Earlier this afternoon, NB's Tim Graham noted how NPR's Robert Siegel and Pew Research pollster Andrew Kohut spoke approvingly of "Millennials" as being "less 'militaristic' and less religious" than their elders.
At end of his post, Graham noted that Siegel and Kohut "somehow" forgot to discuss the key political finding in the poll, namely that the demographic's 32-point favoritism towards Democrats (62% to 30%) has declined by more than half (to 54% to 40%) in just one year of living in Obamaland. Shoot, if that trend continues for another nine months, it will be almost all even by Election Day in November.
The adverb that begins with a "U" made yet another appearance yesterday in connection with an economic report. The related noun that begins with an "S" came along for the ride.
The news concerned sales of new homes. They fell "Unexpectedly" to their lowest level since 1963, when the U.S population was about 40% lower. The decline was a "Surprise" to economists, who had predicted an increase.
It continues to fascinate that the "Unexpected" news that came as a "Surprise" to economists during a large portion of the Bush 43 administration more often than not was to the upside, while the trail of "Unexpected Surprises" during the current administration is littered with downers.
Ahead of the news, the Associated Press appeared ready to play up what it thought would be good news, and then exiled its reports to remote corners when things didn't go as expected.
In a Thursday afternoon story on the small rise in the Case Schiller home price index, the AP's Adrian Sanz was talking of recovery, while inventing a new economic concept (bold is mine):
Let's be honest for a minute, America. I know a lot of you had stars in your eyes last January when Barack Obama was inaugurated amid promises of "change we can believe in", closing down evil Guantanamo Bay, bringing the troops home from Iraq and all the other idealistic promises he made so he could get elected.
He also promised to fix the economy and let us know in no uncertain terms that he had inherited a real fiscal mess that would take trillions of federal dollars to fix, and after trillions of dollars things have only gotten worse.
It seems like that's been the mantra of the Obama Administration ever since they took office, the excuse for most of their problems is that George Bush left such a mess that Obama just can't seem to find anything to do about it except to borrow and spend more money.
I wonder what the media would have said if after 9/11 George Bush would have stood up and told the world that due to the Clinton Administration refusing to take custody of Osama bin Laden when he was offered three times or that he refused to let American operatives take him out when they had a chance, the ramifications of 9/11 were out of his control.
It's no surprise that Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine would agree with the Obama administration about the effectiveness of last year's stimulus packages. That's why CNN's "American Morning" should have at least included a single critical guest Feb. 17.
Kiran Chetry began the interview by citing a CNN poll that showed public skepticism regarding the stimulus.
"What do you say to Americans who feel that this $862 billion was basically wasted?" Chetry asked.
Kaine defended the stimulus by citing a New York Times piece saying that the stimulus "has pretty much done exactly what it was intended to do." The former governor gave the stimulus credit with getting the economy growing again. Kane also said it saved or created 2.4 million jobs.
Press reports about the prediction by President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers that the economy would add an average of 95,000 jobs per month during calendar 2010 weren't exactly overflowing with praise, but were lacking in something one would have expected: historical context.
Philip Elliott's Associated Press report provided none. Sewell Chan's New York Times coverage at least pointed out that the promised level of job growth was "barely enough to keep up with the normal number of jobs the economy would have to create to meet the growth in the labor force and keep the unemployment rate steady."
But how would what the administration predicts compare to previous recoveries? As seen in the following chart based on more detailed information here, all based on data from the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 95,000 per month performance in job growth following a breakout quarter after a recession wouldn't exactly be impressive:
There are at least two schools of thought in economics. One of them - Keynesian economics - suggests that consumption is the most important element and therefore spending is the way to restore a faltering economy.
This is the theory that's been adopted by the spendthrift Obama administration and often the news media that have argued in favor of moregovernment and personal spending.
But according to former treasury secretary Henry (Hank) Paulson, Jr. overspending was a "root cause" of the financial crisis.
