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

Tag: economy

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."

Economy Near Full Employment With Seven Million Jobs Added Under Biden

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report for December 2021, which showed the U.S. economy regained 18.8 million jobs of the 20 million jobs that were lost at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.

More than 7 million of the jobs that have been regained since the start of the pandemic were added in the last year alone, according to the bureau's report. The U.S. economy has been steadily adding jobs over the past year as the country continues to dig out from the devastating toll taken by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bureau found that the country added 199,000 jobs in December, which was below estimates, while revising its previous jobs report numbers to add 39,000 jobs to its November 2021 report and 102,000 jobs to its October 2021 report.

The report, which was recorded before U.S. case numbers surged due to the virus's highly contagious Omicron variant, also showed a decrease in the unemployment rate from 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent between November 2021 and December 2021. Unemployment, which stood at 6.3 percent when Biden took office, declined more in 2021 than in any previously recorded year.

The latest jobs report comes after the U.S. Department of Labor revealed on Tuesday that 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, setting a new record. The passage of legislation like the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law in March by President Biden with only Democratic votes in the House and Senate, provided benefits to millions of workers and families affected by the pandemic.

Experts have said that financial support has allowed workers to negotiate for better pay and working conditions as the economy has improved. Much of the turnover has been concentrated in low-paying jobs, as the tight labor market has given workers more leverage to seek better job opportunities.

"This Great Resignation story is really more about lower-wage workers finding new opportunities in a reopening labor market and seizing them," Nick Bunker, director of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab, told The New York Times.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The Five Biggest Events To Go Down In 2021

If you turn on the news or visit your social media apps, the world looks a lot like 2020 still. Of course, the one massively sobering difference is Americans are no longer forced to live under a washed-up game show host turned cosplay fascist, treating democracy and the norms of governance like they were occurring in his tawdry casinos. It could be argued that we've been living in a simulation since the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and have yet to find the exit. In any case, 2021 brought some glimmers of hope amid bouts of destructive political partisanship and getting our fractured nation to come to grips with reality amid a never-ending pandemic.

1. January 6th Attack On the Capitol

Capitol Jan 6 | Blink O'fanaye | Flickr

Image via Flickr|Blink O' Fanaye

Saying this year began with chaos would be the understatement of the century. The biggest and most shocking event of our democracy happened less than a week into 2021. Hordes of irate MAGA cultists invaded the Capitol like the barbarians invaded Rome, right as Congress was at work certifying President Biden's unequivocally legitimate election victory in the Electoral College over now-former President Trump, forcing their evacuation. We watched images pour across our screens of defenseless Capitol Police officers trying to thwart this angry mob of Trumpist fanatics, with many of them facing injuries and one officer, Brian Sicknick, suffering a deadly stroke as a result of the chaos. You've got to hand it to the "bLuE LiVeS MaTtEr" crowd for striking an officer with a pole bearing a U.S. flag and dragging an officer down the stairs under the Capitol Dome. The unfolding drama and horror have resulted in lawmakers forming a select committee to investigate what led to the violence of that day, as well as what direct role former President Trump played. Not to mention the hundreds of arrests and prosecutions of the mob participants.

2. A Never-ending Pandemic

Fauci remains optimistic about near-end to pandemic in 2021 - Medill  Reports Chicago

Image via Northwestern University

While most of us thought the world would be welcoming the new year with celebratory events and massive crowds of jovial party goers, the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19 all but killed those plans. Americans thought they'd be back to the daily grind of their lives and, most importantly, be able to be with their friends and families without having to don a biohazard suit. The fallout from Omicron complicates the promise of a president who vowed to get the pandemic under control. While President Biden acted valiantly and did much to mitigate the pandemic, plague fatigue and a large chunk of the citizenry stupidly devoted to refusing the vaccine and embracing baseless conspiracies will challenge the president and Democrats in the upcoming midterms.

3. The US Exit From Afghanistan

Soldiers assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force 76 are shown exiting a CH-47 Chinook

Image via US National Archives

An amazing thing happened over the summer: Millions of average Americans suddenly went from being infectious disease experts to foreign policy experts. Indeed, President Biden's smart decision to finally end our involvement in a 20-year war was met with a flurry of unfounded criticism from would-be experts, especially given the rather chaotic execution of the departure. The majority of Americans wanted out of Afghanistan and former President Trump had laid plans to exit the war-torn country even earlier than Biden did. However, the planning and timing of the exit didn't exactly proceed with flying colors.

The Biden administration had thought the U.S.-backed Afghan government would hold on to power for at least six months. However, the Taliban had taken over the country before the final U.S. troops were out of the airport. It represented a major blow for Biden, who had promised weeks earlier that withdrawing from Afghanistan would not lead to a Saigon-like fall. Instead, Biden was forced to watch videos of desperate people fleeing to the airport, with a few plunging to their deaths as they clung to U.S. planes.

4. The Vaccination Fight

File:Anti Vax or mask IMG 3966 (51380804053).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing has shown how unbelievably selfish and despicably partisan our nation has become than the fight to get our population vaccinated. In what can best be described as one part Idiocracy and one part Simpsons episode, we've watched far-right Republicans and deranged conspiracy theorists spout utter nonsense about the vaccine, the CDC, Dr Anthony Fauci, and members of the medical community just trying to do their damn jobs. A year after the miraculous development of effective COVID-19 vaccines, only 61 percent of the nation’s population is vaccinated, which clearly represents the danger of misinformation (Horse dewormer, anyone?) that infects social media like Covid itself.

Not surprisingly, the majority of the anti-vaxx noise is coming from far-right and GOP circles, thus proving the Republican party has become a death cult. Things have gotten so utterly insane that many of Trump's loudest cult members are raging against their own cult leader for his embrace of the vaccine, booing him at events and going after him on social media. At this point, it almost seems fitting to build a wall around the anti-vax crowd and make Fox News pay for it. But seriously, the CDC points out that vaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19 complications. Biden has done all he could to convince these selfishly stupid (and they are stupid) Americans to get vaccinated, but it's up to Darwin now.

5. Inflation

Forecasts Archives - PIDE Blog

Image via Pakistan Institute for the Development of Economics

Shutting down the world economy for nearly a year has had devastating impacts on the price of goods, especially as everything opened up all at once. Prices in 2021 rose at the fastest rate in 40 years, creating enormous problems for President Biden and his agenda. Government stimulus checks and other measures were desperately needed during a raging pandemic, but the rapid printing of money has spaned hyperinflation. It was a catch 22, but one that could not be avoided.

A shortage of workers contributed to wage gains, but more price hikes at restaurants and hotels. Notwithstanding these setbacks to the economy, the stats show the recovery is going well and Biden's economy has seen huge gains.

Obviously so much more happened in 2021, but those events got the most national attention and news time. Let's hope 2022 is far less chaotic.

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok