First off, from Bob Herbert's excellent NYT Op-Ed, on Social Security, "Raising False Alarms" that begins with the line, "If there's a better government program than Social Security, I'd like to know what it is," there's this passage where CAF's Roger Hickey hits it out of the park:
"If we didn't have Social Security, we'd have to invent it right now," said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future. "It's perfectly suited to the terrible times we're going through. Hardly anyone has pensions anymore. People's private savings have taken a huge hit, and home prices have been hit hard. So the private savings that so many seniors and soon-to-be seniors have counted on have just been wiped out.
"Social Security is still there, and it's still paying out retirement benefits indexed to wages. It's the one part of the retirement stool that is working."
Too much common sense all in one place for Obama to grasp, or else he'd say the exact same thing himself tonight.
Second, from Public Citizen"GUIDE TO SOTU ON EXPORTS, JOBS":
Whether trade creates U.S. jobs depends on net export gains and reducing the trade deficit, which our past policies have not done: The question is how to expand trade in a way that creates U.S. jobs. Under past trade policies and pacts, the U.S. has served as the target market for imports from around the world. This has resulted in a huge trade deficit - $810 billion before the economic crisis-related collapse in trade and now again rising....
As Paul Krugman wrote in a recent column "Trade Does Not Equal Jobs: "If you want a trade policy that helps employment, it has to be a policy that induces other countries to run bigger deficits or smaller surpluses. A countervailing duty on Chinese exports would be job-creating; a deal with South Korea, not."
U.S. export growth under past Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) has been less than half that to countries with which we do not have FTAs: President Barack Obama is expected to urge passage of more FTAs as a means to boost exports and create U.S. jobs. However, Public Citizen examined the relative U.S. export growth with the 17 countries with which we have FTAs to date and found, counterintuitively, that the FTAs are associated with an export growth penalty. 3 U.S. exports to FTA partners grew only half as fast as exports to countries with which the United States does not have FTAs (0.8 percent vs. 2.2 percent on an annual average)....
The U.S. International Trade Commission's official study of the Korea FTA that Obama will emphasize concluded that the deal would increase the U.S. trade deficit: The USITC, the independent federal body that analyzes likely effects of trade pacts for Congress and the executive branch, found that the Korea FTA would result in an increase in the total U.S. goods trade deficit of between $308 million and $416 million. I
Third: More evidence that Obama's callous disregard for homeowners has not been a good idea, from Clusterstock:
The Housing Double Dip Is Accelerating
This chart is pretty clear. From the just-released Case-Shiller, it's clear that the year-over-year decline accelerated in November.
If you assume that housing has to be part of a recovery, this obviously isn't good.
What about you? What are you thinking about, before, during and after?