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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: economy

Why 'Liberal Media' Can't Report Biden's Good News Straight Up

Interesting headline in The New York Times: "In an Unequal Economy, the Poor Face Inflation Now and Job Loss Later."

This headline appeared last Monday, after more than 50 straight days of falling gasoline prices, the biggest inflation fear. Once exceeding $5 a gallon, the price of gas in many states was already down below $4 a gallon.

As for "job loss later," what do we mean by "later"? Later includes eternity. What we do know is that more than 500,000 Americans were hired last month, greatly exceeding economists' predictions. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and employers remain desperate for help.

We must recognize that it takes a good deal of mental dexterity to write successful clickbait headlines. But when the headline contradicts the reporting — much of it in the same news source — you have an "alternative facts" situation.

Although the Times is considered liberal, it is also hyper-woke and sensitive to left-fringe feelings. That translates into constant carping against the Democratic leadership for not doing enough — enough of what, not always specified.


The mindset further stipulates that the working poor must be subject to pity and that good news for this group cannot be acknowledged. That's why the report that average hourly earnings grew more than five percent in July from a year earlier — after similar annual gains each month this year — sat so unappreciated.

In truth, it doesn't matter whether the news is good or bad. President Joe Biden must always be seen as not meeting expectations. A rhetorical trick to this end is inserting a "but" in the middle of a headline tied to an encouraging development. An example that just popped up in the Times: "Slowing inflation gave Biden a reprieve but high prices remain a political problem."

The right accuses CNN of also being in the pocket of Democrats, but the news channel rarely presents good news without inserting its own big "but." While reporting on the slowing of inflation, anchor Christine Romans bizarrely added, "That job market is still too hot."

In addition to gas prices, the cost of food is down. Nonetheless, CNN tied the inflation report saying just that to a segment about food shoppers in Philadelphia complaining about ... the prices. One need not go far to find someone willing to gripe about the cost of eggs.

In any case, these are First World problems. If the price of filet mignon has some consumers switching to cheaper chicken, well, the sun will still rise tomorrow at dawn. (Caviar also costs way too much, don't you think?)

This consumer whining gets tied to Biden's low approval numbers. And the low numbers must — The Story goes — get tied to inevitable disaster for Democrats in the midterms.

But a recent Monmouth University poll has 50 percent of adults preferring Democrats in the midterm elections, versus 43 percent for Republicans. Perhaps, just perhaps, the popularity of the president doesn't predetermine what will happen in November. What about the unpopularity of the opposition?

CNN had Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan on to comment on the FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. Duncan is a good Republican who fears that putting Trump back in the headlines will hurt his party in the midterms.

"I'm one of those Republicans that wishes we were sitting there, talking about how bad Joe Biden is doing, how bad inflation is," he said. Never mind that Biden is doing well and that inflation seems to be coming down. Duncan is just passing on the Republican Party talking points.

But Republicans don't have to do that. So-called liberal media is doing it for them.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Court's Abortion Ruling Forces Companies To Make A Choice

New York (AFP) - Several large US companies have pledged to provide health coverage for out-of-state abortions, with a few also slamming the Supreme Court decision nullifying federal abortion rights.

But the issue remains a hot potato, requiring companies to navigate dynamic political terrain with potential legal liability at stake.

"Today's Scotus [Supreme Court of the United States] ruling puts women's health in jeopardy, denies them their human rights, and threatens to dismantle the progress we've made toward gender equality in the workplace since Roe," said Yelp Chief Executive Jeremy Stoppelman on Twitter.

"Business leaders must speak out now and call on Congress to codify Roe into law."

But few other CEOs of large US companies joined Stoppelman Friday in condemning the decision.

More common were statements from companies announcing or reiterating intention to reimburse employees if they need to travel for an abortion.

Friday's ruling overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision enshrining a woman's right to an abortion, saying individual states can restrict or ban the procedure themselves.

The decision is expected to result in patchwork legal rights across the United States, with abortion legal in progressive states like California and New York and barred in more conservative states like Texas.

Yelp and Airbnb were among the companies to announce such benefits last September following a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks, or before many women know they are pregnant.

Others, including Citigroup, Tesla, and Amazon, had also announced the benefit in following months.

More companies came forward after a draft version of Friday's abortion ruling was published in a press leak in May; this group included Starbucks, Levi Strauss, and JPMorgan Chase.

On Friday, Disney added its name to the list, assuring employees of access to reproductive care benefits "no matter where they live," according to a memo reported by CNBC.

But many other large companies have avoided publicly discussing the topic, a dynamic that Wharton business school professor Maurice Schweitzer considers unsurprising.

Cautionary Tale

"I think we'll see more companies' statements. But companies are facing a challenge. On the one hand, they want to be active, be involved, make a statement, lead on this issue, because particularly for some companies, their employees value this," Schweitzer said.

"But it's a complicated issue, because the legal landscape will change," opening companies up to possible litigation, he added.

Schweitzer pointed to Disney's recent difficulties in Florida as a cautionary tale.

The entertainment giant found itself between a rock and a hard place as Florida's legislature advanced what critics have called the "Don't Say Gay" law, which bans lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools.

After initially staying quiet on the proposal, Disney finally spoke out on the measure, enraging far right Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who ultimately signed a second law specifically punishing Disney over the row by eliminating the company's special status surrounding its Orlando theme park.

Disney "ended up frustrating employees by not speaking out early enough, but also incurring costs from a political fight."

Schweitzer noted that more companies have spoken out in recent years, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook on gay rights and Dick's Sporting Goods on gun control. On Friday, Dick's announced that it will provide up to $4,000 for employees, their spouses, or their dependents who have to travel for an abortion.

But the procedure is "more fraught" than many issues, Schweitzer said.

"It's easier for companies to try to be silent than to wade into it," he said.

Margie Greene Claims Democrats 'Starting Fires' To Worsen Food Shortages

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is pushing a new conspiracy theory centered around the food and baby formula shortage currently plaguing the United States.

During a recent appearance on the far-right broadcast InfoWars, the Republican lawmaker echoed the bizarre claims of conspiracy theorists as she suggested that Democratic lawmakers are responsible for torching food facilities to create shortages. According to Rolling Stone, the latest theories appear to be based on ordinary fires that actually do occur.

Greene suggested: "Democrats are starting the fires on purpose in order to deprive the nation of food, which would be advantageous for them because they’re playing some sort of globalist long game and don’t want anything to be manufactured in America … or something like that. It’s not totally clear."

Citing a report from the National Fire Protection Association, Rolling Stone noted: "Nearly two dozen food processing plants have gone up in flames this year. This isn’t out of the ordinary — there are thousands of fires at manufacturing facilities every year." But in true conspiracy fashion, Greene and other far-right extremists have misconstrued facts to fit into a disturbing narrative they appear to have created.

When Greene appeared on InfoWars, she ranted about the current issue with host Alex Jones.

"The Biden administration and the Democrats … are destroying the very important, most critical part of the fabric of America, and that is our farmers,” Greene ranted. “They’re doing it on purpose. They want to be the global economy. They want to be completely involved. And here we have these ‘random,’ supposedly accidental fires at food processing plants.”

Jones also signaled in agreement with Greene. Claiming to have spoken with "mathematicians," Jones said, it seems “'mathematically impossible' for processing plants to be catching fire like they have been so far this year."

He added, “Everything the globalists are doing is about destroying real sustainability and making things collapse to bring in their new world order."

Greene's latest conspiracy theory follows criticism for a multitude of previously debunked claims.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

'Slightly Better Than Expected': Experts Say Core Inflation Now Slowing

The monthly Consumer Price Index report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was released Tuesday morning, and while inflation continues to rise some economists appear pleased, with one stating the report is “slightly better than anticipated.”

Overall, the annual rate of inflation is 8.5 percent, but removing food and energy, prices are up 6.5 percent annually.

Gas prices are a big part of the inflation rate. CNN’s cable reporting calls the current report a “rearview mirror” look, given that gas prices are coming down. They add some economists are hoping the peak of the inflation has been reached. They also note that the U.S. does not rely much on oil from Russia, so in other countries, inflation is worse.

“Food prices are up 8.8% over the past year. Energy prices are up 32%, including 11% in March alone — reflecting the spike in energy prices associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” The New York Times’ Ben Casselman notes.


Casselman points to Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine for food price increases:

And he sees some good news: “Headline inflation accelerated in March, but we all knew that would happen given gas prices. The bigger surprise is the slowdown in ‘core’ inflation.”

There’s still plenty to be concerned about. Casselman says this is “the fastest year-over-year inflation since 1981.”

