Maybe because it's a UFO, we're not supposed to be able to explain it.
No, I'm not talking about unidentified flying objects at the recently acknowledged Area 51. I'm talking about an unexplained financial observation, the one made by the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber on Monday after the release of the July Regional and State Employment and Unemployment report Monday morning. Rugaber observed that the unemployment rate rose in the majority of states and fell in a relative few, while July's national unemployment rate reported two weeks ago fell from 7.6% to 7.4%:
What do you do when you're the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, and you're trying to do your level best to described a floundering economy without incurring the wrath of the Obama administration? You search for positive-sounding words to describe what is in reality a marginal situation.
The AP seems to have settled on "steady" and "steadily."
It's fair to say that about the only holdouts against the idea that part-time work is up and that employee hours are being reduced around the economy are the Obama White House and a few Obama White House alumni. It's also fair to say that there are very few holdouts against the idea that the cause for this is Obamacare's 30-hours-per-week definition of a full-time employee, which is causing far more businesses than usual to cut existing workers' hours and to limit their hiring to part-timers. Even Obama-sympathetic NBC did a report on Obamacare's impact earlier this week. The White House dismissed what NBC found as "merely anecdotal."
All along, everyone — yes, this includes yours truly — has been concentrating on overall changes in the average work week, which have been very minimal. But Jed Graham at Investor's Business Daily, doing work which apparently no one else in the business press has been willing or discerning enough to do for all these months as the issue has raged, identified four industry sectors where average weekly hours have dropped significantly, and where it's hard to claim that anything except Obamacare could be the culprit.
Economists, business owners and employees are worried that the Affordable Care Act is resulting in fewer hours for workers.
The networks had been ignoring this shift toward part-time work and its relationship to Obamacare earlier this year, but NBC has let the cat out of the bag. On the Aug. 13, “Nightly News” Lisa Myers reported on an NBC News investigation into the issue.
An August 6 opinion column at the Politico labeled co-authors Jared Bernstein and Paul Van de Water as "senior fellows at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities." CBPP, that oxymoron known as a "leftist think tank," went unlabeled. The Politico also must have thought that Bernstein's background as the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden from 2009 to 2011 was irrelevant.
That's okay. Any reader could tell from the piece's headline and content that it was a shameless, reality-avoiding propaganda piece (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Thursday, the Department of Labor announced that initial unemployment claims during the week ended August 3 rose to a seasonally adjusted 333,000, up from a revised 328,000 the previous week.
A "breaking" tweet from the Associated Press issued just a few minutes after the report's 8:30 a.m. (5:30 PT) release read as follows: "U.S. unemployment aid applications up only 5,000 to 333,000 - a level that signals steady job gains." The folks at Twitchy.com properly wondered how rising jobless claims can lead to more jobs. The wire service abandoned the tweet's claim only 19 minutes after its release, and went as far as admitting that "hiring lags" in a longer, late afternoon item.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics released its July monthly jobs report August 2. While the unemployment rate fell, economists did not view the report as positive. Even the liberal (called that by NPR itself) Economic Policy Institute, panned the results the same day.
That widespread negative assessment of the report didn’t stop NPR’s senior national correspondent and frequent fill-in host Linda Wertheimer from yet again casting news in a favorable light for Democrats. Here is the 42-year veteran of NPR’s upbeat summary of the jobs report from the previous day (emphasis mine):
In this case, the old saying, "Better late than never" really shouldn't apply. In June, when the government's Household Survey used to determine the unemployment rate reported that there were 240,000 fewer full-time workers and 360,000 more part-time workers than there were in May, the establishment press, particularly the Associated Press, largely ignored or downplayed the result.
The AP's Christopher Rugaber broke the ice a bit in early July after June's jobs report, and the wire service has finally gone full-bore into noting the trend towards part-time work in the past two days. But while the press slept for months, center-right bloggers and many others have been chronicling the trend anecdotally since late last year, and gradually with solid numbers from the government's own reports as the year has worn on.
If you've been wondering where the Associated Press's 2013 entry into the "Worst AP Report Ever" contest has been hiding, have no fear. It's here. Oh, it's not as bad as the current worst-ever leader, the laughably execrable "Everything seemingly is spinning out of control" in June 2008. Nevertheless, it's a "strong" entry -- as in almost indescribably weak as journalism.
The AP's (Abandon All) Hope Yen believes she has exclusive "news" she simply must share with you: Most Americans face significant economic stress sometime in their lives. Stop the presses, shut down the Internet, and cancel Christmas. Excerpts follow the jump.
Yesterday, President Obama gave another warmed-over version of the same economic policy speech that’s been given for the past five years at Knox College in Illinois. He saved the automobile industry. He’s overseeing an economic recovery. Republicans are intransigent. And he’s the best person to ever breathe oxygen on this planet. Yada, yada, yada.
