Patterico's Pontifications

1/13/2010

Words, Deeds, and Deficits

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 8:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Michelle Obama says Harry Reid doesn’t need to apologize for his recent comments because it’s deeds, not words, that matter to her:

“Harry Reid has no need to apologize to me because I know Harry Reid. I measure people more so on what they do rather than the things they say.”

By that standard, Barack Obama should immediately apologize to the American people for his disastrous economic deficits and policies:

“So, after running a record-setting $1.4 trillion deficit, the Obama recovery translates to a… $1.55 trillion deficit for 2010.

And the hits just keep on coming.

Yep, you read that right: individual income taxes are down nearly 20% year-over-year, while corporate income taxes have dropped nearly 33%!.

But remember, folks, President Obama says the recession is over.

Perhaps that’s because it’s transitioned to a flat-out depression. And, don’t look now, but socialized medicine represents the coup de grâce to an economy that is wheezing, flat on its back.

Hello, Dr. Cloward? Dr. Piven? Your students’ plan is working to perfection.”

Doug Ross describes this as “President Obama’s plan for reshaping the economy” … except Obama’s “reshaping” is awfully close to “destroying.”

– DRJ

Chaos in Haiti Following Earthquake

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 6:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The reports following yesterday’s earthquake in Haiti show a nation in chaos with an unknown number of dead:

“Dazed survivors wandered past dead bodies in rubble-strewn streets Wednesday, crying for loved ones, and rescuers desperately searched collapsed buildings as fear rose that the death toll from Haiti’s devastating earthquake could reach into the tens of thousands.”

Even Haiti’s President has been left homeless but his immediate concern is that more people will be left hurt, homeless, or sick:

“Speaking from the streets of Port-au-Prince, a visibly shaken Haitian President René Préval told reporters Wednesday afternoon “it’s too early” to guess at the number of earthquake casualties in his country.
***
Asked what he now considered the biggest risk to his country, Préval said: “that the buildings will continue to collapse . . . and for an epidemic.”

While an unknown number of people remain trapped in the rubble, there are growing fears regarding lawlessness and street violence:

“As darkness fell Wednesday, Mario Anderson, Haitian national chief of police, grew concerned. He said many officers had been injured and maintaining security in the chaos may become a challenge: “We have many prisoners who are on the streets – it’s about 1,000; some have been in prison a long time.”

The number of homeless wandering the streets is growing, too, he said. “The situation is bad,” he told CNN.”

The International Red Cross estimates at least a third of Haiti’s nine million people will need aid.

– DRJ

PS – America responds.

Barney Frank “Lashes Out”

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 5:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A recent Boston Herald article reported that former DNC head and current Massachusetts Senator Paul Kirk, Jr., confirmed he will vote for ObamaCare, while Republican candidate Scott Brown has vowed to vote against it. Thus, if Brown is elected, his vote could imperil the passage of ObamaCare … but maybe not, if there is a delay the certification of the election by State Democratic officials:

“The U.S. Senate ultimately will schedule the swearing-in of Kirk’s successor, but not until the state certifies the election.

Friday, a spokesman for Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, who is overseeing the election but did not respond to a call seeking comment, said certification of the Jan. 19 election by the Governor’s Council would take a while.

“Because it’s a federal election,” spokesman Brian McNiff said. “We’d have to wait 10 days for absentee and military ballots to come in.”

Another source told the Herald that Galvin’s office has said the election won’t be certified until Feb. 20 – well after the president’s address.”

A Washington Times’ reporter asked Barney Frank to comment on the possibility of a delayed certification. Here is my transcript of the audio of Barney Frank’s response:

REPORTER: Congressman, excuse me, let’s switch gears for a moment and turn to the Massachusetts Senate race that’s going on right now … particularly Scott Brown’s comment that it’s not Mr. Kennedy’s seat or it’s not the Democrat’s seat.

BARNEY FRANK: Of course not. Whoever said it was? It’s the people’s seat. Of course it is.

REPORTER: What about the assertion that …

BARNEY FRANK: We’re the ones who say … I was all for an election, so what is there [unintelligible].

REPORTER: What about the assertion that if Mr. Brown were to win that Massachusetts would find a way not to certify the election?

BARNEY FRANK: That is the stupidest thing I’ve been asked in a long time. Who do you work for?

REPORTER: Washington Times.

BARNEY FRANK: I’m not surprised. That is insane, the suggestion could only come from a demented right wing source. There isn’t the slightest possibility of it happening—a way of doing it. That is conspiracy theory at its most contemptible.

Take that, you demented right-wing conspiracists at the Washington Times and Boston Herald.

Of course, it’s true that no one thinks this was Ted Kennedy’s seat … as long as you don’t count CNN, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Time, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and MoveOn.org.

– DRJ

The Shove

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 3:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Democrats are reportedly worried that Republican Scott Brown is narrowing the gap in his Massachusetts’ Senate race with Democrat Martha Coakley. Allahpundit has this short and not-so-sweet summary of Martha Coakley’s latest problem:

“First, McCormack gets shoved — on video, with a photo showing Coakley standing right there. The Democrats’ Senate campaign arm then issues a statement calling it, surreally, some sort of Republican “dirty trick.” The AP duly answers the call of the home team by putting out a whitewashed account of what happened, insisting that McCormack merely stumbled before being helped to his feet by the kindly Democrat looming over him. Then it’s Coakley’s turn to insist that she’s “not privy to the facts” of what happened despite the photo showing her looking right at McCormack as he hit the ground.

