Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014.


The Mood of the People

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Obama Administration

A New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows four Senate races in the South doing surprisingly well. Even better, Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol has declared the poll to be bogus. Heh.

Dylan Scott writes,

A poll released Wednesday offers yet another data point showing the politics of Obamacare aren’t as set in stone as the conventional wisdom would have you believe. Embracing Obamacare isn’t necessarily a political loser, and obstructing it isn’t necessarily a winner.

The New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll surveyed four Southern states that will help determine control of the Senate this fall. It earned headlines for finding the Democrats in better shape in the Senate races than most would have expected.

But it also assessed the popularity of four governors who have taken vastly different approaches to Obamacare — and the findings are a direct contradiction of the narrative that the law is a loser, plain and simple, especially in states like these.

The poll showed Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who expanded Medicaid under the law, are hugely popular. Their approval ratings are more than 20 points higher than their disapproval ratings; Beebe holds 68 percent approval, and Beshear is at 56 percent.

But Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) are at best treading water with their constituents after they declined to expand the program to cover low-income residents. McCrory is middling, with 43 percent approval and 44 percent disapproval, while Jindal is 14 percent underwater at 40 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval.

True to form, righties are claiming the poll is skewed. The Times says it isn’t.

This has to have the GOP worried, though, because they’ve believed all they had to do to secure a midterm sweep was to bash Obamacare, and the new poll shows that isn’t working all that well. Of course, there are other factors impacting these numbers beside health care law. But there will always be other factors, and the poll suggests that running against the ACA is not the magic bullet Republicans thought it was.

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Why We’re Screwed, Part DCCCLXXII

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Obama Administration

Confirming what a lot of us have been saying for at least a couple of decades, see The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest.

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades….

… Although economic growth in the United States continues to be as strong as in many other countries, or stronger, a small percentage of American households is fully benefiting from it. Median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median United States income in 2010 and has most likely surpassed it since then. Median incomes in Western European countries still trail those in the United States, but the gap in several — including Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden — is much smaller than it was a decade ago….

The struggles of the poor in the United States are even starker than those of the middle class. A family at the 20th percentile of the income distribution in this country makes significantly less money than a similar family in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland or the Netherlands. Thirty-five years ago, the reverse was true.

What they’re doing is looking at median rather than average income, which is what they should have been doing for years. Also, too:

“The crisis had no effect on our lives,” Jonas Frojelin, 37, a Swedish firefighter, said, referring to the global financial crisis that began in 2007. He lives with his wife, Malin, a nurse, in a seaside town a half-hour drive from Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city.

They each have five weeks of vacation and comprehensive health benefits. They benefited from almost three years of paid leave, between them, after their children, now 3 and 6 years old, were born. Today, the children attend a subsidized child-care center that costs about 3 percent of the Frojelins’ income.

Even with a large welfare state in Sweden, per capita G.D.P. there has grown more quickly than in the United States over almost any extended recent period — a decade, 20 years, 30 years. Sharp increases in the number of college graduates in Sweden, allowing for the growth of high-skill jobs, has played an important role.

The article stresses over and over that this didn’t just happen; it’s been creeping up on us for more than 30 years. (And who was President 30 years ago? Wait …. let me guess …). It seems the final year of American preeminence was 2000. (And who was President right after that …. don’t tell me…. it’s on the tip of my tongue …) But what was the reaction on the Right? You got it .. . it’s Obama’s fault. The famously stupid Jim Hoft is running a headline saying “Another Obama Milestone… US Middle Class No Longer Most Affluent in the World” — I’m not linking to the creep — and his brain damaged readers are writing things like

Since Obama has basically wiped out the middle class of America, do you think the democRATs have any chance to keep the Senate in 2014 or the presidency in 2016???
America would be ignorant to vote for democrats again after all that they have done to the middle class and our military.

And it’s because of dimwits like that who vote that we’re screwed.

I don’t know how many times I’ve told some wingnut that as far as I could see, the U.S. middle class does not enjoy a more affluent lifestyle than people of other industrialized nations, and they refused to listen.

Coming on the heels of another study that said the U.S. is officially an oligarchy now, people really should be waking up. But they won’t. Progressives will be saying see? We were right, and the righties will just hide behind some rationalization, like blaming Obama, or trying to claim that if you look at house prices the differences are no big deal.

You can check out the reasons given for economic decline in the article, none of which will surprise you, and none of which originated with President Obama.

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