January 30, 2013

Rush Roasts AP As It Ramps Up the Excuse-Making in Report on GDP Contraction

Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), reacting to a disgracefully biased January 27 report by Andrew Taylor at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, on the “no budget, no pay” provision in debt-ceiling legislation passed by the House, I wrote that “Taylor’s report is historically bad … Sadly, I believe AP can do much worse during the next several years — and probably will.”

An unbylined AP item released shortly after the government announced that the economy contracted by an annualized 0.1 percent during the fourth quarter of last year made that fear come true under ten hours (I may have more on the very odd time stamp of this report — 8:11 a.m. — in a future post). On his program today, Rush Limbaugh had a field day with the nonsense presented (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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4Q12 Gross Domestic Product Growth (013013): An Annualized Contraction of 0.1%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:22 am

We get our first look at how the economy really performed during the fourth quarter of 2012 today, as opposed to how it was presented in the runup to November’s general election and its aftermath.

The Associated Press just yesterday finally acknowledged that the economic consensus for today’s report is that it will show annualized growth of about 1%.

Here’s what I see in a last-minute review:

  • Bloomberg has 1.1%.
  • So does Reuters (“U.S. growth seen braking as inventories, government weigh”).

I’m rooting for an upside surprise showing genuine strength despite Obama administration obstruction, but fearful that we’ll see a downside shocker.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

… Here’s that downside shocker (full release and tables):

ObamaAndSmileyFrown

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

… The decrease in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from private inventory investment, federal government spending, and exports that were partly offset by positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The downturn in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected downturns in private inventory investment, in federal government spending, in exports, and in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an upturn in nonresidential fixed investment, a larger decrease in imports, and an acceleration in PCE.

… The change in real private inventories subtracted 1.27 percentage points from the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after adding 0.73 percentage point to the third-quarter change. Private businesses increased inventories $20.0 billion in the fourth quarter, following increases of $60.3 billion in the third and $41.4 billion in the second.

The press excuses will probably be:

  • “No big deal. It all had to do with inventories” — as if we’re supposed to be impressed with just over 1% growth if you ignore the inventory situation — which you can’t.
  • “See what happens when cut government spending?” There’s a difference between government “spending” and “purchases and investment,” which the press either refuses to acknowledge or doesn’t understand. “Spending” has not decreased, even if purchases and investment have.

This is just awful. More later if I find anything else worthy of comment or others’ comments worthy of note.

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UPDATE, 8:45 a.m.: Also expect undue attention to ADP’s Employment Report released earlier this morning which showed 192,000 private-sector jobs added so as to distract from the GDP report. That’s not bad, but as Zero Hedge points out, ADP’s track record vs. the government’s reports has been “lousy,” and the firm reduced last month’s private-sector additions by 30,000 from 215,000 to 185,000.

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Obama’s Economy: The Excuses Begin’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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UPDATE, 6:20 P.M.: The column was linked at RealClearPolitics.com earlier today, and is still being teased at its front page.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (013013)

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

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

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Positivity: San Francisco pro-life rally draws 50,000, papal praise

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From San Francisco:

Jan 28, 2013 / 06:03 pm

An estimated 50,000 pro-life advocates rallied and marched against abortion in San Francisco for the Walk for Life West Coast Jan. 26, drawing greetings and praise from Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., read a special message from the Pope, who called the event an “outstanding public witness to the fundamental right to life.”

Pope Benedict said the walk witnessed to the “moral imperative of upholding the inviolable dignity of each member of our human family, especially the smallest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters.”

The pontiff also sent his “warm greetings” and assured participants of “his closeness in prayer.”

Eva Muntean, Walk for Life West Coast co-chair, told CNA Jan. 28 that it was “amazing” to see so many rally attendees become silent to hear the message from the Pope.

“You could hear a pin drop,” she said. “It was so quiet. Everybody was paying attention. That was very special for us.”

The crowd filled Civic Center Plaza and rallied in front of San Francisco City Hall before marching two miles through San Francisco’s shopping and financial districts to the Ferry Building. …

Go here for the rest of the story.