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.

Sore Losing Losers at the Big Three Nets Won’t Cover Democrats’ (So Far) Rough 2014 Election Cycle

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:51 am

From the Media Research Center, as carried at NewsBusters:

NetworksMidtermCoverage2006and2014

ABC is the sorest losing loser of the bunch, having broadcast no stories on the midterms from September 1 to October 20.

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

Vox’s Amanda Taub: Reax to Canada Attack Shows ‘We’ Are Biased Against Islam

Taking the web site even further down the path of useless, pretentious collection of hackery than it already is — and that’s quite far — Vox.com has tweeted (HT Twitchy) that “Our obsession with the Ottawa shooter’s religion reveals more about us than about him.” It must be a shock to their system to learn that a lot of “us” would rather not be cut down by a member of the alleged “Religion of Peace.”

The site’s underlying writeup by Amanda Taub, its “Senior Sadness Correspondent” (not kidding) accuses “us” of jumping to conclusions, when there was plenty of evidence from the get-go that the attack was jihadist in nature:

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AP’s Headline After Driver Plows Into Crowd: ‘Israeli Police Shoot Man’

Here’s the first sentence from an Associated Press dispatch relating to a breaking news story out of Israel: “OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli police say they have shot a man whose car slammed into a crowded train stop in east Jerusalem, in what they suspect was an intentional attack.” (“OCCUPIED JERUSALEM”" Really? — Ed.) The story goes on to note that nine people were wounded.

From all of this, the wire service ran with the following initial headline: “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.” That’s right. Nothing about the man being the driver of a car which plowed into a crowd. Well guys, if you play with fire, you’re sometimes going to get burned. In this case, more like scorched, as one of the nine wounded, a three-month-old baby, died. The initial headline, though ultimately changed, more than likely stayed with the story for a brief time at some outlets as additional developments unfolded. Excerpts from the latest report, as carried at Yahoo, follow the jump.

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Why ‘It Matters’ Update

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:02 pm

Rasmussen:

Twenty-six percent (26%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending October 19.

The number who say the country is heading in the right direction is down one point from the previous week. This finding has now been in the 23% to 27% range nearly every week since early June …

… Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters now believe the nation is headed down the wrong track.

… Roughly two-thirds of voters of all ages agree the country is on the wrong track.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of whites and 56% of other minority voters say it’s on the wrong track. Blacks are evenly divided over the direction of the country.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of the Political Class believe the country is headed in the right direction, but 78% of Mainstream voters disagree.

When almost eight out of 10 people not in the poltical class believe we’re heading in the wrong direction … we’re heading in the wrong direction.

When things are this bad, sitting on the sidelines is not a viable option. “It Matters” that people get informed, get involved and vote:

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.

Exquisite Timing: USAT Runs Op-Ed on ‘Beware the Christian Extremists’

Sandwiched in between two domestic terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in Canada during the past three days, USA Today ran a Tuesday op-ed which appeared in Wednesday’s print edition by Mary Zeiss Stange called “Beware the Christian Extremists.”

With all due respect, ma’am, we’ve got bigger worries. But in Ms. Stange’s world, Christian “religious extremism taken to potentially lethal ends” is really the “primary threat to homeland security.” She castigates the news media, which in her view “have been remarkably slow when it comes to zeroing in on the pervasive reality of hate-based Christian extremism,” because “It is easier, after all, to blame the un-American other.”

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October 22, 2014

Press Covers For Crist’s Tired Excuse For Fla.’s Jobs Freefall on His Watch

At their debate Tuesday night, former Florida governor (2007-2010), former Republican (1974-2010), former independent (2010-2012) and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist got out the crying towel over why the Sunshine State’s economy was so bad on his watch. He also refused to acknowledge that incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott deserves any credit for the state economy’s overachievement during the past 45 months.

At the debate, Crist tried to minimize the economic disaster which occurred during his term in office by claiming that — quoting from the debate transcript — “I was serving during the global economic meltdown. And we did the very best we could to get Florida through it and we did.” As seen after the jump, the “best we could do” for Crist was far, far worse than the rest of nation’s “best” could do. As would be expected, I didn’t find any establishment press coverage which has made the comparisons which follow.

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O’Keefe Finds Eagerness to Commit Voter Fraud Among Colorado Leftists

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:47 pm

Also posted at DC Gazette.

