Obama claims "GM is back"

Obama claimed today that "GM is back."  Well, here is how GM's stock price has changed since the IPO in late 2010.

The Hill newspaper has more on pushing the GM bailout yet again:

President Obama touted his administration's bailout of the U.S. auto industry as American car companies are beginning to sell their 2013 model year vehicles. 
"Every year around this time, American car companies start rolling out their newest, shiniest models, hoping to entice you into buying one," Obama said in his weekly address. "And this year is no exception. They’ve got some pretty good-looking cars coming out. 
"But something is different this time around – and it starts with the auto companies themselves," the president continued. "Just a few years ago, the auto industry wasn’t just struggling – it was flatlining. GM and Chrysler were on the verge of collapse. Suppliers and distributors were at risk of going under. More than a million jobs across the country were on the line – and not just auto jobs, but the jobs of teachers, small business owners, and everyone in communities that depend on this great American industry." 
Obama has often used the auto bailout to counter Republican claims that his policies are harming the U.S. economy. . . . .

Labels: ,

Biden claims that deficits cause recessions? Is that why Dems are running such huge deficits?


Ken Rogoff, the Nobel prize, political biases, and elections

Ken Rogoff is a nice guy and very bright guy.  Someone who I got to know some when we were both at Hoover at the same time.  There is a drumbeat to give Ken Rogoff the Nobel prize.  If he gets it, like Krugman 08, Nobel committee will again interfering in US election.  The media will use this to conclude that Obama is not responsible for the poor economy.

But on the issue of financial crises I think that he is wrong.  There are multiple papers and books that take issue with Rogoff's claim that economic recoveries after recessions are particularly weak.  Regarding time series data for the US, Gerald P. Dwyer and James R. Lothian have a piece available here and Michael D. Bordo and Joseph G. Haubrich have something available here.  Regarding some slightly earlier published cross-country international evidence you can see a popular discussion available here, but the graphs and more detailed discussion are in my book with Grover Norquist available here.

You can see the argument in today's New York Times when Paul Krugman writes:

About that misplaced optimism: In a now-notorious January 2009 forecast, economists working for the incoming administration predicted that by now most of the effects of the 2008 financial crisis would be behind us, and the unemployment rate would be below 6 percent. Obviously, that didn’t happen.  
Why did the administration get it wrong? It wasn’t exaggerated faith in the power of its stimulus plan; the report predicted a fairly rapid recovery even without stimulus. Instead, President Obama’s people failed to appreciate something that is now common wisdom among economic analysts: severe financial crises inflict sustained economic damage, and it takes a long time to recover. . . .

Labels: ,

Obama adm and Media Bias on initial filings of unemployment claims

The numbers on Thursday seemed amazingly good.  From the Politico:

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plummeted last week to seasonally adjusted 339,000, the lowest level in more than four years. The sharp drop offered a hopeful sign that the job market could pick up.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications fell by 30,000 to the fewest since February 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped by 11,500 to 364,000, a six-month low. . . .
The problem is that one large state didn't report their numbers.  The Obama administration wouldn't say what state.  Much of the media coverage, such as that in the Politico, just ignored this very important point.


Biden got 12% more words in debate than Ryan

Biden got 7,245 words. Ryan 6,481. Biden got 12% more words. Count them. Yet Radditz clearly interrupted Ryan much more.

You know that Biden is in trouble when the very liberal Roger Ebert thinks that Biden has gone too far.

Some others also found Biden smirks and smiles very disruptive.

CNN Poll on debate winner: Ryan 48%, Biden 44%

Some of the mistakes by Biden include:  

Claiming that he had voted against both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"What we did is, we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to Medicare."
This money was cut to fund the Obamacare.

"You know, I heard that death panel argument from Sarah Palin. It seems that every vice presidential debate, I hear this kind of stuff about panels." -- Seriously? Obamacare wasn't even written up at the time of the Biden v. Palin debate.

"Romney said 'No, let Detroit go bankrupt.'"

 "Well, we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly — we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view."

Biden's attack on the ability to cut rates and deductions but keep the overall change revenue neutral.  Biden voted for just such a change when he voted for the Reagan tax changes in 1986.

Breitbart.com has a list of eleven inaccurate statements by Biden available here.

Labels: ,


Obama administration fires BATF whistle-blower

Well, possibly the Obama administration thought that they had cover given that one of their political appointees has finally just resigned.  From Fox News:
A well-known whistle-blower in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed to FoxNews.com that he was fired this week, and he claims his complaints about Operation Fast and Furious played a role in his dismissal.  
Vince Cefalu said he was served his termination papers Tuesday in a Denny's parking lot in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. But he doesn't plan to go quietly. 
"It will be challenged," he said.  
Cefalu, who's served as an ATF special agent for 25 years, was first notified of the plan to fire him more than a year ago but had been on administrative leave until now. He said officials told him he was being canned for "lack of candor," in reference to a handful of statements he made in testimony in a separate court case.  
However, Cefalu has been outspoken against ATF practices for years and told FoxNews.com that his whistle-blowing on Fast and Furious "was the final straw." . . .
UPDATE: On October 24, 2012, Vince Cefalu's termination was delayed for at least 45 days.
Katie Pavlich at Townhall.com reports some good news for veteran Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent Vince Cefalu, who was sacked in the parking lot of a Denny’s restaurant in California two weeks ago: his termination has been delayed for at least 45 days by order of the Merit Systems Protection Board, giving the Office of Special Counsel “an opportunity to investigate the circumstances surrounding his termination.” 
The ostensible reason for Cefalu’s termination was a “lack of candor” when testifying under subpoena about a case unrelated to the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal.  . . . 


Are Israelis pretty confident of the future?

One measure of Israelis' confidence is the rise in housing prices.  Over the five years from 2006 to 2011, housing prices there rose 54.5 percent, giving Israel the rank of third among countries.  A much higher rate than countries such as Singapore or Switzerland.


Obama's lawless recess appointments

Hopefully the courts will invalidate all the decisions Obama's recess appointees have been making in various government agencies.  From George Will:
. . . For more than a century, it was generally accepted that recess appointments could fill only vacancies that occurred between sessions, not in recesses during sessions. Of late, however, presidents of both parties have made many recess appointments during short adjournments — as short as 10 days. To limit this, both parties when controlling Congress have adopted the practice of conducting pro forma sessions so the Senate is not in recess even while most senators are away. 
It was holding such sessions every three days when Obama abandoned the settled policy of presidents respecting this practice. He treated the Senate’s unwillingness to act on his NLRB nominations as an inability to act, and said this inability constituted a de facto recess. He disregarded the Senate’s express determinations on Jan. 3 and 6 that it was in session. And the fact that twice in 2011 the Senate, while in such pro forma sessions, passed legislation, once at Obama’s urging. 
Because the Constitution unambiguously gives the Senate the power to regulate its proceedings, Obama’s opinion that the Senate was not in session when it said it was, and his assertion that it was in recess even though it held sessions on Jan. 3 and 6, has no force or relevance. And although he is a serial scofflaw, not even he has asserted the authority to make recess appointments during adjournments of three days or fewer. . . .


Obama makes it easy for foreign and domestic donors to avoid campaign finance laws

How can the media avoid this?  Isn't this viewed as extremely cynical?  Is this the change that Obama was referring to?
"The Illegal-Donor Loophole" is the headline of a Daily Beast story by Peter Schweizer of the conservative Government Accountability Institute and Peter Boyer, former reporter at The New Yorker and The New York Times. 
The article tells how Obama.com, a website owned by an Obama fundraiser who lives in China but has visited the Obama White House 11 times, sends solicitations mostly to foreign email addresses and links to the Obama campaign website's donation page. 
The Obama website, unlike those of most campaigns, doesn't ask for the three- or four-digit credit card verification number. That makes it easier for donors to use fictitious names and addresses to send money in. 
Campaigns aren't allowed to accept donations from foreigners. But it looks like the Obama campaign has made it easier for them to slip money in. How much foreign money has come into the Obama campaign? Schweizer and Boyer say there's no way to know. . . . 


CBS's Lara Logan gives a very tough talk on what is happening in Afghanistan


Actress Stacey Dash talks about Romney and the recent Twitter backlash

Democratic Businessman Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, again blasts Obama

Wynn might have been a loyal Democrat for many years, but he is holding nothing back in going after Obama (italics added).  From Real Clear Politics:
WYNN: I've created about 250,000 direct and indirect jobs according to the state of Nevada's measurement. If the number is 250,000, that's exactly 250,000 more than this president, who I'll be damned if I want to have him lecture me about small business and jobs. I'm a job creator. Guys like me are job creators and we don't like having a bulls-eye painted on our back.  
The president is trying to put himself between me and my employees. By class warfare, by deprecating and calling a group that makes money 'billionaires and millionaires who don't pay their share.' I gave 120% of my salary and bonus away last year to charities, as I do most years. I can't stand the idea of being demagogued, that is put down by a president who has never created any jobs and who doesn't even understand how the economy works. . . .
UPDATE: Wynn has continued to speak out on Obama.  CNSNews has this:
I’m afraid of the president,” said Wynn.  “I have no idea what goofy idea, what crazy, anti-business program this administration will come up. I have no idea. And I have to tell you, Jon, that every business guy I know in the country is frightened of Barack Obama and the way he thinks.” . . .
CNBC has this:
"They're noticing in their homes...that their paychecks are shrinking in real time because of government irresponsibility and the management of this deficit," Wynn added. "It's killing the living standard of my employees, and that immediately affects their attitude at work." . . . 

