Barack Obama

Obama's Great Conflation and What it Means for You

Why does the president insist on confusing income inequality and economic mobility?


Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on Tuesday, January 28. Read it there.

If there's one dead-of-winter public spectacle even more soul-sapping and self-congratulatory than the Grammys —now taking its cues, however well-intentioned, from the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon by staging mass weddings —it's the annual State of the Union address (due to be delivered tonight at 9 p.m. ET).

Like high school graduation speeches, State of the Union addresses are typically forgotten in real time, even as they are being delivered. Perhaps realizing his time in office is dwindling down with little to show for it, Obama will take a page from Lady Gaga at the 2011 Grammys and emerge from a translucent egg.

Alas, that's as unlikely as his declaring an end to the federal war on pot. By all accounts, Obama will instead talk a lot about economic inequality, the increasing spread in income and wealth between the richest and poorest Americans that he calls the "defining challenge of our time" and that has only gotten worse on hiswatch.

If past pronouncements are any indication, the president will immediately—and erroneously—conflate growing income inequality with reduced economic mobility. As he said in a speech last December, "The problem is that alongside increased inequality, we've seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years."

This is flatly wrong. Research published last week by economists at Harvard (Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren) and Berkeley (Patrick Kline, Emmanuel Saez) concludes that rates of mobility among income quintiles have not in fact changed in decades. As the Washington Post summarized it, "Children growing up in America today are just as likely—no more, no less—to climb the economic ladder as children born more than a half-century ago, a team of economists reported Thursday."

While noting large variations in mobility based on geographic location and other factors (the biggest being "the fraction of single parents in the area"), Chetty, et al. conclude "a child born in the bottom fifth of the income distribution has a 7.8% chance of reaching the top fifth in the U.S. as a whole."

That chance at going from bottom to top may strike you as unacceptably low—it does me, for sure—but the larger point is that it hasn't changed over time. Elsewhere, the researchers show similarly constant rates of mobility for people born into middle and higher-income quintiles. Growing inequality doesn't mean that mobility has declined, much less stopped altogether, and policies designed to level or redistribute income won't increase mobility (if they even succeed at actually squeezing income disparities).

It's important to stress that the new study by Chetty et al. simply confirms what other researchers have been finding for years. For instance, Scott Winship, who has worked at Pew and Brookings and now is a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, compared mobility for Americans born in the early 1960s and early 1980s. He found "that upward mobility from poverty to the middle class rose from 51 percent to 57 percent between the early-'60s cohorts and the early-'80s ones. Rather than assert that mobility has increased, I want to simply say—at this stage of my research (which is ongoing)—that it has not declined."

As Winship told me in a 2012 interview, "You can be concerned that there's not enough [economic] mobility or enough opportunity, but you don't have to also believe that things are getting worse." Winship also underscored what is clear from the past 50 years or more: It's actually incredibly hard to figure out exactly how to increase mobility rates.

Tonight, don't expect President Obama to cite any research showing that mobility has remained constant. Instead, expect him to echo his December speech, which was filled with lines about "a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America's basic bargain—that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead."

From a political perspective, the erroneous but strategic conflation of inequality and mobility makes obvious sense. After all, if mobility is as alive and well as it has been in the post-war era, then the sense of urgency the president needs to sell any legislation is largely undercut. As important, constant mobility rates also make a mockery of the president's long-preferred strategy of redistributing income from the top of the income ladder down to the lower rungs. Whether he's talking to Joe the Plumber (god, that seems like a different planet, doesn't it?) or addressing Congress, Obama rarely misses an opportunity to ask richer Americans to "do a little bit more."

But as it stands, the United States already has one of the very most progressive tax systems in the world. Even the liberals at Wonkblog grant that much. The real problem, they and others note, is that rather than give direct cash payments to the less well-off, the U.S. prefers to dole out favors via tax breaks that are far more likely to benefit the wealthy and not the middle or lower classes (think mortgage-interest deductions on not just one but two homes).