James O’Keefe, the man who brought down ACORN, has done it again, this time exposing Colorado leftists’ shocking wilingness to cheat.

Here are several quotes from the Project Veritas video about their attitude towards the illegal act of taking someone else’s mail-in ballot and using it to vote:

  • “I mean, that’s not even like lying or stealing. If someone throws out a ballot, like, if you want to fill it out you should do it. … It doesn’t have anyone’s name on it yet.”
  • “It’s putting the votes to good use.”
  • (Reacting to the idea of Oregon voters who have already voted by mail in that state but have just moved to Colorado voting again) “That’s awesome.”

A Greenpeace representative even identified a place in Aurora where one would have high chance of success in retrieving unused ballots from the trash.

Colorado’s Secretary of State, who is a Republican, notes that “historically, when you look at it, one of the most popular avenues for voter fraud is mail ballots,” and that “it’s absolutely possible” for someone to retrieve the ballot of a person who has thrown out their ballot and use it to vote.”

Besides Colorado, where all mail-in balloting begins this year, Washington and Oregon opted for such a system some time ago. Since doing so, Washington has moved from being a swing state two decades ago to predictably Democratic. In 2004, a Republican candidate for Governor “somehow” lost a close election he was on track to win before recount shenanigans commenced. That loss was also possibly traceable to voter-registration fraud — a crime much easier to commit when the perpetrator doesn’t have to show up and be seen at a polling location.

O’Keefe argues that what he has uncovered “should make voters across the country question the very integrity of our elections.” And it should, especially in the three states just identified, as well as those which have chosen to adopt no-excuse-needed absentee voting.

AP Downplays Key Poll Finding: Dems’ Advantage Among Women Is Gone

In relaying the results of their polling partnership’s latest survey, Associated Press polling director Jennifer Agiesta and reporter Emily Swanson held their most important finding until their report’s seventh paragraph.

Despite their effort to downplay it, Matt Drudge, whose nose for genuine news is legendary, spotted it. Accordingly, his current headline screams: “POLL SHOCK: WOMEN WANT REPUBLICANS!”

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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.

___________________________________

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

___________________________________

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

AP Ignores Shaheen’s Refusal to Answer Whether She Approves of Obama at Debate

The Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, appears determined that there not be any more reported embarrassments of Democrats who refuse to directly acknowledge that they support President Barack Obama.

One such embarrassing moment occurred in tonight’s debate in New Hampshire between Republican Scott Brown and incumbent Democrats Jean Shaheen, who has reportedly voted as Obama would prefer 99 percent of the time. In her coverage, AP reporter Holly Ramer acted as if the following exchange between a debate panel member and Shaheen — and the audience laughter which accompanied it — never happened:

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‘Stubbornly Neutral’ Todd ‘Physically Ill’ Over His Comment’s Harm to Grimes Campaign

On Friday in a Facebook hangout, in a statement noted Saturday afternoon by Tim Graham at NewsBusters, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd described himself as “stubbornly neutral.”

Sunday, Mr. “Stubbornly Neutral” attacked the NRA on “Meet the Press” for having the nerve to oppose President Obama’s Surgeon General nominee, a man who is obsessed with gun control. Democrats who have thrown away the cloture rules in the Senate could push the nomination through immediately if they wished, but the political cost of confirming a guy who believes that “Guns are a health care issue” is apparently too high. Then on Tuesday, as noted by Politico’s Hadas Gold, Todd went to a far-left propaganda organ which has a track record of coordinating its efforts with the White House to issue an emotional mea culpa for having hurt the Kentucky senatorial campaign of Democrat Alison Grimes (bolds are mine):

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WSJ Doesn’t Explain Graph Showing Biggest Right/Wrong Track Gap In at Least 28 Years

BizzyBlog Update: If the graph at this post doesn’t convincingly demonstrate why “It Matters,” (i.e., getting informed, getting involved, and voting), I don’t know what does.

Elizabeth Williamson’s coverage at the Wall Street Journal of the latest WSJ/NBC News poll has a very strange omission.

It contains a graph showing “right track/wrong track” polling percentages heading each midterm election going back to 1990. But Williamson, while addressing why the American people feel as they do right now in larger historical context, never commented on the graph’s specific message, which is about as damning as it can get:

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