Labels: , ,

Do a Google Search on "Completely Wrong" and you get page after page of links to Mitt Romney stories

I did this search around 2 AM this morning.  You have to go to the third page of searches until you come to a link to something using the term "completely wrong" that has nothing to do with Romney.

I must say that searches that I did using Bing and Yahoo produced similar results.

UPDATE: Fox News has this: "Mitt Romney’s Google problem is 'completely wrong'"

A Google Images search for the phrase “completely wrong” yields page after page of photos of the presidential candidate, calling to mind Google Bombs lobbed in the past against Rick Santorum, George W. Bush, and others.
But this is no Bomb, the company said.
A Google spokeswoman told FoxNews.com that Romney’s Google problem isn’t something the company can “fix” -- labeling it instead a “natural” effect of the algorithm. After secret video was released of the candidate saying he “didn’t have to worry about” 47 percent of the population, Romney used the phrase to describe his off-the-cuff comments.
"Clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney told Fox News host Sean Hannity. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong." . . .



Obama administration decides not to pick up illegal alien who is committing a misdemeanor and a felony

"Journalist and activist" Jose Antonio Vargas was caught driving in Minnesota with a canceled driver's license.  That is a crime in Minnesota.  The misdemeanor is punishable by 90 days in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine.  Apparently Vargas has also admitted to committing felonies in the past, though he has never been arrested or prosecuted for those crimes.  
. . . “Jose Antonio Vargas is a classic example of how flawed the system is,” Rep. Elton Gallegly, a California Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, told POLITICO. “He is just one of hundreds of thousands that are ignored, and what that does is, it sends a signal that we’re not serious about certain laws.” 
Gallegly’s comments came after Vargas was arrested on Friday — and later released — after allegedly committing a driving infraction in Minnesota. ICE was notified because Vargas, who went public in The New York Times Magazine last year with his status as an undocumented immigrant, provided a canceled driver’s license, according to a Minnesota state patrol spokesman. But the agency took no action, telling POLITICO in a statement Monday that ICE “prioritizes the removal of public safety threats, recent border crossers and egregious immigration law violators.” ICE declined to comment further on Tuesday. . . . 
“If you go out and you pass out $100 [counterfeit] bills, and someone from the U.S. Treasury, a federal officer, sees, you think they’re going to say, ‘That’s OK, give me the other ones and have a nice day’?” Gallegly said. “That’s what ICE has done here. By letting him go when he openly admitted to using forged documents, and that alone is a felony.” . . .


The Obama administration thinks that it has a cute way around the takings clause in the Constitution

The government is supposed to compensate people if it takes their property.  The Obama administration thinks though that they can get around this by just "temporarily" taking this property for just about ever.
The Barack Obama administration tried last week to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that the federal government can deny landowners the use of their property for years -- decades if need be -- without ever paying compensation. 
Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler advanced this remarkable proposition during oral argument in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States, a case involving the damage wrought by the Army Corps of Engineers in its operation of the Clearwater Dam in Arkansas. 
From 1993 to 2000, the Corps’s management of the dam caused regular flooding of a 23,000-acre wildlife management area, killing trees and depriving the commission of revenue from timber sales. . . .
“It would be a very curious and unsatisfactory result,” the court said in Pumpelly, if the state could evade the just compensation requirement of the Fifth Amendment simply because it had not taken property “in the narrowest sense of the word.” . . . .


"8 People Who Said Mitt Romney Lost The Election Before The Debates"

An interesting list of claims is available here.  It is equally interesting to see how some Democrats are going overboard in the other direction now.  See this discussion by Andrew Sullivan.


Another $150 million spent to subsidize the Volt that has gone down the drain

Yet another bad investment from the Obama administration.  From Fox News:
President Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence "manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States,” but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.
Workers at the Compact Power manufacturing facilities in Holland, Mich., run by LG Chem, have been placed on rotating furloughs, working only three weeks per month based on lack of demand for lithium-ion cells. 
The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from General Motors. The plant's batteries also were intended to be used in Ford's electric Focus. 
Production of the taxpayer-subsidized Volt has been plagued by work stoppages, and the effect has trickled down to companies and plants that build parts for it -- including the batteries. . . . 
The 650,000-square-foot, $300 million facility was slated to produce 15,000 batteries per year, while creating hundreds of new jobs. But to date, only 200 workers are employed at the plant by by the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea. . . .