Don't expect Obama to talk seriously about reining in tax breaks or reforming entitlements that benefit the wealthy even as he says they must pay "a bit more." In fact, don't expect anything new from tonight's speech. This is a president who is long on revealed truth and exceptionally short of wisdom borne out of his experience in office.

Instead, get ready for a long list of calls to maintain and increase many programs that have been in place since before Obama took office: extending unemployment benefits (without paying for them by, say, cutting defense spending), making it easier for people to buy or stay in homes whose prices are inflated by government policies, and increasing access to higher education in ways that continue to increase prices far higher than the rate of inflation. Pump more money into a broken K-12 education system whose per-pupils costs rise as results stay flat (certainly the president won't call for giving parents and children the right to choose their own schools).

In short, expect Obama to invoke income inequality and supposed declines in upward mobility as a way of maintaining a status quo that has managed to increase inequality without affecting mobility rates.

The upside to tonight's speech? We all will have forgotten it by the weekend, when we still might be talking about the Grammys' mass weddings.

Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on Tuesday, January 28. Read it there.

NEXT: Super Bowl, Feh! Puppy Bowl, No!: Are You Ready for the Buzz Bowl?

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    1. Did Richard Sherman see his shadow?

      1. Uh, if you talk about Sherm, you know what happens, Mr. MEDIOCRE.

        1. Seahawks are going down today. Sorry, just not as polished as the Broncos and Peyton has a major chip on his shoulder given the number of people questioning his legacy.

          1. Interesting; none of the “expert” announcers agree with you. However, since I don’t really care about “expert” announcers, I’ll just say: we’ll see.

            1. Since there’s nowhere else to put this:
              My favorite Marshawn Lynch memory from CAL.

            2. I get my expert advice from Jen Engel: she has the Broncos winning 31 21.

              1. Broncos 40 – Seahawks 38

                Tecmo Bowl has spoken; so mote it be!

                1. The first comment:
                  “haaaaa winning on a safety, that’s gonna happen…?” 3 days ago

                2. So how did that turn out?

                3. We’ll, you weren’t far off on the Seahawks.

                  1. Ugh. Broncos fan ’till the end. I watched Elway etc. throw it all away three times in a row way back in the day – once a fan always a fan or you’re not a fan at all.

                    Next year bitches, Shechickens get clipped. Oh, and fuck Pete Carroll.


                    1. The last great Bronco run was by OJ in 1994.

              2. Didn’t work out so well, eh.

          2. I bet you’re feeling awfully silly right about now.

            Unfortunately it looks like all of Manning’s haters and naysayers are right.

            1. When I’m wrong, I admit it. I never thought I’d see Peyton Manning fold like this.

              1. That’s not Payton Manning. As I allude to below, he allowed Tony Romo to take his place wearing a Payton Manning mask. It’s the only way Romo’s ever going to get to play in a Super Bowl, and Manning felt sorry for him.

              2. The entire Broncos team was wound too tightly for this game. It looks like Carroll’s approach was the smarter one.

                1. From literally the first snap doom portended. If the night at the bar (McLean’s on Wilshire fellow Reasonoids) hadn’t been so much fun with the booze and the girls and the antics, this would’ve been worst Superbowl in my personal history. And as a ancient Broncos fan, I’ve seen some shitty Superbowls in my day – so that’s saying something. Where’s Steve Atwater hitting people in the mouth when you need him? Damn it!

              3. It wasn’t Manning in this case, his team was beaten like a drum. There was nothing he could have done, the better team ruled (and I’m not a Seattle partisan).

          3. Seahawks are going down today. Sorry, just not as polished as the Broncos[…]


          4. Good call in retrospect . . .

  1. My daughter and I couldn’t even watch the Puppy Bowl in peace without Michelle Obama haranguing us about getting more exercise.

    There was also a scene where the Obama’s two dogs received honors by the President’s Own.

