Patterico's Pontifications


Perennially Dishonest L.A. Times Writer Michael Hiltzik: The CBO Report Saying 500,000 People Will Lose Jobs From an Increase in the Minimum Wage Is a Slam Dunk for Increasing the Minimum Wage

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:25 pm

Typical dishonesty from a dishonest writer. Here’s Hiltzik:

Here are the main points. See if you can guess which one has gotten the most headline play in the news.
1. Wages would rise for 16.5 million workers.
2. Income for families living below the poverty line would rise by a combined $5 billion, and by $12 billion for those earning less than three times the poverty level.
3. About 900,000 people would be moved out of poverty.
4. The raise would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers.

Those are the main points? How about I quote, in its entirety, the summary at the head of the report:

Increasing the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.

The way Hiltzik explains it, there is only one “main point” that is negative — yet the full summary I just quoted notes not only that half a million people would likely be out of work, but that (duh) their incomes would “fall substantially” and that the general effect on employment for low-wage workers would be bad.

The report also notes near the top:

Moreover, the increased earnings for some workers would be accompanied by reductions in real (inflation-adjusted) income for the people who became jobless because of the minimum-wage increase, for business owners, and for consumers facing higher prices.

Funny, I don’t see higher prices for consumers among Hiltzik’s “main points.” Nor do I see lower income for business owners among Hiltzik’ “main points.”

And while Hiltzik is happy to tell us about the $5 billion increase in income for those in so-called “poverty” and the $12 billion increase in income for some relatively less well-off people, the report actually lists three different effects on income in one place, and four in another. Hiltzik gives us the two rosiest income effects, but fails to mention this one:

Real income would decrease, on net, by $17 billion for families whose income would otherwise have been six times the poverty threshold or more, lowering their average family income by 0.4 percent.

Funny how increases in income for some are among the reports “main points” — but decreases in income for others are . . . not.

After a while, it starts to look like Hiltzik’s “main points” have been cherry picked by a reporter with a history of dishonesty and sneakiness, who wants to sell readers his partisan and slanted view of the report’s findings.


Thanks to Dana.

L.A. Times Botches Basic Facts Underlying Story About Rush Limbaugh Leaving KFI

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:56 pm

The Los Angeles Times reports that KFI has not lost any ratings during the “month” that KFI has (supposedly) not been airing Rush Limbaugh. (As we will soon see, this reporting is utterly bogus — which I’m sure you find shocking, given the source.) Here’s ace reporter Ryan Faughnder:

It’s early days, but losing Rush Limbaugh to another Clear Channel station didn’t seem to hurt ratings for KFI-AM (640) in January.

Numbers released Tuesday by Nielsen Audio showed little change in KFI’s numbers in the first month after Clear Channel moved the conservative talk show host to KEIB-AM (1150), formerly known as KTLK-AM.

KFI, which has switched to all-local programming, accounted for a 3.1% share of the Los Angeles-Orange County audience for the period of Jan. 2 to Jan. 29, flat with the previous month and ranking at No. 10.

Quiz for those reading this article:

Q: When did KFI begin their new local schedule that omits Rush Limbaugh?

a) Before Jan. 2
b) Beginning Jan. 20

If you guessed b), you are correct. Here’s Richard Wagoner at the Los Angeles Daily News on January 8:

It has been common knowledge for the past month or so that Rush Limbaugh would be moved from his longtime home of KFI (640 AM) to the new “Patriot,” KEIB (formerly KTLK, 1150 AM), so when I logged on to the KFI website Monday to find out who the new host was for the unfilled 1-3 p.m. shift, I was surprised to see Limbaugh still listed as the 9 a.m. to noon host.

I was ready to call KFI/KEIB’s marketing manager, Neil Saavadra, and give him a hard time about the mistake. Until I tuned in and discovered that Limbaugh was indeed on KFI. As well as KEIB. What gives?

“We wanted to make the transition an easy one,” Saavadra told me. So through Jan. 17, you can hear Limbaugh on two local stations. Then, Jan. 20 will mark the beginning of KFI’s almost-all-local format.

Our young Jimmy Olsen said that ratings were unchanged “in the first month after” Limbaugh had been “moved” to a different station — yet it appears that Limbaugh was actually gone for all of nine days of the 28-day period in question.

Reader Steven D. reports:

I sent the author an email and said I didn’t expect a correction, because it is the LA Times and the LA Times isn’t all that concerned with accuracy. Nothing on the story has changed, and I sent emails to the top editors of the Times to tell them about their inaccurate story. Not that they’ll care.

So cynical, Steven D. is!

And, of course, with good reason. Because this paper is truly amazing in its capacity for misstating the facts in service of a partisan slant.

Oh well. They’ll keep telling falsehoods. It’s what they do. We’ll keep correcting them. It’s what we do.

White House Might Want To Do Something About “It’s” Social Media Person

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:32 pm

I couldn’t be more proud:

I am reminded of the time they said that ObamaCare gives your mom “piece of mind”:

As for the substance of today’s tweet: the linked USA Today article states:

By the end of January, 728,410 people had enrolled in private health plans through Covered California, and 100,000 more signed up in the first two weeks of February.