Paulson told CNN's Christine Romans on Feb. 10, "One of the root causes of the crisis were the structural economic imbalances that really result from the proclivity of not just our nation, but Americans to save too little, to invest too little, to borrow to much, to spend too much."
White House Budget Director Peter Orszag and Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf have a problem: They can't revise their budget estimates quickly enough to account for the continued bad news about tax collections arriving daily from the Treasury Department. Luckily for them, but unfortunately for taxpayers, an establishment media obsessed with PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome), TDS (Tebow Derangement Syndrome), and TPDS (Tea Party Derangement Syndrome) isn't paying any meaningful attention to the problem.
Back in August of last year, the CBO guesstimated that collections during fiscal 2010 will amount to $2.264 trillion. That guesstimate assumed a 7.5% increase over the $2.105 trillion collected in 2009, and clearly depended heavily on a revival in private-sector economic growth and employment.
Well, economic growth has occurred. The problem is that it's the government that has grown, while the private sector has shrunk. Additionally, according to the Establishment Survey published by Uncle Sam's Bureau Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted total employment has continued to fall.
Thus, CBO dropped its estimate of fiscal 2010 receipts in projections it released in late January to $2.175 trillion. The collections guesstimate in the Obama administration's budget is actually a bit lower:
On Monday’s Morning Joe show on MSNBC, during a discussion of President Obama’s recent suggestions that he would be willing to talk with Republicans about health care reform, co-host Mika Brzezinski recounted Obama’s initial refusal to include the GOP, and claimed that Republicans "ARE the ones, you could argue, who wrecked the economy," which set off co-host Joe Scarborough. After Brzezinski claimed that "The last administration put us in the position that we are in," Scarborough denounced Democrats for pushing Republicans to support lending more money to people who could not pay back their mortgages.
He also brought up campaign contributions President Obama received from mortgage companies. Scarborough: "And, by the way, while I was being critical of the Republican party for allowing people to get mortgages they couldn't afford to repay, Democrats were calling Republicans racists. Barney Frank calling them racists for not giving even more mortgages they couldn't afford to pay. ... Barack Obama, the guy that got more money from Fannie and Freddie executives than anybody else on Capitol Hill doesn't exactly have clean hands here."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, February 8, Morning Joe, on MSNBC, from about 8:09 a.m., with critical portions in bold:
Rick Santelli is the star of perhaps the most politically consequential online video, viral to the extreme, of the past year (right). On February 19, 2009 he let loose on the Obama administration's economic policies on CNBC's "Squawk Box", calling for a "tea party", and inspiring millions of Americans to speak out against what he and many others see as collectivist economics policies pursued by the President and Congress..
“That was spontaneous, absolutely,” he said in an interview with the Daily Caller. “It was also from the heart, and I had no idea of the direction it would take or the response it would get.”
Almost a year later, Santelli is widely seen as the godfather of a large political coalition that, according to some polls, rivals the two major parties in popularity. The Tea Party protesters staged 48 simultaneous protests on tax day last year, a rally on the lawn of the Capitol with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of attendees, and will hold its own convention this week, with Sarah Palin giving the keynote address.
Only a liberal could imagine that addressing the federal deficit and creating jobs might be mutually exclusive. On MSNBC's Feb. 3 "Morning Joe," Chrystia Freeland of The Financial Times asked Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., whether she agreed with President Obama's stated intention of addressing the deficit next year.
"Senator, we've also heard from the president that next year - in his budget for next year - he is going to be focusing on deficit reduction, and he thinks its gonna be time be worried about that," Freeland said. "Is that too soon? Are you worried that the president should really be focusing right now still on stimulating the economy?"
Stabenow took the cue to launch into anti-Bush boilerplate. "Well we have to be focused on both and it's tough," she said. "I mean this president not only inherited the biggest deficit we've ever had, but the biggest deficit in jobs that we've ever had. We've got over 15 million people without jobs right now - bread winners no longer able to bring in a pay check."
Update - 2/4, 11:46 AM | Lachlan Markay: CBS News President Sean McManus has denied that the network will cut Couric's pay. Details below.
