Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: April 4, 2012

Economic Statistics for 4 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Mortgage applications rose 4.8$ last week, with purchases up 7.2% and refis up 4%, as buyers purchased ahead of a scheduled FHA mortgage insurance premium increase.

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index continues to rise, increasing by 0.3% to 94.14 in March.

Non-manufacturing growth slowed slightly last month, with the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index falling to 56 from 57.3 last month.

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Dale Franks
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New York Time editorial declares war on GOP [update]

I sometimes wonder what world the editorial board of the New York Times calls home.  It certainly isn’t the one the rest of us live in.  But I guess it is necessary to live in an alternative world to be able to push narratives like it pushes in an editorial today.  The NY Times has decided, to use a poker term, to go “all in” on Obama’s “right-wing extremism” and “dishonesty” meme. 

Referencing the Obama speech yesterday, the editorial board says:

Mr. Obama provided a powerful signal on Tuesday that he intends to make this election about the Republican Party’s failure to confront, what he called, “the defining issue of our time”: restoring a sense of economic security while giving everyone a fair shot, rather than enabling only a shrinking number of people to do exceedingly well. His remarks promise a tough-minded campaign that will call extremism and dishonesty by name.

Remember Obama, who’s answer to the “defining issue of our time”, submitted each of the two years (I’m talking about his budgets) has gone a collective 0-511.  That’s right, the two budgets he’s submitted to address the “defining issue of our time” hasn’t garnered a single vote in two years.  

Why?  Primarily because neither of the budgets convinced a single legislator of either party, to include the President’s own, that they addressed that issue at all.

Yet he presumes to lecture the GOP on the failure to confront this issue?  And the NYT somehow manages to buy into that nonsense?

The GOP budget at least passed the House.  The NYT presumes that no negotiations are possible because, again, it buys into the Obama claim that the GOP won’t compromise.   Nonsense.  Compromise doesn’t mean wholesale capitulation.  In an negotiation or compromise there are lines drawn over which the two parties won’t give in.  Each side has them.  The NYT and Obama, naturally, want to characterize the lack of movement as GOP intransigence.  But the Democrats are equally intransigent.  They want more money in taxes.  The GOP continues to point out that taxes aren’t the problem.  The problem is spending.

Says the NYT:

Mr. Obama has, in recent months, urged Republicans to put aside their destructive agenda. But, in this speech, he finally conceded that the party has demonstrated no interest in the values of compromise and realism. Even Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes in multiple budget deals, “could not get through a Republican primary today,” Mr. Obama said. While Democrats have repeatedly shown a willingness to cut entitlements and have agreed to trillions in domestic spending cuts, he said, Republicans won’t agree to any tax increases and, in fact, want to shower the rich with even more tax cuts.

Ronald Regan agreed to raising taxes in return for what from the Democrats?

Spending cuts.  In fact as I recall, his deal was 1 1/2 to 2 times the spending cuts to the tax increases.  Guess what never happened?

That’s right – spending cuts.

So call it a lesson learned.  What the GOP is pointing out that until the spending cuts are implemented and take effect, there is no reason to discuss revenue increases.

That’s a common sense approach that best safeguards the citizenry’s money and is based on a history that says the Democrats don’t keep their word about spending cuts.

I don’t blame the GOP for refusing to compromise on taxes.

Finally, and I’ve flipped the paragraph order in the editorial, consider the NYT lede:

President Obama’s fruitless three-year search for compromise with the Republicans ended in a thunderclap of a speech on Tuesday, as he denounced the party and its presidential candidates for cruelty and extremism. He accused his opponents of imposing on the country a “radical vision” that “is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity.”

There has been no search for compromise with President “I won”.  None.  And it is amazing to see smaller and less intrusive government being characterized as a “radical vision” that is “antithetical to our entire history”.  It is the basis of our entire history up until the welfare state came into being.

“The land of opportunity” was such because of a lack of government interference, not because of it.  Obama and the left continue to attempt to rewrite history in a manner in which they redefine the words and key phrases that characterized our nation differently than they’d like prior to the institution of the welfare state.

The radical vision is that which Obama, the NYT  and the Democrats continue to push, not the GOP.  They don’t seem to understand that the majority of the American people have come to understand that we just can’t afford their radical vision and that government control of more and more of our lives is not a “good thing”. 

If there is anyone out of touch with the American people it is Mr. 0-511. He hasn’t a clue.

And neither does the New York Times editorial board.

UPDATE: A further thought sparked by a comment by The Shark.  If compromise is what Obama and the Democrats really want, they’ve had two opportunities to actually force that or at least make the argument they attempted it.  For two years the GOP House has passed a budget.   The way the Congress works is the Senate then passes its version of the budget and the two houses of Congress get together and hash out the differences (known commonly as “compromise). 

Except the Democratically controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 1000 days.  So who isn’t interested in compromise, Mr. President?  And why aren’t you exerting a little leadership and confronting the Senate about its dereliction of duty?  If “compromise” is so all fired important to you, why are you neglecting the easiest way of forcing it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

How Obama’s Keystone XL tantrum will cost the US

Not that President Obama will much care. 

As you know, if you’ve followed the news, a few months back, President Obama stopped the building of a critical oil pipeline from Canada’s oil sands in a fit of pique at the GOP for demanding a decision sooner rather than later.  His excuse was it hadn’t been studied enough even though his own State Department had unofficially announced they were satisfied with Trans Canada’s application and environmental studies and prepared to okay the project.

A huge outcry ensued and as he usually does, Obama tried to blame his decision on someone else.  The result of his decision, of course, was to further delay the transport of up to 800,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to our Gulf Coast refineries.  He essentially turned down an increase in safe and secure oil that is strategic to our economic growth and national security.

But it has had even more profound effect for the long term.  Most people are pretty sure that the pipeline will eventually be built.  However the sweet deal it offered us prior to the President’s turn down is no longer available.  It is because the refusal pointed out that Canada couldn’t depend on the US to be a reliable trading partner:

In a public one-on-one interview here with Jane Harman, head of the Wilson Centre think-tank, [Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen] Harper said Obama’s rejection of the controversial pipeline — even temporarily — stressed Canada’s need to find other buyers for oilsands crude.

And that wouldn’t change even if the president’s mind did.

“Look, the very fact that a ‘no’ could even be said underscores to our country that we must diversify our energy export markets,” Harper told Harman in front of a live audience of businesspeople, scholars, diplomats, and journalists.

“We cannot be, as a country, in a situation where our one and, in many cases, only energy partner could say no to our energy products. We just cannot be in that position.”

Of course there’s no particular problem finding new customers.  China, naturally, was waiting in the wings for us to shoot ourselves in the foot and when we obliged them, they stepped right in.

That, of course, has another effect:

Harper also told Harman that Canada has been selling its oil to the United States at a discounted price.

So not only will America be able to buy less Canadian oil even if Keystone is eventually approved, the U.S. will also have to pay more for it because the market for oilsands crude will be more competitive.

That’s right, we get less and it will cost more. 

We have taken a significant price hit by virtue of the fact that we are a captive supplier and that just does not make sense in terms of the broader interests of the Canadian economy," Harper said. "We’re still going to be a major supplier of the United States. It will be a long time, if ever, before the United States isn’t our number one export market, but for us the United States cannot be our only export market.

"That is not in our interest, either commercially or in terms of pricing."

Congratulations Mr. President, with your childish fit of pique you’ve managed to again do something that will help achieve your goal of seeing energy prices “skyrocket”.

And the people you profess to be looking out for, the poor and middle class, are those who will pay the most for your tantrum.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO