Sunday, January 29, 2012



You should never let anyone verbally intimidate you. This is true for all your personal relationships, but it is also true for all of your business relationships.

In native cultures, medicine men wielded great power because of the community’s belief that they have magical powers. To reinforce this impression they created fanciful words and phrases which only they could understand. The idea is “If you do not understand what I am saying, how can you doubt my power?”

Unfortunately, we, today, have groups of people who use the same theory. Think — doctors, lawyers, accountants, financial analysts and brokers. They do the same thing, they often wield power over their clients by verbally intimidating them.

Sometimes, they do so to save time. By talking over their clients' heads (but with authority), they can often prevent their clients from asking questions that require long and complicated answers.

Sometimes, they use jargon to trick their clients into doing something they would probably not do if they understood this matter, and sometimes, they speak cryptically to maintain what they view as a desirable superiority over their clients.

We tend to act as if it is our jobs to please the doctors, lawyers, and brokers … not the other way around. We are always on our best behavior, grateful, self-effacing since we do not understand medicine, the law, or finance and are in no position to tell them what to do. We, many times, cannot evaluate the advice they give us. We feel like a know-nothing. They are omniscient. All we can do is be a good boy and hope they treat us kindly.

This is a costly mistake. We may end up undergoing unnecessary medical treatments, spend big money on contracts that are overly complicated and to make investments that we instinctively know will never be profitable.

We need to be diligent about standing up for ourselves with these professionals. In every interaction we have with them we need to remind ourselves that we are the boss and they work for us.

Here are some suggestions on ways you can gain control of all your professional relationships:

Change the way you think about professionals.

Many people (consciously or not) put professionals on pedestals of reverence. They accord them respect and courtesies they do not give to plumbers, say, or other tradesmen. As a result, they are reluctant to question the advice they get, or worse, they feel compelled to follow it out of some sense of submissive gratitude.

The truth is, doctors, lawyers, and brokers are nothing more than tradesmen. They have knowledge and skills that they sell. To earn their fees, they must work hard and well for you.

Make yourself “the boss of you.”

Promise yourself that, starting today, you will not let them bully you – and that you will actively and consciously "be the boss."

Rather than think, "Gee, he's such an expert"… think, "I am paying this guy good money. He better prove to me he is an expert or I will fire him."

When you get advice, instead of thinking, "I had better do what he says or he may be mad at me"… think, "This guy may know his field of expertise, but he does not know me. I am the best and sole judge of what is best for me. Only I am qualified to decide what I should do."

Evaluate the professionals you are using.

  1. Do they make you feel like you are in charge?A good professional relationship is one where the client is the boss and he feels like the boss. You should be able to figure out how you feel about the professionals that you use instantaneously.If you do not feel in charge, you aren't. If you do not feel you can speak frankly about any fears and concerns you have, you are not in charge. If you do not feel free to criticize them, you are not in charge.Here is what you need to understand: The only way you can feel like the boss is if the professional feels like you are the boss. If he does not – if he thinks you are just another schmuck who needs his help – you will never be in charge.  
  2. Do they give you advice that is easy to understand?A good professional feels obliged to communicate clearly with his clients. That means translating the arcane language of his profession into advice that can be readily understood.You can determine whether your broker, doctor, or lawyer has a commitment to communication by asking:"Do I feel like I spend enough time with him? Or do I feel like he is usually busy, and I'm taking up his precious time?"When he sends you documents, does he often attach a cover letter that explains, in layman's terms, what the documents say?Do you frequently feel lost or confused when he gives you advice? This should rarely happen… and when it does, you should feel free to ask questions and get clear, understandable answers.  
  3. Do they understand and care about your concerns and needs?A good professional does not treat all his clients exactly the same. He understands that each client has his own specific concerns, worries, problems, and needs. A good professional takes time to understand this and tailors his advice accordingly.If you feel like you are getting cookie-cutter advice, or if you feel like he does not really care who you are, he is not doing his job.

What to do to make things right …

How do you now feel about the professionals who are working for you? Are you feeling a bit upset? Have you realized that you may be getting less from them than you deserve?


If so, here is what I suggest. Call or e-mail the offending party and say you want to have a 15-minute meeting about your "professional relationship." If they ask why, say you want to talk about whether "the value I'm getting is worth the money I'm paying."

If he refuses to have the meeting, you do not need to put another thought into it. He is not doing his job. Get rid of him.

If he does give you a meeting, go in prepared. In just a few simple sentences (that you have prepared beforehand), tell him exactly how and why you are dissatisfied. Do not be judgmental. Express your concerns as statements of your future expectations. In other words, do not say, "You talk in an intimidating way." Instead, say, "I want crystal-clear explanations of all your advice and full and clear answers to all my questions. Can you provide me with that?"

That is really all you have to do. If you end up "firing" someone, do not spend a moment regretting it. Just go out and find someone new and better.

Find that person by interviewing him. In the first meeting, list your expectations and ask him if he can meet them.

Be the boss. It is your body, your business, and your money.

Why are we not going ahead with the Keystone XL Pipeline Project?


The proposed Keystone XL pipeline project has been rejected by the Obama administration, even though its own State Department judged it environmen­tally safe. The proposed Keystone pipeline would move the proven crude oil reserves of Alberta, Canada — the third-largest such reserves in the world — to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast.
There is nothing extraordinary about this project. It is no different than the 360,000 miles of pipeline that crisscross the United States. In fact, it merely extends an existing pipeline.

By one estimate, more than 20,000 U.S. construction and service jobs would be created if the president had given the go—ahead. Many of these jobs would have been good-paying manufacturing jobs, building pipe, earth movers and other construction equipment. With our high unemployment, passing up these jobs is almost criminal.

But this is also about our economic contest with China, whose economy is the world’s second largest and is still growing rapidly. Building Keystone, along with developing our own abundant energy and gas reserves, would strengthen us in an increasingly competitive global economy. U.S. manufacturing is seeing an uptick in business. In fact, because of the boom in U.S. natural gas production lower energy prices are making U.S. based manufacturing more competitive against China and other nations.

With its growing energy appetite, China is aggressively locking up energy resources in North America. The Chinese energy companies, PetroChina, Sinopec and Cnooc all have invested heavily in Canada’s oil patch, totaling some $10 billion. Earlier this month, PetroChina took complete ownership of a Canadian oil-sands prospect, the first for a Chinese company.

In November, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Hager met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and stressed his country’s interest in supplying Asian energy markets. He will make a high-profile trip to China next month.

If we snub our neighbor to the north, which badly wants Keystone approved, a Canadian pipeline to the Pacific Ocean will be built, to fuel China.

The Keystone decision came the same week a National Science Board study made news reporting that the United States is rapidly losing high-technology jobs to Asia, many to China, as U.S. companies shift their research and development. One major CEO said his company is expanding its overseas research "in preparation for a world where the West is no longer the dominant manufacturing power." Decisions like Keystone move that day closer.

China is a challenge in many ways. Congressman Ed Royce held a congressional hearing last year on its theft of American intellectual property. State policy in Beijing is to bully U.S. firms wanting market access in China to give up their crown jewels: cutting-edge technology in the important fields of energy, transportation, telecommunication and computing. This is a determined campaign to surpass us in becoming the preeminent world power, plain and simple.

The Obama Administration makes much of its "Pivot to Asia" – the reorienting U.S. foreign policy focus and resources to the Far East. That is all well and good. The Pacific region is tremendously important to the U.S., especially California. But it would sure be nice if we pivoted from a position of strength.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is Adjusted Gross Income??

Are You Ready to Do YOUR Taxes?
Question: What is adjusted gross income?

