Joe Nocera supports Boeing!

After castigating the Tea Party in the most ridiculous terms a few weeks ago (Tea Party’s War on America), Joe Nocera has something useful to say in today’s column about the ridiculous handling of the new Boeing plant in South Carolina.

Credit: Earl Wilson/The New York Times

Of all the lugheaded things the Obama administration has done in the way of regulation, this has to be one of the most obvious and most obviously hurtful to the economy. It is absurd that filing was even made by the NLRB, much less that they have pursued it.

As Nocera says:

“The law, to be sure, forbids a company from retaliating against a union. But the word “retaliation” suggests direct payback — a company shutting down a factory after a strike, for instance. Boeing did nothing like that. It not only hasn’t laid off a single worker in Washington State, it has added around 3,000 new ones. Seven out of every 10 Dreamliners will be assembled in Puget Sound.”

I should also note Nocera is not blanketly admonishing Dems on regulations – he thinks just this one situation has gone too far. He goes on to say that Republicans are blocking a lot of other regulations that would actually create jobs. He says he will write about that situation after Labor Day. I can’t really envision too many regulations that are net job creators, but we shall see what he’s got in mind.

Source: How Democrats Hurt Jobs

Sanctimonious NYT Op-Ed piece

Very sanctimonious op-ed piece in the NYT indicting the GOP for tough times for state and local governments. This is the kind of thing that drives economic conservatives crazy.

Source: New York Times: A Growing Gloom for States and Cities

Washington should have been trying to find a way to help states avoid the layoffs and cutbacks that have contributed heavily to the high unemployment rate.”

The Republicans who produced this artificial crisis, and are responsible for its effects, say they would like nothing more than to see a reduction in state as well as federal spending. That is where government hits closest to home, affecting the size of classrooms, the bulbs in streetlights, the asphalt in potholes, and the lines in emergency rooms.”

I have two problems with this.

First, here and elsewhere liberals lament the loss of any amount of gov’t jobs even as the job losses in the private sector are many, many times larger – at least 10:1 if not a lot higher.

Here is a chart showing North Carolina data. It shows that in the state during the period of the Great Recession, 311,400 private sector jobs were lost (8.90% loss) while public sector has actually added 500 jobs (0.07% gain).

Source: Carolina Journal: Government Jobs Untouched by the Great Recession

I have seen this type of data before at the national level, but not having any luck finding it just now.

Ah, here’s something recent that shows percentage change in employment in private sector vs. state and local governments (still looking for Federal).

Source: Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, at the University at Albany: State and Local Government Employment Shows Broad, Continuing Declines

So we see that after initially rising during the heart of the recession, state and local governments have now been contracting for some months. Sure, this is an issue, but even after recovering from the deepest trough, private employment is still down over 5% whereas public employment is down by only 2%. Is that really so unfair given the severity of what we are going thru?

And here’s some reasonably current data showing federal employment: it’s up!! 98,000 more federal government jobs at the end of 2010 than at the outset of the recession. Yikes. That’s totally ridiculous. Even worse, most of those jobs are probably new regulatory positions to implement rules to clamp down on the private sector. Ugh.

Source: George Mason University: Even Accounting for Census, Federal Employment Grows During Recession

Then my second problem is the unquestioned assumption that the federal gov’t has the obligation to subsidize states so heavily even as many of them have grossly overspent just like the Feds. States need to be figuring out how to tighten their belts just like everybody else. If they don’t have enough money, they should figure out how to deliver more with less – businesses have been doing for decades. It is a skill set government needs to learn – and fast.

MSNBC vs Fox News Comparison

So in my new place, I’ve got a TV at hand and I’ve often had it on during the day the past several weeks. In that time, I’ve tended to watch Fox News cause, well, I’m a capitalist and I’m for limited government, so it reflects my leanings. But I’m keen to hear all sides, so I’ve made a point to watch PBS Newshour, CNN, and MSNBC, too.

But as a result of a heated debate on another thread here, I wanted to spend more time on MSNBC to see whether Fox or MSNBC was the more objective source of news and information. So tonight, I’ve watched MSNBC from 5pm to 8pm. During that time, Chris Matthews show played twice and Al Sharpton’s show was on at 6pm.

