Submitted by Richard Helle on 09/08/2012 - 11:07 am.

    Failed stimulus? Only if you don’t like working for a living.

    My job was saved by the stimulus. The company I work for was saved by the stimulus. 3 million of us, and that’s a conservative estimate in my opinion are working today because of the stimulus. President Obama stopped the freefalling economy left to him and has, despite ferocious opposition, gotten the economy back on the road toward recovery. Is it happening as fast as anyone would like? No. Has the GOP been obstructing that recovery at every turn? Yes. It’s simple political math. If the unemployment rate goes below 8%, President Obama’s re-election becomes a near certainty. If it stays above 8%, then the GOP stands a chance. Not much of a chance, given their deeply flawed and weak candidate but a chance none the less.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/10/2012 - 10:47 am.

      Employment

      There’s a problem with employment as an economic measure.
      While corporate profits and manufacturing productivity have increased, employment has decreased.
      The reason is that corporations have learned that they can increase production by paying more overtime and hiring temp workers. Both of these strategies avoid long term commitments and the need for paying benefits.
      Add to this automation and outsourcing and we have a decoupling of productivity and employment.
      The only way I know of that government could change this is through a tax structure that would favor increases in hiring as a way to boost productivity.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/08/2012 - 10:38 pm.

      Political Math

      Unemployment is declining only because unemployed Americans are giving up their job search in great numbers each month. Real unemployment exceeds 10%.

      A better employment metric is labor force participation. With the August jobs report, this metric hit a 30-year low of 63.5%. The last time it was that low was at the end of the Jimmy Carter administration.

      • Submitted by Joe Williams on 09/09/2012 - 07:19 am.

        Other economic indicators?

        So low taxes, record corporate profits, and a recovered stock market don’t indicate that there is something else going on in this equation?

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/09/2012 - 09:52 am.

        Isn’t the real news buried in the next to last paragraph? Private employment is up, more than under GW Bush, while public employment is down. Isn’t that what the country wants? We’re told over and over we need to shrink government and now that it is happening we don’t report that as the story, preferring instead to punish for what we’re told is a good thing.

        Maybe the lesson is that cutting government doesn’t generate a private boom. Bets me, but I can see that private employment is up and public employment is down.

  15. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/09/2012 - 09:48 am.

    Pay attention to the Unemployment Rates in Critical Swing States in the September BLS Jobs Report:

    US National Average: 8.1%

    Florida: 8.8%
    Pennsylvania: 7.9%
    Wisconsin: 7.3%
    Ohio: 7.2%
    Virginia: 5.9%
    New Hampshire: 5.4%
    Iowa: 5.3%
    _______________________________

    If the Economy is the #1 Issue for voters.
    And Citizens assess the Economic Health through their own local economies.
    And if Critical Swing State Voters will determine the Election Outcome.

    => Then this jobs report actually is quite beneficial to Obama.

  16. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/09/2012 - 03:18 pm.

    Right!

    So is this a function of demand (the number of people looking for jobs)
    or of supply (the number of jobs available).
    There may be a relationship between the overall availability of jobs and the tendency for people to drop out of the labor market.

  17. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/09/2012 - 04:50 pm.

    Manufacturing Jobs

    The number I look at first in the monthly jobs report is manufacturing jobs. August: -15,000 (all private sector).

    It is often said that ours is a service based economy. But, at some point that becomes unsustainable. The part of the economy that generates the wealth is manufacturing, agriculture, and mining; turning raw materials into something of greater value that is demand. Without a strong manufacturing component to our economy, we can sell each other haircuts and restaurant meals for a while, but it is not sustainable.

    • Submitted by Richard Helle on 09/09/2012 - 08:11 pm.

      Not as bad as some would like us to believe.

