March 16, 2016

As Income Gains Almost Evaporate, AP Is Rooting For Higher Inflation

The government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that consumer prices fell 0.2 percent in February.

Lower prices should be good news, right? Wrong, at least according to Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press. Crutsinger’s Wednesday dispatch also managed to ignore the fact that even the supposedly low inflation seen during the past 12 months has eaten up most of workers’ very nominal pay increases, even though the BLS’s Real Earnings news release came out at the same time as the Consumer Price Index. This is yet more evidence that the so-called “recovery” we were promised years ago still hasn’t fully happened, and that the current situation is on the verge of getting worse, and not better.

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CNN Money: ‘Hillary Can’t Kill Coal; It’s Already Dying’ (No, Obama Is Killing It)

In a Monday afternoon post which gets close to taking pleasure in the serious economic decline in the heart of the coal mining industry in West Virginia, CNN Money’s Patrick Gillespie observed, based on Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks about coal miners’ jobs, that she “has no love for coal companies.”

But in Gillespie’s world, what Mrs. Clinton said doesn’t matter, because “Clinton won’t have much coal to put out of business: the industry is already gutted.” Besides, in a complete flight of fancy, the CNN Money reporter appears to believe that the solar industry and its current army of 209,000 workers will pick up the slack. The facts, including the hugely inconvenient truth that solar only accounts for barely 1 percent of the power produced by coal, say otherwise.

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AP’s Rugaber Lauds Tiny Manufacturing Pickup, Downplays Sharp Overall Production Decline

The business press’s determination to convince the public that weak economic news is really strong seemingly knows no bounds.

Today, shortly after the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production report for February showed a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent decline — worse than expectations of -0.3 percent — the Associated Press pretended in its headline and in reporter Christopher Rugaber’s first three paragraphs that the Fed’s release only covered manufacturing, which “just so happened” to be its single somewhat positive element (bolds are mine):

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Dear Ted: Send, A, Message, To Mitch-ell

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:17 am

Based on reports that Mitch McConnell is demanding an apology from Ted Cruz before the Republican establishment will support him, Cruz needs to Send, A, Message to Mitch-ell: Bleep you.

Readers can supply their own words appropriate to the situation to Dionne Warwick’s “Message to Michael”:

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (031616)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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: Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ Campaign Helped Halve Number of Teens on Drugs

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From The Daily Signal on March 11 (bolds are mine):

When the Reagans moved into the White House on Jan. 20, 1981, drug use, particularly among teenagers, was hovering near the highest rates ever measured. Of that year’s graduating class, 65 percent had used drugs in their lifetimes and a remarkable 37 percent were regular drug users.

After the upheaval of the 1970s, Americans had chosen in Reagan a strong, optimistic leader to guide them to a more hopeful future. But there could be little real hope while one of the ’70s more damaging legacies—astronomic drug use—was consuming the rising generation.

Fortunately for that generation of young people, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were stronger than the threat.

Eight years later, when the Reagans left Washington, only 19.7 percent of 1989’s graduating class were regular drug users, a 47 percent reduction. And the trend that began under their leadership persisted until it reached an all-time low of 14.4 percent in 1992, 61 percent lower than 1981.

While it is too simplistic to credit Nancy Reagan alone with this downturn, it is impossible to ignore her leadership and the massive shift she led against the drug culture. Her off-the-cuff response to a young Oakland girl who asked her what to do if confronted with drugs became a clarion call: “Just say no.”

This clear, unequivocal stand against drugs galvanized the nation by placing a moral stake in the ground: Illicit drug use is wrong, harmful, and not compatible with a free society. It provided an example parents, teachers, community leaders, and especially young people could follow when confronting drugs.

She succeeded in changing the culture. By the spring of 1989, illegal drugs were Americans’ number one concern. Nancy Reagan’s call “to be unyielding and inflexible in your opposition to drugs” was even taken up by Hollywood. The dangers of drugs became a common theme on television programs, particularly those with family audiences, spurring discussions between parent and child. …

… In the face of today’s rising drug use and the accompanying increases in addiction and overdose deaths, political leaders and our cultural elites should revisit Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug legacy, for it offers a clear example of how powerful moral leadership can alter the fortunes of a generation. We would best remember her by following her example, right now.

Go here for the full story.