This morning the Obama administration's "National Economic Council & Council of Economic Advisers" jointly released "The Middle-Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers." Among the howlers in this non-economic political document: "Independent Economic Analysis Clearly Demonstrates Why We Need to Extend the 2001/2003/2010 Tax Cuts for the Middle-class." But not everyone else? Don't high income-earners spend money too?
The primary thrust of the administration's release is that, in regards to negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff," is the predictable class warfare clarion call, complete with kidnapping-related rhetoric: "There is no reason to hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the highest income earners." The word "hostage" appears three times in the first two pages of the document. The subtext, of course, is that the hostage-holders are the Republicans in Congress, particularly the House of Representatives. At the Politico, Byron Tau ignored this classless, tasteless partisan tack by supposed professionals:
Schlockumentary filmmaker Michael Moore had some straight talk for Barack Obama Monday.
In a letter to the President published at the perilously liberal Huffington Post, Moore advised Obama to "DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF" while putting an end to "the s***ting on the poor."
Nuns on the Bus tour leader Sister Simone Campbell appeared on MSNBC's The Cycle on Thursday afternoon to discuss her ministry, which predictably led to her left-wing agenda becoming the focal point of the conversation. The only host to take issue with her talking points was token conservative S.E. Cupp, who was armed with facts and figures that the good sister could not rebut except by adamantly insisting they were "really wrong." That's when it started getting a little tense. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
In what was a transparent attempt to scrutinize how conservative a black actress can really be, the ladies of The View invited Stacey Dash on the program to substitute for Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Immediately following her summary of what was to come, Whoopi Goldberg inquired how Dash was doing after the vicious attacks she had endured on Twitter for simply endorsing Mitt Romney.
Without resorting to the same animosity, the liberal hostesses were seemingly just as incredulous. Why would someone like her -- a black woman who works in Hollywood -- vote for anyone but Obama? They made it their mission to find out, pushing her to explain herself. Perhaps they were too busy to read the 3-page essay that she posted online before the election. [video below, MP3 audio here]
Well, there's one little bit of good news in Martin Crutsinger's final report on yesterday's release of the federal government's October Monthly Treasury Statement (I did a review of his initial take yesterday [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog]). The good news is that Crutsinger, unlike in most months during the past several years I have reviewed such reports, actually identified the single-month amount of money the federal government spent in October, namely $304 billion. We'll see if he continues the practice of reporting single-month spending amounts in future months.
The rest of Crutsinger's coverage is typically pathetic and predictable. He failed to correctly define what the deficit really is for his readers, understated the impact on fiscal 2013 of any tax or spending decisions the President and Congress might agree on, ignored the likelihood that receipts in teh coming year are likely coming back to levels last seen in fiscal 2007 (meaning that virtually the entire problem facing the country has to do with spending, not collections), and engaged in the seemingly required exercise of blaming George W. Bush for running deficits (not disclosed as far smaller) and conducting wars Congress agreed to fight before Obama came into office. As I said, typically pathetic and predictable.
The media will never let a disaster – or a favorable (to them) election – go to waste. So the last month has been propitious for them. Combine Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election with the looming fiscal cliff, and the media have the perfect opportunity to push for a carbon tax.
The New York Times claimed that “economists of diverse viewpoints concur that if the international community entered into a sensible agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the economic benefits would greatly outweigh the costs.” On Nov. 9 The Washington Post declared that “compared to the fiscal cliff, even a carbon tax might look attractive.” And the next day, the Post continued by saying that a carbon tax would be the “best plan” that could address both global warming and the fiscal cliff.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted a possible recession by Christmas if lawmakers didn’t step up and make some sort of deal in regards to the looming fiscal cliff. His prediction came during an Nov. 11 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We can gift wrap a recession by Christmas. We can set it right into place without some agreement,” Cramer told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory. He attributed that week’s stock market drop to that same lack of certainty.
Last Friday, in his first post-election remarks on PBS and NPR, New York Times columnist David Brooks downplayed his usual bash- conservatives narrative, and actually castigated liberals for wanting to go over the looming fiscal cliff. He said that liberals are more organized, they’ve won the election, and will get most of what they yearn for if we do go over the waterfall: increased revenue, tax hikes, and cuts to defense spending.
Strangely, his liberal colleagues, Mark Shields on PBS and E.J. Dionne on NPR, seemed to agree with this claim – undercutting the notion that this "cliff" is dangerous to both parties.
On the Nov. 5 edition of CNBCs “Squawk Box,” former CEO of GE Jack Welch guest hosted and did not shy away from his opinions of the current administration. Welch emphasized the great opportunity America has with natural gas and how some of Obama’s proposed green energy bills pose a great threat to the economy.
One of those big threats, according to Welch, is the Ozone regulations bill, which was pushed back to be enacted in early 2013. “Ozone is a trillion dollar bill to the U.S. economy,” Welch stated. “If they put the ozone restrictions in that they want and take them down to sixty parts per billion, take them down there, it’s a trillion dollar bill.”
On the Nov. 2 edition of CNBCs “Squawk on the Street,” former chief economic advisor to George W. Bush and Hoover Fellow Ed Lazear commented that today’s jobs report may not be as good as the Obama administration and media make it out to be. “You have to think about how much do you need to keep employment constant as a proportion of the population,” he stated.
The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters all eagerly told readers today that the seasonally adjusted annualized level of single-family home sales in September of 389,000 was the highest in 2-1/2 years and really, really good news for the housing market, the economy as a whole, or both. What they all "somehow" failed to mention was the fact that sales are still far below where they were during the 12-month recession in 2008 and 2009 (defining "recession" properly), when the market was screeching to a halt after overbuilding driven by subprime lending frauds by design Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The numbers reported by the Census Bureau since January of 2008, first expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, then as raw number of homes sold, follow the jump.
In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
He clearly doesn't suffer from a shortage of chutzpah.
According to the Politico's Josh Gerstein, President Barack Obama was asked the following question by The View's Barabara Walters in a Monday appearance to be broadcast on Tuesday: "What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?" His response: "We can survive a lot. But the American people don't want to just survive. We want to thrive. I've just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well."
The media's ongoing contribution to the Obama reelection effort is fairly obvious: omit or downplay news stories and polling data that cast the Obama administration in a negative light while hyping trivial Romney gaffes or media-manufactured tempests-in-teapots in order to focus the election narrative on the Republican candidate's deficiencies - real or or imagined -- rather than the incumbent Democrat's record.
Liberal Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward appeared on the September 17 C-SPAN program Washington Journal to hawk his new book The Price of Politics.
In the process, Woodward promoted the same stale narrative that compromise is dead in Washington mostly because of those rascally, conservative Republicans, but sought to import a fair measure of melodrama to the stalemate in Washington using the words of a Biden aide to describe the summer's debt ceiling crisis as “an economic Cuban Missile Crisis."
In his Jackson Hole, Wyoming presentation today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, as reported by Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press, made the following claim in connection with the Fed's programs of "quantitative easing" (QE): "Bernanke argued Friday that collectively, such measures have succeeded. He cited research showing that two rounds of QE (quantitative easing) had created 2 million jobs and accelerated U.S. economic growth."
I'm not inclined to automatically believe Big Ben's word. But if he's right, and if the allegedly positive effects of QE started being felt at about the time the recession ended, that would mean that the fiscal policies of the Obama administration are responsible for the remnant. Of course, Wiseman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, didn't ask the next logical question, so I will. Guess how big that remnant is?
Sam Youngman at Reuters, and several others have attempted to pounce on a comment about "big business" GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made at a Minnesota fundraiser on Thursday as some kind of equivalent to President Obama's out-of-touch assertion that "the private sector is doing fine" back in June.
In fact, what Romney actually said in large part explains why the private sector isn't doing fine. Here is the relevant text from Youngman (bolds are mine):
An unbylined Associated Press item late this morning told us that, according to AAA, "Thirty three million people will travel 50 miles or more during Labor Day weekend," which will be "the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007."
But it won't be, as will be revealed in the AAA-sourced graphic found at Page 3 of its 36-page report (large PDF) seen after the jump.
USA Today's Web site features an Associated Press report with the headline "Housing starts, jobless claims in good shape." For the many readers who just scan headlines, that sounds encouraging. Yet by the second paragraph the article notes "that construction of single-family homes and apartments dipped 1.1% in July compared with June. . ." And by the third paragraph:
Housing has been making a modest comeback this year. But even with the gains, the rate of construction and the level of permits remain only about half the 1.5 million annual rate considered healthy.
