June 12, 2008

AP Reporter Covers for the Runaway Spenders in Congress

Note: This entry was originally posted shortly after midnight, but has been carried forward for greater visibility.

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In his report on Uncle Sam’s Monthly Treasury Statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger incorrectly informed readers that the stimulus checks sent out by the government represented the major reason why May’s monthly deficit ballooned from a year ago.

The AP reporter also continued with the wire service’s seemingly never-ending recession obsession.

Here’s the headline, and how Crutsinger began his report:

Stimulus payments result in record May deficit

A flood of economic aid payments pushed the federal budget deficit to $165.9 billion, the highest imbalance ever for May.

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the May deficit was more than double what it was in May 2007. Some $48 billion in payments went out as part of the $168 billion economic relief effort to revive the economy and keep the country from a deep recession.

For the first eight months of the budget year, the deficit totaled $319.4 billion. That is slightly below the record for this period, $346 billion, set in the 2004 budget year.

By the way, when did the stimulus payments turn into “economic aid”?

This is how the numbers really came in for the month of May, along with year-to-date totals through May 2008 and 2007:

UncleSamMTSthru0508

You can see from the table the real reasons why May 2008′s deficit came in higher than May 2007. They are:

UncleSamMTSthru0508

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July 16 Note: Due to the discovery of a Treasury Department weekly release on stimulus payments issued (example here), I have determined that May’s and year-to-date stimulus payments were each understated by $429 million, which are relatively minor amounts in context. I had previously been adding totals from Daily Treasury Statements, and cannot explain why there is a difference. This changes the May 2008 receipts increase over May 2007 to 4.9% instead of 4.6%, and the text below has been changed to reflect that. It does not change the 2008 vs. 2007 year-to date receipts increase of 3.3%. The first and third percentages in the “reasons” table above have changed to 48.8% and -8.1%, respectively. The percentage related to the spending component, which remains the largest contributor to the year-over-year increase in the deficit, did not change. Besides the percentage change noted earlier, none of what follows at the original post, which resumes after this insertion, needed to be changed as a result of these adjustments.

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The AP headline gives readers the impression that the stimulus/”economic aid” payments were the sole reason for the increased deficit. That’s simply not true. Higher spending was clearly the bigger culprit.

Crutsinger wasn’t done committing factual errors:

Through the first eight months of the budget year that began Oct. 1, receipts have totaled $1.67 trillion, 0.3 percent more than for the same period a year ago.

Outlays, however, are up 9.7 percent to $1.99 trillion. Factors include the economic aid and the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If one considers the stimulus payments to be “tax refunds,” as the government does, Crutsinger got it right on receipts.

I would argue that the stimulus payments should really be treated as a form of spending, as there is no correlation between what individuals and families paid in income taxes and the stimulus payments/”economic aid” they have received or will receive. If I recall correctly, even those who paid no income taxes have received or will receive payments, while many relatively well-off taxpayers who paid in a great deal will receive nothing.

But Crutsinger’s paragraph about outlays is flat-out wrong. The chart above clearly shows that there are no stimulus payments/”economic aid” in the $1.99 trillion in year-to-date outlays. That number is pure, unadulterated, spending.

Crutsinger never even specifically noted the $290.2 billion in May spending, nor did he mention that it is an alltime record for a single month, eclipsing the previous record of $283.5 billion set in July 2007. He did explain that “Because June 1 fell on a Sunday, about $20 billion in government outlays were shifted into May, making the deficit for that month larger.” But that hardly excuses away the record level of spending. Even if you take out the $20 billion, May’s spending is still a ridiculous 16.5% higher than May 2007. Given some of the spending increases in other areas, Crutsinger’s swipe at the Iraq and Afghanistan wars comes off as gratuitous, especially when you realize that the Monthly Treasury Statement’s top-level year-over-year comparisons don’t break out the wars’ costs from other military spending.

As you can see from the first chart above, May’s regular tax receipts were 4.9% higher than a year ago. While those receipts continue to come in decently — indicating, as noted last month, that the economy may not be as weak as advertised by the AP and the rest of Old Media — the Pelosi-Reid Congress, with too much acquiescence from the White House, is irresponsibly letting spending run away. That, and not the stimulus payments, is the real story, and Martin Crutsinger did not report it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Couldn’t Help But Comment (061208, Morning)

Filed under: Business Moves,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:31 am

Home Depot ruiner, then plunderer, Bob Nardelli, currently running ruining Chrysler, now says that he sees the company staying independent.

Translation: After less than a year at the helm, Nardelli may have ruined Chrysler to the point where nobody with a brain wants it — even though it was supposedly clear as little as 90 days ago (see final paragraphs at post) that the whole idea was to “get Chrysler in shape for another buyer.

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Three weeks ago, the presidential candidate I refer to as JS3M3 (John Sidney the Mad Maverick McCain III) released medical records that were probably longer than War and Peace.

The presidential candidate I refer to as “Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH” (Barack O-bomba Overseas HusseinObambiObama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters) released summary-level information a couple of weeks ago, and this guy at MyDD was, justifiably, very skeptical:

….. as a practicing physician for almost 30 years two things in his medical history seemed patently improbable. First, there are virtually no 47 year old men with blood pressures of 90/60. Most men with that kind of B.P. would be in the throes of acute blood loss! I would say that kind of B.P. would be more likely in an 8 year old. Second, Obama may be the only smoker in America with a resting heart rate of 60! He is in fact a walking advertisement for taking up smoking.

Obama has admitted taking cocaine when he was younger. It’s not unreasonable to believe it might have affected his health. Why no detail, and where’s the watchdog (cough, cough) press?

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NixGuy comments on Matt’s post at Weapons of Mass Discussion of a one-minute speech by OH-02 Congresswoman Jean Schmidt advocating drilling for more oil.

Schmidt’s opponent, renowned Malariotherapy Adventurer Victoria Wells Wulsin Whatever, wants alternative-fuel solutions that don’t sufficiently exist to suddenly ride in on a magic carpet.

Yeah, and I want a pony.

Renowned Malariotherapy Adventurer Wulsin Whatever, and those who agree with her that said solutions can arrive quickly, should put up or shut up by signing a pledge agreeing that they won’t use gasoline effective 12 months from now.

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (061208, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 7:17 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • A comical headline has appeared at the UK Guardian (“Experts fear new front with al-Qaida as terror group switches focus from Iraq”). Captain Ed at Hot Air translates — “AQ All But Defeated in Iraq.”
  • Speaking of comical, here’s how the NY Times’s home page currently describes the decision by the presidential candidate I refer to as “Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH” (“Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters“) to throw another guy under the bus — “The resignation of James A. Johnson highlights the challenge Barack Obama faces in living up to his goal of not surrounding himself with people with ties to special interests.” Gee, do you think they’d be so understannnnnnding if John McCain had a similar problem?
  • Speaking of Obama, he won’t release his birth certificate, leading to lots of speculation. Don’t you have to provide a birth cert copy as part of getting security clearance as a US senator?
  • Again speaking of Obama, expect little to no further press coverage of Oklahoma Democratic Rep. Dan Boren’s announcement that he will not endorse the Illinois senator.
  • Quick quote of the day, from the normally even-tempered Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, in reaction to continued, long-ago refuted mischaracterizations of McCain’s Iraq statements by Team Obama Bobbleheads — “A new kind of politics? Yep. One even more shamelessly dishonest than the old.” Do any of these clowns know that McCain has a son serving in Iraq, and another who could be doing so shortly?

Positivity: Stephanie stunned by escape miracle

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From New Zealand:

4.06.2008

Teenage crash survivor Stephanie Wild is stunned, along with family and rescuers, at her miraculous escape from a burning car wreck a week ago.

“She keeps looking at the pictures and saying how did I get out of that? She can’t remember. She remembers getting into a skittle. Other than that she can’t remember anything,” her mum Lesley Turner said yesterday.

The “miracle” rescue of Stephanie, 16, came after her car collided with another vehicle on Mangahao Road in Pahiatua about 8pm last Monday, her stepfather Richard Turner said.

Stephanie, who was rescued from her car moments after the flaming wreck was doused, was transferred on Thursday from intensive care to a general ward in Palmerston North Hospital.

Doctors had yesterday hoped to get her walking, her mother said, despite a fractured pelvis and vertebrae, lacerated spleen, bruised lung, abdominal injuries and burns to her hands and arms.
But Mrs Turner, who has maintained a daily vigil at her daughter’s bedside, was unsure how well her daughter would walk with a fractured back.

Her mum puts the quick rescue down to the fact that two of her daughter’s friends were walking alongside the road just moments after the crash and the Pahiatua Volunteer Fire Brigade had been in a meeting together at the time and were able to respond quickly.

Mrs Turner wants to extend a “big thank you” to everybody who has helped since the crash — all the people that were involved fire brigade, the ambulance, all the locals here that were involved, a couple of young friends that found her.

“If they weren’t & where they were, we probably wouldn’t have her here. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.