Even the New York Times Reports: "Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises"

Shouldn't it worry people that it takes so much money to create each job? So what happens when the flow of money ends? From the New York Times:

In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream.

“I won’t say I’m not frustrated,” said Van Jones, an Oakland activist who served briefly as Mr. Obama’s green-jobs czar before resigning under fire after conservative critics said he had signed a petition accusing the Bush administration of deliberately allowing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a claim Mr. Jones denies.

A study released in July by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for just 2 percent of employment nationwide and only slightly more — 2.2 percent — in Silicon Valley. Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent.

Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development. . . .

Job training programs intended for the clean economy have also failed to generate big numbers. The Economic Development Department in California reports that $59 million in state, federal and private money dedicated to green jobs training and apprenticeship has led to only 719 job placements — the equivalent of an $82,000 subsidy for each one. . . .

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Obama keeps blaming Republicans for slow economic growth

Democrats may have had complete control of Congress and the presidency during the last Congress, and that may have been true all the way up until January this year, but Obama is blaming Republicans for the current slow economy. Note that the economy during the first half of this year the economy grew at 0.4%, and the first quarter was the slowest. Is Obama really blaming the slow growth in the first quarter on Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives? Well, Obama's Saturday radio address sure makes that claim:

A vacationing U.S. President Barack Obama accused Congress on Saturday of holding back the U.S. economic recovery by blocking "common sense" measures he said would create jobs and help growth.

In remarks recorded on Wednesday on his campaign-style bus tour in Illinois and aired during his holiday in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama said the stalled construction, trade and payroll tax bills could give a boost to the economy.

"The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That's the problem right now. That's what's holding this country back," the president said in his weekly radio address, which is also transmitted on the Internet. . . .

The text of the radio address is available here.

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Newest Fox News piece: Liberals and the Texas Unemployment Miracle

If this is the best that the Democrats can do to attack Rick Perry's Texas, the election might already be over. Democrats feel that they have to attack Texas because they don't have any way to defend Obama's policies. This is how my newest Fox News piece starts:

With Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry officially entering the presidential race last week, liberals have started attacking Texas' economic record.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times went first last Sunday. "So what you need to know is that the Texas miracle is a myth, and more broadly that Texan experience offers no useful lessons on how to restore national full employment," Krugman claimed.
With the latest Gallup poll showing that just 26 percent of Americans approve of President Obama's performance on the economy, liberals have little choice but to try to distort what is happening in Texas.
"In June 2011, the Texas unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. That was less than unemployment in collapsed-bubble states like California and Florida, but it was slightly higher than the unemployment rate in New York, and significantly higher than the rate in Massachusetts. . . ."

The Texas unemployment rate is about one percentage point lower than the national average, and it is true that other states such as New York and Massachusetts also have very similar rates (see the diagram here). . . . .

Please leave comments and link to this piece. Thank you.

A closely related piece at National Review Online has gotten a lot of attention.

See also this discussion here at the Political Math Blog.

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Democrats want to use tax cuts to micromanage business decisions

Democrats seem unable to understand that companies have a better sense of where the most productive investments are. Can Democrats angle for some business support by selectively promising certain businesses tax cuts? Sure. Is it productive for the economy? No. From The Hill newspaper:

Senate Democrats, who are desperate to stimulate the economy but don’t have the money to pass traditional stimulus legislation, will turn to cutting business taxes when they return to Washington this fall.

In doing so, they will try to drive a wedge between business interests and the GOP leadership, who has tried to block almost every element of the Democratic agenda, by pushing a round of corporate tax breaks, say Senate Democratic aides. . . .

Democrats have found themselves at odds with the business lobby for much of their reign in the majority, fighting over healthcare, cap-and-trade and other regulations. And they were disappointed businesses did little to help them in their standoff with House Republicans over raising the debt limit, even though business leaders saw the mere threat of a default as dangerous.

Their new plan could net them the support of groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which traditionally supports Republicans — both politically and financially.

Their first tax proposal is to make the corporate research and development tax credit permanent. The second is to pass an Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. This would create a 30 percent tax credit for companies that manufacture new clean-energy technologies, which Democratic aides say would help create thousands of new jobs around the country.

A third idea is to extend the payroll tax cut Congress enacted in December and expand it to employers, reducing the cost of labor. And a fourth option is to give employers tax breaks for hiring new employees, an idea Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee panned in 2009 but now seems more attractive. . . . .

So why is it that so-called "new clean-energy technologies" able to produce jobs but wouldn't lowering overall tax rates rather than this targeted politically approved cuts also produce jobs, actually jobs that did more to increase total wealth?

