There's a lot of uncertainty with the U.S. economy and a lot of its recovery hinges on some key policy decisions due from the federal government.
On CNBC's Nov. 2 "The Kudlow Report," CNBC host Maria Bartiromo discussed her interview with former Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Obama adviser Paul Volcker from the Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Fla. One of the topics Bartiromo reported on from the conference was the possibility the Bush tax cuts would be allowed to expire, which she insisted is unlikely.
Now that the Obama administration is attempting to take a victory lap on the U.S. economic recovery, claiming the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year was what did the trick, despite a cost of $160,000 per 'stimulus' job, as ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out, it has come at the cost of the U.S. dollar.
Since then, the stock market has rebounded nicely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is off a March low of 6,547 points, even topping the 10,000-mark recently. But what has caused this nearly 50-percent jump? According to CNBC's Larry Kudlow - loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, with low interest rates, has made it possible for the markets to rise, with the 'loose' money going into the market.
"The funny thing is, Steven, it has gone into stocks - I mean the stock market guys ... there's no real multiplier for the economy, right?" Kudlow said on his Oct. 30 CNBC program. "But it has gone into stocks and the stock market crowd wants to see the Fed to keep pouring the money in no matter what happens to the U.S. dollar."
Kudlow, referring to the Oct. 26 broadcast of MSNBC's "The Ed Show," which featured Rep. Barney Frank, perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader and the host Ed Schultz, noted all the participants were left-of-center. And in the appearance, Frank made a pitch for the expanded role of government and argued the only reason people opposed it was because they were disillusioned by the government for its failures during the Bush administration, specifically dealing with Hurricane Katrina.
Recent problems with the financial system could be used as a reason for regulators to have authority policing social networking sites like Facebook and other types of electronic communication like text messaging. If Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) CEO Richard Ketchum has his way, that's exactly what will happen.
Ketchum appeared on CNBC's Oct. 27 "Closing Bell" in an interview with the network's NYSE floor reporter Bob Pisani from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) annual meeting in New York City. Ketchum explained how the Internet and text messaging are unconventional means of communication that pose problems for regulators.
"With all of our kids, they don't talk by phones or certainly directly to each other anymore," Ketchum said. "They talk through the Internet and they talk through text messaging and they talk through Facebook."
Worried about a potential slippery slope with the Obama administration dictating what people are paid in the private sector - TARP bailout or no TARP bailout? Message from CNBC's Jim Cramer: Get over it.
On CNBC's Oct. 21 "Street Signs," the "Mad Money" host ripped into Wall Street executives that objected to the government dictating the rules of compensation. Opponents argue these pay restrictions inhibit Wall Street firms ability to retain the best employees possible - an argument Cramer says doesn't matter.
"Hey, there's no God-given right to work at those companies," Cramer said. "These people can go off if they want to. I know that [Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive] Vikram Pandit has kept 23 of the top 25 people with very severe pay restrictions. If you believe in your institution, you stay. See, a lot of Americans are looking at those pay cuts and thinking, ‘How do I get in on the action?' So I don't really care."
Want to make a big splash to bolster your chances in a political campaign? A tried and true strategy for some attorneys general has been to champion a populist position by exploiting the legal system for publicity. Just look at the lead up to the launch of former New York AG Eliot Spitzer gubernatorial campaign with his attacks on Wall Street.
And that appears to be the playbook California Attorney General Jerry Brown is using in a lawsuit accusing State Street (NYSE:STT) of cheating the state's two largest pension funds, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, of at least $56.6 million.
However, CNBC's Michele Caruso-Cabrera wasn't afraid to ask Brown if that was indeed the case in an Oct. 20 interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
Lately there's has been an anti-Wall Street sentiment, propagated by the media that has become exacerbated as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit 10,000 Oct. 14.
On CNBC's Oct. 15 "Street Signs," Jim Cramer, host of "Mad Money," was asked by fill-in host Melissa Francis what he thought about the outrage over Wall Street hitting its stride, while unemployment continues to rise.
"What did you think about [Morgan Stanley CEO] John Mack's answer to the big question of the day, which is the divergence between Main Street and Wall Street?" Francis asked. "We see Dow 10,000 - bonuses are back at the same time Main Street is in a shambles."
Cramer took a different and unexpected tact by explaining he was a Spartacist, one who believed in a Communism in his youth. But during that time in his life, he said he became very familiar with the teachings of Vladimir Lenin.
One of the most damaging accusations you can level at opponent is call that individual a racist in one form or another. And that's the tactic MSNBC and others left-wing opponents of Rush Limbaugh are taking to thwart his bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams.