Finally, inevitably, with all spin angles crushed by the documentary evidence, the obligatory apology is issued.”

As Massachusetts’ Attorney General, Coakley is also its top law enforcement officer. Her website says she is “committed to empowering crime victims and providing them with the tools and support they need to begin the healing process.” Apparently that doesn’t include investigating a shove that occurs in her presence.

Of course, none of this would be possible without an entitled majority political party and a media willing to do anything to keep it that way.

– DRJ

ObamaCare: Dems strain to pass crap sandwich

Filed under: General — Karl @ 2:51 pm

[Posted by Karl]

House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel says that Dem negotiators are facing “a serious problem” in resolving their differences on ObamaCare, and are not likely to have a final bill until February. The story comes a day after Sen. Chris Dodd claimed the bill was “hanging by a thread” (which most likely dismissed as the gin talking). Stories like this have people from RCP’s Jay Cost to FDL’s David Dayen wondering whether the attempted takeover of the US healthcare system is in trouble.

While I agree with Jay that it would be hasty to say that passage of ObamaCare is inevitable, these stories really only confirm what we already knew. Both the House and Senate passed bills with razor-thin margins. Those bills have differences that were not going to be easy to harmonize.

What Democrats still have going for them is their delusional faith that passing some version of ObamaCare will help them politically. Statistics and history suggest the opposite is true. Anecdotally, recent polls show freshman Rep. Larry Kissell benefitting from voting against the bill, and Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid continuing his downward spiral. But evidence really has little bearing on matters of faith.

The latest iteration is typified by The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent and The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, who theorizes that liberals who think ObamaCare does not go far enough “will eventually admit that something is better than nothing.” Far be it from me to get in the way of one group of liberals calling another group of liberals stupid and emotional. But given the phased process envisioned for ObamaCare, I would not want to be betting on disgruntled lefties suddenly getting gruntled, especially with the 2010 midterms are likely scads of ads calling ObamaCare a bailout of Big Insurance, Big Pharma, etc.

–Karl

L.A. Times Applies That Famous Journalistic Skepticism to Ridiculous Job Creation Numbers

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama — Patterico @ 7:30 am

Unbelievable. The Obama administration is making even more ridiculous claims about the effect of the stimulus, and the stenographers at the L.A. Times are swallowing it whole:

Stimulus saved or created up to 2 million jobs in 2009, White House says

The Obama administration, offering evidence that its much-maligned efforts to spur economic recovery have begun to take hold, said Tuesday that the $787-billion stimulus program saved or created 1.5 million to 2 million jobs last year.

These latest figures from the White House Council of Economic Advisors are certain to be challenged by Republicans, but the employment and economic effects of the stimulus cited in the report are generally in line with estimates from some leading private economists as well as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Note the pre-emptive language: those damn Republicans will certainly criticize the numbers. But don’t listen to them, because the figure is backed up by leading private economists and the CBO.

Except that not one single “leading private economist” is quoted in the article.

Nor does the article tell readers that the CBO doesn’t have a clue how many jobs were “created or saved.” The CBO has given a huge range of 600,000 to 1.6 million extra jobs. (Is 600,000 in line with 1.5 million to 2 million?) But in reality, the CBO itself admits that it has no idea how much of this alleged increase was caused by the stimulus:

[I]t is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package.

That’s a quote from the CBO report. They don’t have a clue.

Back to the L.A. Times article, which tells us:

In its first quarterly report on the stimulus, issued in September, the White House estimated that the Recovery Act had raised employment levels by more than 1 million jobs as of the third quarter. The new report incorporates data from stimulus recipients who said they saved or created 640,000 full-time-equivalent jobs as of the third quarter.

The White House’s estimate of stimulus-induced jobs for 2009 is based on economic modeling and projections and as such is likely to be met with considerable skepticism from Republicans and other critics who have not only questioned the methodology but also documented cases in which stimulus money went to dubious projects.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!!!!

It’s more than that. The 640,000 number is an utter joke. It’s not just Republicans who have questioned the methodology — it’s also several media outlets in various places all around the country.

And it’s not merely a case of dubious projects. It’s a matter of out-and-out deception on the part of the administration in describing how many jobs were “created or saved” — to the point where the administration has actually decided to abandon that measurement (something I guess they forget to tell their own Council of Economic Advisors). Raises and pay for people who were never going to lose their jobs were counted as jobs “created or saved” before. Now they are explicitly counted as jobs “funded” by the stimulus.

Jobs were reported to be created or saved in congressional districts that don’t exist. The sale of one lawnmower was credited with saving 50 jobs.

The AP found that stimulus spending on transportation had no effect on local unemployment. No effect. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

None of this makes it into the article. None.

It’s just stenography. The White House says it, and so it must be true.

Utterly pathetic. Now do you see why this sort of journalism needs to die?


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