Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Obama: Can't We Just All Get Along

No surprises.  What did you think?

CNN Obama
CNN Haley

Eric has a couple of interesting posts...
MP Fix Politics
MP Why Partisan Bias alters our View of Facts


John said...

From MP.

"The problem is as simple as it is intractable:
The people in the best position to change the system
(elected officials) are the ones who benefit the most from the way it is now." Paul B

"I would expand that to say that the current governmental chaos and ineffectiveness is good for politicians, bureaucrats and even public employees. On the other hand it is not so good for the citizens receiving services, the tax payers or for the global competitiveness of our country.

It reminds me of the Big 3 automakers before the foreign competition and the American Consumers flocking to them forced change. The owners, managers and employees were all making excellent money providing a poor low quality product for high prices. Only the people paying the bill and using the cars were hurting... Everyone in the system was smiling all the way to the bank.

Unfortunately the left and right have hugely different ideas on how to make our governmental system more effective. :-(
" G2A

""Even public employees" How does the "current governmental chaos and ineffectiveness" benefit public employees? They are the ones who get unpaid leave when a serious hissy fit shuts down the government." RB

It is likely we will disagree, however I believe if government was truly functioning effectively and efficiently, (ie setting clear priorities, defining good operational metrics, specifying performance quality goals, effectively measuring performance, holding employees accountable, paying market based compensation/benefits, eliminating waste, etc) their would be fewer departments, employees, redundancies, etc.

The current government disorganization is no different than any other near monopoly. (ie Big 3, IBM, Xerox, Big Banks, etc) It has little incentive to improve quality, reduce cost, etc, so it just continues to expand as opportunities present themselves. (mini kingdoms) The problem though is that many citizens who would want to topple private Near Monopolies because of the harm they do customers seem just fine growing our own public Monopoly...

So how again do the Public employees benefit... There are extra positions due to redundancy, their unions survive where they would not in the private sector (ie consumers won't pay for them as we have seen), they keep rewards they value (ie good benefits, tenure, steps, lanes, high job security, pensions, etc), low pressure to perform/improve, etc)

Now these are excellent things for the public employees, just like they were for the Big 3 folks. The problem the extra costs are be charged to the tax payers, and those who need services get lower quality..." G2A

Laurie said...

I was struck by a review of how well things are currently going in the country, yet how angry people are. Obama kind of talked about this but the person who really drove the point home is my favorite blogger:

"There is a story to be written about this massive disconnect. Normally, satisfaction with the country goes up as we recover from recessions. And we have recovered. Employment is up. Inflation is low. Gas prices have dropped. Taxes haven't changed for anyone even close to middle class. Broadly speaking, things are going pretty well."

We Are Happier Than Ever, We Are Angrier Than Ever

John said...

Here was a related comment I left on MP Partisan...

"As I often comment, the USA is deemed an incredible place by most people in the world, and billions would love a chance to live here. And I agree that most of us are very happy here and in no hurry to move to another country.

Yet the folks on the Left and Right sure do like to focus on perceived problems and throwing rocks at each other. Be it income inequality, taxes, programs, services, voter rights, campaign funding, illegal aliens, government waste, etc...

In my life, I sometimes would get frustrated because everything was not perfect... That 5% of my life that was not ideal would take up the majority of my attention. The good news is that I got older and wiser and started focusing on the 95%... It is a very fast way to become happier !!! :-) " G2A

jerrye92002 said...

One word for Obama's speech: delusional. Two words: You lie! Three words: Please go now.

I've seen the "fact check" on the speech. I didn't have time to read it all, quite lengthy as you can imagine. Employment is up but has not kept pace with population growth so "labor rate participation" is down. And that's just one lie/fantasy/puffery.
Perhaps a one-word description of the speaker himself would be "blatherskite."

John said...

I am assuming this will be a good example of partisan bias in action. Here are a mix of checkers.

Fact Checker SOU 2016

Politifact SOU 2016

WP SOU 2016

DS SOU 2016

John said...

I have no problem admitting that some things have improved since 2008, and partially because of Obama/Democrats.

I am not sure why the Conservatives focus exclusively on the empty half of the glass.

Maybe my new term for the far Left and Far Right folks will be "Drama Queens" or "Chicken Littles".

Laurie said...

such huge differences of opinion! Jerry thinks Obama is the worst president ever and I put him right up there with the best. Washinton, Lincoln, FDR, Obama!

if I was an historian I sure there are strong arguments to be made that other presidents should be rated more highly than Obama, I just really admire the guy.

John said...

The irony of course is that he was likely just an okay President who couldn't do much due to gridlock.

On the upside/downside he will look great historically because the bar was so low when he started...

Laurie said...

so who do you consider the more effective, successful president - GWB or Obama?

this is a crude measure of how ideologic or partisan or rational a person is. It is really only a useful indicator for conservatives as the answer is too clear to give any useful insight into liberals rationality.

John said...

I personally think it is a tie for mediocre. Both did some good and bad things. Neither accomplished anything great or terrible from my opinion.

I want a lower national debt and both failed on that account.

Anonymous said...

"I want a lower national debt and both failed on that account."

