7/31/10 2:06 PM
The case against unions: They kill jobs: http://bit.ly/bOXw35 #unions #jobs #unemployed #obama
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Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Dem leaders, donors to hold Rangel birthday bash at The Plaza — Democratic leaders and major party donors plan to hold a lavish 80th birthday gala for Charles Rangel at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan next month, despite 13 ethics charges pending against the veteran lawmaker.
I don't think they'd be willing to look you in the eye and say that you were a bad investment. They might just come around if they were standing here and admit that by standing by a great American industry, and the good people who work for it, that we did the right thing. It's hard for them to say that. They don't like admitting when I do the right thing.Consumers didn't like GM and Chrysler cars but Barack Obama thinks the unfit deserves to survive by government ownership. What GM couldn't achieve in car sales they got with there the ability to plunder the taxpayers. How many more companies in the S&P 500 does Obama want the government to own? John Dingell's wife might be the most important political whore in American history.
-By Warner Todd Huston
One of my early blogging assignments was the media bias beat over at Newsbusters, so I became particularly attuned to picking up on how the Old Media toes that "unbiased" journalistic line. Unfortunately, in sometimes subtle ways their rhetoric is geared to smear Republicans in any way possible.
Here is a perfect example. Last week in a Chicago-based report on Illinois Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady, NBC Chicago's Edward McClelland described suburban tea party events as "right-wing bloodfeasts."
Catch this unbiased reporting:
Brady attended a Tea Party in Oglesby on Tuesday night. Like most of the right-wing bloodfeasts he holds south of I-80, it wasn't reported on in the Chicago media.
"Right-wing bloodfeasts"? Yeah, not too biased there, eh? And what was with the "he holds," line anyway. Bill Brady was just attending the tea party event, not "holding" it. He had precisely nothing to do with the planning or organization of the event. Yet here is this media hack trying to make it seem as if the candidate is the main guy behind all the suburban "bloodfeasts." Here is this maven of the Old Media implying that Brady is the guy organizing tea parties obviously attempting to smear the candidate with the tea parties in the minds of his readers.
Entirely dishonest writing.
Additionally, one wonders if old Eddie McClelland of Chicago's NBC ever called an anti-war protest a "left-wing screamfeast," or an anti-WTO rally a "left-wing commiefeast"?
One would doubt the possibility, of course.
This is the sort of underhanded rhetoric the Old Media uses in every market across the country as well as the national scene to come to the support of Democrats and to try to undermine the political right.
"Over the past couple years, millions of Americans have reneged on their debts — because they lost their jobs, because they took on more than they could handle, or both. For many, those defaults have brought immediate financial relief, leaving more cash to spend on other things. Now, though, they'll also have to face the challenge of living with bad credit.
As of April, 25% of Americans had fallen into the least-creditworthy category, garnering a rating of less than 600 from FICO, the main arbiter of consumer credit in the U.S. That compares to only 15% before the recession, according to data compiled by Deutsche Bank."
Why does this matter? Now that NINJA loans are verbotten, this pretty much means that "one in four Americans won't be able to borrow money to make a major purchase in the foreseeable future."
Before the recession, the number of people with a FICO score of less than 600 was under 15%.
Some people will lament this, but it has a silver lining. Deleveraging is certainly a good thing, and forcing consumers off of the credit treadmill may actually help these folks over the long haul. The repercussions of the credit weakening means softer growth as the broader economy moves to a more sustainable basis of spending.
Some people complain that unemployment insurance makes people lazy; I disagree — at least so long as their are 5 or 6 unemployed people for each job opening.
But I am going to posture that easy credit allowed some people borrow to maintain a lifestyle, rather than earning to maintain a lifestyle.
I wonder: Will the lack of credit spark a revival of creativity and industriousness amongst those that want to maintain their spending habits? Asked another way, could bad credit spark more economic activity?
Number of the Week: Default Repercussions
Real Time Economics, JULY 31, 2010
Yes, it would be possible, if we saw...
1. Initial jobless claims below 400k on a sustained basis. This would lead to
job growth strong enough to generate organic wage growth.
2. Improvement in housing inventories to a 5-6 months' supply backdrop. This
would help establish a floor under home prices.
3. Signs of a turnaround in the money multiplier, money velocity and the ratio
of commercial bank non-liquid assets/total assets. Any sign that the debt
deleveraging cycle has run its course.
4. A new "killer app" or some major technological breakthrough would be nice.
5. A sustained decline in oil prices that is induced by new supplies (or peace in
the Mideast?) as opposed to demand destruction would act as a de facto
6. Structural economic reforms in the world's "surplus saving" countries like
China, India and Germany that stimulate their domestic demand, and
hence bolster our exports and reduce the global reliance on the U.S. as the
consumer of last resort, would be a huge plus.
7. A peaking out in the personal savings rate (the sooner we get to 6%-8%, the
better) – get to a level consistent with pent-up demand.
8. Consumer confidence closer to 100 (typical of expansion) than the current
9. An end to the steep cutbacks at the state and local government level.
10. New and more effective political leadership globally – could the Cameron
victory in the UK be a leading indicator towards fiscal probity?
President Obama visited GM and Chrysler factories in Detroit yesterday. He spoke at both plants. Here is the text of his remarks at GM's Hamtramck plant; here is the text of his remarks at Chrysler's Jefferson North assembly plant. Henry Payne's critique of Obama's remarks at the Jefferson North assembly plant -- "a fog of contradictions and half-truths" -- applies equally to his remarks at Hamtramck.
Obama's remarks at the GM and Chrysler plants are predicated in part on the proposition that the companies would have been liquidated without the taxpayers' billions. I don't think that's true of General Motors, at least, but assets don't disappear when they are sold to the highest bidder, i.e., liquidated, in bankruptcy. And of course Obama spares his audience any cost/benefit analysis of the billions of taxpayer money sunk in those two companies.
At the Hamtramck plant, Obama took the wheel of a Chevy Volt for a few feet. He didn't look as uncomfortable as Dukakis in the tank. For a mere $41,000, you too can take the wheel of a Volt.
According to Obama, the Volt is the car of the future. That might be true if we apply the model of Obamacare to the automobile industry. I doubt it otherwise. Edward Niedermeyer's New York Times op-ed column declared the Volt an electric lemon. (The Times even supplied a sarcastic illustration depicting the theme of Niedermeyer's column. What's happening here?) Niedermeyer introduces information necessary for the kind of analysis that is warranted, but which Obama spared his audience:
Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt's Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for "retooling" its plants, and you've got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.
At the Chrysler's Jefferson North assembly plant, Obama shilled for the Chrysler Jeep Grand Cherokee. If the Volt is the car of the future, as Obama asserted at GM's Hamtramck plant, what does that make the Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Obama wasn't saying expressly, but in his remarks he did place the vehicle precisely in his past. The first new car he ever bought, he says, was a Grand Cherokee. Obama testified to the improvements wrought by Fiat in the 2011 Grand Cherokee model: "I've got to tell you when I sat in this car, this is a better car. This is a state-of-the-art car. This is a world-class car right here."
The adage that politics makes strange bedfellows must be due for an update.
Calling Dr. Kevorkian…
(Politico) — President Barack Obama has kept mum on the fate of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) for days — but he tells CBS News that it's time for the embattled 80-year-old former Ways and Means Chairman to end his career "with dignity."
"I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served– his constituents very well. But these– allegations are very troubling," Obama told Harry Smith in an interview to be aired on the "Early Show." and first broadcast on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
"And he'll– he's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that– what he wants is to be able to– end his career with dignity. And my hope is that– it happens. "
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[Guest post by DRJ]
Ten top Texas officials including Governor Rick Perry have written an open letter to the Texas Congressional delegation asking them to oppose legislation that would replace state authority to regulate oil and gas production with federal control:
"Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement regarding legislation contemplated by Congress that would effectively strip states of the right to regulate oil and gas exploration and production within their own borders:
"This week, I joined a number of state leaders in urging the Texas Congressional delegation to fight back against this latest encroachment into states' authority, which would effectively strip states of the right to regulate oil and gas exploration and production within their own borders.
"This pending legislation represents a sad continuation of Washington's ongoing efforts to seize control over every facet of American industry and life, efforts that continue to place untold numbers of Texas jobs at risk. This latest takeover attempt is as unprecedented as it is illogical, given that it essentially hands authority over all gas and oil exploration to the same people who were overseeing the process when the Deepwater Horizon exploded."
It doesn't say much for the average American voter who got swept on to the Hope and Change bandwagon and are only now realizing what the hell they voted for…
(Fox Nation)- A Fox News poll released Friday finds widespread belief among American voters that the country is on the decline as a civilization. In addition, a majority thinks the country is moving toward socialism.
A 62 percent majority of voters thinks the United States is on the decline. That's more than twice as many as the 26 percent who believe it is on the rise.
Most Republicans — 76 percent — think the country is in decline, and 64 percent of independents agree. Views among Democrats are more evenly split: 41 percent say on the rise and 43 percent say on the decline.
A majority thinks the transition from capitalism to socialism in the U.S. is already underway. By 56-34 percent, more voters think the country is currently moving away from capitalism to socialism. Far fewer voters, however, approve.
Less than one in five voters (18 percent) thinks it would be a good thing for the country to move away from capitalism and toward socialism. Among those most likely to favor this option are those with household incomes under $30,000 (28 percent), as well as those under age thirty (31 percent), and Democrats (32 percent).
About 7 in 10 voters (69 percent) think a move toward socialism would be a bad thing. Republicans (88 percent), those with household incomes of $100,000 or more (83 percent), and those ages 55 and over (70 percent) are among those most likely to think it would be a bad move. Smaller majorities of those living in lower-income households (59 percent), young people (57 percent), as well as just under half of Democrats (49 percent) agree.
Scott Wong / The Politico:
GOP seizes on immigration memo — Republicans are seizing on an internal memo they say is further evidence the Obama administration wants to bypass a gridlocked Congress and use its executive powers to grant "back-door amnesty" to thousands of illegal immigrants.
Stimulus fans like Paul Krugman say government spending will turn the U.S. economy around. Too bad the data refuse to cooperate, counters Harvard's Robert Barro.
From Thursday night's Fox-News All-Stars.
On Charlie Rangel's ethics trial versus a plea deal:
For Democrats it's lose-lose. I think it's worse if you get a trial simply because it becomes a spectacle. It's on television every day. It reminds people. If you have a deal, it's a one-day story, a two-day story. It is an issue that'll be raised [by congressional candidates] over and over again, but it's not going to be a national story every day.
We haven't had a trial since James Traficant ... And I hate to see Rangel in that category. I think what's really interesting here is that through his lawyers he seemed to be ready to concede or compromise on what you might call the venial sins, the ones that come when you become a chairman -- powerful, you get used to the kingly accoutrements of the office and [he might admit that] he stepped over the line on perks.
But he seems really resistant to admitting to the misuse of office. There's this one charge that in order to solicit a million dollars for the Rangel Center at the City University in New York, he, at least in the charge, was considering giving a tax break to the individual and the company.
Now that's corruption. And that's what I think he's holding out on because I don't think he ever wants to admit that. That would be a stain on a heroic life and career, and I think he will hold out on that and fight.
On President Obama's appearance on "The View" in order to reach out to female voters:
The reason I think this will not move any needle is because when you're a challenger, you are a newcomer, charm works, and you can get elected on charm. Once you have been in office and you want to be reelected, that is a referendum on governance, not on charm.
Everyone knows he is charming. But the issue is, can he run a government? And on that, there is a lot of skepticism.
On the revelation that the woman who stood next to Obama during his Rose Garden statement calling for extending unemployment benefits is unemployed after pleading guilty to felony prescription drug fraud, and had another charge of felony grand larceny in 2007:
When you have ten million unemployed and you can't find three that are clean, you have a competence issue.
Can this gang shoot straight? That event happened, the press conference happened on the day of the Sherrod firing.
And this is a group that wants to run national health care, run cap-and-trade, and is dispensing $1 trillion of stimulus money as we speak.
By Alan Reynolds
From January 2009 to the present, President Obama and his team have repeatedly made grandiose claims about the economic benefits of shoveling money at shovel-ready projects or green jobs. "It is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second Depression is no longer a possibility," said the President. He also claimed that lavish spending alone (not Federal Reserve actions or bank bailouts) is what prevented the unemployment rate from "getting up to . . . 15%."
If any of that were remotely close to being true then, as a matter of simple accounting, rising federal spending would have shown up as a huge offset to falling GDP in 2009, and also as a major component of the modest increase in GDP growth in early 2010. On the contrary, the Table below shows that the increase in federal nondefense spending contributed only two-tenths of one percent (0.2) to the change in GDP in 2009. That was no better than 2008 when the Recovery Act did not exist. If nondefense spending had not increased at all in 2009 (unlike 2008) then GDP would have fallen 2.8% rather than 2.6% — scarcely the difference between a recession and a "second Depression." If nondefense federal spending had not increased at all in 2010, the economy still would have grown at a 3.6% pace in the first quarter, 2.1% in the second. Cutbacks in state and local spending were a trivial damper on GDP growth last year, contrary to recent speculation, and real state and local spending rose significantly in this year's second quarter (unlike the first).
This is just an exercise in crude Keynesian accounting, not economics. Yet it nonetheless makes the stimulus bill look like a huge waste of money. The reason Keynesian accounting is no substitute for economics is that governments can only spend other peoples' money. To claim that such spending is a net addition to "aggregate demand" is to ignore those other people — namely, current and future taxpayers.
Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas put it this way: "If the government builds a bridge . . . by taking tax money away from somebody else, and using that to pay the bridge builder — the guys who work on the bridge — then it's just a wash. It has no first-starter effect. There's no reason to expect any stimulation. And, in some sense, there's nothing to apply a multiplier to. You apply a multiplier to the bridge builders, then you've got to apply the same multiplier with a minus sign to the people you taxed to build the bridge. And then taxing them later isn't going to help, we know that."
Ousted USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says she will sue conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, the Associated Press reports.
Sherrod made the announcement Thursday in San Diego at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention.
Breitbart posted a heavily edited video of Sherrod on his website, BigGovernment.com, speaking to an NAACP group and appearing to admit that she had deliberately refrained from giving full assistance to a farmer because he was white.
She is referred to on the site as a "racist govt employee."
The political fallout from the posting prompted the Agriculture Department to force Sherrod to resign. . . .
In the clip, Sherrod admits to an act of reverse racism. Her damages will be de minimis, as she was immediately offered a better job by her employer at USDA. She has had more than ample opportunity to appear on the press to rebut charges of racism. So it would seem that the goal of this litigation is simply to try and punish Breitbart. It also means that her entire life will become open season during discovery.
I don't know much about Shirley Sherrod beyond the events of the past week. That said, during the past week, her reaction since the firing has been incendiary. She has, on several occasions this week, thrown around her own accusations of racism, including an allegation that Breitbart wants to bring back slavery. She has raised charges of racism at the USDA not to mention Fox News. I suspect we will find Ms. Sherrod has a history of race baiting.
There should be many "teachable moments" indeed. Pass the popcorn.