Payrolls rose less than projected in August and the unemployment rate was unexpectedly driven down by Americans leaving the labor force, boosting the odds of additional Federal Reserve easing to spur a faltering recovery. The numbers are disturbing...368,000 Americans left the labor force........ far more than the weak, unexpextedly low 96,000 workers were added by the economy. The 96,000 figure was far less than analysts had projected, after a revised 141,000 increase in July that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 92 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain of 130,000. The one bright spot for Obama? since so many Americans left the labor force.... they are no longer included in the unemployment calculation... which reduced the unemployment number down to 8.1%.
Employers are reluctant to expand headcounts as they face a global economic slowdown and the so-called fiscal cliff, the $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect automatically at the end of the year unless Congress acts.
Some companies are planning to reduce staff. Mountain View, California-based Google Inc. (GOOG) said on Aug. 13 it will cut about 4,000 positions at its Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. unit, with about one-third of the reductions coming in the U.S. Printer maker Lexmark International Inc. (LXK) on Aug. 28 announced plans to eliminate 1,700 jobs globally.
For Kimberly Hackler of White, Georgia, the job search has been “frustrating at best, a little disheartening.” The 49- year-old has been looking for work since November, applying for about 190 positions.
“I’m very concerned about those of us who are unemployed and where are we going to find stable employment,” Hackler said. “I don’t see the economy improving anytime soon. I am concerned it could get worse.”
Today’s report dealt a blow to Obama’s hopes of gaining momentum coming out of his party convention and gave Republican candidate Mitt Romney another campaign weapon.
“If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover,” Romney said in a statement. “It is clear that President Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises and his policies haven’t worked.”
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis used the report to renew calls for Congress to approve a $447 billion jobs plan proposed by the administration last September.
“We still see some areas where we need more improvement,” Solis said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “That’s why we need to have cooperation with the Congress. They’ve got a proposal up there, the American Jobs Act, that would help create a million jobs.”
Bloomberg survey estimates ranged from increases of 70,000 to 185,000. Revisions to prior reports subtracted a total of 41,000 jobs from payrolls in the previous two months.
Factory employment fell by the most in two years, temporary-help companies eliminated positions for the first time in five months, and the share of the working-age population in the labor force slumped to the lowest since 1981.
Private payrolls, which exclude government agencies, rose 103,000 after a revised gain of 162,000. They were projected to rise by 142,000, the survey showed.
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. (AXL), a maker of axles and crankshafts, is among companies looking to expand as the auto industry rebounds. The Detroit-based company plans to hire 400 to 500 workers at its Three Rivers, Michigan, factory over the next two years, David Tworek, a spokesman, said in an e-mail last month.
The jobless rate fell from 8.3 percent as 368,000 Americans left the labor force. Unemployment was forecast to hold at 8.3 percent, according to the survey median. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 8.1 percent to 8.4 percent.
Factory payrolls decreased by 15,000, compared with a survey forecast for a 10,000 increase, after a 23,000 gain in the previous month. Automakers cut 7,500 jobs last month.
The figures reflected the reversal of a July increase that was propelled by fewer shutdowns at automakers for annual retooling related to the new model year. Still, carmakers may continue to add workers. Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. (GM), Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. reported U.S. auto sales in August that rose more than analysts estimated as new models attracted buyers.
Employment at service-providers increased 119,000. Construction companies added 1,000 workers and retailers took on 6,100 employees. Government payrolls decreased by 7,000. The number of temporary workers decreased almost 5,000.
Average hourly earnings were little changed, and up 1.7 percent from August 2011, today’s report showed. The 12-month change matched the smallest gain since record-keeping began in 2007.
The participation rate, which indicates the share of working-age people in the labor force, fell to 63.5 percent, the lowest since September 1981, from 63.7 percent.
Companies from Intel Corp. to FedEx Corp. are sounding alarms on the outlook for the world’s largest economy as global growth cools.
Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor maker, today slashed its third-quarter sales prediction amid declining demand for personal computers from corporate customers. FedEx this week projected its first decline in quarterly earnings in almost three years as slowing growth hurt demand for the express packages that provide most of its sales.
Payroll gains slowed from an average 226,000 in the first quarter to 73,000 in the April to June period, before picking up in July. The U.S. has managed to recover 4.1 million of the 8.8 million jobs lost as a result of the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.
The unemployment rate, derived from a separate Labor Department survey of households, has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch in monthly records going back to 1948.
Bernanke, in an Aug. 31 speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, cited “the daunting economic challenges” that confront the U.S. He also said the Fed will provide additional policy stimulus as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery.
“The stagnation of the labor market in particular is a grave concern,” he said. Persistently high unemployment “will wreak structural damage on our economy that could last for many years.”
Fed officials at their July 31-Aug. 1 meeting were moving toward additional monetary policy action, according to minutes of the gathering. Many members of the panel said more stimulus will be needed “fairly soon” unless the recovery shows signs of a “substantial and sustainable strengthening.”
The Presidential race is boiling down to one dominant issue: which party's policies will do more to help the financially stressed American middle class. President Obama's campaign theme is that Mitt Romney and the Republicans cater to the rich, while Mr. Obama cares about struggling families.
He may care, but he sure hasn't done much for them. New income data from the Census Bureau, tabulated by former Census income specialists at the nonpartisan economic consulting firm Sentier Research, reveal that the three-and-a-half years of the Obama Presidency have done enormous harm to middle-class households.
In January 2009, the month President Obama entered the Oval Office and shortly before he signed his stimulus spending bill, median household income was $54,983. By June 2012, it had tumbled to $50,964, adjusted for inflation. (See the chart nearby.) That's $4,019 in lost real income, a little less than a month's income every year.
Unfair, you say, because Mr. Obama inherited a recession? Well, even if you start the analysis when the recession ended in June 2009, the numbers are dismal. Three years after the economy hit its trough, median household income is down $2,544, or nearly 5%.
Add the authors: "The overall decline since June 2009 was larger than the 2.6 percent decline that occurred" during the recession from December 2007 to June 2009. For household income, in other words, the Obama recovery has been worse than the Bush recession.
It's true that the Bush years overall were also not great for household incomes. According to Sentier's analysis, real median household income is down about 8% from $55,470 in 2000 before the dot-com bubble burst. Some of this decline is due to the continuation of a trend of smaller family size, lower fertility rates and more Americans living alone. But some was also due to the subpar economic growth across the 2000s.
That slow growth trend has become worse since the latest recession, and this is where Mr. Obama is implicated. The President portrays the financial decline of American families on his watch as part of a decades-long trend. He's wrong. Real income for middle-income households rose by roughly 30% from 1983 to 2005, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The political left likes to blame the ebbing of union power. But nongovernment unionization fell dramatically in the 1980s and '90s, and incomes rose.
So what does explain falling real incomes? Slow growth, yes, but another culprit has been rising prices—especially for food, gasoline, medical procedures and college tuition—that have eroded worker purchasing power. The Federal Reserve claims this is no problem because "core inflation" has been relatively contained. But core inflation excludes food and energy prices, which are two of the biggest components of consumer budgets.
The basic skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a competitive global economy. Rising health-care costs have also forced employers to take money that used to go into higher wages to pay higher premiums.
A key driver of higher wages in the 1980s and 1990s was a surge of capital investment in computers, plant and equipment, which made Americans workers more productive. When Mr. Obama pledges to raise taxes on investment income (capital gains, dividends and small-business profits), he is making it costlier to innovate and modernize. That plays out over time into slower gains in productivity and wages.
Consider the toll from America's corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the industrial world. A 2011 study by economists at the American Enterprise Institute found that because of the capital flight from the U.S. as a result of this high rate, "every additional dollar of tax revenue [from the corporate tax] leads to a $4 decrease in aggregate real wages." American workers would be the biggest beneficiaries of tax reform.
The new income data reveal other eye-opening trends. The group that has suffered the most during the Obama Presidency has been black Americans, whose real incomes have fallen by more than 11%.
Mr. Obama also likes to say that government workers like teachers are hurting and the private economy is doing "just fine." But the data indicate that over the past three years households with government workers saw their incomes decline less than households with private workers. The public-private pay gap is now wider than ever ($77,998 government versus $63,800).
Every age group has seen a decline in income—except the elderly. Those between the ages of 65 and 75 saw an average 6.5% gain in income, though most are not working and collect Medicare and Social Security.
The last time incomes fell this fast was during the late 1970s under Jimmy Carter, and it's no coincidence that economic policies then and now are so similar. If Mr. Obama succeeds in convincing voters that he really is the tribune of the middle class, it will be the political conjurer's trick of the century.
