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The Elite Turn Against Obama

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The Elite Turn Against Obama

by Lloyd Grove

July 7, 2010 | 6:46am

Even the Aspen Ideas Festival, an annual gathering of the country's brightest lights, isn't Obama country anymore. Lloyd Grove on the president's waning support among the intelligentsia.

You’d think the well-heeled and enlightened eggheads at the Aspen Ideas Festival—which is running all week in this fashionable resort town with heady panel discussions and earnest disquisitions involving all manner of deep thinkers and do-gooders—would be receptive to an intellectually ambitious president with big ideas of his own.

In a way, the folks attending this cerebral conclave pairing the Aspen Institute think tank with the Atlantic Monthly magazine might even be seen as President Obama’s natural base.

Apparently not so much.

“The real problem we have,” Mort Zuckerman said, “are some of the worst economic policies in place today that, in my judgment, go directly against the long-term interests of this country.”

Obama’s top economic adviser, Larry Summers, and his departing budget director, Peter Orszag, can expect heavy weather when they land in Aspen later this week to make their case to this civic-minded clique of wealthy skeptics.

“If you’re asking if the United States is about to become a socialist state, I’d say it’s actually about to become a European state, with the expansiveness of the welfare system and the progressive tax system like what we’ve already experienced in Western Europe,” Harvard business and history professor Niall Ferguson declared during Monday’s kickoff session, offering a withering critique of Obama’s economic policies, which he claimed were encouraging laziness.

“The curse of longterm unemployment is that if you pay people to do nothing, they’ll find themselves doing nothing for very long periods of time,” Ferguson said. “Long-term unemployment is at an all-time high in the United States, and it is a direct consequence of a misconceived public policy.”

Ferguson was joined in his harsh attack by billionaire real estate mogul and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman. Both lambasted Obama’s trillion-dollar deficit spending program—in the name of economic stimulus to cushion the impact of the 2008 financial meltdown—as fiscally ruinous, potentially turning America into a second-rate power.

“We are, without question, in a period of decline, particularly in the business world,” Zuckerman said. “The real problem we have…are some of the worst economic policies in place today that, in my judgment, go directly against the long-term interests of this country.”

Zuckerman added that he detects in the Obama White House “hostility to the very kinds of [business] culture that have made this the great country that it is and was. I think we have to find some way of dealing with that or else we will do great damage to this country with a public policy that could ruin everything.”

Ferguson added: “The critical point is if your policy says you’re going run a trillion-dollar deficit for the rest of time, you’re riding for a fall…Then it really is goodbye.” A dashing Brit, Ferguson added: “Can I say that, having grown up in a declining empire, I do not recommend it. It’s just not a lot of fun actually—decline.”

Ferguson called for what he called “radical” measures. “I can’t emphasize strongly enough the need for radical fiscal reform to restore the incentives for work and remove the incentives for idleness.” He praised “really radical reform of the sort that, for example, Paul Ryan [the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee] has outlined in his wonderful ‘Roadmap’ for radical, root-and-branch reform not only of the tax system but of the entitlement system” and “unleash entrepreneurial innovation.” Otherwise, Ferguson warned: “Do you want to be a kind of implicit part of the European Union? I’d advise you against it.”

This was greeted by hearty applause from a crowd that included Barbra Streisand and her husband James Brolin. “Depressing, but fantastic,” Streisand told me afterward, rendering her verdict on the session. “So exciting. Wonderful!”

Brolin’s assessment: “Mind-blowing.”

In a session Tuesday morning, Silicon Valley guru Michael Splinter piled on. “From an industry standpoint, it’s below what a lot of people in industry have viewed as the solution to the jobs problem,” Splinter, president of the Applied Materials solar energy company, complained about Obama’s economic performance. He was speaking to an agreeable audience in an interview with Atlantic Media owner David Bradley. “When I talk to venture capitalists, their companies are starting to move their manufacturing operations out of the United States…Our corporate tax rate, on a worldwide competitive basis, is just not competitive. Taiwan is lowering their rate to 20 to 15 percent in order to stay competitive with Singapore. These countries have made it their job to attract industry. You don’t get that sense here in the United States.”

The consensus was similar in an afternoon panel discussion on the decline of the American middle class. “He said jobs were going to be his No. 1 priority—there’s a huge disconnect between Washington and what’s going on out in the country,” nominal Obama supporter Arianna Huffington said. “The president’s economic team kept talking about a ‘cyclical’ problem. Larry Summers said jobs were a lagging economic indicator. All these things are simply wrong. The president put all his trust in the wrong economic team—an economic team that didn’t understand what was happening.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-07-07/aspen-ideas-festival-obama-loses-support-of-nations-elite/?cid=hp:exc

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I stopped reading after "enlightened eggheads." What a piece of garbage to call intelligent people eggheads. Republicans are so hatefull and so much in rage. Are there any republican/conservative/tea partier that made it past high school without cheating or without day's money?


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I stopped reading after "enlightened eggheads." What a piece of garbage to call intelligent people eggheads. Republicans are so hatefull and so much in rage. Are there any republican/conservative/tea partier that made it past high school without cheating or without day's money?

