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.]
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.”
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 ]
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).
On Monday, one of the only sane voices in the mainstream media stood up and said, "If it wasn't for the Tea Party, they would have passed the debt ceiling thumbs up, we would have been rated BBB" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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):
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!"
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.”
Whenever President Barack Obama defends what his presidency to date, specifically on economic issues, he'll speak of inheriting a bad economy from the previous administration, and then assures listeners of his intention to make the economy his top priority.
So why hasn't he done it? Why have there been other distractions like cap-and-trade, ObamaCare, bailouts, etc. and not a push for a real so-called infrastructure stimulus, like the president proposed publicly earlier this week. On CNBC's Sept. 10 "Squawk Box," host Joe Kernen asked NBC "Meet the Press" moderator why the support from the president's own party isn't enthusiastic about Obama's new stimulus proposal.
"I am trying to figure out, where is the Democratic leadership?" Kernen said. "Were you not surprised that after the speech and after the proposals, I don't know of a single person in a leadership position that said, ‘Yes Mr. President, that's a great idea.' All I saw was [Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael] Bennet using the s-word, which he isn't supposed to use and isn't that surreal? I mean it's like - the president almost seems like he's lonely at this point with some of this stuff?"
To many, it's hardly a revelation to most, but when someone keeps taking the same action over and over again, even to his detriment, it can reveal a lot about that individual's belief system.
This was an observation CNBC "Squawk Box" host Joe Kernen made about the Obama administration's willingness to embrace a populist "soak the rich" tactic against the wealthy in the United States, even though it isn't winning him favor with the American people, according to opinion polling. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows more people now think President Barack Obama's policies have hurt the economy than have helped. And Kernen called the unwillingness to change course evidence of the president's ideology - proof he does believe in the redistribution of wealth.
"When push comes to shove, the left wins out with this guy," Kernen said on the Sept. 8 broadcast of "Squawk Box." "Axelrod calls the shots when push comes to shove. And this will make the case for a populist argument that these rich people - soak the rich - they do not need this and we're going to cut for the middle class and we're going to pay for it by soaking the rich. And it's right down - but it also - he said it all along, but to his critics, those critics, it's more evidence of a redistribution that when it all comes down to it, the overriding mandate of this administration - it's a redistribution of wealth."
Wow, just wow. Never would have seen this one coming, but is one of the standard-bearers of the media elite recognizing the Obama administration's anti-business populist tone is inhibiting the U.S. economy?
"It is, certainly beyond Washington," Gregory explained. "You all know it talking to business leaders every day and I do speak to business leaders quite often as well and I hear it time and time again that what you got at the administration are two problems. One, you've got nobody in the inner sanctum of the President's advisers who has ever run a business - who have never run a business. And that's a real problem. I think there's a level of recognition about that being a problem in the West Wing as well. But the rhetoric and the policy substantively, a lot of people feel, is anti-business and getting to a point where it could really discourage businesses in the United States and certainly the multinationals working here as well. That's a problem and I think that element of criticism from Joe Barton, while off the reservation substantively, got to that larger point, which is this populist string."
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund to the rescue! The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) soars and investors breathe a sign of relief. But where's this $1 trillion in bailout funds for Greece coming from?
"On one thing, Rick - because you started the whole thing where you said, ‘Are you listening, President Obama?' about paying for your neighbor's mortgage," Kernen said. "Are you, could you really tell the American taxpayer, you can connect the dots between them and Greece? I mean are they paying for some lavish benefits in Greece right now?"
While international attention has been focused on Greece's debt crisis and the riots that have ensued over austerity measures, the possibility of the United States finding itself in the same situation is one to be considered a legitimate possibility says CNBC CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli.
On CNBC's May 7 "Squawk Box," host Joe Kernen pointed out the fear of contagion spreading throughout the world economy has been a focus, but asked Santelli if anything could be discerned from the Greek situation that would apply to the American economy.
"Well, you remember the Christmas Carol?" Santelli said. "You know, Greece is our Ghost of the Future. It's a future that doesn't have to be -- but if we don't make some changes in the here and now, we will ultimately end up not quite like Greece but let me tell you something austerity is not a GDP enhancer and I think a lot of what's going on with the issues in Greece are a lot like upside down mortgages. They tend to keep re-defaulting. I think it's not even the medicine. Austerity in a lot of countries isn't going to help the global economy. And I think -- I don't know how realistic people are being about the possibilities that it's just going to be tougher to create GDP over the next several years."
Although to ask this question is to invite with a good degree of criticism, it is still worth asking: Is Obama administration's approach to publicly reprimanding private industry cause for concern?
On CNBC's May 4 "Squawk Box," host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera raised this point and asked Washington correspondent John Harwood if White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' recent statement BP was a little overboard.
"The spokesperson says, quote, ‘We're going to keep our boot on the throats of BP,'" Caruso-Cabrera said. "How is the Business Council going to react to that when they see President Obama?"
Harwood, who often goes easy on the Obama administration, wasn't so quick to criticize Gibbs for this. His explanation was that it was a little "hostile," but repeated Gibbs' suggestion it was just a regional saying.
A $787-billion stimulus. Liabilities of $356 billion for the TARP bailout on the federal government's balance sheet. And that's in addition to other unfunded liabilities from federal entitlements like ObamaCare, Medicare, and Social Security.
But that doesn't mean the U.S. is heading down the path toward socialism because they were one-time expenditures, according to CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman.
On CNBC's "Squawk Box" April 29, as jobless claims for the week was being released on the floor of the CME Group in Chicago, co-host Joe Kernen asked for Liesman's opinion.
That was the takeaway from an April 22 CNBC "Squawk Box" segment in which the network's Washington correspondent John Harwood explained the upside for the Obama administration in taking an aggressive tack on financial regulation and pushing it through Congress.
According to Harwood, public opinion on this issue favors President Barack Obama. He explained that Wall Street is very unpopular and that's causing some Republicans to be willing to compromise with Democrats on the issue.
"He knows that things are rolling his way on this issue," Harwood said. "You had battle lines initially drawn - both parties took to the trenches, started firing heavy ammunition. But the throw weight is with the Democratic side on this. The public wants financial regulation reform. They don't like Wall Street, just as they don't like Washington. So this is a case where Barack Obama, instead of being the target of public anger, can direct some of it somewhere else. That is what causes Republicans at the end to say, ‘OK, it's time to negotiate, get serious about a deal.' And they're going to get some concessions in that bargaining in exchange for their votes. And they will then be able to stand up and say, ‘This bill was headed to be a bailout bill. We stopped the bailout and everybody can hold hands and say they did something good for the country.'"
Is President Barack Obama really instituting "cradle-to-grave" social policies and transforming the United States into a nanny state? Well, it may not be "womb-to-tomb" yet, but he's certainly creating a welfare state for Americans beyond their mid-20s.
"I think it's more likely to be stuck," Harwood said. "Now, ultimately, the hope for Democrats, and for the president, is the actual experience with the legislation. Forget the sales job, but once elements of that kick in, especially the more popular ones, letting kids stay on their parents' insurance policies until they're 26, and preventing insurance companies from kicking people off when they hit a lifetime max - those kinds of things, they hope, will make, fuel acceptance of this legislation."
A little over a year ago, President Obama signed into law the $787-billion stimulus legislation that was supposed to prevent the unemployment rate from exceeding 8 percent. And although the unemployment has receded some from its high, it's still well North of 9 percent. So if that stimulus is given more time, will unemployment improve?
Last week's jobless claims numbers, showing a stagnant unemployment rate of 9.7 percent, didn't provide any reason for optimism. And on CNBC's April 12 "Squawk Box," host Joe Kernen asked CNBC CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli if this economic indicator is going to be stubborn number, which would confirm a failure of Obamanomics.
"Rick, I wasn't here last week when that claims number came out. But if I could really just dig deep down into your view, do you think a year from now we're still going to be talking about a stubborn unemployment rate, Rick?" Kernen asked.
With March unemployment data to be released April 2, some are anticipating what potentially lower jobless numbers will all mean for the financial markets and the economy as a whole. However, that data will come with the caveat that it will be misleading because it will include temporary jobs driven by hiring for the 2010 census.
On CNBC's March 29 "Squawk Box," CME floor reporter Rick Santelli was asked how to interpret the expected improvement. He warned it isn't the kind of job creation that is good for a sustained economic recovery.
"You know, I think it's fascinating," Santelli said. "Most experts would agree, the kind of job creation we're going to see is welcome but it isn't the kind we need in the big picture. But having said that, yes, I think that the markets will act in a way that will show a robustness if the number comes in a couple of hundred thousand and I think it's kind of silly."
On CNBC's March 15 "Squawk Box," co-host Joe Kernen raised this point - the Journal with its more pro-Wall Street point of view and the Times with a liberal pro-Democratic Party one.
"You - I like the way you highlighted the Journal's take, ‘Ohh, this thing is ahh, much worse,' but The New York Times - ‘consensus-building,'" Kernen said. "But The New York Times is talking about consensus-building within the Democratic Party, I think, right? I mean, normally that's who they're speaking to, isn't it?"
Toyota is facing harsh scrutiny from the media and lawmakers - perhaps with justification. But there could be consequences for the U.S. economy.
And as Toyota (NYSE:TM) executives have endured two days of congressional hearings on the issues surrounding their potentially widespread defective products, the most aggressive questioners have been lawmakers from Michigan, home of the Big 3 automakers. A fact that led CNBC "Squawk Box" co-host Becky Quick to question if the federal government, with a huge stake in General Motors and Chrysler, are being a little unfair with Toyota on her Feb. 24 broadcast.
"We've heard from some congressmen, especially those later on in the show about the people and Congress people who are questioning Toyota at this point saying, they are doing this because the government has this big stake in GM?" Quick said. "To me, that seems a little crazy."
Dick Armey on Wednesday took a shot at MSNBC calling the cable television network a soft news source that panders to the Left.
The former House Majority leader was a guest host on this morning's "Squawk Box," and during an interview with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) about a number of issues before Congress including healthcare reform, Armey took the opportunity to make a media bias comment.
Speaking about the Democrats, Armey said, "They need to understand they live in an Internet world now, and people are getting their information from some place other than MSNBC or other soft news sources that are pandering to the Left" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 7:15, h/t to Story Balloon for video find):
It's curious to see people in the mainstream media try to make sense of the Tea Party movement. The New York Times, which once called the Tea Parties a psychological phenomenon rather than a political movement, has now changed its tune.
In the wake of the stunning upset by Scott Brown in the Jan. 19 Massachusetts special election to fill the seat vacated by Ted Kennedy's death, the Times is attempting a more analytical look at the so-called "tea party tiger." Specifically, the Times looked at some key figures in the movement, Sen. Jim DeMint, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Fox News host Glenn Beck and CNBC CME group reporter Rick Santelli.
CNBC ‘Squawk Box' co-host Joe Kernen told Santelli about the Times story on Jan. 25.
But Ted Turner, founder of the first truly 24-hour cable news channel, doesn't see anything wrong with the channel's heading. CNBC's Joe Kernen asked Turner if he had any problems with CNN's direction during a "Squawk Box" appearance Jan. 14.
"I know you love CNN," Kernen said. "It's your baby. I know you're not involved in running it anymore, but when you look at the way Fox News in 10 years has sort of risen above CNN in terms of ratings and profitability and other metrics, would you advise - should CNN stay the course with their idea it's just straight news, or do they need to change with the times and become more opinion-based."