October 30, 2014

AP Wants Readers to Believe Fed’s QE ‘Is Over’ — With $4 Trillion in Holdings

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:41 pm

An unbylined “Q&A” column at the Associated Press yesterday began with the following false declaration: “The $4 trillion experiment is over.” That just isn’t so.

Maybe the Federal Reserve is done building up its debt holdings — that is by no means certain — but the “experiment” known as “quantitative easing,” or “QE,” won’t be over until the Fed fully unwinds those balances. In the meantime, it has unwarranted leverage over the stock and bond markets. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has what appears to be a de facto veto over Washington policies she doesn’t like should she decide to use her leverage in that manner. The rest of the AP item wasn’t much better, particularly how it wormed around the reality that if the Fed wishes to avoid winding down its balances, it’s going to have to keep buying Treasury and mortgage-backed securities as current holding mature:

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Is the Left Losing Its Iron Grip on the Black Vote?

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:59 pm

Their fear that they are is palpable.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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The left’s behavior in the months leading up to this year’s midterm elections reveals far more than mere anxiety about their results.

There is real concern that they might be losing their grip on African-Americans, their most reliable constituency.

They should be worried. African-Americans who, more than any other group, were promised “hope and change” in 2008 have seen plenty of reasons to lose hope, because the changes seen during Barack Obama’s first six years have done them serious harm.

Democrats have gotten used to counting on well over 90 percent of blacks voting in their favor. If that figure had come down to even 75 percent in the 2012 presidential election with those abandoning ship voting for Mitt Romney, Barack Obama’s 3.5 million popular-vote margin would have vanished.

One activist recently lamented that blacks “think the president is a savior.” Well, that’s what many blacks believe they were promised. This lady clearly thought so six years ago:

The guess here is that the woman interviewed still has to worry about putting gas in her car. Even after the recent fall in prices, it’s still almost twice as much per gallon as it was in late 2008.

Actually, to my surprise and surely the left’s chagrin, my guess was right. It turns out that in July 2014, the once euphoric Peggy Joseph was very disappointed in what had since transpired:

“(The) mortgage got worse and gas prices got higher.”

“During that time, we needed a change. But a change for the better, not for the worse.”

“The man behind the curtain is not who we thought or expected him to be.”

The black community’s suffering is deeply baked into the economic numbers.

Black employment per the government’s Household Survey has increased by 1.4 million since the recession officially ended in June 2009. The good news ends there. Unfortunately, analysts at Sentier Research, working with Census Bureau data, tell us that during that same period, black household income fell sharply, and by far more than in any other ethnic group:

SentierRaceAndEthnicityHHI5YrsEnding0614

Looking at household wealth, “virtually no progress has been made” in narrowing racial disparities. On average, almost everyone is poorer, and those who were poor already with less to lose have been hardest hit.

Speaking of being poor, the African-American poverty rate in 2013 was 27.2 percent. That’s a 2.5-point increase since 2008, and 1.4 points since 2009. At 12.3 percent, the white poverty rate in 2013 was less than half that of blacks, and had fallen to where it was in 2009.

It has long since become obvious that the left can’t credibly argue that their policies have provided African-Americans any kind of tangible economic benefit. This has forced them to resort to the politics of perpetual outrage.

This explains why the race-baiting industry, with fundamentally dishonest establishment press assistance, tried — and spectacularly failed on substance — to make a national case out of Trayvon Martin. It explains why they have turned Ferguson, Missouri into a virtual urban battleground. That effort, primarily an attempt to railroad a cop who was by most accounts defending himself against his attacker instead of letting the attacker kill him, also appears to be on track to fail.

The need for perpetual outrage also explains why the Obama administration continues to litigate against requiring identification to vote and to cast anyone who dares oppose them as presumptively racist. If anything, identification requirements aren’t strong enough, given recent evidence that tens or even hundreds of thousands of non-citizens are illegally voting.

But the merits of their bogus attempts at prosecution or their legal arguments really don’t matter. Only fanning the outrage does.

By their actions, the left is betraying its belief that the only way to keep African-Americans in a failed economy marching in lockstep on the liberal plantation is to deliver a continuous stream of disinformation supposedly showing that the system is irretrievably stacked against them.

Just wait until the plantation’s inhabitants figure out that the people doing the stacking are the very people who pose as their best friends.

Most people believe that President Obama’s deferral of unilateral — and unconstitutional — executive action on immigration was done to avoid a serious backlash in the midterm elections. I believe that it was primarily a targeted decision.

Allowing the euphemism known as “a path to legal status for millions of undocumented workers” will suddenly create a tidal wave of competition for low-paying jobs at law-abiding employers. Disproportionately low-skilled African-Americans are already having a hard enough time finding jobs. A much fiercer fight for low-paying jobs will keep wages depressed. If the Obama administration were to somehow get its way and enact a $10.10 per hour minimum wage, that would only leave more disgruntled job seekers on the sidelines.

I believe that Obama’s immigration deferral was largely done to keep black voters on the plantation this time around, and to buy Democrats some time to figure out how to brainwash those they are shafting. As a result, the party will probably keep or win a few House, Senate and gubernatorial elections which are currently too close to call but would have become certain losses without the immigration deferral.

Once Obama opens the immigration floodgates, the chances of a serious backlash in the black community, which has already endured so much and received so little in return, are far from small.

I sense an historic opportunity here to open up African-Americans’ hearts and minds. Are sensible, free-market, compassionate conservatives up to the challenge?

3Q14 Gross Domestic Product Growth, First Reading: An Annualized 3.5 Percent (Two-Thirds From Govt. and Exports)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:57 am

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2014, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 4.6 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the third-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3 and “Comparisons of Revisions to GDP” on page 5). The “second” estimate for the third quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on November 25, 2014.

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

Business Insider predicted a reading of 3 percent.

Key components:

  • Personal consumption expenditures: +1.22-point contribution, down from 1.75 point in Q3.
  • Gross investment excluding inventories: +0.74-point contribution, down from 1.45 points in Q3.
  • Inventories: -0.57-point contribution; was +1.42 points in Q3.
  • Net exports: +1.32-point contribution, up from -0.32 points in Q3.
  • Government: +0.83-point contribution, up from 0.31 points in Q3. (Could we please can all the talk about “austerity”?)

I don’t have time for detailed analysis at the moment, but my gut reaction is that today’s reading will come down in future revisions because of recently reported marginal results in durable goods and other indicators.

Zero Hedge’s Sum-up: “Sharp Slowdown In Consumption, Pushed Higher By Government Spending Spree”

Initial Unemployment Claims (103014): 287K SA; Raw Claims down 16% From Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 287,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 283,000 to 284,000. The 4-week moving average was 281,000, a decrease of 250 from the previous week’s revised average.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 270,238 in the week ending October 25, an increase of 14,187 (or 5.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 11,639 (or 4.5 percent) from the previous week. There were 325,326 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

Business Insider didn’t even bother with an expectations disclosure.

The seasonal adjustment factors for last week and the same week last year were virtually identical.

This week is in sync with previous weeks, with no apparent trouble signs.

October 28, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Is the Left Losing Its Iron Grip on the Black Vote?’) Is Up

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:58 pm

It’s here.

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

The timing couldn’t be better.

Wow: ‘Chicago Activists Unchained, Destroy Black Leadership’

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:21 pm

Just watch … never thought I’d see this in my lifetime … and it is sooooooo long overdue:

Chicago Activists Unchained, Destroy Black Leadership

Money Quote: “Most of the people are homeless, livin’ in the street. And it’s because of you Mr. President.”

More on the “Brother’s Keeper” program referenced in the video is here.

It looks like someone has figured out that “It Matters.”

September Durable Goods Take a Dive

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:03 am

From the Census Bureau:

New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in September decreased $3.2 billion or 1.3 percent to $241.6 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down two consecutive months, followed an 18.3 percent August decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.2 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.5 percent.

Transportation equipment, also down two consecutive months, led the decrease, $2.8 billion or 3.7 percent to $73.4 billion.

Shipments

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in September, up three of the last four months, increased $0.1 billion or 0.1 percent to $245.6 billion. This followed a 1.8 percent August decrease.

Expectations for orders were for a 0.5 percent increase.

Those are two pretty weak months for shipments, which should maybe cause the people who are blithely assuming 3 percent annualized growth in the third quarter to reconsider. But not so far:

On Thursday the government will release its first estimate for overall economic growth for the third quarter as measured by the gross domestic product. Analysts project that the economy grew at a 3 percent annual rate, and many believe growth will continue at that healthy clip in the final three months of this year.

3 percent is “healthy”? It isn’t, considering the mostly mediocre past five years.

October 26, 2014

Press Ignoring Nikki Haley’s Opponent Wanting to ‘Escort Whore Out the Door’

Did you hear about Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott in Texas saying of opponent Wendy Davis, “We need to keep the whore away from the door”? Of course you didn’t. We know that if Abbott had said anything like that, it would become national news story more important than even Ebola within minutes.

So why is it only news at about a dozen web-based center-right outlets that Democrat Vincent Sheheen, who is running against incumbent Republican Nikki Haley in the South Carolina Governor’s race, told supporters on Thursday that “we’re gonna escort whore out the door”? Those who want to try to contend that Sheheen sincerely corrected himself when he immediately said “We’re gonna escort her out the door” are wrong, as evidenced by the crowd’s reaction and Sheheen’s self-satisfied behavior after his supposed blunder in the video following the jump:

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October 24, 2014

Better Off Than 6 Years Ago? Not the Homebuilding Industry

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:55 pm

In his late-September interview with Steve Kroft of CBS News, President Barack Obama insisted that, when looking at the economy and asking “are you better off than you were … six (years ago),” “the country is definitely better off.” Unfortunately, he admitted, the American people “don’t feel it.”

One reason “they don’t feel it” is because, despite what the President contends, there are many areas of the economy which aren’t in better shape than they were six years ago. One obvious sector which is still worse off is the homebuilding industry.

The Census Bureau reported Friday morning that new home sales in September came in at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 467,000. That was barely ahead of August’s revised total of 466,000. The really sad part of the Census’s release is that August originally came in at 504,000, but was revised downward today by over 7 percent.

Actual sales in September (i.e., not seasonally adjusted and not annualized) amounted to only 38,000 units.

338,000 new homes have been sold during the first nine months of this year. That’s almost 16 percent below the comparable figure of 401,000 from 2008, i.e., six years ago. Even given the steep slump which occurred during the final quarter of 2008, new-home sales in 2014 will still certainly come in below that seen in 2008.

Why is this happening? Obama gave Kroft the reason: “… incomes and wages are not going up.”

His “solutions”? Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, which would steeply raise prices, reduce business profits, and lead to reduced employment.

The President also is pushing to “make sure women are getting paid the same as men for doing the same work.” That idea requires no action, because equal pay for equal work is already the reality, both in the law and in practice.

Obama believes we should also be “doing more to invest in job training.” That means doing more of what hasn’t worked. The New York Times recently exposed how the Workforce Investment Act, an existing job-training effort, has generated no real results for many supposed beneficiaries besides pushing them deep into debt.

Housing in particular is suffering because, thanks to the Dodd-Frank banking regulations passed during early part of Obama’s first term, lenders are looking over their shoulders, worried that Uncle Sam’s busybody auditors might second-guess their underwriting decisions and put them through the regulatory wringer. Even people with golden credit and plenty of other financial assets are finding it extraordinarily difficult to navigate their way to a new mortgage loan.

Today’s new-home news only reinforces the fact that after almost six years of Obama’s alleged recovery medicine, the patient is nowhere near recovering.

Cross-posted at DC Gazette.

Grimes Says She’s Won’t Be ‘Bullied’ by McConnell … or Chuck Todd

Imagine the pile-on that would be occurring from other members of the nation’s establishment press if a Republican or conservative U.S. Senate candidate went after an individual member of the press as Alison Grimes just has against NBC/MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd. The “How dare you?” cries would be everywhere.

It’s hard to see how employing such a tactic works to get votes, but Grimes, the Democrats’ candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, seems to think that acting as if she’s standing up to playground bullies might get her some mileage. Todd, along with incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, is one of the supposedly all-powerful bullies. Video follows the jump:

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October 23, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (102314): 283K SA; Raw Claims Down 18% From Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:56 am

Predictions:

  • Bloomberg predicts 281,000 seasonally adjusted claims.
  • Business Insider apparently didn’t bother.

HERE is the news from the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 283,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 264,000 to 266,000. The 4-week moving average was 281,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since May 6, 2000 when it was 279,250. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 283,500 to 284,000.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 255,483 in the week ending October 18, a decrease of 18,260 (or -6.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 33,552 (or -12.3 percent) from the previous week. There were 312,037 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

The seasonal adjustment factors for this week and the same week last year were virtually identical (90.2 and 90.0, respectively).

The report indicates that “covered employment” — the number of workers who would be covered by unemployment insurance if they were to be let go by their employers — is now 132,731,174. That’s still about 1.25 million short of the 133,902,387 peak at the end of 2008.

That leads to an interesting comparison:

CoveredEmployment1014and1008

The translation here would seem to be that, compared to six years ago, there are three times as many Americans on employer payrolls whose work is so part-time or unpredictable in nature that they aren’t covered by the unemployment system if they lose their jobs.

October 22, 2014

Rolling Stone Goes to the Barricades

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

One-percenters Jann Wenner and Paul Krugman team up to motivate the “Progressive” base for November.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.

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On October 8, Rolling Stone, the pathetically pretentious magazine overseen by one-percenter Jann Wenner, delivered a double-barreled dose of far-left Kool-Aid.

Its mission: Motivate its largely apathetic and mostly Dear Leader-worshipping readers into defending Barack Obama and his party in the midterm elections.

Good luck with that, guys. Rasmussen, in announcing its latest “Right Direction or Wrong Track” poll results, reported that “Roughly two-thirds of voters of all ages agree the country is on the wrong track.” That would seem to indicate that quite a few rockers, rappers, and middle-aged stoners are among those who believe that all is far from well.

One of the magazine’s pathetic pair of propaganda pieces came courtesy of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

The Princeton economist and former Enron adviser may have decided that he couldn’t make his absurd case anywhere else without destroying what little remains of his credibility. If so, “In Defense of Obama” delivers a ringing confirmation of that assessment.

Krugman writes that “Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.” Looking at just three of his justifications will give readers an idea of how unhinged the man has become:

  • Even as the Obama administration has deliberately postponed 2015 enrollment until November 15 for purely political reasons, he writes that “Obamacare means a huge improvement in the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans.” Even the most generous estimates of the newly insured only go to a single 10 million, and there’s ample reason to doubt those estimates.
  • He also claims that Obamacare is “doing more to reduce overall health costs than even its supporters predicted.” Oops: Even beyond the known double-digit premium increases, the Congressional Budget Office now estimates that Obamacare “will increase deficit spending by $131 billion from 2015-24.” This recent news should not, and I believe does not, surprise Krugman. In February 2013, the Government Accountability Office projected that “Obamacare will increase the long-term federal deficit by $6.2 trillion.” But it’s apparently more important to defend Obama’s long-broken promise — that his “signature achievementwould not add “one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future. Period” — than it is to demonstrate any allegiance to the truth.
  • He claims that “the Obama stimulus plan helped mitigate the worst of the slump.”

Here are the facts concerning that final claim:

  • Obama’s actions during the 2008 campaign and during the presidential transition period contributed greatly to making the “slump” (somehow, Krugman never used the word “recession” at all) as bad as it was.
  • Thanks to Obama’s stimulus plan and other policies, job losses continued until February 2010, a full eight months after the recession officially ended. By contrast, in the early 1980s under Ronald Reagan, despite implementing what Keynesians would claim were all the wrong policies, employment began to recover very quickly after the recession’s end.
  • The unemployment rate, even artificially rigged as it likely is, has never come down to the 5 percent level Obama’s own collection of Keynesians promised in promoting the stimulus.
  • The recovery itself bears far more resemblance to the miserable, Depression-era 1930s than any recovery seen since. That’s because the false “stimulus” of unsustainably high deficits has continued, and is on track to get progressively (pun intended) worse.

Unfortunately, Krugman is right in contending that Obama’s presidency has been consequential. The nation will be living with his negative legacy for generations to come.

As to its success, Obama himself told the nation just days before he was first elected president that he was on the verge of “fundamentally transforming” the nation. In some respects, he has. To the extent he has, that transformation has been decidedly negative.

Rolling Stone’s other contribution to reader disinformation came in the form of “The Obama Hope and Change Index: 6 Years of Progress, By the Numbers.” It is not an index at all, but a list of 55 statistics which are supposed to “prove President Obama has accomplished more than you may realize.”

The list is a tacit admission that the pickings among Obama’s “accomplishments” are really slim. What follows are three of the worst examples.

It celebrates “Troops in Iraq today: 1,600,” as ISIS nears Baghdad. In 2009, I wrote, given that the war was won under Bush 43, Iraq had become Obama’s to lose. He’s very close to doing that.

It gleefully points out that there are now 149 detainees at Gitmo, compared to 242 five years ago. Of course, there’s not a word about how many of those who were released have returned to either the battlefield or terrorism.

Finally, it trumpets, “Immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children now shielded from deportation: 800,000.” Wow. Even some Rolling Stone readers might understand how utterly damning that statistic is.

If Krugman’s crud and that pitiful collection are all a dedicated leftist rag can drum up in support of The One, who early this month declared that the midterms elections really are all about his policies, maybe they really are destined to be intensely miserable on November 5. But that will only be the case if those who oppose his policies turn out in numbers greater than currently projected.

October 21, 2014

Peter Schiff: QE4 Is Coming, or We’ll Get a Severe Recession

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:55 am

Watch (HT Zero Hedge):

Key points, all from Schiff, interviewed by CNBC’s Rick Santelli:

  • “You cannot end quantitative easing without plunging the economy into a severe recession.”
  • “The U.S. economy is more screwed-up now than it’s ever been in history, and we cannot unravel all of these economic imbalances without a severe recession.”
  • “They (the Federal Reserve) have QE4 cued up and ready to launch right now.”
  • “All the things that we really needed to do have not been done, because QE has prevented real structural reform from taking place. … all we did is reflate a bubble which is about to pop.”
October 20, 2014

Why ‘It Matters’ (102014)

Politico (HT Breitbart):

POLITICO poll: Alarm, anxiety as election looms

An overwhelming majority of voters in the most competitive 2014 elections say it feels as if events in the United States are “out of control” and expressed mounting alarm about terrorism, anxiety about Ebola and harsh skepticism of both political parties only three weeks before the Nov. 4 midterms.

In a POLITICO poll testing the hardest-fought states and congressional districts of the year, two-thirds of likely voters said they feel that the United States has lost control of its major challenges. Only 36 percent said the country is “in a good position to meet its economic and national security” hurdles.

If no individual issue has come to define this election — like health care in the 2010 campaign or the Iraq War in 2006 — the accumulation of disparate fears has created a sense of pessimism and frustration across the midterm landscape.

None of this will get any better if the vast majority of the American people sit this election out as usual.

That’s why “It Matters.”

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Rolling Stone Goes to the Barricades’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:56 am

It’s here.

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