Katie Couric may be getting a taste of her own populist medicine. When the Dow hit 10,000 last October, she (and other network news personalities) used the opportunity to bemoan massive payments to Wall Street bankers. But now the populist sentiment has turned on her. She faces dramatic pay cuts as CBS News downsizes.
Couric, shown in a, er, file photo at right, "makes enough to pay 200 news reporters $75,000 a year! It's complete insanity," one CBS News insider told the Drudge Report. "We report with great enthusiasm how much bankers are making, how it is out of step with reality during a recession. Well look at Katie!"
The employee was referring to Couric's roughly $14 million annual salary, the highest in network news. That salary may be cut dramatically in the face of massive layoffs at CBS News branches in Washington, San Francisco, Miami, London, Los Angeles and Moscow.
The White House continues to throw out random numbers in their quest to convince the public that their behemoth stimulus bill is saving jobs at a massive rate. The confusion has even seeped into the President's biggest support group - the media.
CNN recently announced how the stimulus plan funded nearly 600,000 jobs this past quarter. In their article, which parrots the numbers provided by the administration's Recovery.gov Web site, CNN hints that these figures may actually be low, in that they do not include jobs created 'indirectly' (emphasis mine throughout):
"It does not tally jobs created indirectly through companies buying supplies for stimulus projects, people spending their tax cuts, increased unemployment benefits and the like."
Would adding the number of indirect jobs have provided a boost to the stimulus numbers?
Not quite, according to a source CNN can likely trust - themselves...
On Wednesday's Countdown show on MSNBC, shortly before the beginning of the State of the Union address, as Keith Olbermann discussed the speech with Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, after Olbermann brought up the possibility that President Obama would give a divisive FDR-style speech, Matthews seemed to lament that such a speech would "spook" the middle class, and, as he credited the Democratic party with actually "creating" the middle class, he argued that Democrats are a victim of their own success. After claiming that it would have been "unpatriotic" not to increase government spending in time of recession, he went on to describe President Obama's economic policies as "conservative": "Everybody who studies economics knows if you have no business spending, no consumer spending, the government has to spend. That is reasonable and I would argue conservative economics."
At about 8:57 p.m., after contending that President Herbert Hoover "proved to every single American that the Great Depression was Republican doing," Matthews made his extraordinary claim about Democrats "creating" the middle class:
Is the luster finally wearing off the love affair between the White House press corps and President Barack Obama? It is, if CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid's analysis of President Barack Obama's latest Wall Street proposals is anything to go by.
"Well, you know, it's really the same as it's all been," Reid said. "That there's some unease about both of them, but the President has been satisfied with the jobs they've done. Behind the scenes, they both still have a lot of control. They lost this battle to Volcker, but now they're on board on this new plan for Wall Street, although it really sounds more like politics than a real plan because it's hard to believe it would get through."
It's amazing how Bernard Condon and Tim Paradis of the Associated Press managed to hang the same label on totally opposite political positions in their report on the situation in the stock market late this afternoon.
According to the AP pair, Scott Brown's U.S. Senate win in Massachusetts was due to a "wave of populism," at the same time as President Obama is supposedly planning to use "populist attacks" to save his party's congressional majority in the fall elections. One of those employments of "populism" has to be wrong.
Additionally, they write that it's Scott Brown's type of populism that caused investors to sell heavily in the middle of last week, but that it's Barack Obama's type of populism that caused it to plunge even further during its remainder.
Look at the bright side: As you'll see, the wire service at least got the headline right.
Rush Limbaugh is so reviled by the left, that even when he agrees with liberals and issues facts supporting their arguments, they criticize him and demand an apology.
The latest such group to deride Limbaugh for supposedly offensive comments that they themselves have supported is the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL has called on Limbaugh to apologize for suggesting that the Obama Administration's anti-banker populism has troubling anti-Semitic undertones. He did not suggest that Obama is an anti-Semite, nor that is policies specifically single out or target Jews. He did suggest that Jews who voted for Obama may be feeling "buyer's remorse" now that the administration is using language that has so often--historically--been used to demean and discriminate against the Jewish community.