The Rocky Mountain Pictures’ documentary. 2016 Obama’s America ended the weekend in third place and was #1 overall for friday. That’s stunning because it played in 1/3 less theaters across North American than the other wide release actioners. Its new cume after this weekend could make it the #1 conservative documentary (ahead of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’s $7.7M). The success of the anti-Obama pic comes on the eve of the Republican National Convention August 27-30. This is turning into the weakest weekend of Summer 2012 especially for new movies (with the exception of the anti-Obama pic). Sony Pictures’ newcomer Premium Rush is a disappointment, while Open Road’s Hit And Run (which opened Wednesday) takes a bad fall, and Dark Castle/Warner Bros’ new release The Apparition didn’t stand a ghost of a chance as a parting present for producer Joel Silver. “It’s exhausting working with numbers this bad,” one studio exec griped Friday. No new pic will even break $10M. Total moviegoing for the weekend adds up to only $75M, or -13% from last year. Here are the Top Ten based on Friday’s estimates:
1. The Expendables 2 (Millenium/Lionsgate) Week 2 [3,355 Runs] R
Friday $3.6M (-66%), Weekend $11.7M, Cume $50.2M
2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 3 [3,652 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.5M, Weekend $8.4M, Cume $84.6M
3. 2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain) NEW [1,091 Runs] PG
Friday $2.4M, Weekend $6.0M, Cume $8.9M
4. ParaNorman (Focus Features) Week 2 [3,455 Runs] PG
Friday $2.3M (-50%), Weekend $7.5M, Cume $27.1M
5. The Campaign (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,302 Runs] R
Friday $2.1, Weekend $6.7M, Cume $62.9M
6. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/WB) Week 6 [2,606 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.0M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $421.7M
7. The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Disney) Week 2 [2,598 Runs] PG
Friday $2.0M, Weekend $6.5M, Cume $26.5M
8. Premium Rush (Sony) NEW [2,255 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.0M, Weekend $6.1M
9. Hope Springs (Sony) Week 3 [2,402 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.6M, Weekend $5.5M, Cume $44.6M
10. Hit And Run (Open Road) NEW [2,870 Runs] R
Friday $1.3M, Weekend $3.8M, Cume $4.8M
12. The Apparition (Dark Castle/WB) NEW [810 Runs]
Friday $975K, Weekend $2.6M
Exhibitors were reporting busloads arriving at theaters around the country in pre-organized trips. It also employed much of the same marketing techniques used to garner attention and support for faith-based films, understandable since the audience is overlapping. Its campaign included advertising nationally over the past two weeks on talk radio and cable news channels including Fox News Channel, A&E, History and MSNBC.
Both online ticket-sellers Fandango and MovieTickets.com showed advance buying for 2016 Obama’s America were accounting for 35% to 28% respectively before this weekend. The pic is based on conservative author and commentator Dinesh D’Souza’s New York Times bestselling 2010 book The Roots Of Obama’s Rage and co-directed by D’Souza and John Sullivan and produced by Academy Award winner Gerald R. Molen (co-producer of Schindler’s List). It opened on July 13th in a preview on a single screen in Texas grossing almost $32,000 during its opening weekend, then expanded into 61 theaters including New York and Los Angeles. In August, the film widened to 169 theaters nationwide and expanded again this weekend. “Yes, I also didn’t believe it when I first saw the film taking off in pre-sales on Tuesday,” an exhibition insider tells me. “Because there’s not a lot of new product that’s taking off.”
Distribution experts expect 2016 Obama’s America to fare similarly to that Kirk Cameron faith-based movie Fireproof. It was #1 in Fandango’s advance sales and did remarkably well during its opening Friday – but then ended up somewhere around #4 at the box office for the weekend.
Last weekend, 2016: Obama’s America grossed a strong $1.2M in 169 venues for a cumulative gross as of Thursday of $2.8M. It’s the #2 biggest indie documenatry of the year behind only The Weinstein Company’s Bully ($3.2 million) and already the #12 political documentary of all time. It will rise a lot higher in the rankings after this weekend.
2016 Obama’s America detractors decry it as a slick infomercial heavy with conspiracy theories. But D’Souza says he made the film to motivate moviegoers to question what an Obama second term would look like.
With rise of Morsy, a new dictatorship may be replacing the old while world and the Obama administration continue to ignore the predictable turn towards fascism.
Mohamed Morsy is quietly taking over all the power bases in the country. Having gotten rid of the army old guard, he replaced them with his own men – officers belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or known sympathizers. Then he turned his attention to the media, replacing 50 editors working for the government’s extensive and influential press empire – including Al- Ahram, Al-Akhbar, Al-Gomhuria. He is now busy appointing new governors to the 27 regions of the country.
Hosni Mubarak used to choose retired generals he could depend on for these sensitive posts; Morsy is hand picking party faithful. At the same time upper echelons in government ministries and economic and cultural organizations are methodically being replaced. The Muslim Brotherhood is fast assuming total control. For many observers, the deployment of army units is Sinai is more about proclaiming Egyptian sovereignty in the face of Israel than actually fighting Islamic terrorism.
Drafting the new constitution is their next objective. Brothers and Salafis make up an absolute majority in the Constituent Assembly. Liberal and secular forces are boycotting its sessions, and the Supreme Constitutional Court is examining a request to have it dissolved since it does not conform to the constitution because of its overly Islamic composition; a decision is expected in September.
The assembly, however, is not waiting. According to various leaks it is putting the final touch to a constitution where all laws have to conform to the Shari’a and special committees will supervise the media and forbid any criticism of Islam and of the Prophet. In the wings is the creation of a Committee of Islamic Sages supervising the law-making process and in effect voiding of substance the parliament elected by the people, though it is not clear yet if, when and how it will work. What is clear is that a parliament made of flesh and blood individuals is against the very nature of the Shari’a, where all laws are based on the Koran and the hadiths. This is a far cry from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It is worth stressing that the Brotherhood is still operating under conditions of utmost secrecy, as it had been doing during the decades of persecution. How it is getting its funds, who are its members and how they are recruited is not known, nor is its decision-taking process. The movement has no legal existence since Gamal Abdel Nasser officially disbanded it in 1954.
That state of affairs was not changed while the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ruled the country, since apparently the movement did not apply for recognition, fearing perhaps it would have to reveal some of its secrets. Now that it has created its own political party, that the members of that party make up nearly 50 percent of the parliament and that one of their own has been elected president, can the movement remain in the shadows?
Morsy did announce that he was resigning from the Brotherhood, but there is no doubt that he will remain true to the tenets and the commands of its leaders. This is making people increasingly uneasy. They had other expectations of the revolution.
Some of the nongovernmental media are vocal in their criticism of Morsy, though it can be costly: Private television station Al- Pharaein – “the Pharaohs” – was shut down after it called to get rid of Morsy; its owner, Tawfik Okasha, well known for his hostility to the Brothers (and to Israel) and who called for a massive demonstration this Friday, was put under house arrest, as was the editor of the daily Al-Dostour that had criticized the president. The editors of two other dailies –Al-Fajer and Saut el-Umma – were questioned. Other papers such as Al-Akhbar stopped publishing opinion pieces from their regular collaborators known for their opposition to the Brothers; well-known publicists left their page blank in a gesture of solidarity for their colleagues.
Morsy knows that his takeover will strengthen the opposition. He has not forgotten that he barely mustered 25% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election – down from the nearly 50% who voted for his party’s candidates in the parliamentary elections. He also knows that the people are no longer afraid to take to the streets to protest – and that it is now said that a new dictatorship is replacing the old – the only difference being that the new ruler has a beard....
However, for now he is devoting all his energy to his fight with the judiciary, long known for its independent stands. The Supreme Constitutional Court is being asked to rule the Brotherhood Movement illegal, and therefore to proclaim that the Liberty and Justice party it created – and which won 50% of the seats in the parliament – is illegal as well, and therefore to invalidate the election of Morsy, candidate of a movement and a party that are both illegal. Morsy sent his new justice minister to browbeat the court, but the judges refused to back down. The president is now working to limit the prerogatives of the court in the new constitution and will start “retiring” senior justices appointed by Mubarak.
Friday’s demonstration will be the first real test for the Brotherhood. It is taking no chances and security forces will be deployed around its institutions throughout the country. A cleric at Al-Azhar issued a fatwa calling for the killing of whoever protests against the rule of the Brotherhood; the resulting uproar was such that he was disavowed by some of the leaders of the movement. However, whatever happens Friday will not deter them from their goal – a thoroughly Islamist Egypt with totalitarian control.
Unemployment was up in 44 States, down in two states, down in D.C, and unchanged in four others. There has been no improvement nationally this year. Bloomberg reports U.S. Joblessness Rise Broad-Based as 44 States Show Gain
The jobless rate climbed in 44 U.S. states in July, showing last month’s increase in unemployment was broad based.
Alabama and Alaska registered the worst performance, with joblessness advancing by 0.5 percentage point in each, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Payrolls grew in 31 states last month, led by California and Michigan.
Unemployment jumped to 8.3 percent in Alabama from 7.8 percent in June, and climbed to 7.7 percent in Alaska from 7.2 percent, today’s report showed. Nevada, where the rate rose to 12 percent from 11.6 percent, remained the state with the highest level of joblessness in the country. Rhode Island, at 10.8 percent, was second, followed by California at 10.7 percent. North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, even as it rose to 3 percent from 2.9 percent the prior month. Two states, Idaho and Rhode Island, showed a drop in their unemployment rates. Joblessness was unchanged in four states.
Unemployment in New York rose to 9.1 percent, the highest since 1983, and payrolls dropped by 3,700 workers. The jobless rate has exceeded 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, the longest stretch in the post-World War II era. The New York statistics above tie in nicely with what I said early this morning in New Jersey Unemployment Hits 35-Year High of 9.8%. Note that three years into an alleged recovery, the unemployment is still higher than the peaks in 8 of the last 10 recessions. There has been no improvement in the unemployment rate in 2012. Please remember the reported headline jobs number has no bearing on the unemployment rate. Rather the unemployment rate is determined by a phone survey. That's why its important to dig into the reported monthly jobs numbers. This is what I had to say on August 3, in Headline Jobs +163,000, But Household Survey Shows -195,000 Jobs; Unemployment +.1 to 8.3% In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,683,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 1,655,000. This month the Civilian Labor Force fell by 150,000. This month, those "not" in the labor force increased by 348,000 to 88,340,000, another record high. If you are not in the labor force, you are not counted as unemployed. In the last year, those "not" in the labor force rose by 2,027,000. Over the course of the last year, the number of people employed rose by 2,770,000. There are 8,246,000 workers who are working part-time but want full-time work, an increase of 36,000 Long-Term unemployment (27 weeks and over) was 5.185 million a decline of 185,000. Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.