Labels: , , ,


New York Times hypocrisy on unions?: Do as I say, not as I do

Labels: ,

Obama's $5 trillion tax cut claim against Romney is a fiction

Robert Samuelson has his usual nice, even handed discussion here:
Here's Obama at one rally:"My opponent, he believes in top-down economics, thinks that if you spend another $5 trillion on a tax cut skewed towards the wealthy that prosperity will rain down on everyone else."
It's a powerful argument, marred only by the fact that the $5 trillion tax cut is a fiction. . . .
To justify its $5 trillion figure -- the estimated tax loss over a decade -- the Obama campaign had to cherry-pick Romney's proposal and the TPC analysis. It had to ignore any revenue raised by reducing tax breaks and assume that, faced with a conflict between the rich and the middle class, Romney would automatically side with the rich -- as opposed to shielding the middle class from any tax increase. On Wednesday, Romney promised to protect the middle class.
The TPC report was widely interpreted as saying Romney would have to raise taxes on the middle class. It didn't, says the TPC's Howard Gleckman. It simply pointed out that he couldn't keep all "his ambitious campaign promises." He'd have to make choices and modifications. So what else is new? . . . 


Romney's 52-point win is the largest Presidential Debate win that Gallup has ever measured

Do debates matter?  According to Gallup, Romney has seen a 5 percentage point bump since the debate last week.  On the other hand, there are political scientists who believe that the only thing (or almost the only thing that matters) is the economy.  Kevin Hassett and I have an article on the real impact that media bias has on people's perceptions (see also here).  I don't find it any less plausible that campaigns can shape the information that people receive and that impacts their views.  The alternative is to believe that virtually all campaign spending is a waste of money.  That candidates are irrationally wasting their time campaigning.

Well, we surely we will have to wait until all 4 debates are finished, but Gallup has an eight paragraph discussion on the size of Romney's debate win and its implications.  (Gallup's misleading discussion on the unemployment numbers on Friday is disappointing.)

My own guess is that Obama did so poorly because Romney did so well.  That Romney came across so strongly unnerved Obama and made him realize that the attacks that he was planning weren't going to work well.  Given that, Obama was at a loss about what to say.  In response, Biden is taking an incredible 6 days off the campaign trail to prepare for his debate with Ryan.  It is incredible when you think that he had only a week between the two debates.

Labels: ,

Concealed handgun permit holder stops robbery in Wichita, Kansas

This was apparently a front page story in the Wichita Eagle.
. . . “Well, why don’t you just go ahead and give me your billfold and I won’t have to pull my gun?” Yager said the man told him. 
“I said, ‘Really?’ ” Yager said. “I reached over like I was going to get my billfold and grabbed my gun and stuck it in his face and said, ‘You mean like this?’ ” 
The would-be robber’s eyes grew wide and his demeanor suddenly shifted, Yager said.
“He says, ‘Oh, I was just kidding! I was just foolin’ with ya, ya know?’ ” Yager said the man replied. 
“Man, you don’t need to do that,” Yager said he told the man. “You was lucky you didn’t get shot. What you need to do is get the hell out of here before you get hurt.” 
The suspect removed his hands from his pockets and told Yager, “You have a nice day. I don’t really mean this. I’m just foolin’. I’m going to leave.” 
He did just that, running west on Douglas and then south on Walnut in the Delano neighborhood of west Wichita. . . . .
Thanks very much to Curt Ghormley for providing me with this link. 

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2012/10/02/2512030/armed-business-owner-thwarts-attempted.html#storylink=cpy....

Labels: ,


Obama campaign's false claims about the economy

I don't have time right now to make a complete list, but this is the type of statement from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) just stands out.
The unemployment rate is "lower now than it was in the last full month" of President George W. Bush's presidency, O'Malley said on Fox. . . .
Sorry governor, but you aren't even close.  During the last full month of Bush's presidency (December 2008), the unemployment rate was 7.3%.  Now it is 7.8%.  The broader U6 measure was 13.5% and now it is 14.7%.