Here are my observations after watching these MSNBC shows:

  • they spent a remarkable amount of time talking about the GOP and how the GOP perceives and handles various Dem personalities, esp. the Pres. – comes across as quite obsessive
  • they did not spend very much time talking about Democrats, Dem policies, or Dem plans – only as necessary to get the tee up the criticism of the GOP
  • they did not respond well to data that disagreed with their conceptions. on sharpton, they had a pollster on who was reporting how shitty obama’s ratings are. as he started reading the negative stats, both Sharpton and the other guest and Sharpton started talking over him almost immediately so he couldn’t be heard. then they switched the subject to some other stats that were more favorable. the pollster kept trying to restate the data in the quiet moments, each time the other guys would leap all over him. he never was able to speak his mind. it was so absurd that the pollster couldn’t keep himself from laughing.
  • they don’t use a lot of data. no charts, no stats, no nothing
  • on a day when the market dropped over 500 pts, neither program spent more than 5 mins discussing the implications. i think they may be filmed some other time of the day and just aired in these time slots (which is sort of weird since this is prime news time)
  • they distort all aspects of GOP ideas and concerns – they basically take the worst version of every policy and assign it to the entire body of GOP politicians. they delight in pointing out small frailties or peccadilloes. they show very little actual footage of GOP pols and the clips they do show are of their gaffes
  • aside from 30 second snippets at the half hour, they provided absolutely no coverage of the news of the day during the entire 5-8pm time frame. i found this very strange and in sharp contrast to Fox
  • the tone and emotional pitch of the hosts is ratcheted much higher than the hosts on Fox – even Bill O’Reilly rarely gets as heated as these hosts were the entire show.

Frankly, I found it a bit shocking – MSNBC is pouring fuel on the fire of the left’s rage. I don’t see how that helps anything – a real disservice is being done to frame the issues, concerns, and positions of the GOP so poorly. But it’s a nice, simple formula and I’m sure there’s an audience for it.

My take on Fox is that it does a decent job to at least articulate the actual positions that Dems hold. Sure, they are rightward leaning and go over the top sometimes, but overall, the tone is more balanced and the amount of information content is much higher. Fox questioning of guests and panelists is more rigorous. They use more data and charts. They also do an excellent job covering the news of the day – they are on top of everything that’s going on, not just the political stories. In this way, their audience is better educated and informed about the events that are shaping policy whereas the MSNBC audience must get their news somewhere else.

So my take is that between the 2 channels, Fox does a better job of recounting what the other side actually says and does. In comparison to MSNBC, the Fox slogan ‘fair and balanced’ feels like a reasonable statement.

Maureen Dowd rips Obama

Geez, the New York Times is really laying into Obama lately. After years of kid glove treatment, they are making up for lost time.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Latest column by Maureen Dowd is a zinger – New York Times – Maureen Dowd – Withholder in Chief

Some choice excerpts:

“The president has been so spectacularly unable to fill the leadership void in Washington that the high-spirited Michele Bachmann feels free to purloin Obama’s old mantra.”

“Obama’s response on Monday to Friday’s Standard & Poor’s downgrade and to the 22 Navy Seal commandos and 8 other soldiers killed by a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan was once more too little, too late. It was just like his belated, ineffectual response on the BP oil spill and his reaction to the would-be Christmas Day bomber; it took him three days on vacation in Hawaii to speak about the terrorist incident when the country was scared about national security, and then he spent the next week callously shuttling from the podium to the golf course.”

“After failing to interrupt his Camp David weekend to buck up the country on one of its worst days in history, he tacked on his condolences for the soldiers’ families to his economic pep talk, in what had to be the most inept oratorical segue of his presidency.”

“Speaking from the State Dining Room of the White House, he advised America it was still “a triple-A country” like some cerebral soccer coach urging the kids to win one for the London Interbank Offered Rate.”

The last one made me spit up my tea – ‘win one for the LIBOR’ – oh man, that’s funny as hell.

They also ran a piece on Sunday by Drew Westen titled What Happened to Obama? that was also critical of the President.

Of course, both wish he would be a stronger liberal leader, but the key takeaway is that they acknowledge he isn’t leading anyone anywhere. That’s big.

Great line from Romney about Obama and the economy

Mark Helperin of Time magazine published this quote from Mitt Romney:

“When you see what this president has done to the economy in just three years, you know why America doesn’t want to find out what he can do in eight.”

Darn funny!

And, of course, quite right. Obama is an economic disaster. No feel for how business is done and no respect for capitalism.

Original source: http://thepage.time.com/#ixzz1UCC9el3e

President’s New Infographic – The Debt Ceiling Compromise

I just got an update email from the President. It contains an infographic about the debt ceiling compromise.

I only recently signed up for these emails, but it’s nice to see they make an effort to explain things.

One small point. In #2 – ‘Protects Pell Grants’? This is the most important thing they could think of? Weird.

Find it here: Debt Ceiling graphic

Sign up for the emails at Whitehouse.gov

How much taxes are actually paid by income level

As part of this massive debt ceiling debate, I’ve been wondering how much income tax revenue is actually taken in by the Treasury and how much of that is paid by each income group.

Found a chart from the Tax Foundation that shows this.

Original source: TaxFoundation.org

This is awesome stuff. If you combine it with other data, you know that the group most vilified by the media are the folks in the Top 1%. These are the guys who make over $250,000 a year (top 1-5% make on avg $211K, top 5-10% make $127K).

Continue reading How much taxes are actually paid by income level