Over the past several years people have dropped out of the labor force at an astounding, almost unbelievable rate, holding the unemployment rate artificially low. Some of this was due to major revisions last month on account of the 2010 census finally factored in. However, most of it is simply economic weakness. The key point above is those "not" in the labor force rose by over 2 million.
Reasons for Artificially Low Unemployment Rate
In the past several years, millions of citizens want a job and need a job but have not looked for a job by strict BLS accounting. Searching for jobs in the want-ads or on Monster does not count. One needs to actually apply, have an interview, or send out resumes.
People are going back to school in staggering numbers and young adults are staying in school longer because there are no jobs. Please recall my post 53% of New Graduates are Jobless or Underemployed; Rude Awakening for Class of 2012; Useless Degrees; Who Benefits From Student Aid? In my article Question on Jobs: How Many Does It Take to Keep Up With Demographics? I noted that "Middle-Aged Borrowers Pile on Student Debt". Well, if you are in school, you are not in the labor force.
Fraud Explains Falling Unemployment Rate.
Disability Fraud is on the rise. I have written about it many times as that link shows. As related to unemployment, the key report is 2.2 Million Go On Disability Since Mid-2010. Not only is the unemployment rate artificially low, but it is no longer falling. And since it has stalled, we had three anemic retail sales reports followed by a reported rise last month. I think that latest retail sales report will be revised away, and I also believe the US is back in recession. If so, expect the unemployment rate to head back up and retail sales to weaken further.
President Obama today boasted about government assistance to the auto industry while advocating extending such “success” to “every industry.”
A new book released this week details Obama’s second-term plans to do just that, including federal government intervention to determine the “value” of individual jobs in the private sector instead of allowing employers to pay what they want.
Also on tap is the possible initiation of a massive government-funded jobs program that could even include the re-creation of a 21st century version of FDR’s Works Progress Administration program within the Department of Labor.
Learn the details of Obama’s shocking plans for the next four years in “Fool Me Twice,” available at WND’s Superstore
There are also second-term plans for a green “stimulus” and the possible founding of a federal “green” bank or “Energy Independence Trust,” which would borrow from the federal treasury to provide low-cost financing to private-sector investments in “clean energy.”
Progressive organizations behind White House policy have also crafted specific, second-term plans for the federal government to enact a “living wage” that would force all employers to increase the salaries of the nation’s workers to meet “basic needs” such as housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care and recreation.
These schemes, and many more, are documented in “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed.”
The book by New York Times bestselling authors Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott uncovers the template for Obama’s next four years – the actual, extensive plans created by Obama’s own top advisers and progressive strategists.
“Fool Me Twice” unveils all the main areas of Obama’s second-term domestic policy onslaught, including jobs, wages, health care, immigration “overhaul,” electoral “reform,” national energy policy and defense.
Repeat auto bailout ‘success’
Speaking today at a campaign rally in Colorado, Obama touted what he called the success of his decision to provide government assistance to the auto industry. He said wants to repeat such success in every manufacturing industry.
“I said, I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,” he said. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.
“I don’t want those jobs taking root in places like China, I want those jobs taking root in places like Pueblo,” Obama said at the Colorado State Fairgrounds.
“Fool Me Twice” details second-term recommendations to Obama that aim for more government funds to the manufacturing industries, most prominently to the “green” industry.
A seminal report by the de facto policy nerve center of the Obama White House, the Center for American Progress, titled “Cutting the Cost of Clean Energy 1.0,” recommends a federal “green bank” for the sole purpose of loaning or granting public funds to so-called clean energy companies.
The report calls for a new “Energy Independence Trust,” which could “borrow from the federal treasury to provide low-cost financing to private sector investments in clean energy.”
Continues the CAP paper: “Our proposed Energy Independence Trust would hold sufficient reserves to protect the Treasury from loan losses, and would be able to offer a variety of debt- and equity-based financial instruments, loan guarantees, and tax incentives to draw a wave of private capital into the clean energy sector.”
An organization that calls itself the Presidential Climate Action Project, or PCAP, has been working with the Obama administration since the beginning to help craft and implement White House environmental policy.