The Las Vegas Review Journal writes a tough endorsement of Romney for President

The Review-Journal endorsed McCain in 2008 so that their decision shouldn't come as a big shock, but their editorial this year is particularly forceful.  Here is part of what they wrote:
Mr. Obama has a much different recipe for lifting the middle class: higher taxes on investors, job creators and small businesses; borrowing money to fund more public-sector jobs and government construction projects; borrowing money to fund more green energy enterprises and projects, which make electricity more expensive, while limiting the oil and coal industries; and pushing more young people to seek a debt-funded college education when they have little hope of landing a job upon graduation. 
The suggestion that tax increases and higher energy prices will lift the middle class defies logic. But it's not terribly surprising coming from an administration that's completely lacking in business experience and openly hostile to free-market capitalism. This summer, the president famously said "the private sector is doing fine," and to business owners: "You didn't build that." . . . 

Labels: ,

A Wall Street Journal headline to remember

In a recent op-ed, I criticized a previous headline in the WSJ on unemployment (see here).  We won't know if this newest headline from October 5th is right until the numbers on hiring come out in a couple of weeks (see the JOLT data).  Change in the number of jobs is not the same thing hiring.  The number of jobs depends on hiring and separations. Jobs can increase even if hiring falls if separations drops by an even larger amount.

Indeed, that is exactly what has happened if one compares the hiring and separation rates in the recession versus the recovery.  Average hiring has been lower during the recovery than during the recession.  But separations fell by more than hiring.  Almost all the drop in separations has been due to a drop in quits, which is actually pretty bad because it indicates that people are fearful about not getting a new job.

My guess is that the WSJ headline prove to be wrong.


Politifact Texas: black women: "fastest-growing demographic group in...Texas seeking concealed handgun licenses."

Sue Owen with the Austin American-Statesman evaluated a claim by Republican state representative Stefani Carter on permit holders.  Before going into the specifics, let me say that I was impressed that Ms. Owen went the extra mile to evaluate the claim.
You might be surprised to learn who cares about the Second Amendment, lawmaker Stefani Carter suggested in a recent USA Today opinion article.
"What is the fastest-growing demographic group in my state of Texas seeking concealed handgun licenses? Black women," wrote Carter, a Dallas Republican running for re-election to the Texas House, in the Aug. 30, 2012, piece.
We decided to check out who’s taking advantage lately of Texas’ concealed-handgun law, which since January 1996 has allowed permit holders to carry such guns in most public places while excluding others, such as churches. . . . 
Our ruling
Carter claims black women are the fastest-growing group of permit-seekers.
We accept her explanation that she meant to refer to permits issued each year. And her statement fairly captures available data and research.
However, the lack of information on Hispanic permit recipients makes it impossible to conclude which Texas subgroups are getting permits most often.
We rate the statement as Half True.
I looked at other "Half True" evaluations, and it seems that Politifact is being tougher on Representative Carter than on those other cases.  Take for example the post on Gail Collins saying that the Texas GOP opposes public schools teaching "critical thinking."  While it is true that the GOP used that term, if one read the entire sentence, Collins' inference is clearly false and Collins must have read that sentence in writing her piece.  I just don't see the similarity between Ms. Collins' deliberate misinterpretation of a statement and Rep. Carter accurately reporting what an academic had found and even double-checking those numbers herself with the Texas DPS.  There is a level of distortion in Collins' writing that is simply not there for Carter.

I would have given Carter a higher rating than the "Half True" that Politifact gave her since there is no evidence that other breakdowns would have produced alternative results.  Given that black females exceed all other well defined groups it is pretty unlikely, though not impossible, that Hispanic females would have exceeded black females.  Hispanics are included as either white or black and not separately broken out.

In any case, even if Politifact believed that the evaluation should have included other possible demographic breakdowns that weren't reported by the Texas Department of Public Safety, I would have placed at least some of the blame on the original academic evaluation that Representative Carter relied on. At the very least, if Politifact were to be fair, it should criticize both the original academic reference and the DPS as much as Rep. Carter since their information is also in the public domain.  The legal/academic website that she relied has a large circulation.

I have other graphs on this issue available here.


Rasmussen: 22% of Americans don't think that we are in a recession

The newest Rasmussen poll shows:
Sixty-two percent (62%) of consumers say the United States is currently in a recession, while just 22% disagree. . . .
The long run out look isn't any better.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 23% believe today’s children will be better off than their parents. Fifty-nine percent (59%) disagree, and 18% are undecided. . . . 
And here is a third poll.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 36% of American Adults expect a stronger U.S. economy in a year's time, while nearly as many (34%) expect the economy to be weaker. Thirteen percent (13%) say the economy will be about the same a year from now. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure. . . .  
February marked the only other time since September 2009 that more Americans thought the economy would be stronger rather than weaker in a year's time. Last month, 32% expected a stronger economy in a year,  while 36% predicted a weaker one. . . . .