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):
As I noted in a previous previous post today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), a CNNMoney.com email tried to spin a 0.4% decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and tiny drops of less than 0.1% in the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ into proof that the government shutdown and the "looming U.S. default" were having awful effects on investors. Given that the ADP Employment Report today was a disappointment and had significant downward revisions to prior months, that was an indefensible stretch.
NASDAQ.com says that the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 58.56 points today. The S&P 500 lost 1.13 points, while the NASDAQ lost 2.96 points. In percentage terms, those losses were 0.39%, 0.07%, and 0.08%, respectively.
Even though there's usually a large element of speculation relating to why the broad markets go up or down on any given day, the pretend know-it-alls at CNNMoney.com seem to have had a pretty obvious preset agenda in their post-close email, as will be seen after the jump:
For weeks Americans have been told that if Congress and the White House didn't agree to a Continuing Resolution to fund the government when the new fiscal year started on October 1, an economic calamity would befall the nation.
Well, the government officially shut down at midnight Monday, and markets all around the world don't seem to care.
Joshua Freed's Friday afternoon report on the week's results in the stock market at the Associated Press spent nine paragraphs telling readers how the current budget battle in Washington and possible government shutdown are causing stocks to retreat.
Though he obviously didn't admit it, Freed's narrative fell apart in later paragraphs as he discussed "mixed economic signals" which aren't mixed at all. They range from "pretty bad" to "really bad." Excerpts, mostly about the "mixed signals," follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
There are two key words missing from the report Bloomberg's Kasia Klimasinska & Shobhana Chandra published Tuesday morning — a writeup that is so incredibly sunny and over-the-top that is probably would have embarrassed the Old Soviet Union's Pravda in its heyday.
One is "income." The reason is obvious. Real median household income is still way below where it was when the recession ended four long years ago. The other absent word is "deficit." This enables Bloomberg's pathetic pair to glide though a discussion of the national debt-ceiling situation and make Republicans look like the heavies. The final problem is that they act as if we're in the fifth year of unbroken expansion, when we're not. Excerpts follow the jump.
Anyone remember all the huffing and puffing from the establishment press about how third-quarter economic growth was going to be great — so please stop worrying about how weak the past three quarters (annualized rates of 0.1%, 1.1%, and 1.7%, respectively) have been?
Oops. On Friday, the Census Bureau reported that new-home sales dropped over 20% in July to an annual rate of 394,000 from June's original reading of 497,000, which was itself revised down to 455,000. Today, the bureau revealed that durable goods orders fell sharply in July, bringing about yet another appearance at Bloomberg News of its favorite word during the past five years about the economy, and yet another instance of the stock market's apparent pleasure with bad news for the rest of us:
Today, as the wire service AFP reported in a story carried at Yahoo.com, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in the question and answer exchange after his prepared testimony, told the House Financial Services Committee that "If we were to tighten (monetary) policy, the economy would tank."
That assessment of the economy's fragility qualifies as news, especially given the Obama administration's continued claim that the economy is "continuing to recover at a promising rate." Outlets besides AFP virtually ignored Bernanke's soundbite, which should be considered scary to anyone who realizes that Big Ben can't go on "stimulating" at his current rate forever.
On ABC's This Week yesterday, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- who resigned in 2008 when caught dead to rights illegally purchasing the services of prostitutes but was never prosecuted because, as announced two days after Election Day in 2008, the Department of Justice decided that "the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges" -- called the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial "a failure of justice."
Of course, Politico's Juana Summers provided none of the background yours truly just did while only referring to Spitzer as "the former Democratic governor of New York who's now a candidate for New York City comptroller." Another statement Spitzer made on the same program deserves further scrutiny, which will arrive after the jump:
As timing would have it, my 12-year-old daughter read Orwell's "Animal Farm" for school just before I encountered an eerily similar human version of one of its characters.
Do you remember Squealer, the propagandist for the pigs who ran the farm after the animals seized control of the property? He was described as "a brilliant talker" who when arguing "had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive." (Audio after the jump)
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.
“Assault on Wall Street,” directed by Uwe Boll and starring Dominic Purcell, takes the liberal agenda to a whole new level. Every possible liberal ideal – anti-gun, anti-capitalism, the evils of health insurance companies, crazy gun supporters – is depicted in this 1 hour and 39 minute movie, which was released on May 10 in limited theaters and on Amazon instant video.
Within the first ten minutes, viewers were introduced to evil Wall Street executive Jeremy Stancroft (John Heard) saying, “Our responsibility begins and ends with our partners and shareholders and that is it.”
Today’s proof that National Public Radio is your taxpayer-funded rip-and-read press-release service for the Left: a Morning Edition story summarized as “College Divestment Campaigns Creating Passionate Environmentalists.”
Reporter Elizabeth Shogren compared Brown University's anti-coal campaign to anti-apartheid campaigns of the 1980s: “Students at more than 300 colleges in the United States are asking their school's endowment fund to distance themselves from any coal-producing companies.” NPR’s chasing after Rolling Stone and The Nation magazine in promoting the fight to stop "climate change" from baking Earth:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time high on Tuesday.
But you wouldn't know that if you watched MSNBC's Hardball where two guests actually made the case that this really isn't an all-time high due to inflation (video follows with transcribed highlights 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):
CNBC's Maria Bartiromo made a statement Sunday about all of the fearmongering concerning the looming budget sequester that people on both sides of the aisle should pay attention to.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Bartiromo said, "I think Wall Street is seeing this as scare tactics because if the market really believed that the economy was going to be paralyzed on March 1 we would not be trading near record highs" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Here’s something I bet you thought you’d never see at the perilously liberal Huffington Post.
In a Dean Baker article published Tuesday with the astonishing title “There Is No Santa Claus and Bill Clinton Was Not an Economic Savior,” the second sentence read, “Just as little kids have to come to grips with the fact that there is no Santa Claus, it is necessary for millions of liberals, including many who think of themselves as highly knowledgeable about economic matters, to realize that President Clinton's policies sent the economy seriously off course.”
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Sunday gave Lawrence O'Donnell a much-needed education on the economic impact of the Bill Clinton tax hikes in the '90s.
As O'Donnell precipitated the exchange, he perfectly demonstrated why MSNBC commentators are far too liberally biased to be invited on NBC's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A congressional investigation into a failed venture capital firm run by a prominent former governor has faulted said governor for the debacle, which famously lost some billions in investor funds which, to this day, have not been accounted for.
No, it wasn’t Mitt Romney – it was former Democratic Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine. One mystery that plagues this investigation is Mr. Corzine’s David Copperfield act that wiped $1.6 billion from MF Global’s client fund, which occurred days before the whole firm crumbled. Dina ElBoghdady of The Washington Post reported in the November 15 paper about this episode in financial malfeasance that cost people their jobs, and their savings – but it wasn’t too important for the paper's editors, who buried the item on page A18.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted a possible recession by Christmas if lawmakers didn’t step up and make some sort of deal in regards to the looming fiscal cliff. His prediction came during an Nov. 11 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We can gift wrap a recession by Christmas. We can set it right into place without some agreement,” Cramer told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory. He attributed that week’s stock market drop to that same lack of certainty.
Those in the press who claim to completely understand why stock market indices containing 30, 500, or thousands of individual companies went up or down on any given day are at best theorizing and at worst dissembling. The way the press handled this week's decline by blaming it all on the "fiscal cliff," as if it only became relevant on Wednesday morning, definitely fits in the latter category. Leading the pack, as usual, was the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press.
The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all advanced modestly on Monday and Tuesday, fell sharply beginning with Wednesday's opening bell through the end of Thursday before recovering a tiny bit on Friday. But if one is to believe the AP's Steve Rothwell, the large tax increases facing the U.S. on January 1 explain the entire week's results, even though the declines didn't begin until this little thing called a presidential election was concluded on Tuesday evening after a Monday and Tuesday when no one really knew which candidate would win:
Today, per Nasdaq.com, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 4.49 points to 13107.48, the S&P 500 went up 1.19 points to 1410.49, and the NASDAQ gained 4.05 points to close at 3081.19. The average of the three gains is less than 0.1%.
That didn't stop the disseminators of CNN Money's email at the close of business from interpreting the result as being due to "signs of stronger U.S.growth." Huh?
In her story this aftermoon on the imminent expiration of the company's "lock-up" period during which certain employees and insiders must hold onto their company stock, Associated Press Technology writer Barbara Ortutay reports that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be locked into his holdings until mid-November -- while omitting out of apparent ignorance the fact that he previously cashed out to the tune of over $1 billion.
It's as if these people think that we're still in the era of the Pony Express and passenger pigeons.
Both CNN's email alert after the close of the markets today and the Associated Press's post-close report acted as if Monday's stock market gain was due to a positive momentum effect from Friday's splendiforous jobs report, which really wasn't that good at all. CNN's 4:01 p.m. email told recipients that "U.S. stocks end higher on momentum from July jobs report." AP's first paragraph at its news summary page read as follows:
New York Times economic columnist Paul Krugman made a statement Sunday about the looming end of the year tax hikes and spending cuts that is likely to raise some eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Appearing on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, Krugman said, "If Obama’s reelected, I think that there’s a quite good chance that for a month or two we actually will go off the cliff" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Today's report on the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) during the second quarter didn't impress anyone -- except, apparently those who send out email alerts to CNN Money subscribers.
For several years, it has seemed like the primary goal of these alerts has been to create the illusion of pervasive prosperity when the economic news is even remotely tolerable, and to ignore or downplay news that is really bad -- all so that the relatively disengaged can be convinced that the economy isn't performing as poorly as it really is. The email alert received shortly after the government released its report showing that the economy grew at an annualized 1.5% rate during the second quarter arguably fits both categories: