December 12, 2012

AP Fails to Tell Readers November’s $172 Billion Deficit Is Worst November Ever

Back in the days when journalists practiced journalism, they would be on the alert for record-breaking news, whether positive or negative. These days, at least when it comes to the economy, it seems that they struggle to find positive records and ignore obvious negative ones right in front of their faces.

A case in point is today’s Associated Press report on November’s Monthly Treasury Statement. The government’s report came in with a deficit of $172.1 billion, the highest November shortfall ever (the runner-up: last year’s $137.3 billion). The AP’s Christopher Rugaber either failed to recognize the reported amount as a record — doubtful in my view given its size — or didn’t think its recordbreaking status was newsworthy. To be fair, unlike colleague Martin Crutsinger’s typical monthly attempts, Rugaber got to almost all of the requisite monthly and year-to-date facts on receipts, spending, and the deficit itself, including comparisons to last year. Excerpts, including the all too familiar historical revisionism on how we got to where we are, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):


Rick Snyder: ‘The Facts About Freedom to Work’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:51 pm

From the Michigan Governor’s web site (bolds other than in questions added by me):

December 11, 2012

What is Freedom to Work?

Freedom to Work, also known as right to work, is a simple measure that gives every worker the right to choose for themselves whether to join a union. It’s based on the simple truth that Michigan workers should never be forced to join — or not join — a union.

Why does Governor Snyder support Freedom to Work?

Governor Snyder is pro-union and pro-worker, and he supports Freedom to Work for two reasons. First, he believes that workers should be able to decide whether or not they want to join a union. Second, he believes that Freedom to Work is one more way that we can help Michigan’s economy be more competitive, grow stronger, and produce more and better jobs for the people of our state.

Who else supports Freedom to Work?

A majority of people in Michigan support a right to work law, according to a recent poll.

How will Freedom to Work help Michigan’s economy?

Freedom to Work will help Michigan attract the new businesses and new industries we need to compete in the 21st century. That will help our economy recover faster and set us on the path to more and better jobs for years to come.

How does Freedom to Work impact wages?

According to the Wall Street Journal, “of the 10 states with the highest rate of personal income growth, eight have right-to-work laws,” and according to an economic study, there is a 23% higher rate of per capita income growth in right-to-work states. Another study finds that had Michigan adopted a right-to-work law in 1977, per capita income for a family of four would have been $13,556 higher by 2008.

Not only do right-to-work states provide more jobs, the workers in those states enjoy a higher standard of living. Yes, there are some right-to-work states where workers receive lower wages, but that’s because the cost-of-living happens to be lower in those states. Moreover, workers in right-to-work states don’t have to pay mandatory union dues or make forced political contributions, so they end up with even more take-home pay.

How does Freedom to Work impact benefits?

Right-to-work does not affect workers’ ability to bargain for their benefits in any way. If workers feel that management is mistreating them, they’re still free to unionize and fight for their benefits through collective bargaining. All right-to-work does is give workers the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union. If they believe unionizing is in their best interest, they’re free to do that. If they’re happy without unionizing, they’re free to do that, too.

Does Freedom to Work prevent people from joining a union?

Absolutely not. Freedom to Work in Michigan will allow everyone the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union. Workers will not be forced to join a union, just as no one should ever be forbidden to join a union.

How does this legislation impact police and fire unions?

This legislation has no impact on police and fire unions. It respects and preserves the status afforded to police and firefighters under Public Act 312, which reflects the hazardous nature of their jobs. We must preserve the loyalty and intra-unit solidarity that are crucial elements in the ability of our police and firefighters to perform their dangerous public safety missions.

UPDATE: I criticized Snyder earlier this year for tax increases which I believe were unnecessary, and which seemed to be setting him on the same good-at-first, awful-after-that path travelled by George Voinovich in Ohio during the 1990s.

The left’s stubbornness and intransigence clearly changed that. Tom Walsh at the Detroit Free Press recounted the history several days ago:

Why the abrupt about-face?

Frustration with labor as an impediment rather than a partner in fixing Michigan.

And frustration with himself for his naïveté in not realizing it earlier.

Public employee unions opposed Snyder’s moves to put more teeth into emergency manager laws that would enable swifter action to rescue cities and school districts that bungled themselves into insolvency.

In Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing and a spineless City Council were stonewalled by employee unions at every turn, slow-walking needed reforms and cost-cutting while the city burned through cash at a frightening rate.

As a result, Snyder’s patient attempt to help fix Detroit via consent agreement instead of imposing an emergency manager has failed.

To top it off, Snyder found himself having to fight off Proposal 2, the ill-advised November ballot attempt to stuff a bag of goodies for organized labor into the Michigan Constitution.

Why John Boehner hasn’t reached the same point with President Obama and Harry Reid is beyond me. Pass a bill with what the House majority says it wants send it to Harry Reid, and go home. If Reid and Obama then choose to go over the fiscal cliff, it’s not your fault.

Ever So ‘Helpful’ AP Tells Readers That ‘Right to Work’ Name ‘Is Misleading’

Demonstrating his and his employer’s pro-union bias, Jeff Karoub at the Associated Press, in compiling a list of “5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MICH. RIGHT-TO-WORK BILLS,” made “The Name Is Misleading” his first item.

As an AP journalist, Karoub is likely a member of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild. Earlier this year, his employer’s recently departed chairman, acting in an official capacity representing his supposedly objective, values-driven organization, praised President Obama in terms so effusive that Charles Hurt at the Washington Times wrote that it was “more like he proposed to him.” In his five-item listing, the third of which has an inchoherent title, Karoub seemed to jump right in where Obama left off in a Monday Michigan speech (bolds and numbers in headings are mine):


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121212)

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

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Mennonite-owned wood manufacturer sues over contraception mandate

From Washington:

Dec 11, 2012 / 05:41 pm

Three Mennonite Christians who own a wood manufacturing company in Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit challenging the federal contraception mandate for threatening their right to religious freedom.

“Being told that we must provide a health plan that includes a provision that violates the Christian beliefs of our family and the Christian values that our company was founded on is deeply troubling,” said Anthony Hahn, president and CEO of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation.

“Forcing Americans to surrender long-standing, deeply-held principles in order to own and run a business is not merely troubling but unnecessary and unconstitutional,” he added.

Hahn is challenging a federal regulation that requires employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. Conestoga would be required to comply with the mandate when its insurance plan renews on Jan. 1, 2013.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the mandate by religious employers who argue that it forces them to violate their sincerely-held beliefs. The federal government has argued that businesses which are deemed “secular” do not have the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

On Dec. 4, attorneys with Independence Law Center filed a legal challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Conestoga’s founder Norman Hahn, and his sons Norman Lemar Hahn and Anthony Hahn, who manage the company.

A family business with some 950 full-time employees throughout the U.S., Conestoga is a manufacturer of wood cabinets, doors and other specialty products.

The Hahns have always sought to “operate Conestoga in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs” as Mennonite Christians, the lawsuit says, noting that the company’s mission statement includes a commitment to “the highest ethical, moral, and Christian principles.”

The family believes “that their Mennonite faith prohibits them from separating their religious beliefs from their daily business practice,” the suit stresses.

Given their conviction that “God requires respect for the sanctity of human life,” the Hahns believe “it would be sinful and immoral for them to intentionally participate in, pay for, facilitate, or otherwise support any contraception with an abortifacient effect,” the legal challenge says.

The Hahns currently provide health insurance that does not include drugs such as Plan B and ella, which can kill a newly-conceived human embryo. Coverage of these drugs is required under the mandate. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

USAT-Carried Report on Crowder Assault, AFP Tent Tear-Down: ‘No Reported Injuries’

Perhaps hoping that readers wouldn’t scroll down to peruse what followed, a Tuesday evening Detroit Free Press report by David Jesse and Lori Higgins carried at USA Today featured a video taking up my entire computer screen which consisted entirely of union protesters chanting slogans for 49 seconds.

The pair’s actual report carries a misleading headline (“Mich. governor signs anti-union bills after protests”) directly contradicted in their dispatch’s content (“The right-to-work legislation … makes it illegal to require financial support of a labor union as a condition of employment”). But it’s their description of Tuesday’s incident involving Steven Crowder and Americans for Prosperity which is the report’s biggest flaw (HT Instapundit):