Given the weaselly way that this Administration and its pals define words like “enrolled,” I don’t believe that we can say we know how many of those people have actually paid. But let’s assume that all 828,410 have paid. The Covered California blog told us in November 2013:

[I]t’s projected that about 900,000 Californians will be moved off policies that are discontinuing as of Dec. 31, 2013, because the plans don’t meet the minimum benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

The Weekly Standard confirmed this:

Anne Gonzales of Covered California confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD in a phone call that all 900,000 non-grandfathered plans in California “had to be discontinued by January 1.”

So, 900,000 people were expected to lose their coverage due to ObamaCare. So if 828,000 have “enrolled” (but may not be covered, for all we know), then, um, “yay”?

But it gets worse. Because even this not-so-rosy scenario assumes that all 828,000 were not previously insured. But that would be a faulty assumption. The same Weekly Standard link, back from January 24, 2014, when only 500,000 had signed up, had this to say:

[I]t’s easy to infer that the majority of people who signed up for Obamacare already had insurance. “Of those 900,000 [who lost plans], 310,000 of those would have been subsidy eligible if they came to the exchange,” Gonzales said. Another 20,000 subsidy-eligible Californians lost plans because their insurance carriers were dropping out of the market.

Health care industry expert Bob Laszewski points out that that means at least 330,000 of the 500,000 people who signed up for Obamacare already had health insurance. “If you want to know how many uninsured bought it, subtract by at least” 330,000, Laszewski told THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “The only place they can get the subsidy is in the exchange. So if they’re going to replace their policy, unless they’re really stupid, they’re going to replace it in the exchange.”

OK, so if you now subtract 330,000 from the higher 828,000, we have at most 500,000 signing up who weren’t previously insured. But there are almost 600,000 who didn’t qualify for subsidies. About them, the Weekly Standard said:

What happened to the 600,000 Californians who lost plans because of Obamacare but didn’t qualify for subsidies? Some probably signed up on the exchange anyway, further reducing the number of uninsured who gained coverage because of Obamacare. Others could have purchased Obamacare-compliant plans outside of the exchange.

Still other previously-insured Californians now lack health insurance because of Obamacare. Just how many people fall into each camp? We don’t know. “I don’t think we would have any of those demographics that you’re describing,” Anne Gonzales of Covered California told me.

Any way you slice it, I’m seeing fewer people with coverage today than before ObamaCare kicked in. Even years ago, my children both knew that 828,000 was less than 900,000.

Finally, the percentages still suck. Even this largely positive article in the San Jose Mercury News states:

Enrollment of the Young Invincibles increased slightly from 25 percent to almost 26 percent of those who have selected an insurance plan on the exchange.

The state needs that percentage to reach 36 percent to help balance the state’s exchange’s risk pool of younger, healthier enrollees with the number of older and sicker enrollees.

Even years ago, my childen both knew that 26 percent is less than 36 percent.

White House Social Media Person, its a real problem, isn’t it? And it’s cause? ObamaCare. Sorry to have to give you a peace of my mind, but there we are.

No, Republicans Did Not Vote to Raise the Debt Ceiling — It’s Worse Than That

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

I touched on this last night, but I think it’s an important enough point to make into a separate post. In the recent debt ceiling fight, media outlets across the nation claimed that the GOP voted to raise the debt ceiling:

New York Times: House Approves Higher Debt Limit Without Condition

Los Angeles Times: House passes ‘clean’ debt ceiling increase

Washington Post: Congress approves increase in debt limit after dramatic vote

Reading these headlines, a citizen could be forgiven for thinking that there is a debt ceiling in place — but that it is higher today than it was before these “dramatic” votes to “raise” that debt ceiling.

In fact, that’s what I said here on this blog, in a post that I corrected last night.

I corrected the post because I was wrong. The debt ceiling was not “raised.”

It was suspended:

Contrary to widespread reporting by the media, Congress did not actually increase the debt limit on February 12. Instead, Congress rendered the debt limit statute inoperative, thereby waiving the debt limit, through March 15, 2015. This means that there is no debt limit in place to control borrowing for more than an entire year.

When the debt limit suspension ends, the debt limit is automatically increased to reflect the amount of borrowing that occurred since the last debt limit bound the Treasury. However, because there is no actual dollar-denominated limit on the national debt during the suspension period, taxpayers will not know for certain just how much more borrowing Congress authorized.

The debt limit last bound the Treasury on February 8, when the agency reported the new limit at more than $17.2 trillion. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that, absent major changes in spending policy, the debt limit suspension will result in a $1 trillion increase in the debt limit on March 15, 2015.

This trick has pulled by Congress before. It’s embarrassing for politicians to say that they voted to raise the debt ceiling (especially when pesky folks like Ted Cruz prevent them from hiding their votes from the public eye). It’s even more embarrassing to raise the ceiling to a specific, sky-high number. So you just vote to suspend it. No number gets reported, as the entire media will misreport the story anyway.

As we sit here today, there is no debt ceiling at all. There is no mechanism restraining Congress and the President from spending us into oblivion — just their good sense and their deeply held beliefs about fiscal restraint.

Like I said, nothing at all.

Good thing we have those watchdogs in Big Media looking out for us, huh? Trouble is, politicians throw them a hunk of meat, and the watchdogs go to town munching away while the politicians sneak in and loot the Treasury.

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