November 9, 2010

At AP, a Really Odd Headline in a Poorly Prioritized G-20 Story

A current headline at an Associated Press story (saved here at my web host in case it’s updated) has to be seen to be believed:

G20 leaders meet amid strains as US splashes cash

“Splashes Cash”? If the AP’s headline writer was trying to be cute, it didn’t work for me. Sadly, replacing “splashes” with “trashes” might have been more appropriate, but of course less “funny.”

The cash splash/trash is the U.S. Federal Reserve’s recently announced $600 billion second round of the “money from nothing” scheme known as “quantitative easing.”

Most of the rest of the nations whose officials are attending the G-20 Summit in Seoul also lack the AP headline writer’s alleged “humor.”

AP Business Writer Kelly Olsen mostly played her reporting straight, but two of her paragraphs were odd and oddly placed, respectively. The first quotes President Obama, who apparently doesn’t understand what the Fed’s mission is supposed to be:

As the Group of 20 major rich and developing nations prepare to meet in Seoul, President Barack Obama defended the Fed. He said the central bank was following its mandate to “grow our economy.”

This is odd, because growing the economy has never been an explicit part of the Fed’s mission. Page 15 of the its most recent “Purposes and Functions” report (a very large PDF) says the following:

Goals of Monetary Policy

The goals of monetary policy are spelled out in the Federal Reserve Act, which specifies that the Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee should seek “to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” Stable prices in the long run are a precondition for maximum sustainable output growth and employment as well as moderate long-term interest rates.

This is no mere quibble. The Fed is supposed to create the conditions that might enable economic growth to occur. Its mission isn’t to somehow directly intervene with the express intent to “grow the economy.” President Obama seems to be outsourcing responsibility for how the economy performs to the Fed, as if Congress and the Executive branch have nothing to do with it — and conveniently, have had little or nothing to do with the pathetic economic growth that has occurred during this alleged “recovery.” Nice try, guy. No sale.

Olsen’s other paragraph was odd because of how late it appeared (at Paragraph 16) in her report:

But tensions re-emerged when the Fed announced its bond buying plan last Wednesday. Aside from concerns about exports, the massive increase in the supply of dollars is a potential threat to the wealth of many nations because the bulk of their foreign currency reserves are stored in dollar-denominated assets.

Uh, yeah, if Ben Bernanke and the Fed inflate the currency, assets denominated in dollars becomes worth less. If they allow the situation to get out of control, the dollar will become nearly worthless.

Memo to AP headline writer: This possibility is decidedly not funny.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (110910, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:18 am

UPDATE, 9:15 a.m.: I finally had a chance to take a closer look at the unemployment and jobs numbers in last Friday’s report. See the update in the last section of Friday’s post.

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Here we go again: Our President knocks his country while out of the country:

Implicitly acknowledging the decline of American dominance, Barack Obama on Sunday said the US was no longer in a position to “meet the rest of the world economically on our terms”.

Looks pretty explicit to me. Said decline is due to Barack Obama and his party.

He doesn’t seem to mind, does he? He doesn’t seem particularly interested in reversing the decline, does he?

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Here’s another guy doing an Eeyore imitation, who also disses Ben Bernanke’s second round of “quantitative easing” (i.e., creating money out of nothing):

Paul Volcker, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, said Tuesday he sees no short-term way to reduce high U.S. unemployment and expects slow growth for the next year or more.

… Speaking last week in Seoul, Volcker said the Fed’s bond plan was unlikely to change the overall economic outlook or boost the recovery.

Then why is the Fed doing it? Answer: Because this administration refuses to exercise fiscal restraint, and has basically told Bernanke: “You can print the money or watch the economy down. If you do the latter, we’ll make sure that the blame all goes to you. Oh, and we don’t care if we’re being irresponsible.”

Other countries are justifiably not pleased:

The Fed’s move has sparked complaints by China, Germany, Brazil and others that the Fed’s move might fuel inflation or hurt developing countries by triggering an influx of money as investors seek better returns. That would push up exchange rates and hurt exports by making their goods more expensive.

On Tuesday, a Chinese official speaking before Volcker at the financial forum repeated Beijing’s criticism of the move.

Y’know, it’s pretty bad when we’re getting lectures from a communist country about our excessive statism.