Answer: Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is your gross income reduced by deductions other than itemized deductions, the standard deduction, and personal exemptions. Examples of deductions used to arrive at your AGI include business expenses, IRA contributions, student loan interest expense, alimony paid, and job-related moving expenses.

Your AGI determines whether you are eligible for more than two dozen tax benefits, such as tax credits and certain deductions. As your AGI increases, the maximum amount you can claim for certain deductions and credits decreases. For example, your IRA contribution will not be deductible if you are covered under your employer’s pension plan and your adjusted gross income exceeds certain limits.

Get all of your tax questions answered at:

Potts’ Taxes


I have used Potts’ Taxes for personal tax preparation over the past couple of years. I have found Steven to be both capable and competent and he has been very professional in both our meetings and his expert follow-up. I would highly recommend his services.

-- Gregory F.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Unless Congress Acts these tax breaks will go away

You’ll face a higher tax bill next spring if Congress doesn’t act to revive a series If they don't act ... tax breaks go away. of tax breaks that expired Dec. 31, 2011. 

Among the breaks that Congress didn’t extend in all the sturm-und-drang over the payroll tax holiday are:

 Alternative minimum tax patch The AMT is a parallel tax system created more than 40 years ago to prevent excessive use of tax breaks by the very wealthy, ensuring they pay at least some tax. Taxpayers whose income exceeds the AMT exemption – in 2011, $48,450 for individuals and $74,450 for married couples filing jointly – must calculate both regular tax and AMT liability and pay the larger of the two amounts. But exemption levels have, at least tentatively, dropped to $33,750 for individuals and $45,000 for married couples filing jointly in 2012, which will expose 31 million taxpayers to the higher AMT this year, according to Tax Policy Center estimates. 

Higher mass transportation benefit This one's of particular interest to straphangers, van-riders and other users of public transit. A 2009 federal stimulus provision raised the maximum an employee could receive for transit, tax-free, from $120 to $230. That matched the tax-free limit for parking. With the expiration of this break, the maximum for 2012 dropped to $125. Employees who’ve asked to have an amount higher than that withheld from their paycheck to cover their total commuting costs will see their net pay come down, as the difference is now taxed. 

 Deduction for direct IRA payouts to charity Retirees who are 70½ or older could direct up to $100,000 of their IRA distributions directly to charity and exclude the donated amounts from taxable income. Not anymore in 2012, unless Congress reinstates this deduction. 

 Write-offs for state sales taxes This particularly significant expired break allowed you to deduct either state income tax or state sales tax from your federal taxable income. Teacher’s supplies deduction Teachers, even if they didn’t itemize, were able to take an additional deduction of up to $250 for classroom supplies they paid for out of their own pockets. 

Tuition and fees deduction Taxpayers (up to certain income limits) who can't claim the more advantageous American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning credits can still reduce taxable income by up to $4,000 for tuition and other qualifying educational expenses -- if, of course, Congress reinstates this break. 

Mortgage insurance premium deduction Homeowners who don’t exceed certain income limits had been able to deduct premiums they pay on mortgage insurance policies issued after 2006 on their primary residence.  

Personal tax credits applied against the alternative minimum tax Credits such as the tuition and dependent-care credits were allowed to offset your AMT liability.

Research and Development credit Like the AMT patch and direct IRA payouts, this credit, which allowed high-tech companies and others to subsidize research in areas that might go unexplored, has broad support. But it still falls to Congress to reauthorize it periodically. 

We think Congress will manage to revive these breaks -- eventually -- with the exception of the transit subsidy, whose chances are no better than 50-50. But you may spend much, if not all, of 2012 in a state of uncertainty. The political atmosphere in Washington is so toxic that it is doubtful the parties will reach agreement before the end of 2012, when Congress will have to take up the question of extending the Bush tax cuts. 