Following Obama’s victory in 2008, PCAP began working with John Podesta, co chairman of Obama’s transition team, to help the incoming president formulate an initial 100-day environmental agenda. Podesta is president and CEO of CAP.
PCAP’s recommendation is that the Department of Energy should join three other federal agencies – the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency – in funding what is essentially a progressive slush fund called the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
The Partnership blandly proclaims it aims to “help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.”
Meanwhile, other progressive groups tied to the White House back the 2011 21st Century Works Progress Administration Act. The legislation would “immediately put Americans to work rebuilding our nation and strengthening our communities,” according to its literature.
The 21st century reincarnation of Roosevelt’s WPA would operate under the auspices of a Works Progress Administration created within the Department of Labor and headed by the secretary of labor.
The bill, proposed by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., proposes projects similar to those of the earlier era, including residential and commercial building weatherization; residential and commercial water use efficiency improvement; highway, bridge and rail repair and maintenance; manufacturing projects; school, library and firehouse construction; soil erosion and pesticide runoff prevention; National Park and trail maintenance; and “other projects that are proposed by the eligible departments and determined appropriate by the Administration.”
Obama has made “economic fairness” the centerpiece of his second-term agenda. The president’s January 2012 State of the Union address called for “equal pay for equal work.”
“Fool Me Twice” uncovers the radical origins of the “economic fairness” mantra as well as Obama’s specific second-term “fairness” plans.
Write Klein and Elliott: “One of the most deceptive tricks in Obama’s rhetorical arsenal is his use of the term economic fairness. A prime example of the progressives’ use, in general, of harmless-sounding rhetoric in their advancement of radical objectives, this ‘fairness’ derives directly from the Marxist conception of economic justice.”
Late Harvard professor John Rawls, one of the most important philosophers of liberalism in the 20th century, named his own theory “justice as fairness.” Some have previously pointed to Rawls’ possible influence over Obama. Rawls calls for ensuring distributive justice of resources.
“Fool Me Twice” documents how progressive groups behind Obama’s first-term agenda are now pushing plans, some already attempted in previous progressive Democrat legislation, for a second Obama term push for “Paycheck Fairness” and so-called equal pay fairness.
Originally, “equal pay” legislation, such as the 1963 Equal Pay Act, had the goal of ensuring women would not be paid less for doing the same jobs as men.
The current progressive concept of equal pay, “Fool Me Twice” relates, would give the government sweeping powers to require employers to compensate workers according to an artificial calculation of a job’s “value” rather than what the private market is willing to pay.
Other powers would allow federal bureaucrats to decide which jobs are underpaid and would require employers to raise wages.
The government would also determine whether “bias” or “discrimination” exists in “equivalent” – but not equal – jobs based on race, sex, sexual orientation and other determining factors.
Warn Klein and Elliott: “In truth, Obama’s progressive conception of fairness is not the classic Marxist one, or Marx was the prophet and theoretician of a revolutionary working class. But today’s neo-socialist progressives have completely abandoned and betrayed the working class, along with small-business owners, in favor of a welfare class, a middle class ever more dependent on government hand-outs, and a progressive, liberal elite.”
Such a welfare system is also in the works.
WND reported last week how “Fool Me Twice” reveals Obama’s second term agenda includes the prescription for the implementation of a higher minimum wage that would “raise the floor for all employees” nationwide.
Such a “living wage” – a pet project of ACORN – was previously attempted in over 80 U.S. cities, many times to disastrous affect.
The progressive groups, already instrumental in influencing Obama’s first-term economic agenda, also call for Obama and Congress to enact a government mandate to force businesses to provide 12 weeks of paid benefits to employees who need time off to care for a new child, a sick family member or their own illness.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WND and hosts “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio, the nation’s largest talk station. Klein’s program is one of only two weekend shows in the U.S. to make the Talkers Heavy Hundred official list of top American radio shows.
His previous books include “Red Army,” “The Manchurian President,” “The Late Great State of Israel” and “Schmoozing with Terrorists.”
Brenda J. Elliott is an award-winning historian, researcher and New York Times bestselling author. She is the blogger who created RezkoWatch, The Real Barack Obama, RBO and RBO2. She has appeared on hundreds of radio shows, contributed to numerous investigative articles and publications and is the co-author of “Red Army” and “The Manchurian President.
86% of Romney Media Coverage is Negative , Networks That Fawned Over Obama's World Tour Mock Romney's International 'Blunders'
ConservUSA / Scott Whitlock
Mitt Romney's week-long international trip resulted in unrelentingly negative coverage from the big three broadcast networks, a stark change from the glowing press awarded to then-candidate Barack Obama's world tour in 2008. While Obama was treated like a rock star (from the Associated Press: "It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic...."), Romney endured a focus on gaffes and the trivial.