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Does having private views that marriage should be between a man and a woman justify the government firing you?

How is having a private view that marriage should be between a man and a woman be any of the government's business? Whether one thinks that it is a good idea to believe that isn't the issue. Obviously if someone advocated homosexual marriage, this wouldn't cause any problems. I am pretty sure that unlike private employees, government employees were supposed to be covered by the first amendment. From Fox News:

A former “Teacher of the Year” in Mount Dora, Fla. has been suspended and could lose his job after he voiced his objection to gay marriage on his personal Facebook page.
Jerry Buell, a veteran American history teacher at Mount Dora High School, was removed from his teaching duties this week as school officials in Lake County investigate allegations that what he posted was biased towards homosexuals.
“We took the allegations seriously,” said Chris Patton, a communication officer with Lake County Schools. “All teachers are bound by a code of special ethics (and) this is a code ethics violation investigation.”
Patton said the school system received a complaint on Tuesday about something Buell had written last July when New York legalized same sex unions. On Wednesday, he was temporarily suspended from the classroom and reassigned.
Patton said Buell has taught in the school system for 22 years and has a spotless record. Last year, he was selected as the high school’s “Teacher of the Year.”
But now his job is on the line because of what some have called anti-gay and homophobic comments.
Buell told Fox News Radio that he was stunned by the accusations. “It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights,” he said. . . . .

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What government health care covers and what it doesn't?

Want contraceptives? Covered, even though it is something that everyone, even someone on welfare, can afford. If you have breast cancer and just happen to be a man, apparently forget it. From Fox News:

South Carolina health officials announced Friday that they will cover a local construction worker's breast cancer treatment under Medicaid even though federal guidelines exclude him because he is a man.
The decision effectively dares the federal Medicaid office to reject the claims for his treatment, and it sets up a potential showdown between state and federal officials. . . . .

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Are private gun buy-backs legal?

This is ironic. Gun laws so complicated that well-meaning, if very misguided, people doing these buy-backs may have committed enough crimes to earn them life-sentences.

For decades we’ve heard about gun turn-ins – “Gun Buy-Back” programs sponsored by churches, civic groups, and various other misinformed do-gooder organizations.

The very name – buy-back – implies that guns belong not to individuals, but to the government, or at least to the people who don’t like guns.

The programs have the stated purpose of “getting guns off the street,” which seems to give operators a pass from further scrutiny, even as they offer a tangible good such as a grocery store coupon or gift card in return for a gun, “no questions asked,” much like any other fencing operation.

Finally someone has forced the question: Are these programs legal?
Attorney and author of the New Jersey Gun Law Guide, Evan Nappen, not only asked the question, he is offering a $5000 bounty for anyone who can prove an affirmative answer.

Nappen is specifically asking about the legality of a church-sponsored program in the state of New Jersey.

As an expert on New Jersey gun laws Nappen says he can find no provision in the state’s maze-like gun statutes that permit churches and civic groups, or the people surrendering (actually selling) the guns, to by-pass the thicket of New Jersey state laws that require permits, background checks, and paperwork whenever a gun is transported or transferred. . . .



Police Officer threatens to make up charges against citizen

Police face a difficult job, but this is a little scary. The fact that the video from the officer's own car is missing also doesn't help.


The true subsidy to General Motors?

Remember the $50 billion in direct subsidies? Remember the $45 billion in tax write-offs? Well, apparently those weren't the only benefits. What is below is one of the reasons that the tax treatment shouldn't have moved to the "new" GM. From Reuters:

General Motors Co (GM.N) is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit over a suspension problem on more than 400,000 Chevrolet Impalas from the 2007 and 2008 model years, saying it should not be responsible for repairs because the flaw predated its bankruptcy.

The lawsuit, filed on June 29 by Donna Trusky of Blakely, Pennsylvania, contended that her Impala suffered from faulty rear spindle rods, causing her rear tires to wear out after just 6,000 miles. [ID:nN1E7650CT]

Seeking class-action status and alleging breach of warranty, the lawsuit demands that GM fix the rods, saying that it had done so on Impala police vehicles.

But in a recent filing with the U.S. District Court in Detroit, GM noted that the cars were made by its predecessor General Motors Corp, now called Motors Liquidation Co or "Old GM," before its 2009 bankruptcy and federal bailout.

The current company, called "New GM," said it did not assume responsibility under the reorganization to fix the Impala problem, but only to make repairs "subject to conditions and limitations" in express written warranties. In essence, the automaker said, Trusky sued the wrong entity. . . .

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Not surprisingly, the Nation magazine bungles the discussion on the Texas Housing market

Robert Scheer in The Nation claims:

From the first days of statehood in 1845, Texas has maintained the strictest laws on home mortgages in the nation. The Texas constitution’s blanket ban on home equity loans, born of outrage over previous land grabs by banks, has been eased substantially over the years, but a firm commitment that the total amount in loans on a house not exceed 80 percent of appraised value, and other consumer-friendly restrictions on mortgage lenders, saved Texas from the home mortgage disaster visited upon many other states. . . .

As a February 21, 2001 article in the American Banker notes, home equity loans have and are made in Texas. In 1998, Texas passed a law that "lifted a 150-year-old ban on home equity loans. . . . . In 1998 the state constitution was amended to allow home equity lending." Texas banks have been relatively small because of various past state regulations and these new loans were large made by out-of-state organizations.

Presumably this is the type of thing that Paul Krugman was misleadingly alluding to the other day in his attack on Texas.

The vast majority of companies making home equity loans in Texas are out-of-state banks and finance companies that are "big enough to absorb the risk," said Ann Graham, chief counsel and vice president of the Texas Bankers Association. . . .

Also, Texas was spared the worst of the housing crisis, partly because it turns out to have surprisingly strict regulation of mortgage lending. . . .

The reason that Texas didn't have a meltdown is largely because it didn't have the huge rise in housing prices preceding it and the reason that happened was because Texas has relatively few zoning regulations that restrict growth.

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Is this woman a Democrat?: Woman coaching child to ask tough questions of Perry

This is a very mislabeled piece. It should really be labeled as Democratic activist gets kid to ask her question for her.

At the end of this video you can hear the woman twice telling the child to ask Perry: "Ask him why he doesn't believe in science. Ask him why he doesn't believe in science." Wouldn't it have been useful for ABC News to ask this woman where she is coming from on the political spectrum? Or even if she were a Democratic operative? I thought at first that the child might be the woman's son, but the way that she turned away and seemed to leave the child behind after the question was asked makes me wonder if she isn't the Mom.


Two interesting pieces at NRO

James Carter & James C. Miller III have a useful piece on how tiny the budget cuts really are.

Conrad Black weighs in on Dodd-Frank.

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American's satisfaction with how things are going crashes from already low levels

This new Gallup poll continues to show extreme dissatisfaction.

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Was Obama right that Biden never referred to Tea Party members as terrorists?

The Los Angeles Times reviews the evidence here:

In an unusual move within the fraternities of Washington journalism, Politico, which broke the original hot story, issued a reaffirmation of the piece Wednesday, apparently in response to another Washington news organization questioning Politico's sources as "dubious."

To refresh your memory, hours after Biden met behind closed doors with unhappy congressional Democrats during the heated talks, Politico reported that the vice president of the United States had agreed with Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle's characterization of the House's new GOP majority and said, "They have acted like terrorists."

Biden tried to make a joke over his "effing" gaffe. But not this one, not when his boss is bemoaning hyperbolic Republicans.

Politico describes its reporting on the incident, saying it had five sources describe the scene and notes that Biden never asked for a correction or retraction and issued an artful dodge of a response.

The veracity is important here because the Obama administration is trying to blame the tea party's unreasonable ideological rabble for the unprecedented credit downgrade by Standard & Poor's, not the White House's wanton spending or unwillingness to make entitlement cuts.

It's an important part of Obama's planned 2012 campaign meme to pin blame for the nation's ongoing economic stagnation on Republicans, who just took over the House in January -- and to shield the lopsided congressional majorities of Democrats since 2007 that included both Obama and Biden for half that time. . . .

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Maxim has a new piece at Fox News: "California Police Sticking to Guns in Defense of Letting Kids Hold Automatic Weapons"

His new piece is available here and starts this way:

Would you let your kid touch a machine gun?
Photos of officers from the Santa Rosa Police Department letting kids handle the department’s SWAT team weaponry at a community event has sparked a debate over how much exposure to guns is healthy for kids.
Community organizer Attila Nagy, who took the photos, told FoxNews.com that he was concerned it might encourage kids to use guns in the future.
"My main concern is for kids who handle these things. They're fascinated by them, and it makes them familiar with guns," he said.
One city councilwoman, Marsha Vas Dupre, told her local paper that she was “alarmed and devastated” by the photos.
But the police department is pushing back, saying they see nothing wrong with how they handled the event.
"The weapons are rendered safe and are unloaded. We ensure the safety of those weapons," Santa Rosa Police Capt. Gary Negri told FoxNews.com, adding that the police attend the event to build ties between the police and the community.
"Our goal is saying to people, ‘hey, don't be intimidated by the police.’ We want to break down that barrier… Once these events are over, people will be more comfortable having conversations with officers.” . . .