If lawmakers wait too long, in 2013, we may have a repeat of the 2006 and 2010 filing seasons, when many taxpayers had to wait for the IRS to reprogram its computers before they could file their tax returns. In both cases, the start of the filing season was delayed for many until early to mid February.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Big Fail - Top 5 Failed Obama Policies


 
THE STIMULUS
Obama's Stimulus Failed To Keep Unemployment Below 8 Percent As Obama Promised
Obama's $825 Billion Stimulus Failed To Keep The Unemployment Rate Below The 8 Percent And Is Nowhere Close To The 6 Percent They Predicted It Would Be At By Now. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/6/12; Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, "The Job Impact Of The American Recovery And Reinvestment Plan,"1/9/09; Congressional Budget Office, 5/25/11)
  • Instead, Since The Stimulus Was Passed, The Unemployment Rate Has Increased From 8.2 Percent To 8.5 Percent And Has Remained Above 8 Percent For A Post-WWII Record 35 Straight Months. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/6/12)
  • The Unemployment Rate Peaked At 10.1 Percent In October 2009. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/6/12)
Obama's Stimulus Failed To Create The Over 3.5 Million Jobs That His Advisors Predicted It Would Create
PROMISE: Obama's Advisors Predicted That The Stimulus Would Create Over 3.5 Million Jobs And Raise Payroll Employment To Over 137.5 Million By The Fourth Quarter Of 2010.  (Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, "The Job Impact Of The American Recovery And Reinvestment Plan,"1/9/09)
FAILURE: Since President Obama's $825 Billion Stimulus Passed, The Nation Has Lost 1.1 Million Jobs. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/6/12)
·  At The End Of 2010, Payroll Employment Was Only 130.3 Million. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/6/12)
The Washington Post's Fact Checker: "Obama Is On Track To Have The Worst Jobs Record Of Any President In The Modern Era." "Unless the economy turns around in the next 18 months, Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any president in the modern era. That would be an accurate statement." (Glenn Kessler, "Rick Perry's Claim That Obama Has 'Killed More Jobs' Than Any Other President," The Washington Post's "The Fact Checker", 8/22/11)
OBAMACARE
On CBS' "60 Minutes", Obama Called His Health Care Package One Of His Major Accomplishments
CBS' Steve Kroft: "Why do you think you deserve to be reelected? What have you accomplished?"
President Obama: "Not only saving this country from a great depression, not only saving the auto industry, but putting in place a system in which we're going to start lowering health care costs and you're never going to go bankrupt because you get sick or somebody in your family gets sick." (CBS' "60 Minutes," 12/11/11)
Yet ObamaCare Has Failed To Make Health Insurance More Affordable
PROMISE: Obama Promised His Plan "Would Save The Average Family $2,500 On Their Premiums." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks Of Senator Barack Obama's Plan To Fight For Working Families And Take On Special Interests In Washington, Indianapolis, IN, 6/20/08)
FAILURE: FactCheck.org: ObamaCare Is Actually Making Health Care "Less Affordable." "At the moment, the new law is making health care slightly less affordable. Independent health care experts say the law has caused some insurance premiums to rise. As we wrote in October, the new law has caused about a 1 percent to 3 percent increase in health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored family plans because of requirements for increased benefits. Last year's premium increases cast even more doubt on another promise the president has made -- that the health care law would 'lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.'" (D'Angelo Gore, "Promises, Promises," Fact Check.org, 1/4/12)
·  The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: "Moreover, at this point it is debatable whether the law has made health care more affordable. Insurance premiums have gone up, in part because of new benefits mandated by the law." (Glenn Kessler, "The Fine Print In Obama's 'Promises Kept' Ad," The Washington Post's The Fact Checker, 1/6/12)
"The Cost Of Health Insurance Skyrocketed In 2011 After Several Years Of Relatively Small Increases." (Jane M. Von Bergen, "Health Insurance Costs Skyrocketing," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/27/11)
