ABC correspondent Claire Shipman lauded President-Elect Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary-Designate Tim Geithner on Tuesday’s Good Morning America: “It might not be immediately obvious, but insiders say the President-Elect and his pick for the top economic spot could have been separated at birth.” She later quoted The Economist’s line about the future top bureaucrat, that both Obama and Geithner “have a hipster, wonky cool about them,” and that both “like to relax by shooting hoops.” Shipman even played up the “hipster” label by stating how “[t]he new Treasury Secretary is also known to surf and skateboard.”
Shipman began her report by describing what Obama admired about Geithner, along with a personal anecdote about the federal bureaucrat: “Well, his smarts and his style -- that's what aides say appeal to Barack Obama, and here’s another clue about his character -- he’s an avid amateur photographer, and friends say that very much explains the way he likes to work. He likes to watch, observe, and then act.” She then gave her “separated at birth” line.
Later, the ABC correspondent played three clips of a close friend of Geithner, Professor Justin Rudelson of Dartmouth, who unsurprisingly spoke well of the Treasury Secretary-designate. Then, as Shipman gave some details about how Geithner “married his college sweetheart” and how “his father was his best man,” sweet piano music played in the background, as you might expect in a gushy biography.
In an effort to explain Barack Obama’s call for a $500 billion stimulus package on Monday’s CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith patronized viewers as he turned to Fast Draw artists Josh Landis and Mitch Butler, who created an animated cartoon on the subject, promoting Obama’s public works program. Butler explained: "When the economy slows down, people look for a pick-me-up." Landis added: "And a stimulus check from government is like money falling from the sky." Butler then asked: "But what's better? Giving money away-" Landis interjected: "-or using it to build bridges, highways, schools, things like that."
Butler and Landis used economist Peter Morici to further explain: "The construction workers get salaries. The steel workers and concrete makers get salaries. They spend that money on goods and services and the money -- and that creates additional jobs, and the money keeps cycling through the economy." Butler added: "And when they're finished working, there's a new bridge that businesses can use to ship more products." Later, Landis observed: "And even though the government has to carry more debt to get the project done-" Morici explained: "It employs more people immediately, boosts GNP by a larger amount and leaves the legacy of investments in our economy, which will improve productivity into the future." Landis concluded: "...spending the money on bridges, schools and other projects gives us a better shot of prosperity down the road."
The Associated Press can't even get it right in a three-paragraph item about a White House ceremonial event.
In a story Monday afternoon about President Bush's meeting with two Nobel Prize-winning scientists and Nobel Economics winner Paul Krugman, the unbylined AP writer claimed that Krugman opposed the government's financial bailout. Evidence abounds that this is not only not the case, but that Krugman wants the bailouts to be bigger, and to involve more direct government ownership.
Here are the first and third paragraphs from the story (link probably will not work after about a week):
Three 2008 Nobel laureates from the United States lined up with President George W. Bush on Monday for an Oval Office photograph to mark their achievements.
..... The third laureate at the White House was Paul Krugman of New York, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade patterns. Krugman, a frequent critic of the Bush administration who opposed the recent $700 billion financial bailout, is a Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist.
Since Krugman's supposed opposition may become folklore shortly, it's best to take a cruise through Krugman's blog posts to show that the claim is terribly outdated and currently flat-out wrong:
On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Dean Reynolds reported on Barack Obama's announcement of an economic team, but instead of getting reaction from Republicans or financial experts, Reynolds decided to stick with the president-elect himself: "Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, as Treasury secretary. Obama said Geithner has an 'unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis.'And Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary himself, to chair the National Economic Council. Obama called him 'one of the great economic minds of our time.'
The only mention of Republicans in the story was about how cooperative they will be if Obama backs off tax increases: "As a candidate, he favored raising taxes on the rich, but as president-elect he now says he's inclined to wait on that, a concession that could bring congressional Republicans to his side."