Meanwhile, oil companies – not the President – set the price of gas at the pump and other energy products, and are under no obligation to price gouge, which is illegal in most states during a declared state of emergency, such as war, natural disasters, or COVID-19.

University of Michigan economist and public policy professor Justin Wolfers:

And Wolfers throws a challenge to the mainstream media, which is generally focused on only bad news:

Printed with permission from Alternet.

Why Does The Press Keep Rooting Against Biden?

Like clockwork, the first Friday of the month brought another blockbuster jobs report. The U.S. economy under President Joe Biden added another 400,000-plus new jobs in March, it was announced last week.

Biden is currently on pace, during his first two full years in office, to oversee the creation of 10 million new jobs and an unemployment rate tumbling all the way down to three percent. That would be an unprecedented accomplishment in U.S. history. Context: In four years in office, Trump lost three million jobs, the worst record since Herbert Hoover.

Yet the press shrugs off the good news, determined to keep Biden pinned down. “The reality is that one strong jobs report does not snap the administration out of its current circumstances,” Politico stressed Friday afternoon. How about 11 straight strong job reports, would that do the trick? Because the U.S. economy under Biden has been adding more than 400,000 jobs per month for 11 straight months.

The glaring disconnect between reality and how the press depicts White House accomplishments means a key question lingers: Why is the press rooting against Biden? Is the press either hoping for a Trump return to the White House, or at least committed to keeping Biden down so the 2024 rematch will be close and ‘entertaining’ for the press to cover? Is that why the Ginni Thomas insurrection story was politely marched off the stage after just a few days of coverage last week by the same news outlets that are now in year three of their dogged Hunter Biden reporting? (ABC This Week included 19 references to Hunter Biden yesterday.)

Just look at the relentlessly dour economic coverage. For the press, inflation remains the dominant, bad-news-for-Dems economic story. Even on Friday, the day the stellar jobs report was released, “inflation” was mentioned on cable news nearly as often as “jobs,” according to TVeyes.com.

Axios contorted itself by claiming Biden’s promise to add “millions” of new jobs (which he’s already accomplished), was being threatened because there aren’t enough workers, because so few people are out of work— or something.

The home-run report itself was often depicted as a mixed bag. These were some of the glass-half-empty headlines that appeared in the wake of the latest runaway numbers:

• “America’s Job Market Is On Fire. Here’s Why It Doesn’t Feel Like It” (CNN)

• “Booming Job Growth Is a Double-Edged Sword For Joe Biden” (CNN)

• “Why a Great Jobs Report Can’t Save Joe Biden” (CNN)

• “Unemployment Hits Pandemic Low in March, But Uncertainty Looms Ahead” (Washington Post)

• “Biden Gets a Strong Jobs Report, But a Sour Mood Still Prevails” (Washington Post)

Totally normal journalism, right? The president announces another blockbuster jobs report and the press presents it as borderline bad news.

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Fox News Hosts Gleefully Predicted Bad Jobs Report — And Were Dead Wrong

Experts predicted a bad jobs report but Americans were very pleasantly surprised when the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday reported 467,000 jobs were created in January – tripling estimates – and increased the two previous months' jobs numbers as well.

Most Americans, that is.

Take a look at how Fox News was "giddy with anticipation of massive job loss," as Media Matters' senior research fellow Craig Harrington noted, posting this video compilation:


"Fox News, rooting against America," decried Never-Trumper Bill Kristol.

"Real patriots don’t root for failure. But that’s exactly what Fox News does," wrote veteran journalist Jim Roberts in response to the video.

CNN Contributor and world affairs columnist Frida Ghitis: "How embarrassing, Fox rooting for bad news for the country."

John Haltiwanger, a senior politics reporter at BusinessInsider said Fox News was "Rooting for America to fail to own the libs."

And Lincoln Project member and veteran GOP campaign strategist Stuart Stevens wrote this response to the video:

"Most appealing aspect of Reagan era was optimism. To be born an American was to win life's lottery. Now Rs are all fear & pessimism. Grievance. Books are terrifying, America's great cities are terrifying. Immigrants are terrifying. The future is terrifying. A party of the fearful"

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Biden Economy Surpasses Goals Set By Trump

Not since The Karate Kid was playing in movie theaters and Wendy's introduced its "Where’s The Beef?" ad campaign, has the U.S. economy seen such rapid growth.

