November 19, 2012

AP and Politico Ignore Dem Senators’ Demand for Another Round of ‘Stimulus’ in ‘Cliff’ Negotiations

On November 14, the Hill reported that “Senate Democrats, feeling confident from their net gain of two seats in last week’s election, say any deficit-reduction package negotiated in the coming weeks must include stimulus measures.” Alexander Bolton’s writeup quoted Senator Chuck Schumer publicly asserting that “We have to do something because the economy is not growing fast enough in the first year or two.” Although Schumer was referring to 2013 and 2014, the “not growing fast enough” characterization fits the U.S. economy under President Barack Obama’s and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s “stimulus”-oriented policies ever since the recession officially ended in June 2009.

The fact that Democrats insist on more so-called “pump-priming” after four years of trillion dollar-plus deficits accompanied by tepid growth, thereby increasing the chances that the deficit streak will hit five years or more, even with tax hikes, while growth remains anemic, is something one might consider to be, well, news. But apparently not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, or the Politico.

A search on “stimulus” at the AP’s national site done at 9 AM today returned only four items with a time stamp later than the Hill report. None of them relate to Democratic politicians’ desires for another round of non-stimulating “stimulus.”

Over at Politico, a search on “stimulus” sorted by date returns only five results, only one of which is even peripherally relevant. A one-paragraph item at today’s “Morning Money” refers to a CNN interview former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin by Fareed Zakaria (bolds are mine throughout this post):

HOW A DEAL COULD PROVIDE STIMULUS — Former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: “If you had a sound fiscal program that dealt with our long-term imperative, then I believe, as — just as Paul said — that it would increase business confidence significantly, both because right now there’s great uncertainty about future policies and future economic conditions and because there’s a real concern about whether our government can function. And in addition, if you properly structured it, you could have a moderate up-front stimulus. … I think it’s the single most important thing you could do.”

But there is no reference to Democratic senators’ current demands for one.

Rubin may think another round of “stimulus” is important, but an Investor’s Business Daily editorial on Friday evening demonstrated that the evidence that the 2009-2010 legislated version (or, I should add, the Fed’s rounds of “quantitative easing”) have accomplished anything meaningful:

… Let’s look at the country since the last stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was passed.

On the day President Obama signed the bill, Feb. 17, 2009, the jobless rate was 8.3%. He promised that under the stimulus, unemployment would fall to 5.3% at the end of his first term. So where is it nearly four years later? It was 7.9% in October, only the second month since the stimulus became law that the jobless rate has fallen below 8.1%.

As poor as the unemployment numbers look, the reality is worse. America’s workforce participation rate has fallen from 65.7% in January 2009 to 63.8% last month.

This makes the jobs situation look rosier than it is because the unemployment rate does not figure in the millions who have given up on finding a job in this economy and have left the workforce. If they were considered, the real unemployment rate would be about 11%.

So, yes, by all means. Let’s pass another stimulus bill and have more of the same.

But let’s be fair to Schumer and check economic growth in the era of the Obama stimulus. Surely it will validate the legislation.

Well, no. …

… There has to be some economic measure that bolsters the case for another stimulus, right? What about income? Again, the Obama plan has failed.

Read the whole thing to get all of the ugly stats.

Getting back to the AP and Politico, both publications went gaga at the time of the first stimulus, eagerly relaying its promised wonders, including the prospect of unemployment being below 6 percent by now. Now, they won’t even report that Democrats want more of the same. The last stimulus effectively increased the annual spending baseline from about $2.8 trillion to its current $3.6 trillion. Another round could take it to $4 trillion — and that’s not even counting Ben Bernanke’s $40-80 billion a month of “quantitative easing.”

I submit that it’s because most Americans, and even some Obama voters, would instinctively oppose yet another ramp-up of spending.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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