November 6, 2010

AP’s Liz ‘Sore Loser’ Sidoti: GOP Counted on ‘Lagging Recovery’ For Comeback from 2008 Debacle

Liz_sidotiDarn. If only the midterm elections had been held after Friday’s Employment Situation Report instead of before, the results might have been very different.

Apparently that’s what the Associated Press’s Liz Sidoti (pictured at right) wants us to believe, as she ended her borderline bitter take on the origins of Congressional Republicans’ successful electoral comeback and takeover of the House of Representatives four days ago with this sentence:

Ten months later (after Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate race victory in Massachusetts — Ed.), victorious Republicans met to plan their transition to power in the House – just as it was announced that the economy created 151,000 jobs.

As if one good jobs-added number — even with the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6% — proves that the economic recovery is finally in high gear. Zheesh.

Along the way, Sidoti sought to create the impression that Republicans might have been rooting for the poor to non-existent economic recovery that has occurred — as opposed to knowing that the history of large-scale stimulus-based recovery efforts has been one of failure, despite the AP reporter’s lipstick-on-a-pig attempt in the last two of the excerpted paragraphs that follow:

GOP comeback strategy factored in lagging recovery

All but wiped out in 2008, Republicans groping for a comeback strategy determined there would be no swift return to economic health under incoming President Barack Obama.

They soon also agreed privately to oppose his major legislation.

Over the next two years, they criticized, attacked, voted against and then attacked some more as Democrats struggled to pass an economic stimulus measure, health care legislation and a bill to rein in Wall Street. Unemployment, 7.4 percent when Obama took office, soared to 10.1 percent, then barely budged for months.

On Election Day, those calculations made in Republican suites in the Capitol reaped dividends that must have seemed almost unimaginable even to the architects of their strategy: a gain of 60-plus House seats, enough to win a majority and end two years of Democratic dominance in Congress, as well as six new seats in the Senate.

… Many economists agree the economic stimulus, with its combination of tax cuts, aid to states and federal spending on construction and other areas, did create jobs. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress in July that “we should maintain our stimulus in the short term” to strengthen the recovery and help reduce unemployment.

It was not a point Republicans chose to acknowledge.

This is funny. After almost two years of enduring the hogwash over jobs “created and saved” — a phrase that was never used by Democrats and stimulus fans until after Barack Obama was safely elected (noted in December 2008 at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) — Sidoti’s “many economists” (i.e., “economists whose opinion I like”) insist that the stimulus created (some) jobs. By how many, Liz, and of what duration?

Reporter Ryan Kost at Sidoti’s own news organization sharply jabbed at the Obama administration’s stimulus-related jobs-created claim in July:

At the federal level, President Barack Obama has said the federal stimulus has created 150,000 jobs, a number based on a misused formula and which is so murky it can’t be verified.

The “misused formula” is known as “Okun’s Law.” It says that “for every percentage point that the unemployment rate falls, real GNP (GNP is now called “GDP” — Ed.) rises by 3 percent.” The trouble is that the late economist “cautioned that the law was good only within the range of unemployment rates—3 to 7.5 percent—experienced in that time period.” The unemployment rate was already about 8.2% in February 2009 when the president signed the stimulus bill.

In any event, 150,000 jobs is only about 2% of the 8 million jobs lost since the end of 2007. Republicans “chose not to acknowledge” the supposed good effects of the stimulus because they were at best insubstantial and at worst totally made up.

Sidoti leans one more time on economists she likes later in her piece:

Republicans correctly foresaw that unemployment would rise, and that if the economy remained weak, Obama and Democrats would get little or no credit from the voters for having stopped a near collapse. The GOP would not have fared so well if voters had agreed with leading economists who said things would have been much worse without those actions, or if Obama’s economic fixes had hastened the recovery.

Peter Raymond, in a marvelous piece at American Thinker, has an appropriate response to this claptrap:

… these same charlatans credit the recent multi-trillion-dollar spending orgy with preventing a depression even though they cannot produce a shred of evidence that it yielded any sustainable economic growth or created a single long-term job.