America's real gross domestic product, a snapshot of a country’s economic output, increased by 6.9% in the last quarter of 2021, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The average GDP was 5.7% during President Joe Biden's first year in office — the fastest economic growth the country has seen since 1984.

"The GDP numbers for my first year show that we are finally building an American economy for the 21st Century, with the fastest economic growth in nearly four decades, along with the greatest year of job growth in American history," Biden said in a statement on Thursday. "And, for the first time in 20 years, our economy grew faster than China's."

This week's report confirmed that the country is seeing faster job growth under Biden than under the last three Republican presidents combined, according to Simon Rosenberg, founder of the liberal think tank NDN.

When he was in office, President Donald Trump often boasted about stimulating "the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America." In reality, Trump oversaw the worst drop in real GDP in American history, largely because of his administration's botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump once bragged about 3% growth, calling it "one of the great gifts to the middle-income people that they've ever gotten for Christmas."

"The economy now is at 3%," he told reporters in 2017. "Nobody thought it would be anywhere close. I think it could go to 4, 5, and maybe even 6%, ultimately."

Trump's prediction did ultimately come true — under a Biden presidency.

President Barack Obama also surpassed Trump's quarterly growth rates, reaching a quarterly rate of 5.2 percent in the middle of 2014.

The U.S. added more than six million jobs during Biden's first year in office. Trump, by contrast, presided over the loss of nearly 10 million jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 42 million jobs created since 1989, almost all of them — a staggering 95 percent — have been added during Democratic presidencies, Rosenberg added.

Whether it's real GDP, employment, stock prices, or income, nearly every economic indicator reveals what Trump himself admitted to CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 2004: "The economy does better under the Democrats."

Behind 2021's robust economic recovery is Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which sent $1,400 relief checks to most Americans, expanded unemployment benefits, and invested in state and local governments, small businesses, and health care.

A December report from the Roosevelt Institute found that the American Rescue Plan spurred massive job growth while protecting the economy from the pandemic's worst effects.

Democrats in Congress passed the measure last March, over the opposition of every Republican in Congress. Since then, some of the same Republican lawmakers who voted against the American Rescue Plan have taken credit for the public projects it funded.

"It's amazing how Democrats are creating economic growth and didn't have to hand out trillions in tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthy!" Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) tweeted on Thursday. "Instead, we supported funding to open schools, get Americans vaccinated, and people back to work. Trickle-down economics is a myth."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Eat It, Fox News: New Data Shows Inflation Eased In December

Washington (AFP) - Wholesale prices for US goods and services surged to a record last year amid the supply snarls that have battered the global economy, but data released Thursday showed that inflation pressures eased in December.

The producer price index (PPI) jumped 9.7 percent in 2021, the largest calendar-year increase since the data was first calculated in 2010, the Labor Department reported.

But PPI in the final month of the year gained just 0.2 percent compared to November, its slowest increase in over a year, and half the increase economists were expecting, due to a 0.4 percent decrease in the cost of goods.

The data follows the government report on consumer prices released Wednesday showing the biggest annual increase in nearly four decades, fueled by jumps in prices for cars, housing and food.

However, at the producer level, energy prices dropped 3.3 percent and food prices also declined, the data showed.

"Producer prices ended the year on an encouraging note, rising less than expectations as both the headline and core PPI moderated in December," said Mahir Rasheed of Oxford Economics.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created shortages of critical goods like computer chips for cars while transportation snags have further fanned the inflation flames as new strains of the virus cause additional business disruptions.

"Persistent supply disruptions will pin producer prices near record levels in the near term, especially given a rapidly spreading Omicron variant that will fan inflation pressures," Rasheed said.

Federal Reserve officials have made clear that fighting the wave of price increases will be a priority, and many economists now expect the central bank to raise the benchmark interest rate as soon as March.

The price surge has battered President Joe Biden's reputation even as the economy recovers from the damage inflicted by the pandemic, and his White House welcomed the sign the pressures might be abating.

"Monthly inflation results are always volatile, and this report was driven in large part by a reduction in highly volatile energy and food prices, but also reflects potential improvement in prices for supply-chain related goods and services," said Cecilia Rouse, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

But she said the data underscore the need to continue to work to resolve the supply chain issues.

"Even as the economy has had a historic recovery, we continue to face challenges with prices driven by supply chain disruptions around the world."