MRC analysts examined all 21 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Romney's trip to London, Israel and Poland between July 25 and July 31. Virtually all of these stories (18, or 86%) emphasized Romney's "diplomatic blunders," from his "golden gaffe" at the Olympic games to "missteps" that offended the Palestinians.
The first of these "gaffes" was the former GOP governor asserting that security problems in London are not "encouraging." (This unsurprising point had previously been made by many in the media.)
Journalists pounced. On July 26, guest World News guest anchor Josh Elliott mocked, "Now to the war of words underway tonight in London, what's being called Mitt Romney's golden gaffe."
The comments came from an interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams. Initially, Nightly News didn't report the relatively innocuous remark, excluding it from a taped interview that ran on July 25. However, by July 26, Williams had caught up with a British tabloid press angry at "Mitt the Twit." The anchor opened the show by trumpeting, "[Romney's statement] erupted today in public and now the question is, how did a Romney campaign overseas trip end up offending so many people here in London?"
That same night, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley also led with Romney's comments about the Olympic games. He insisted, after just one day of a week-long tour, that the trip was getting attention "for all the wrong reasons" and deemed the former governor's remarks "a diplomatic blunder."
As the trip continued, so did the negative spin from the evening newscasts. Despite pressing economic and foreign policy problems facing the world, both ABC and CBS on July 27 highlighted trifling details such as Romney's motorcade in London getting stuck in traffic. (A snafu that partially validated the candidate's warning about the Olympics.) On CBS, Mark Phillips cast this as "another bad moment."
On July 29, Evening News correspondent Jeff Glor joined the pig pile: "After a rough first stop on his seven-day overseas trip, Mitt Romney was hoping Israel would go better than Britain. The day was not error-free." The "error" amounted to focusing on just how strong the Republican's language would be on Israel's defense against Iran.
Over seven days, Romney netted 53 minutes worth of stories from the three networks. In comparison, Obama's 2008 tour through the Middle East and Europe resulted in 92 minutes for eight days. (The tour resulted in news segments that encompassed full reports and anchor briefs.)
In July of 2008, Barack Obama's international tour took him to Israel where, in an attempt to show toughness over Iran, the then-senator incorrectly told reporters that he was a member of the Senate Banking committee. (Obama erroneously referred to "his" committee's calls for divestment from Iran.) There was no outcry and no reporting of "errors" or "gaffes," at least on the three broadcast evening newscasts.
Obama's 2008 foreign tour, unlike Romney's 2012 version, received glowing coverage.
When the Democrat arrived in Berlin to speak, Brian Williams could hardly contain himself. On the July 24, 2008 Nightly News, he trumpeted, "...The man from Chicago, Illinois, the first ever African-American running as presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, brought throngs of people into the center of Berlin, streaming into this city, surging to get close to him, to hear his message."
On the same program, Andrea Mitchell was beside herself, marveling at the large crowds: "It's hard to figure out what the comparison is. What do you compare this with?"
Then-CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric couched the visit in the most favorable terms, hyping, "Barack Obama extends the hand of friendship to Europe."
At the end of Romney's tour, Brian Williams summed up the week as concluding "with controversy, some hurt feelings, and some raw tempers." NBC reporter Peter Alexander highlighted a Romney aide who swore at journalists for screaming questions just after the candidate left the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Alexander lectured that the trip was "at times marred by missteps" and that "Romney offend[ed] his Olympic hosts and Palestinian leaders."
While Romney's trip resulted in his most substantial coverage since wrapping up the Republican primary, the stories were overwhelmingly negative. Contrasted with the fawning coverage Barack Obama received four years ago, the network's rough coverage of Romney's trip stands as yet another reminder of the media's double standard when it comes to Barack Obama and any conservative candidate who might get in his way.
[Thanks to MRC intern Jeffrey Meyer for assistance.]
Ann Romney slammed for $990 Shirt, Michelle Obama praised for $6,800 jacket
ConservUSA - FoxNews
Back in May, Ann Romney, wife of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wore a $990 Reed Krakoff silk shirt for a media appearance. The item of clothing set off a media firestorm, with the Romneys widely accused of being “out of touch” with average Americans.
In particular, the Washington Post wrote that the $990 blouse “will not help her husband change those perceptions, no matter how many Laundromat photo ops are on the campaign’s itinerary.”
Fast forward to last Friday, when First Lady Michelle Obama attended an Olympics reception for heads of state at Buckingham Palace, donning a J. Mendel cap sleeve jacket from the 2013 Resort collection.
The price-tag? $6,800.
This time, the Washington Post simply described the intricacies of the jacket and noted that Mrs. Obama has previously been criticized for “not dressing up enough for Queen Elizabeth II, so she stepped up her game.” No snide remarks, no outrage over the cost, no suggestion she was “out of touch.”
