April 27, 2011

AP, NYT Downplaying and Ignoring Mass. Move to Limit Union Health Bargaining

Gosh, after Republican Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich succeeded in championing legislation curtailing many collective bargaining rights of unionized state and municipal employees in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, the establishment press had the meme all set. The GOP, conservatives, and Tea Partiers are enemies of labor and the middle class, while Democrats, liberals, and progressives are their champions.

Then along comes bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, the Bay State’s House “voted overwhelmingly last night (Tuesday) to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.” It’s not a law yet, but it seems to be heading pretty quickly in that direction.

The Associated Press’s beat reporters and editors must be beside themselves. Despite having nationalized Wisconsin-based collective-bargaining stories since February, three searches (“Massachusetts health,” Massachusetts union,” and “Massachusetts unions,” all not in quotes) indicate that the wire service was still carrying nothing relating to the Bay State’s situation at its main national site as of 7:30 this evening.

The AP’s Massachusetts local wire carried two stories, one at 11:13 p.m. Tuesday night, plus a six-paragraph unbylined story at 5:05 p.m. today, which read in part:

Mass. Gov.: “Dial down rhetoric” on union fight

Gov. Deval Patrick is urging both sides to “dial down the rhetoric” over a plan to sharply limit the collective bargaining power of public employees over their health insurance.

Patrick said Wednesday it’s important to pass a bill to ease the health care burden on communities while guaranteeing labor a seat at the table.

Union officials are furious at House Speaker Robert DeLeo after lawmakers backed the plan late Tuesday.

Does anyone remember AP reporters Scott Bauer or Todd Richmond in Wisconsin relaying advisories to dial down the rhetoric from Scott Walker? I didn’t think so. But Obama bud Deval Patrick “somehow” gets a bit of deference from AP. No matter; he’s on board with doing much of what Scott Walker just did, and to public safety workers as well, whom Walker exempted from certain of the Wisconsin law’s provisions.

Meanwhile, at the New York Times, the same three searches done at 7:45 this evening (“Massachusetts health,” “Massachusetts union,” “Massachusetts unions,”) returned nothing relevant.

The establishment press is probably too busy picking their collective jaws up off the floor, utterly astonished that the past two months of bashing sensible conservatives as heartless enemies may be on the verge of being rendered useless. Trying to bottle the news up is their only recourse.

This is 2011, guys and gals. Thanks to Drudge and others, that’s mostly not going to happen.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Obama’s Third Middle Finger: Certificate’s Release Demonstrates Punk President’s Electoral Weakness

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:20 pm

ObamaIssuedBirthCert042711ObamaMcCainMiddleFinger1108ObamaHillaryMiddleFinger0408To get to my point, I need to hearken back to high school and memories that are less than perfect, but accurate enough for the moment.

When I was a freshman at Saint Xavier High School in the Mesozoic Era, the school had a really good football team for the first time in forever. It became clear by about Game 6, after defeating then-perennial powerhouses Roger Bacon and Elder, that an undefeated season was a real possibility. It was obvious to all that the toughest win to get would be our last, as our opponent would be Moeller, then coached by the legendary Gerry Faust.

In Game 9 against a relative lightweight, the team got a bad case of the look-aheads, and was trailing late. Because of this, the coach had to call a play that he had been saving for Moeller, some kind of halfback pass that no one had seen all year that went for a touchdown, just to keep the perfect record intact.

The next week, we tied Moeller (see, I’m so old that football games sometimes ended in ties), and ended the season 9-0-1 (there were no state playoffs at the time). Given the expectations (Moeller had a relatively down year, finishing 6-2-2), it felt like loss. Surely the fact that the “secret play” wasn’t a secret any more was a factor.

The same can be said for Obama’s birth certificate gambit. They had to play it now because their guy’s support is hemorrhaging badly, and they know it. Though they would have preferred to save it until next year, they had to find something — anything — that they think might give them the upper hand and a chance to (in their fevered minds) embarrass and marginalize the people who have been raising the issue for almost three years. The birth certificate play was the only one available.

This may have some short-term advantage for Obama, but long-term, I think it’s a negative. It will take time, but ultimately enough Americans to matter will conclude that the holdout was a particularly egregious example of the type of in-your-face, petulant punk behavior we have sadly come to expect.

This where you have to remind yourself that the first people who raised the issue were Hillary Clinton supporters in Pennsylvania. The whole exercise was nothing but an extended middle finger to people of otherwise diverse political persuasions who asked for documentation anyone would reasonably have a right to expect, and which should have been released years ago.

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UPDATE: As to Trump’s claim of heroism, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — If Trump isn’t a Democratic plant whose mission is to distract sensible conservatives from the ruination being brought on this country by our Punk President and his Gangster Government, he might as well be.

UPDATE 2: Maggie’s point in a comment below about Jerome Corsi’s book having a possible impact on the timing is well-taken.

UPDATE 3: Corsi — “Obama blinked … All that did was fuel the fire. … When people read the book, they will see that Obama is not eligible to be president.”

I hope Mr. Corsi has a Plan B for publishing and/or disseminating. I would not be surprised to see tremendous pressure exerted on booksellers not to carry the book, and on broadcast outlets to refuse to interview him, despite the book’s apparently imminent best-seller status.

UPDATE 4: Great post by Aaron Worthing at Patterico’s place“The Damage Done by Obama’s Obstinance”

Maxed Out America: Coming Sooner Than You Think

Filed under: Economy,General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:27 am

PJIonTimesSquare0411The USA will hit its borrowing danger zone in far less time than we’ve been led to believe.

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Note: This column was posted at Pajamas Media and teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday. The picture on the right is a portion of the message that appeared earlier this week on a message board in Times Square in New York.

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Washington’s recent budget deal represents at best a tiny baby step in the right direction. What is at stake in the budget battles to come is exponentially higher. This is why the “Maxed Out America” initiative of the PJ Institute demands the immediate attention of the political class and the American people.
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Lucid and Lickety-Split Links (042711, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:25 am

At Yahoo! News, a MarketWatch item“According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.”

My initial reax when seeing the headline was “no big deal; they have four times as many people.” Fair enough, but MW’s Brett Arends basically says “well, bigger is bigger,” and points to deeply troubling implications:

… It raises enormous questions about what the international security system is going to look like in just a handful of years. And it casts a deepening cloud over both the U.S. dollar and the giant Treasury market …

… We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. for so long that there is no longer anyone alive who remembers anything else. America overtook Great Britain as the world’s leading economic power in the 1890s and never looked back.

And both those countries live under very similar rules of constitutional government, respect for civil liberties and the rights of property. China has none of those. The Age of China will feel very different.

… China’s neighbors in Asia are already waking up to the dangers. “The region is overwhelmingly looking to the U.S. in a way that it hasn’t done in the past,” he said. “They see the U.S. as a counterweight to China. They also see American hegemony over the last half-century as fairly benign. In China they see the rise of an economic power that is not benevolent, that can be predatory. They don’t see it as a benign hegemony.”

The rise of China, and the relative decline of America, is the biggest story of our time.

… If the U.S. dollar ceases to be the world’s sole reserve currency, what will be?

What got us here has been a multi-decade process, but, as with seemingly everything else the Obama administration touches, it’s accelerated into overdrive during the past two-plus years.

Perhaps one reason that the rest of the world is viewing the U.S a bit more favorably (grain of salt alert on the info source, however; also, Egypt is an obvious exception) is because they’re seeing what the alternative is.

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CNBC headline: “US Banks Warn Obama on Soaring Debt”

Actual headline of the underlying article at the Financial Times (requires registration): “Nervous Wall Street warns on debt limit.”

Big difference, doncha think?

It turns out that the banks are really warning that the U.S. can’t allow a hiccup in increasing the debt ceiling, and are in essence putting enormous pressure on Congress to pass an increase:

A group of the largest US banks and fund managers stepped up the pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to reach a deal to increase the country’s debt limit, saying that even a short default could be devastating for the financial markets and economy.

The warning over the debt limit is the strongest yet to come from Wall Street, highlighting growing nervousness among investors about the US political system’s ability to forge a consensus on fiscal policy.

The most pressing budgetary issue confronting Congress and the Obama administration is the need to raise the US debt ceiling, which stands at $14,300 billion.

Given the Obama administration’s incestuous relationships on Wall Street, this looks orchestrated, even to the point where it’s not out of line to believe that if there are hiccups, Timmy Geithner and the merry band of his Wall Street buddies (e.g., as noted last December at Weapons of Mass Discussion, Peter Orszag; Ted Strickland the demagogue, please take note) will make sure that there is some form of mini-default and blame the Republican Congress for its occurrence.

Why CNBC put up such an obviously deceptive headline is a mystery.

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If the flags are at half-staff at the White House today, this will be why. (/kidding)

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In Massachusetts — Deval Patrick = Scott Walker?

Drudge Siren: ‘Obama to Show Long-Form Birth Certificate’ (Update: It’s at WH Site)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:14 am

DrudgeOnBirthCert042711

BizzyBlog, July 20, 2009:

Personally, I think that either the concerns being raised are valid — or that this is the Mother Of All Sucker-Punches, in which case the full release of proof, if ever deemed necessary, will be delivered when the crescendo hits its db peak to maximize embarrassment. I wish I knew which one it is.

Assuming Drudge himself isn’t being sucker-punched, we may be about to find out.

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UPDATE: Now it’s “OBAMA SHOWS LONG FORM HERE IT IS!”

UPDATE 2: Drudge just linked to a CNN story saying it has been released. No pics yet. The fact that CNN just did a long report on the controversy would seem to indicate that it was aware that this was coming.

UPDATE 3: Here it is. Next questions: Why was this so difficult (i.e., reportedly millions of dollars were spent to prevent this, and regardless of how it’s priced out, certainly thousands (meant to write) hundreds of hours of legal time), and why now? It should NOT be forgotten that the issue was first raised by Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania.

Positivity: NJ students step forward to join Catholic Church

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Camden, New Jersey:

Apr 23, 2011 / 01:14 pm

St. Mary Magdalen Regional School in Millville, N.J. will finish this academic year with more than a dozen additional Catholic students – but not because of a surge in enrollment.

The increase is due to 13 of the school’s 29 non-Catholic students joining the Catholic Church.

“It is very unusual,” said Sister Rosa Maria Ojeda, the principal. “Usually we have two or three, or at most four.”

It’s too soon to know if this year’s sharp increase in conversions is the beginning of a trend or is just coincidental. Sister Rosa Maria said there is no formal program to encourage the conversions. It is up to the students and their parents to come forward and make the request.

Mary Boyle, the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Camden, said she does not have statistics yet for this year, but she isn’t aware of any pattern of increase in the number of non-Catholic students joining the faith.

“Our schools certainly do make an effort to work on that,” she said. “We want them planting seeds but not proselytizing.”

She noted that the diocese views such conversions as a parish event rather than as a school event.

All 182 St. Mary Magdalen students – whatever their faith – receive the same religious instruction as part of the school day. For the non-Catholics who wish to convert, once they get their parents’ approval, one of the sisters works with them individually for an hour after school once or twice a week to prepare. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP’s Surveyed Economists: Unless Stopped by $150 Oil, Happy Days Are Here Again

PollyannaJeannineAversa0411It’s always a bit of risk saying that a bunch of supposedly smart folks are wrong, but the economists Jeannine Aversa at the Associated Press consulted for a Tuesday afternoon report on the economic outlook must be taking a double dose of sunshine pills every day.

If we are to believe these folks, the only thing that can stop the economy now is oil — not the $112 a barrel accompanied by $4 per gallon gas we’re seeing now. That’s noooo problem. These smarties apparently think it’s clear sailing ahead for the economy as long as oil doesn’t go to $150, which would translate to at least $5.50 a gallon.

Here goes, if you can stand it:

AP survey: Only oil shock can stop economy now

The American economy is now strong enough to withstand Middle East turmoil and the Japanese nuclear crisis. Only a big rise in the price of oil could stop it now.

Those are the findings of an Associated Press survey of leading economists, who are increasingly confident in a recovery that is nearly two years old. They expect the economy to grow faster every quarter this year.

In part, that’s because the economists think Americans will spend more freely in the coming months. Higher stock prices have made people wealthier. And a cut in the Social Security payroll tax is giving most households an extra $1,000 to $2,000 this year.

… The one factor that could make a second recession a possibility would be a jump in oil prices to $150 a barrel, economists say. Oil trades at about $112 a barrel now. The record high, set in the summer of 2008, is about $147 a barrel.

“The economy is regaining some of its lost muscle and now seems to have a much thicker skin than it did six months or a year ago, and that’s helping it handle various negative forces,” said Lynn Reaser, a board member of the National Association for Business Economics.

While oil has risen almost $40 a barrel since Labor Day, analysts think it would take something extraordinary to drive the price all the way to a new record – either supply disruptions because of a new front in the Mideast unrest or action by the Federal Reserve that brings down the value of the dollar.

Economists think gas prices, now averaging $3.87 a gallon and rising every day, will stabilize by summer and drop to about $3.50 by fall. Rising gas prices are taking up much of what Americans are pocketing from the Social Security tax cut.

Aversa goes on to note the following predictions:

  • Over 3% annualized economic growth during each of the next three quarters, after 2.2% in the first (this first-quarter estimate directly conflicts with many other forecasters who have recently cut their estimates to an annualized 1.5% or so).
  • A drop in the unemployment rate to 8.4% by December, 10 quarters after the official end of the recession. By contrast, 10 quarters after the end of the early-1980s recession, the economy’s unemployment rate under Ronald Reagan was 7.2%, even though the rate had peaked at a higher level (10.8%) just after the recession than it did shortly after the 2008-2009 recession (10.1%).
  • Average hourly pay will rise, consumer spending will grow robustly, inflation will stay relatively tame, and the ghost of Saul Alinsky will return to take us to the Promised Land. (Okay, I made up the last one.)

Aversa’s assembled apparatchiks — er, economists — would be more believable if we weren’t looking at the following contrary indicators, to name just a few of potentially many:

  • A housing industry that is 25% of what it was six years ago and shows little sign of recovery. Even Aversa’s colleague Derek Kravitz knows that, and reported it yesterday: “”
  • Numerous price-increase announcements by consumer products makers — “According to The Wall Street Journal, last week retailers were told to expect price increases next month on items like Scott tissue (up 7 percent), Charmin tissue (up 5 percent), and Glad trash bags (9.5 percent).”
  • A three-month crash in consumer confidence as reported by Gallup.
  • The ongoing effect of multi-year, $1 trillion-plus deficits.

My bet is that the Aversa’s write-up is an attempt to take some of the sting of out what is looking to be an disappointing first quarter GDP report coming out Thursday by doing a preemptive Tony the Tiger routine (“Hey, this quarter was weak, but the rest of the year will be grrrrrreat!). Shoot, even the New York Times noted on Sunday that “the pace of recovery from the global financial crisis has flagged since November.”

Again, though you never want to say they’re wrong, it seems from here that Aversa went to a bunch of folks she could count on to tell her what she wanted to hear. Remember, this is the same reporter who trumpeted an economic “rebound” in December 2009. That didn’t work out too well. We’re still millions of jobs down from where we would be in anything resembling a normal recovery, and it took GDP four more quarters to get back to where it was before the recession began. The recovery as Warren Buffett defines it — per capita GDP returning to where it was in June 2008 — remains a far-off dream.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

April 26, 2011

Kasich v. Strickland Jobs Face-Off: After One Quarter, Kasich Ahead

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 pm

Longtime BizzyBlog readers know that yours truly is a big fan of looking at the raw numbers, i.e., the NOT seasonally adjusted ones, to get a handle on what is really happening on the ground. That’s because, especially in highly volatile times (as in the past few years), the seasonally adjusted numbers don’t always return results that make sense.

To make the following charts clear to relative newcomers, it is very typical for an economy to lose jobs in January, as Christmas-season help is no longer needed. Typically February and March are months where employment picks up, but often not by enough to offset the December losses. Seasonally adjusted jobs figures attempt to smooth these fluctuations out. Over time, they do a good job. Within individual months, the results are sometimes shaky.

So with that out of the way — After three months in office, Ohio’s economy under John Kasich has lost fewer jobs than were lost during Ted Strickland’s first three months in office:

KasichVsStricklandJobs1Q11

In January and February, Kasich, who is presumptively accountable for this year’s results because his election created realistic expectations for improvement among those who make the decisions to add, keep, and eliminate jobs, outperformed Strickland (who was similarly accountable in 2007, but whose election created lukewarm to negative expectations). Strickland caught up a bit in March. Strickland could argue that he was operating in more of a headwind in the first quarter of 2007, as the nationwide economy grew by an annualized 0.9% vs. the roughly 1.5% or so currently estimated for 2011′s first quarter. Additionally, as seen above, the country lost more jobs (again, NOT seasonally adjusted) during the first quarter of 2007 than it appears to have lost during the first quarter of 2011 (pending revisions and annual comprehensive adjustments).

Nonetheless, Kasich is legitimately ahead by a margin that more than makes up for the Stickland counter-arguments.

I anticipate updating this info periodically. It should indeed be interesting.

Without a Shrinking About.com, NYT’s 1Q10 Financials Would Show an $8 Million Loss

NYTlogoWithPaper0209The New York Times announced its first quarter 2010 results on Thursday. As is the case with most companies when they would rather not talk about the bottom line, the Times instead concentrated on its “operating profit.”

A detailed look at the release reveals a group of contracting, money-losing journalistic endeavors propped up by an also-shrinking Internet enterprise.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the company’s release:

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) announced today 2011 first-quarter diluted earnings per share of $.04 per share compared with $.08 in the same period of 2010. Excluding severance and the special items discussed below, diluted earnings per share were $.02 per share in the first quarter of 2011 compared with $.11 in the first quarter of 2010.

Operating profit was $31.1 million in the first quarter of 2011 compared with $52.7 million in the same period of 2010. Excluding depreciation, amortization and severance, operating profit was $60.5 million in the first quarter of 2011 compared with $83.3 million in the first quarter of 2010.

“Our operating performance reflects the continuing transformation of our Company, which intersected with an important milestone in the first quarter,” said Janet L. Robinson, president and chief executive officer, The New York Times Company. “While the challenges for our Company and for the larger economy are not yet behind us, the recent launch of Times digital subscription packages on NYTimes.com and across other digital platforms brings our plan for a new revenue stream to life, offering us another reason for optimism about the future of our Company.

The term “net income” only appears in the financial statements themselves, and is absent from the roughly 2000-word release. Net income for the quarter was $5.2 million, down 63% from $14.2 million in the first quarter of 2010, which itself was propped up by a $10.2 million gain (per footnote c in the report) on the sale of a paper-mill joint venture.

Focusing on the current quarter, here is my estimate of how the allocation of net income shakes out:

NYT1Q11incomeAlloctn

I allocated corporate costs based on revenues, which absent any specific information is as good a rationale as any. The News Media Group eats all interest costs because the Times paid cash and from what I recall did not have to borrow to buy About in 2005. Though entirely allocated to the News Media Group, the “Other items” could arguably favor About Group even more, as they include a $5.8 million gain on the sale of job listing aggregator indeed.com (the News Media Group really doesn’t deserve credit for that), a $5.7 million loss on the paper mill joint venture sale (News Media Group-related), and $1.4 million in income taxes.

Note that About Group’s operating profit of $14.3 million is almost half of the company’s $31.1 million in operating profit. Absent a favorable change in direction, it seems that the Times will not likely be able to continue counting on About to keep spinning off enough income to cover up everyone else’s losses. About’s revenues were down about 9% from a year ago, while its operating profit was down about 14%.

Thus as stated earlier, the Times is “a group of contracting, money-losing journalistic endeavors propped up by an also-shrinking Internet enterprise.” If you expected another establishment press entity to expose this inconvenient truth about the Times, forget about it: Michael Liedtke’s coverage at the Associated Press Thursday afternoon didn’t even recognize the existence of the About Group.

Given what the Times’s various publications have done to poison the well of fairness and objectivity over the years, I can only echo Instapunditeer Glenn Reynolds in saying “Faster please.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

The Housing Story: ‘Down Doobie Doo Down Down’ Continues

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:25 pm

First, some mood music, from the glory days of lip-synching:

I know the song is called “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” but I’ve always thought of it as the “Down Doobie Doo Down Down” song.

“Down Doobie Doo Down Down,” as seen in this chart created from data at the Census Bureau, is what the U.S. new-home market is:

NewHomeSalesTrailing12mos1Q11

Setting aside the slide that got us there, 1Q11′s trailing 12 months sales of 306,000 is not only by far the lowest in the 48 years since records have been kept, but also, as demonstrated here, certainly the lowest since World War II. The first quarter of 2011 came in at a ridiculously 71,000.

One can argue of course that the years of the mid-2000s were way overheated, but the current level of sales is totally unacceptable, and still getting worse. Barring a surprise, April’s 12 trailing months will come in below 300,000; April 2010′s 41,000 unit sales uptick caused by the expiration of the homebuyer’s credit will almost certainly not be replicated.

Housing won’t come back until the Obama administration lets the market clear out its debris. From all appearance, they’re not going to let it happen any time soon. Until they do, the ongoing nature of this disaster is on them, and them alone.

Regulatory Thuggery at the NLRB

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:02 am

I heard about this late last week, but with this administration, it’s virtually impossible to document all the horrors in real time.

According to the Obama National Labor Relations Board, a unionized company can’t set up a non-union plant in another state, even if doing so will have zero negative effect on employment at unionized plants. The NLRB decided this AFTER aerospace giant Boeing had already invested $2 billion and 17 months in the project.

I’m not kidding.

A Wall Street journal editorial on Thursday called the NLRB ruling “one for the (dark) ages.”

They’re not kidding (bolds are mine):

We knew that Big Labor had political pull at the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board, but yesterday’s complaint against Boeing is one for the (dark) ages. By challenging Boeing’s right to build aircraft in South Carolina, labor’s bureaucratic allies in Washington are threatening the ability of states to compete for new jobs and investment—and risking the economic recovery to boot.

In 2009 Boeing announced plans to build a new plant to meet demand for its new 787 Dreamliner. Though its union contract didn’t require it, Boeing executives negotiated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to build the plane at its existing plant in Washington state. The talks broke down because the union wanted, among other things, a seat on Boeing’s board and a promise that Boeing would build all future airplanes in Puget Sound.

So Boeing management did what it judged to be best for its shareholders and customers and looked elsewhere. In October 2009, the company settled on South Carolina, which, like the 21 other right-to-work states, has friendlier labor laws than Washington. As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn’t have “strikes happening every three to four years.” The union has shut down Boeing’s commercial aircraft production line four times since 1989, and a 58-day strike in 2008 cost the company $1.8 billion.

This reasonable business decision created more than 1,000 jobs and has brought around $2 billion of investment to South Carolina. The aerospace workers in Puget Sound remain among the best paid in America, but the union nonetheless asked the NLRB to stop Boeing’s plans before the company starts to assemble planes in North Charleston this July.

The NLRB obliged with its complaint yesterday asking an administrative law judge to stop Boeing’s South Carolina production because its executives had cited the risk of strikes as a reason for the move. Boeing acted out of “anti-union animus,” says the complaint by acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, and its decision to move had the effect of “discouraging membership in a labor organization” and thus violates federal law.

It’s hard to know which law he’s referring to.

Laws? They don’t need no stinking laws.

Once again, this is what tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”) looks like.

Continuing:

… Beyond labor politics, the NLRB’s ruling would set a terrible precedent for the flow of jobs and investment within the U.S. It would essentially give labor a veto over management decisions about where to build future plants. And it would undercut the right-to-work statutes in 22 American states—which is no doubt the main union goal here.

… (Obama’s) appointees are determined to impose it by regulatory fiat—no matter the damage to investment and job creation.

In my view, this also has important implications for companies considering going public. The best way to get around the NLRB’s ruling for nonpublic companies is to set up a different company with a slightly different ownership structure to do work in more business-friendly states. That option was either unavailable or more difficult to finesse for publicly held Boeing. Sarbanes Oxley has already made going public difficult enough.

Lest we forget, Boeing is headquartered in Chicago, which celebrated like crazy when the company moved its HQ there from Washington State in 2001. Hmm — There’s a potential partial use for that South Carolina building.

Those who ridicule the notion that “It’s the Uncertainty, Stupid,” i.e., that business uncertainty caused by arbitrary government and regulatory action and inaction is holding back the economy, please take note. Nearly three full years after the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy deliberately-induced regime of uncertainty began doing its damage, it is by far THE biggest factor causing the economy to underachieve.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander’s WSJ op-ed today addresses the real implications for another important industry:

… now unions want to make it illegal for a company that has experienced repeated strikes to move production to a state with a right-to-work law. What would this mean for the future of American auto jobs? Jobs would flee overseas as manufacturers look for a competitive environment in which to make and sell cars around the world.

Our goal should be to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs in this country.

That this is not the Obama administration’s goal could not be more obvious.

Positivity: In historic TV Q&A, Pope Benedict speaks about suffering, comatose persons, persecution

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Vatican City:

Apr 22, 2011 / 11:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Making broadcasting history on Good Friday by becoming the first Pontiff to be on a TV Q&A program, Pope Benedict XVI appeared in the Italian pre-recorded show “In His Image,” responding to seven questions sent from around the world about suffering, coma, persecution of Christians, the resurrection and Mary.

The full text of the questions and the Holy Father’s answers follows:
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April 25, 2011

Overnight Outrage: Tax-Funded Courses in Missouri on Strategic Union Violence

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:57 pm

UnionThugCourseVidsIntro0411Imagine if a Tea Party backer by some miracle got to teach on a college campus, and began describing ways to, oh, I don’t know, keep opposing politicians from conducting business, hack into their computers and destroy data, and make their staffs feel threatened. How long would that class last, and how long would it be before it became a national news story?

Well, Publius at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com reports that ” the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) sponsored two college courses: Introduction to Labor Studies and Labor Politics and Society, to be taught simultaneously through a video conference between to two campuses.” Publius asserts, with video proof, that the courses really really are “How-to College Course(s) in Violent Union Tactics.”

The two must-see BigGov posts are here and here. The videos follow the jump.

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Income and Life Expectancy Ambush Repelled

Filed under: Economy,Soc. Sec. & Retirement,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:01 pm

Pajamas Media asked me to appear on a “progressive” talk radio show this afternoon, and I dutifully assented.

The topic was my second most recent column, “End the Life Expectancy ‘Handouts’ and Encourage Post-Retirement Work.”

The host was intent on twisting my column into a supposed to desire to see people work until they drop dead and get buried on the spot (What about “encourage post-retirement work” didn’t he understand?). This of course is not the case; his angle is why you’re not going to see me mention his name in this post. Fortunately, I was able to head the attempted misdirection off at the pass as soon as I detected it by reminding him of the column’s title.

I was surprised that the host was apparently unaware of the existence of Social Security’s retirement earnings penalty, as he questioned whether there were any current disincentives discouraging post-retirement work.

What I wasn’t ready for was the host’s assertion that there are radical life expectancy differences at age 65 between high-income and low-income groups. I said “I don’t think so.”

Well, now I know that it isn’t so. The info which follow is a little dated, but there’s no way that things have changed that much for the worse (they’ve probably improved) in the intervening decade.

First, there’s this:

How long you live depends on which USA you live in
Updated 9/12/2006 5:16 PM ET

America is a nation divided by vast differences in life expectancy, a “longevity gap” that can’t be readily explained by race, income or access to health care, a study reported Monday.

… supported by this:

Map out the ’8 Americas’
Updated 9/11/2006 10:16 PM ET

The vast differences of life expectancy separating the “eight Americas” reported by Harvard’s Christopher Murray and his co-workers in September’s PloS Medicine appear to be due mainly to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, along with homicides and injuries with well-known risks such as alcohol-related car crashes.

Murray says the “longevity gap” can be reduced by “cheap and effective” measures to lower cancer and heart disease risks; among those measures are eating healthier foods, exercising regularly and taking medications that lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.

The following is a snapshot of the “eight Americas” and how life expectancy divides us:

• 1. 10.4 million Asians with a per capita income of $21,566 and an average life expectancy of 85.

• 2. 3.6 million whites in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Montana and Nebraska, with a income of $17,758 and an average life expectancy of 79 .

• 3. 214 million middle Americans, with a per capita income of $24,640 and an average life expectancy of 78.

• 4. 16.6 million whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley with an income of $16,390 and a life expectancy of 75.

• 5. 1 million Western Native Americans with a per capita income of $10,029 and life expectancy of 73.

• 6. 23.4 million black middle Americans with a per capita income of $15,412 and a life expectancy of 73.

• 7. 5.8 million southern low-income blacks with a per capita income of $10,463 and a life expectancy of 71.

• 8. 7.5 million high-risk urban blacks, living in counties with a homicide risk that tops the 95th percentile of U.S. counties, with a per capita income of $14,800 and a life expectancy of 71.

Simply stated, if income were a controlling determinant, Groups 1 and 2 wouldn’t be Groups 1 and 2. Group 3 would be living longer. They don’t.

Now I guess to definitively prove the obvious I should to go to the next step and look at Age-65 life expectancies. But I couldn’t readily find relevant income-related data at that age, including at the web site my interviewer suggested.

In reality, there’s really no reason to dig any further. It’s intuitively clear that Groups 1 and 2 can’t possibly all of a sudden have short life expectancies at age 65 if their life expectancies at birth are so long. The numbers wouldn’t work.

Really, seeing that the conclusion is so obvious and the original assertion so absurd, I’ve already put too much effort into this. Income isn’t a hugely influential determinant. Consider this another liberal meme that’s busted.

It’s ridiculous how easy this is.

NYT ‘Shazam!’ Moment: ‘Stimulus by Fed Is Disappointing’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:38 pm

NYTlogoWithPaper0209Perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but in late August 2010 Ben Bernanke took on complete responsibility for everything — especially everything mediocre or bad — that occurs in the economy.

I know this because on August 27 and 28 (covered here and here), the Associated Press issued three reports essentially telling readers that it was up to Ben to save us. There wasn’t anything Barack Obama, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or then-present Larry Summers could possibly say or do to improve the economic situation, described at the time as “appears to be stalling” in one of those AP items.

Out of this came what has come to be known as “QE2″ (the second round of “quantitative easing”), otherwise known as “electronically printing money to buy U.S. debt because possibly no one else will.”

Well, it hasn’t worked out so well, according to the New York Times, whose Binyamin Appelbaum reported the “surprisingly” pathetic results on Sunday:

Stimulus by Fed Is Disappointing, Economists Say

The Federal Reserve’s experimental effort to spur a recovery by purchasing vast quantities of federal debt has pumped up the stock market, reduced the cost of American exports and allowed companies to borrow money at lower interest rates.

But most Americans are not feeling the difference, in part because those benefits have been surprisingly small. The latest estimates from economists, in fact, suggest that the pace of recovery from the global financial crisis has flagged since November, when the Fed started buying $600 billion in Treasury securities to push private dollars into investments that create jobs.

As the Fed’s policy-making board prepares to meet Tuesday and Wednesday — after which the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, will hold a news conference for the first time to explain its decisions to the public — a broad range of economists say that the disappointing results show the limits of the central bank’s ability to lift the nation from its economic malaise.

“It’s good for stopping the fall, but for actually turning things around and driving the recovery, I just don’t think monetary policy has that power,” said Mark Thoma, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon, referring specifically to the bond-buying program.

Well, wait a minute. If monetary policy doesn’t have that power, what does? Maybe it’s fiscal policy, the massive disaster perpetrated by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid during the past four budget years (2008 through 2011), with President Barack Obama leading the cheers and signing the bills since January 2009.

Well then, maybe Appelbaum should have addressed how fiscal policy has failed us, and is endangering us. He didn’t; you will search in vain for the following words in his coverage: Obama, Democrats, Pelosi, Reid, Congress.

Continuing, with an incredible assertion by Appelbaum that doesn’t pass the laugh test in bold:

Mr. Bernanke and his supporters say that the purchases have improved economic conditions, all but erasing fears of deflation, a pattern of falling prices that can delay purchases and stall growth. Inflation, which is beneficial in moderation, has climbed closer to healthy levels since the Fed started buying bonds.

“These actions had the expected effects on markets and are thereby providing significant support to job creation and the economy,” Mr. Bernanke said in a February speech, an argument he has repeated frequently.

But growth remains slow, jobs remain scarce, and with the debt purchases scheduled to end in June, the Fed must now decide what comes next.

I’m so glad that inflation is “closer to healthy levels.” Meanwhile, producer prices are up at an annual rate of 4.2% during the first quarter. Binny, my friend, we can only stand so much “health.”

As to “what comes next,” what happened last time, in my opinion, is that Team Obama and the Democratic Congress told Ben: “Pal, you’d better keep priming the pump or we’re going to pin the double-dip entirely on you.” Perhaps Ben will be similarly forced into QE3 this time — after which the Times will again be “surprised” at its ineffectiveness. But with Republicans controlling the House, maybe Ben will pass on QE3 so the administration can blame Boehner. Regardless, you can pretty much count on the Times and the rest of the establishment press to do everything they can to disassociate Barack Obama and his administration from any blame for the calamity it and the Pelosi-Reid Congress have created.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.