Workers Paid An Average Of $132 More For Family Coverage This Year. "Although premiums rose, employers kept the percentage of the premium workers pay about the same: An average of 18 percent for single coverage and 28 percent for family plans. Still, with rising costs, workers paid more, up an average of $132 a year for family coverage. Since 1999, the dollar amount workers contribute toward premiums nationally has grown 168 percent, while their wages have grown by 50 percent, according to the survey." (Julie Appleby, "Cost Of Employer Insurance Plans Surge In 2011," Kaiser Health News, 9/27/11)
  • Cost Of Single Employee Coverage Grew 8 Percent According To The Survey. "Family plan premiums hit $15,073 on average, while coverage for single employees grew 8 percent to $5,429, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. (KHN is an editorially-independent program of the foundation.)" (Julie Appleby, "Cost Of Employer Insurance Plans Surge In 2011," Kaiser Health News, 9/27/11)
And Americans Are Losing Their Coverage
PROMISE: President Obama Promised That "If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Will Be Able To Keep Your Health Care Plan. Period." OBAMA: "So let me begin by saying this: I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage - they like their plan and they value their relationship with their doctor. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. My view is that health care reform should be guided by a simple principle: fix what's broken and build on what works." (President Barack Obama, Address To The American Medical Association, Chicago, IL, 6/15/09)
FAILURE: FactCheck.org: ObamaCare "Falls Short Of Making Health Care 'Affordable And Available To Every Single American,' As Promised." "Furthermore, the law falls short of making health care 'affordable and available to every single American,' as promised. The law provides subsidies to help some Americans buy insurance, expands Medicaid and doesn't allow insurance companies to exclude persons with preexisting conditions. But still, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected 23 million persons will remain uninsured -- some because they can't afford coverage." (D'Angelo Gore, "Promises, Promises," Fact Check.org, 1/4/12)
·  FactCheck.org: The White House Ad Promising Medicare "Benefits Will Remain The Same" Is False. "Currently, about 1 in every 4 Medicare beneficiary is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. For many of them, the words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that 'benefits will remain the same' is just as fictional as the town of Mayberry was when Griffith played the local sheriff." (Brooks Jackson, "Mayberry Misleads On Medicare," FactCheck.org, 7/31/10)
The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: "Not Every Single American" Has Health Coverage As Obama Promised. "No matter what one thinks of Obama's health care law, it was certainly a signature legislative achievement--the most sweeping health care law since the creation of Medicare. But notice that Obama said he would bring health care to 'every single American,' but the headline simply says 'more than 30 million Americans.' That translates into 95 percent of nonelderly Americans--when the law is fully implemented in 2016. That is certainly an increase over the 82-percent level that would have been expected in the absence of the law, but it is not 'every single American.'" (Glenn Kessler, "The Fine Print In Obama's 'Promises Kept' Ad," The Washington Post's The Fact Checker, 1/6/12)
A Survey Found That Only 60 Percent Of Employers Offered Medical Coverage This Year, A 9 Percent Decrease From 2010. "Sixty percent of employers said they offered medical benefits this year, a decrease from 69 percent in 2010." (Jeffrey Young, "Health-Benefit Costs Rise Most In Six Years," Bloomberg, 9/27/11)
GREEN JOBS
"The Obama Administration Has Managed The Nearly Impossible Feat Of Turning Energy Policy Into A Money Loser, Pouring Taxpayer Dollars Into Green-Energy Busts Like Solyndra."(Editorial, "The Non-Green Job Boom," The Wall Street Journal, 11/28/11)
Obama Predicted His Investments In Green Energy Would Create 5 Million Jobs