Sidoti does her best to portray GOP opposition to the president’s initiatives as a Hail Mary pass flying in the face of proven conventional wisdom about how to fix and economy instead of as a reasonable strategy based on that conventional wisdom’s utterly predictable failure. Nice try, Liz. Epic fail.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Collective Lunacy’) Is Up

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:34 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Monday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

__________________________________________________

Related: The column recounts Keynesianism’s three biggest failures (1930s USA, 1990s Japan, 2009-2010 USA).

Ben Bernanke’s latest round of “quantitative easing” is already not impressing economists, including one quoted in Bloomberg:

Unemployment Likely to Stay High Despite Fed, DeQuadros Says

The Federal Reserve’s plan to purchase $600 billion in Treasury securities through June is unlikely to bring down the unemployment rate, said Conrad DeQuadros, a senior economist at RDQ Economics LLC in New York.

“I think we probably still have an unemployment rate above 9 percent next summer,” DeQuadros said in an interview today on “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene.

The Fed announced the purchases yesterday in Washington in a bid to “promote a stronger pace of economic recovery,” according to the Fed’s statement. The central bank will purchase Treasuries with an average duration of five to six years at a pace of about $75 billion per month. The purchases of additional bonds could boost the economy by lowering borrowing costs and boosting asset prices.

“I just don’t think that it’s interest rates that are holding back the recovery so I’m not sure what the Fed purchasing a significant amount of Treasuries really does to help the economy,” DeQuadros said.

Yet they keep on doing what won’t work, and pointedly criticize and ridicule what historically has.

Yeah, it’s collective lunacy.

_________________________________________________

UPDATE: Peter Raymond at American Thinker (bolds are mine) —

The Keynesians finally got their wish. The Federal Reserve plans to inject $600 billion of the most caustic debt imaginable into the economy. This is the Agent Orange of monetary policies that has the potential to wreak financial havoc.

In the hope of generating inflation, the central bank is going to enable deficit spending by buying treasury bonds. You read that correctly: the primary goal is to erode the value of the dollar, and we get to watch our currency and wealth literally dissolve before our eyes.

Only a desperate government would consider debasing its own currency.

… This strategy of monetary sabotage will punish savers and creditors, but Keynesians simply will not tolerate anything that impedes deficit spending. Since deflation hamstrings spending, they will stop at nothing to reverse deflationary pressures.

… It is astonishing to watch the self-proclaimed experts preach the falsehood that the fascist polices of the FDR administration that was enamored with the “triumphs” of Stalin and Mussolini successfully ended the Great Depression. Quite to the contrary, they were a colossal failure that resulted in years of unnecessary misery.

And these same charlatans credit the recent multi-trillion-dollar spending orgy with preventing a depression even though they cannot produce a shred of evidence that it yielded any sustainable economic growth or created a single long-term job.

In actuality, the only thing the abhorrent spending accomplished is an historic theft of wealth from future generations, who will bear the awful burden of our malfeasance.

… Unfortunately, with the student pilot who fancies himself an airline captain currently at the controls, the prospects of avoiding a financial crisis that could dwarf FDR’s man-caused disaster of the 1930s would be a miracle at this point.

Whatever remedial action is taken, there are very scary times ahead that will test the steadfastness of even the most ardent supporters of capitalism and limited government. Panic-stricken policymakers will undoubtedly act irrationally in trying to prevent the inevitable plunge off the cliff.

As stated: Colllective lunacy.

Positivity: Catholic nuns sell Honus Wagner card for $262,000

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:23 am

From Baltimore:

Nov 5, 6:46 PM EDT

As soon as collector Doug Walton heard about a rare Honus Wagner baseball card that had been bequeathed to an order of Roman Catholic nuns, he told himself he had to have it.

So Walton put in a bid that far exceeded the amount offered by other potential buyers.

Walton, of Knoxville, Tenn., will pay $262,000 for the card, which was auctioned off this week by the Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the order’s ministries for the poor in 35 countries.

