Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made some rather ominous economic observations Sunday.
Appearing on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Greenspan said, “[T]he level of uncertainty about the very long-term future is far greater than at any time I particularly remember.” He blamed it on “government intervention [that] has been so horrendous that businesses cannot basically decide what to do about the future” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews has a new book out about his former boss the late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill.
Despite this, the MSNBC host was made a fool of on Sunday's Meet the Press by Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Id.) concerning how many times the government was shut down when O'Neill ruled the House (video follows with transcript and commentary):
So much for the recovery. Even liberals admit employment is “weak,” that household wealth hasn’t recovered and consumer experts say middle-class retailers are “struggling.” But two of the three broadcast news networks have been much more focused on “proof that the economy is getting stronger,” than on economic worries since the May jobs report was released June 6.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke surprised some on Sept. 18, when he postponed the tapering off of its huge monetary “stimulus” policy called quantitative easing (QE). At the same time, the Fed cut economic growth forecasts. Reuters reported that “the Fed cut its forecast for 2013 economic growth to a 2.0 percent to 2.3 percent range from a June estimate of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent. The downgrade for 2014 was even sharper.”
If you listen to the left, you're probably hearing about food stamp "cuts."
What you're probably not hearing is, as Ira Stoll reported in the New York Sun, that the Democrats wanted to increase food stamp spending by 65% over the next ten years but Republicans passed a bill to raise it by only 57%, so partisan spinners and liberals in the media are calling what the GOP passed "a cut."
A November 15, 2010 blog post by Michael S. Derby at the Wall Street Journal ("San Francisco Fed Official Says QE2 Is Working") told us that "The Federal Reserve‘s recently announced plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities to improve economic growth is having a positive effect on growth." The Fed official involved also predicted "the U.S. gross domestic product to come in at 2.5% this year (2010), and at 3.5% next year and 4.5% the year after that."
Uh, not exactly. Actual GDP results: 2.5% in 2010 (that was a gimme), followed by 1.8% and 2.8% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Almost three years letter, the San Fran Fed's acknowledged result of that effort at "quantitative easing" — it "added about 0.13 percentage point to real GDP growth in late 2010" — is starkly different, and is only "positive" if you think a football team managing one field goal in four quarters is "positive." Of course, though it should be, the news is getting very little coverage.
One has to sift through the biased blather to get to it, but Mary Clare Jalonick's August 1 coverage at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, of the House's plans to rein in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, still popularly called "food stamps," contains an important admission which most of the establishment press has avoided as the program's costs and enrollment have skyrocketed, all in the name of preserving the false impression that the program is exclusively about preventing people from starving.
As usual, one of those distractions is the tired idea that what the House is proposing represents harmful "cuts," when what is really occurring is a long overdue and yet still watered-down effort to target benefits to the truly eligible and prevent their disbursement to people who either don't need them or shouldn't get them (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Even though President Obama promised a cut in the corporate income tax on the campaign trail in 2012, the media are playing up as a "grand concession" or "grand bargain" his offer to Republicans to cut the federal levy in exchange for a boatload of new deficit spending -- and hidden taxes. On Tuesday evening, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto brought NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on his eponymous program to discuss this latest way in which the media are misleading the American people and helping to uncritically further the president's talking points on the economy.
"It's being announced as a bargain," Bozell observed, although "there is no bargain, there is no agreement" that has been struck. The media using the language of "grand bargain" is simply a set-up to blame Republicans when they rightly push back against the president's plan to ratchet up spending the country can't afford, the Media Research Center president argued [watch the full Cavuto appearance in the embed below the page break]
Organizing For Action claims that its mission is to "support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012." Presumably, on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis, that means it's able to divine the President's priorities and follow them (you see, OFA is "independent," so there can't pooooossibly be any communication between its officials and the White House, cough, cough).
