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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 05/11/2012

Morning Bits

Oops. “A second law school, the University of Pennsylvania, has touted Elizabeth Warren as a minority faculty member in an official school publication, according to an online document obtained by the Globe.”

Hmm. Not exactly austerity, is it? Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) on substitute sequestration cuts: “Many of these measures are no brainers — like ensuring food stamps go to those Americans most in need, asking federal workers to contribute more to their retirement fund like their private sector counterparts, and stopping the unending cycle of bailouts for ‘too-big-to-fail’ institutions.”

Ooh! More “free” stuff. “The Obama campaign has a message for young-adult voters: When it comes to higher education, the president will dole out taxpayer dollars and ‘free stuff’ at the rate Joe Biden makes gaffes. . . . Romney’s approach is different. He supports the Ryan plan, which would put the Pell Grant program on a sustainable path, something Obama has not done, by curtailing eligibility. And he has talked frankly about the idea — first put forward in the 1980s by then–education secretary William Bennett — that government subsidies may be driving up college tuition rates, which have grown by 559 percent since 1985.”

Umm. “The life of an academic who pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition and lives off stipends and scholarships is becoming more financially treacherous. A skyrocketing number of Americans with Ph.D.s say they are facing a reality in which they are turning to food stamps to survive. One in six Americans received food stamps or other public assistance last year, but the number of people with a Ph.D. or Masters degree who receive that aid has tripled in the past two years, according to government data.” Too much subsidized education?

Ugh. Here is “a study from Rutgers University, which this spring surveyed hundreds of people who graduated between 2006 and 2011. About 12% are under- or unemployed (many of the rest are volunteers, in the military or still in school). Workers who graduated during the recession — from 2009 through last year — earned a median starting salary of $27,000 — or $3,000 less annually than earlier graduates. Nearly a quarter of all respondents said their current job pays much less than they’d anticipated. Female graduates earned $2,000 less than their male counterparts.”

Er. Maybe the Obama economy isn’t so good for women after all? It seems that “since the recovery began in June 2009, women have gained only 16% of the new jobs created. What’s more, over the past year or so, the workforce-participation rate of women ages 45 to 54 has ‘dropped like a stone,’ says Julia Coronado, chief North America economist at BNP Paribas. ‘Married, single-earner households are on the rise, and married women are increasingly choosing not to work, in part because many are finding that the jobs they can get simply aren’t worth it in terms of pay, commute, hassle, etc.’”

Oof. Leading from behind leads to chaos. “While the Obama administration continues its shameful dithering on Syria, the violence, which has been going on for more than a year, is accelerating. The latest news is that two car bombs have exploded in the center of Damascus, near an intelligence headquarters, killing at least 55 people and injuring more than 350 others. These types of attacks are a hallmark of al-Qaeda in Iraq. All indications are that this terrorist organization has now migrated from western Iraq into neighboring Syria where it is, in effect, stoking another sectarian war pitting majority Sunnis against the ruling Alawite minority (a Shi’ite offshoot sect).”

Uh oh. “[Obama’s] principal ‘national security imperative’ is ‘deficit reduction through a lower level of defense spending.’ This allows every other department of the Obama administration to advance its imperative: increase the deficit through higher levels of spending. The Romney Pentagon budget” — which proposes spending 4 percent of the gross domestic product on defense — “is no ‘spike’; it’s more like a return to normal, even very constrained military spending given the global mission of America’s armed forces. It’s Obama’s levels of spending that are abnormal, digging a deep hole that even now will take a decade of reinvestment to repair. . . Of course, things could be worse. Obama could continue to insist on pulling the sequestration trigger that would chop another $500 billion-plus from military budgets.”

Ah. Good to know that 9 points (61-52 ) or 12 points (22-10) is “slight.” Gallup reports: “Registered voters are more likely to say Mitt Romney, if elected president, would do a very good or good job of handling the economy than they are to say President Obama would, if re-elected — 61% vs. 52%. While the two men earn about equal ‘very good’ ratings, 22% of voters think Obama would do a ‘very poor’ job, more than twice as many as say the same about Romney (10%).” Alternate lede: “Romney is solid favorite over Obama on the economy.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 05/11/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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