Here is the quote in question: "To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama is assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's - if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."
Two Democrats on Sunday blamed the soaring budget deficit on George W. Bush, and ABC's Terry Moran didn't challenge either one of them.
First up on "This Week" was senior White House adviser David Axelrod who told substitute host Moran, "President Clinton left a $237 billion surplus, President Obama received a $1.3 trillion deficit."
Moran didn't challenge this, nor did he press Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) when he uttered virtually the exact same Democrat talking point moments later, "When George Bush came to office, he had a $236 billion surplus; Barack Obama was handed a $1.3 trillion deficit."
Here's how a REAL journalist might have responded the second time somebody made the same stupid comment in the course of about 15 minutes:
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Americans were treated to a number of populist sermons on the "special interests" who would oppose "reform" at any cost to maintain the "status quo" from which they "profit financially or politically." The drug companies, the energy companies, the Wall Street bankers, and the health insurers were the corporate enemies of a just and harmonious America, or so one might have gathered.
Obama was at the vanguard of this populist charge. But since his election, he has proposed health care legislation that would subsidize Pfizer and PhRMA, a cap and trade plan that would drive profits to General Electric, and Wall Street bailouts that lined the pockets of the same Goldman Sachs bankers he so reviled during the campaign. What happened?
Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney exposes and investigates this monumental disconnect in his new book "Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses." Carney explores the "political strategy of partnering with the biggest businesses in order to create new regulations, taxes, and subsidies." Those measures, he argues, actually benefit the biggest businesses by crowding out competition, consolidating market share, or giving billions in subsidies directly to those companies.
But according to "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, efforts to spin this in a positive way are futile. Wallace appeared on the Fox Business Network's Jan. 21 "Imus in the Morning" program to explain their efforts to alter the news coverage to a favorable tone in the wake of this news is not the proper course of action.
"I think it means a big deal and I have to laugh, you know, somebody was saying yesterday, there's some events that are just un-spinable," Wallace said. "They're just too big, too dramatic, too obvious - you can't spin them and yet the White House clearly is trying to spin this."
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has a brilliant solution for Barack Obama to improve his sagging poll numbers: spend more time blaming George W. Bush for the recession.
"The Obama administration’s troubles are the result not of excessive ambition, but of policy and political misjudgments," Krugman wrote Monday.
"The stimulus was too small; policy toward the banks wasn’t tough enough; and Mr. Obama didn’t do what Ronald Reagan, who also faced a poor economy early in his administration, did — namely, shelter himself from criticism with a narrative that placed the blame on previous administrations."
Don't be surprised if such thinking gets this guy another Nobel Prize (h/t NB reader Jeff):
Barack Obama appears to no longer be giving Chris Matthews a tingle up his leg, for the MSNBC host thinks Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts might end up being a reflection of how people are very averse to the new President's program.
With a visible frown on his face, Matthews told "Daily Rundown" co-host Chuck Todd Monday that recent polling data "has to do with reality of a terrible economy, of this new burden that people feel being put on their shoulders of bigger debt, perhaps taxes coming down the road."
Matthews continued, "And the fear that the burden of healthcare is going to be much heavier than the benefit."
The "Hardball" host cautioned, "I think it's going to show up in Massachusetts tomorrow with the results there" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
The charts definitely show how utterly wrong reporters like the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa are when they claim that there has been anything resembling a "rebound" since the economy hit bottom from a growth standpoint in the second quarter of 2009 (the economy has yet to see an employment bottom). They also explain why AP reporter Martin Crutsinger seems to have tired of trying to put a "getting better" face on things in the past couple of days (as seen here and here at NewsBusters; here and here at BizzyBlog).
Here, after screen captures by Morrissey, are the two mind-numbing creations in question, the first showing changes in output (GDP) and the second showing changes in employment:
Okay, who administered the truth serum to the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger? And will the person who did this kindly inform us when it will wear off?