Well, if OFA really is following the President's priorities, one of those priorities is decidedly not the economy, despite Obama's promise in his weekly address on Saturday to "spend every minute of every day doing everything in my power to make this economy work for working Americans again." And yes, I would expect a vigilant establishment press, which we definitely don't have, to notice, and of course they haven't. Edward-Isaac Dovere at the Politico has a list of OFA's "Action August" key event days, which follows the jump:
Has Glenn Thrush at the Politico thrown up the white flag on Democrats regaining control of the House until 2022, the first election cycle after the next wave of congressional and statehouse redistricting? If so, he clearly underestimates Republicans' ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but I digress.
It would appear that Thrush has thrust himself into the throes of despair, based on the bolded sentence seen after the jump from his Friday report on how 2010 losses of control of the U.S. House and especially control of so many statehouses and state legislatures "still haunt" Dear Leader Barack Obama:
CBS's Bob Schieffer got a much-needed lesson in recent history Sunday.
During a Face the Nation discussion with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.), after the host wrongly claimed sequester was "the creation of Congress," Boehner interrupted him saying, "That's wrong. Who insisted on the sequester? The President of the United States" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It wasn't a tough prediction, but late Friday morning Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted the seemingly "metaphysical certitude the Obama-loving media will be falling over themselves in the next 48 hours to report the better than expected jobs numbers in June." Well, of course.
Noel also wondered how much attention the press would pay to less than desirable aspects of yesterday's jobs report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The answer at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which carried at least eight reports relating to the news and its effects on the financial markets, was "hardly," as will be seen in excerpts after the jump. Additionally, the AP reversed its initial take that yesterday's non-change in the unemployment rate would keep the Federal Reserve's stimulus flowing, later deciding that the jobs report was so good that the Fed can let the tapering begin.
MSNBC anchor Alex Witt turned into a skeptic of federal government spending on Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, but before you get too excited, it was predictably in service of a larger liberal agenda. Witt questioned the wisdom of a $30 billion border security amendment that is now being debated in the Senate. This amendment to the larger Senate immigration bill calls for 20,000 additional border control agents, 700 miles of additional fencing along the southern border, and the expanded use of radar and drone technology.
Regarding the $30 billion cost of the amendment, Witt expressed her fear to U.S. News and World Report’s Lauren Fox: “[W]e're talking about a heck of a lot of money to help secure this border but will it actually accomplish that?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In an interview with liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs for Meet the Press's Press Pass segment on Sunday, moderator David Gregory worried about skepticism of big government: "...a lot of it has to do with what role does a government play in creating more structural balance in the economy, creating more jobs...doing what nobody else can do for the economy....but that the country writ large does not support....So what changes that and what happens in the absence of that movement back toward government playing a bigger role and spending all of that money?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Sachs began his response by leveling criticism against the Obama administration's massive stimulus program: "...there's a lot of skepticism, and it's understandable. If the government wastes money or runs huge deficits and so forth, you can't be very confident....What you can't do is say, 'We're going to spend a trillion dollars, or nearly a trillion dollars, and we're going to work it out in the next five weeks and we're going to throw it on to the floor of Congress before anyone can even read it.'"
The most interesting thing (to me, at least) about Wednesday's report in the Los Angeles Times by Ricardo Lopez on how the author of an economic report out of UCLA has said that the U.S. economy's performance since the recession officially ended in June 2009 stinks -- "It's not a recovery. It's not even normal growth. It's bad" -- is how the Associated Press relayed it to its readers and subscribers. I don't recall ever seeing a 15-plus paragraph report go unbylined, but this one did.
Maybe whoever wrote the AP item didn't want to incur the wrath of his or her colleague Tom Raum, who early last week wrote that the economy is "clearly, if slowly" recovering. It's also somewhat likely that Christopher Rugaber, who wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, might be a bit miffed. Choice nuggets from Lopez's LAT lament follow the jump:
Martin Bashir on Tuesday said New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yes, the MSNBC host said Peace Prize - not one for economics - all because the perilously liberal economist has advocated more deficit spending and even more federal debt to stimulate the economy (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
In "Go Ahead, Invade Their Phone Records: AP Reports Obama Has 'Alleged Scandals' and 'Alleged Misbehavior,'" Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted how Tom Raum at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, claimed that "Alleged misbehavior by the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies gives the GOP something else to talk about and investigate as the economy clearly, if slowly, recovers on President Barack Obama's watch, robbing Republicans of a central argument against Democrats."
