Fox’s Megyn Kelly Admits Obama’s Immigration Order Does Not Provide Amnesty

On the November 19 edition of The Kelly File, Kelly acknowledged that the president is not actually pursuing “amnesty,” because “amnesty is citizenship and that’s not what [Obama] is talking about.” Kelly also explained how conservatives purposely misuse the word “amnesty” for political gain: “That’s a hot-button term that the right uses to sort of get people upset.

Via Crooks and Liars

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Final Rules to Protect Students from Poor-Performing Career College Programs

Obama Administration Announces Final Rules to Protect Students from Poor-Performing Career College Programs
Source: U.S. Department of Education

To protect students at career colleges from becoming burdened by student loan debt they cannot repay, today the U.S. Department of Education is announcing regulations to ensure that these institutions improve their outcomes for students—or risk losing access to federal student aid. These regulations will hold career training programs accountable for putting their students on the path to success, and they complement action across the Administration to protect consumers and prevent and investigate fraud, waste and abuse, particularly at for-profit colleges

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Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Poor Unchanged, Based on Supplemental Measure of Poverty

Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Poor Unchanged, Based on Supplemental Measure of Poverty
Via: U.S. Census Bureau

The nation’s poverty rate was 15.5 percent in 2013, down from 16.0 percent in 2012, according to the supplemental poverty measure released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2013 rate was higher than the official measure of 14.5 percent, but similarly declined from the corresponding rate in 2012.

Meanwhile, 48.7 million were below the poverty line in 2013 according to the supplemental poverty measure, not statistically different from the number in 2012. In 2013, 45.3 million were poor using the official definition released last month in Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013.

These findings are contained in the Census Bureau report The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2013, released with support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and describing research showing different ways of measuring poverty in the United States.

The supplemental poverty measure serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being and provides a deeper understanding of economic conditions and policy effects.

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Why Does the U.S. Economy Perform Better Under Democratic Presidents?

Blinder and Watson (2013) acknowledge ubiquitous research demonstrating the U.S. economy has performed better under Democrat presidents than Republican presidents. They asked why. They attribute the Democrat advantage to more benign oil shocks, superior TFP (Total Factor Performance) performance, and more optimistic consumer expectations about the near-term future. They find these “good luck” factors explain a little more than half the Democrat economic advantage.


The U.S. economy has performed better when the President of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican, almost regardless of how one measures performance. For many measures, including real GDP growth (on which we concentrate), the performance gap is both large and statistically significant, despite the fact that postwar history includes only 16 presidential terms. This paper asks why. We find that the answer is not found in technical time series matters (such as differential trends or mean reversion), nor in systematically more expansionary monetary or fiscal policy under Democrats. Rather, it appears that the Democratic edge stems mainly from more benign oil shocks, superior TFP performance, and more optimistic consumer expectations about the near-term future. Many other potential explanations are examined, but they fail to explain the partisan growth gap.

Related posts

The following related posts as a collective examine more economic outcomes than Blinder and Watson’s concentration on GDP growth.

Which Party Occupying the Oval Office Does a Better Job with the Economy?

Part II – Which Party Occupying the Oval Office Does a Better Job with the Economy?

Do Republicans Do a Better Job with the Economy? What Does the Evidence Say

Manufacturing Jobs Growth Differs Sharply Across Post-World II Presidential Administrations


Blinder, Alan S.. & Watson, Mark W. (2013). Presidents and the Economy: A Forensic Investigation.

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Gender Differences among Top Earners, 1981–2012

Insight into gender differences among top income earners.


We analyze changes in the gender structure at the top of the earnings distribution in the United States over the last 30 years using a 10% sample of individual earnings histories from the Social Security Administration. Despite making large inroads, females still constitute a small proportion of the top percentiles: the glass ceiling, albeit a thinner one, remains. We measure the contribution of changes in labor force participation, changes in the persistence of top earnings, and changes in industry and age composition to the change in the gender composition of top earners. A large proportion of the increased share of females among top earners is accounted for by the mending of, what we refer to as, the paper floor – the phenomenon whereby female top earners were much more likely than male top earners to drop out of the top percentiles. We also provide new evidence at the top of the earnings distribution for both genders: the rising share of top earnings accruing to workers in the Finance and Insurance industry, the relative transitory status of top earners, the emergence of top earnings gender gaps over the life cycle, and gender differences among lifetime top earners.