The price exceeded the expectations of auctioneers at Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, who had predicted it would fetch between $150,000 and $200,000.

Walton, 35, who owns seven sports card stores in the Southeast, said the story behind the card motivated him to make a generous offer.

“To be honest with you, we probably paid a little bit more than we should have,” he said Friday. “But with the back story, and the fact that it’s going to a really good charity, to us it just seemed worth it.”

The Wagner card, produced as part of the T206 series between 1909 and 1911, is the most sought-after baseball card in history. About 60 are known to exist, and one in near-perfect condition sold in 2007 for $2.8 million, the highest price ever for a baseball card.

A shortstop nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman,” Wagner played for 21 seasons, 18 of them with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He compiled a .328 career batting average and was one of the five original inductees into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame inherited their card from the brother of a deceased nun after he died earlier this year. The card had been in the man’s possession since 1936 and was unknown to the sports memorabilia marketplace. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP Gives Credence to Ill. Gov. Quinn’s Claim of ‘Mandate’ Despite 0.5% Victory Margin

It’s strange how this “mandate” thing works, at least at the Associated Press.

In Ohio, Republican John Kasich defeated incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Strickland on Tuesday with a victory margin of about 2.5%, or almost 100,000 votes. Strickland is the first incumbent Buckeye State governor to lose a reelection bid since Democrat John Gilligan lost to Republican Jim Rhodes in 1974. In that race, everyone went to bed on Election Night believing that Gilligan had held on — including Rhodes himself, who conceded the race — only to wake up the next morning learning that late ballots had pushed Rhodes over the top by a razor-thin margin.

In Illinois, incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn defeated Republican challenger Bill Brady by about 20,000 votes, a margin of about 0.5%.

Look who has permission to claim a “mandate,” at least according to the Associated Press’s headline writers:

Ill. Dem gov. earns chance to argue he has mandate (link)

Gov. Pat Quinn’s quest to become the elected leader of Illinois was fulfilled Friday when his Republican challenger conceded the state’s closest governor’s race in decades, leaving Quinn to argue he has a mandate to push a tax increase in the face of one of the nation’s worst state budget problems.

Quinn defied a national Republican surge that cost many other Democratic incumbents their jobs by defeating state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, but it was far from a resounding victory with just more than 19,000 votes separating the two.

Still Quinn, who has held the office since replacing ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich in January 2009, says he’ll continue arguing for an income tax increase to deal with a budget shortfall that could soon reach $15 billion and already has forced the state to stop paying some of its bills.

“I have a mandate, I think, to serve Illinois for the next four years, and I’m going to take that seriously and work hard on the issues that I espoused in the campaign. … I think there are those who understand the election returns gave us a lot of support, and that will help us get the votes in the Legislature to do challenging but very important things,” Quinn said Thursday.

Well of course. Quinn has a “mandate” because he wants to increase taxes. Kasich apparently doesn’t because he wants Ohio to align its tax receipts and spending without tax increases. In fact, Kasich has talked of gradually phasing out the income tax that John Gilligan and Democrats imposed on the Buckeye State in the early 1970s. Somehow, Ohio got by without an income tax until then without disappearing into Lake Erie. Since then, states without income taxes like Florida and Texas have generally prospered. Ohio? Not so much.

Separately, AP writer Deanna Bellandi describes Brady as “more socially conservative” than Quinn. This strong implication that Quinn is also socially conservative is not supported by the facts, as more fullly described here. Some examples:

  • Quinn had the endorsements of gay agenda-supporting newspaper the Windy City Times, the Pro-Abortion Political Action Committee, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, and the pro-gay lobby Equality Illinois. Brady did not.
  • Brady had the endorsement of Illinois Family Action, the political arm of the prolife Illinois Family Institute. Quinn did not.
  • Brady was rated as “100% prolife” by Illinois Citizens for Life. The same group tagged Quinn as “not prolife.”

Other than that, there was very little difference between the candidates on social issues (/sarcasm).

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.