Judd Legum over at the Center for American Progress did a whole bunch of research regarding some facts that are likely to get spun like a top tonight.

Money quote(s):

Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. The Republican response will be given by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Before you watch the speeches, get the facts:

• Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs. [Source]

• The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976. [Source]

• Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president. [Source]

• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent. [Source]

• Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance. [Source]

• For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work. [Source]

• Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent. [Source]

• 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. [Source]

• “In 2011, the United States killed Al Qaeda’s most effective propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki; its operating chief, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman; and of course its founder, chief executive and spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Source]

• Union membership is at a 70-year low. [Source]

• Unemployment benefits have lifted 3.2 million people out of poverty. [Source]

• The United States used to have the world’s largest percentage of college graduates. We’re now #14. [Source]

• One quarter of all contributions to federal campaigns come from 0.01 percent of Americans. [Source]

47.8 percent of households that receive food stamps are working, because having a job is not enough to keep them out of poverty. [Source]

• In the last three years, 30 major corporations spent more on lobbying than they paid in taxes. [Source]

• 50 percent of U.S. workers make less than $26,364 per year. [Source]

• More than one in 70 homes faced foreclosure last year. [Source]

• Since 1985, the federal tax rate for the 400 wealthiest Americans dropped from 29 percent to 18 percent. [Source]

 

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The American Prospect argues that Adlai Stevenson is the one to blame:

If you wonder who made hauteur respectable, try Adlai Stevenson. The most celebrated exchange of his two campaigns against Dwight D. Eisenhower went like this: “Governor, every thinking person will be voting for you,” cried a woman at a rally. Ever humorous, the Democratic nominee twinkled. “Madam, that’s not enough,” he said. “I need a majority.” That quip was one of the most appalling things ever said in public by anyone running for president, because either you believe in democracy or you don’t. Yet to educated liberals at the time—confounded that Ike’s war-winning grin counted for more than their hero’s plummy savoir faire—it was balm. Almost 60 years later, the attitude has hardly vanished.

Per the Bagehot blog at The Economist,

And the Liberal Democrats, junior partners in the coalition? Well, their whole plan for re-election was to be the kindlier, restraining element of the coalition that had delivered economic recovery in time for the 2015 general election, seeking credit for their fiscal discipline while pointing out where they had softened the roughest edges of Tory austerity.

If instead of a recovery Britain faces an economic catastrophe, I confess I struggle to see how the Lib Dems survive at all.

Original post here.

As a comitted Labour supporter, I have always been disdainful of how the Liberal Democrats have marketed their policies to the electorate. At least with this coalition government we have been witness to the best reasons NOT to elect a Clegg-like figure in the future.

Will Clegg’s big gamble with the Tory’s be his party’s ruin?

Josh Voorhees over at Slate covered the well-expected announcement that New Jersey governor Chris Christie will not seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.

Voorhees:

As promised, Chris Christie announced Tuesday that he will not seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.“Now is not my time,” the New Jersey governor said at an afternoon press conference in Trenton. “New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me,” he said, adding he has “unfinished business” as governor.

Opening my copy of the New York Times this morning at breakfast, I eagerly paged to the new Krugman piece. As I had guessed, Krugman was going to throw around his thoughts regarding the previous week’s GOP debate.

In particular, Krugman discusses the jaw-dropping moment where Rep. Ron Paul was drawn into explaining his views over how ‘freedom’ functions  in his brand of America with respect to health care.

Krugman opens with an anecdote about Milton Friendman and then lays into the GOP apprentices:

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”

And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”

The moment when the shouts occured were about when my jaw hit the proverbial floor. Obviously I was not alone, because Krugman felt the same:

…at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.

Krugman’s pieces often have a brief moment of ‘ah-ha’, where he illustrates how just vastly different this generations GOP is from previous.

Today was no exception:

In the past, conservatives accepted the need for a government-provided safety net on humanitarian grounds. Don’t take it from me, take it from Friedrich Hayek, the conservative intellectual hero, who specifically declared in “The Road to Serfdom” his support for “a comprehensive system of social insurance” to protect citizens against “the common hazards of life,” and singled out health in particular.

Given the agreed-upon desirability of protecting citizens against the worst, the question then became one of costs and benefits — and health care was one of those areas where even conservatives used to be willing to accept government intervention in the name of compassion, given the clear evidence that covering the uninsured would not, in fact, cost very much money. As many observers have pointed out, the Obama health care plan was largely based on past Republican plans, and is virtually identical to Mitt Romney’s health reform in Massachusetts.

Now, however, compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

It’s a long way to November, but given the above repudiation by the Right of 50+ years of precedence, it’s not too early to worry.

Yglesias notices something that the rest of us in financial compliance have been wary about: there are two open seats on the Fed Reserve Board of Directors

This is really bad.

Yglesias:

One of those seats is vacant because Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) thought an economist with a Nobel Prize wasn’t qualified for the job. The nominee in question withdrew, and Obama hasn’t named anyone else. The second open slot nobody’s ever been nominated for. It seems to me that with two seats open, it ought to be possible to work something out. And if it’s not possible to work something out, then there ought to be a partisan fight. Just letting the power to appoint people to the most important economic policymaking institution in the country languish isn’t an acceptable outcome. The single largest influence on President Obama’s re-election prospects is the short-term performance of the economy, and the single largest influence on the short-term performance of the economy is the Fed.

There are seven seats for a reason. It balances out possible rush to judgement by any member, and brings more voices to the conversation. It’s unlikely this will get solved soon, but I’m disgusted that it’s gone this far.

David Brooks and Paul Ryan in a battle of the ages for the title of who is less politically relevant.

Original article here.