theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Newsweek Cover: 'Hit the Road, Barack

After some of the recent Obama-loving/Romney-
bashing Newsweek covers, the one hitting newsstands Monday is
 guaranteed to turn some heads.
Under the picture of our dear leader are the words, "Hit the
The article is written by Niall Ferguson, a British historian and
 economist that backed John McCain in 2008.
After an introduction, Ferguson made his case:
In his inaugural address, Obama promised “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a
 new foundation for growth.” He promised to “build the roads and bridges, the
 electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” He
 promised to “restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to
 raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” And he promised to “transform our
 schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.”
 Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.

He continued:
[T]he total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008
 peak. Meanwhile, since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added
 to Social Security’s disability insurance program. This is one of many ways
 unemployment is being concealed.
In his fiscal year 2010 budget—the first he presented—the president envisaged
 growth of 3.2 percent in 2010, 4.0 percent in 2011, 4.6 percent in 2012. The actual
 numbers were 2.4 percent in 2010 and 1.8 percent in 2011; few forecasters now
 expect it to be much above 2.3 percent this year.
Unemployment was supposed to be 6 percent by now. It has averaged 8.2 percent
 this year so far. Meanwhile real median annual household income has dropped
 more than 5 percent since June 2009. Nearly 110 million individuals received a
 welfare benefit in 2011, mostly Medicaid or food stamps.
Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a
 taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where
 at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the
 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.
And all this despite a far bigger hike in the federal debt than we were promised.
 According to the 2010 budget, the debt in public hands was supposed to fall in
 relation to GDP from 67 percent in 2010 to less than 66 percent this year. If only. By
 the end of this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it will
 reach 70 percent of GDP. These figures significantly understate the debt problem,
 however. The ratio that matters is debt to revenue. That number has leapt upward
 from 165 percent in 2008 to 262 percent this year, according to figures from the
 International Monetary Fund. Among developed economies, only Ireland and Spain
 have seen a bigger deterioration.
Ferguson also took aim at the media's coverage of Obama:
Yet the public mistakes his administration’s astonishingly uninhibited use of political
 assassination for a coherent strategy. According to the Bureau of Investigative
 Journalism in London, the civilian proportion of drone casualties was 16 percent last
 year. Ask yourself how the liberal media would have behaved if George W. Bush had
 used drones this way. Yet somehow it is only ever Republican secretaries of state
 who are accused of committing “war crimes.”
Indeed. As we've seen in the past three and a half years, Obama can do virtually anything
 he wants and his media will either applaud or look the other away.
That said, after spending the bulk of his lengthy piece chronicling the current White House
 resident's missteps, Ferguson spoke glowingly about Paul Ryan:

He is one of only a handful of politicians in Washington who is truly sincere about
 addressing this country’s fiscal crisis....But one thing is clear. Ryan psychs Obama
 out. This has been apparent ever since the White House went on the offensive against
 Ryan in the spring of last year. And the reason he psychs him out is that, unlike
 Obama, Ryan has a plan—as opposed to a narrative—for this country. [...]
The voters now face a stark choice. They can let Barack Obama’s rambling
, solipsistic narrative continue until they find themselves living in some American
 version of Europe, with low growth, high unemployment, even higher debt—and
 real geopolitical decline.
Or they can opt for real change: the kind of change that will end four years of economic
 underperformance, stop the terrifying accumulation of debt, and reestablish a secure
 fiscal foundation for American national security.
And this is actually Newsweek's cover story this week making one ask a simple question:
Since Tina Brown's Daily Beast took over the failing magazine, it has been one of the most
 left-leaning publications in the country.
So why with less than three months to go before Election Day would they publish a 3,200-
word cover story severely criticizing Obama whilst basically endorsing his opponent?
Could it be the Daily Beast/Newsweek combination has not been attracting the kind of
 readership they expected, and they believe a little objectivity was in order?
Or is this just a tiny dose of conservatism before a deluge of the most biased Obama-
loving/Romney-bashing imaginable?
As the late Ed Hart used to say, we will know in the fullness of time.

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