Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quick Hits - October 6, 2012

The September jobs report is taking over some of the focus of the media from the Presidential debate of this past Wednesday night.  The President and his supporters are touting the drop in the 'official' unemployment rate - while senior officials from the Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics are going on record to defend the report despite the contradictory information.  Supporters of the challenger continue to raise questions about the contradictory information - using this primarily as evidence that the report is not accurately modeling the economy and less around being just the latest lies and misrepresentations coming from the Administration.

The accusations and suspicions of the misrepresentations of the Administration and the Campaign has traction because, simply, the Administration and Obama Campaign has lied and misrepresented facts to the American people for political expediency.  New media has been active in highlighting these - seeking to offer a counter view to the absurd 'fact checking' of mainstream media Obama sycophants.

Intentional or not, the evidence of a pro-Obama media bias is hard to dispute.  There are one set of rules for the Obama campaign / progressive politicians and a completely different set of rules for the Romney campaign / conservative politicians that cannot be reconciled as anything other than a bias or sympathy towards the progressive and against the conservative.

Hot Air provides yet another piece of evidence in their look at the reporting of the old Grey Lady, the New York Times, on the September 2004 jobs report issued by the Bush Administration (October 2004) and the September 2012 jobs report issued by the Obama Administration yesterday....
Let’s start with the New York Times. How did they lead their coverage in October 2004 of the September jobs report?

Employment growth in the United States slowed last month, falling far short of expectations, the U.S. government reported Friday.

The new jobs report cast doubts on the strength of the U.S. economic expansion and appeared to bolster Senator John Kerry’s case against President George W. Bush’s handling of the economy just hours before the second presidential debate.

The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs in September, substantially less than the roughly 150,000 needed to keep pace with the expansion in the labor force and start absorbing the slack in the job market.

How did they report yesterday’s jobs report? Let’s just say they gave it a … different emphasis:
The jobless rate abruptly dropped in September to its lowest level since the month President Obama took office, indicating a steadier recovery than previously thought and delivering another jolt to the presidential campaign.

The improvement lent ballast to Mr. Obama’s case that the economy is on the mend and threatened the central argument of Mitt Romney’s candidacy, that Mr. Obama’s failed stewardship is reason enough to replace him.

Employers added a modest 114,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported on Friday, but estimates for what had been disappointing gains in July and August were revised upward to more respectable levels.
In 2004, a jobless rate of 5.4% “cast doubt” on the economy, and suddenly 7.8% is a sign of “a steadier recovery.” In 2012, the NYT never even mentions the need to grow jobs by 150,000 each month to keep up with expansion in the labor force. Not even once.
There are more examples from other mainstream media outlets, including the supposedly unbiased Public Broadcasting Service- which Mitt Romney specifically placed in his crosshairs as an entity undeserving of federal funding.

Defenders of 'Big Bird' rallied to attack the Republican Presidential candidate's preference that the federal subsidy paid to PBS doesn't pass the test of being required to such a level as to be worth needing to be borrowed from China.

This is a subset of a far larger argument that is the core of the differences between progressives who see the federal government as the central force and enabler of all things and the conservatives who see the private sector as the central force and core to American values.

Progressives see one of the real roles of the federal government to not only redistribute wealth, but also pick and support winners over losers using taxpayer funds.  Among the winners that they advocate supporting are entities like Planned Parenthood, Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  These go beyond the 'venture capitalist' functions of the federal government which have the government picking 'winners' like Solyndra.

Conservatives believe that the federal government should not be picking 'winners and losers' - with charities or as venture capitalists.  With respect for the 'charities' - these organizations should exist not based on the federal funds they receive, but on the contributions they receive from the private sector - corporations and individuals who support their causes and their missions.

Big Bird, a character on the long running children's education program Sesame Street, is part of a multi-million 'empire' that doesn't require federal funding.  The licensing of its characters and name brings in far more funds than it costs to produce and air the program.  The surpluses can be used to 'invest' in other PBS programming  - just as other PBS programming can be funded by contributions by individuals and corporations.  PBS needs to earn these contributions - with quality programming and providing a valued service to the viewing public - standing on their own as a charitable organization.

This is fundamentally no different than the conservatives viewpoint towards an entity like Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood should also not be getting funds from the taxpayer.  If someone supports the mission of Planned Parenthood, including their promotion and execution of abortion, then that someone should support them financially with charitable contributions.  If someone opposes that mission, their taxes should not be used to support an entity that they have a moral objection to.  For all of the liberal progressives who call for support of Planned Parenthood, let them put their checkbooks where their loyalties are.

Returning briefly to the issue of the jobs report, Powerline highlights one single chart that highlights that despite the 'good' news of the September jobs report - the record and agenda of President Barack Obama towards jobs and job creation is one of utter and complete failure.


The chart should be self-explanatory, but let's review.

In the last 24 months, the US population has grown by 2.20%.  If we had a vibrant and growing economy in an economic recovery, the labor force would have to grow by at least this amount to keep pace with the population growth, and ideally exceed this amount to reflect the economy creating jobs to reduce the unemployment rate.

What the Obama agenda and policies have actually delivered is 4.58% growth in those leaving the labor force - the reduction in the last 24 months of the labor participation rate.  This is more than twice the level of population growth.  This represents those who have stopped looking for jobs because there are not jobs / hiring out there.  The 'improvements' in the 'official' unemployment rate comes not from new jobs being created and people getting jobs - but from the shrinkage in the labor participation rate which is now at the lowest level since 1981.

One of the common mantras of the Obama team is to blame their record of 4 consecutive trillion dollar deficits and dismal unemployment record on the previous administration and the economy they 'inherited'.  But this is the record of the last 2 years - 2 years after the previous administration left office and 2 years into a complete Democrat dominance of the Executive and Legislative branches of government.  One cannot honestly blame the last 2 years of trillion dollar plus deficits on the previous administration.  The above chart also demonstrates that the Obama Administration has utterly failed in creating jobs.

When one then looks at and compares the first Ronald Reagan term in office and its economic accomplishments to the first term of Barack Obama - and the dismal performance of Barack Obama becomes apparent to all but the biggest sycophants.

Mitt Romney's debate performance / win from Wednesday is starting to be reflected in the polls.  Rasmussen is now showing significant gains by Mitt Romney on the national level as well as in key swing states.  More polls will be coming out during the upcoming week from others that will show a Romney bounce as they try to provide a picture of how the race currently is.

I've taken a hard and skeptical line on a number of polls being produced because of the how they are being skewed by a unrealistic sample of voters - particularly around party affiliation.  Far too many polls are modeling a turnout of D+7 - +12 which is at or exceeding the turnout of Democrats in 2008 when they had a major increase fueled by high party enthusiasm (Anyone but Bush, 'Hope and Change', First African-American President) - which corresponded with a large increase in those who registered as Democrats.  Conversely, Republican enthusiasm and party registrations were down significantly.

I've linked in the past to interviews done by talk radio's Hugh Hewitt who has questioned a number of those behind polls to justify their D+7 - +12 surveys.  Many of these tout back to the 2008 election and growth of Democrat turnout / registrations as a trend that they are modeling - and justifying the larger samples like D+12 as being statistically possible growths from the 2008 results - as they ignore the lessons and turnout of the 2010 midterm elections (D+1 or D+2 at best).

The argument that many like me make is that ignoring the effects of 2010 - and the changes in enthusiasm and party affiliation that has become apparent as the Obama policies struggle or fail - is intellectually dishonest.  We see and feel that 2012, despite the efforts of the DNC and Obama campaign team to appeal to their progressive base, their enthusiasm is down significantly.  We also see and cite that more and more are moving to the GOP and the Tea Party  - that we need a real change in direction largely because of the dismal economy.  On top of this, the political center, the independents, who were so critical in putting Barack Obama into the White House in 2008, are now siding with Mitt Romney in larger and larger numbers.

Two real aspects will decide the 2012 election.  First is which side will do better in turning out it's base.  Both candidates win over 90% of their party - so whichever party is better at getting their members to the polls will have an advantage over the other party.  A D+7 turnout advantage, like in 2008, will create a large advantage for Barack Obama.  A substantially lower turnout or a Republican advantage will swing to Mitt Romney's advantage.

The second aspect is related to the turnout and selection of the independents.  This is going to be the other place the election is won or lost.  In 2008, the majority of independents voted for Barack Obama.  Today, almost every poll, even those with D+12 samples are showing that the majority of self-identified independents are supporting Mitt Romney.  This is why in D+12 samples, Barack Obama is clinging to a 1-4 point lead - the independent voters are nearly completely offsetting the huge oversample of Democrats.

More and more evidence is becoming apparent as we close to November 6th that the 2012 Democrat turnout will not come anywhere close to matching the 2008 levels.  We are looking at a turnout model that is far closer to the 2010 level.  Enthusiasm within the Democrat ranks is down from 2008.  Democrat party registrations in many of the key swing states are also down.  In the most liberal counties of Ohio, those around the city of Cleveland, Democrat party registrations are down some 800,000 from 2008 levels - while the number of registered Republicans are down just a tenth of the Democrat level.

At best for the supporters of Barack Obama, they can hope for a turnout model that is similar to that of 2004 - when George W. Bush defeated John Kerry.  With this turnout model, and the independents continuing to favor changing direction by supporting Mitt Romney, November 6 does not look like it will be a good day for Barack Obama or Joe Biden.

This is the message the press and sympathetic (to Obama) pollsters are trying to hide - and why we spent much of September seeing the message in the mainstream media that Obama was expanding his lead, that Romney's campaign was faltering, and the reelection of Obama was becoming inevitable.  It was all an orchestrated effort to dampen GOP and Independent turnout and enthusiasm - and not a reflection of reality at all.

This Day in History

1866 - The Reno gang conducts the first armed robbery of a moving train in the US, taking over $10,000 from an Ohio & Mississippi train in Jackson County, Indiana.

1945 - Former Vichy collaborator and French Premier, Pierre Laval, attempts suicide on the day he was supposed to be executed for treason against France.  His suicide attempt fails and 2 weeks from this date, Pierre Laval would be executed by firing squad for his treason.

1961 - Speaking on the topic of civil defense, President John F. Kennedy urged the American people to build bomb shelters for themselves to protect them from nuclear fallout that would result in a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.

1973 - Egyptian and Syrian forces launch a surprise invasion against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish religion.  Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal in force and advanced into the Sinai, defeating the early efforts by the Israelis to halt their advances using new weaponry like surface to air missiles and anti-tank missiles.  Syrian forces advanced into the Golan Heights as severely outnumbered Israeli forces fought a delaying action to permit time for the nation's military to mobilize.  As the war broke out - the superpowers were also closely linked - with the US being the primary supporter for Israel and the Soviet Union being the primary supporter for the Arab forces.

1981 - On the anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, while attending a military parade commemorating Egypt's invasion across the Suez, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is assassinated by Islamic fundamentalist extremists for his efforts to make peace with Israel.


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