Back in 2008, I had a difficult time detecting any substantive difference between the top-tier candidates — Barack Obama and John McCain — both of whom had surprisingly similar campaign themes: Regulate industry to control greenhouse gases through a cap-and-trade program; play a decisive role worldwide through aggressive foreign policy and generous foreign aid; institute “comprehensive immigration reform” (aka amnesty); ramp up the already huge amounts of deficit spending by backing such programs as the Troubled Asset Relief Program to boost the economy; and maintain the status quo with social welfare programs or even increase spending, etc.

Ron PaulThree of the four remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have spoken out against planned reductions in future defense spending. Both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have urged President Barack Obama to prevent the sequestering of $600 billion from the defense budget over the next 10 years as required by last summer’s debt ceiling deal. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum stated categorically that he “would absolutely not cut one penny out of military spending.”

With the publishing of a “white paper” about the housing market, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has rankled some Republicans that suggestions made appear to have transgressed some line of propriety that separates monetary policy, fiscal policy, and the Fed’s “independence.”

President Obama’s 2013 budget and proposed tax increases have been construed as a direct assault on the wealthy Republican class. But according to past election analyses, and despite the prevailing notion that America’s wealthy overwhelmingly oppose progressive taxation, the President may in fact be targeting his own base.

The U.S. unemployment rate jumped in February from 8.3 percent to 9.0 percent, according to Gallup. Gallup’s numbers are highly correlated to the same reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The differences between the two are very slight: Gallup calls people age 18 and up; the BLS calls people age 16 and up. Gallup polls 30,000 people every month; the BLS polls 60,000. Gallup makes those calls continuously throughout the month; the BLS calls during one week in the middle of the month. Gallup’s numbers aren’t seasonally adjusted; the BLS numbers are.

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