Are deadly tornadoes really the best "stimulus" to be hoped for from the Obama White House, or is the New York Times just desperately looking for economics green shoots as the 2012 presidential elections approach?
Lawmakers from both parties are calling for a fix to prevent tax cheating companies from getting federal contracts in light of a government investigation that found $24 billion in stimulus act funds went to companies owing $757 million in unpaid taxes.
“Average Americans are likely wondering why we gave such a huge amount of federal money to tax cheats when our national debt is more than $14 trillion,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said in a statement. “That $24 billion went to such people looks like we are rewarding people for potentially criminal behavior.”
The report by the Government Accountability Office on money from the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act going to tax delinquent firms did not name any specific companies, but it gave general examples of firms with delinquent taxes receiving tax dollars.
"Thousands of companies and nonprofits that received funds from the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program owe hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, according to estimates in a new government report."
If you had any questions as to why Dylan Ratigan belongs on MSNBC rather than CNBC they were all answered Friday night.
Appearing on HBO's "Real Time," Ratigan presented himself as a far-left commentator telling the audience of devout liberals, "This entire rhetoric machine from the Republican Party is predicated on an abandonment of arithmetic and fact" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Earlier today, NB's Tim Graham noted that the establishment press has given the silent treatment to a study by Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showing that the stimulus plan passed in February 2009 was a major net economic loser. In the first paragraph of the study, the authors revealed their core estimate that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs." That's a net loss of 550,000 jobs "destroyed/forestalled."
To test Tim's contention that "Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama 'saved or created,'" I did searches on Dupor's last name at the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and got back the following results:
On the front page of Wednesday’s Investor’s Business Daily, reporter David Hogberg reported that a new study found President Obama’s “stimulus” plan “may have destroyed or forestalled employment, including more than 1 million private-sector jobs.”
Destroyed or forestalled? Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama “saved or created.” Economists Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showed the “stimulus” saved 443,000 government jobs, but caused a net loss of more than a million jobs. This is one of those studies only Fox News noticed. But on CNN’s American Morning on Thursday, a Time magazine editor was still calling for more “investment” in infrastructure:
When an admittedly liberal Nobel laureate in economics thinks trying to balance the budget is holding America hostage, one has to wonder if there are any adults remaining on the left side of the aisle.
Consider what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote Monday:
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman Monday wrote another in a series of factually dishonest pieces about budget deficits and what he likes to call 'the Great Recession."
In his "The Unwisdom of Elites," the unabashed liberal made numerous falsehoods and omissions to blame our current economic and budget woes exclusively on George W. Bush and "small groups of influential people":
Early each month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issues its "Monthly Budget Review." Its purpose is to estimate and comment on the federal government's budget results for the previous month a few days before the Treasury reports its official results.
CBO's most recent review, issued on Friday (2-page PDF), estimates that Uncle Sam's outlays during April amounted to $330 billion. If that number holds up, or overstates actual results by less than $2.2 billion, it will mean for the first time ever that our government officially spent over $1 trillion in a three-month period (an estimated $330 billion in April plus a reported $672.2 billion in February and March combined). Regardless, February through April is certain to eclipse May-July 2009's previous official all-time high (after TARP-obfuscating accounting adjustments; go here for the detail) of $948.7 billion.
This certainty, the detail behind it, and the federal government's real long-term track record make mince meat of the following off-the-cuff assessment of why federal receipts and spending go up and down made Saturday by Alan Fram at the Associated Press:
A strong economy brings the government more revenue and lower spending. A weak economy in which the jobless and poor need more support does the opposite.
The April jobs report showed 244,000 job gains, “surprisingly strong” numbers according to the Kansas City Star. Many national news outlets reported that jobs number as well as the rise in unemployment rate back to 9 percent in their headlines immediately reacting to the news.
In another CNBC.com story they also said “the numbers suggested that a good portion of the boost came from McDonald’s, which moved to hire 50,000 workers last month.” While encouraging signs, don’t expect the news media to advertise that April was still the 27th month in which the unemployment rate was above 8 percent.
Economic growth in the first quarter was an abysmal 1.8 percent. Last week, initial jobless claims increased by 25,000 from the previous week, up to 429,000. The Federal government borrows $188 million an hour, or over $52,000 a second, just to keep up with President Obama's spending demands. Despite almost a trillion dollars for Obama's and the Democratic Congress's stimulus, unemployment remains at 8.8 percent.
Amid all these storm clouds, the Obamamaniacs at CNN have found a silver lining. Anchor T.J. Holmes on CNN Newsroom reported today:
Here is a sign that the economy is getting better, an unexpected sign you didn't think about. Divorce rates in the U.S. are on the rise. It's explained here. In 2000 before the recession, of course, way back before the recession, the divorce rate was 4.0. When hard times started in 2007 the breakup rate dropped to 3.6 percent here. But then last year it fell a bit more, a bit more to 3.5. That was the divorce rate then. So, fewer and fewer people are getting divorced.
If you had any questions about just how far to the left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is, they were answered Monday when he expressed enthusiastic support for the Congressional Progressive Caucus's radical tax-hiking "People's Budget."
In his "Let's Take a Hike," the Nobel laureate left no doubt about his desire to swiftly redistribute America's wealth with little regard for the economic consequences:
As NewsBusters previously reported, ABC's "This Week" invited on a number of Tea Party Congressman Sunday to discuss the budget debate going on in Washington.
Just before that segment, ABC's John Donvan did a brief report that concluded with him insinuating that this conservative movement is drinking tax cut Kool-Aid and President Obama is having none of it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, since President Obama once again proposed letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the highest earning Americans, the media have been supporting it almost 24 hours a day.
Doing his part this weekend was Chris Matthews who after the introduction of the syndicated program bearing his name actually began the show, "Why is taxing the rich so hard?" (video follows with transcript and lots of commentary):
It certainly isn't a surprise that Nobel laureate Paul Krugman was far more pleased with the deficit reduction plan proposed by Barack Obama this week than the one unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) last week.
In Friday's New York Times column "Who's Serious Now?" the unabashed liberal declared the President's proposal "really serious" and the Congressman's "a sick joke":
Last November, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell proudly declared himself a socialist on national television.
On Wednesday, "The Last Word" host took this a huge step further saying the whole idea that Americans are rugged individualists is an illusion because they're all really socialists (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a business that is supposed to treat record achievements, dubious or otherwise, as news, it's more than a little curious to note that the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, along with Reuters and AFP, all "somehow" forgot to tell readers that March's reported federal outlays, as seen in the Monthly Treasury Statement released today, came in at an all-time record of $339.047 billion, and that this year's spending through six months of $1.849 trillion -- also an all-time record -- is 3.5% higher than last year's comparable figure of $1.786 trillion ($1.671 trillion plus a non-cash credit of $115 billion explained here last year).
This year's six-month spending total annualizes out to $3.7 trillion, an amount that is almost $1 trillion, or 36%, higher than fiscal 2007. Though spending is the self-evident real problem, frontline reporters and their bosses would apparently prefer that news consumers not see how ugly those numbers really are.
On the same day a new poll found only 37 percent of liberals strongly approve of Barack Obama's performance as president, the New York Times's Paul Krugman bashed America's chief executive for being missing in action.
"What have they done with President Obama?" asked the Nobel Laureate. "Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular":
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was in his predictable defend Obama at all costs mode on Sunday's "This Week."
When former Bush administration official Torie Clarke said unemployment remains high because the private sector is concerned about future regulations, the Nobel Laureate scoffed, "All of this stuff about uncertainty is just a myth being made up to blame this on Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On her eponymous program today, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell carried water for the Obama administration, warning viewers that not raising the debt ceiling would result in a "crisis" that would "stop the recovery."
Interviewing Politico's Roger Simon, the NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent argued that Republican opposition to empowering the federal government to borrow beyond its $14.3 trillion limit "could be a much larger crisis for America" than the looming government shutdown.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, in a column appearing at Business Insider, says that we're heading in the direction of a "double-dip" -- and though he doesn't follow it with the word "recession," it's obvious he's not talking about an ice-cream cone. It's also obvious that he's less than pleased with the media spin that things are really okay.
Along the way, Reich had to go back to the mid-1930s, the era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's ongoing economic depression (at least as far as employment was concerned) to exemplify what a supposedly good recovery from an economic trauma looks. He was clearly desperate to avoid saying anything nice about the more historically relevant and objectively more impressive recovery and subsequent prosperity that occurred under Ronald Reagan. This is also true of the establishment press.
Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich wrote a truly nonsensical piece for the Huffington Post Tuesday ironically called "The Republicans' Big Lies About Jobs."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews must have loved this tripe and its sophomoric title for he invited the Berkeley professor on Wednesday's "Hardball" so that the pair could put on a clinic in liberal economic fantasy (video follows with partial transcript and oodles of commentary):
Hope springs eternal at CNN, at least some of the time. Sure, the massively expensive Obama stimulus was a miserable flop. And extending unemployment benefits worked to extend periods of unemployment, as numerous studies have shown. Government jobs programs have failed for decades.
No matter. According to business correspondent Alison Kosik on CNN Newsroom today, a jump in jobless claims proves more government intervention is necessary:
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we've got a lot of negative news all at once, that's weighing down the markets right now. You know what, pick your poison at this point, we got unemployment claims. They rose more than expected, much more than expected, double what was expected. That's after all the optimism that was created from the previous week's numbers. We're inching back towards the 400,000 mark we've so much been trying to get away from. It really just shows that people still need a lot of help from the government because people are still being laid off.