So you must favor Clinton as the best we've had and Reagan as one of the worst.


jerrye92002 said...

"The irony of course is that he was likely just an okay President who couldn't do much due to gridlock."

That's not just irony, that's an absolute howler! Democrats had the whole enchilada for the first two years and what did they do? They forced a federal takeover of the health care system down our throats that delivered on none of the promises made for it and mostly made matters worse. Since then Obama has rewritten the law a half dozen times by executive order. He has started foreign wars and made foreign treaties without consulting Congress, ignored laws he doesn't like and made up some of his own. Gridlock hasn't slowed him down one bit. Would that it had.

jerrye92002 said...

"It is really only a useful indicator for conservatives as the answer is too clear to give any useful insight into liberals rationality."

Laurie, your statement fascinates me. I interpret it to mean that liberals do not make rational decisions, and I would agree with that yet I doubt that is your intention. I also do not see how you can claim the answer is clear without acknowledging that the "clear answer" is based, if not on rational and objective measures, totally based in partisan/ideological bias.

jerrye92002 said...

"I want a lower national debt and both failed on that account."

John, that is a moral equivalence, perhaps, but in objective terms, Obama is on track to increase the debt by more than all previous Presidents put together. I suppose that makes him exceptional, but not in the good way.

"I have no problem admitting that some things have improved since 2008, and partially because of Obama/Democrats."

Oh, please, can you name a few? Just for one, and per Laurie's "test," I will note that GWB (and his policies) defeated Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and Moammar Khadafi. Obama has enabled Iran, ISIS, and the Taliban, given Khadafi's Libya to Al Qaeda and more or less created the Syrian situation. And he still claims our greatest threat is that phony-baloney "climate change" thingy.

John said...

The President is a factor, however one must look at the Congress and the business cycle. I do agree that Bill Clinton, the GOP and the Tech boom made a great combination.

Not sure I would say that Reagan was worse than Bush II and Obama without further research. Unfortunately Obama and the GOP just sold out our kids and our long term security again with tax cuts and spending increases.

Apparently that is what us credit card / home refinancing hooked Americans want. "Just let's live the good life today and worry about the debt later..."

National Debt vs GDP

John said...

Though I agree that the Democrats squandered their first 2 years and did not pass the "Bernie Sanders Communist Manifesto"... On the other hand even they understood that raising taxes in the midst of an economic collapse would not be a good idea. So their hands were somewhat tied.

Also, thankfully there are moderates from both parties who would balk at severe change like that.

"forced a federal takeover of the health care system down our throats that delivered on none of the promises made for it"

Oh Come Now... Don't exaggerate.
- The system still relies on Private insurance companies. All the Feds say is that everyone shall have health insurance that exceeds a prescribed level. Seems logical to me if we want to stop paying for irresponsible people who choose to not be insured, and then society ends up paying for their healthcare bills.
- Children can stay on their Parents insurance until 26 yrs old.
- People with pre-existing conditions can buy reasonably priced insurance.

And of course rates went up... The risk pool increased, many new people who have not had good healthcare entered the "visible" system, and kids are covered longer with no extra individual premiums.

The biggest waste has been setting up all these state run exchanges.

"The federal government is providing another $34 million for work on the MNsure health insurance exchange — a move that was cheered on Wednesday by supporters of the government-run marketplace, and derided by critics as a bailout.

With the new money, federal taxpayers will have contributed about $189.3 million to the task of creating the marketplace, which Minnesota launched in 2013 to implement the federal Affordable Care Act."

And that is for just ONE state.

Laurie said...

Measuring Obama against the great presidents

for anyone who doesn't bother to click the link:

Obama 18th best president
GWB 35th best president (also known as 9th worst)

I thought that maybe John would be able to see that Obama is clearly superior to Bush (in comparative greatness), but our blinders do make these things difficult.

John said...

Ironically This one puts Carter, Obama and Bush in the lower half and right next to each other... Seems about correct to me.

Why again are you such a fan of Obama?

Laurie said...

So you refute the rankings by presidential scholars/historians in the link I posted with some guys opinion on a blog. Maybe you should type up your rankings and cite yourself as furthur evidence.

John said...

What do you think the political leanings of a group of Presidential Scholars would be Especially if cited by the Brookings folks. Let's not pretend either are an unbiased group.

Now just tell us in your own words, why you think Obama is a great President?

John said...

I like this one.

jerrye92002 said...

If only there were some objective basis for these rankings, and opinion polls are not it. Not only are they, especially in this case, more a sampling of bias than anything else, but I will wager that the vast majority of respondents-- scholarly experts or not-- have no real memories of Truman, Eisenhower, or even Carter. Those that do are going to have those memories clouded by bias and by the passage of time.

I prefer to do it another way, and ask: what in particular makes Obama a better President than GWB? By what percentage did each increase the national debt? What was the average employment rate during their respective terms? How many agreements did each make giving the Iranians nuclear weapons? By that last measure alone, GWB is infinitely better.

jerrye92002 said...

Another way to look at it is to ask whether we are measuring "great" as in "improving the lot of the nation and its people" or just "impacting the nation and its people" where positive and negative count equally. On that latter score, Obama may be #5 or so in history, and even higher since WWII.

jerrye92002 said...

