February 28, 2011

‘Keep Spending Like Mad or Else’ Chorus Grows; Stanford’s Taylor Responds; Expect Press to Ignore

Late last week (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), a Goldman Sachs economist issued a dire warning cutting current-year federal spending by a measly $61 billion, or about 1.75% of the administration’s full-year projected spending total, would significantly reduce economic growth in the coming quarters. If this were so, the economy would booming beyond belief right now, given that the Obama administration ran a $800-plus billion so-called stimulus plan during the past two years, and is on track to run up over $4 trillion in reported budget deficits in a three-year period by the end of the current fiscal year. Readers will note that the economy is not booming beyond belief.

The Associated Press chimed in on Friday after the latest report on the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Expert, presumably including some geniuses at Goldman, thought it would be revised up from an annualized 3.2% to 3.3%. Oops; it came in at 2.8%. Befuddled AP reporters claimed incorrectly that reductions in state and local government spending seriously held back reported growth during the final quarter of 2010. Zheesh; the impact was only -0.29 points. The real problem is that private investment is seriously lagging, and has really never stopped lagging since the recession began in 2008.

The “Keep spending like mad or else” chorus got more help today from chief economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics. This morning, the Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery dutifully relayed the pile-on (bolds are mine):

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says

A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday.

The report, by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.

Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year.

His report comes on the heels of a similar analysis last week by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which predicted that the Republican spending cuts would cause even greater damage to the economy, slowing growth by as much as 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of this year.

Zandi also had bad news for liberal Democrats who are resisting sharp spending cuts: Bringing deficits down to sustainable levels will require more than a growing economy. Even if the economy recovers as expected, he writes, lawmakers will have to cut about $400 billion a year through the rest of this decade to narrow the gap between spending and revenue, and stop adding significantly to the national debt.

Maybe Ms. Montgomery and others who are relaying the “spend or else” warnings should look at what the stimulus accomplished. The answer, per economists John F. Cogan and John B. Taylor in the Wall Street Journal in December was a big fat “nothing”:

The Obama Stimulus Impact? Zero

… data covering the first year and three quarters of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) show that, despite the large size of the program, the dollar volume of additional government purchases that it has generated has been negligible.

… The bottom-line is the federal government borrowed funds from the public, transferred these funds to state and local governments, who then used the funds mainly to reduce borrowing from the public. The net impact on aggregate economic activity is zero, regardless of the magnitude of the government purchases multiplier.

This behavior is a replay of the failed stimulus attempts of the 1970s.

… The implication of our empirical research and Gramlich’s is not that the stimulus of 2009 was too small, but rather that such countercyclical programs are inherently limited. The lesson is to beware of politicians proposing public works and other government purchases as a means to stimulate the economy. They did not work then and they are not working now.

Stanford Professor Taylor has published a rebuttal to Goldman’s gibberish and Zandi’s eye-candy aimed at politicians desperately looking for an excuse not to act. I’m excerpting here, because I expect the establishment press either to largely ignore it, or to completely ignore it:

Goldman Sachs Wrong About Impact of House Budget Proposal

Some claim that House budget proposal H.R. 1 to reduce the growth of federal government spending will cause a slowdown in the economy and even increase unemployment. Consider, for example, a recent report by Alec Phillips of Goldman Sachs which claims that the House proposal would reduce economic growth in the second and third quarters of this year by 1.5 to 2 percent if enacted into law next month. Nothing could be more contrary to basic economics, experience and facts. Unfortunately, the report has been widely cited by those wanting to hold back on this first step to restore sound fiscal policy. And the Washington Post reports this morning that Mark Zandi of Moody’s is starting to make similar claims, which should be questioned for the same reasons.

There are several things wrong with the analysis used in Goldman Sachs report. First, it does not take account of the beneficial effects of starting now on a credible plan to reduce the deficit. Basic economic models in which incentives and expectations of future policy matter show that a credible plan to reduce gradually the deficit will increase economic growth and reduce unemployment by removing uncertainty and lowering the chances of large tax increases in the future. The high unemployment we are experiencing now is due to low private investment rather than low government spending. By reducing some uncertainty and the threats of exploding debt, the House spending proposal will encourage private investment.

The analysis in this Goldman-Sachs report is based on the same type of “large multiplier” theory that predicted that the stimulus package of 2009 would stimulate economic growth. Research by me and my colleague John Cogan finds that more up-to-date theories, which bring important incentive and expectations effects into account, show far smaller multipliers. In these models a reduction in the growth of spending will immediately crowd in private investment. Moreover, by following the stimulus money, we found that in actuality the stimulus package of 2009 had no material positive effect on economic growth or employment. The same economic theory which said the stimulus would increase economic growth in the past two years, says that reversing that spending will reduce growth now. It was wrong in the past and it is highly likely to be wrong again.

It takes a special brand of chutzpah for status quo defenders like Zandi to worry about 700,000 lost jobs, when the Obama “recovery” since the recession officially ended in June 2009 still shows 228,000 jobs lost (that’s right, lost).

Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign stump speeches (scroll to the bottom at the link) frequently employed the bromide that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” In more polite terms, Taylor is telling Goldman and Zandi that their fear-mongering about slower growth, which in light of the deficits the government is running amounts to an endorsement of continued stimulus, is nuts. So is the press for swallowing it and relaying it without question.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Reaganomics v. Obamanomics Update

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:47 pm

ReaganomicsVobama022511The graphic seen at the right is also in the far right column of the blog, and is a constant reminder of how pathetic the “Rebound? What Rebound?” alleged recovery on President Barack Obama’s watch has been.

The score through six quarters (Reagan, 4Q82 through 1Q84; Obama, 3Q09 through 4Q10) is:

  • Reagan — 39.3, representing 9.91% in actual growth, or a 6.5% compound annual rate.
  • Obama — 17.4, representing 4.37% in actual growth, or a 2.9% compound annual rate.

As noted in previous posts, the six-quarter scoreboard is misleading, in that the early 1980s recession, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, dubious as its pronouncements are, ended in November 1982. Reagan’s 4Q82 growth rate of 0.3% is handicapped by two months of NBER-defined recession.

Though imperfect, a more meaningful comparison would involve looking at the most recent four quarters. That scoreboard wipeout is even more obvious:

  • Reagan — 33.9, representing 8.47% in annual growth.
  • Obama — 10.8, representing 2.70% in annual growth.

Most important to the average person, Reagan’s stellar growth generated jobs. Obama’s mediocre growth hasn’t. Here’s the scoreboard for seasonally adjusted jobs after 19 months:

ReaganVsObamaJobPostRecMonth19

The economy under Reagan generated 4.6 million jobs during the 19 months noted. If you look only at Reagan’s 17 post-recession months as defined by NBER (i.e., excluding October and November of 1982), it’s really a bit over 5 million.

Pending future single-month and comprehensive revisions, the majority of which have been in the downward direction during the past two years, the Obama economy since the recession ended in June 2009 is STILL in the hole by 228,000 jobs.

It gets worse for those in the public sector who still believe that the president is their savior. Here are the components of that net job loss:

  • Private sector — 94,000 jobs added
  • Federal government — 36,000 jobs added
  • State government — 31,000 jobs lost
  • Local government — 327,000 jobs lost (1.56% of the sector’s workforce)

For public sector employees who don’t work for Uncle Sam — With “friends” like Obama, who needs enemies?

Heritage and Reason, With Sound Reasoning

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:35 am

Watch:

30-Minute Drill: Quick Hit Headlines and Highlights (022811, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:46 am

30 minutes, no timeouts:

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From a Wall Street Journal editorial that really shouldn’t be behind its subscription wall, a reaction to a DC court’s decision claiming that Obamacare is constitutional (bold is mine):

Judge Gladys Kessler of the D.C. district court says in her 64-page opinion that this power (the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce — Ed.) includes regulating even “mental activity, i.e., decision-making.”

The distinction between activity and inactivity is “of little significance,” Judge Kessler writes. “It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not ‘acting’ . . . Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin.”

Whoa. In other words, there is no constitutional principle that limits federal coercion.

And they wonder why the Tea Party movement has so much traction.

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At NewsBusters (“Media Ignore Muslim Brotherhood Role in Fomenting Anti-Jew Hatred and Pro-Hitler Sentiment”), Brad Wilmouth has a good rundown of the Muslim Brotherhood’s history, and the establishment press’s whitewash of it.

The admiration for Hitler is not part of “ancient” history; his admirers include Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusef Qaradawi, whose return to Eqypt was supposedly a milestone on the road to representative rule.

Three years ago, al-Qaradawi was denied entrance into the UK. That’s largely because in 2004:

… the cleric defended suicide attacks on Israelis during a BBC interview, saying: “It’s not suicide, it is martyrdom in the name of God.” He added that it did not matter if women and children were the victims of such attacks.

The cleric is also said to preach that husbands should beat disobedient wives.

Charming.

The justifications for serious concern over the direction of post-Mubarak direction of Egypt continue to grow.

Related: Via Brian Fairchild at Pajamas Media: “WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Muslim Brotherhood Ties to Iran”

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From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: “One reason why Wisconsin needed union reform: captive benefits” —

Wisconsin Education Association has (a big stake) in forcing individual school districts to negotiate benefits — because they can demand that their own WEA Trust have a monopoly on health insurance.

And school districts overpay compared to other plans available. What a racket.

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Climate activists as the new survivalists. Read this if you need to be disabused of the notion that paranoia is limited to certain militia types.

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Ann Althouse,on the “entertainment” at the Madison Pro-Big Labor protests:

Why weren’t there better celebrities? Perhaps there are inside polls on how this protest is playing out around the country and people don’t want their names dragged into it.

Something I didn’t know about Yarrow, from Wikipedia:

In 1970, Yarrow was convicted of, and served three months in prison for, taking “improper liberties” with a 14-year-old female fan. He has since apologized for the incident: “In that time, it was common practice, unfortunately –– the whole groupie thing.”

Uh, no it wasn’t, Pete.

Althouse has been the go-to-place for onsite insights and unscripted video coverage of events in Madison.

Positivity: Dr. Bernard Nathanson remembered for his profound pro-life conversion

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 7:38 am

From Denver:

Feb 23, 2011 / 09:26 am

After the recent death of abortionist turned pro-life advocate Dr. Bernard Nathanson, his close friend Fr. C. John McCloskey said that the doctor’s conversion to the faith was “one of the great Catholic moments of the 20th century in the United States.”

The 84 year-old doctor, who was responsible for close to 75,000 abortions during his career as an obstetrician before undergoing a profound change of heart, died from cancer on Feb. 21.

Fr. McCloskey, a prominent Opus Dei priest, was instrumental in Nathanson joining the Catholic Church – a step the physician took 15 years after renouncing his role as one of the most staunch abortion advocates in U.S. history.

In a Feb. 22 interview with CNA, Fr. McCloskey remembered the late doctor as “a great, very intelligent man” who had made “a big sacrifice personally in order to change his opinion on a very important issue.”

The two met in the early 1980s and bonded over a love of great literature, soon after Nathanson had abandoned the abortion industry. During the course of their friendship, the repentant abortionist would make the second great decision of his life – to be baptized into the Catholic Church.

In 1996, he was baptized and confirmed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City by then Cardinal John O’Connor. Fr. McCloskey called the event “one of the great Catholic moments of the 20th century in the United States.”

He noted that although Nathanson knew that “he was completely forgiven of his sin by the waters of Baptism,” the doctor “realized the great evil that he was involved in” and worked to rectify his mistakes “over the course of several decades.”

Part of the “great evil” that Nathanson took part in before his conversion involved performing or sanctioning abortions on tens of thousands of unborn babies.

A successful gynecologist who followed his father’s career path, Nathanson eventually worked to co-found the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws in 1969. Now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America, the organization would become one of the strongest advocates of legal abortion in the nation.

By the mid-1970s, however, Nathanson began to undergo a drastic interior change and eventually declared himself to be pro-life in 1979.

“The more and more he went into the question of abortion the more he realized he was killing human beings,” Fr. McCloskey said, “and so he publicly came out and said I’m going to the other side – the light side away from the dark side.”

Nathanson soon after produced the 1985 film “The Silent Scream,” which shows sonogram images of a child in the womb attempting to move away from an abortionist’s instruments.

Although Nathanson was “vilified by the secular press,” after the release of the film, Fr. McCloskey said the movie “had an enormous impact on the country.”

The doctor would later release the documentary called “Eclipse of Reason,” which explains various abortion procedures in graphic detail. Nathanson also wrote several books.

“From that time on, he went to get a degree in ethics from Vanderbilt University,” and traveled “all over the world giving talks on pro-life issues,” Fr. McCloskey said. Nathanson would also serve as an expert witness in state legislatures and “continued to practice medicine for a good many years.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 27, 2011

Name That Party: AP Stops Tagging ‘Centrist’ Wu As a Dem

namethatpartyOregon residents and news followers nationwide can be forgiven for shaking their heads over the Associated Press’s latest item on the misadventures of Congressman David Wu. All of a sudden he’s apparently not a Democrat — well, at least he’s not identified as such by the wire service’s Jonathan J. Cooper.

Wu has gained a degree of infamy over his erratic behavior (to be described shortly for those unfamiliar with the story) leading up to his reelection in 2010.

What’s odd about Cooper’s failure to tag Wu as a Democrat in his latest report is that he and the AP have done so in several previous dispatches:

  • A February 19 unbylined report (“Report: Congressman urged to get psychiatric help”) identified Wu as a Democrat in its first paragraph.
  • His February 23 item (“Newspapers, GOP call for congressman to resign”) identified Wu as a Democrat twice, including once in its first paragraph, and later when it described his district as a “Democratic stronghold.”
  • A brief February 24 item on Wu (“Newspaper, GOP call for Wu to resign”) named his party in the second paragraph.

The theory here is that now that Wu’s woes have become a more prominent national story, the AP has decided that the party identification of Wu should came to a halt, lest readers get their minds polluted with the craaaaazy idea that politicians in various forms of trouble in recent years have been largely if not mostly from the Democratic Party. Logically (if there is such a thing at AP) it should have worked the opposite way, as national readers are less likely to already know that Wu is a Dem, and would be interested in knowing.

Here are several paragraphs from Cooper’s Sunday evening report:

An Oregon congressman whose erratic behavior has recently prompted calls for his resignation said Sunday that some of his actions could be attributed to a reaction to a mental health drug.

U.S. Rep. David Wu told The Associated Press, however, that it does not explain the behavior documented in reports over the last month, which included sending his staff photos of himself wearing a tiger costume.

Wu said he was hospitalized after his 2008 campaign for symptoms that were later diagnosed as a reaction to a common mental health drug. He said he felt dizzy and confused on Election Day that year, when his staff and family reportedly were unable to locate him.

The AP interview in his Portland office was the most detailed public account yet of Wu’s psychiatric treatment since reports of his erratic behavior first surfaced last month. Six staff members quit after his 2010 re-election campaign during which the congressman gave angry speeches and talked his way inside the secure portion of Portland International Airport.

The congressman said last year’s episodes were the culmination of a period of mental health challenges that began in 2008 as marital issues led toward his separation from his wife.

… He declined to detail the problems in his marriage but said they had nothing to do with his health.

… Wu attributed his outbursts in 2010 to stress from a tough campaign, a dissolving marriage and taking care of his children, ages 11 and 13.

Asked whether he can handle the stresses of Congress and of a future campaign, Wu said his October episode happened during a period of such extreme stress that wouldn’t occur again.

… Wu said he would not step down, despite calls for his resignation from Republicans and from some Oregon newspapers.

The last excerpted paragraph, the 18th of 19 in Cooper’s full report, is the only clue that Wu is a Dem through and through.

Wu may have had problems with dizziness and confusion as described above, but it’s nothing compared to the dizziness and confusion the AP’s Cooper must have been enduring when he wrote this paragraph in his February 23 report (bold is mine):

Wu was a political newcomer when he was elected to Congress in 1998 as the first Chinese-American to serve in the U.S. House. He’s maintained a centrist voting record but been a leading voice on human rights abuses in China, and he angered the high-tech firms in his district when he voted against normalizing trade relations with China.

Here are a couple of outside opinions concerning Wu’s alleged “centrism”:

  • His 2009, 2008, and 2007 grades from the conservative, economic freedom-oriented Club for Growth are 0%, 0%, and 6%.
  • At the ultraliberal Americans for Democratic Action in each of the same three years, he had ratings of 100%, 90%, and 100%. His 2009 and 2007 voting records earned him recognition as an “ADA Hero.”

Earth to Jonathan Cooper regarding Wu’s politics: Centrist, schmentrist.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

AP, NYT Inflate Perception of Non-Madison Saturday Pro-Union Crowds

Yesterday was supposed to be a day of massive pro-union demonstrations nationwide designed to give Wisconsin public-sector employee moral support from hordes of their union and non-union “brothers” and “sisters” around the country.

Uh, that’s not exactly what transpired.

The establishment press’s fallback position in matters such as these when the protesters involved have their sympathies is to cite decent numbers where available, while otherwise referring to “large crowds,” leaving it to the imaginations of readers, listeners, and viewers what that really means. Call it “creative crowd reporting.” With some slip-ups, the New York Times and the Associated Press each employed this tactic yesterday.

Unfortunately for them, many local reporters did estimate crowd sizes in cities other than Wisconsin’s capital of Madison, and they aren’t particularly impressive (while still being suspect, as will be seen later). William Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection (HT Instapundit) compiled press reports from other cities as follows:

In Washington, D.C., only about 500 people showed up (go to link for good photos of crazy signs). (Note, WaPo says 1000.)

In Columbus, OH, where you would expect a big crowd given a similar controversy, only “several thousand” people protested.

Other head counts, based on news reports, include: Boston (1000), Portsmouth, N.H. (few hundred), Augusta, ME (small crowd), New York City (“several thousand“), Chicago (1000), Miami (100), Austin (several hundred), Chicago (1000); Lansing, MI (2000), Nashville (hundreds), Los Angeles (2000), Richmond, VA (300), Denver (1000); Frankfort, KY (several hundred), Jefferson City, MO (several hundred), Harrisburg, PA (several hundred).

While I don’t have a complete count, based on these numbers from some major cities and labor states, total protesters nationwide (excluding Madison) likely totaled under 100,000 combined.

