“[T]he avalanche [Oct. 19, 1987 stock-market crash] was made worse by computer program trading, but the things that triggered it were overvalued stocks, a weak dollar, a period of extreme market volatility and a summer of worrying economic news,” Christoforous said on the October 14 broadcast. “Sound familiar? Some market strategists are warning investors now to strap in.”
There’s no doubt there is risk involved when investing in the stock market and historical data should play a role in smart investing. However, the comparisons of stock values from October 1987 to October 2007 aren’t accurate according to the October 15 Wall Street Journal.
The Heritage Foundation's Robert Bluey reported in his Sunday Townhall column that there was disinterest at the hallowed "newspapers of record" in the government's news about the just-ended fiscal year's deficit (links to White House deficit announcement and to Business and Media Institute report are in the original):
The U.S. budget deficit fell to the lowest level in five years last week, but three of America’s leading newspapers -- the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times -- couldn’t find the space to mention the dramatic drop.
Journalists who have spent years trashing President Bush’s tax cuts appeared to suddenly lose interest when the budget picture brightened. That’s not surprising, however, considering that mainstream reporters frequently ignore upbeat economic news.
Is Associated Press economics writer Martin Crutsinger quietly converting to supply-side economics?
This is noteworthy, because Crutsinger has usually been the go-to reporter for uncalled-for gloom and doom about the economy for at least the past few years (a few examples are here, here, here, and here).
Here are the specifics about Crutsinger's possible epiphany. In May, covering the record US Treasury receipts in April, the AP reporter told readers the following about why the Uncle Sam's budget was running at a deficit (though there is no byline at the MSNBC link, Crutsinger is indeed the author; the now-expired Yahoo! story I linked to in May at this post did have his byline; bold is mine):
The federal budget was in surplus for four years from 1998 through 2001 as the long economic expansion helped push revenues higher. But the 2001 recession, the cost of fighting a global war on terror and the loss of revenue from President Bush’s tax cuts sent the budget back into the red starting in 2002.
But Thursday, in writing about the full fiscal year ended September 30 deficit of $162.8 billion just reported by the US Treasury -- over 34% lower than it was in fiscal 2006, and $249 billion lower than in fiscal 2004 -- Crutsinger had quite a different take (bold is mine):
Jonathan Chait is one of the Founding Fathers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Way back in '03, the New Republic senior editor authored one of BDS's early, seminal works: "The Case for Bush Hatred," whose very sentence was the subtle: "I hate President George W. Bush."
Ah, but Jonathan Chait isn't a mere one-hatred man. As of this morning, we can conclusively state that in addition to his animus toward our nation's chief executive, Jonathan Chait also hates lower taxes.
The Associated Press lets a false statement about the economy go into print unchallenged in its story today about the furniture industry's big semi-annual trade show in High Point, N.C.
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Doug Schock shook his head in disbelief while gazing at the empty elevators, typically full as they shuttle thousands of buyers between dozens of showrooms filled with the latest styles in sofas, bedroom sets, and dining room tables and chairs. Not so this fall at the High Point Market, the twice-annual home decor and furnishings trade show that sets the table for what consumers will see in stores next season.
"Those used to be packed. You used to have to elbow your way into showrooms," said Schock, a territory manager for OneCoast Midwest Home. "I know the economy has been down since 9/11, but the housing slump combined with the weak economy, you have a double whammy."
“Say Goodbye to Baseball The ash tree – from which all baseball bats are made – is in danger of disappearing, thanks to a combination of killer beetles and global warming.”
“Say Hello to Bulgarian Hooker Shortages ‘Brothel owners in Bulgaria are blaming global warming for staff shortages. They claim their best girls are working in ski resorts because a lack of snow has forced tourists to seek other pleasures.’”
Here's another Old Media non-followup on yesterday's news: Failure to get a reaction from two Democratic presidential candidates who had harsh things to say a month ago when August's weak employment report was released.
That August report showed a loss of 4,000 jobs. The Old Media "recession worries" chorus was deafening. August's job-increase number was revised upward to a pickup of 89,000 as part of yesterday's report. As noted by Baker and Gainor, Old Media reaction to that revision was relatively muted. I also don't see that anyone in Old Media pointed out that the total new-jobs increase, including prior revisions, was a gain of 228,000 jobs (September's initial +110,000 pickup, August's +93,000 revision, and a +25,000 revision to July).
The two leading Democratic presidential candidates opportunistically jumped on that initial August report and its supposed implications in early September, reporter Edmund Andrews noted in a New York Times article:
I wonder how the media will pretend this is bad news? The latest employment numbers are in and not only are they solid, but last month wasn't the catastrophe first reported.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 110,000 jobs were created in September and 89,000 were created in August. The August number replaces the 4,000 jobs lost that were first reported. If you flash back to last month, you'll remember how much the media screamed about this. ABC was declaring the August numbers a sign of "new fears this morning about the state of our economy," said Bill Weir on September 8. That's how he lead off a downbeat "Good Morning America" story entitled "Road to Recession? Bleak Signals from Job Report."
It only got worse. "And now many are asking whether the disappointing employment figures, coupled with the housing crisis, may head us, have us headed for a serious economic downturn or even recession," worried Weir.
It has been regularly reported by NewsBusters that media are doing everything in their power to withhold from the public the financial ramifications of global warming alarmism.
Be it the marketing of totally useless carbon offsets, or proposals for additional taxes on consumers and corporations, press outlets have been seemingly coordinated in their silence regarding such matters.
Another fine example of such a boycott occurred last week when House Energy and Commerce Committee chair John Dingell (D-MI) discussed a rather elaborate tax plan with the Associated Press Wednesday that virtually no major media outlet outside of Detroit bothered to report (emphasis added throughout):
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
Did you realize that Congressman Charles Rangel fully intends to enact a massive tax increase this year?
Oh, you thought that the Harlem representative only wants to fix and/or eliminate the dreadful Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
If you know otherwise, it's probably only because you read Robert Novak's September 17 syndicated column, which is the only meaningful coverage of Mr. Rangel's plans I have seen (HT to a NewsBusters e-mailer). In it, Novak revealed what Old Media either doesn't care to cover, or appears to not want you to know (bolds are mine):
I have to figure, after looking at the results of this Google News search on "real earnings" (in quotes), that Old Media business reporters found what came out in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Real Earnings Report too difficult to understand. The search shows that only the Providence Journal among Old Media outlets mentioned the report, which was released Wednesday.
So in the interest of education, I'll break down the BLS report into simpler terms:
This story about Ohio has nationwide application. That's because Ohio's media have been awfully quiet about the tax increases that will be necessary if the Buckeye State's version of "universal health care" comes to pass. The bill was introduced on April 25, according to this Ohio Legislative Services Commission bill analysis, and has flown under the radar ever since. I expect that national Old Media scrutiny of the Second Coming of Hillarycare will also be minimal.
My interest in the so-called "Ohio Health Care Plan" was perked when I heard an ad from the Ohio Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) claiming that the plan would cost Ohio taxpayers $50 billion.
$50 billion. With a "b." In one state.
That's over $4,400 for every man, woman, and child in Ohio, or over $17,000 for a family of four.
A separate fiscal analysis by the Legislative Services Commission is pending, so I thought that the NFIB might be engaging in a bit of reckless hyperbole.
In case you were out of the country and missed it, the Federal Reserve on Tuesday surprisingly cut two key interest rates by a half percentage point - twice what most analysts expected - causing one of the largest one-day rallies on Wall Street in years.
Yet, the folks on the "NBC Nightly News" seemed a tad unhappy with the Fed's move, as anchor Brian Williams wondered "is it good for everyone," and correspondent Kevin Tibbles cautioned, "But experts say beware of the downside of any economic upturn."
I kid you not.
The News began Tuesday evening mostly with the positive side of the rate cut, bringing in CNBC's Maria Bartiromo to discuss the day's events on Wall Street. However, as Williams introduced Bartiromo, he foreshadowed the gloom to come (video available here, h/t NB reader Tim O'Donnell):
Today brings a mixed bag for aficionados of the New York Times. The good news, assuming you enjoy reading the musings of Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks et al., is that the Times' house columnists have been freed from behind the paid-subscription firewall of "Times Select."
On the other hand, Paul Krugman has decided that his column isn't enough to contain his wisdom, and that he will henceforth be inflicting his blog on us. He entitles it "The Conscience of a Liberal," which as he notes is also the title of his recent book.
Give Krugman credit for giving us fair warning. He does let us know that "the politics and economics of inequality will, I expect, be central to many of the blog posts." And sure enough, central to today's blog is the chart pictured here, which depicts the percentage of the country's total income earned by the top 10%.
As Brent Baker noted, NBC’s Matt Lauer claimed the "liberal bloggers" were going to have a field day with Alan Greenspan’s new memoir – especially the remarks critical of Bush. But before the bloggers jumped, the whole Bush-bashing publicity cycle began with the Dinosaur Media. Their field day began with the newspapers, in particular, Bob Woodward at the Washington Post (noted here on NB by Matthew Sheffield), and continued in the usual network television bashing cycle, starting with "60 Minutes" on CBS. NBC's "Today" demonstrated its routine appetite to inflict another bad-news bruising on the GOP.
If you watched any television newscasts Friday, or read a paper Saturday, you were bombarded with claims of doom and gloom as a result of the August unemployment report showing 4,000 fewer people on American payrolls than in July.
Yet, what media largely ignored were shifting sociological population dynamics indicating this summer's poor jobs gains could be caused by the smallest percentage of teenagers seeking work since such data started being collected in 1948.
In fact, though the "civilian noninstitutional population" of persons sixteen to nineteen-years-old reached 17 million for the first time in history last month, only 5.665 million of these teens were employed, the fewest for any August since 1965 when the population of such young adults was only 13 million.
Isn't this newsworthy? Well, there's much more that was ignored in this report for those actually interested in facts rather than excessively bearish, pessimistic spin.
Almost everybody within earshot of a broadcasting device yesterday knows that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a net loss of 4,000 jobs in the economy in August. Unemployment rate, at 4.6%, was unchanged.
Reporting, and misreporting, by the New York Times and Associated Press set Old Media's template for the story. Some reports, including this one by Vikas Bajaj at the Times, laid the entire onus of the loss on private companies:
Companies reduced their payrolls by 4,000 jobs in August, a sudden turnaround from the net increase of 68,000 jobs in July.
1. a. Goods or property seized from a victim after a conflict, especially after a military victory. b. Incidental benefits reaped by a winner, especially political patronage enjoyed by a successful party or candidate. 2. An object of plunder; prey. 3. Refuse material removed from an excavation. 4. Archaic The act of plundering; spoliation.
Something about the weekend seems to bring out the socialist in the New York Times. Last Saturday and Sunday I described how the Times and its Beantown-subsidiary Boston Globe published an op-ed and editorial exemplifying classic liberal-think.
The Gray Lady is back at it again today with its editorial, "The Employment Tea Leaves." In perhaps the most revealing essay of all, the Times makes clear its view that the fruits of Americans' labor, risk and ingenuity are mere "spoils" to be distributed at the whim of politicians.
In a subscription-only editorial yesterday, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member Stephen Moore notes that many countries in the rest of the world, including a few you'd never expect, are adopting the tax-cutting policies of Ronald Reagan, to their benefit:
Earlier this year the cover of Time Magazine depicted Ronald Reagan with a tear running down his cheek -- the message being that the political class has abandoned the Reagan legacy.....
Ironically, the Reagan economic philosophy of lower taxes, less regulation and free trade has never been more in vogue abroad -- so much so that it has become the global economic operating system.
You're a liberal. You've identified a problem -- the massive loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States; a net loss of 4.6 million jobs over the last 20 years. You've even done a decent job of identifying the causes of the problem: "Companies lose market share to foreign low-cost producers . . . or move their operations overseas in search of lower wages . . . or apply production techniques that require fewer workers."
So, what's your solution? Measures like reducing taxes and regulation to make U.S. manufacturers more competitive, perhaps? Of course not! Remember, you're a liberal. No, your solution is what you yourself describe as a "massive" new welfare program for affected workers and communities that will contribute to making U.S. manufacturers even less competitive and destroy even more jobs!
The week had a gusher of economic news, and most of it was favorable:
Thursday, 2nd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised sharply upward to 4.0% from July's initial estimate of 3.4%; the final GDP number for the second quarter comes out in late September.
The most comprehensive quarterly housing report issued, from the government's Office for Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), showed that home prices nationwide increased ever so slightly during the 2nd quarter, and were 3.19% higher than a year earlier. That year-over-year result is greater than inflation during the same period.
The only really bad news I can think of at the moment: Consumer confidence took a hit in two different reports during the week (here and here).
Well of course consumer confidence was due for a hit. With the press, especially Time Magazine, working overtime to make the housing situation look like the crisis of the century, it's a wonder that anyone's getting out of bed to face the day.
Most Americans understand that unemployment declining is a good thing.
Yet, the folks at the Associated Press seem confused about this economic statistic as evidenced by an article published Saturday entitled "Help Wanted Ads Go Unanswered in West."
In fact, contrary to a media fixated on bashing corporations and business owners as greedy little devils, Matt Gouras' piece actually elicited sympathy for folks normally in the press' crosshairs while oddly downplaying the benefits tight labor markets typically bring employees (emphasis added throughout, h/t to an NB reader in Hawaii):
You read that right (or left), Baker says the heck with the 5th Amendment protection against being "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." If someone borrowed too much or won't pay the mortgage, that's OK with Baker, the co-director of the left-wing economic think tank the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
“Now we switch to the housing market and the U.S. economy and this is a big story,” said NBC “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams on August 23. “Listen to this number on mortgage foreclosures in this country. They’re up 93 percent nationwide last month from the same period last year. This situation is dire. It’s creating a lot of anxiety about how that’s going to affect a great many homeowners and the economy as a whole.”
The powerful "manufacturing is in decline" meme won't go away soon, but it should.
It apparently isn't enough that the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index has read "expansion" in 48 of the past 50 months. It has become an article of faith among reporters and opportunistic politicians that American manufacturing has been, and continues to be, in a long-term decline.
The fact is that government reports also show the exact opposite. Why apparently no one, including the sector's supporters, has done, or at least published, the simple math involved to debunk the myth of "deindustrialization" is indeed a mystery.
There has been support by anecdote. For example, on August 6, Joel Kotkin, a presidential fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal ("The Myth of Deindustrialization"; link requires subscription). His column led as follows:
The Los Angeles Times reported a run of Countrywide Bank by its customers as more and more are panicked about the potential of the nation’s largest home lender to go bankruptcy – something fueled by many of the reports in the media.
“[S]ales of existing homes fell in 41 states from April through June,” said CBS correspondent Susan McGinnis on the August 16 “The Early Show.” “Meanwhile, foreclosures continue to soar. And there are growing worries about the nation's biggest mortgage lender; Countrywide Financial could be forced into bankruptcy.”
But some experts seem to think this scare from the media over Countrywide’s bankruptcy is a little premature.