It’s the Math, Stupid!: Seven Devastating Facts About 2012 By Wynton Hall

As we enter 2012, the presidential candidates would do well to wrap their minds and messages around these seven mathematical facts:

1.Every day, the U.S. government takes in $6 billion and spends $10 billion. This means that every day the federal government spends $4 billion more dollars than it has.
2.The real unemployment rate is a jaw-dropping 11 percent.
3.Every fifth man you pass on your way to work is now out of work.
4.College graduates are now 34% less likely to find a job under Obama than they were under President George W. Bush.
5.Every seventh person you pass on the sidewalk now relies on food stamps.
6.The ravages of the Obama economy now mean that more Americans live under the federal poverty line than at any time in U.S. history since records have been kept.
7.Under President Barack Obama, every fifth child in America now lives in poverty.

These are not partisan jabs, manufactured statistics, or ideological swipes. These are mathematical facts. And the presidential candidate who can most clearly and credibly articulate them—and their concomitant solutions—is bound to win.

Why? Because these facts point toward the solutions America must implement to avert the kinds of economic and social upheaval seen in Europe and elsewhere.

Start with mathematical fact number one—deficit spending.

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SideBear: How’s that “Hope and Change” working out?

The Spenders Won 2011: Republicans fell for Obama’s backroom budget trap..

Amid this month’s payroll tax fracas, few noticed that Congress passed a 1,200-page, $1 trillion omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2012. Maybe no one in Washington boasted because it’s a victory for spending as usual. Republicans—in the House and Senate—need a better strategy.
The real failure of GOP leaders is that Senate Democrats and the White House foiled Republican attempts to cut spending further. The GOP fiscal high point was the passage of Paul Ryan’s budget in the spring, with $4.5 trillion of savings over a decade, numerous program cancellations, the most ambitious entitlement reform since the GOP budget of 1995 (vetoed by Bill Clinton), and an outline for pro-growth tax reform.

From that moment on, Democrats went into a prevent defense. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to pass a comparable budget outline, a Democratic abdication that has now reached more than 900 days. Democrats offered no spending cuts or budget reforms in public. None. Instead, they attacked Mr. Ryan for daring to reform the structure of Medicare to introduce more competition, which takes some nerve after Democrats cut Medicare by $500 billion over a decade to fund ObamaCare.

As for the White House, Mr. Obama joined the assault on Mr. Ryan, but he also claimed to favor some fiscal discipline and he invited GOP leaders to work out a compromise behind closed doors. This let him posture as a spending cutter without having to make a decision on any specific budget cuts or reforms. He gulled Speaker John Boehner in particular with promises of sincerity, only to demand $1 trillion in tax increases that House Republicans could never pass without violating their own campaign promises.

Read more from Wall Street Journal

Tehran’s hollow Hormuz strait threat by Michael Rubin

Tension between the United States and Iran reached levels not seen in more than 20 years when, on Wednesday, Iranian military officials threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the 34-mile wide channel through which more than one-third of the world’s oil tanker traffic passes. Habibollah Sayyari, commander of Iran’s navy, bragged that closing the Strait would be easier than drinking a glass of water.

While the threat from a resurgent Iran is real, its bluster about closing the Strait is more diversion than danger. The waterway may be an economic chokehold, but it is also a vital passage for Iran’s survival. The Islamic Republic is not only the world’s third-largest exporter of oil. Because of decades of mismanagement, it is also a voracious consumer of imported gasoline: Iran must import 40% of the refined petroleum it needs not only to run its automobiles, but also to power its factories and extract oil. To close the Strait of Hormuz even for a day would do far more damage to the Iranian economy than it would to the West.

The Islamic Republic’s goal may still be more financial than military. Iran’s economy is teetering. In the past nine months, Iran’s currency has lost a third of its value against the dollar. Unemployment and inflation are both in the double digits. To keep afloat, Iran needs high oil prices. Should the price of oil fall below $80 per barrel, even the brutal Revolutionary Guards may not be able to maintain domestic stability for long. They know that by simply threatening tanker traffic, they can drive up the price of oil, adding hundreds of millions of dollars to their coffers.

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Little Change in Public’s Response to ‘Capitalism,’ ‘Socialism’

The American public’s take on capitalism remains mixed, with just slightly more saying they have a positive (50%) than a negative (40%) reaction to the term.

Socialism is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all. Six-in-ten (60%) say they have a negative reaction to the word; 31% have a positive reaction. Those numbers are little changed from when the question was last asked in April 2010.

Of these terms, socialism is the more politically polarizing – the reaction is almost universally negative among conservatives, while generally positive among liberals.

Read more from Pew Research Center

New Year’s Resolution