Following the report by Reynolds, Smith played a clip of an interview with former Clinton Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman, Arthur Levitt. At one point, Smith asked Levitt: "Barack Obama puts his economic team in place today. It's two months until he takes office. Is this audacious or is this good management on his part?" Levitt replied: "This is smart. I mean, we have an administration that is virtually powerless. Certainly a president who nobody listens to. What we've seen now with the new administration is we have a shadow administration in power, in place, acting in a constructive and in a cooperative way...We cannot afford a lost two-month period where public confidence would disappear. We cannot afford that."
Are the good folks at the New York Times breaking ranks and actually criticizing a decision by president-elect Barack Obama?
Such seemed to be the case Tuesday when the Gray Lady published, on the front page of the business section no less, an article highly critical of proposed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Entitled "Where Was Geithner in Turmoil?", Andrew Ross Sorkin's piece actually pointed fingers at Obama's choice to head the Treasury department for his potential involvement in the nation's current financial crisis (emphasis added throughout):
Paul Krugman has been making the rounds of the network morning shows, urging the government to "go big" in spending to revive the economy. His only concern is that Obama might not be planning to spend enough. Heck, even FDR wasn't a big enough spender in his book. View Krugman's weekend GMA appearance in which he says that here, the episode in which, as discussed here, Krugman of all people had to talk Kate Snow down from her fantasy of Obama "forcing" the Bush administration to adopt his policies.
None of the network shows had anyone on to debate Krugman. But the Early Show did invite Jim Rogers in today to give very much the other side. The legendary investor's take: let the banks fail. The massive bailout underway will put our country in hock for decades. Almost 20 years later, Japan has still been unable to get out of the hole it dug when it, like the US now, decided certain institutions were too big to fail.
President and Mrs. Bush couldn't be handling the transition more graciously. But rather than celebrating the peaceful transfer of power that is the hallmark of our democracy, Hardball has announced a new feature, "Final Daze," intended to mock W as we count down his last weeks in office.
Mike Barnicle, sitting in for Chris Matthews, announced the new segment on this evening's show.
MIKE BARNICLE: And that brings us to a new, regular item we're starting tonight called "Final Daze." President Bush has 57 days left in office, and many are asking "where's Dubya?" With the economy tanking and the country looking for guidance from the guy who's still president, here's what we got today.
Update 11-25 8:20 AM: Morning Joe Makes SNL References -- see discussion at foot.
Call it "The Wild 'n Crazy Guy–Billionaire Style." Maria Bartiromo's interview of Saudi Prince Alwaleed, the largest shareholder of Citigroup, is literally a Saturday Night Live skit waiting—begging—to happen.
CNBC's Bartiromo conducted the interview by remote this afternoon. When the camera went to the prince in Riyadh, you might have expected to find him in a TV studio, or perhaps in his business office, maybe even in one of his palace rooms. But no, there he was sitting outdoors, apparently by his stables, with seated camels and sleek horses very visible in the background. And rather than being attired in business or traditional Saudi dress, the Prince was duded up with an open collar, tinted glasses and a scarf warding off the desert's cool night air. He could be seen occasionally fingering what appeared to be golden worry beads.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman about Barack Obama’s proposed stimulus package: "What about the $500 billion economic stimulus plan that President-elect Obama is planning? Do you think it's realistic to get that done in two years?" Not only was Krugman in favor of the plan, but he argued: "I'm actually worried that this plan may be too small... I'm still worrying that they're going to be a little bit short, because you just have to put all your notions of what is prudent aside. Being cautious is actually a very foolish thing right now."
Rodriguez’s discussion with Krugman was preceded by a fawning report by correspondent Dean Reynolds on Obama’s economic plan: "Well, the incoming administration is making it abundantly clear that it plans an active multi-billion dollar approach to kick-starting the economy. As one top economic adviser to Barack Obama put it, the era of dithering is over." Reynolds continued by declaring: "...with the actions taken so far to stem the tide proving to be totally ineffective, the incoming administration is setting the table for a long struggle to make things right."
During the presidential campaign, we constantly heard from Team Obama and the media (excuse the redundancy) was how Republican-inspired deregulation had let evil bankers and capitalists run roughshod over the economy and created the current credit mess.
Well, a lot of the deregulation was GOP-inspired, but that isn't what caused the situation that I like to refer to as The Great SUCKUP (The Seemingly Unlimited Cash Kitty Under Paulson).
What John Berlau has found at Reason Online is that the Clinton Administration loved 1990s financial deregulation so much that it cited it as a major accomplishment.
Transcript from press conference of Pres. Barack Obama, Feb. 12th, 2011:
CNSNEWS.COM: Mr. President, when you first took office you promised to create 2.5 million jobs by January, 2011. But the Labor Department report issued yesterday indicates that in fact 1.7 million jobs were lost during that period. Why did your plan fail?
PRES. BARACK OBAMA: Ah, but it didn't fail. To the contrary, we succeeded beyond all expectations. You misquoted our promise. We said we would create or "save" 2.5 million jobs. And a report prepared by my White House team being distributed to you demonstrates that had we not taken the bold steps we did back in 2009, we would by now have lost 5.8 million jobs. We therefore in fact saved 4.1 million jobs, more than 50% greater than the number of jobs we promised to save. So our program has been a huge success. Let's see, Keith, you had a question?
KEITH OLBERMANN: Yes, Mr. President. You are so wonderful, sir. Please comment, if you would, sir.
The "or save" makes Obama's plan virtually fail-proof. No matter how many jobs are lost, Obama will always be able to claim that things would have been much worse were it not for his plan. To his credit, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd pointed out the verbal sleight of hand on today's Morning Joe.
Neil Cavuto and Ben Stein had quite an argument about bailouts on FNC's "Cavuto on Business" Saturday morning that nicely covered the issues people on both sides of this contentious debate will likely be discussing around dinner tables this Thanksgiving, though hopefully with less screaming:
Though given a perfect opportunity to do so, Tom Brokaw on Sunday chose not to discuss the similarities between Franklin D. Roosevelt's refusal to work with President Herbert Hoover on solving the Depression before he was inaugurated in March 1933 and president-elect Barack Obama doing the same thing today with George W. Bush.
For those not familiar with the historical reference, the financial crisis at the time of the 1932 elections was so bad that banks were failing on almost a daily basis. As a result, Hoover felt the country couldn't wait until March when inaugurations used to take place to hear what Roosevelt's plan was to solve these problems, and wanted FDR and his economic team to come to the White House in order to work some things out together.
Sadly, Roosevelt refused, and although he claimed it was so that his hands wouldn't be tied once he officially became president, some historians feel FDR's delay was designed to allow the crisis to deepen so that it would become easier for him to get his policy proposals passed.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," the fact that President Bush wants to work with Obama and his team concerning the financial crisis surfaced in discussion with former Reagan treasury secretary James Baker and former Clinton commerce secretary Bill Daley. Unfortunately, Brokaw chose not to address this seemingly-important historical comparison and precedent (video embedded below the fold, relevant section begins at 6:15, file photo):
In an MSM eager for the advent of the Age of Obama, Kate Snow may have taken the cake. The weekend GMA co-host almost sounded as if she were calling for some kind of coup d'etat, musing whether Obama should be urgently "forcing" change before he takes office. How over the top was Snow? She had to be talked down from her fin de regime fantasy but none other than . . . Paul Krugman.
ABC reporter John Hendren set the tone for the notion that time is dangerously a-wasting.
JOHN HENDREN: As with Hoover and FDR, the ideological gap between Bush and Obama could be too broad to bridge, leaving us with two more months of costly economic drift.
A little later, interviewing Krugman, Snow made her startling suggstion.
Fox Business Network anchor Alexis Glick is frustrated by the way the government's $700 billion financial bailout is being used, and suggested on "Money for Breakfast" Nov. 21 that it was contributing to market declines.
"I mean, look, we are now at levels at least on the S&P that we haven't been since 1997. You know, people are pretty unhappy with how the TARP fund is going," Glick said in an interview with NYSE Euronex CEO Duncan Niederauer. "I mean, it's got to be - I'm frustrated, I mean I don't know about you."
It's not the first time that Glick has taken issue with the misuse of TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Practically rubbing his hands in glee, Time magazine's Joe Klein exulted yesterday over Michigan Rep. John Dingell (D) losing out to the more liberal Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) for control of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Apparently Klein is happy that under Waxman the committee will succeed in decreasing both domestic energy and commerce with fresh, strict regulations on America's automakers. From his Nov. 20 Swampland blog post at Time.com:
In other words, they would have to pay you to take what is rapidly becoming Manhattan's quaint little alternative newspaper off their hands.
Yesterday, New York Times Company stock closed at $5.72. That is, by far, its lowest close in the 22 years presented in this chart at Yahoo!:
Before today's opening bell, the company is worth $822 million,
Using conservatively adjusted numbers from a hysterically titled July 25 Business Week article about the company ("How Can The New York Times Be Worth So Little?"), I will show that the market currently sees the New York Times newspaper as literally being worse than worthless.
Here are the two key paragraphs from Business Week's original "analysis":
Remember the years of media flak President George W. Bush received for his alleged use for political gain of first the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and then the related Afghanistan and Iraq Wars?
Will the press be as vociferous now? Incoming Obama Administration Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, speaking on Wednesday on and to the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, stated outright his desire to make political hay with the ongoing travails of the U.S. and global economy:
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Wonder why President-elect Obama resigned from the Senate so early (while Vice President-elect Joe Biden remains an active member) and is hanging back, not wading into the debate over bailouts etc, and naming candidates for nearly every Cabinet post save Treasury (the man or woman who will have $350 billion to dispense when he/she walks through the door)?
Hypocrisy, meet Ed Schultz ... What's this, you're already well acquainted?
The nation's top-rated liberal radio host has spent plenty of time this month pitching in favor of the feds lending $25 billion to the ailing Big Three automakers.
Schultz has also been bellicose toward those who disagree with him, singling out Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama for scorn. Here's what Schultz said Tuesday after playing a clip of Shelby describing his rationale for opposing a bailout of Detroit --
SCHULTZ: Just keep in mind, that voice, his party got their ass kicked. He doesn't know what he's talking about. Sen. Shelby from Alabama is protecting interests out of this country. He's an outsourcer. And he's trying to cover it up by bringing in foreign manufacturing to his own state. It is his mission to kill the Big Three ... Look, you're either for American manufacturing, you're either for the middle class, or you're not. I have said this at every union speech I've ever given and been in front of any crowd, you're either with us or you're against us. Sen. Shelby from Alabama is a terrorist on the American worker. He is a terrorist on wage workers.
"Well, we're not yet in anything remotely resembling the crisis, the scale of crisis of the Great Depression." When Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, 13 million Americans were unemployed. "That was 25 percent of the work force," Kennedy told Bloomberg host Tom Keene.
The professor laid out exactly what has changed since the troubled 1930s:
But the furious news segments glossed over the fact that the company's conference - reported to cost $300,000 - was likely funded by outside investors, not AIG. Kennedy explained:
The facts about these big AIG meetings are that sponsors, predominately financial product providers and other vendors, subsidize large portions of the budgets for these meetings. They directly underwrite or reimburse for expenses as well as rebate after the fact based on sales made to and through AIG. Attendees also pay to attend.
Pushing a liberal talking point on America's health insurance "crisis", writer Tina Peng painted American medical tourists headed to Mexico as "refugees from an ailing health care system." Yet nowhere in her November 19 Newsweek Web exclusive did Peng put mention the lengths Mexico goes to encourage its poor citizens illegally in the United States on where to obtain free health care for better care, nor did she note that medical tourism is a huge industry in America.:
Barney Frank favors bailing out the Detroit automakers over letting them go into bankruptcy. Chief among his concerns is that bankruptcy might "bust" the unions. You know, those organizations whose contract demands have put Detroit on the brink of extinction.
The Massachusetts Dem, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was interviewed by Maggie Rodriguez on today's Early Show. He appeared alongside Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Al.), ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, who favors letting the automakers reorganize under Chapter 11.
Repent, all ye owners of Suburbans, thou drivers of Explorers. Mend thy ways, ye Escalade-loving louts! Take heed of the warning the prophet Mika has vouchsafed unto you: greedy thou art; verily, destroyers of the environment be thee!
Oy. Mika Brzezinski was on quite a roll this morning. On the one hand, free-marketers would find much to agree with in Mika's arguments. As noted here yesterday, whereas Joe Scarborough has been vigorously advocating a federal rescue of Detroit, Brzezinski favors bankruptcy over bailout. But Mika couldn't help muddling her message, delivering a jeremiad against Detroit for producing larger vehicles and Americans for buying them, actually condemning the latter as "greedy."
Joe Scarborough didn't cotton to being called a "socialist," but that's just the label Krystia Freeland laid on him during today's Morning Joe. The Financial Times editor used the s-word to describe what she mockingly described as Joe's "touching faith" in the wisdom of government bureaucrats when it comes to reorganizing Detroit automakers.
The Morning Joe host didn't take the insult lying down.
Panelist Pat Buchanan and Scarborough had been making the case over the course of the opening segments that Detroit was too important to be allowed to go under. Then Freeland came on, preaching bankruptcy over bailout, and the ruckus erupted . . .
In today's "You've Got to be Kidding Me" moment, the San Francisco Chronicle advocated that folks who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth should stop making payments so they can qualify for a government bailout.
I'm not kidding.
Disgustingly titled "Are You an Idiot to Keep Paying Your Mortgage," the article actually instructed readers upside-down in their real estate the ins and outs of how they can transfer responsibility for their own investment mistakes to others (emphasis added throughout, picture courtesy The Economist):
It appears being bestowed a Nobel Prize for economics doesn't improve one's economic acumen, for in the course of roughly 60 seconds Sunday, Paul Krugman said Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to raise taxes in 1937 deepened the Depression, but it's okay to raise taxes 70-plus years later when the economy is in trouble.
Interesting contradiction, wouldn't you agree?
What precipitated this bizarre, almost instantaneous economic flipflop on Sunday's "This Week" was ABC's George Will bringing up a little history by stating that net investment was negative throughout most of the 1930s because of the uncertainties about the economy and government's activist role during that period.
Nobel Laureate Krugman took issue with this premise (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 6:57):
Earlier today, Christopher Booker at the UK Telegraph noted a "surreal scientific blunder," followed by an attempted cover-up, that should cause everyone to question the source's past and future credibility.
The source of the shoddy work is NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the outfit run by world champion globalarmist James Hansen. Hansen has in the past stated that "heads of major fossil-fuel companies who spread disinformation about global warming should be 'tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.'"
What Booker reports causes one to wonder what the appropriate punishment should be for committing drop-dead obvious errors and integrity-lacking follow-up.
Part of the punishment is surely the Telegraph's delicious headline, followed by Booker's criticism (bolds are mine):
In the name of gender equality, the Today show plumped this morning for government regulation forcing health care insurers to charge men and women the same for individual policies even though women cost insurers more because of greater use of services. Hasn't the financial crisis taught the MSM anything about the danger of government meddling in markets? No.
Insurers wind up paying out more in claims under women's policies than men's. Under the circumstances, charging women the same as men would make as much sense as FedEx charging a flat shipping fee no matter how big the box. But that didn't stop NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman and Today weekend co-host Amy Robach from decrying the unfairness of it all this morning. Their solution? More government, of course. They want legislation to force insurers to charge the sexes the same.