    1. Yeah, this. We actually watched it, too. Why did they introduce a Wookie into a show about dogs? Why?

    2. With my wife safely a thousand miles away, I escaped the morass of the Puppy Bowl – for the first time in seven years.

      And, frankly, the Superbowl halftime show was awesome. I never thought I’d say that, but when I heard Bruno Mars and the Peppers were going to be together I was like WTF? But they made it work, it was a rocking fifteen minutes, best show I’ve seen since U2 back in 2002.

      And fuck the Puppy Bowl – at least until they hold it in Korea so there’s stakes involved for the winners and losers.

  2. I’m more concerned about the country’s bowel motility.

    1. +number two

    2. Is this why you call yourself Plopper? How onomatopoetic of you.

      1. Used to be Piopper (with an “i”) actually, so I wonder if someone is pulling our leg like that teen tart pulled the real Piopper’s prepubescent ‘nads.

        1. If someone ever commented as “Piopper” it wasn’t me.

          I swear Tulpa is obsessed with finding any sort of connection when it comes to me.

          1. If someone ever commented as “Piopper” it wasn’t me.

            Which doesn’t contradict my point, in fact it confirms it.

            1. Oh well, my point is it is pure coincidence.

              Believe what you want to though.

      2. I love onomatopoeias.

        Plop, Plop! Fizz, Fizz! Ah, what a relief it is!

  3. And since it’s Super Bowl night, I’ll provide a public service to all of you and present the proper way to beat one’s wife.

    1. HM, it was an honor to read that.

    2. Craven savages proudly displaying their savagery.

      I especially like the monkey-see / monkey-do posturing by the interviewer to give an air of intellectualism.

      1. From the youtube comments:

        Given the content of the erotic novels women in the West read, I think it’s safe to say that Muslim men are far more desirable than the sniveling effeminate cowardly white men they are in proximity with. Muslim terrorists have much trouble getting laid and neither do violent drug dealers. This video has better game advice than books on the subject. Without Sharia law, a lot more men will go to jail, but that looks like it will last only a couple more decades at most. Say what you want about the savagery of Islam, the Quran is a better guide to being alpha than anything you’ll read in blogs.?

        1. I think I’m going to make a donation to MEMRI.

          1. Indeed. We need MEMRI to get to work in translating these lost Arabian “Game” secrets! I mean, how many bitches did Muhammad have at a time? Thirteen?

            Alpha as fuck.

            1. Yeah, super alphas. That is why they die at 1000x the rate we do when they come up against us in battle. Such badasses.

              1. That is why they die at 1000x the rate we do when they come up against us in battle.

                This might have something to do with that.

                Nice racket, eh?

              2. That is why they die at 1000x the rate we do when they come up against us in battle

                I think you left off a zero or two.

        2. Beat her with your short rod!

        3. I would like to donate also, I just doubt they would like it.

            1. Ah. Ok.

            2. Ah. Ok.

    3. I don’t have a wife, can i borrow your’s.

      1. As long as you promise not to return her.

  4. I really only came here to see if shriek or tony would comment.

    1. Don’t summon them you asshole.

      1. Oh c’mon, watching them turn truth on it’s head to defend the indefensible is entertaining.

    2. I only came here hoping for comments not about the Super Bowl.

  5. Caption:

    Minstrel President

    1. “You’ve just been Barackrolled!”

  6. Obviously the rich don’t pay their fair share! They’re rich! How can they have paid their fair share and still be rich?!?

  7. Meanwhile on Fox, they are obviously advocating dangerous Teabagger ideology by reading the Declaration of Independence and it’s endorsing of secession and nullification.


    1. Am I jaded because I find half the fucks reading these lines to either not even know what they mean, or actively work against them?

      1. It’s a document that radically asserts the right of a free people to dissolve their government whenever government becomes abusive.

        But because it has the word ‘equal’ in it they’ll mindlessly absorb the platitudes that suit even though the Declaration of Independence is completely antithetical to modern progressive ideology.

