For a few days, President Obama almost had us convinced. Not that we should use military force to punish Syria, but that he actually was going to take responsibility for something.But Saturday's sudden announcement shocked even those closest to Obama. Instead of just attacking Syria, Obama decided to ask Congress for another "authorization for the use of military force" (AUMF). Which means that, as he has on everything from Obamacare to Benghazi, Obama chose to let someone else take responsibility for his actions.
As President Obama uses the power of the White House this week to lobby to intervene in Syria, perhaps the Nation needs to ask him to explain what is so important that the United States needs to aid Al Qaeda to kill more people who do not believe in their form of radical Islam? He needs to start by explaining this to a very special group of families before the anniversary of a very special day to them. Every member of Congress also needs to explain this to every American.
The list of mistakes by Mr. Obama includes, but is by no means limited to, declaring two years ago that Assad must go (and doing nothing to achieve that end); declaring one year ago that if Syria used chemical weapons it would be crossing a “red line” that would constitute a “game changer” (Assad crossed the “red line,” for months nothing happened, and whatever Obama does, he’s made it clear it will not constitute a “game changer”); signaling to our enemies, in advance, the details of our expected...
Despite President Obama’s view that growing income inequality is hurting the nation, it’s actually gotten worse during his tenure, at least according to one measure.
The difference between America’s median and average wages grew at a rate of 0.28 percent under President Bush, while it’s grown at a rate of 1.14 percent -- or about four times that -- under Obama, according to The New York Times. The median wage is the midpoint of all workers’ wages, so it only ticks up when everyone is earning more. While a small group of people earning higher pay can push the average wage up.
So, as the difference between the two rises, it means that those at the bottom of the income scale are making fewer gains compared to those at the top.
This data point is one of many that illustrates that in Obama’s America the rich are gaining while the rest of us are struggling to get by. The wealthy took home a greater share of the nation’s income during the years following the recession, under Obama, than between 2002 and 2007, under Bush, according to a 2012 analysis from Emmanuel Saez, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
Still, it’s likely not all Obama’s fault. As a more recent paper from Saez and his Berkeley colleagues notes, the U.S. has the worst income inequality in the developed world in large part because lawmakers, financiers and the wealthy have colluded for years to keep much of the nation’s money in the hands of the rich.
For his part, it seems Obama at least recognizes the danger in letting the income gap grow. He told the NYT earlier this year that lawmakers should not accept a future in which income inequality continues to rise.
As President Obama moves toward launching military strikes against the Syrian regime, some have been quick to charge him with hypocritically following in the footsteps of the president he long sought to repudiate: George W. Bush.Ron Paul kicked things off two months ago with a baseless charge of "fixing the intelligence and facts around the already determined policy." More recently, a leading Russian legislator claimed Obama would be "Bush's clone" because "just like in Iraq, this war won't be legit." Fox News columnist and strident U.N. critic Anne...
1. Failure to consult Congress. The Obama administration has built no consensus among Congress for any kind of strike. Generalissimo Pelosi wants a strike, but beyond her there is very little appetite for any U.S. action. Democrats are vocally skeptical. Republicans see a replay of Libya, just a couple of weeks before the first anniversary of the deadly attack in Benghazi. Even Dennis Kucinich is starting to make sense. There may be good reasons for striking Syria, but those reasons have not been articulated well or explained to Congress. So Congress in turn cannot explain the policy to their...
John Kerry's job is to make peace, but on Monday the nation's top diplomat was the man tapped to issue the clarion call for an American strike on Syria."What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality," Kerry said. "The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity."
President Obama deserves credit for using his bully pulpit to address the crisis in college affordability. Especially admirable is his insistence that institutions must control their costs, instead of jacking up tuition and passing the expense on to students, as they have for decades.
DICKINSON, N.D.—North Dakota is like an overachieving child who attracts the attention of everyone—except Dad.The oil boom taking over western North Dakota and transforming America's energy landscape has prompted visits from people around the world—Germany, Turkey, Japan, Dubai, and elsewhere—to see what they can learn and how they can benefit.
Think the United States is fairing badly in the Middle East? Convinced that our policy is chaotic, confused and contradictory, from North Africa to the Persian Gulf?Think again. It may not be politically correct to admit it, but when it comes to furthering America's core national interests, Washington isn't doing badly at all. And here's why.Defining U.S. national interests is a critically important task, and not enough attention is paid to it. If you don't know where you're going, the old saw goes, any road will get you there. And we've seen the consequences of...
This time it’s different. For months, Bashar al-Assad, in Syria, has been suspected of using chemical weapons against the rebels who are trying to remove him, in violation of international treaties and the Obama Administration’s threats. Syrian opposition groups say that Assad has used chemical weapons as many as thirty-five times, often with low concentrations of sarin gas. In each case, the attack appears to have been intended to cause as much panic as death, and without provoking a Western response. The result—carefully calculated by the Assad regime,...
In the beginning, the Hebrew Bible tells us, the universe was all "tohu wabohu," chaos and tumult. This month the Middle East seems to be reverting to that primeval state: Iraq continues to unravel, the Syrian War grinds on with violence spreading to Lebanon and allegations of chemical attacks this week, and Egypt stands on the brink of civil war with the generals crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and street mobs torching churches. Turkey's prime minister, once widely hailed as President Obama's best friend in the region, blames Egypt's violence on the Jews; pretty much...