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Obama moves to give illegals defacto citizenship

This could be an explosive story. The question is also what impact that this policy will have on more illegals coming into the US. From the Fox News:

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would launch a case-by-case review of illegal immigrants slated for deportation, in a move that could grant a reprieve to so-called DREAM Act beneficiaries and thousands of others.
The DREAM Act is a proposal in Congress to give illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a chance at legal status if they complete two years of college or military service. Though the bill has not passed, supporters and critics alike suggested Thursday's announcement could serve to unilaterally carry out its provisions.

A spokeswoman with the Federation for American Immigration Reform described the new policy as "blanket amnesty."
But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a letter to Senate Democrats that it would "enhance public safety" by focusing deportation efforts on those "who pose a threat." . . .


"More Guns, Less Crime in South Florida"

NBC Miami has borrowed the title of my book for their news story, but I am not upset. There story along with a clip from what was shown on TV is available here. Ideally, one wants to compare Florida's drop relative to the national average and see how the increase in Florida's permit issuance compares. Violent crime in Miami-Dade fell by 7 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. In Broward, the drop was slightly over 10 percent. Nationally, the drop in violent crime was 5.5 percent. It is pretty safe to say that with Florida now having 843,463 valid active permit holders, that the state has had one of the biggest increase in the issuance of permits in the country. So I think that Florida is probably showing what NBC says.

From the west Miami-Dade park shooting last month where four children were injured to the senseless killing of a young mother at a check cashing store in Broward last week, it appears South Florida has seen an unusual amount of gun violence this summer.

Local law enforcement officials say there's no doubt that guns are more prevalent on the streets and are easier to come by.

"We are seeing that people are able to get their hands on more high-powered weaponry," said Delrish Moss, spokesman for the City of Miami Police Department.

But while there are more guns on the streets, crime isn't on the rise in the state or South Florida, especially during the hot summer months.

"I think that's a myth more than anything," said Moss of the theory that violent crimes spike during the summer. "What happens is we do get more mischief with kids involved."

Overall, violent crime is on a downward trend in South Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In 2009, Miami-Dade County reported 19,797 violent crimes, but by 2010 that number was down to 18,507. In Broward, there were 9,562 violent crimes in 2009 and 8,597 in 2010. . . .


Can the government be trusted to regulate companies properly?

It constantly seems as if the government can not separate politics from what it does. Now the government is going after S&P at least in part because it downgraded the US credit rating. The government is also going after S&P for not foreseeing a financial crisis that the government itself didn't foresee. The bottom line is this: if S&P doesn't rate bonds and other assets properly, people won't pay them very much for their ratings. The market punishes S&P for the mistakes that it makes. Apparently, politicians are telling the New York Times that they are letting S&P's downgrade of the US impact their judgments on punishing the company. That is not good. Does anyone think that will make S&P's evaluations of the US better in the future?

The Justice Department is investigating whether the nation’s largest credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, improperly rated dozens of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis, according to two people interviewed by the government and another briefed on such interviews.

The investigation began before Standard & Poor’s cut the United States’ AAA credit rating this month, but it is likely to add fuel to the political firestorm that has surrounded that action. Lawmakers and some administration officials have since questioned the agency’s secretive process, its credibility and the competence of its analysts, claiming to have found an error in its debt calculations. . . .

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Gallup: Just 26% of Americans approve of Obama's performance on the economy

By political affiliation, 5% of Republicans approve of his job on the economy, 23% of independents, and 53% of Democrats. When you risk falling below half of the people in your own party approving on your job on the economy, you are in bad shape.

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Chicago ordered to hire black fire fighters so that their share of the jobs better reflects their share of the population

Hiring by racial quotas still occurs. The question is how this fits in with past Supreme Court decisions. He here something that I published in 2000 in Economic Inquiry explaining this issue:

Yet, since Richmond v. Croson [1989], the Supreme Court has held that these preferences must pass the difficult "strict scrutiny test" and will be invalidated unless they promote a "compelling" governmental interest. Remedial efforts to rectify past discrimination will only be approved if narrowly tailored to correct specific instances of discrimination. . . . "The [strict scrutiny] test also ensures that the means chosen 'fit' this compelling goal so closely that there is little or no possibility that the motive for classification was illegitimate racial preference or stereotype." . . . In the case of police, this means that minority police officers are being employed not because diversity is intrinsically valued but because it is believed to help lower the crime rate.

Now from the Chicago Sun-Times:

When results from the 1995 entrance exam were disappointing for minorities, the city established a cut-off score of 89 and hired randomly from the top 1,800 “well-qualified” candidates.

In 2005, a federal judge ruled that the city’s decision had the effect of perpetuating the predominantly white status quo, since 78 percent of those ‘“well-qualified’’ candidates were white.

Currently 19 percent of Chicago’s 5,000 firefighters and paramedics are African-American. The force is 68 percent white and 11 percent Hispanic.

“By comparison to the Police Department, African-Americans are dramatically under-represented. There will [now] be 111 additional African-Americans. That’s a very good thing,” Karsh said. . . .


Obamacare spending will not ask beneficiaries for residency status

Whatever one thinks of the merits of providing this health care and however large one thinks that the benefits are relative to the costs, he is pretty clear that President Obama has broken another promise and that it was an issue that he thought could have defeated his health care bill. From the Hill newspaper:

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on Wednesday said his infamous cry of “You lie!” at President Obama has been vindicated.

Wilson said an Obama administration decision on healthcare centers proves the president wasn’t telling the truth during a 2009 address to a joint session of Congress. . . .

Wilson said Wednesday that a recent award of $28.8 million to 67 community healthcare centers around the country would inevitably end up benefiting illegal immigrants, contrary to Obama’s pledge.

Of that $28.8 million, $8.5 million is earmarked to target migrant and seasonal farm workers — a group that Wilson claims is comprised of illegal immigrants.

"It is clearly providing money that should be going to American citizens to illegal immigrants," Wilson said on Fox News's "America Live." "It's even worse than I thought, they won't even ask for status." . . .

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Is this the way the government should be run?

If he does this to other commissioners, what happens to those who are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? Do you really want to give people like this the power that government has? If this weren't being done by a Democrat, would it be getting more attention? From Politico:

The conflict plays out in various, often petty, ways. For example, Jaczko has developed a system of approval for commissioners requesting foreign travel. The system had simple rules, including one that required only Svinicki [a Republican] to produce a written justification for such requests.

An NRC inspector general report earlier this year noted that Jaczko “used foreign travel as an incentive for supporting him on issues.”

According to the report, Jaczko told investigators that “it was his responsibility to decide who best represented the agency and if he had colleagues who did not support him on votes, he was not likely to send them to represent him and the agency on international travel.”

The IG report also referenced several accounts from current and former NRC staff members who said Jaczko’s aggressive behavior created “an intimidating work environment,” in part because he often yelled at his colleagues on the commission.

Dale Klein, a former NRC chairman, said he believed the report presented a tamer version of accounts than what was collected by investigators.

Klein described Jaczko’s behavior as “ruling by intimidation” and by cornering his colleagues on agency issues through the media. When it came to Jaczko’s interactions with Svinicki, he said, “While I was there, he would oftentimes yell at her.” . . .

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In 2008, Obama blamed part of the economic problems on the federal deficits

I have quoted other stronger statements by Obama previously on the deficits, but I wanted to add to my collection. From Business Week:

"Part of the reason this crisis occurred is that everyone was living beyond their means—from Wall Street to Washington to even some on Main Street," Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said on Oct. 13.

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Krugman's ill considered claims about Texas

Krugman makes several claims about why Texas' economy really isn't looking that good. An economist shouldn't be making the mistakes that Krugman does. Here are his claims:

"In June 2011, the Texas unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. That was less than unemployment in collapsed-bubble states like California and Florida, but it was slightly higher than the unemployment rate in New York, and significantly higher than the rate in Massachusetts. . . ."

Anyone who has been following the US unemployment numbers knows that things are a lot worse than the simply unemployment rate number indicates, and they are worse for a simple reason: people have given up looking for work and have completely left the labor force. People can stop being unemployed either when they get a job or when they give up looking for a job. Obviously, everyone wants to lower the unemployment rate through only the first option. Yet, unfortunately, people giving up looking for work has been the hallmark of the Obama administration. People are supposed to start looking for work during recoveries. It is during a recession that Americans give up looking for work. During the Obama "recovery" about 2.8 million more Americans have given up and completely stopped looking for work.

The data for individual states is available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Texas' unemployment rate is better than the national average, and it is true that there are other states such as New York and Massachusetts who have very similar rates.

So how is it that Texas is creating all these jobs but not showing a drop in the unemployment rate? The answer is that unlike Texas workers in the nation as a whole as well as Massachusetts and New York have completely given up looking for work. While Texas' labor force has grown by 350,000 since the recession ended in June 2009, Massachusetts has remained virtually unchanged and New York's has fallen by 140,000. Keeping a similar unemployment rate to Texas isn't quite the wonderful accomplishment when so many people have given up looking for work. The rest of the states will suffer a long term unemployment problem that Texas won't face because eventually when the economy does recover those who have given up looking for work will start looking again.