        1. It’s a document that radically asserts the right of a free people to dissolve their government whenever government becomes abusive.

          Er, TJ the slavefucker added in a pretty strong caveat about suffering evils while evils are sufferable.

      2. Yes, you are jaded and yes.

  8. Obama wants to INCREASE income mobility!

    He wants to Move Your Income into the Government, ASAP. STAT. Double Time! MOBILITY!

    thanks, you people are beautiful, really, and dont forget to tip your waitress…

  9. I think progressives get away with arguing that there’s a lack of economic mobility because of the changing nature of modern poverty.

    Idle poverty – SNAP and SSDI poverty – is now so incredibly debasing for the poor that to the outside observer poverty seems like an inescapable trap. Certainly the hood rat poor (of all races) that I encounter don’t look like they could ever be anything else.

    Although hand-wringing progressive types would never verbalize the issue to themselves that way, their panic seems motivated by it on some level.

    The problem is that they don’t realize that the programs they advocate are the ones that created the peculiar character of modern poverty and will worsen that character the more money we throw at them.

    1. “Certainly the hood rat poor (of all races) that I encounter don’t look like they could ever be anything else.”

      If you dress and fix your hair as if you belong in a clown troop, can’t read or speak properly, have zero impulse control, and the sum of your ethics is an overly sensitized and misguided sense of people showing you respect, chances are pretty good you will have some difficulty with rising economically.

      1. Nicely said.

    2. “The problem is that they don’t realize that the programs they advocate are the ones that created the peculiar character of modern poverty”

      Perhaps Worse = they often do realize this, but ultimately don’t give a shit, and know that all they have to do is make a big ‘DO SOMETHING’ rhetorical stink about it every 20 years or so to keep each generation of poor thinking that those TEAM BLUE folks really are trying hard at least!

      I’d consider this view ‘cynical’ if I weren’t aware of far worse things.

      1. Proggies must love the poor, since they make so darn many of them.

      2. When it really comes down to it, progs don’t want to help the poor, they want to destroy the wealthy. Their utopia is where everyone is poor and “equal”, and only the progressive intellectuals (which of course each believes themselves to be) gets to be “more equal” than everyone else.

        1. + 4 legs good

  10. If someone cornered Obama and asked him straight up why economic inequality is a problem, he wouldn’t have an answer. He’s not smart enough to even understand the question.

    If America wanted a black president so badly there were plenty of options besides this poster child for the unintended consequences of affirmative action.

  11. What the fuck is up with the Broncos jerseys? Is that a superhero cape neck thing going there or what?

  12. Once again, Balko wins:

    Drink once for each colonist grievance against the king that we tolerate from government today.

    ? Radley Balko (@radleybalko) February 2, 2014


    1. Good God, Radley is trying to have us commit suicide by alcohol poisoning. Even I could not get half way through that.

      1. There could be worse ways to go.

    2. First I gotta figure out what “eating out their substance” means.

      1. Try to open a business, or accomplish anything really, and you will find out exactly what that means.

        1. Yeah, I was short on cash a while back and thought “Hey I live in a big football town, why don’t I attach a cooler of beer to my girlfriend’s bike with some heavy-duty zip ties, ride around outside the stadium, and go make a couple hundred bucks in a few hours while checking out hot chicks?”

          Seemed like a great idea, until I remembered men with guns would lock me in a cage and probably take the money if I tried it.

          1. I should add that (likely because of the neo-Stalinists in the Tallahassee zoning department), there are no bars within walking distance of the national champions’ colossal stadium, and they don’t sell alcohol inside. So I probably could have sold warm cans of Bud lite for $10.

            Yes, Tallahassee sucks that much.