      The jobs report isn’t all that could’ve been hoped for but given the GOP gridlocking Washington, it’s also not as bad as it could be. It is a good indicator that new round of stimulus is warrented. The energy has run low on the last round. We need to pass the Bring Jobs Home Act, which the GOP blocked the vote on. This very simple piece of legislation will encourage hiring US workers with a significant tax cut and removing the tax break for outsourcing jobs that put US workers out on the street. This is just one of many pieces of legislation that would’ve directly created jobs or encouraged the creation of jobs through tax breaks and other incentives. All of this legislation has been blocked completely or delayed by the GOP using Parlimentary procedure in the Senate. The GOP cannot allow the unemployment rate to fall below 8% and have worked tirelessly to obstruct anything, even legislation that they’ve supported in the past from accomplishing that.

  18. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/09/2012 - 07:53 pm.

    After reading some of the commentary it might be useful to reiterate these three points:

    Residential investment is the best leading indicator for the economy.

    Residential investment will not recover rapidly because of the large overhang of existing vacant housing units.

    Existing home sales are largely irrelevant for the economy.

    The key to reducing the overall inventory is new household formation (encouraging renters to become owners accomplishes nothing in reducing the overall housing inventory). And the key to new household formation is jobs. And usually the best leading indicator for jobs is residential investment. Somewhat of a circular trap. It might be different this time with exports and technology leading the way, but I’ll stick with housing as a business cycle indicator.

  19. Submitted by Kent Fralish on 09/10/2012 - 04:40 am.

    Promises? The truth!

    16 trillion in debt and nothing to show for it.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/10/2012 - 10:58 am.

      Source of debt

      The biggest source of the deficit is revenue loss, due mainly to the Bush tax cuts, and also to the economic recession.
      Restore the pre-Bush tax structure and do some pump priming by putting money in the hands of the people who will spend it, and the deficit is much less of a problem.
      By the way, 80% of the ‘debt’ is held by Americans, so it’s a shift within the system, not an external debt.

  20. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/10/2012 - 09:49 pm.

    Foreign Held U.S. Debt is about 50%

    Avondale Asset Management has recently updated the percentage debt that foreigners held in April 2012. Check it out; it is about 50%.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/827531-the-correlation-between-u-s-debt-held-by-foreigners-and-u-s-bond-yields

    Since 2008, $2.5 trillion stimuli funds have been put in the hands of people who will spend it. The results are underwhelming.

  21. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 09/10/2012 - 10:21 pm.

    What I was waiting for from the President

    Was how the next four years would be different given that Congress is almost certain to be in the exact same House/Repub Senate/Dem status that it is now. Will the President be more willing to work with the House or does he expect them to give up and do what he wants before the election cycle for his replacement starts in two years? It seems a certainty that the next four years will be just that, another four years of kicking the can down the road.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/11/2012 - 07:18 am.

      Two years?

      What makes you think the next election cycle begins in two years? They were already talking about who they were going to run against him in the next election before he even made his inauguration speech.

      Assuming he wins in November, I expect the same to happen this time.

      Nowadays we live in a perpetual election cycle, and that’s a big part of the problem.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 09/11/2012 - 09:26 pm.

        President Obama will not be running in 2016

        Thus, the Repubs will not be talking about who will be running against him in the next election even before he makes his 2nd inauguration speech.

        President Obama will be re-elected though, so there is that going for America.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/12/2012 - 08:53 am.

          Sorry I wasn’t as clear as I meant to be

          I wasn’t thinking about HIS election cycle so much as election cycles in general. The example I used was intended to show how ludicrous this has all become.

          Legislators don’t govern any more – they campaign. As soon as they’re elected, they’re thinking about the next election. They don’t make decisions based on what’s best for the country. Rather, they make decisions based on “What will get me re-elected? Or at the very least, how can I avoid doing anything that will KEEP me from getting re-elected?”.

          So if Obama is re-elected, I expect the obstructionist Congresspersons will double down in their efforts to make sure he isn’t able to put through anything more that could be considered legacy legislation for him. Because although HE won’t be bucking for re-election, THEY will. And they are deathly afraid of endangering their re-election chances by being perceived of as enabling his agenda in any way.

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