November 15, 2012

AP Reports Mislead on Breakdown of Obama’s Proposed Tax Hikes, Reductions in Projected Spending

Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how several reports from the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press (here, here, and here) buried the major news about President Obama’s opening demand to Congress over resolving the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes scheduled to take effect on January 1. His demand for $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years is twice what he sought during the August 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations. You have to go to middle or near-ending paragraphs to get that from the three AP reports linked above.

Those three reports also each contain an additional paragraph which allows the administration’s misstatement of its alleged “balance” between tax increases and reductions in projected levels of spending (falsely characterized as “cuts”) to stand unchallenged:

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Several AP Reports Bury Obama’s Demand for Twice as Much in Tax Hikes As Last Year

When it comes to reporting on the what the White House wants to achieve in talks with Congress about averting the “fiscal cliff,” one apparent theme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, has been “Bury the lede about the size of Obama’s tax increases.” I’ll cover another theme (“Let them get away with misstating the ‘balanced approach’”) in a later post.

President Obama now wants $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years, which is double the amount he sought during last year’s debt-limit standoff. In ordinary times with a responsible press corps, such a massive change in posture would be headline-driving material, but not at AP, which appears to be doing its utmost to ensure that most Americans don’t know about it while still being able to claim (sort of) that “Well, we told ‘em.”

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Unemployment Claims (111512) Spike to 438K SA; Sandy Doesn’t Deserve All of the Blame

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:49 am

The DOL release is here.

More in a bit. …

UPDATE: Here are the key paragraphs from the release —

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending November 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 439,000, an increase of 78,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 361,000. The 4-week moving average was 383,750, an increase of 11,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 372,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending November 3, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s revised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 3 was 3,334,000, an increase of 171,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,163,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,254,500, an increase of 17,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,236,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 466,348 in the week ending November 10, an increase of 104,548 from the previous week. There were 363,016 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

The numbers are even worse than they appear because of changes in the seasonal factors. Last year’s for the same week was 103.7; this year’s is 106.2. Last year’s factor applied to this year’s raw number of claims yields a seasonally adjusted result which is 11,000 claims higher (466,348 divided by 1.037 is 450,000, rounded).

Looking at it another way — Before this week’s release, weekly raw claims were running 8%-12% below last year’s comparable weeks. This week is 28% (over 103,000 claims) higher. That’s at least a 36% swing (from -8% to +28%), meaning that this week’s raw claims came in about 130,000 higher than one would have expected (substituting 10% and 12% reductions as the expectation, the figure goes to 138,000 and 145,000, respectively).

Even after considering that last week’s data didn’t include DC and New York (meaning that this week has two weeks of claims for them) I’m not buying that the entire increase is due to the storm.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111512)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Gosh, we should be just like them“Euro zone falls into second recession since 2009″

Positivity: Dad’s daily photos chart 21 years of son’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From CBS News (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

November 12, 2012 10:23 AM

Most parents will tell you their children grow up too fast.

But if you go online, you can see one man go from birth to adulthood in six-and-a-half minutes. Cory McLeod’s journey — one picture taken on each day he’s lived — is of interest to more than just his family. It’s become a web sensation, garnering nearly five million hits on YouTube – and counting — since it was posted on the site just a few weeks ago.

McLeod’s father Ian has been behind the camera from the beginning. Ian McLeod says he first thought he’d manage the daily photo routine for a couple of years. But he was having so much fun, he just kept going.

Asked if the project was a pain in the neck — having your father take your picture every day, Cory McLeod said, “Sometimes. It was stuff like when I was at a friend’s house or something and my dad would ring up and say, ‘I need to come round and take your photo’.”

All of the photos — now more than 7,500 of them — were all taken on an old-fashioned film-camera. Scanning the photos into a computer took Ian McLeod a year and a half. Now, 71 albums later, the effort is all part of a YouTube video. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Photo #1 is a sonogram.