PROMISE: In 2008, Then-Senator Obama Claimed His Investments In Green Energy Would Create 5 Million New Jobs. OBAMA: "And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels -- an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced."(Sen. Barack Obama, Acceptance Speech Remarks At The Democratic National Convention, Denver, CO, 8/28/08)
FAILURE: The Failure Of Obama's Green Jobs Programs "Gets More Embarrassing By The Day." "The green jobs subsidy story gets more embarrassing by the day. Three years ago President Obama promised that by the end of the decade America would have five million green jobs, but so far some $90 billion in government spending has delivered very few." (Editorial, "Green Jobs Brown Out," The Wall Street Journal, 10/11/11)
"The Green Economy Is Not Proving To Be The Job-Creation Engine That Many Politicians Envisioned." "In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream." (Aaron Glantz, "Number Of Green Jobs Fails To Live Up To Promises," The New York Times, 8/18/11)
  • Green Technology Jobs Account For Just 2 Percent Of Employment Nationwide. "A study released in July by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for just 2 percent of employment nationwide and only slightly more -- 2.2 percent -- in Silicon Valley. Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent." (Aaron Glantz, "Number Of Green Jobs Fails To Live Up To Promises," The New York Times, 8/18/11)
"Federal And State Efforts To Stimulate Creation Of Green Jobs Have Largely Failed." "Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development." (Aaron Glantz, "Number Of Green Jobs Fails To Live Up To Promises," The New York Times, 8/18/11)
The Energy Department Has Handed Out $35.2 Billion From The Stimulus, But The Clean Energy Industry Has "Yet To Provide The Boost Many Had Hoped For." "The Energy Department handed out $35.2 billion from the Recovery Act for energy efficiency and other initiatives. At the time, clean energy was seen as a potentially powerful industry for job creation. But the industry has yet to provide the boost many had hoped for." (Vauhini Vara, "Red Flags For Green Energy," The Wall Street Journal, 10/12/11)
Despite Soaring Promises >From Obama And His Allies, Green Energy Has Barely Taken Flight And Has Failed To Create Jobs. "New clean-energy sources could address environmental, economic and national security problems all at once. In his 2008 convention speech, Barack Obama promised to create five million green economy jobs. The U.S. Conference of Mayors estimated in April 2009 that green jobs could account for 10 percent of new job growth over the next 30 years. Alas, it was not to be." (David Brooks, "Where The Jobs Aren't," The New York Times, 9/5/11)
  • "There's A Wealth Of Other Evidence To Suggest That The Green Economy Will Not Be A Short-Term Jobs Machine. According To Investor's Business Daily, Executives At Johnson Controls Turned $300 Million In Green Technology Grants Into 150 Jobs -- That's $2 Million Per Job." (David Brooks, "Where The Jobs Aren't," The New York Times, 9/5/11)
The Energy Department's Loan Program Has Fallen Far Short Of The 65,000 Jobs That It Said It Would Create
"In The Understatement Of The Year, The IG Says The Program Failed To 'Assist Those Most Impacted By The Recession." "A new report by the Labor Department's Office of Inspector General examined a $500 million grant under the stimulus program to the Employment and Training Administration to 'train and prepare individuals for careers in 'green jobs.'' So far about $162.8 million has been spent. The program was supposed to train 125,000 workers, but only 53,000 have been 'trained' so far, only 8,035 have found jobs, and only 1,033 were still in the job after six months. Overall, 'only 10% of participants entered employment.' In the understatement of the year, the IG says the program failed to 'assist those most impacted by the recession.'" (Editorial, "Green Jobs Brown Out," The Wall Street Journal, 10/11/11)
  • Obama's $38 Billion Green Energy Stimulus Program Only Has A Few Thousand Jobs To Show For It. "A $38.6 billion loan guarantee program that the Obama administration promised would create or save 65,000 jobs has created just a few thousand jobs two years after it began, government records show. The program -- designed to jump-start the nation's clean technology industry by giving energy companies access to low-cost, government-backed loans -- has directly created 3,545 new, permanent jobs after giving out almost half the allocated amount, according to Energy Department tallies." (Carol D. Leonnig and Steven Mufson, "Obama Green-Tech Program That Backed Solyndra Struggles To Create Jobs," The Washington Post, 9/14/11)