To answer the topic question, NO. Not when Obama routinely insults anyone who disagrees with him, with such put-downs as "bitter clingers" a routine part of his rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Not when Obama routinely insults anyone who disagrees with him, with such put-downs as "bitter clingers" a routine part of his rhetoric.

Where did thin skins become all the rage? When did the participants in our politics become such fragile hot house flowers? I get insulted all the time. I go to church services where I am portrayed as the enemy upon whom war is being raged. The president I worked so hard to elect is routinely disparaged as weak, unpatriotic, and a lot of other things. And you know what? All that stuff is nothing more than superficial name calling which, unlike sticks and stones, has no potential at all for hurting me.


Laurie said...

I was really kind of done with this topic as I was curious can a person overcome their bias to evelauate a president fairly and the answer is no. This is also shown in the opinion poll you linked. I think the people who rated Obama as the worst president are the republican base who are supporting Trump, which to me are a large group of whackos (couldn't think of a better word)

As to why I like Obama I think he has outstanding character. I bet he would rate at the very top for scandal free presidency. I think he is very honest, intelligent, has good judgement, has good values and so on.

As for his accomplishments getting healthcare for another 17 million people is a pretty big deal as is the way the economy has rebounded after the Bush great recession. I rate him highly on the environment for doing as much as he could. There are more accomplishments that I could google to find such as saving the auto industry, reducing the deficit etc. But like I said originally I just like the guy and know realistically to historians that this is not enough to rate him number 4 for effective presidents. Oh, and lastly all of his accomplishments are in spite of unpresidented republican obstructionism.

I think when you rate Obama and Bush as equally mediocre your biggest error is being to generous to Bush. He clearly belongs at the bottom of the pack, but once again I am no historian so maybe there are 8 others who are truly worse.

Anonymous said...

I think it was in the Wall Street that I read some piece from a Republican moaning about how mean the president was in his State of the Union address. Among other things, he complained that the president offered no compromises during the speech. I have to say, I was astounded by that. This president has almost constantly been criticized on all sides for his willingness to compromise. It's that very willingness, eagerness even, to reach a deal which is the basic reason for the accusations of weakness. I remember during the health care debate how livid his strongest supporters were at his willingness to give up single payer. And I remember, vividly, how he ridiculed us for that. But he made the compromises he needed to make the deal, and as flawed as it is, flawed as it is, we have Obamacare.


John said...

Well I think we have agreed that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Seems I have heard that somewhere before, maybe it will become a saying... :-)

As for the good / bad of Bush:
- He partnered with Kennedy and signed NCLB which shined a spot light on the left behind and those leaving them behind. This has driven 15 years of national dialogue regarding something that had been ignored.

- He signed tax reformed that helped everyone. The poor, middle class and wealthy.

- He made a decision to break up the Taliban, stop the Iraq stalemate and support Democracy in those countries.

- His choices led to an increasing national debt.

As for the good / bad of Obama:
- He signed the ACA which gave some citizens health insurance at the cost to others.

- He kept the education dialogue going and signed an update to NCLB.

- He pulled many USA troops from Afghanistan / Iraq which slowed the miiitary deaths/ expense, however it left voids where terrorist could grow.

By the way, I don't think anyone is going to argue against Obama being a smart gifted speaker who is likable. The problem is that he just isn't terribly effective at working across party lines, even he understands that.

Laurie said...

the presidential historians/ scholars agree with me.

John said...

And yet you can not give a list of wonderful things he has accomplished.

Laurie said...

I said I greatly admire Obama, but did not argue with the historian rating of high average as far as effective / successful leaders.

I said your error is in rating Bush as average when a more accurate rating is poor.

Here are a couple of lists for you about Bush, to further explain why you have overrated him:

5 reasons George W. Bush is still one of the worst presidents ever

50 Reasons You Despised George W. Bush's Presidency

As for Obama here is a list of 50 for him to- accomplishments that is

Obama's to 50 Accomplishments

Have I mentioned that I am not interested in arguing / comparing presidential accomplishmens. My interest has waned since I confirmed the affect of bias.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Bush is that in foreign policy, he fought a series of unnecessary, destabilizing wars, and that domestically, his economic policies came very close to destroying the economy. He will certainly go down as the worst president of modern times.


John said...

Yep. We'll have to agree to disagree.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, I appreciate your efforts and understand your viewpoint after reading through the list of 50 "accomplishments" of Obama. Unfortunately, I have a slightly different view of those things. Yes, they are "accomplishments," but whether they are positive are negative is a different matter, and critical to saying how Obama should be "rated" as a President. Of the 50, I find:
-5 for which he should get no credit. They would have happened with or without him.
-5 in which he had the right idea, but somehow bungled it in execution.
-5 in which he did good.
-7 that he "accomplished" so badly that they were probably counterproductive.
-9 where he actually did the WRONG thing, and
19 things he should not have done at all.

Example: "[Obamacare] will cover 32 million Americans by 2014 and lower costs." Right idea, HORRIBLE execution.

Maybe the rating should be based on /positive/ "accomplishments"?