"It’s true that Texas entered recession a bit later than the rest of America, mainly because the state’s still energy-heavy economy was buoyed by high oil prices through the first half of 2008. . . ."

If Krugman can see significant swings in either the number of people employed or the number in the labor force as gas prices change, he has better eyes than I do. Krugman notes that Texas benefited from gas prices rising in 2008, but he fails to mention how Texas still did well relative to other states even when gas prices plummeted in late 2008 and stayed low through most of 2010.

"Also, Texas was spared the worst of the housing crisis, partly because it turns out to have surprisingly strict regulation of mortgage lending. . . ."

The reason that Texas didn't have a meltdown is largely because it didn't have the huge rise in housing prices preceding it and the reason that happened was because Texas has relatively few zoning regulations that restrict growth.

The Washington Post's Brad Plumer and Harold Meyerson largely get marching orders from Krugman, mentioning Texas' "oil boom" economy and then going after the high rate that Texans earn the minimum wage.
Plumer: "And Texas’ job surge hasn’t necessarily led to high-paying jobs: The state boasts the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers in the country, and its per capita income still sits below, say, California’s. . . ."

Meyerson: "It has the fourth-highest poverty rate of any state. It tied with Mississippi last year for the highest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs. . . ."

Unfortunately, neither of these writers really understand what these numbers mean. The biggest problem with both sets of claims is that Texas has the second largest percent of its population under age 18 at almost 28 percent. (Mississippi by the way is 8th.) Children ages 0 to 17 don't make much income if any, but obviously they go into calculating per capita income numbers. If you want to compare what people are making across states, a much more useful approach is to compare GDP per adult and in 2008 Texas ranked 8th, not too shabby. California ranked at 11th. This high rate of young people also dramatically raises the rate that people in the population are earning the minimum wage. Given that single women with kids make up such a large portion of those in poverty, it isn't surprising that this high rate of having children also drives up the poverty rate.

Another discussion of Krugman's claims can be found here.



Democrat on "Super Committee" wants to use it to "Close the Wealth Gap"

Anyone interested in economic growth? Apparently not Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) in this interview here. What does he think that a lot of this government spending has been for if not to transfer wealth?

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Even with massive subsidies, politically favored environmental firm goes bankrupt

Why government shouldn't get involved in making investments. From the Boston Herald:

Evergreen Solar Inc., the Massachusetts clean-energy company that received millions in state subsidies from the Patrick administration for an ill-fated Bay State factory, has filed for bankruptcy, listing $485.6 million in debt.

Evergreen, which closed its taxpayer-supported Devens factory in March and cut 800 jobs, has been trying to rework its debt for months. The cash-strapped company announced today has sought a reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and reached a deal with certain note holders to restructure its debt and auction off assets.

The Massachusetts Republican Party called the Patrick administration’s $58 million financial aid package, which supported Evergreen’s $450 million factory, a “waste” of money.

“The bankruptcy of Evergreen Solar is another sad event for the Massachusetts company and highlights the folly of the Patrick-Murray Administration which has put government subsidies into their pet projects instead of offering broad based relief to all Bay State employers,” said Jennifer Nassour, head of the state GOP. . . .

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Taxpayers pay for Obama's Midwest Bus Tour

It is nice to see the president being so frugal with government spending. Is there a chance that the local media will focus on taxpayers paying for what is pretty obviously a campaign trip? From FoxNews.com:

On a trip tinged with campaign-season politics, President Obama left the Beltway Monday for a bus tour of Midwestern locales to try and connect with voters who over the past several days have hosted his aspiring Republican rivals.
The three-state tour is considered an official White House visit, at a time when the nation is reeling from a succession of economic setbacks. With Americans showing historic levels of frustration with Washington, the president will try to feel their pain
The president landed in Minnesota shortly before noon and will head next to Iowa before finishing his trip in Illinois. Obama's mission to ease Americans' concerns about their jobs could have the added effect of helping him keep his own. The latest Gallup tracking poll showed the president's approval rating at an all-time low of 39 percent.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that Obama will not outline a specific economic proposal but will be listening to Americans' ideas about how to repair the economy. He said the president is visiting areas with relatively low unemployment to find out what's working.
With poll numbers falling for both Obama and Congress after a nasty political fight over raising the country's borrowing limit and spending cuts, Americans are in a bad humor. . . .

The Federal government apparently bought the two buses used in this tour for $2.2 million. In the past, the Secret Service would lease buses as needed, but the Obama administration decided that the government should own the buses.

Even if the US media won't call this bus tour for what it is, the British press calls it accurately. Take this headline from the BBC:

US President Barack Obama has begun a campaign-style speaking tour to make a case to voters for action to boost the US economy and create jobs

UPDATE: Here is an article from The Hill newspaper that describes Obama's presentations on the tour.

The White House has clearly taken note. Obama is on the road this week in three crucial Midwestern states, where he is lambasting Congress and talking jobs. . . .

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In a few weeks Obama will put forward an economic plan

With economic growth stalled and unemployment stuck above 9 percent and Obama is telling Congress to start delivering, Obama isn't exactly in a hurry himself and has promised that in a few weeks he will offer another economic plan. No reason to apply the standards he wants for Congress to himself. Note that taxpayers are paying for this bus tour (this is supposedly not a campaign tour), and then look at his attacks on Republicans. From Fox News:

"I'll be putting forward when they come back in September a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to control our deficit. And my attitude is -- get it done," he said.
Obama was in Decorah to close the first day of a three-day Midwestern bus tour. Earlier he swiped at his Republican challengers, accusing them of lacking "common sense" for refusing to compromise on raising taxes. . . .

The LA Times has more details on part of what will be in Obama's proposal.

Obama's jobs agenda, which he plans to tout on his Midwestern tour, calls for $30 billion to rebuild roads, bridges and ports; improvements to the patent system to spur innovation; trade deals with a trio of countries to boost exports; a $40-billion extension of unemployment insurance benefits; and renewal of the current one-year reduction of the payroll tax at a cost of up to $120 billion.

A range of economists and Democratic critics call those ideas inadequate.

Asked about Obama's support for free-trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a center-left think tank, said, "I would think they would be embarrassed to mention it."

"These are small countries, and we already have a lot of trade with them," he added.

Obama's policies "are just not big enough to make much of a difference," said Robert Reich, who was Labor secretary under President Clinton. . . .

So this is what Obama said in going after Congress:

Seeking to exploit Congress's abysmally low approval ratings, President Obama is urging voters to tell their lawmakers they must compromise for the sake of the country.
In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama said people are frustrated by the partisan gridlock in Washington, especially after the brutal fight over increasing the nation's borrowing limit that didn't prevent the U.S. debt from being downgraded.
Obama tried to position himself on the side of the public and against a deeply unpopular Congress. But even though Obama's approval ratings aren't so good either, he clearly sees a need to direct the public's anger toward Congress or risk being the target himself as the 2012 campaign revs up.
"You've got a right to be frustrated," the president said. "I am. Because you deserve better. I don't think it's too much for you to expect that the people you send to this town start delivering."
"Members of Congress are at home in their districts right now. And if you agree with me -- whether you're a Democrat or a Republican or not much of a fan of either -- let them know." . . .

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Crime down in Virginia Bars and Restaurants After Allowing Concealed Handguns to be there

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch (read the full piece):

Virginia's bars and restaurants did not turn into shooting galleries as some had feared during the first year of a new state law that allows patrons with permits to carry concealed guns into alcohol-serving businesses, a Richmond Times-Dispatch analysis found.

The number of major crimes involving firearms at bars and restaurants statewide declined 5.2 percent from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, compared with the fiscal year before the law went into effect, according to crime data compiled by Virginia State Police at the newspaper's request.

And overall, the crimes that occurred during the law's first year were relatively minor, and few of the incidents appeared to involve gun owners with concealed-carry permits, the analysis found.

A total of 145 reported crimes with guns occurred in Virginia bars and restaurants in fiscal 2010-11, or eight fewer than the 153 incidents in fiscal 2009-10. State police track all murders, non-negligent manslaughters, aggravated assaults, forcible sex crimes and robberies in more than two dozen categories, including "bars/nightclubs" and "restaurants." . . .

"Keep in mind," Van Cleave added, "what the other side was saying — that this was going to be a blood bath, that restaurants will be dangerous and people will stop going. But there was nothing to base the fear-mongering on."

State Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, who was a strong opponent of the law, said it's not clear what conclusions can be drawn from just a year's worth of data.

"Most folks obey the law, and that's a good thing," said McEachin, who remains staunchly opposed. "But I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that just like drinking and driving doesn't mix, guns and drinking don't mix." . . .

More from the Richmond Times-Dispatch on concealed carry on college campuses:

Virginia's top lawyer stands firm on the issue of campus defense. In a recent opinion, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli affirmed the rights of concealed-handgun permit holders to possess firearms on campus despite an apparent conflict with University of Virginia policy.

Virginia's code of law states that a holder of a concealed-handgun permit may possess a handgun anywhere except "in places where such possession is prohibited by law."

As Cuccinelli points out, the policies of the University of Virginia do not hold the force of law and therefore cannot restrict where permit holders may carry. In addition, were the total ban to be made into statute — and therefore hold force of law — it would be found unconstitutional by previous rulings of the Virginia Supreme Court. . . .

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So I thought that Krugman believed that it was the New Deal that helped save the US economy

I guess that this fits in with the Cash for Clunkers program. Of course, we could just pay people to go around rioting and burning down cities. Wouldn't that be a substitute for war? The UK must be really thrilled with their riots. Doesn't Krugman understand that this policy just moves spending from what else people would have been spending their money on? Here is the more serious question: we have four wars and that isn't enough? Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen. So Krugman is against winding down any of these wars? From CNN:

Fareed Zakaria: But even if you were, wouldn't John Maynard Keynes say that if you could employ people to dig a ditch and then fill it up again, that's fine, they're being productively employed, they'll pay taxes, so maybe Boston's Big Dig was just fine after all.
Paul Krugman: Think about World War II, right? That was actually negative social product spending, and yet it brought us out.
I mean, probably because you want to put these things together, if we say, "Look, we could use some inflation." Ken and I are both saying that, which is, of course, anathema to a lot of people in Washington but is, in fact, what basic logic says.
It's very hard to get inflation in a depressed economy. But if you had a program of government spending plus an expansionary policy by the Fed, you could get that. So, if you think about using all of these things together, you could accomplish a great deal.
If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren't any aliens, we'd be better –
Ken Rogoff: And we need Orson Welles, is what you're saying.
Paul Krugman: No, there was a Twilight Zone episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time...we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus. . . .

UPDATE: Krugman continues this theme:

"What we need is actually the financial equivalent of war," [Paul Krugman] said during a talk at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. "What actually brought the Great Depression to an end was the enormous public spending program otherwise known as World War II."

World War II boosted government spending to 42 percent of total U.S. output, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Krugman said that while a fiscal stimulus program does not have to be on the scale of World War II, ideally it would involve "useful" infrastructure projects such as repairing bridges and sewer systems and building a railway tunnel between New Jersey and New York. . . .

Krugman said he believes that the Federal Reserve should print more money to spur "above-average" inflation for five years, raising prices to bring down both unemployment and debt. The overhang of household debt has largely caused and prolonged the economic downturn, he said. The Fed's response so far has been "marginal," such as its recent decision to reshuffle $400 billion of its portfolio from short-term to long-term securities, Krugman said, since $400 billion would only make a dent in the multi-trillion-dollar U.S. bond market. . . .

Of course, inflation raises interest rates, making a difficult debt that much more difficult to pay off.



Damage from UK riots put at $324 million

The Financial Times has this:

The interests of government and business have coincided neatly over the costs of riot damage, estimated at more than £200m ($324m). David Cameron dispelled widespread doubts that taxpayers would foot the bill in a well-judged speech on Thursday.
Without state support, many independent retailers would have gone bust. Some big chains would have shied away from the poor districts seen as the centres of telly-grabbing criminality. Burnt-out shops would have damaged footfall. Insurers would have jacked up premiums in neighbourhoods such as Tottenham, deterring reinvestment.

Cameron does have an interesting approach to who will pay. Given that he blames the police for sitting back initially and watching the looting, he is take the money to pay for this damage out of the police budget. Do you think that the police will delay action next time?

The prime minister confirmed that police budgets would take the hit. Rightly so. The constabulary’s initial tolerance of looting encouraged the mayhem to mushroom. . . .

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Romney explains that companies are owned by people

I might not be very thrilled with Romney usually, but in this case he gets it exactly right. These hecklers were probably Democrat plants, especially since the Democratic Party just happened to be with Romney when the hecklers showed up. It is interesting that this is the type of ad that the Democrats think that they should campaign on.

The Gateway Pundit explains how this ad is completely misleading.


What passes for economic analysis in the Obama White House

On the one hand, the administration can push for policies that they don't believe will help, but which they think will look good politically. On the other hand, the administration can push for policies where they micro manage the types of investments that companies make. From the New York Times:

Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.

But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view. Democrats are also pushing the White House to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them. . . .

I love the way that the New York Times summarizes the beliefs of economists. Does anyone really believe that the NY Times is accurately stating this?

A wide range of economists say the administration should call for a new round of stimulus spending, as prescribed by mainstream economic theory, to create jobs and promote growth. It is clear that the House would never pass such a plan. . . .

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