On Thursday, for the second day in a row following a mostly fact-based report the previous day on Uncle Sam's horrid fiscal situation, Crutsinger ran down a troubling economic report. This time it was December's disappointing retail sales results. The AP writer even took readers on a walk through the historical archives to let them know just how bad December and all of 2009 really were. Pinch me to make sure I'm not dreaming.
In his coverage of yesterday's Monthly Treasury Statement from Uncle Sam, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, who I have criticized frequently for cruddy reporting, especially on federal finances, did a pretty good job reporting key facts and conveying very real concerns that are brewing over the country's current fiscal path.
In the process, he made a stunning admission about the economy's situation that has to be seen to be believed.
I find myself concerned that the previous paragraphs might cause Mr. Crutsinger to get called into a closed-door meeting where he gets asked what in the world is going on. If that happens, I have an agenda item he can bring up. I'll get to that later.
Crutsinger's only serious error was his final paragraph's mischaracterization of deficit trends during the Bush administration.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took to the WhiteHouse.gov blog today to try to refute a devastating AP report showing that the the stimulus's highway and road funding has done next to nothing to improve the unemployment situation. Though he offered a couple of valid points, LaHood, pictured right in a file photo, actually did very little refuting.
The AP asserts in its report that "there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program. The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it."
LaHood points out--fairly--that the AP examines the construction industry as a whole while the seven percent of the $787 billion that went towards funding highway and road construction (roughly $55 billion) only affects the transportation construction industry, not the industry as a whole.
CNN's efforts to spin the current economy have gotten to the point of being ridiculous.
For three days in a row, a series of reports all showed persistent layoffs above expectations, and in each case CNN.com inexplicably reported optimism.
First up was an ADP report released Wednesday which tracked the economy from the side of business owners and how many workers they laid off. Instead of showing the complete picture, CNN chose to present a decidedly upbeat angle.
CNN Money writers Jessica Dickler and Hibah Yousuf set the tone as they worked hard to spin unexpected layoffs as a positive sign in their rosy-headlined "Job Picture Gets a Little Bit Brighter":
In a Friday news analysis piece that appeared in the paper's print edition today (teased at its web site as seen on the right), Jackie Calmes at the New York Times began with a pathetic headline, and opened with pity on our poor overwhelmed, stressed-out, stretched-in-all-directions President:
Obama Tries to Turn Focus to Jobs, if Other Events Allow
President Obama keeps trying to turn attention to “jobs, jobs, jobs,” as his chief of staff has put it. But he is finding that it can be hard to focus on any one issue when so many demand attention, often unexpectedly.
This is simply another variation on the "distracted" President theme I noted last year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). You know, if those terrorists and other messy realities wouldn't intervene, Barack Obama could do his job sooooo much better.
Calmes resumed the pity party in her seventh paragraph:
First of all, let me wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, and I want to thank you all for reading this column and letting your thoughts be known by responding.
Whether your reaction to what I write be pro or con, it's always good to know what's on your mind, and I sincerely hope that you will continue to do so.
There is a great frustration abroad in America these days and goodness knows we have enough to be frustrated about; the economy, the two wars we are fighting, people walking unimpeded across our border from Mexico, a country that for all practical purposes is being controlled by a ruthless drug cartel.
The closing of businesses, the loss of jobs and the relentless cruelty of Islamic terrorists around the world all add up to a myriad of serious problems facing America today.
Although you will not hear it articulated in the mainstream media, I think what's bothering Americans more than any other single subject is the fact that we've lost control of our government.
The economy shed far more jobs in December than economists had expected.
The Labor Department announced moments ago that nonfarm payrolls declined by a surprising 85,000 workers last month. Economists had been expecting no change or maybe a small decline.
One bright spot was healthcare which added another 22,000 jobs. Despite efforts by Democrats to "reform" this industry, it remains one of the few that continues to hire having added a staggering 631,000 employees since the recession began in December 2007.
It will be very interesting to see how this announcement gets covered by the Obama-loving media in the coming days: