August 29, 2011

LiveAction.org Calls Out NYT’s Charles Blow For Now-Corrected Obvious Abortion Stat Error

In his Friday column (“Failing Forward“), published in Saturday’s print edition, the New York Time’s Charles Blow really blew it in attempting to relay an abortion-related statistic from the abortion-supportive Alan Guttmacher Institute. Blow wrote (shown here) that “the unintended pregnancy rate has jumped 50 percent since 1994.”

The Times has since corrected the column to reflect what the Guttmacher Institute reported, which is that (italics are mine) “the unintended pregnancy rate among poor women has jumped 50 percent since 1994.” LiveAction.org’s Lisa Graas and Jennie Stone both noted Blow’s blunder earlier today. Each also strongly and eloquently criticized Blow for his profoundly antilife attitudes. Additionally, the Times columnist used a “from 2000 to 2009″ statistic about child poverty to mask the fact that most of the rise in that statistic occurred during the final year of that time period, i.e., the first year of the presidency of you-know-who.

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AP’s Pace, Covering Krueger Nomination: Obama Struggles With ‘Perceptions the Economy Is Stuck in Low Gear’

Maybe AP stands for “Alternative Planet.”

In an early version of Julie Pace’s coverage of President Obama’s selection of Alan Krueger to be the next head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the following paragraph appeared (bolds are mine):

The decision completes a wholesale shake-up of the team that Obama brought with him to the White House over three years ago. Advisers Larry Summers, Christina Romer and Goolsbee have now all departed, and Obama continues to struggle with perceptions the economy is stuck in low gear on his watch.

Two obvious points:

  1. Obama has been President for just over 31 months, which is over five months short of “over three years ago.” It has been about a week short of 34 months since he won the presidential election and started acting like he was already president during the Bush-Obama transition. It only feels like it’s been over three years, Julie — wayyyyy over three years, while the Obama administration’s policies have set industries like housing back by decades.
  2. In Pace’s Place on Planet AP, Obama’s problem isn’t that the economy is sputtering; it’s just the perception that it is. The economy’s average annualized growth this year of less than 1% is some kind of mirage.

Actually, there’s a name for the planet on which Pace and a large and influential portion of the wire service which employs her reside: Planet DC. In that never-never land, Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is at +11. Meanwhile, each of the 50 states has a confidence index of -13 or lower. Additionally, as noted by Catherine Rampell at the New York Times:

In every state, a majority of residents think the economy is getting worse. In the nation’s capital, however, a full 60 percent of people think the economy is getting better.

This may be good evidence for those arguing that Washington exists in its own disconnected bubble.

Or, in other words, on Planet DC, a land made rich largely on the backs of the 50 states from which it receives its sustenance.

Planet DC has two aspects. Its current condition is one where things are great no matter what the silly economic data says. On the other hand, when a Republican or conservative is in the White House, as was the case during the eight years before President Obama took office, I don’t recall the press ever claiming that George W. Bush’s economy was facing “perception” problems. In fact, Planet DC’s media residents worked tirelessly to create negative and largely false economic perceptions during those years.

Pace’s early errors are in the process of being washed clean and flushed down the media memory hole in the AP’s updates. A Google web search on the second bolded segment above (in quotes) returned 68 items without duplicates at about 1:30 p.m. But clicking on many and perhaps most of the results returned (examples here and here) brings one to an updated version of Pace’s story without the timing error and “perception” howler. A Google News search on the same string returns only one item at NPR.com which as of 1:40 p.m. hadn’t been revised.

You see, in addition to having no accountability for differentially reporting on the economic performance of presidents regardless of the underlying economic reality (Republicans/conservatives – “weak,” “trying to avoid a recession”; Democrats – “booming,” — or if not, “struggling with perceptions”), being on Planet AP means almost never having to say you’re sorry.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Stephen Moore on Obamanomics vs. Reaganomics: ‘One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn’t’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:52 am

Wall Street Journal editorial board member laid it out starkly on Friday, before the downward revision of GDP growth was announced (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

The two presidents have a lot in common. Both inherited an American economy in collapse. And both applied daring, expensive remedies. Mr. Reagan passed the biggest tax cut ever, combined with an agenda of deregulation, monetary restraint and spending controls. Mr. Obama, of course, has given us a $1 trillion spending stimulus.

By the end of the summer of Reagan’s third year in office, the economy was soaring. The GDP growth rate was 5% and racing toward 7%, even 8% growth. In 1983 and ’84 output was growing so fast the biggest worry was that the economy would “overheat.” In the summer of 2011 we have an economy limping along at barely 1% growth and by some indications headed toward a “double-dip” recession. By the end of Reagan’s first term, it was Morning in America. Today there is gloomy talk of America in its twilight.

… One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn’t.

The Reagan philosophy was to incentivize production—i.e., the “supply side” of the economy—by lowering restraints on business expansion and investment. This was done by slashing marginal income tax rates, eliminating regulatory high hurdles, and reining in inflation with a tighter monetary policy.

The Keynesians in the early 1980s assured us that the Reagan expansion would not and could not happen. …

The Godfather of the neo-Keynesians, Paul Samuelson, was the lead critic of the supposed follies of Reaganomics. He wrote in a 1980 Newsweek column that to slay the inflation monster would take “five to ten years of austerity,” with unemployment of 8% or 9% and real output of “barely 1 or 2 percent.” Reaganomics was routinely ridiculed in the media, especially in the 1982 recession. That was the year MIT economist Lester Thurow famously said, “The engines of economic growth have shut down here and across the globe, and they are likely to stay that way for years to come.”

The economy would soon take flight for more than 80 consecutive months. …

… Fast-forward to today. Mr. Obama is running deficits of $1.3 trillion, or 8%-9% of GDP. If the Reagan deficits powered the ’80s expansion (as Keynesians claimed after the fact — Ed.), the Obama deficits—twice as large—should have the U.S. sprinting at Olympic speed.

what Reagan inherited was arguably a more severe financial crisis than what was dropped in Mr. Obama’s lap. You don’t believe it? From 1967 to 1982 stocks lost two-thirds of their value relative to inflation, according to a new report from Laffer Associates. That mass liquidation of wealth was a first-rate financial calamity. And tell me that 20% mortgage interest rates, as we saw in the 1970s, aren’t indicative of a monetary-policy meltdown.

… (Reagan’s often-criticized) borrowing financed a remarkable and prolonged economic expansion and a victory against the Evil Empire in the Cold War. What exactly have Mr. Obama’s deficits gotten us?

Two other points:

  1. I disagree with Moore on the pre-Obama “collapse.” Conditions were in place for a recovery to begin on its own in the month or so before Obama’s inauguration. As the plans for massive “stimulus” became known, and especially after it was rapidly and rabidly passed, any chances of that happening were squashed like a bug. Before it make the “Endless Recovery” a now over-two-year miserable experience, the stimulus lengthened the recession. 2Q09′s GDP contraction shouldn’t have happened.
  2. One important overlooked item is that Reagan’s tax cuts of 5%, 10%, and 10% didn’t kick in until October 1981, July 1982, and July 1983, respectively. At the time, the Journal properly pointed out that the 1981 cut, effectively a 1.25% cut, was meaningless and that the 1982 cut spread over the calendar year was only another 5% (i.e., only a cumulative 10%). It was only in early 1983 when the size of the Reagan cuts (now up to 20%) began to aggressively improve the economy with full force. The Democrat-controlled Congress of Tip O’Neill couldn’t stop the cuts because of their popularity, but established the kick-in dates just noted in hopes of stalling the positive effects of Reagan’s cuts (which they knew in their hearts would work) far enough into the future to undercut the president’s popularity and end his presidency. It didn’t work, but it needlessly lengthened the recession and delayed the recovery.

So much for the party of compassion, which in both cases cited lengthened recessions and increased the associated pain on the unemployed.

Positivity: Record number of Dallas seminarians is answer to prayers

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Dallas:

Aug 26, 2011 / 06:14 am

The Diocese of Dallas has a record number of 19 new seminarians, Bishop Kevin Farrell announced recently.

“Indeed the Holy Spirit has been working through parents, priests and our vocations staff to bring about this blessing for our diocese. The prayers of many have been answered,” the Bishop of Dallas said on his blog Aug. 19.

The number is an increase from last year, when 11 men entered seminary. Fifteen of the new seminarians come from the Diocese of Dallas.

“It is great to have some good news to report these days and a record number of 19 new seminarians is certainly good news,” Bishop Farrell said.

There are now 70 seminarians studying for the diocese, an increase from 56 in 2010.

Twelve of the new aspirants to the priesthood will attend Holy Trinity Seminary, two will go to St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston and two will attend Assumption Seminary in San Antonio. …

Go here for the rest of the story.