During a segment on MSNBC on Oct. 13, former Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Hunter appeared to voice her opposition to the Limbaugh's NFL bid. She made one of the most outrageous - likening Limbaugh's ownership of an NFL team to being a plantation owner, a metaphor that invokes the image of antebellum South during the 19th Century, when slavery was rampant.
"I can just see the visions of plantation grandeur dancing in his head as we speak," Hunter said. "Yeah, it doesn't make you a racist to want to own a team. But, it does kind of with all his history question his power position over these players who make millions of dollars and his ability to be able to move them around, deny them contracts and do whatever he wants willy-nilly. It's the ultimate power position to be an owner of an NFL team."
Is Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes about to score another big name personality for his fledgling off-spin business channel? According to The New York Times television and digital media reporter Brian Stelter, News Corp's (NASDAQ:NWS) Fox Business Network is considering adding CNN "Lou Dobbs Tonight" host Lou Dobbs to its lineup.
"The business channel is also keen on another administration critic, Lou Dobbs, who met for dinner with Mr. Ailes last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the meeting," Stelter wrote in a piece for the Oct. 12 Times about the growing divide between Fox News and the Obama administration. "The shift for Fox News - the favorite network of the Bush administration, now the least favored one of the Obama administration - has financial implications for the News Corporation, especially given the network's status as a growth engine in a perilous time for media companies."
But it was just a matter of time before the usual culprits on the left would attempt to make an issue of it, in what seems to be an effort to gin up some reason for the talk show host not to have an ownership stake in an NFL team. And, MSNBC's Ed Schultz isn't waiting for pointers from the left-wing blogosphere to set the "Stop Rush's Bid for the Rams" agenda. He took it to Limbaugh on his Oct. 6 program immediately.
"There's also some comical football news out there," Schultz said. "The drugster's talking about buying the St. Louis Rams. That's right, the leader of the Republican Party is bidding for ownership of a team that's been giving more money to Democrats than any other team has over the last 10 years, at least that's what the survey says. He'll have to do something about that I'm sure."
Fans of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books will remember that the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” was “42.” For American liberals, the answer to “health, insurance, and everything” appears to be 47. Liberal pundits and politicians, right up to President Obama, have famously – and wrongly – claimed that there are 47 million uninsured Americans.
Now, an ObamaCare partisan has claimed that 47,000 Americans die annually because they lack health insurance. On Oct. 5, former Clinton White House staffer David Goodfriend appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” to argue for taxing healthcare businesses to pay for health care reform. Goodfriend stated that, even though medical device manufacturers and others would pay up front, they’d see returns in the form of more customers when those now uninsured enter the system.
“Just think; ask yourself this question,” Goodfriend said. “Why would 47,000 people a year be dying from lack of health insurance? How many more procedures would they get – how many more devices would they buy, if they had the insurance?”
Goodfriend didn’t cite the source of that figure, but The American Spectator shed some light on the possible source. In the Sept. 2008 American Spectator, David Hogberg explained the origin of claims that 18,000 people die each year because they are uninsured and why some could improperly extrapolate even larger figures (up to 47,000 people).
CNBC's Joe Kernen on Friday took New York Times columnist David Brooks to task for statements made in his recent column.
As my colleague P.J. Gladnick previously reported, Brooks accused conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity of hurting the Republican Party:
The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.
Hours after Brooks's piece was published, Kernen went off on the Times columnist (video embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
Former Clinton Labor Secretary and current Obama economic advisor Robert Reich was laughed at Friday for claiming "the stimulus package is the thing that is actually keeping the economy up, keeping people employed."
In a discussion on CNBC about the larger than expected September job losses reported Friday by the Labor Department, Reich was explaining to hosts Melissa Francis and Lawrence Kudlow how things would be much worse if not for the stimulus package.
He also implied that things won't get better until healthcare is reformed.
In the middle of this absolutely absurd statement, Francis and Kudlow appeared to look at each other with the former breaking out into laughter and the latter doing his best to hold it back (video embedded below the fold):
Karl Rove, David Axelrod - look out. CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has the political climate figured out.
Since inauguration, President Barack Obama has seen his approval ratings fall by almost every poll and that's historically a normal reaction as the newness wears off a new president.
During his Sept. 30 "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs," Cramer pointed out that although the prospects of Obama's ideal health care reform package passing are doubtful, health insurance providers are facing fallout from a publicity campaign meant by the administration to push through health insurance reform. That gives the administration a new villain.
The perils of punditry: On Monday, CNBC chief Washington correspondent and New York Times political writer John Harwood predicted that the Massachusetts legislature would not pass a law enabling Democratic Governor Deval Patrick to pick a temporary successor to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. “I don’t think so. Doesn’t look like it,” Harwood announced on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
The very next day, the Massachusetts Senate passed the bill that would partially reverse the law Democrats passed in 2004 to prevent a Republican governor from naming a Senate replacement if Senator John Kerry had been elected president. The bill reached Governor Patrick yesterday, and today, Patrick announced the selection of former Democratic National Chairman Paul Kirk to become Senator until the state’s voters pick a permanent replacement in January.
"President Obama reeling back the Bush administration's plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, instead opting for a new system he says is better equipped to fend off an Iranian threat," "Fast Money" host Melissa Lee said on her Sept. 17 show.
By now, most NewsBusters readers have seen the Drudge Report item alleging that President Obama called rapper Kanye West (he of the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" fame) a "jackass." This report originated with Terry Moran's rogue tweet to that effect, which later caused ABC to apologize to the White House for relaying off-the-record information to the public at large.
Gossip Web site TMZ.com, however, has no such qualms about relaying off-the-record statements made by celebrities -- even, or especially, when the celebrity in question is the President of the United States.
Not everyone at the NBC Universal umbrella of networks got the gag order memo about the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C.
Rick Santelli, who has been a target of the Obama White House and is credited with being the inspiration for the 2009 tea party movement, spoke out about how the media ignored the march. But, a year after the fall of Lehman Brothers, he was making the larger point that the government's intervention to thwart a financial crisis had been an ineffectual and potentially dangerous maneuver at the expense of taxpayers.
"I think this one-year anniversary is great, but I think it's great for another reason," Santelli said on CNBC's Sept. 14 "Squawk Box." "I think someday we'll learn that we didn't need to do very much, that time heals all wounds and you don't have to go broke in the process."
About a year ago, then-Senator and Democratic nominee Barack Obama managed to seize control of the issue of taxes from the Republican Party by promising lower taxes for "95 percent of Americans."
But today it's a drastically different situation. Obama's $787-billion stimulus has been passed into law and the administration is taking on higher deficits, which will only increase if a Democrat health care reform bill passes. It looks as though the president's hand will be forced and he will have to raise taxes. That's begs question - where were the media on this a year ago?
CNBC's Erin Burnett asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a CNBC made-for-television town hall on Sept. 10 if taxes would be raised. Geithner dodged the question, but Burnett interpreted the dodge to mean yes, as she explained on NBC's Sept. 13 "Meet the Press."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has climbed nearly 45 percent since hitting a March 9 low. The S&P 500 (S&P) is up nearly 53 percent. And the NASDAQ (NASDAQ) has soared a whopping 61 percent since the March bottom.
But that rally has some analysts shaking their heads. Art Cashin, a CNBC regular who also makes frequent appearances on CBS and NBC news programs to offer insight on the financial markets, was skeptical. He told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Sept. 11 he got some of his money out of the market and got burnt, but is still scratching his head over the rally.
"Away from that, I'm still somewhat skeptical about this," Cashin said. "I've been wrong, got out too early, certainly. I took some money off the table as I told you, about a week and a half, two weeks ago. Didn't take it all off, um, may take some more off if they keep going."
While none of the other cable networks experienced any technical delays leading into Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., CNBC - the business arm of NBC Universal's cable empire didn't quite get there on time.
Boustany was cheated out of a little over a minute and a half giving his response on CNBC. However, its sister network - MSNBC, and the major cable networks caught up with the Republican response to President Barack Obama's Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress.
Instead, viewers were treated to "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow and CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood, reflecting on the president's speech. It is worth noting that Harwood earlier this week called parents that were opponents of the president's Sept. 8 school address weren't "smart enough" to raise their kids.
Since hitting their lows back in March, financial markets have rallied in the wake of last year's financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is up 43 percent since March 9. But can it last?
It could be all given up with this rate of government spending according to CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. Cramer, responding to a viewer e-mail on his Sept.8 program, explained what a higher national debt would mean to the average citizen and investors in the near and long term. He said expect the market to go down and higher taxes eventually.
"I know that this is going to mean our taxes are going to go way up," Cramer said. "I have to tell you this eventually means this market will come down. It is in when what I call the out years, not to worry about it yet."
It's been nearly seven months since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli took a stand against the Obama administration, which inspired the tea party movement - and the White House hasn't forgotten.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood why the administration decided to go after Santelli after his Feb. 19 call for a metaphorical revolt over President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"Truthfully, one primary reason," Gibbs said in comments aired on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Squawk on the Street." "And that was - I thought the argument that he was making was both disingenuous and not based on the facts. It was clear that Rick was very passionate about the issue. And look, we have differing opinions from both sides of the political aisle. It was clear to me that the argument that he was making wasn't based on him having actually read our plan."
Once again, one of the masters of the universe trotted out on MSNBC has discovered the cure to one of society's ills - more Obama.
Daily Voice editor and CNBC contributor Keith Boykin waved off the reservations of some parents about President Barack Obama addressing their children in the classroom. Boykin appeared on MSNBC on Sept. 3 in a segment about the classroom controversy and added his insightful commentary on the matter.
"So much of the debate about President Obama has been politicized in an effort by some to delegitimize his presidency," Boykin said. "This is clearly much ado about nothing. We're talking about the President of the United States speaking to school kids. Why wouldn't schools want this to happen? That's why our kids are so dumb today, because they don't want to have basic common sense in the classroom."
Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary "Sicko"?
That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it's not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC's Aug. 31 "Street Signs" to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were "too partisan."
"Street Signs' host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi - those decisions are made on a local level.
Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and the brain trust at ThinkProgress probably won't like this, but CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer thinks the Glenn Beck boycott won't have an impact on NewsCorp's (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent company of Fox News, bottom line.
During the "Stop Trading" segment on "Street Signs" Aug. 24, Cramer explained that Unilever (NYSE:UN) was going all out with its advertising, by not avoiding shows that might offend someone's political sensibilities. Cramer said that strategy was paying off for Unilever, whose stock is up 10 percent since July.
"When I look at it, it's very interesting because there's an article in the same magazine, Ad Age magazine, about how like Unilever is spending like mad, and that they're going to be, Unilever had a spectacular quarter," Cramer said. "My take is that whoever is just trying to parcel and figure out where to be in the Fox News or where to be in the MSNBC, ought to take their cue from Unilever, which had the best quarter of all packaged goods because they flooded all media and it showed that those who pulled back, whether it be from Glenn Beck, or whether it be from Olbermann, didn't do as well as Unilever, which was all in during this period where the rates went down."
As the likelihood of President Barack Obama's style of health care/health insurance reform has looked more and more uncertain, health care sector stocks have rallied, nearly 10 percent over the last month.
But now as Obama is showing some signs of managing his message and could be trying to make a comeback, even as polls show the odds aren't his favor, CNBC market analyst Steve Grasso is cautioning viewers to be wary of health care stocks for the time being.
"You know, one of my picks has been health care," Grasso said. "I'm a little shaky on it the longer this process goes on, I think the more we have to look at it. I mean, I caught a glimpse of President Obama speaking today. If they're clapping, that was a hand-picked audience. I have yet to find anyone who likes the plan. So I think health care is on waivers for me at this point."
It's no longer just enough to educate people about making healthy decision. You now have to influence them psychologically to effect true change according to CNBC's Jim Cramer.
Cramer, during his "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs" on Aug. 10, suggested eating so-called unhealthy food be demonized, similar to how the tobacco industry has been - through a publicity campaign that even appeared in movie theaters.
"I think that what people in the tobacco business would tell you that what really cut back tobacco was when people who watch commercials saw that they were being demonized and it became a really un-cool thing, I know they still do it in movie theaters and movies, a lot of that is paid, but that's what Phillip Morris always said really was the downfall of tobacco."
In an interview with CNBC Asia from the World Capital Market Symposium on the Aug. 10 broadcast of "Squawk Malaysia" Krugman said the stimulus that passed earlier this year was inadequate.
"We should be doing something to give the world, well give each of the major economies more of a jolt," Krugman said. "I mean, we've had these stimulus packages, but they were all inadequate. The United States, it was clear from day one that this wasn't going to be big enough."
Times have been tough financially for media companies across the board and satellite radio has been no exception.
On Aug. 6, Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) posted a second-quarter loss and the company hasn't lived up to expectations after Sirius and XM completed a merger a little over a year ago. According to "CNBC Reports" host Dennis Kneale, part of the satellite radio's problem is shock jock Howard Stern's compensation and the company's debt.
"I feel so, bad - there's, being run by one of what I think is the best executives in media, Mel Karmazin, a great salesman," Kneale said on CNBC's Aug. 6 "Power Lunch." "But in the end, does it turn out they just overpaid for Howard Stern and they have too much debt? I wonder if John Malone bailed them out temporarily hoping that they kind of go belly-up so they can get a hold of those assets really cheap."