August 8, 2014

Indian TV Shows ‘How Hamas Assembles and Fires Rockets’; U.S. Press Mostly Ignores

In an English language report at NDTV.com on Tuesday, Sreenivasan Jain, reporting from Gaza, witnessed a Hamas “rocket silo being created under a tent right next to the hotel where our team was staying.”

His news team then “saw the rocket being fired, just before the 72-hour ceasefire came into effect.” It would seem that Western news organizations who have seen their onsite reporters intimidated and threatened by Hamas in Gaza would jump at the opportunity to report some of the reality they’ve refrained from showing. But there’s very little evidence that these organizations have used NDTV’s work. Video and a portion of the report’s accompanying text follow the jump.

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It Begins: The First Reason Why 2Q14 GDP’s Will Likely Be Revised Down

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:22 am

From Zero Hedge (link is in original):

Against expectations of a further rise in inventory build of 0.7%, wholesale inventories rose only 0.3% in June (the same pace as in May) missing by the most since February 2013With GDP now basically an exercise in inventory expansion and contraction (Q2 inventory estimate amounte to 40% of GDP), this ‘miss’ offers little hope for the initial Q2 rebound to hold its exuberance. In addition, wholesale sales also missed (up only 0.2% against expectations of a 0.7% rise) with growth slowing for the 3rd month in a row.

The government’s wholesale inventories report is here.

The true (i.e., unadjusted, raw, actual) change in June inventories was -1.1%.

That initial 4.0% annualized figure for 2Q14 just got tenuous.

Updating the Reagan v. Obama Economic Rout

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:59 am

Comparing economic legacies.

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The column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.

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The Hill reported last week that President Obama wants to “pivot to his economic legacy.”

Specifically, “the White House hopes to ride the wave of an economic recovery to improve Obama’s approval numbers over the final two years of his presidency, setting up a possible Democratic successor at the White House.” If The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Peter Schroeder had submitted their writeup to The Onion, they would have gladly run it.

Unfortunately for the President, one good quarter — assuming it even survives subsequent revisions, and especially following a quarter of contraction which was originally reported as positive before the heavy-duty erasers came out — does not a positive legacy make. Nor will another two years of the 2.4 percent economic growth seen during the past four quarters, again before revisions to the most current quarter.

By the three key measures of economic, job and income growth, Barack Obama’s economy, also known to yours truly as the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy to identify the three parties most responsible for the both the depth of the Great Recession and the historically awful “recovery” which has followed it, has been historically horrid.

Obama’s economic policy, with the help of a pliant Federal Reserve, has been built on the notion that massive deficit spending and easy money would bring the economy roaring back and “stimulate” job growth. The former strategy was tried during the 1930s. It only succeeded in lengthening the Great Depression, as the nation’s unemployment rate never fell below 12 percent. The fact that Team Obama insisted on making the same mistakes, while at the same time unleashing the federal government’s regulatory apparatus to harass the economy’s productive participants, is enough to make reasonable people question whether this president and his administration have ever truly wanted to see a genuine recovery occur.

On the other hand, five years of strong, solid and uninterrupted economic performance following a serious recession is how you create a positive economic legacy. Ronald Reagan’s post-recession economy — an economy which faced arguably greater challenges when he took office, particularly double-digit inflation and a prime interest rate of 20 percent — did just that.

Reagan’s economic policy, conducted in the face of necessarily painful anti-inflationary Federal Reserve monetary policy, was premised on supply-side tax cuts and regulatory restraint. A third element, getting federal spending under control, didn’t occur because (surprise) Democrats reneged on promises to cut spending made during budget negotiations. Today, Obama’s crew anticipates annual budget deficits which will never fall below $450 billion and will balloon back to $1 trillion within a decade.

First, let’s compare post-recession economic growth, as seen in increases in real (inflation-adjusted) Gross Domestic Product:

ReaganVsObamaGDPthru20quarters

Five years after the early-1980s recession ended, the U.S. economy was almost 26 percent larger. The Obama economy, in the worst five-year recovery since World War II by miles, hasn’t achieved even half of that.

The difference is, well, graphic:

ReaganVsObamaCumulGDPthru20quarters

Now, let’s look at job growth.

As seen below, even before considering the fact that the U.S. had 32 percent fewer people working at the end of the 1980s recession than it did in mid-2009, the Reagan economy added almost 6 million more jobs in its first five post-recession years than the Obama economy:

ReaganVsObamaCumulJobsTblThru0714

Team Obama has taken to bragging about private-sector job growth. But even there, before adjusting for workforce size, the Reagan economy beat out Obama’s by almost 3.9 million jobs.

In an apples-to-apples comparison showing employment growth in percentage terms, it’s an utterly embarrassing rout:

ReaganVsObamaCumulJobsThru0714

As seen in the graph, one important element in the Obama economy’s lackluster employment growth was its failure to stop job losses until eight months after the recession ended. That’s exactly what the President’s and the Democrat-dominated Congress’s stimulus plan said it would prevent. They also said it would bring the unemployment rate down to 5.3 percent by the end of the his first term. It utterly failed on both counts.

Beyond that, the Obama economy, five years into its “recovery,” has unprecedentedly failed to bring full-time employment to its pre-recession peak, standing at 3.4 million jobs short as of July. Millions who want to work full-time are stuck in part-time positions. Millions of others are discouraged and on the sidelines. (And we’re supposed to believe that Obamacare has absolutely nothing to do with any of this.) Reagan’s economy took only 12 months after that era’s recession ended to restore full-time employment to its prerecession peak. By the end of 1987, over 10 million more Americans were working full-time.

Finally, let’s look at household income growth — I’m sorry, I meant income growth during the Reagan era and income declines during Obama’s reign:

MedianHHincomePostRecs

Median household income increased by over 9 percent during the five years after the early 1980s recession ended. In the first three years after the most recent recession’s official end, it has declined by over 4 percent. Monthly median household income estimates compiled by Sentier Research indicate that there has been a very slight rise since then.

Even with the expected heavy dose of help from the establishment press, a Democratic Party presidential nominee try to run on Obama’s supposedly tremendous economic “legacy” of weak economic growth, chronic underemployment, and middle class-damaging income declines will likely be making a grave mistake. That’s because, as the Associated Press had to admit last week, despite the press’ current best efforts, the American people “don’t feel it.” Two years of marginal improvement, which is the best anyone can realistically hope for, won’t meaningfully change that.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080814)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Heart attack victim wants to thank good Samaritans who saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Eureka, Missouri:

7:04 p.m. CDT July 29, 2014

Kircher Park in Eureka is where Dennis Hirsch died, and was brought back to life.

“I don’t remember anything about that day,” Hirsch said, “or anything about the day before. I’ve lost those two days in time.”

Hirsch’s wife Debbie remembers. On the evening of July 15, while they walked in the park, Dennis Hirsch suffered a heart attack and fell to the ground.

“He actually died there,” said Debbie Hirsch. “It was seven minutes between the phone call and when the paramedics got there, but there was at least a minute or two before they could even make the phone call, so he was gone for a long time. It had to be the CPR that saved his life.”

Debbie Hirsch credits several good Samaritans with coming to the rescue of her husband. Several Frisbee players assisted, followed by an anonymous Boy Scout leader.

“One of the Frisbee guys called 911, the other one started doing the CPR,” said Debbie Hirsch. The Boy Scout leader came up and said he was certified in CPR, so he started working on my husband. He saved my husband’s life. He wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those people who were there at the park. I think it was just a miracle those people were there.”

The Hirschs want to say “thank you” in person, but they don’t know the identity of the people who saved Dennis’ life.

“We’re just trying to find out who these people are because they’re the ones who saved his life,” said Debbie Hirsch.

As Dennis Hirsch recovers from heart surgery at SSM St. Clare Health Center, he’s grateful to be alive, but he can’t help but wonder why misfortune has zeroed in on his family.

“The last couple of years have been difficult for us.”

Difficult is an understatement. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Kevin Drum Doubts That ‘Anti-Abortion Activists Really Think Abortion Is Murder’

The left constantly and falsely characterizes the right, particularly those sympathetic to Tea Party-related causes, for their alleged incivility, racism, bigotry, nativism, blah-blah-blah.

This stereotype apparently drives Kevin Drum’s contention, expressed at at Mother Jones, that Americans who say the believe that abortion is murder really don’t feel that abortion is murder. After all, even the most passionate of abortion opponents generally engage in orderly protests, counsel guilt-ridden women who have had abortions, and work calmly and persistently to change abortion law and promote a culture of life. To Drum, the fact that they don’t go ballistic upon learning of each and every abortion must somehow mean they don’t really care that much, and — get this — that their opposition to abortion is really the product of sexual prudishness (bolds are mine):

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