      2. I think it has something to do with why there are no libertarian women.

  13. Joe Namath must be boozing again, he screwed up the coin toss. Should have gotten Ned Ryerson to do it.

  14. If you want to do something bout wealth inequality, sell something to a rich person.

  15. Okay. That was impressive.

  16. And just like that, Super Bowl squares everywhere are fucked.

  17. Come on, you pussies, go for it.

  18. What is the official Super Bowl thread?

    1. I think you’re ass deep in it here.

      1. Just wanted to confirm, you must be happy with things so far.

    2. How about the one that’s got “Super Bowl” in the title??

      1. That’s what I’m looking for. Superbowl is really a national holiday, anymore. Show some respect, Reason.

        1. Superbowl is really a national holiday, anymore

          In which case they won’t have AM or PM links. What kind of a monster are you? :-p

  19. And the GOP just shut off their televisions.

  20. Manning’s forehead looked a little bruised up before the game.

  21. Marky Mark in the next Transformers movie? I’m going to have to change my pants.

    1. You have a friend commenting below.

        1. Quite frankly, I’m surprised none of you dummies thought to try to catch some heat off of my awesomeness before this.

          1. We all live by the heat that you provide…

            …from your ass.

            1. FdA thinks you have a hot ass.

              1. He’s got two eyes, doesn’t he?

                1. Allegedly.

                2. Allegedly.

  22. How about the one that’s got “Super Bowl” in the title??

    So you want to talk about pizza, do you?

  23. Okay, the small wings were funny.

  24. The audio on the Stephen Colbert pistachio commercial was out of synch. Do they still have to pay the $1+million bucks that it cost to air?

    1. 2 mil for 30 seconds.

  25. Boo.

  26. Is there not a Superbowl Thread?

    1. Everyone is looking to you to start one.

  27. Not much of a Super Bowl thread because there’s not much of a Super Bowl so far. And the Tebow was the only decent ad.

    1. It’s not a football game. It’s a massacre.

      1. “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas le football american.”

      2. Amazing that Seahawk defense.

        If only Eli faced them.

        1. Eli might not choke as badly as his brother is. Seriously, is that really Peyton, or is that Tony Romo in a Peyton Manning mask?

        2. The Seahawk D would plant Eli with Hoffa, it’s their year.

          1. Oh wait, they already did, 5 picks a couple months ago, lol.

    2. the Tebow was the only decent ad.

      The Dorito’s time machine ad wasn’t bad. I chuckled at it a little. But so far the ads have sucked almost as much as the game.

      Looks like this is gonna be another classic Broncos fuck-up. Like the 52-10 beatdown by Joe Montana and the 49ers all those years ago.

      1. I liked the Seinfeld ad

    3. I want to see Illegal Formation.

      The Radio Shack commercial was amusing, also.

  28. lol, they just legalized dope in Washington state and Colorado, so we should call this the Smoka Bowl, get it? huh huh

    1. FdA gave you a 1 out of 10 on the sex scale. Care to respond?

      1. No comment, except I’m glad to have him between me and warty on that scale.

      2. I thought FdA was being generous.

        1. We’re all like one big dysfunctional family…*sniff*…and Ted is like the belligerent drunk uncle whom everyone wishes they hadn’t invited to the Super Bowl party.

        1. Yo

          1. ^^There he is

          2. You handle changers depress me.

            a. I can’t keep up.

            b. I see these new names and think our ranks are growing, only to be crushed by that bitch who is reality.

            1. When I found out that my namesake actually *was* Dutch, thus spoiling the joke of Dutchifying his name, that gave me the spur I needed to work on my handle…or to keep my 1 rating, I should say adopt a new pseudonym.

              1. And maybe if you stopped calling reality a bitch, got her some flowers occasionally…just watch out, she bites.

    2. At this point the Broncos might play better if they start burning some reefer on the bench.

      1. ala Altman’s M*A*S*H?

        … Hobbit

        1. Well for that to happen they’d have to drug Wilson and get Sherman kicked out of the game.

  29. Scientology! Just ask this scientician!

  30. Seriously? SERIOUSLY???

  31. This beat down (so far) reminds me of the Broncos of the 80s and early 90s.

    Jesus, that Seahawk secondary is evil.