“The media’s overabundant love affair with the Obamas has become increasingly blatant as this election draws nearer. Scrutinizing Mrs. Romney for a fashion choice that cost considerably less than that of the First Lady is yet another example of the media being purely sanctimonious,” former political publicist Angie Meyer told FoxNews.com. “The media continues to relish their roles as liberal bullies, and have relentlessly bullied the Romneys from the beginning. It is pure hypocrisy at its finest.”
Glenn Selig of The Publicity Agency concurred.
“The media will not stay quiet on the issue because wealth remains a big issue with the Romneys. It is not his fault that he's wealthy, but the media is portraying it as a liability,” Selig said.
Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture for Media Research Center in Washington DC, said it’s “just the latest example of a consistent media theme that somehow Romney is too wealthy and out of touch because he's a millionaire. Except of course that Obama is also a millionaire. “
Some also highlighted the apparent hypocrisy on Twitter. “And you thought the Romneys were out of touch?” tweeted one, while another wondered who had to pay for the almost $7,000 dress, and another balked that the “jacket would put a lot of food on the table of one of the 25M unemployed people in USA.”
Not everyone’s nose was out of joint, however. Media commentator Jenn Hoffman told FoxNews.com that “Americans need to face the fact that with our current system, politicians need to have money. That is how they get into the office in the first place. If you are near the White House, you have access to serious cash and much of that cash is spent on honing your image.”
Mark Joseph, producer of “Wild Card: The Promise & Peril of Sarah Palin,” added that “Mrs. Romney's wardrobe expenses are certainly fair game, but so are Mrs. Obama's, and political reporters have got to do a better job of being even-handed."
ConservUSA / AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back sharply on spending. The slowdown in growth adds to worries that the economy could be stalling three years after the recession ended.
The Commerce Department also said Friday that the economy grew a little better than previously thought in the January-March quarter. It raised its estimate to a 2 percent rate, up from 1.9 percent.
Growth at or below 2 percent isn't enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month. And most economists don't expect growth to pick up much in the second half of the year. Europe's financial crisis and a looming budget crisis in the U.S. are expected to slow business investment further.
"The main take away from today's report, the specifics aside, is that the U.S. economy is barely growing," said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at BTIG LLC. "Along with a reduction in the actual amount of money companies were able to make, it's no wonder the unemployment rate cannot move lower."
Some economic data improved over the course of the April-June quarter, while others worsened. Hiring, for example, rose slightly from April to May to June. But home sales weakened.
Stocks opened higher as investors appeared to shrug off the weak U.S growth and focus on a pledge from the European Central Bank president to keep the euro together. The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 70 points in late-morning trading, and broader indexes also rose.
The lackluster economy is raising pressure on President Barack Obama in his re-election fight with Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
But few think the Fed, the White House or Congress can or will do anything soon that might rejuvenate the economy quickly. Many lawmakers, for example, refuse to increase federal spending in light of historically large budget deficits.
Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said that the sluggish second-quarter growth rate is probably not weak enough to trigger more action by the Federal Reserve when it meets next week.
Many economists, however, believe the Fed will launch another round of bond buying at its September policy meeting. The aim is to drive long-term interest rates lower and encourage more borrowing and spending.
Glenn Hubbard, economic adviser for Romney, said Friday's report on growth was largely what economists were expecting. "But those expectations themselves and the report itself were actually quite disappointing," he noted.
"At that pattern, the economy simply will never return to full employment," he said.
Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said the report showed the economy grew for the 12th straight quarter.
Congress could strengthen growth and job creation by adopting President Barack Obama's plan to extend expiring tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans, Krueger said.
Republicans want the tax cuts extended for all Americans.
The 1.5 percent growth rate in the second quarter was the weakest since the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, expanded at a 1.3 percent rate in the July-September quarter last year. GDP measures the country's total output of goods and services, from the purchase of a cup of coffee to the sale of fighter jets.
Current-dollar GDP increased at an annual rate of $117.6 billion in the second quarter to $15.6 trillion.
Growth was weaker mostly because consumer spending slowed to a growth rate of just 1.5 percent. That's down from 2.4 percent in the first quarter. Americans bought fewer autos, computers and other long-lasting manufactured goods. Spending on services increased.
They also saved more. The savings rate increased to 4 percent, up from 3.6 percent in the first quarter.
Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, was offset somewhat by a slightly smaller drag from the government. Spending by governments fell at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the second quarter, just half of the 3 percent rate of decline in the first quarter.
The Commerce Department also revised its growth estimates for the past three years. Those revisions showed that the economy contracted 3.1 percent in 2009, slightly less than the 3.5 percent previously reported. Growth in 2010 was put at 2.4 percent, down from 3 percent, with growth in 2011 at 1.8 percent instead of 1.7 percent.
The U.S. economy has never been so sluggish this long into a recovery. The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009.