There are so many holes in Paul Wiseman's Wednesday report at the Associated Press on the weakness of the current "recovery" that it would take a term paper to cover all of them. I'll just concentrate on a repeat error Wiseman made. It is one which AP colleagues Christopher Rugaber (with Wiseman, as demonstrated here) and Martin Crutsinger (as shown here) have also committed. All three gentlemen have been preparing their reports as if "government spending" is the same thing as the government spending and investment component of the nation's economic output. It's not.
In his piece about why the Obama "recovery" (as seen here, by Warren Buffet's requirement that per capita GDP has to return to where it was before the downturn began, we don't even have the beginnings of a recovery yet) is the worst since World War II, Wiseman had the following to say on the "government spending" topic:
Piers Morgan on Monday picked the wrong guy to toss Democrat talking points at.
After the CNN anchor spoke the typical liberal nonsense about Paul Ryan's budget only benefiting rich people, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scolded, "I do wonder sometimes if you guys all get off in a little club and learn a brand new mantra and then all repeat it mindlessly...You guys almost sound like you're an extension of the Obama campaign" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In an apparent attempt to pin blame anywhere but on the Obama administration for the rising unemployment rate, a USA Today item currently carried at Newsmax's MoneyNews.com web site opens by claiming that "Companies across the country are cutting training programs for new employees, broadening the divide between workers with skills needed to compete in today's economy and those left out, pushing up unemployment rates in the process."
The incoherence is stunning, and it continues after the jump:
With a fragile economy during a heated election cycle, the news media should be focused on economic data. But when it comes to the growth of the U.S. economy as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), the three broadcasts networks were silent.
ABC, CBS and NBC news programs ignored the falling GDP numbers for six straight months from Jan. 28 to July 26, 2012, according to Nexis transcripts. In 2012, the only coverage on the morning and evenings shows was three stories on Jan. 27, and two more about the “dismal” report on July 27, 2012. But for the six months in between, the network new programs had nothing to say about the economic growth rate even though it was falling.
For the past two weeks Barack Obama's media minions have been working overtime trying to convince the American people the President was taken out of context during his now infamous "You Didn't Build That" speech in Roanoke, Virginia.
CNN's Donna Brazile and the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus tried making that pathetic claim on ABC's This Week Sunday only to receive a much-needed education from George Will and Breitbart.com's Dana Loesch (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times economic columnist Paul Krugman made a statement Sunday about the looming end of the year tax hikes and spending cuts that is likely to raise some eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Appearing on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, Krugman said, "If Obama’s reelected, I think that there’s a quite good chance that for a month or two we actually will go off the cliff" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Here's how a "Business Highlights" item at the Associated Press summarized the situation between Timothy Geithner and London banks whose officials had admitted to rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate ("Libor") on Friday evening: "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released documents Friday that show it learned five years ago of big banks understating their borrowing costs to manipulate a key interest rate. The documents also show Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who was then president of the New York Fed, urged the Bank of England to make the rate-setting process more transparent."
Today, Charles Gasparino at the New York Post called total BS such pathetic media spin (bolds are mine):
Democrats are at it again, claiming that Republicans, particularly House Republicans, are sabotaging the economy, while ignoring the quite effective job President Barack Obama has done to ruin the economy both on his own (regulatory and anti-fossil fuel hostility, wasteful green "investments," etc.) and with the help of Congressional Democrats when they controlled both Houses of Congress (stimulus, ObamaCare, trillion-dollar deficits, etc.).
The best argument against this nonsense is that if Republicans were really interested in hurting the economy, GOP governors wouldn't be doing good to even great jobs with their own states' economies. At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Josh Lederman, reporting from the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, attempted to frame a response to GOP governors' contentions (in bold after the jump) which qualifies as the howler of the day:
Appearing as a panel member on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, Time magazine's Rana Foroohar - identified as assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business on Time's Web site - lamented that she was "sad" at how much taxes are being discussed as she asserted that "one thing that's not going to get us some kind of a growth boom is a tax cut," and then called for more government spending which she claimed would entice businesses into more economic activity.
Without clarifying that the recent political debate about taxes has been about preventing tax rates from increasing as the Bush tax cuts expire, Foroohar dismissed the effectiveness of tax cuts and explained her prescription for the economy: