Those following the histrionics of "The Food Stamp Challenge" (previous NewsBusters posts here, here, and here; previous BizzyBlog posts here, here, and here) know that:
Most of those engaging in it claim that the average Food Stamp recipient "only has $21 per person per week to buy food."
The fact is that the program's monthly benefits (often referred to "Allotments"; scroll to the bottom for the monthly benefit table), when converted to weekly, range from $26.81 - $35.67 per person per week, depending on family size:
A report by ABC correspondent Betsy Stark suggested that although Americans are seeing lower prices at the pump, they must face the newest economic problem – the rising price of dairy.
ABC News has only reported the decline in gas prices twice in its nightly newscasts since they began to go down right before the Memorial Day holiday. Gas prices have gone down on average 24 cents nationally and this was only mentioned on two broadcasts.
Billion-dollar returns just aren’t good enough for NBC. On June 26, the “Nightly News” attacked wealthy hedge fund managers for making high-risk investments and for trying to do business with the “vulnerable” upper-middle class.
Reporter Carl Quintanilla mentioned rich investors who want to become “hedge fund rich,” but then focused his segment negatively on such investment firms.
“[T]he people who run them buy mansions, art – paying themselves salaries of over a billion dollars in just the past year.”
But is there anything wrong with that? According to Quintanilla, they’re run by greedy people and too risky for “a new more vulnerable audience.”
“They are beginning to target the upper middle class – the reasonably wealthy professional rather than the millionaire or the super-rich,” said Columbia University Law Professor John Coffee.
“American Morning” provided another forecast of mostly cloudy skies for the housing market on June 26.
“I got to tell you John [Roberts, “American Morning” co-host], this is not good news for people who are out there trying to sell their house and this of course is supposed to be the biggest time of year for sales,” said Gerri Willis to begin her report.
Willis, the personal finance correspondent for CNN and host of “Open House” was reporting new data from the National Association of Realtors that showed lower median home prices and slipping sales.
While the NAR data was downbeat, Willis called it too “upbeat” and “optimistic.” She then labeled a doomsayer with a more negative prediction “respected."
The late Senator Everett Dirksen had a famous saying on federal spending: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."
When it comes to the immigration bill currently being considered by the Senate, Old Media apparently believes: "A trillion here, a trillion there, if it's a cause we're okay with, we won't talk about it."
June 19, 2007 (Washington, DC) – The immigration bill being debated by the Senate would allow over two million illegal workers who received Social Security numbers prior to 2004 to receive more than $966 billion in Social Security benefits by 2040.
The energy debate on the Hill could help determine policy and prices for decades. Just don’t expect CNN to report it in a fair way.
Instead, you get Ali Velshi, the ‘American Morning’ business reporter, taking swipes at energy companies and the Republican Party. While the GOP stopped plans for a new tax to pay for more Democratic goodies, Velshi said the Republican wasn’t “particularly sound.”
That’s OK, he also complained that the oil companies are “getting off free.” Apparently, Velshi, not always known for math accuracy, needs a tune-up when it comes to taxes. Oil companies paid an estimated $48.36 billion in income taxes in 2004. They also collect a similar number in excise taxes for Uncle Sugar.
Tuesday mornings’s Democratic presidential candidates forum, aired live on MSNBC and moderated by Chris Matthews, had a few, to put it mildly, strange moments. Billed as a forum, the event was little more than a union-sponsored soapbox for the three leading Democratic candidates, Senators Clinton and Obama, and former Senator Edwards.
The left-leaning American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, which organized the soapbox, was quick to cheer for the most mundane of liberal catch phrases while descending into boos and hisses at the very mention of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
On this morning's GMA, a classic bit of MSM advocacy for more government regulation of business that will drive up costs and drive out jobs. The occasion is the hearings today before the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), on a proposal to expand family and medical leave and impose mandatory sick leave.
Introducing the segment, ABC's David Wright lamented that "it's something that every parent struggles with: how to balance work and family. And the U.S. lags far behind other countries in helping parents to cope. Here on Capitol Hill today, Congress will take the first baby steps to try to address that situation."
Environmentalism is hip, green celebrities are “very sexy” and saving the planet is “simple,” according to the media.
It is certainly not “extreme” as far as journalists are concerned. The deluge of celebrity books, films and even rock concerts is making green look good – because journalists leave out the cost to individuals, businesses and the economy.
“Going green” is all the rage – from Live Earth to “green” weddings and interior decorating. The problem is, media reports imply that people won’t have to make enormous sacrifices to do what is right for the environment. That downplays the reality of environmentalism, which is anti-business and anti-economic growth; even, at times, anti-human rights.
But the truth is, like the recent Dilbert comic pointed out, environmentalism is extreme, inconvenient, and costly. In one recent case, environmentalists have even limited people’s right to travel in their own country.
Apocalyptic rants about what global warming will do to civilization have become so frequent it's hard to keep up, but CBS “Evening News” had a monumental one on June 19.
Mark Phillips reported an international study that said climate change could threaten the $662 billion international tourism industry – because rising sea levels and humidity will supposedly destroy monuments and sites like the Tower of London, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon and so on.
“[G]lobal warming may hasten the destruction of some of the world’s most treasured buildings and heritage sites,” warned Phillips.
Of course, Phillip neglected to tell viewers that some of the sites have already survived at least two changes in climate and a couple world wars.
I look forward to complaints that China has only a sixth of the world's population but emits a quarter of its CO2, that Chinese auto emissions standards aren't good enough (Mr Gore?) and that China hasn't signed Kyoto .....
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India:
On Friday evening, the CBS Evening News and ABC's World News with Charles Gibson offered opposite views on whether the recently released inflation figures for May should be viewed as good or bad. While CBS News anchor Russ Mitchell referred to "inflation alarms" going off, leading to higher interest rates that are "hitting [home] buyers hard," ABC News anchor Gibson characterized inflation as "under control" as he conveyed that the report "eased worries" and set off a stock market rally.
Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the CBS Evening News and ABC's World News with Charles Gibson from Friday June 15:
One of the more persistent myths in this country is that lower income people are liberals. Anyone who's spent more than a weekend in the Midwest, South, or West can tell you that in many places, it's the richer neighborhoods that tend to vote Democrat.
The fact that the left now has money (and lots of it) has significant benefits for it but there are downsides, especially if you're one of those liberals who is obsessed with wealth redistribution. The trouble for these folks is that now that in many ways the left has made peace with capitalism, it simply doesn't have the stomach to engage in the extremist regulation that statist liberalism demands philosophically. Instead, the left focuses on "higher-order needs" such as environmentalism, identity politics, and political correctness.
That's very frustrating for many who long for the days when being liberal wasn't synonymous with pampered, rich media elites as Matt Taibbi writes in the left-wing "Adbusters."
Here’s the real problem with American liberalism: there is no such
thing, not really. What we call American liberalism is really a kind of
genetic mutant, a Frankenstein’s monster of incongruous parts – a fat,
affluent, overeducated New York/Washington head crudely screwed onto
the withering corpse of the vanishing middle-American manufacturing
If this isn't junk science, then nothing meets the requirement to be called such! A new, money wasting university "study" was written about by New Scientist Magazine (on their website newscientist.com) this month that was presented as a "surprising discovery" somehow "proving" that people secretly love to pay taxes. And people wonder why "science" can be so easily scoffed at these days... or why it's so hard to believe what you read.
On top of the bad reporting, this story is more proof of the constant waste of money that is perpetrated by our National Universities. Instead of teaching useful information and conducting meaningful studies, this University is trying to "prove" that people really secretly LOVE paying taxes.
Gee, why do they want that little absurd concept floating out there, do you think? And why is this news outlet propagating this foolishness?
What do you get when you add a liberal think tank study, another liberal “expert, and CBS “Evening News?” You get a doom-and-gloom story about baby boomers remaining in the work force as “an economic necessity” that ignores relevant information.
“The 78 million baby boomers are starting to think about retirement, but for many of them, that’s all they’ll be able to do. Think about it. Two new reports out today show many will have to retire much later than they thought,” said anchor Katie Couric.
Couric also said, “While boomers may be better educated and better paid than their parent, they’re not necessarily better off.”
Now don’t despair boomers. There is something Couric and correspondent Nancy Cordes didn’t tell you.
Mark June 12, 2007, on your calendar, for on this day, a Canadian economist named Ross McKitrick proposed a carbon tax plan marvelously designed to make people on both sides of the anthropogenic global warming debate happy.
Of course, it is quite unlikely that any American media will cover this compromise solution, for it calls the bluff of the climate change alarmists. Fortunately, we at NewsBusters are not so constrained to share facts with our readers.
With that in mind, as reported by Canada’s National Post (h/t Alar Aksberg, emphasis added throughout):
In the You-Can’t-Make-This-Up Department, ‘In the Money’ show reporter Polly Labarre complained employees don’t get enough time off. We’ve got it so darn bad, according to the folks at CNN, “we work more than medieval peasants used to work.”
Ordinarily, I’d debunk that June 9 report, pointing out that peasants had to work dawn to dusk eking out a living little better than slaves. But it’s so ridiculous, why bother?
Like so much in the media, this little nugget comes from another goofy group that the media miraculously fail to ignore. It’s called the “Take Back Your Time” movement. The group has a long list of demands of more time off for Americans and Canadians.
Time magazine's "Swampland" blog last week gave former Rep. Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Tex.) a platform as guest blogger and left-wing readers quickly pounced with all the juvenile invective they could muster. One commenter to Armey's valedictory post wished that Armey would eat sh*t and die, albeit saying so with more flowery language: "May you engage in coprophagy, then shuffle off this mortal coil."
Perhaps seeking to establish balance in the guest roster, this week "Swampland" invited John Edwards staffer David "Mudcat" Saunders into the electronic quagmire. Saunders is most notable for his role in guiding Mark Warner (D-Va.) to victory in the Old Dominion governor's race in 2001.
But the reception for Saunders is hardly any warmer than that of Armey, even though Saunders is far to the left of the former congressman's laissez faire economic preferences that were much-maligned by Joe Klein and company last week.
Although Saunders is an advocate of class warfare, the radically left-wing readers of "Swampland" aren't buying Saunders as a true liberal. In fact, crude and unfair stereotypes of Saunders and other white Southerners are frequently cropping up in the comments fields for today's posts:
Longtime readers of The Wall Street Journal's editorial pages know three things:
The paper's editorials and opinion columns are usually among the best anywhere -- and not just on business and economics.
The Journal has for years had every reason to be proud of the fact, as the late Robert Bartley noted, that it is one of the few papers readers would buy for its opinion pages.
The Journal has, for 23 years, held an uncompromising "liberal" viewpoint on immigration that almost all conservatives have long since abandoned. The Journal's point of view can be summed up in five words it used in a July 3, 1984 editorial -- "There shall be open borders."
A copy of that editorial, posted for fair use and discussion purposes only, can be found here (the title is "In Defense of Huddled Masses") in a post about Journal columnist Peggy Noonan's effective break on June 1 from The Journal's doctrinaire stance.
The 1984 editorial's defining sentence is:
If Washington still wants to "do something" about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.
Washington Post reporter Lori Montgomery must not be reading Newsbusters.
Because this is the second time she painted the Democrats as the saviors of the middle-class for wanting to reform the alternative minimum tax, but neglected to inform her readers that they are the same Democrats who voted against the full repeal of the AMT in 1999.
Her June 8 story referred to House Democrats as “looking to spare millions of middle class families from the expensive bite of the alternative minimum tax …”
Give Food Stamp Challenge organizers in Michigan and New Haven, Connecticut some credit.
We'll probably never know whether they figured it out on their own, or perhaps read of other organizers' errors when they were pointed out by syndicated columnist Mona Charen and by yours truly (at NewsBusters here and here; at BizzyBlog here and here). But unlike their comrades in most other cities and states, they have at least framed their Challenge using a correct amount of $35 per person per week ($5 per person per day) based on this table, which was adapted from information available at the USDA's web site (near the bottom at link; the weekly amount is result of dividing by 4.345, the average number of weeks in a month):
NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's service sector expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in May, suggesting it could help sustain broader economic growth as the automotive and housing industries slump, a research group said Tuesday.
The Institute for Supply Management, based in Tempe, Ariz., said its index of business activity in the non-manufacturing sector was 59.7 in May. The reading was higher than April's reading of 56 and Wall Street's expectation of 56.
..... The service industries covered by the ISM report represent about 80 percent of economic activity and span diverse industries including banking, construction, retailing, mining, agriculture and travel.
Ford's protracted sales slump continued in May, while every other major automaker showed gains:
DETROIT — Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. vehicle sales jumped 14.1 percent in May to its best monthly level ever and General Motors Corp.'s sales rose 9.7 percent, helping boost industry sales 5 percent, as both automakers credited in part the appeal of their more fuel-efficient offerings amid high gas prices.
For the second month this year, Toyota outsold Ford Motor Co., which saw sales fall 6.9 percent as it continued to cut low-profit sales to rental companies. Nissan Motor Co.'s sales gained 7.4 percent, DaimlerChrysler AG's sales rose 3.9 percent and American Honda Motor Co. rose 2.5 percent.
Even factoring in the change in sales to rental companies, the article goes on to say that Ford's retail sales were still down 3%.
As he did last month, George Pipas of Ford tried an advance PR stunt that fizzled, but left less-than-close observers thinking that the company might be doing better than it really is:
While the relatively narrow Dow Jones Industrial Average has been achieving alltime highs for a couple of months, it took until last week for the broader S&P 500 index to beat its previous record of 1527. The index closed at 1536.24 last week.
Instead of writing up the big winners in the 77% of companies that have brought the index back from its 2000 low, USA Today writer Matt Krantz looked for dark clouds in on otherwise blue sky, taking an opportunity to focus on the index's losers who kept the index's recovery of value from happening sooner:
S&P's run leaves Wal-Mart, other big caps behind
For a quarter of the stock market, the celebration about the Standard & Poor's 500's charge back to record levels for the first time in more than seven years is an example of history being written by the victors.
Even though the benchmark S&P index last week finally took out its old high from March 2000, investors who own 23% of its stocks have completely missed out. A total of 115 stocks in the S&P 500-stock index are still below where they were in March 2000, according to data from Bridge Information and S&P. They aren't down just a little, either, but off 45% on average.
"At any given time, you're going to have companies that have one-off issues," says James Paulsen of Wells Capital Management.
Yeah guys, and that's why investing in a broad-based index of stocks in an index mutual fund is often a good idea for investors who don't have the time to evaluate and keep up with either individual stocks or actively-managed mutual funds. Zheesh.