And I stopped reading your post after your hateful rage filled close mindedness and generalizations became apparent. You must be a far left liberal Democrat with communist/socialist tendencies. ;)


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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I stopped reading after "enlightened eggheads." What a piece of garbage to call intelligent people eggheads. Republicans are so hatefull and so much in rage. Are there any republican/conservative/tea partier that made it past high school without cheating or without day's money?

And I stopped reading your post after your hateful rage filled close mindedness and generalizations became apparent. You must be a far left liberal Democrat with communist/socialist tendencies. ;)

He's a huge Obama supporter. Absolutely in love with Obama and Joey Biden.


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I stopped reading after "enlightened eggheads." What a piece of garbage to call intelligent people eggheads. Republicans are so hatefull and so much in rage. Are there any republican/conservative/tea partier that made it past high school without cheating or without day's money?

you're sounding more and more like consolemaster every day.


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Rather than focus on the author why not read the quotes from former Obama supporters? This "kill the messenger" attitude is just another way of avoiding the truth.

I'm an unabashed conservative and would rather not vote at all for a phony conservative than to have voted for the opposition in protest. That being said...many independents that voted for Obama for a multitude of personal reasons are abandoning him in droves for being the self serving phony he is. He's an unabashed party hack that is all about himself and his like minded cronies. He is all about promoting his personal ideology and social agenda before he gets thrown out of office in 2012. In the mean time he will get his licks in while the getting is good. Many people voted for this clown without fully realizing the consequences. They didn't vote for Obama, but rather deservedly against the Republicans. Too bad there are only two choices. Life is hard politically for an independent voter when the pickings are slim. And it was the independent voter that pushed Obummer over the top.


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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What a piece of garbage to call intelligent people eggheads.

You call people worse than that on VJ every friggin' day.


Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

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I stopped reading after "enlightened eggheads." What a piece of garbage to call intelligent people eggheads. Republicans are so hatefull and so much in rage. Are there any republican/conservative/tea partier that made it past high school without cheating or without day's money?

I don't believe that all Republicans are tea partiers, not even close. Don't get stuck labeling people. I seem to recall someone who was all upset about stereotyping "Persians." I looked at a map, I can't seem to find Persia, only the Islamic Republic of Iran. Maybe Persia is next to East Pakistan. :bonk: :bonk: :bonk: BTW, are Native Americans US Citizens yet or should they join you in North Korea?:bonk: :bonk: :bonk: :bonk: :bonk: :bonk: Better stop snorting nutmeg, BUDDY!!!:bonk: :bonk: :bonk:

Edited by IR5FORMUMSIE

IR5

2007-07-27 – Case complete at NVC waiting on the world or at least MTL.

2007-12-19 - INTERVIEW AT MTL, SPLIT DECISION.

2007-12-24-Mom's I-551 arrives, Pop's still in purgatory (AP)

2008-03-11-AP all done, Pop is approved!!!!

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And I stopped reading your post after your hateful rage filled close mindedness and generalizations became apparent. You must be a far left liberal Democrat with communist/socialist tendencies. ;)

You left out the part about bedwetting. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


IR5

2007-07-27 – Case complete at NVC waiting on the world or at least MTL.

2007-12-19 - INTERVIEW AT MTL, SPLIT DECISION.

2007-12-24-Mom's I-551 arrives, Pop's still in purgatory (AP)

2008-03-11-AP all done, Pop is approved!!!!

tumblr_lme0c1CoS21qe0eclo1_r6_500.gif

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The Elite Turn Against Obama

by Lloyd Grove

July 7, 2010 | 6:46am

“If you’re asking if the United States is about to become a socialist state, I’d say it’s actually about to become a European state, with the expansiveness of the welfare system and the progressive tax system like what we’ve already experienced in Western Europe,” Harvard business and history professor Niall Ferguson declared during Monday’s kickoff session, offering a withering critique of Obama’s economic policies, which he claimed were encouraging laziness.

“The curse of longterm unemployment is that if you pay people to do nothing, they’ll find themselves doing nothing for very long periods of time,” Ferguson said. “Long-term unemployment is at an all-time high in the United States, and it is a direct consequence of a misconceived public policy.”

This bit doesn't make sense to me. The US had a progressive tax system since? Its got to be at least 100 years. Not only that, you could say we're going backwards to 2000 in terms of the tax rates. Now I've heard rumors of a VAT being tossed about, but nothing concrete.

Regarding the US long term unemployment numbers - how is that connected to the public policies mentioned in the article. I fail to see the connection.

Edited by Sousuke

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This bit doesn't make sense to me. The US had a progressive tax system since? Its got to be at least 100 years. Not only that, you could say we're going backwards to 2000 in terms of the tax rates. Now I've heard rumors of a VAT being tossed about, but nothing concrete.

Regarding the US long term unemployment numbers - how is that connected to the public policies mentioned in the article. I fail to see the connection.

So it looks like the US has had a progressive tax since at least 1918. Ironically Europe (eastern Europe) has the most countries with a flat tax system...mostly former soviet satellites.

Edited by Sousuke

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