Monday, May 26, 2014

5 Years of "Facts" of Obama

I have had two FaceBook friends post this graphic in the last couple of weeks.  Maybe it has popped up in your newsfeed as well.  I believe it is important to have the facts to counter these kinds of claims.

As with anything else, context is so important.  Here is my response to both of them.

When one is looking at stats, one has to have the whole picture. This graphic doesn't have the whole picture. Here's the context of these numbers. 
First, the timing of these numbers is misleading.  If you remember, the Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 midterm elections. So the real effect of Democrat policies started taking effect in January 2007. Remember also that both Obama and Biden were in the Senate during that time ~as well as Hillary Clinton~. 
1)  The Dow is up because of Quantitative Easing.  Federal $$ being printed and pumped into the stock market.  Hang on to your hats.  Remember the .com bubble and the real estate bubbles? 
2)  For the real unemployment numbers, one needs to look at the labor force participation rate.
Jan 2007 – 66.40%
Jan 2009 – 65.7%
April 2014 – 62.80% 
Lowest labor force participation rate since 1978.  The reason that the umemployment numbers are down is because of workers that have quit looking for work.   
3)  GDP growth – US Dept of Commerce
2006 – 2.7%
2007 – 1.8%
2008 - -0.3%
2009 - -2.8%
2010 – 2.5%
2011 – 1.8%
2012 – 2.8%
2113 – 1.9%
1st quarter 2014 = 2.9%
4th quarter 2013 = 2.6% 
GDP after the Bush tax cuts
December 31, 2002 – 1.8%
December 31, 2003 – 2.8%
December 31, 2004 – 3.8%
December 31, 2005 – 3.4%  
The facts show that GDP increased after the Bush Tax cuts and started falling when the Democrats took control of Congress and the Democrats started spending like drunken sailors.  My apologies to sailors; at least drunken sailors quit when they run out of money.  DC politicians just borrow and print money.   
The federal budget goes from October 1 - September 30.  When we elected the Republicans to Congress in the fall of they took office in January of 2011 and the first budget they had was the 2012.  That was the fiscal year that the federal deficit started to decrease slightly.  Here are the actual numbers. 
The federal deficit the last year of the Bush/Republican Congress budget was $161 Billion. When the Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 elections, the next fiscal year the deficit climbed to $459 Billion and $1413 Billion the year King Barry I was elected. That was when TARP was forced on us. We then had 2 additional years of $1300 Billion deficits with Obama/Democrat Congress. Finally with Republicans back in control of the House, the deficit has come down slightly to $1100 Billion and $973 Billion. So yes, the deficit is technically down from its highs, but doesn't really paint the whole picture. For comparison, the highest deficit during the Bush/Republican Congress days was $413 Billion. 
One fact that this graphic doesn't touch is the increase in food stamps.  If the economy is so great, why are there millions more on food stamps today than when Obama was immaculated?  Why has spending on food stamps doubled under Obama if the economy is doing so well?

So far, I have not had one of these friends ~one is my TN State Representative~ who have even tried to refute any of my facts.  I'll post updates when/if I hear from any of them.  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Update:  I just had one of the friends that posted this make a comment.  She didn't try to refute any of my facts, she just basically tried to make the point that Obama is only one person and doing what he can for the "betterment of all."  Sorry, but that doesn't cut it for me.  Even if you ascribe good intentions to Obama and the left, ~which I don't~ there are consequences to their wrong policies.  She did say she loved my "deep knowledge" though.  I guess when you can't argue with the facts . . .

Update #2:  There have been two friends of the original poster of this graphic that have said that they agree with the graphic ~no response to the facts I posted however.~  One of them was one my dh's cousins that unfriended me a couple of years ago when she couldn't handle my challenges.  She could call me racist, but heaven help if I pointed out her hypocrisy, but I digress.  I asked her if she was going to post my facts along with the graphic.  She responded with a long rant and called me rude, argumentative and accusatory.  She also proceeded to tell me what I could and couldn't say on this common friend's page.  You've gotta love libs . .

Update #3:  I was asked for my source by a reader below.  I have revised my numbers and added the link to the U.S. Dept of Commerce.  At the link, you can create your own table of stats by year and/or quarter.  While my updated numbers are lower, they still show that the economy started to tank after the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Are the NGA and CCSSO Lobbyists Who are Funded by Corporations?

I have a friend on FaceBook who has been on a tear about Common Core.  It all started with discussions about Common Core Math.  At first he refused to talk about anything but the Common Core Math which he is in favor of.  That is a whole other story for another time though.  What I want to focus right now is on the funding for Common Core.

He posted the link to this article by Phyllis Schlafly.
“So the Obama Administration has latched onto a national education curriculum called Common Core that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009. Those organizations have very official names as though they are government agencies, but they are actually private groups financed by foundations such as Gates and various corporations.”

He is taking issue with the fact that the NGA and CCSSO are lobbyists with corporate donors.  The question he posed was "Is Mrs. Schlafly being honest?"

His claim is that since the NGA is comprised by governors and they control it, then those of us who say that Common Core is not state-led are not being honest.  In fact, he says that the CC opponents aren't to be trusted.

Let's start out with the definition of a lobbyist.  According to a lobbyist is "a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest."  According to their own websites, both the NGA and CCSSO fit that definition.  First off, both of their offices are in Washington D.C.  Secondly, both organizations have lobbying divisions or offices.

This is the description from the NGA website about their  Office of Federal Relations.

"The mission of the National Governors Association (NGA) Office of Federal Relations is to ensure that governors’ views are represented in the shaping of federal policy. NGA policy positions, reflecting governors’ principles on priority issues, guide the association’s efforts to influence federal laws and regulations affecting states."

Let's look at the CCSSO website:  They describe themselves as "The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonpartisan, and nonprofit membership organization."

This is what the CCSSO says about their Legislation and Advocacy for their members.

"As the national voice of the Chief State School Officers in all 50 states and U.S. Territories, CCSSO represents its membership by coordinating consensus on federal education matters before the Administration, Congress, and the U.S. Department of Education.

"CCSSO provides thoughtful, pragmatic, analysis of the implications and opportunities federal education policies, including all major federal laws and grant opportunities, have on state education agencies. CCSSO prepares testimony for congressional committees, analyzes proposed federal regulations, form coalitions with other national education organizations, and educates federal policy makers on the education policy needs of states.

"CCSSO regularly hosts informational discussions with its membership updating chiefs on policy. Additionally, CCSSO hosts an annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C. providing its members the opportunity to meet with federal elected officials, discuss state education challenges, and formulate the Council's stance on federal issues.

"Through encouraging collective state action, CCSSO strengthens the influence and impact each state has over federal education by unifying states around common principles, themes and policies."

I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like lobbying to me.

Next let's look at the corporate sponsors or funding for both the NGA and the CCSSO.  They are not self-sustaining from their membership of governors and school officers.

You can find the list of NGA Corporate Fellows at this link

What is a Corporate Fellow? So glad you asked. "As a Corporate Fellow, your contribution supports the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and positions you and your colleagues as intellectual resources for providing governors ideas that work. "

Unless I don't know what the word contribution means, I think that means monetary funding from the Corporate Fellows.

Here is information on the CCSSO's Business and Industry Partnerships.
"The Council's mission is to assist chief state school officers and their organizations in achieving the vision of an American education system that enables all children to succeed in school, work, and life. This mission cannot be met without forging new collaborations. In today's environment, success derives from working with and learning from diverse constituencies.

"One such constituency is the business community. The Council has engaged this community by developing a corporate sponsorship program for interested partners, who have provided support for Council meetings throughout the year. To ensure appropriate representation, the Council offers tiered levels of partnerships. The tiered partnership approach provides businesses with a menu of options from which to choose and enables the Council to receive sponsorship support to operate its meetings, conferences, and forums."

Apparently the CCSSO has 3 different tiers of Corporate partners. Just glancing thru their list, several jump out. Microsoft, inBloom, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson Education, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Both  the NGA and CCSSO have received funding from the Gates Foundation.  The NGA has received over $25 Million from the Gates Foundation.  The CCSSO has received $84 Million from the Gates Foundation.

My question is does being run by governors or school officers negate the fact that these organizations are lobbyist influenced by their corporate donors?

My friend has also accused me of being anti-capitalist because I object to our kids being treated like units whose information is being tracked for marketing.  I reminded him that there is a difference between capitalism ~which I am all for~ and corporatism, but again that is a discussion for another time.

What do you think?  Are the NGA and CCSSO lobbyists or are they as the Common Core proponents claim, state led?