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Directly contradictory items from Ted Strickland, on Election Night:

Mr. Strickland called Mr. Kasich early Wednesday before delivering his concession speech. He told the governor-elect that he would work to make the transition successful.

… (in his concession speech, echoing his unhinged Labor Day rant) “I have been humbled by this opportunity to be your governor,” Mr. Strickland said. “And one thing I will continue to do and that is to fight against the voices that only seem to want to tear our state down…”

For a guy who said he wants to “make the transition successful,” Strickland has a funny way of showing it (HT 3BP). :

(Ohio Governor-elect John) Kasich sent a letter to Strickland asking him to cancel all contracts for the project and also wrote to President Barack Obama asking him to instead reallocate the $400 million that Ohio received for the rail project for freight rail or roads in the state.

… In his letter to Strickland, Kasich noted that Ohio is facing an $8 billion budget deficit next year and “every step should be taken to eliminate waste and prevent unnecessary spending.”

… But Strickland won’t oblige Kasich, saying a $25 million study already is under way and will produce valuable information that could prove useful even if the current proposal doesn’t go forward.

The initial phase of the contracts is estimated at $15 million. State officials have not said how much work on those contracts has been completed, but under the contracts, the state can end work at any time and pay only for work completed.

Ohio can’t afford to spend money on “could be’s.” If the money would only go back to Washington, as Strickland claims, that’s okay, because Uncle Sam can’t afford to spend money on “could be’s.” Regardless, Strickland’s action is irresponsible, and typifies his political career, which is thankfully over.

While we’re noting the demise of the political plague known as Ted Strickland , let’s never forget that:

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If the entire Senate had been up for reelection this year, left-leaning Nate Silver at his New York Times blog believes that the GOP would have achieved its own filibuster-proof majority of 60 and possibly a veto-proof majority of 67. (I’m not HT’ing the place I originally saw this because for some reason they didn’t link to it).

Silver wrote that a week before the elections.

The 2012 Senate lineup is heavily weighted with Dems who in the current electoral landscape would surely be vulnerable. Just a few: VA’s Webb (which explains why he’s doing a too-little, too-late critique of racial preferences), MT’s Tester, MI’s Stabenow (who didn’t win by much in 2006), WI’s Kohl (who is clearly to the left of the departing Russ Feingold), MN’s Klobuchar, ND’s Conrad, and PA’s Casey.

Then there’s Ohio’s Invisible Sherrod Brown, who supplied the final vote in February 2009 enabling the now-proven failureknow as the stimulus bill to pass.

Of course, the defeat of an incumbent senator is no easy task. An opponent who has legitimate Tea Party values would clearly have a better chance of defeating Brown than a go-along, get-along RINO. Sadly, given past form, ORPINO (Ohio Republican Party in Name Only) Chairman Kevin DeWine, whose hand-picked relative underperformed the rest of the ticket and nearly lost, is probably working on finding someone who doesn’t have those values as you read this. Perhaps the several new State Central Committee members who campaigned as legitimate Tea Partiers in May can remind DeWine that Josh Mandel, the candidate with the strongest sensible conservative credentials and values, achieved the largest victory margin of any candidate for state office on the ticket.

Positivity: Pro-life leaders reflect on gains in Congress, fallout from health care law

Filed under: Activism,Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Washington:

Nov 5, 2010 / 06:01 am

Pro-life Republican gains in Congress are “substantial” and are likely due to the Catholic vote, according to two pro-life leaders. However, a pro-life Democrat lamented her caucus’ losses, noting the need for reconciliation with the Catholic Church after a tough political fight over health care legislation.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), told CNA that the pro-life issue motivated a lot of voters. From the NRLC’s perspective, there were “very, very substantial” improvements in about 65 House seats.

“Either a hardcore pro-abortion candidate was defeated by a pro-life challenger, or someone with a mixed record, like on the health care bill, was replaced.”

The bulk of the candidates, about 40, were “hardcore pro-abortion people” who voted for pro-life legislation “seldom if ever.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said her organization’s “Votes Have Consequences” program was a “huge success” in targeting supporters of the health care legislation.

“When you can successfully defeat 15 out of 20 members of Congress, you know something about the future of the movement,” she continued, calling its future “extremely bright.”

Expressing her “excitement” about the state of contemporary politics, she discussed a “strong pro-life trend” in America among women as well.

“We are seeing a surge of women candidates who are strongly pro-life.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.