Now with polls showing a record number of people calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, the president needed to pivot towards, well, jobs – again. Not that the liberal media have noticed the maddeningly repetitive same-old, same-old of it all. We’re getting to the point where the media should be calling the president out on this tactic, although with very few exceptions, no one's doing that.
MSNBC has apparently realized that Americans are not concerned about the sequester, so the Lean Forward network has made another attempt to convince us how terrible it really is. In an article published Monday on msnbc.com, writer Timothy Noah sent readers a grim message that was summed up in the article’s title: “The Sequester Isn’t Hurting You? Think Again.”
Noah struck a strikingly condescending tone in his opening paragraph: “If you don’t think Washington’s budget sequestration is hurting you financially, you’re probably wrong. But before considering why you’re wrong, let’s think about how you acquired that foolish sense of invulnerability.”
If the employment numbers seem better than one might have expected during the next few months, it may have nothing to do with private companies hiring people to provide goods and services people actually want. It may instead relate to the army of paper-pushers who are being hired to help individuals and families apply for ObamaCare subsidies starting on October 1.
If California's situation is typical of what will be happening nationwide, the total number of "enrollment counselors," also known as "navigators," hired for this supposedly short-term task will be huge. In the tarnished Golden State alone, according to Judy Lin at the Associated Press, 21,000 counselors will be hired from among "an estimated 3,600 community organizations ranging from Native American tribes and chambers of commerce to labor unions and faith-based organizations that will be authorized to help people buy insurance." Project that to the entire country, and we're talking about roughly 175,000 counselors.
On his eponymous Sunday program, Ed Schultz blamed Republicans for Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing, implying that the GOP is “happy to see Detroit go bankrupt” and that Governor Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) is “swindling public workers out of their hard-earned pensions.” Schultz accused Republicans of wanting to “quit” and “surrender” on Detroit, launching into a 13-minute diatribe against Snyder and Republican policies of “free trade and outsourcing.”
The bombastic MSNBC host was also critical of Snyder’s efforts to remove blighted structures in the city, an effort funded by the Obama/Lew Treasury Department. Schultz blasted the federally-supported undertaking, claiming Snyder “wants to spend money to destroy the city”:
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry blamed Detroit's bankruptcy on "government (that) is small enough to drown in your bathtub," and claimed that it reflects “exactly the kind of thing that many Republicans would impose on us.”
Nothing can top that, right? Wrong. MSNBC's Ed Schultz did, by more directly blaming Republicans. With an accompanying graphic containing photos of current Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, former President Ronald Reagan, and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney above the words "Conservative Utopia," Schultz claimed that the city's failure is "thanks to a lot of Republican policies" and "is exactly what the Republicans want." The relevant transcript follows the jump (video is at RealClearPolitics; HT Hot Air; bolds are mine):
What Egyptian citizens must recognize is that political liberty thrives best where there's a large measure of economic liberty. The Egyptian people are not the problem; it's the environment they're forced to live in. Why is it that Egyptians do well in the U.S. but not Egypt? We could make the same observation about Nigerians, Cambodians, Jamaicans and many other people who leave their homeland and immigrate to the U.S. For example, Indians in India suffer great poverty. But that's not true of Indians who immigrate to the U.S. They manage to start more Silicon Valley companies than any other immigrant group, and they do the same in Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey.
According to various reports, about 50 percent of Egypt's 83 million people live on or below the $2-per-day poverty line set by the World Bank. Overall, unemployment is 13 percent, and among youths, it's 25 percent. Those are the official numbers. The true rates are estimated to be twice as high.
A series of reports at the Associated Press following Texas Gov. Rick Perry's announcement that he would not seek another term can only be explained if their purpose is to poison his possible 2016 presidential aspirations. In doing so, the AP is from all appearances firing the opening shots in a campaign to duplicate the establishment press's tragically successful efforts to marginalize Perry and other conservative GOP candidates in 2011 and 2012, as Media Research Center's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham have shown in their new book, Collusion. (Related NewsBusters posts are here and here.)
One such AP report by "wise guy" Will Weissert simply lists "5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY." Should we know about the Lone Star State's explosive job growth and impressive economic growth on his watch, or how he helped to consolidate Republican power in a state which had a Democratic governor as recently as 1994 and for over a century after Reconstruction? Of course not (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Ed Schultz continued his weekly tirade against Republicans Sunday, arguing for a second straight week that the GOP is engaged in an all-out war against minorities.
After accusing conservatives of wanting to “keep a minority down” on last week’s Ed Show, the bombastic MSNBC host was at it again on Sunday, accusing Republicans of “attacking minorities” in their attempt to block President Obama’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
In a Sunday morning story which will likely have limited reach, and will then probably be considered old news by the time the business week resumes tomorrow, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, finally got around to recognizing a trend on which yours truly and others have been commenting for at least 2-1/2 years: the surge in employment at temporary help services.
That the item's author is Christopher "Gone Are the Fears That the Economy Could Fall Into Another Recession" Rugaber makes it especially rich, once he explains to his readers some of the reasons why temp services is one of the few sectors employing more people now than it did at its pre-recession peak (bolds are mine):
It wasn't a tough prediction, but late Friday morning Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted the seemingly "metaphysical certitude the Obama-loving media will be falling over themselves in the next 48 hours to report the better than expected jobs numbers in June." Well, of course.
Noel also wondered how much attention the press would pay to less than desirable aspects of yesterday's jobs report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The answer at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which carried at least eight reports relating to the news and its effects on the financial markets, was "hardly," as will be seen in excerpts after the jump. Additionally, the AP reversed its initial take that yesterday's non-change in the unemployment rate would keep the Federal Reserve's stimulus flowing, later deciding that the jobs report was so good that the Fed can let the tapering begin.
NBC’s chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd had some tough words for President Obama on Monday’s Morning Joe. Todd, anchor of MSNBC’s Daily Rundown and a frequent critic of Republicans on network’s programming, scolded the president for running a “leaderless Washington,” and for failing to “rally the world” to a “solution in Syria.”
Todd’s critique was in reference to a Saturday op-ed in the New York Times, in which conservative columnist Ross Douthat berated the Obama administration for promoting policies of little importance to most Americans – in lieu of an aggressive jobs agenda.
The pundits over at MSNBC have it all figured out: Republicans don’t care about the millions struggling in the Obama economy. At least that was what a left-wing panel on Sunday’s The Ed Show decided, with Salon’s Joan Walsh declaring that Republicans “don’t care” about people who have lost their jobs.
Walsh’s ridiculous comments came after guest host Joy Reid preposterously worried that the Obama White House may be “a victim of the economy’s own success.” Reid fretted over the president’s agenda, asking:
The most interesting thing (to me, at least) about Wednesday's report in the Los Angeles Times by Ricardo Lopez on how the author of an economic report out of UCLA has said that the U.S. economy's performance since the recession officially ended in June 2009 stinks -- "It's not a recovery. It's not even normal growth. It's bad" -- is how the Associated Press relayed it to its readers and subscribers. I don't recall ever seeing a 15-plus paragraph report go unbylined, but this one did.
Maybe whoever wrote the AP item didn't want to incur the wrath of his or her colleague Tom Raum, who early last week wrote that the economy is "clearly, if slowly" recovering. It's also somewhat likely that Christopher Rugaber, who wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, might be a bit miffed. Choice nuggets from Lopez's LAT lament follow the jump:
Politico's Katie Glueck must have been really desperate for something newsworthy as a Saturday column topic.
She apparently believed it was worth devoting over 1,500 words to a writeup whose key point was that "at least one Republican" doesn't like Texas Governor Rick Perry's aggressive attempts to persuade companies in other states to relocate to or expand in the Lone Star State. She cited only one. Even that person person's criticism was very mild, and it came from someone who, because of his position, couldn't say that what Perry is doing is great even if he wanted to without risking his job. Despite the overdose of verbiage, Glueck also never provided any details of Texas's outsized contribution to the nation's overall mediocre post-recession job growth.
One particular sentence has recently become a virtual meme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press.
Its latest appearance is at Christopher Rugaber's report this afternoon on April's seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent drop in consumer spending. Rugaber, who infamously wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, perhaps betraying a bit of nervousness, called today's news "a sign that economic growth may be slowing." Deeper into his dispatch, he rolled out the meme:
The pity party for furloughed federal employees should be toned down. A story at CNNMoney.com notes something I don't expect will be only rarely be reported anywhere else, namely that there has been a concerted and likely largely successful effort on the part of federal employee unions to ensure that as many of their members as possible will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits during their time off. I would expect that those who don't have union representation are also attempting to imitate what the unions are doing whenever and wherever possible.
It's pretty safe to say that extra spending on unemployment benefits wasn't treated as a partial offset to estimated savings resulting from sequestration. CNN Money's coverage of one instance of this kind of maneuvering makes it clear that the total dollar amounts aren't small in a federal workforce of 4.4 million. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Martin Bashir on Tuesday said New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yes, the MSNBC host said Peace Prize - not one for economics - all because the perilously liberal economist has advocated more deficit spending and even more federal debt to stimulate the economy (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
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.
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was Jay Leno’s guest on the Tonight Show Friday, and he didn’t have kind things to say about the current White House resident or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
At one point in their discussion, Romney said, "I'm not a fan of the president - in case you didn't know that."