Wow, seems like America is starting to get going again!!
U.S. Senate narrowly passes first budget in four years
Reuters by David Lawder on March 23, 2013
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Saturday narrowly passed its first federal budget in four years, a move that will usher in a relative lull in Washington’s fiscal wars until an anticipated summer showdown over raising the debt ceiling.
The budget plan passed 50-49 at about 5 a.m. after a marathon voting session in the Democratic-controlled chamber. Four Democratic senators facing tough re-election campaigns in 2014 joined all the Senate Republicans in opposing the measure, which seeks to raise nearly $1 trillion in new tax revenues by closing some tax breaks for the wealthy.
So the first trip abroad from newly inaugurated Secretary of State John Kerry goes to the UK.. And maybe the Atlantic moves up a little notch on the agenda from now on…
The Prime Minister’s Office posted a photo:
New US Secretary of State, John Kerry, meets with David Cameron during his first trip overseas since taking office on 1 Feb 2013
It’s old news… but businessmen are historically the worst presidents on economic performance.. twice leading to huge crashes…
Can a businessman help the economy? For presidents, the answer has been no. – The Washington Post:
Can a businessman help the economy? For presidents, the answer has been no.
Mitt Romney likes to argue that his business experience has prepared him for the challenges of the presidency, particularly in stoking economic recovery. In his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Romney declared that President Obama “took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business.”
But historically, has the economy been healthier in times when the president has had a business background?
As any good executive would, let’s look at the numbers.
Since Herbert Hoover’s 1928 election, the American people have voted out of office after a single term only three elected presidents: Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — all of whom were successful businessmen before they were president. And the only successful business-trained president who was reelected, George W. Bush, oversaw an economic collapse at the end of his second term.
As measured in constant 2005 dollars starting on Jan. 1 of the year after they took office — the economy’s performance in the first year of a presidency is better assigned to the preceding administration — the four presidents with successful business careers had the four worst records in terms of gross domestic product performance. (…)
US has fallen from 1st to 7th place in just five years – on the Global Competitiveness Index done by the World Economic Forum.
Germany now more competitive than the US.
- United States
The US recent track record was 1st (2008), 2nd (2009), 4th (2010) and 5th (2011).
From Der Spiegel:
Blasting Europe has become a reflex in the US presidential campaign, with Republican nominee Mitt Romney leading the way. But a new report ranking economic competitiveness has found that the US is no longer the leader it once was. This year, the country even dropped behind Germany.
(..) This week, though, brought yet another indication that Romney might want to refine his trans-Atlantic message. According to the Global Competitiveness Index released annually by the World Economic Forum, the United States once again lost ground. Ahead of the economic superpower on the list? Four European Union countries and Switzerland. Indeed, the report hints that the US might not be working in the US.
Read more here.
We’ve done a little batch of summer updates on the current political and economic books during the last couple of weeks – and here’s the message:
2012 – a bleak picture.
- It’s the Middle Class, Stupid (Carville & Greenberg): We’ve failed. The Middle Class is broken.
- Our Divided Political Heart (E. J. Dionne): Polarization, Extremism and drift from the founding principles and values.
- Twilight of the Elites (MSNBC Chris Hayes): Meritocracy is lost.
- End the Depression Now! (Paul Krugman): Unemployment ruins lives. We are actually in a Depression.
- It’s Even Worse Than It Looks (Mann & Ornstein): Congress is defunct, politics is tribal, most of the blame lies with the GOP.
- The Betrayal of the American Dream (Barlett & Steele): Social mobility is gone, the Dream is an Illusion, the Middle Class is systematically ravaged.
So now we’re reading this:
It’s been fixed before.
For some inspiration.
Almost 4 million new jobs.
US safe, then doubled. 1800-1803.
Towards the end of the McCullough book now – it seems that the distinctive and momentous achievement of John Adams really was making peace with France while President.
Disregarding constant warfare and ships sunk by the French, as well as world stage humiliation of American Envoys in Paris by Talleyrand and the Directorate – Adams kept cool – resisted warmongers and hawks at home – and requested peace while building a strong navy.
In the end Paris stepped down and offered peace, in 1800.
A few years later Emperor Napoleon dismissed the whole squabble as a “family feud”, and offered the massive territory of Lousiana to President Thomas Jefferson – thereby famously doubling US with a pen stroke.
Adams had declared war on France in 1798-99, US might not even have existed today.
It would probably have been crushed, opening for an establishment of a French Empire in the north-east, and very likely a lasting chaos and warfare between Britain, France and Spain on the whole continent.
If there ever was a point were the fragile young US could’ve become history, it was during those years.
And to some dismay for Adams – the news of the French Peace Treaty was delayed some months due to postal delivery – possibly costing him the general election in 1800.
Oh well. Times change.
Here’s the tense moment when Britain releases US as an independent sovereign country:
The British King: “The circumstances of this audience are so extraordinary, the language you have now held is so extremely proper, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted to the occasion, that I must say that I not only receive with pleasure the assurance of the friendly dispositions of the United States, but that I am very glad the choice has fallen upon you to be their minister. I wish you, sir, to believe, and that it may be understood in America, that I have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought myself indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed to my people. I will be very frank with you. I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made, and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.”