That this is an exercise in sheer fantasy on Raum's part can be quickly demonstrated in two graphics.
You've got hand it to some (probably most) of the reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Their story is that the economy is all right, and by gosh, they're sticking to it.
Tom Raum's dispatch yesterday is a case in point. Along the way, he pulled out several of the tired spin-driven claims which have long since been taken down but which haven't yet penetrated the skulls of low-information voters. Raum and AP seem puzzled that the supposedly okey-dokey economy doesn't seem to be helping President Obama or Democrats' 2014 congressional and senatorial election prospects (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. The awful 0.4 percent result seen in the fourth quarter was largely sloughed off as caused by a number of one-time factors. Analysts convinced themselves that reported first-quarter growth would come in at 3.0 percent or slightly higher in Friday's release. Instead, we saw what Zero Hedge noted was the biggest such expectations miss since September 2011.
As a result, at least three establishment press organizations pronounced the result disappointing -- except for two business reporters at the Associated Press whose names are virtual fixtures here.
While most regular people don’t really know or care who he is, Rupert Murdoch is among a small handful of individuals who is most despised by the far left in this country. Unlike many others, he also has the great distinction of being loathed by exponents of socialism worldwide.
After reading (or watching) the speech which he recently gave to an Australian think tank called the Institute of Public Affairs about the moral superiority of free markets, it’s not hard to see why those who would enslave markets because they believe them to be based on greed would despise Murdoch, especially since he has the absolute temerity to dare to own newspapers, movie studios, and television channels across the globe.
Your daily dose of inadvertent humor comes from an article by Annie Lowrey at the New York Times on Sunday evening ("Lew to Press for European Policy Changes"; also in today's print edition).
In "covering" (from Washington?) Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's four-day European trip for meetings with EU leaders encouraging them to pursue "growth" policies -- which in Keynesians' fevered minds always really means "stimulus" and not genuine growth-driven initiatives -- Lowrey wrote the following (bold is mine):
Senate Democrats on Saturday narrowly passed their first budget in four years.
Appearing on PBS's Inside Washington Friday before the vote, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer called it "the most appalling document you have ever seen" claiming, "It marches us off a cliff into Greece and perhaps into Cyprus" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
While you were watching Rand Paul's historic filibuster and the debate surrounding budget sequestration, an economic theory battle was waging between two of the nation's foremost liberal economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.
In his most recent salvo published at the Huffington Post Saturday, Sachs spoke heresy to Obama-lovers across the fruited plain including Krugman claiming that following the 2008 financial crisis, "It was the Fed, not the fiscal stimulus, which prevented a fall into depression."
As NewsBusters reported earlier, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had quite a heated discussion about the budget, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.
Near its conclusion, Scarborough actually scolded Krugman for pompously behaving like a sighing Al Gore (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had an at times heated discussion about budget deficits, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.
At one point Krugman got so rattled by the facts that he actually said Scarborough quoting what he had said in the past was making an ad hominem attack against him (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For conservatives, it's been truly delicious the past few weeks watching previously devote Obamaites break ranks with their colleagues to finally tell the world that the emperor has no clothes.
A fine example Monday was the perilously liberal economist and media darling Jeffrey Sachs who published an article at the Huffington Post with the headline "How Obama's Politics Led to Sequestration":
It’s certainly clear to Jay Leno that the Obama administration is fearmongering the budget sequester.
On NBC’s Tonight Show Thursday, Leno played a mock White House ad claiming among other things that if sequestration occurs, “Girl Scouts will be forced to sell meth" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
You've got to hand it to the headline writers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. They sure know how to abuse their power to shape public perceptions.
The headline at Martin Crutsinger's report this morning on projected economic growth for 2013, which the wire service is treating as this morning's "Big Story," reads: "ECONOMISTS PREDICTING MODERATE GROWTH IN 2013." Many people using computers, tablets and smartphones will see that headline, conclude that the economy's not so bad, and move on without clicking through. Too bad Crutsinger's first two paragraphs directly contradict that headline.