On Thursday, shortly after the government estimated that the economy only grew at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in this year’s first quarter, Jeffry Bartash at Marketwatch.com commented on the especially weak performance in nonresidential business investment.
That category subtracted 0.76 points from GDP, the worst result since the second quarter of 2009, during the recession. Bartash, presumably based on real discussions he’s had with real economists wrote: “Many economists doubt business investment will show much strength in 2016. A tepid global economic scene and a tumultuous U.S. presidential election marked by heavy anti-corporate rhetoric appears to have made business executives more cautious.” What? “Anti-corporate rhetoric” affects the decisions of entrepreneurs, investors and businesspeople? Who knew? I don’t recall anyone in the press blaming “anti-corporate rhetoric” for the economy’s struggles in 2008, when the criticism and actual threats to the corporate sector were going full-tilt.
Venezuela’s hyperinflationary economic crisis has gotten worse in one very important and apparently unprecedented sense than even the one seen in Weimar Germany in the 1920s. Yet the Associated Press and the New York Times apparently have no interest in telling their readers, listeners or viewers about it.
In the post-World War I German Weimar Republic, the situation became so out of control that people needed wheelbarrows to carry around the money they needed to pay for basic everyday purchases. A Bloomberg News story published early Wednesday morning, i.e., in plenty of time for the rest of the world’s press to notice the story by now, has a similar “wheelbarrows” reference to Venezuela’s crisis. But there’s more. Venezuela doesn’t even the money to pay to keep those wheelbarrows stocked with ever more worthless cash.
SunEdison, a once high-flying solar energy company, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. According to Reuters, the company’s stock traded as high as $33.44 in July 2015. The stock closed at 22 cents today. Nine years ago, the company’s market value was over $17 billion. According to the Associated Press, in July of last year it was still worth $10 billion.
The losses aren’t limited to investors, however, a fact that the establishment press has ignored in its SunEdison bankruptcy reports. As Roberty Bryce detailed at National Review on April 4 when the company’s bankruptcy began to appear unavoidable, taxpayers have also seen lots of money go down the drain at SunEdison and another bankrupt renewables company — ten times what was lost in the $500 million Solyndra bankruptcy (bolds are mine):
On April 1, the Associated Press, in an online video which I covered in an April 2 NewsBusters post, interviewed three California business owners about the impact the state’s just-passed $15-per-hour minimum wage would have on their businesses.
Though the video was headlined “Small Businesses React to Calif. Wage Increase,” the owners interviewed weren’t representative of the whole state in any way. All three are based in San Francisco. Two of the three are supporters of the minimum-wage increase; the third, a small bookstore owner, thinks businesses like his should have been exempt, as the increase should only have targeted “multinational corporations that make billions of dollar of profits.” It turns out that two of the three owners interviewed by AP were also interviewed by Susan Adams at Forbes on March 31. That can’t possibly be a wild coincidence.
In another blow to the U.S. and worldwide economy, chipmaker Intel announced today that it is cutting its worldwide workforce by 12,000 people, a percentage cut of 11 percent.
Of course, there are tech-related reasons why the company made the move, most notably the shift by some users to tablets and smartphones, where the company’s market penetration has been weak and almost non-existent, respectively, as their everyday “computing” devices. But the press is completely ignoring why so many users of aging PCs are holding out against buying a new one until their current units die: they don’t have the money to replace them. Why? Because economic growth throughout the world, including the U.S., has been stagnant and is showing signs of getting weaker — possibly much weaker.
Just three months after Arch, the nation’s Number 2 coal mining company, filed for bankruptcy, Number 1, Peabody Energy, has followed suit. Five of the industry’s largest firms have now gone bankrupt in the past 12 months.
Two Associated Press stories on Peabody this week managed to avoid mentioning the name of President Barack Obama, whose hostility toward the industry has been obvious since his first presidential campaign, or to directly cite his administration’s Environmental Protection Agency as a factor in the firm’s trip to bankruptcy court.
On Tuesday, shortly after Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s $15-an-hour minimum wage legislation, the Associated Press’s Michael R. Blood and Don Thompson called the move“a victory for those struggling on the margins of the economy and the politically powerful unions that pushed it.”
As seen in a NewsBusters post on March 31, it’s definitely a win for union members whose wages are set at a multiple of the state’s minimum wage. But it’s not a “victory” for “struggling” workers who will lose their jobs or not be able to become employed at the higher rate. The AP pair would only concede that “the overall goal of helping the working poor might be lessened if some employers cut jobs or, worse, leave the state.” Forget the “if” on employers cutting jobs, guys. That’s because, as Jeb Graham at Investor’s Business Daily reported on Friday (HT Hot Air), two states which have only raised their minimums to just over $10 have already seen seasonally adjusted job losses (bolds are mine):
Perhaps this is why the press has been reluctant to cite economists who are predicting that sharp increases in state minimum wages like the $15-per-hour minimums just passed in California and New York will reduce employment: They’re with many of their lefty brethren who don’t care whether jobs are lost. So they must believe that no one else should care either.
At the Washington Post’s WonkBlog on Friday, in what was not an April Fool’s-related column, Lydia DePillis ridiculed “warnings of a job apocalypse.” And besides, she wrote, “the economic architecture that supports the Fight for $15 is built entirely different logic” — logic which the establishment press has refused to report as the hikers’ real agenda.
The Associated Press sent its cameramen and reporters out to get the reaction of small business owners to California’s just-passed six-year plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Anyone expecting the AP to find representative responses clearly doesn’t understand how the far-left propaganda machine disguised as an objective news service operates. All three business owners interviewed operate in ultra-high-cost San Francisco. The first told AP that $15 an hour “is still probably not enough.” The second complained bitterly that the increase should have targeted “multinational corporations” and spared little guys like him. The third demonstrated the likelihood of an upward ripple effect well the minimum-wage level when he signaled his intention to continue to pay more than the minimum even after its 50 percent impact fully hits.
Whenever a government or leader follows the left’s playbook and the results “uexpectedly” don’t turn out to be anywhere near what was desired, it isn’t the policies’ or the leader’s fault. No-no-no. During the Mayor David Dinkins era in New York City, it was because Gotham had become ungovernable by any human being – until Rudy Giuliani took over. During the Carter Era, the conventional wisdom was that America had become too unwieldy and ungovernable — until Ronald Reagan righted the ship. We’re now hearing a similar refrain about the U.S. economy after seven-plus years of Keynesian economic policies, except that, as we’ll eventually see it involves recycling. On Friday, Jacob Davidson at Time.com engaged in a lengthy excuse-making exercise (HT Hot Air Headlines; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Andy Grove, the former Intel Corp. chief executive whose youth under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired an “only the paranoid survive” management philosophy that saved the chip maker from financial ruin in the 1980s, has died. He was 79.
Intel said Grove died on Monday. It did not specify a cause of death.
Grove, who was instrumental in building Intel into the world’s largest chip company during his 37-year career there, had suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He also suffered from prostate cancer in the mid-1990s.
He was a mercurial but visionary leader who helped position Intel’s microprocessors as the central technology inside personal computers.
Grove’s bet-the-company gamble — moving Intel from memory chips to microprocessors in the mid-1980s to serve what was still a fledgling PC industry — helped rescue Intel from a financial crisis and set it on course to becoming one of the most profitable and important technology companies of all time.
“Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs and business leaders,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Monday.
Robert Burgelman, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who started teaching management classes with Grove in the late 1980s, called Grove “one of the most incisive thinkers that I have ever come across.” He said Grove’s technical and strategic abilities were critical in building Intel and fending off threats from Asian competitors.
“I don’t think Intel would have been Intel as we know it, and therefore the U.S. chip industry would not have been what it is” without Grove, Burgelman said.
Intel created the world’s first commercial microprocessor in 1971, but the company’s primary focus was memory chips for mainframe computers. That was until the personal computer was invented and a new use for Intel’s microprocessors emerged.
Grove’s leadership of that transition affirmed his status as a key figure in the digital revolution and an icon of business leadership, whose maneuvers have been studied and dissected in management classes around the world. ….
Matt Lauer, aka Mr. Softee (when interviewing people with whom he sympathizes), tried to act like a tough guy in his Friday interview with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. You’re not fooling us, Matt.
After observing that he had “an enormous outpouring of questions about censorship” after he asked his Twitter followers what questions they would like to see discussed, Lauer “cleverly” asked Dorsey: “Does Twitter censor the content of its users? Does it hide what it would consider inflammatory comments, whether they be social or political?” Dorsey replied in a slightly rushed manner which seemed rehearsed: “Absolutely not. Twitter’s always been about controls. People can follow whoever they want, and it’s our job to ensure that they see the most important things and the things that matter to them.” Lauer didn’t follow up on that seemingly coached, specific-in-appearance but vague-on-substance response. Instead, he redirected the conversation towards tweets that are “dangerous.”
Lauer’s questions seemed to betray a desire to stop people from tweeting unpleasant things, as if “anger” and “hate” really aren’t forms of speech protected by the First Amendment, but are instead emotions which shouldn’t ever be expressed (with people whose political outlooks are similar to his, I suppose, deciding what is and isn’t “anger” and “hate”).
For years, Andrew F. Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains, has been telling the world that while the U.S. government makes life needlessly miserable for businesses, California, where it has been headquartered, is exponentially worse.
This week, CKE announced that it is moving its headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee. A story at the Orange County Register failed to go beyond the company’s deliberately non-combative statement to explain why. As far as I can tell, the Los Angeles Timeshasn’t covered the move at all (I can’t be absolutely sure because the paper’s search engine is demonstrably horrible). Meanwhile, LA’s CBS News affiliate appears to have intentionally omitted their reporter’s attempt to cite “the unfavorable economic climate here in California” as a factor contributing to the move from its print coverage of the story.
Score another blow for (allegedly) “unintended consequences.”
A proposed 33-page rule applying to investment advisers emanating from the Department of Labor would redefine the fiduciary relationship between investment advisers and their clients investing for retirement, which is the predominant objective of most investors. According to the Wall Street Journal, the rule “could be released as soon as this month.” One side effect of the rule is that it could mark the beginning of the end of financial talk radio and TV broadcasts. Since such programs tend to lean center-right (there are exceptions, including Suze Orman), it seems mighty convenient for the government and its regulatory army that the press, particularly the Associated Press, has paid no visible attention to this apparently imminent rule.
To believe what the Associated Press’s Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin wrote yesterday about February’s auto sales, you have to believe that last month’s car buyers were either: “a) affected with vertigo; dizzy”; or b) “frivolous and lighthearted; impulsive; flighty.”
That’s because they claimed that in February, “consumers – giddy from Super Bowl ads – returned to showrooms after a snowy January.” Good grief.
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