    1. So tenacious that they are hurting each other.

  32. Luckily Epi will be so stoned out of his mind he’ll probably forget to give me shit for picking the Broncos so confidently.

    1. You have a whole omelet on your face now.

      1. What can I say? I wanted to believe in Peyton Manning. Are we sure Ryan Leaf didn’t murder Peyton and put his skin on?

        1. Yeah, I would’ve liked for him to win another Super Bowl before he retires. I know he has 3 more years on his contract, but how many more years does he realistically have in him?

          He seems like one of the few genuinely decent people in the NFL, plus the whole coming back after 4 neck surgeries when everyone thought he was done thing. Oh well, maybe next year, but I doubt it. The scary thing about Seattle is that they’re a relatively young team, so if they can keep their core group together for a few years, they’ll be hard to beat for a while. Unfortunately, thanks to Manning’s age, Denver’s window to win a Super Bowl is extremely narrow.

          1. Manning also has a mandatory physical after the season. Apparently, if the results are not up to par, his contract may be voided.

          2. You should check out what Russel Wilson does with his wife visiting sick kids in Seattle.

            And I’ve always thought Manning was a class act.

  33. From Twitter:

    David Freddoso ?@freddoso 8m

    DROP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WATCH MT @wbdnewton: Especially BookTV. There’s an econ professor from Mason speaking at CATO right now.

  34. I want to watch a contest that’s less one-sided, so I think I’ll watch reruns of the invasion of Grenada.

  35. Seahawks 36. Broncos 0. This is a beating is downright uncivilized.

    Commercials have been worse than the Broncos’ playing.

    1. They should cap the score. Wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or damage self-esteem.

      1. Hell no. Let’em run up the score. I hope John Elway is somewhere bawling his eyes out right now.

        The Seahawks have kept Manning’s short-pass game buttoned and been scoring pretty much at will.

        1. John Elway is in my town, and he is a little bit upset.

  36. handle changers depress me.

    It’s almost like they know when I start to skip over all their posts.

    1. Look, I’d love to chat with you, but this doesn’t mean I’d try and trick you into doing it. I announced my change for other reasons.

  37. Bob Dylan. Patriot.

  38. Do the Broncos always look so completely disorganized at the line of scrimmage?

    1. It is not the worst Donks loss in a Super Bowl. 55-10 to the Niners was.

      Also the Skins butchered them alive with 36 points in the 2nd qtr back in the late 80s.

    2. They are gettin beat up physically…notice the alligator arms by Thomas late. He had a great game but suffered every time ha caught a ball, by the end he had no desire to catch that ball and take the hit. Seattle’s D beat the shit out Denver’s O. The game was over early, nothing Manning could do about it.

  39. The Bob Dylan Chrysler commericial is just another step in turning the American autoworker into a weird romanticized fetish that will live along side the American Farmer.

    1. Ain’t Chrysler an Italian company? If so they could at least put some Italian babes in like with those Fiat commercials.

      1. Last year, it was halftime in America. This year, Italians have invaded Detroit and want to build your car with help from Bob Dylan.

      2. Mama mia, look atta these ladies:…..ge_id=2335

  40. Bob Dylan Chrysler commericial

    Chrysler- imported from Detroit Italy.

  41. Make it so.

    Means we need a #meth bowl Indy v St Louis MT @fsaltzman: @greggutfeld Does this mean Seattle or Denver’s weed is better?

    ? Nick Gillespie (@nickgillespie) February 3, 2014


  42. Uh-oh. Denver just scored. Something wrong, here.

  43. I blame republicans for perpetuating a system that allows such scoring inequality.

  44. So uh, has Mary come back to possess the Fist handle like ‘The Thing’?

    1. She’s off her meds again.

      How is she getting through the ArcNet?

