January 20, 2011

AP Insists ’2010 Second-Worst for Home Construction’; Evidence Proves It Was the Worst

At several points in 2010 (just one example: at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog; graphic), I pointed out that despite the federal government’s continued insistence that its budget deficit for fiscal 2010 was on track to come in lower than fiscal 2009, the deficit based on real spending would be, and turned out to be, higher in fiscal 2010. That’s important to know, as clever year-crossing accounting entries can’t change the fact that Uncle Sam’s financial situation continues to worsen at an accelerating rate. Don’t expect the establishment press to acknowledge this; the illusion of improvement is important to getting their propped-up president another four years.

Similarly, it may be futile to expect that establishment media outlets, especially the Associated Press, will ever report that 2010 was the worst yearby far in new home construction since World War II. That this is indeed the case was shown last month (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). This post will use December 2010 data, most of which is now in, to add an exclamation point.

Yesterday, the AP’s Winston Smith-like headline writers tried to pass off 2010 as bad, but not as bad as 2009. As is the case with the government’s annual budget deficit, the AP’s persistent prevarication in the face of drop-dead obvious facts is an attempt to make readers, listeners and viewers believe that as bad as things are, they’re at least improving (with implication, of course, that our poor, put-upon president is making progress cleaning up what was supposedly George Bush’s mess). Things are not getting better, and Martin Crutsinger’s narrative in the related article stops just short of saying so.

Here are a few paragraphs from Crustinger’s dispatch:

2010 ends as 2nd worst year for home construction

U.S. homebuilders are coming off their two worst years in more than a half-century, and the outlook for this year is only slightly better.

Economists say it could take three more years before the industry begins building homes at a healthy rate. In the mean time, the housing downturn is dragging on the broader economy, with one-quarter of the jobs lost since the recession began in the construction field.

Builders normally help lead the economy out of a recession. Construction projects fuel growth and that leads to more hiring.

… Homebuilders broke ground on a total of 587,600 homes in 2010, just slightly better than the 554,000 started in 2009, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday Those are the lowest annual totals on records dating back to 1959.

And the pace is getting worse. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 new homes and apartments last month. That’s a drop of 4.3 percent from November and the slowest pace since October 2009.

Building permits, considered a good barometer for future activity, rose 16.7 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000, the best pace since March.

But builders pulled more permits in California, New York and Pennsylvania ahead of code changes in 2011 — a factor that likely influenced the spike.

Now that we have 12 months of 2010 data for everything except new unit sales, it’s easy to prove not only that 2010 was significantly worse than 2009, but also that the market decline since the expiration of the homebuyer’s credit in April has been downright frightening (Census data sources, all not seasonally adjusted, which differ slightly from the seasonally adjusted numbers AP reported above — permits; starts; completions; sales):

NewHomeData2010and2009

So let’s see. In 2010, which the AP’s headline writer said and Martin Crutsinger seemed to imply at certain points was better than 2009 in terms of “home construction”:

  • Buidling permits, which only lead to construction, were up slightly, at least partially and maybe entirely because of a year-end rush to beat stricter 2011 rules in certain states.
  • Yes, housing starts were up, but all of the improvement over 2009, and then some, occurred during the first four months of the year.
  • Units completed dropped sharply.
  • New home sales, the whole reason why they get built in the first place, also fell by double digits.

As seen above, comparing May through December of 2010 to the same months in 2009 demonstrates that the new home industry is in the midst of a serious double-dip decline across the board.

If all of this doesn’t convince readers that 2010 was worse than 2009, the following graphic will (link):

HomesUnderConstruction2010v2009

At the end of 2010, there were almost 13% fewer single-family homes under construction, and industrywide inventory shrank by one-sixth.

What was that about 2010 being better for “home construction” than 2009? You guys at the AP are joking, right?

In the face of the above evidence, only a fool or a deliberately fibbing propagandist would try to convince readers, listeners, and viewers that last year was better for new housing construction than 2009. Someone should ask Tom Curley at the Associated Press and other CEOs and editors at establishment media outlets who persist in promoting the myth of new home industry improvement: Which is it?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lickety-Split Links (012011, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:31 am

Jeffrey Anderson at National Review, on the House’s vote to repeal Obamacare:

This wasn’t the way the Democrats saw things playing out.

