October 19, 2016

AP: Fiscal 2016 Deficit, 34 Percent Higher Than Last Year, Is ‘Totally Manageable’

The federal government’s fiscal year ended on September 30. As has been the administration’s habit for years with news that might draw negative attention, the Treasury Department conveniently released its year-end Monthly Budget Review Friday afternoon to minimize the discussion of its grim news.

The government ran a $587 billion deficit, up from $414 billion the previous year. Andrew Taylor’s coverage at the Associated Press glossed over why this occurred, because to do so would call into doubt the questionable Congressional Budget Office projections for future years he relied on to reassure readers that the situation is, in the words of an economist he quoted, “totally manageable.” The other two main business wire services performed a bit better, but still missed several key items.

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What WaPo Giveth Hillary Nationally, It Taketh Away in Key States (UPDATE: IBD Has Trump Up, Rasmussen Tied)

As noted earlier this week, Washington Post/ABC polling shows Hillary Clinton with a 4-point, 47-43 lead over Donald Trump — readings identical to mid-July.

Well now, imagine this: Post/Survey Monkey polling shows Trump up in nearly enough battleground states won by Hillary Clinton to win the election if Mrs. Clinton fails to turn any red states blue (which seems likely but far from certain.

The four states involved (FL, OH, IA and NV) have 59 electoral votes. Added to Mitt Romney’s 2012 total of 206, Trump victories in those four states while holding elsewhere would leave him 5 EVs short of the 270 needed for victory.

Given the shortcomings of polling, particularly their 8 percent to 10 percent completion rate after initial contact, this doesn’t demonstrate anything but that the race is far from over, despite the press constantly pushing the “Trump is badly trailing” narrative.

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UPDATE: Investor’s Business Daily’s poll, which if I recall correctly has had a good record in the past two presidential elections, has Trump up by 1, 41-40. The shocker is that Hillary is so low, which seems to indicate that a significant cadre of leftists is resisting in favor of Jill Stein.

UPDATE 2: Rasmussen is in a tie.

Another False Hope Dashed: September Housing Starts and Completions Dive

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:46 pm

From the Census Bureau:

BUILDING PERMITS

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,225,000. This is 6.3 percent (±1.9%) above the revised August rate of 1,152,000 and is 8.5 percent (±2.4%) above the September 2015 estimate of 1,129,000.

Single-family authorizations in September were at a rate of 739,000; this is 0.4 percent (±1.6%)* above the revised August figure of 736,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 449,000 in September.

HOUSING STARTS

Privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,047,000. This is 9.0 percent (±9.2%)* below the revised August estimate of 1,150,000 and is 11.9 percent (±11.9%) below the September 2015 rate of 1,189,000.

Single-family housing starts in September were at a rate of 783,000; this is 8.1 percent (±7.4%) above the revised August figure of 724,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 250,000.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS

Privately-owned housing completions in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 951,000. This is 8.4 percent (±10.3%)* below the revised August estimate of 1,038,000 and is 5.8 percent (±13.4%)* below the September 2015 rate of 1,010,000.

Single-family housing completions in September were at a rate of 687,000; this is 8.8 percent (±9.8%)* below the revised August rate of 753,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 250,000.

It would appear that builders are stockpiling permits — and perhaps even holding off on completing units — in hopes of a more conducive business atmosphere next year.

The strong-looking seasonally adjusted single-family starts number isn’t really. It’s 7 percent below February’s peak of 845,000, and slightly below November 2015. The multifamily starts figure of 250,000, which is the lowest single-month figure in over three years, is 39 percent below August.

Stupid Fact Check at Politifact: Michelle O Did Attack the Clintons, and the Obama Campaign Sharply Attacked Hillary in ’08 Campaign

Today’s installment of Stupid Fact Checks again goes after Politifact, this time on two items in one “fact check.” First, the web site’s Louis Jacobson claims that Michelle Obama couldn’t possibly have been talking about the Clintons on August 12, 2007 when she told an audience about the importance of a First Family serving as a “role model” in the White House. It’s obvious to anyone without blinders that she was.

Second, Jacobson claims that he doesn’t remember “‘vicious’ attack ads from Obama during the 2008 campaign.” That’s because he didn’t look very hard, if at all.

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101916)

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: A lesson from one of the Church’s newest saints

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 18, 2016 / 02:46 pm (CNA).- When we find ourselves weary from the troubles of life, we can find inspiration in the heroism of one of the Church’s new saints, said Cardinal Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, Mexico.

From its inception, “the history of the Church is the history of a martyr Church,” the cardinal told CNA. He pointed to the persecutions of the first Christians – including Peter and Paul – and those that took place in Korea, Japan, and even in countries with deep Catholic roots such as Spain and Mexico.

Still, the cardinal continued, “many of us don’t have the grace of a bloody martyrdom.” However, we are called “to be heroic every day, in ordinary life, and this calls us to not falter, to not be carried away by some trend, but to stand firm in the faith when there are more subtle persecutions.”

Cardinal Suarez reflected on the life of Jose Sanchez del Rio, who was canonized by Pope Francis on October 16, alongside 6 other Blesseds.

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio was born in Sahuayo de Morelos, Mexico in 1913. During the 1924-1928 religious persecution by Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles, St. Jose became a Mexican Cristero, fighting against the anti-Catholic legislation.

At that time, the laws banned religious orders, deprived the Church of property rights and denied priests civil liberties, including the right to trial by jury and the right to vote. As the restrictions on religious liberty increased, Catholics could be fined or imprisoned for teaching Church doctrine, wearing clerical attire, meeting together after their convents were disbanded, promoting religious life or holding religious services in non-church locations.

At age 14, St. Jose was martyred by the Federal Army on Feb. 10, 1928. According to witness accounts, soldiers cut off the soles of his feet and forced him to walk barefoot to his grave.

Although he was tortured, he refused to renounce his Catholic faith. Moments before he was killed, the teen shouted, “Viva Cristo Rey!” which means “Long live Christ the King!”

Cardinal Suarez pointed to the story of the young saint as an example of Christian courage. …

Go here for the rest of the story.