Guvenen, Faith, et al. (2014). The Glass Ceiling and The Paper Floor: Gender Differences among Top Earners, 1981–2012. National Bureau of Economic Research. NBER Working Paper No. 20560.

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Gallup Poll: More than 70% of Americans Rate Their New ObamaCare Health Insurance “Good” or “Excellent”

“A new Gallup poll found that more than 70 percent of Americans who bought new health insurance plans through the government exchanges earlier this year rated the quality of their health coverage as “good” or “excellent.” Many of those who purchased new health insurance policies through the exchanges also recounted positive experiences and said they experienced a high quality of health care. According to the poll, more than two-thirds of the newly insured expressed plans to renew their exchange policies.”

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Opinion: Fox News is Just the Tip of Iceberg


The big picture isn’t Fox News, its lies or distortions. The big picture is the endangerment of the progress made by the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was one of civilization’s greatest advances. Its outcome was an attempt to replace superstition, ignorance, myth and manipulation of people by tyrants with knowledge, reason and the best use of science.

Now beliefs are uncritically accepted as facts; prejudices asserted as truths. An anti-fact, anti-intellectual ideological culture is sweeping across this country. It’s becoming embedded in our value system. Norms and mores supporting the anti-science paradigm are prevalent. It’s making its way into policy prescriptions: The Texas GOP platform, afraid that schools might counter parental anti-science views, is on record to end the teaching of critical thinking skills!

Ted Koppel once said that he thought Rush Limbaugh was the most dangerous man in America. Today, he might say it’s Fox News. I disagree. The threat to the Enlightenment is now embedded in our culture. It has a life of its own. It’s now decentralized with independent minions spewing the ideology with the Internet.

This is not just an academic debate. Huge issues confront a global economy with most of the world’s population poor and angry. Attacks on the environment, according to 97% of the scientists who have examined the data, threaten civilization as we know it. Science and rational thinking are required to address the strategic issues of the day. Ideology that blunts the mind to science and evidence is a sure path to self-destruction.

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Corporations Have Found Yet Another (Secret and Scary) Way to Help Get Politicians Elected

“Super PACs are required to disclose their donors to the Federal Election Commission, but the donors themselves can be almost completely opaque. In 2012, for instance, a super PAC supporting Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted received $250,000 from a limited liability company called American Dream Fund LLC. Who’s behind American Dream Fund? No one knows. The company was set up six months earlier by a professional incorporation firm called CT Corporation System, and there’s no trace of who hired CT to do it. It’s another (completely legal) strategy that enables donors to give secretly.”

Source: Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

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Obama Follows Reagan’s Immigration Executive Order Lead

Republicans have a short memory when it comes to President Ronald Reagan’s executive orders associated with immigration.

Specifically they conveniently forget that President Reagan issued an Executive Order in 1987 to allow previously ineligible spouses and children to join their mate/parent who were granted a path to legalization if they had been “continuously” present in the U.S. since January 1, 1982.

When Congress failed to correct the “split-eligibility family” problem President Reagan took appropriate executive action to bring these families back together.

Of course there was no talk by Republicans about abuse of power or impeachment.

Reagan also relaxed immigration standards for 200,000 Nicaraguan exiles fleeing communism in 1987.


Noferi, Mark. (2014). When Reagan and GHW Bush Took Bold Executive Action on Immigration. The Hill.

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Another ObamaCare Myth Debunked: Premiums Have Not Skyrocketed

Analysis of 2015 Premium Changes in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces
Via: Kaiser Family Foundation

With the second open enrollment period of the health insurance marketplaces approaching, this analysis provides an initial look at premium changes for marketplace plans for individuals in 15 states and the District of Columbia that have publicly released comprehensive data on rates or rate filings for all insurers.

The analysis examines premium changes for the lowest-cost bronze plan and the two lowest-cost silver plans in 16 major cities. The second-lowest cost silver plan in each state is of particular interest as it acts as a benchmark that helps determine how much assistance eligible individuals can receive in the form of federal tax credits. The findings show that in general, individuals will pay slightly less to enroll in the second-lowest cost plan in 2015 than they did in 2014, prior to the application of tax credits.

Although premium changes vary substantially across and within states, premium changes for 2015 in general are modest when looking at the low-cost insurers in the marketplaces, where enrollment is concentrated. While the analysis provides an early look at how competitive dynamics may be influencing health insurance premiums, it is important to bear in mind that the overall picture may change as comprehensive data across all fifty states becomes available.

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