After Obamacare was passed (so we could find out what was in it), people were supposed to learn to love it. The House of Representatives certainly wasn’t supposed to pass a bill to repeal it — especially not less than ten months after that glorious day in March when the Democrats effectively told the American people that, when they wanted their opinion, they’d ask for it. Yet all of this has now happened.

The vote also conveyed at least three other things:

1. Repeal is far more popular than Obamacare ever was. …
2. Very few Democratic representatives genuinely oppose Obamacare. … repeal was a reflection of popular will, not a circumvention of it.
3. This will set up a battle royale in 2012. …

But whoever the nominee is, November 6, 2012, will decide the fate of Obama, the fate of Obamacare, and, to some significant degree, the fate of a nation …

As to Point 2 above, 10 Democrats who voted against Obamacare in March 2010 were against repeal yesterday. They are: Jason Altmire (Pa.), John Barrow (Ga.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Tim Holden (Pa.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Stephen Lynch (Mass.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Heath Shuler (N.C.). Their opposition to repeal indicates that their “no” votes on Obamacare had everything to do with political survival, and nothing to do with their real political convictions.

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James Hansen of NASA wants to take the economy down until we surrender to the campaign of global wealth redistribution disguised as “climate change.” He’s upset that voters have punished politicians who supported “climate change”-inspired cap and trade legilsation by replacing them with those who don’t:

The nation’s most prominent publicly funded climatologist is officially angry about this, blaming democracy and citing the Chinese government as the “best hope” to save the world from global warming. He also wants an economic boycott of the U.S. sufficient to bend us to China’s will.

Even in the fantasyland of the Obama administration, that should be a firing offense. If it’s not, there’s no reason to believe Obama or his administration when they assert that a prosperous economy is of paramount importance.

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At BigGovernment.com: “Another Farmer Says Rep. Sanford Bishop Didn’t Pursue Pigford Fraud Allegations.”

For those new to the topic, “Pigford” is the lawsuit by black farmers against the USDA for discrimination in lending and other assistance which allegedly occurred decades ago. It turned into a feeding trough for trial lawyers and tens of thousands of blacks who never farmed.

The infamous Shirley Sherrod and her husband Charles were early Pigford beneficiaries to the tune of $13 million, despite past history of serious worker abuse at their “New Communities” farm “cooperative.”

One of the items I never got to before the election was noting that the aforementioned Congressman Bishop received the coveted Shirley Sherrod endorsement and a $300 contribution from Ms. Sherrod (third item at link) in his most reelection bid. Bishop narrowly defeated his Republican opponent. Bishop is a walking, talking PAC-man. Looking into charges of Pigford fraud would appear to be very low on his list of priorities.

Positivity: Mexican actor pledges to build largest pro-life women’s clinic in US

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:52 am

From Los Angeles:

Jan 19, 2011 / 06:03 pm

Mexican producer and actor Eduardo Verastegui has announced that his organization, Mantle of Guadalupe, is planning to build the largest pro-life women’s clinic in the United States.

Verastegui’s announcement came during the first-ever gala held by Mantle of Guadalupe and Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.

The gala took place Jan. 15 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and brought together 300 noted guests, including Philip Rivers from the San Diego Chargers, Mexican actor Karyme Lozano, actor Sean Astin from “The Lord of the Rings,” violinist Roddy Chong and motivational speaker Nick Vujicic.

Vujicic also received an award for his courageous testimony in defense of human life.

During the gala, Verastegui, who is the founder of Mantle of Guadalupe, reiterated his commitment to defend life and announced that the organization’s new goal is the construction of “the largest women’s clinic in the United States.”

“I will not use my talents except to elevate my Christian, pro-life and Hispanic values,” Verastegui promised the guests.

At the conclusion of his remarks, the Mexican actor introduced several young Hispanic mothers and their babies who were saved thanks to the work of Mantle of Guadalupe. They were greeted with a prolonged standing ovation. “These babies are the fruits of Mantle of Guadalupe, they are the result of your generosity. If only just one of them were here, everything I have done in my life recently since filming ‘Bella’ would have been worth it,” he said.

Upon receiving his award, Vujicic, a young Australian – born without arms or legs – thanked God for the gift of life. “He can turn a kid without arms or legs into his own arms and legs,” Vujicic said during remarks peppered with loud applause from the guests. …

Go here for the rest of the story.