Given that there were events in some cities other than those cited by Jacobsen (including Denver and Minneapolis, as seen below), the nationwide turnout may have conceivably have broken six figures — but if so, not by much.

The Associated Press’s Patrick Condon and Todd Richmond followed the aforementioned template:

Chanting pro-union slogans and carrying signs declaring “We are all Wisconsin,” protesters turned out in cities nationwide to support thousands of public workers who’ve set up camp at the Wisconsin Capitol to fight Republican-backed legislation aimed at weakening unions.

Union supporters organized rallies from New York to Los Angeles in a show of solidarity Saturday as the demonstration in Madison entered its 12th straight day and attracted its largest crowd yet: more than 70,000 people. Hundreds banged on drums and screamed into bullhorns inside the Capitol as others braved frigid weather and snow during the massive rally that flooded into nearby streets.

… ”Wisconsin is opening up people’s eyes a little bit,” said Jay Van Loenen, a teacher who attended a rally in Denver that attracted about 1,000 people. [1] “So I think that the move is to try to get people more involved in their unions and create a stronger front so that if something happens here, we are prepared.” [2]

Several thousand people gathered for a rally in Columbus, Ohio, where lawmakers are considering a similar bill. Indiana Democrats successfully blocked a Republican bill last week that would have prohibited union membership from being a condition of employment.

Large crowds of teachers, firefighters and public workers also gathered for rallies — holding American flags, wearing pro-union clothing and holding signs — in other capital cities including Topeka, Kan.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Olympia, Wash.

In Los Angeles, public sector workers and others [3] held signs that read “We are all Wisconsin” during a rally. Some wore foam “cheeseheads,” the familiar hats worn by Green Bay Packers fans.

Covered in layers of coats, scarves, hats and gloves, about 1,000 rally goers outside the Minnesota Capitol chanted “Workers’ rights are human rights” and waved signs, some reading “United we bargain, divided we beg.”

Other notes:

  • [1] — The Denver Post copped out, merely saying that “Organizers estimated the crowd at more than 3,000 people.” The crowd as shown at this YouTube video doesn’t even look like 1,000.
  • [2] — Mr. Van Loenen didn’t just “attend” the rally. In that same YouTube vid, one sees that he spoke at the rally for about 5 minutes, sounding an awful lot like a teachers’ union official and hardline union activist, complete with Koch Brothers and anti-Tea Party references. I’m guessing that’s because Jay Van Loenen is a teachers’ union official and/or a hardline union activist. If so, nice lack of disclosure, AP.
  • [3] — “Public sector workers and others”? Would that be spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, their kids, and a few opportunistic politicians? This seems to be an admission that if the goal was to get sympathy from non-union members, or even private-sector union members, that the goal was not achieved in LA.

At the New York Times (“Rallies for Labor, in Wisconsin and Beyond”), Richard A. Oppel, Jr. and Timothy Williams slipped and made one reference to a pathically-sized gathering in Miami, but otherwise stuck to the script:

With booming chants of “This will not stand!” at least 70,000 demonstrators flooded the square around the Wisconsin Capitol on Saturday in what the authorities here called the largest protest yet in nearly two weeks of demonstrations.

It was a call heard in sympathy protests that drew thousands of demonstrators to state capitals and other cities from Albany to the West Coast.

… Mr. Walker’s plan is far from the only proposal to curb union power, and crowds of teachers, firefighters and other public workers held rallies Saturday in cities from Albany and Miami to Olympia, Wash.

“This is a national issue,” Jim Goodnow, who attended the demonstration in Miami, where about 150 people rallied at Bayfront Park. Many of them said they were concerned that Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, might try to strip away the few protections that unions have in Florida. A bill in the Legislature would block union dues from being automatically deducted from paychecks.

Note that the Times’s Miami estimate of 150 is 50% higher than the estimate of Jacobsen’s cited source at Reuters. That wire service’s Michelle Nichols writes that the Columbus, Ohio crowd was “Up to 1,000.” The “several thousand” Columbus description cited by Jacobsen came from the Dayton Daily News, which is hopelessly biased to the left and largely unreliable in matters such as these.

The bottom line, per Jacobsen:

Since NYT and AP stories are run at thousands of local newspapers around the country who cannot create their own content, it is likely that most people in this country never will hear about the dismal turnout for these protests. This is your biased MSM in action.

Exactly.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

AP’s Bauer Continues to Claim That Wis. Legislation Would ‘Eliminate Collective Bargaining’

From all appearances, the Associated Press’s Scott Bauer has a story, and he’s sticking to it — never mind the facts.

On February 17 (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in an item which mostly told readers that pending legislation would “eliminate collective-bargaining rights,” Bauer let a kernel of truth slip into his second-last of nearly 40 paragraphs:

Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

If “unions still could represent workers,” and can still “seek pay increases,” then they would still have at least some “collective-bargaining rights.” They wouldn’t be as extensive, and perhaps they would be severely limited. But some level of “collective-bargaining rights” would still exist. Therefore, Bauer’s claims and implications elsewhere in his report that the legislation would completely “eliminate collective-bargaining rights” were self-evidently false and deceptive.

In a laughably titled story (“Facts overshadowed in debate over union bill”) datelined yesterday, Bauer again demonstrates, with assistance from colleague Patrick Condon, that he won’t let a silly thing like the truth stand in his way. Each of the following excerpted items implicitly or explicitly asserts that all collective-bargaining rights would end:

(Paragraph 1) The facts have been overshadowed by rhetoric at the Wisconsin Capitol, where protesters and politicians have been engaged in a tense standoff over the governor’s proposal to strip most public employees of their collective-bargaining rights.

(Paragraph 7, referring to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker) But the flashpoint is his proposed elimination of collective bargaining rights. Nearly all state and local government workers would be forbidden from bargaining for any wage increases beyond the rate of inflation.

(Paragraphs 18, 19, and 20) But the key to that plan, according to Walker, is ending collective bargaining rights. Doing that isn’t about busting unions, Walker argues, but balancing budgets.

If he’s intent on using cuts in state aid to balance the budget, eliminating collective bargaining does go a long way to achieving one of his key goals—giving local communities the ability to deal with the reductions.

With 3,000 units of government in Wisconsin, all in various stages of contractual negotiations, eliminating collective bargaining may be the only way they could quickly deal with the cuts, said Todd Berry, president of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

One could argue — in vain, in my opinion, but there’s at least a little wiggle room — that references to “eliminating collective-bargaining rights” somehow doesn’t refer to all rights. But when reporters make claims of “eliminating collective bargaining,” which Bauer and Condon did twice, that defense is no longer available.

As far as I know, the pending Wisconsin legislation hasn’t changed in the nine days between the February 17 and February 26 reports discussed here. If it is still true, as Bauer wrote on February 17, that “Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum,” then Bauer and Condon clearly were not telling the truth in yesterday’s report. Further, Scott Bauer has to know that he was not telling the truth. Again barring proof to the contrary, shame on him and the AP.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: New phase begins in canonization cause of first African-American priest

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:58 am

From Chicago:

Feb 24, 2011 / 05:56 am

The Archdiocese of Chicago has begun a new phase of the investigation that could ultimately canonize Fr. Augustus Tolton. As the first African-American to become a priest, Fr. Tolton demonstrated remarkable patience, courage and dedication to his ministry during a time of widespread injustice.

Approximately a year after it opened Fr. Tolton’s cause, the archdiocese formally began the proceedings to examine the 19th century priest’s life, virtues and reputation for holiness. The process requires a canonical trial, which will hold its first session on the afternoon of Feb. 24 at St. James Chapel in downtown Chicago.

Chicago’s Cardinal Archbishop Francis E. George will preside over the public event, at which Bishop Joseph N. Perry – the Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, who is the postulator of Fr. Tolton’s cause for sainthood – will introduce evidence of Fr. Tolton’s faithful life and holiness. The proceeding will also feature the appointment of officials who will evaluate Fr. Tolton’s reputation and the facts of his life.

The judgment of those officials, in conjunction with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, could lead to the next step in Tolton’s cause: his designation as a “Servant of God.” After this, a declaration of “heroic virtue” would establish him as “Venerable.”

Further evidence of his miraculous intercession would be needed for Fr. Tolton to become a saint of the Church. Bishop Perry told CNA on Feb. 22 that at least one such possible occurrence is already under consideration, from the reports that the archdiocese is continuing to receive from the faithful.

In the short term, however, Bishop Perry is less occupied with possible miracles, and more interested in making the case for Fr. Tolton as a model of Christian virtue.

According to Bishop Perry, the key to understanding Fr. Tolton’s life is in recognizing his “long-suffering perseverance, in the face of what you might call ‘racial apartheid’.”

“His adult life was lived largely through the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War,” the bishop noted. “The nation had no program to assimilate blacks in society, following the Emancipation Proclamation. Anyone who was emerging as an accomplished black person, suffered – and was, more than likely, not accepted.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 26, 2011

Goldman, AP to Lawmakers: Keep Spending Like Mad or Economic Growth Will Suffer

Thursday, an odd warning emanated from the halls of the supposedly esteemed investment firm known as Goldman Sachs: If Uncle Sam spends $61 billion less during the second half of the current fiscal year, and ends the year with “only” $3.758 trillion in spending instead of the administration’s anticipated $3.819 trillion, economic growth will be seriously harmed.

Yesterday, similar nonsense was put forth by Jeannine Aversa at the Associated Press in reaction to the government’s report that economic growth during the fourth quarter was revised down to 2.8% from 3.2%, when experts (like the geniuses at Goldman) had expected the number to come in at 3.3%. The headlined whine: “State and local budget cuts are slowing US economy.”

First, here is the Financial Times report carried at CNBC reporting on Goldman’s federal spending gibberish:

Goldman Sees Danger in US Budget Cuts

The Republican plan to slash government spending by $61bn in 2011 could reduce US economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of the year, a Goldman Sachs economist has warned.

The note from Alec Phillips, a forecaster based in Washington, was seized in the ongoing US budget fight by Democrats as validating their argument that the legislation approved by the Republican-led House of Representatives last Saturday would do significant damage to the US recovery.

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senator from New York, said: “This nonpartisan study proves that the House Republicans’ proposal is a recipe for a double-dip recession. Just as the economy is beginning to pick up a little steam, the Republican budget would snuff out any chance of recovery. This analysis puts a dagger through the heart of their ‘cut-and-grow’ fantasy”.

The Goldman analysis also points out that a potential compromise deal with $25bn in spending reductions this year – a more likely scenario – would lead to a smaller drag on growth of 1 percentage point in the second quarter.

The editorialists at Investors Business Daily smelled a rat — or, actually, dozens of them scurrying through revolving doors (bolds are mine):

… If it were anyone other than Goldman Sachs making the prediction, maybe we’d believe it.

… (Goldman’s assertion) is true only if you buy into the Keynesian premise that a $1 increase in government spending leads to a greater than $1 increase in economic output.

That idea has been disproved and roundly criticized after the Obama administration blithely predicted $2.50 in economic activity for every $1 in added government “stimulus.”

We’ve spent trillions more, but have little in the way of growth or jobs to show for it.

… The revolving door between Goldman and government is well-known. An investigative report last year by CBS News counted “at least four dozen former employees, lobbyists or advisers at the highest reaches of power both in Washington and around the world.”

They include former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who crafted the stimulus plan and Wall Street bailouts; former Democratic House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt; and former SEC head Arthur Levitt, who as of last year was a paid lobbyist for Goldman.

No surprise, then, that Goldman Sachs would see even the modest cuts proposed by the GOP as a danger to the economy. With its shifting business ties to government, the cuts would certainly be a danger to them.

No one on Wall Street did better as a result of the government’s massive, disastrous intervention in the U.S. economy the past two years. Goldman didn’t just see its business grow. It also watched as government regulators selectively let some of its key competitors die.

Exactly. IBD also reminds readers that if $61 billion in spending reductions will really harm the economy, $821 billion in stimulus spending should have caused it to take off like a rocket. Of course, that’s not what has happened.

Also, there has apparently been no word from Goldman as to the potential effect on economic growth of a few more years of trillion-dollar federal deficits followed by $500 billion-plus deficits as far as the eye can see.

The Associated Press’s Aversa tried to sound similar alarms over state and local spending, again without basis. Especially catch the final bolded sentence in the third excerpted paragraph:

Deep spending cuts by state and local governments pose a growing threat to an economy that is already grappling with high unemployment, depressed home prices and the surging cost of oil.

Lawmakers at state capitols and city halls are slashing jobs and programs, arguing that some pain now is better than a lot more later. But the cuts are coming at a price – weaker growth at the national level.

The clearest sign to date was a report Friday on U.S. gross domestic product for the final three months of 2010. The government lowered its growth estimate, pointing to larger-than-expected cuts by state and local governments. The report suggested that worsening state budget problems could hold back the recovery by putting more people out of work and reducing consumer spending.

The report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis “suggested” no such thing. Here’s what it did say:

The small fourth-quarter acceleration in real GDP primarily reflected a sharp downturn in imports, an acceleration in PCE, an upturn in residential fixed investment, and an acceleration in exports that were mostly offset by downturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending, a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in state and local government spending.

A different sentence in the report says that “The downward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected an upward revision to imports and downward revisions to state and local government spending” — but that’s a comment about the degree of January’s downward revision, not the overall GDP result.

Table 3 at the BEA’s full report shows that compared to the third quarter, on a seasonally adjusted basis, annualized state and local government expenditures fell by $9.1 billion. In a $13.3 trillion economy (in 2005 chained dollars), that isn’t even a rounding error. Aversa’s alarm has no basis in reality.

More importantly, as IBD noted with federal spending in previously unexcerpted text, studies by Harvard economist Robert Barro and Stanford’s John Taylor show that “… more government spending, by taking money out of the private sector, is a loss to the economy and that taking money away from government is a gain.” Sure, it may take a quarter or two for offsetting private sector gains to show up in the GDP numbers. But they will show up — or they will as long as the government doesn’t let the leaden hand of overregulation prevent it from happening.

Goldman and the AP’s Aversa fail to make anything resembling a case that growth will be held back indefinitely as long as spending reductions continue.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Rush Calls Out AP For Critiquing Montana Legislators While Ignoring Obama Admin ‘Lawlessness’

Thursday, the Associated Press’s Matt Gouras “reported” (“Tea party vision for Mont. raising concerns”) on legislative proposals in Montana. It got the attention of Rush Limbaugh, who skewered it as only Rush can.

Gouras’s opening paragraphs read like a press release from an opposition party:

With each bill, newly elected tea party lawmakers are offering Montanans a vision of the future.

Their state would be a place where officials can ignore U.S. laws, force FBI agents to get a sheriff’s OK before arresting anyone, ban abortions, limit sex education in schools and create armed citizen militias.

His third paragraph uses the “some people” tactic, which is more often than not AP code for “people I found who agree with me”:

But some residents, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer and even some Republican lawmakers say the bills are making Montana into a laughingstock.

Limbaugh got wind of Gouras’s gunk, and the self-described “America’s anchorman” let it rip, and called out the wire service for selectivity in criticizing compliance with laws and the Constitution (link will go behind subscriber wall in a week; some paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine):

You want to hear something hilariously funny? This is from the Associated Press, State-Run out of Montana. Let me give you the headline: “‘Tea Party Vision for Montana Raising Concerns’ — …”

Now, this is not an editorial. It’s supposed to be a news article. And when the AP writes that not everyone is buying their vision, or something, that means they disapprove of it and they manage to find a couple of people to quote who share their disapproval. It means the disapproval starts with AP, their premise and their narrative starts with them, and then they go out and try to find a couple people.

It’s not that people in Montana are raising hell and AP hears about it and says, “Whoa, we got a story.” This is AP creating a story. And what we have here is the Associated Press raging at a bunch of people who are passing laws which would, for example, ignore US laws.

What the hell is going on? We have the president of the United States himself saying, (paraphrasing) “That law doesn’t count anymore, I’m not gonna defend that law, the Defense of Marriage Act.” We have a president of the United States who himself is lawless. We went through this in great detail yesterday. Make no mistake. And it’s not arguable. This is a lawless regime. And so here, the AP in Montana is about to have a conniption fit, they are having a conniption fit because of the Tea Party vision for Montana.

Well, where are you, AP, on the defense of marriage and this regime simply choosing to ignore laws it doesn’t like? How about when a president ignores various federal court rulings? A federal judge has ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. No big deal, we’re gonna keep implementing it. And you’re worried about lawlessness in Montana? We’ve had an administration that’s come out and said, “You know what, this Defense of Marriage Act, it’s been around since the Clinton years, we don’t like it. We’re not gonna defend it anymore.” Lawlessness! The president does not have such authority, and yet the AP wants to tell us how off the tracks and wacko they’re getting in Montana.

… (The AP’s Gouras writes) “Arizona, Missouri and Tennessee are discussing the creation of a joint compact, like a treaty, opposing the 2010 health care law.” It’s already been declared unconstitutional, AP. “Idaho is considering a plan to nullify it, as is Montana.” Why, how radical. All of this is happening within the bounds of the law. They’re passing legislation to do this. They are not unilaterally implementing things, such as our president is doing.

Though there may be an exception out there somewhere, the establishment press on the whole hasn’t even entertained the idea that the Obama administration’s brazen continuance of Obamacare implementation is even the least bit problematic in light of Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling in Florida. Page 75 of that ruling makes it very clear that this is completely contrary to what the judge expects. What about “the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction” don’t they understand?

Outfits like the AP seem to believe that it’s more important to create stories based on their own preconceived notions about those who are opposing the advance of statism than it is to explore the legality of the statists’ actions.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Pastor of Catholic couple killed by Somali pirates praises their faith

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:20 am

From Santa Monica, California:

Feb 23, 2011 / 05:51 am

A sailing Catholic couple killed by Somali pirates during their global cruise to distribute Bibles was a “wonderful part” of a California Catholic parish, the couple’s pastor said.

Retirees Scott and Jean Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif. had decided to make a difference in the world by bringing Bibles to the “far-flung corners of the earth,” St. Monica Catholic Community pastor Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson said in a Feb. 22 interview.

“Our community believes in helping to form loving disciples who will transform this world,” he explained. Sharing Bibles was the Adams’ way of doing that during the sailing trip they began in 2004.

Their 58-foot sloop, the Quest, had separated from the Blue Water Rally cruise fleet traveling from Australia to the Mediterranean when they were hijacked by 19 Somali pirates in the northwest part of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Oman. The pirates captured the Adams and their friends Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle.

Four U.S. naval warships were tailing the captured vessel and Navy officials were engaged in negotiations with two of the pirates on board one of the American naval ships on the morning of Feb. 22.

But those talks were cut short by the sound of gunfire coming from the Quest, which Navy forces quickly boarded and captured. However, they found all four Americans had been wounded fatally.

Msgr. Torgerson said the Adams’ deaths made him feel “great great, loss” and “great pain.”

“They were faith-filled people, people of the Scripture, people of the Eucharist. They were great people of our community,” he told CNA.

Jean, who was a retired dentist and a mother of two, sang in the church choir.

The priest cited St. Paul’s words in the daily readings about receiving the “unfaded crown of glory.”

“They won the crown. I believe with all my heart they are with God today,” he continued, calling eternal life “the gift and blessing of faithful people.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Media stories report the following about the couple:

USA Today, Feb. 22 — “Their sailing adventure was a result of Scott Adam’s desire to meld his two callings, the sea and the Lord, Peace said. Scott Adam was an Episcopalian but worshiped at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, where his wife was a member of the choir, when they were onshore. They collected their mail at Marina del Rey on the west side of Los Angeles.”

Christian Post, Feb. 23 — “As a devout Episcopalian, Adam had initially considered becoming an ordained minister or a seminarian. However, Adam never finished his PhD. Adam eventually drifted from his study and decided to leave Fuller. After selling his home, he began living his dream.”

Saint Monica’s home page is here.

February 25, 2011

Parker/Spitzer: Splitser

CNN announced tonight that Kathleen Parker is leaving Parker/Spitzer:

CNN co-host Kathleen Parker leaving show

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) — Kathleen Parker, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who co-hosted CNN’s 8 p.m. show, is leaving just five months after the show debuted, the company announced Friday.

“I have decided to return to a schedule that will allow me to focus more on my syndicated newspaper column and other writings,” Parker said in a statement.

She said she enjoyed her time on the show “Parker Spitzer” with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, but she had missed focusing full-time on her column in the months she had been working on the show.

Parker’s farewell, as seen at this CNN web page, takes up all of seven seconds. Wow.

It’s hard to see how a program with a moderate who insists on claiming she’s somehow a conservative and a disgraced ex-Goveror could have worked, and it didn’t. The ratings from Thursday night showed P/S in a distant third place in the cable ratings race, barely beating its Headline News competitor:

CableRatings022411

As would be expected, the story at the Associated Press, which must think that anyone to the right of Lincoln Chafee is a conservative, called Parker one:

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said Friday that she’s leaving CNN’s prime-time “Parker/Spitzer” talk show, which will be renamed and continue with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and others.
CNN said the decision to cut ties with Parker was mutual.

The show debuted last fall to some tough reviews and poor ratings in a time slot dominated by Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. But the ending of MSNBC’s “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann last month has given CNN an opportunity. The network has averaged 638,000 viewers in the time slot during a newsy period this month, up 24 percent from last February’s show with Campbell Brown, the Nielsen Co. said.

The new show will be dubbed “In the Arena,” with two conservatives — former Fox News Channel personality E.D. Hill and National Review columnist Will Cain — joining Spitzer as panelists. CNN said others will be on the show, but they haven’t been named yet.

Parker, whose self-description is “slightly to the right of center,” became an establishment press darling in 2008 with her strident criticisms of Sarah Palin, vice-presidential running mate of “slightly to the right of center (on his best days)” John McCain. Her reward: a 2010 Pulitzer.

That there was tension between Parker and Spitzer was hardly a secret.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Shhh: 4Q10 GDP Growth Revised Down From an Annualized +3.2% to +2.8%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:52 pm

Here’s the Associated Press at 7:09 a.m., ahead of the government’s revised fourth quarter 2010 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report:

The economy probably grew a tad faster at the end of last year than first thought, helped by stronger sales of U.S. goods to foreign buyers and slightly more spending by businesses to add to their inventories.

Analysts predict the economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the October-December quarter. That’s slightly stronger than the 3.2 percent growth rate estimated a month ago.

Here’s Bloomberg, complete with its insufferably arrogant air of implied certainty (not to mention its complete failure to note that the rates involved are annualized):

Treasuries snapped a gain from yesterday before government and industry reports that economists said will show gross-domestic-product growth quickened and consumer confidence improved.

U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 3.3 percent rate in the fourth quarter, faster than the 3.2 percent pace the government estimated in January, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists before the Commerce Department report today.

Here’s the government’s actual report released at 8:30 a.m. (bolds are mine):

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

… The small fourth-quarter acceleration in real GDP primarily reflected a sharp downturn in imports, an acceleration in PCE, an upturn in residential fixed investment, and an acceleration in exports that were mostly offset by downturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending, a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in state and local government spending.

Oops.

Here’s how the AP covers the Obama administration’s keister:

  • As of 2:30 p.m. at the Business page, there isn’t even a news story about the GDP report.
  • Also as of 2:30 p.m., news about the government’s report is not findable if you search the AP’s home site on “GDP” or “gross domestic product.”
  • Jeannine Aversa’s 10:28 a.m. report (“State spending cuts slow US economic growth in Q4″) tells us that it’s the fault of reduced state and local government spending. C’mon, Jeannine, you have to know that’s a load of crap. Yes, the state/local contribution to GDP component went from an original -.10 to a -.29, but the headline says that these alleged state cuts were the main reason why overall growth wasn’t as good as expected, not why the revised number changed as it did.
  • Aversa’s opening sentence is also pure hyperbole: “Deeper spending cuts by state and local governments weighed down U.S. economic growth in the final three months of last year.” The main reason why overall growth is being held back remains “Gross Private Domestic Investment,” whose component, while declining a bit from -3.20 points to a revised -3.13, remains the single biggest deterrent — by a factor over 10 times greater than the impact of state and local spending. After flushing out the change in inventories (which are being kept lean because businesses aren’t confident that buyers are out there), fixed private investment declined from contributing 0.57 points to 0.50. In a real recovery, this category should be exploding. It also happens to be the place from which real future growth due to innovation and increases in productivity should be coming — and they’re not.

So I guess we’re supposed to believe that the economy is just gonna die if the states don’t keep spending recklessly. Zheesh.

As seen in this blog’s far right column, GDP growth during the sixth post-recession quarter under Ronald Reagan was an annualized 8.0%. Reagan, dragging many in his party kicking and screaming into doing what’s right, did what works; Obama and his party did exactly the wrong thing, won’t own up to it, and won’t stop trying to do what hasn’t worked, and won’t work.

It also should be noted, despite the downward revision, that the economy appears to have finally recovered in real terms from the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s recession. At this table, you’ll see that 4Q10′s real GDP of $13.3710 trillion is slightly above 2Q08′s $13.359 trillion. But if the final revision coming out at the end of March comes in at few tenths of a point lower, that will no longer be the case.

Of course, full recovery using the Warren Buffet standard, which says that you haven’t recovered until per capita GDP is back to where it was, remains far, far away.

Cincinnati Enquirer Reporter Frets Over ‘So Drastic’ Cuts, Govt. Shutdown

Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Malia Rulon seems to have misplaced her objectivity when she prepared a February 21 front-page report on legislation passed by the House that would reduce projected spending during the current fiscal year by $61 billion. Later in this post, I will present evidence showing that Ms. Rulon’s objectivity has likely been missing in action for many years.

This amount represents about 1.6% of the administration’s $3.819 trillion spending estimate. If implemented, this year’s $3.758 trillion in spending would still be over $1 trillion more than was spent just four years ago in fiscal 2007, as seen below:

USadjAdtuals2007to2010andProj2011to2013

See how Ms. Rulon describes these spending reductions in her report (HT Virtuous Republic; scary words in bold):

Is John Boehner pushing Congress toward government shutdown?
Speaker caught between a rock (GOP elements demanding steeper cuts) and a hard place (Dems)

John Boehner has said from the start of his tenure as speaker of the House that he doesn’t want a government shutdown, but conservative lawmakers and tea party freshmen have put him in a position that could lead to just that.

A spending bill that would fund the federal government until October is being debated in Congress. The version that passed the Republican-controlled House on Saturday makes more than $61 billion in cuts that are so drastic it’s unlikely that the Democrat-controlled Senate will approve it.

Democrats have said such deep cuts would harm the fragile economic recovery. And President Barack Obama has already threatened to veto the House version, which makes cuts to several of the president’s top priorities, such as a school reform program he has championed and money to implement his health care law and a recently passed financial reform bill.

If an agreement isn’t reached by March 4, the date on which the temporary federal budget measure expires, the government could shut down.

The only way around the deadline is if Congress were to pass an extension to that date, but any extension would have to come from the House, and Boehner made it clear last week that he won’t allow a short-term extension that keeps government funding at the level that it is now, a statement that sent shock waves across Washington.

“I am not going to move any kind of short-term (spending bill) at current levels,” the West Chester Republican said. “When we say we are going to cut spending, read my lips: We are going to cut spending.”

Ms. Rulon “shock waves” reference completely ignores the fact that the previous Congress led by Nancy Pelosi, in an unprecedented action, refused to pass a fiscal 2011 budget and simply left town. Almost five months in, the government is still operating on autopilot and, as seen above, spending has gone wild.

Other all too predictable elements of bias in Rulon’s report include these:

  • She quotes Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution without tagging him or his think tank as liberal.
  • She quotes Ohio State University political science professor Herb Asher, also without applying the liberal tag, one that The Machavellian found is proven by Asher’s extensive record of left-predominant political contributions.
  • After her “so drastic” claim, she blows right past Mann’s assertion that “(This is) High drama over something that will have a trivial effect on the deficit” without noting the irony.

In a follow-up post at the Virtuous Republic, The Machiavellian unearthed an interesting factoid at the web site of the Federal Election Commission:

MaliaRulonFECforACTcontrib2004

Imagine that.

For those who don’t recall the organization to which Rulon contributed, here is a portion of America Coming Together’s Wikipedia entry:

America Coming Together (ACT) was a liberal, political action, 527 group dedicated to get-out-the-vote activities. ACT did not specifically endorse any political party, but mostly worked on behalf of Democratic candidates. It was the largest 527 group in 2004 and was planning to be involved in future races. The group was primarily funded by Peter Lewis, George Soros, and labor unions, especially the Service Employees International Union, and was led by Steve Rosenthal, a former political director of the AFL-CIO.

… The Federal Election Commission announced on August 29, 2007, that it had reached a settlement agreement with ACT for violations of various federal campaign finance laws during the 2004 US presidential campaign. ACT has agreed to pay $775,000 in fines.

The Machiavellian makes clear that only Rulon can tell us whether her contribution would have been considered a conflict of interest at the time with the organizations for which she was providing content.

Matt Bai’s New York Times piece from July 25, 2004 (“Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy”) pretty much shreds Wiki’s “nonpartisan” claim:

Into this vacuum rushes money — and already it is creating an entirely new kind of independent force in American politics. Led by Soros and Lewis, Democratic donors will, by November, have contributed as much as $150 million to a handful of outside groups — America Coming Together, the Media Fund, MoveOn.org — that are going online, door to door and on the airways in an effort to defeat Bush. These groups aren’t loyal to any one candidate, and they don’t plan to disband after the election; instead, they expect to yield immense influence over the party’s future, at the very moment when the power of some traditional Democratic interest groups, like the once mighty manufacturing unions, is clearly on the wane.

Obviously, ACT was all about electing liberals and Democrats. Obviously, though the amount is nominal, Rulon’s contribution betrays a desire, at least at the time, to see liberals and Democrats elected.

The Machiavellian asserts, and I would agree, that Rulon’s “so drastic” report demonstrates that she still has “a political bias … which leans left and that goes a long way to explaining why … (she) wrote what she did on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer on February 21st, 2011.”

The guess here is that what The Machiavellian has relayed is a very small tip of a very large, left-biased local reporting iceberg.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.