Let’s all be thankful for CNBC. On this morning’s Squawk Box, co-host Joe Kernen raised a question that the Big Three broadcast networks have been afraid or unwilling to touch thus far.
While Kernen was chatting with CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood about the sequester, Harwood brought up the FAA’s announcement that it will close 149 air traffic control towers next month. It was a story that ABC, CBS, and NBC each covered on their Saturday morning shows this week. Of course, what the broadcast networks failed to mention, but which Kernen raised, was Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran's amendment that proposed cutting $50 million in unspent FAA research money rather than closing the towers, $50 million being the approximate amount that would be saved by closing the 149 towers. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to bring the amendment up for a vote. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday reported upside revisions to the number of jobs that were created in last year's fourth quarter.
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box, Austan Goolsbee, the former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Barack Obama, joked, "It’s an elaborate left-wing plot to make the numbers much better several months after the election so that nobody thinks that there was a conspiracy just before the election."
That was not the cry of a dyed-in-the-wool conservative politician. Rather it was Jim Cramer, CNBC’s own host of “Mad Money,” speaking to the upcoming fight in Washington over the debt ceiling. [See video after the jump]
Nobel prize winning liberal economist Paul Krugman, who has often argued that President Obama’s $831 billion stimulus was too small, has now decided he knows what’s good for everyone’s health (besides government-controlled healthcare). His health advice? “Don’t spend much time watching CNBC” because it is “bad for your financial and intellectual health.”
On the Nov. 5 edition of CNBCs “Squawk Box,” former CEO of GE Jack Welch guest hosted and did not shy away from his opinions of the current administration. Welch emphasized the great opportunity America has with natural gas and how some of Obama’s proposed green energy bills pose a great threat to the economy.
One of those big threats, according to Welch, is the Ozone regulations bill, which was pushed back to be enacted in early 2013. “Ozone is a trillion dollar bill to the U.S. economy,” Welch stated. “If they put the ozone restrictions in that they want and take them down to sixty parts per billion, take them down there, it’s a trillion dollar bill.”
As far as Joe Kernen of CNBC's Squawk Box is concerned, the word 'virgin' and Tim Tebow are synonomous. Apparently, there can be no conversation about Tebow without bringing it up in a mocking manner for what is essentially a deliberate and faith-based decision.
In an interview with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on Wednesday morning, the conversation transitioned from politics to football. Co-host Becky Quick asked about the backup quarterback, wondering what the future may hold for him. As complimentary as he could be, Johnson was adamant that Tebow will be on the team for at least three seasons.
That's when Kernen perked up, posing an innappropriate question for the team's boss without a second thought. [ video below the page break, MP3 audio available here ]
In a Friday interview where the primary purpose was to give her an opportunity to defend her Bureau of Labor Statistics, Obama administration Department of Labor head Hilda Solis gave CNBC viewers the false impression that prior-month upward revisions to reported job additions were in the private sector (they were all government jobs), and falsely claimed, despite her boss's refusal to do anything until after Election Day, that "Congress needs to work with us."
The video can be found at CNBC, where Solis tells the network's reporter that "I am insulted" that people would believe that BLS's books are cooked. Here is her specific quote on job growth (Solis's comments below are not in the text of the post; HT Breitbart's Big Government; bolds are mine):
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box on Wednesday, NBC News political director Chuck Todd launched into a rant attacking Rasmussen Reports polling: "We spend a lot more money polling than Scott Rasmussen does. We spend a lot more money on quality control....I hate the idea that [NBC] polling, which is rigorously done, has to get compared to what is, in some cases, you know, slop." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Joe Kernen challenged Todd: "[Rasmussen] was right, though, the last couple of elections." Todd shot back: "He got right at the end. It's what happens in the middle sometimes that seems a little bit – a little bit haywire."
The June jobs report was “very disappointing” for the Obama administration and to people looking for work, according to CNBC’s John Harwood. The 80,000 job gains was 20,000 short of expectations, and the unemployment rate was unchanged.
Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, who has often found a bright side to negative reports, reacted that way again saying there were “silver linings” in the report. But former Office of Management and Budget Director James Nussle strongly disagreed with those claims.
Following a report on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News about the dropping value of Facebook's initial public stock offering and possible investigations into what went wrong, anchor Brian Williams saw an opportunity to adopt the talking points of the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement: "Is this a case of the rich get richer, another advantage to the 1%...?"
Williams posed that question to New York Times reporter and CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin, who enthusiastically added to the class warfare rhetoric: "Boy does it feel that way, Brian. This is that and probably a lot more. And it couldn't come at a worse time given the enormous distrust that the public has of Wall Street. And it goes to this sense of fairness. This is the ultimate 1% versus 99% all over again."
CNBC's Rick Santelli in 60 seconds Tuesday perfectly described the difference between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement.
Responding to a question from "Squawk Box" guest host Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, Santelli dispelled the notion that "the Tea Party's done" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
After the news portion of a "Warmer Weather Hurting Retail" segment on the impact of the mild winter on retail sales thus far appearing early this morning on CNBC, Joe Kernen and John Harwood got into it over the relevance and influence of so-called "global warming" (I guess Harwood didn't get the memo that it's "climate change" now).
The U.S. unemployment rate in September was 9.1%, a terrible statistic and a symptom of a profoundly damaged economy. Anticipating Friday's jobs report, CNBC Squawk Box co-host and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin wondered whether the bad economic news had already reached a point where it would be "almost impossible" for President Obama to be re-elected.
"Remember when people used to say for Obama to win, this was a year or two ago, it [the unemployment rate] had to be under 8%," Sorkin recalled. "For him to get unemployment, from now until the elections, under 8%, you have to create something on the order of 400,000 jobs a month.... which is, obviously, almost impossible." [video after the jump]
Jim Cramer, a Democrat and Wall Street insider, made a statement on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Friday morning that most definitely turned heads in the White House.
Speaking about the disappointing data released by the Conference Board, Cramer said that traders hate President Obama "like Jimmy Carter was hated" because they believe he's "destroying this country" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Ahead of the Sept. 2 release of the August jobs report, surveys had indicated the economy had added anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 jobs that month. But those estimates turned out to be very wrong. Just minutes ahead of the release, CNBC’s Rick Santelli went out on a limb predicting that no jobs had been added in August.
Santelli was right about that number. As CNBC reported just minutes later, not a single job was added overall to the payroll numbers and the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent. The previous two months were revised downward to show an additional 58,000 jobs lost.
CNBC panelists and guests always make predictions in the minutes leading up to the Labor Department's release of the jobs report and June 3 was no exception.
While economists Diane Swonk and Mark Zandi and CNBC's own Steve Liesman all made predictions of job gains between 100,000 and 150,000 - Rick Santelli threw his own lower prediction in just seconds before the announcement: 55,000. (Video available here)
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday got a much-needed economics lesson from CNBC's Joe Kernen.
In the midst of a discussion about the economy and how it's going to impact the 2012 elections, the "Hardball" host bragged about having studied economics in grad school leading Kernen to marvelously ask, "You studied economics?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Perhaps using a preemptive strike to help combat the May jobs report to be released on Friday, MSNBC has already found an excuse for lost jobs, and an increased unemployment rate – storms, tornadoes and flooding. According to a business report:
“…homes or places of business have been destroyed in this year's wave of storms, tornadoes and flooding. That means thousands of workers in the South and Midwest could be out of work for some time, potentially pushing up the nation's jobless rate and further taxing financially strapped state unemployment funds.”
Yet in 2004, when reporting on an October jobs report in which hiring had increased at the fastest pace in seven months, MSNBC somehow managed to find analysts who said the jump in hiring was due mainly to another form of natural disaster – hurricanes. The business report at that time read:
“Some analysts were skeptical about the latest surge of hiring, pointing out that much of the unusually large jump in October stemmed from cleanup and rebuilding in Florida and other states that were ravaged by four hurricanes…”
That assessment is buoyed by an accompanying CNBC video (seen below) in which Senior Economics Reporter, Steve Liesman, asks President Bush’s economic advisor, Gregory Mankiw, about the ‘Hurricane Effect’ on a jobs report.
In a moment of respite from its typically liberal proclivities, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" tuned in to "Squawk Box" on May 12 to chat with the 11-year-old daughter of a CNBC anchor who co-authored a book about "defending our kids from the liberal assault on capitalism."
"Although I am an environmentalist, in this argument I support the business side," wrote Blake Kernen, daughter of CNBC's Joe Kernen, in response to a question on a homework assignment that Blake said was biased against the free market. "I agree that limiting the amount of emissions a company can release would hurt a business ... If a company was told to limit its production, it would make less goods, reducing the money it makes. If a company cannot make money, it cannot employ a lot of workers!"
On Thursday morning's "Squawk Box," CNBC's on-air editor Rick Santelli sounded off against raising the debt ceiling, the Democrat-controlled congress' failure to pass a budget last year, and "spendthrift" politicians. The rant echoed his famous 2009 diatribe where he called for a Chicago "Tea Party."
"It's a matter of principle. If we can't do the discretionary spending now, what chance do the conservatives have to tackle everything we know?" he said of more budget cuts.
"But you turn on certain channels that are supposed to be news, and they vilify anything to get it under control. They say we're going to kill kids? You know, we will have problems with children if the whole damn country goes bankrupt. Wake up!"
On MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" today, Steve Liesman robustly defended raising gasoline taxes as a way to address rising oil prices.
The CNBC senior economics reporter minced no words to show his support for hiking the unpopular consumption tax in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery: "I want to offer that one of the real solutions here is a gas tax."
After positing that the problem with oil prices "is not that they're high, it's how they oscillate," Liesman claimed higher gas taxes "would accomplish two things: one, it would create incentives to use less of it and two, create a little more certainty around the price, which by the way is one of the things making gasoline a bad fuel for the economy."
Jobs are heading up and down at the same time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the morning of Feb. 4 that only 36,000 jobs were added in the month of January, but the unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent.
The mainstream news media will likely latch on to the dropping unemployment rate, despite job gains that were less than one-fourth of the consensus estimate of 148,000 jobs added. One of the CNBC panelists noted that the increase was "way below consensus."
CNBC's Rick Santelli even lashed out at some of the CNBC "Squawk Box" panel that were discussing the latest jobs report. (VIDEO BELOW FOLD)
A sharp drop in the unemployment rate from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent "surprised" analysts on Jan. 7, but Mesirow Financial's chief economist Diane Swonk warned CNBC viewers that it was an "anomaly."
The drop in unemployment rate confused some because in the same report the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 103,000 overall nonfarm payroll gains in December 2010.
CNBC's "Squawk Box" panel reacted to the falling unemployment rate by calling it "sort of a fluke," an "anomaly" and predicting it would rise again. CNBC's Rick Santelli suggested the rate dropped "because people are disenchanted' and dropping out of the labor force."
One day before what many say will be an historic election; CNBC appears to finally be embracing one of the most famous moments in the network’s history: A Feb. 19, 2009 “rant heard around the world” by CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli, which is credited by many for igniting the Tea Party movement.
Throughout the day on Nov. 1, CNBC aired a 30-second spot encouraging viewers to tune into its network for election night coverage. The promo said to tune to CNBC “when the economy is topic A” and concluded with part of Santelli’s famous rant, “President Obama, are you listening?”
So more government isn’t the answer to all of our problems? For a brief moment, that seemed to be the message Huffington Post editor-in-chief and co-founder Arianna Huffington was conveying.
On CNBC’s Oct. 5 broadcast of “Squawk Box,” Huffington, author of “Third World America” explained what she thought the role of government should be in an American economic system. Now whether she was playing to the CNBC pro-capitalist audience or not remains to be seen, but she did depart with the so-called progressive/liberal view of government’s role in the economy, and criticized the Obama administration.
“[S]o when it comes to the Obama administration’s policies, the problem has been rewarding people for taking excessive risks, which is not at the heart of capitalism,” Huffington said. “You and I have talked about that before. At the heart of capitalism is the assumption that if you take excessive risks and you fail, you’re on your own. The taxpayer is not on the hook. And we still have left the systemic risk in the system despite the financial reform bill that was passed. ‘Too big to fail’ has not ended and that really is the potential problem in the future.”
As we near the midterm elections, left-wingers will be reading from the same tired playbook – the attempted marginalization of the Tea Party movement, but just more of it. But more and more, they are discovering the tactics are tougher to defend, as their side has their own fringe, loose-cannon elements.
KERNEN: I want to talk to you about something, later about -- you're calling Tea Party people wing nuts and fruit loops? RENDELL: Not all of them. KERNEN: Not all of them? You saw the president, the president basically said that most of them, most of the Tea Party “are directed and financed by powerful and special interests lobbies,” this is in the Journal today. That's most of them and the rest of them are bigots. So you're either directed by special interests … RENDELL: I don't believe it. KERNEN: Seventy-one percent of Republicans, according to this poll today in the Journal identify – so, you've just trashed the entire half of the country. CARUSO-CABRERA: He says slowly but surely, the GOP is taken over by whackos. RENDELL: There’s no question about that.
It’s a really skewed view of the relationship between citizens and the government – that anything you earn and get to keep by not paying to the government in the form of taxes is a show of benevolence from the government.
“WANT to give affluent households a present worth $700 billion over the next decade?” Thaler wrote. “In a period of high unemployment and fiscal austerity, this idea may seem laughable. Amazingly, though, it is getting traction in Washington. I am referring, of course, to the current debate about whether to extend all, or just some, of the tax cuts of President George W. Bush – cuts that are due to expire at year-end. They’re expiring because the only way they could be enacted initially was by pretending that they were temporary.”