Yesterday President Obama delivered a forceful message to the predatory for-profit college industry. In response to a question at an event Friday at Binghamton University in New York state, Obama said these businesses were "making out like a bandit" preying on veterans and other students, as well as taxpayers. He warned that if these for-profit colleges don't start training students for careers, they face a cutoff of federal aid.
Obama's forceful remarks echoed the strong statement he made on this issue last year, standing with soldiers at Fort Stewart, Georgia. This is the kind of strong leadership we need to educate our students and rebuild our economy.
Here's the exchange:
Q I'm a doctoral student here as well as a writing instructor at Syracuse University. And I'm interested in the giving of federal funds to students who are going to for-profit colleges -- or colleges I might even call predatory. And I'm very conflicted about this issue and so I'd like to hear your insight. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you probably know more about it than I do since you've written about it. But let me describe for the audience what the challenge is.
For-profit institutions in a lot of sectors of our lives obviously is the cornerstone of our economy. And we want to encourage entrepreneurship and new ideas and new approaches and new ways of doing things. So I'm not against for-profit institutions, generally. But what you're absolutely right about is, is that there have been some schools that are notorious for getting students in, getting a bunch of grant money, having those students take out a lot of loans, making big profits, but having really low graduation rates. Students aren't getting what they need to be prepared for a particular field. They get out of these for-profit schools loaded down with enormous debt. They can't find a job. They default. The taxpayer ends up holding the bag. Their credit is ruined, and the for-profit institution is making out like a bandit. That's a problem.
I was mentioning veterans earlier. Soldiers and sailors and Marines and Coast Guardsmen, they've been preyed upon very badly by some of these for-profit institutions. And we actually created a special task force inside our consumer advocate protection organization that we set up just to look out for members of the armed forces who were being manipulated. Because what happened was these for-profit schools saw this Post-9/11 GI Bill, that there was a whole bunch of money that the federal government was committed to making sure that our veterans got a good education, and they started advertising to these young people, signing them up, getting them to take a bunch of loans, but they weren't delivering a good product.
This goes to, then, the point I made earlier about how we can rate schools. We're going to spend some time over the course of the next year talking to everybody -- talking to university professors, talking to faculty members, talking to students, talking to families -- but if we can define some basic parameters of what's a good value, then it will allow us more effectively to police schools whether they're for-profit or non-for-profit -- because there are some non-for-profit schools, traditional schools that have higher default rates among their graduates than graduation rates -- and be able to say to them, look, either you guys step up and improve, or you're not going to benefit from federal dollars. (Applause.)
Because there are a bunch of schools like this one that are doing a good job, and we don't want money being funneled to schools that aren't doing a good job. We want to encourage students to be smart shoppers, to be good consumers.
So there are probably more problems in the for-profit sector on this than there are in the traditional non-for-profit colleges, universities and technical schools, but it's a problem across the board. And the way to solve it is to make sure that we've got ways to measure what's happening and we can weed out some of the folks that are engaging in bad practices.
Officials across the government -- from the Securities and Exchange Commission to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission to the Department of Education -- should take a strong cue from this presidential statement and act forcefully to regulate for-profit colleges and crack down on abuses.
This article also appears on Republic Report.
But despite President Obama’s tepid job approval ratings, Democrats have a shot at breaking that rule this November. Some polls show the Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe, with a narrow lead over Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, his Republican challenger. ¶ “Why is McAuliffe ahead?” asked Tom Davis, a former Virginia congressman and Republican strategist. ¶ One important reason: The same demographic shifts that made it possible for Mr. Obama to carry Virginia twice after 10 consecutive Democratic losses have raised the water level for the...
At a time when Obama communications specialists seem to have grown accustomed to attempting to make reporters accessories to White House message-control in return for granting access to policymakers, the Post stiffened its spine and drew a line in the sand—a stand on principle that is generally being applauded by other news outlets that operate in Washington. New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson, for one, praised her competitor for refusing to go along with the NSA’s request that a self-justifying prepared statement be substituted for a pointed interview about the...
"Why do they seem so determined to also make it racial?”So asks Joy-Ann Reid, the managing editor of The Grio, a web magazine owned by NBC News whose mission is to “focus on news and events that have a unique interest and/or pronounced impact within the national African Americans audience.” The “they” in question are conservatives and journalists asking, among other things, why President Obama hasn’t inserted himself into a new criminal-justice case the way he did in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. The irony-impaired Reid...
There are a few black people up to no good in this country and Fox News is on it! So is Drudge Report. Vigilantly on the lookout, 24 hours a day, for stories about black youths behaving badly.This isn’t a particularly new phenomenon, but it’s intensified noticeably in the past year for at least two reasons. Conservatives, particularly white conservatives, feel a burning urgency to find a racial counterweight to the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s shooting (including President Obama’s public comments about the incident), a logical response to the argument...
While the first elements of Obama's plan is merely unnecessary, the second element"”tying federal assistance to the federal rating system"”strikes me as pernicious.