  45. The only thing that could save the Broncos now is Flubber.

    1. Or the Son of Flubber. Or Mary.

  46. That looks like a shoulder injury.

  47. What, exactly, is the “Curse of Tebow”?

    1. I googled the phrase and all I could come up with was a handful of maniacal Tebow fanboys on blogs or Twitter who seem to believe that them trading Tebow to the Jets after signing Manning will somehow be some kind of “Curse of the Bambino” like thing. Ordinarily I’d say bullshit, but given how the game’s going right now…

  48. More Twitter:

    Phineas Fahrquar ?@irishspy 3m

    *ZING!!* RT @politicalmath: RT @QuickTortuga: “What did you do after the Superbowl was over?” “Watched the 2nd half”

  49. Shoulder, ankle, whatever.

  50. Ah, left libertarianism is concerned

    Typically being a member of the libertarian left in the libertarian movement means holding that standard libertarian political views are natural compliments to standard left-wing social views, such as concerns about racial or gender privilege, institutional racism, support for alternative lifestyles, same-sex marriage, etc.

    …the great merit in resisting slut-shaming…

    1. It’s really hard to take anyone arguing left/right libertarian seriously.

      There is no right libertarian and there is no left libertarian. There is only that which may be argued from first principles. IOW…libertarian. PERIOD!

      1. I am inclined to agree with you.

        But both Glenn Beck and Bill Maher have claimed to be libertarian at some time or another. Now they both fail the LP Purity Test by a large margin but suppose they hang around the LP and both vote strictly LP from now on.

        Is not one left LP and the other right LP?

        1. When they start supporting libertarians we can begin this conversation.

  51. Two epic beatdowns today.

    Hawks vs Donks and Obama vs O’Reilly/Fox.

    Both live. No editing for visual effect.

    1. I know I’m going to regret asking, but who do you think won in the Obama vs O’Reilly saga?

      1. Obama routed Bill-O. He deftly deflected the Fox News henchman on all the fake scandals, he put down all the wingnut talking points, he called out Fox News as the primary source of the fake scandals, he even got in digs like calling Fox News an “TV Channel” instead of a news organization. It was masterful. And live.

        1. I’m not in the least bit surprised that this is how you perceived it. Thank you for your honesty.

        2. Do the world a favor and kill yourself, Weigel.

        3. Palin’s Buttplug|2.2.14 @ 10:50PM|#
          “Obama routed Bill-O….”

          So he lied per normal? OK.
          Go lick some shoe polish, asshole.

          1. Admiral Ackbar would like a word with you.

        4. I eagerly await your defending the next republican president who does the same things.

          Oh who am I kidding. You’ll still be slurping Obama’s cock and calling for their resignation like the good little demfag you are.

  52. Yikes.
    Event: Seattle v Denver
    Date: Feb 2, 2014
    Time: 17:35
    Selection: Seattle + 2.5
    Payout: 200.50

  53. Rewatching The 13th Warrior. What an underrated flick.

    1. The book was pretty good.

      1. There’s a book?

        Next you’ll be telling me that the movie Dune has a follow-on book.

  54. Boy! Any advertiser whose major market is Seattle LOVED that game! I could hear TVs being turned off all over town.

    1. Forget that. Best of Both Worlds and Chain of Command were on tonight on BBC Amerikkka.

  55. Anybody looking for an excellent action/adventure/war picture should watch Dark of the Sun.

  56. Think Progress shakes fists impotently at the wreckers and kulaks.

    These Five States Aren’t Lifting A Finger To Implement Obamacare

    On January 1, 2014, most major provisions of the Affordable Care Act officially went into effect throughout America. Nonetheless, five red states are doing their best to ignore the reality of Obamacare, forgoing every one of the health law’s major reforms and refusing to enforce or oversee even its most basic consumer protections, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.