"The Jobs Record Is Even More Dismal When You Consider That Many Of The Jobs Classified As Green Aren't Even New Jobs, Much Less Green." "The jobs record is even more dismal when you consider that many of the jobs classified as green aren't even new jobs, much less green, according to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. They include positions that have been 'relabeled as green jobs by the BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics].'" (Editorial, "Green Jobs Brown Out," The Wall Street Journal, 10/11/11)
  • The Cost Of Each Green Job Is $157,000. "This means that bus drivers, Environmental Protection Agency regulators, university professors teaching ecology, and even the Washington lobbyists who secure energy loan guarantees count as green employees for the purposes of government counting. The Oversight Committee finds that even a charitable assessment of the Labor program puts the cost of each green job at $157,000." (Editorial, "Green Jobs Brown Out," The Wall Street Journal, 10/11/11)
HOME FORECLOSURES
PROMISE: President Obama Promised That His Housing Program Would Prevent 7 To 9 Million Families From Foreclosure. "And we will pursue the housing plan I'm outlining today. And through this plan, we will help between 7 and 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages so they can afford--avoid foreclosure." (President Barack Obama, Remarks On The Home Mortgage Industry In Mesa, Arizona, 2/18/09)
FAILURE: Obama Has Only Helped 1.7 Million Avoid Foreclosure Of The 9 Million Homeowners He Promised. "President Obama pledged at the beginning of his term to boost the nation's crippled housing market and help as many as 9 million homeowners avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. Nearly three years later, it hasn't worked out. Obama has spent just $2.4 billion of the $50 billion he promised. The initiatives he announced have helped 1.7 million people." (Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Obama's Efforts To Aid Homeowners, Boost Housing Market Fall Far Short Of Goals," The Washington Post, 10/23/11)
  • The Administration's Foreclosure Prevention Programs "Have Had Little Impact On The Overall Housing Sector." "The administration is already using taxpayer funds from its $700 billion bank bailout program to help prevent foreclosures and give struggling Americans a reprieve on their mortgage payments. But the programs have had little impact on the overall housing sector." ("White House Says Needs To Deal With Housing Problems," Reuters, 6/5/11)
"To Date, Administration Programs Have Permanently Reduced The Debt Of Just One Tenth Of 1 Percent Of Underwater Borrowers." (Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Obama's Efforts To Aid Homeowners, Boost Housing Market Fall Far Short Of Goals," The Washington Post, 10/23/11)
Obama's Housing Programs "Dramatically Underperformed"
This Summer At The White House, Obama Offered A Rare Acknowledgment That His Response To The Housing Crisis Had Fallen Short." (Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Obama's Efforts To Aid Homeowners, Boost Housing Market Fall Far Short Of Goals," The Washington Post, 10/23/11)
  • Obama Said That Housing Has Been The "Most Stubborn In Us Trying To Solve The Problem." "Asked what mistakes he had made in handling the recession and what he would do differently, he said: 'We had to revamp housing several times to try and help people stay in their homes and try to start lifting home values up. Of all the things we've done, that's probably been the area that's been most stubborn in us trying to solve the problem.'" (Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Obama's Efforts To Aid Homeowners, Boost Housing Market Fall Far Short Of Goals," The Washington Post, 10/23/11)
  • President Obama Said "I'll Be Honest With You, [Housing] Is Probably The Biggest Drag On The Economy Right Now." "'I'll be honest with you, this is probably the biggest drag on the economy right now,' Obama replied to a questioner at an economic forum in Palo Alto, Calif., who lamented that the 'housing crisis will not go away.'" (Abby Phillip, "Housing Crisis Back On President Obama's Agenda," Politico, 7/11/11)
