Saturday, June 18, 2011

Misery Index at 28 Year High; So... Obama Plays Golf

Washington DC, Jun 18, 2011.  Unemployment is at record highs, our budget deficit keeps growing,  inflation is severely hurting all but the wealthiest Americans, and now four wars are raging in the Middle East.

So rather than dealing with any of the problems he either inherited or created, President Barack Hussein Obama,D-Kenya, is doing what he enjoys doing most... playing golf.

The President suggested this golf outing so that he and House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, could iron out their differences over budget deficits and the new war in Libya.

Essentially, the President wants to keep spending money we don't have, and the Speaker wants to cut spending back drastically.

Additionally, the President's "kinetic military action" in Libya was supposed to be a temporary measure.. one that didn't require Congressional approval... but it is now in it's fourth month and shows no signs of abating,  Congress is talking about cutting off the funding for it.

The President's economic problems are even worse. The "Misery Index," a term coined during the disastrous Carter Administration to measure the pain inflicted by soaring unemployment coupled with growing inflation, has reached it's highest level in 28 years.

The index, first compiled during the soaring inflation days of the 1970s by economist Arthur Okun, is registering a nausea-inducing 12.7. This is 9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation, a number not seen since 1983.

The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008. At this rate, President Obama will probably top the Misery Index records set by former President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

The golf outing comes against the backdrop of negotiations between the White House and Congress over a long-term deficit reduction plan that will set the stage for increasing the amount of money the government can borrow.

Republicans have insisted on significant cuts of about $2 trillion over 10 years or 12 years before agreeing to increase the current $14.3 debt ceiling, which the government says it will surpass Aug. 2.

Biden is leading a group of bipartisan lawmakers in deficit talks, and he was Obama's golf partner. 

Boehner picked a fellow Ohio Republican, budget-cutting Gov. John Kasich, to join him for the round. Kasich was House Budget Committee chairman in the 1990s when Republicans were negotiating budgets with Democratic President Bill Clinton.

While both sides say they're optimistic about the progress being made in the deficit talks, Boehner has suggested he and the president may need to get more closely involved in order to reach a deal.

The White House has played down any expectations about that happening on the golf course.

"I can say with great confidence that they will not wrap up the 18th hole and come out and say that we have a deal," presidential spokesman Jay Carney said.

Policy tensions between Obama and Boehner also  have extended to the U.S. military campaign in Libya.

Boehner led the House in passing a resolution that chastised Obama for failing to provide a "compelling rationale" for U.S. involvement, and has said Obama is in violation of the War Powers Act. In return, the White House has sought to discredit Boehner's position on the act, sending reporters old statements Boehner made questioning the constitutionality of the measure.

Boehner had a clear advantage over Obama on the scorecard. 

The speaker reportedly shoots in the low-80s, good enough for the magazine Golf Digest to recently rank him 43rd among 150 prominent Washington golfers. The president, on the other hand, was ranked 108th.

"Boehner's a much better golfer than I am, so I'm expecting him to give me some strokes," Obama said in a recent television interview.

The president is likely to get a boost from Biden _ Golf Digest's 29th best golfer in Washington.

White House officials are playing coy about whether they will release the score. The group played the par-72 East Course, one of three 18-hole courses at Andrews.

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