    Most states are tackling at least one of the ACA’s three major components: enforcing its market reforms and consumer protections, establishing a state-run insurance marketplace, and agreeing to its optional Medicaid expansion. Seven states have taken charge of all three. However, the researchers write, “[a]t the other end, five states ? Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming ? declined to play a role in implementing the law’s three major components. These states will not enforce the market reforms, will have a federally facilitated marketplace where the state will play no formal role, and declined to expand Medicaid.”

    1. I seem to remember a recent SCOTUS ruling that said states are not allowed to enforce federal laws.

      1. I don’t.

        I do remember some SCOTUS rulings saying that state’s don’t *have* to enforce federal laws.

        1. He’s referring to the AZ immigration flap.

          1. I’m still not remembering this as AZ saying that the state/local law enforcement *couldn’t* enforce federal law (they did before, and still do arrest people for immigration violations).

            Not that I’m against that sort of thing – I don’t thinks state cops should be enforcing federal law (or vice-versa), that they should be completely independent entities except in the rare occasions (major felonies crossing state borders) where cooperation is actually necessary.

        2. He’s referring to the AZ immigration flap.

    2. will have a federally facilitated marketplace where the state will play no formal role, and declined to expand Medicaid.

      Interesting, you’d think the progressives at ThinkProgress would be loathe to admit that the Federal government is incapable of running the exchanges themselves.

      After all, wouldn’t the rubes and rednecks in those backwards Red States need the benevolent hand of the Federal government helping them anyway?

      1. The federal government is tasked with handling foreign relations and interstate commerce. You can’t expect it to provide affordable care in every state with no help, and in many cases militant resistance from the state government.

        The principle of subsidiarity works best when the states help to implement the laws that we as a nation agree on, for their own particular circumstances. The states are supposed to be lavatories of democracy. That doesn’t work when some states elect nullificatory anarchists to their high offices.

        1. You’re absolutely right. Nothing says ‘lavatory’ like everyone always doing the exact same things everywhere.

        2. The states are supposed to be lavatories of democracy. That doesn’t work when some states elect nullificatory anarchists to their high offices.

          Well, if the states are supposed to be the laboratories of democracy, then shouldn’t we have as few national laws as possible? Logically that would imply that we should allow laws to be made on local levels.

          Therefore, your argument would mean Obamacare itself is a terrible idea since it destroys the capacity for states to make their own laws that work for them. I’m glad we agree!

        3. You can’t expect it to provide affordable care in every state with no help, and in many cases militant resistance from the state government.

          Well, since it’s failing to provide affordable care in any state it’s a good thing that I don’t expect this.

        4. Lavatories of Democracy would be a great minarchist blog name.

        5. What happens when lavatories get plugged/derp.

        6. Rollo , do you sell chocolatey treats, just wondering. other than that wtf are you talking about. Thanks.

        7. “We as a nation” never agreed on Obamacare to begin with.

          It was rammed through by excluslively by Democrats using bogus tactics to get around the normal way Congress passes legislation.

    3. “These Five States Aren’t Lifting A Finger To Implement Obamacare”

      Yeah, take one look at that stinking pile of stuff and get as far away as you can.

  57. Dude is not making a lot of sense man.

  58. “Why does the president insist on confusing income inequality and economic mobility?” It’s to confuse the political enemy into saying really stupid but positive things about the state of the economy … wrong things … dull-witted things … positive things. That’s good for him and it seems to be working.

  59. “very much progressive tax systems in the world”

    nice try, nick. the rich pay all the taxes, because they have all the money. that ain’t tax progressivity; its a sypmtom of the type of inequality we’ve been talking about.

  60. What’s that lyric by Arcade Fire: “Never trust a millionaire quoting the sermon on the mount.” (City with no Children).
    The Dems may repudiate Christianity (unless running for office) but they point to that sermon as an example of how society should be: if you have two coats give one to the coatless, etc. Thing is, as they say all these anti-wealth religious tenets, attacking high earners as heartless fiends, they live like grandees.

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