Treasury Secretary Geithner: "But Our Programs Have Dramatically Underperformed What We Thought. ... We Are Very Disappointed And Frustrated By It And We Have A Lot Of Challenges Ahead." (Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Testimony Before The House Financial Services Committee, Washington, D.C., 10/6/11)
DEFICIT SPENDING
Obama Promised To Cut The Deficit In Half, But Has Failed To Even Present A Plan That Would Bring The Deficit To Those Levels
PROMISE: Obama Pledged To Cut The Deficit In Half By The End Of His First Term. OBAMA:"And that's why today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At The Fiscal Responsibility Summit, Washington, D.C., 2/23/09)
  • "President Barack Obama Plans To Cut The U.S. Budget Deficit To $533 Billion By The End Of His First Term ..." (Hans Nichols, "Obama Plans To Reduce Budget Deficit To $533 Billion By 2013," Bloomberg, 2/21/09)
  • One White House Official Told Politico "We'll Cut It At Least In Half." "Under White House projections, this year's inherited budget deficit of $1.3 trillion will be cut to $533 billion by fiscal year 2013, the end of the first term. 'So we'll cut it at least in half,' the official said." (Mike Allen, "Obama Vows To Cut Huge Deficit In Half," Politico, 2/22/09)
FAILURE: Even If Every Part Of Obama's Deficit Reduction Proposal Was Enacted, The Deficit At The End Of His First Term Would Still Be $1.33 Trillion, Over Double What He Promised. ("The President's Plan For Economic Growth And Deficit Reduction; Table S-3," Office Of Management And Budget, 9/19/11)
  • Politifact: "Obama Made A Pledge To Cut The Deficit In Half By The End Of His First Term. And He's Falling Short So Far." (Gregory Trotter, "Tim Pawlenty Says President Obama Is Going To Break Promise On Deficit And Will Double It," Politifact, 6/10/11)
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Said Even If Congress Enacted The President's Budget "We Would Still Be Left With A Very Large Interest Burden And Unsustainable Obligations Over Time." (Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Remarks Before Senate Budget Committee, Washington, D.C., 2/17/11)
In Doing So The "Undisputed Debt King" Has Put The Economy At Risk
At $15.22 Trillion, The National Debt Has Officially Surpassed 100 Percent Of GDP. (Treasury Direct, Accessed 1/3/12; Bureau Of Economic Analysis, Accessed 1/3/12)
Politifact: "Obama Is The Undisputed Debt King Of The Last Five Presidents." "So by this measurement -- potentially a more important one -- Obama is the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents, rather than the guy who added a piddling amount to the debt, as Pelosi's chart suggested." ("Nancy Pelosi Posts Questionable Chart On Debt Accumulation By Barack Obama, Predecessors," Politifact, 5/19/11)
"By The Time The Next Election Rolls Around, The Government Will Have Taken On Almost $7 Trillion In Debt Under Obama. It's Hard To Explain Away A Number So Big." "For that reason alone, it is unimaginable that debt doesn't become an even bigger issue in the presidential election. The size-of-government spat is a hard one for the president to win. By the time the next election rolls around, the government will have taken on almost $7 trillion in debt under Obama. It's hard to explain away a number so big." (Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, "President Obama's Big Drags," Politico, 8/4/11)
  • By The Next Election Obama Will Have Added "$22,500 In New Debt For Every Man, Woman And Child In The Nation." (Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, "President Obama's Big Drags," Politico, 8/4/11)
The Government Is In A Debt Trap That Could Be Fueling The Recession. "Our recession may be driven, at this point, by the balance sheet of the government. Repairing that balance sheet by lowering spending may be the only way out of the debt trap. Call it the New Paradox of Thrift: the government can stimulate growth only by refusing to borrow. We need thrift all the way down." (John Carney, "From Jackson Hole: A Defense Of The Debt Ceiling," CNBC, 8/29/11)
  • CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf: Growing Debt Increases Risk Of "Sudden Fiscal Crisis." "Growing debt also would increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose confidence in the government's ability to manage its budget and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates." (Douglas Elmendorf, "CBO's 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook," Congressional Budget Office "Director's Blog", 6/22/11)