Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: May 3, 2012

Economic Statistics for 3 May 12

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

Initial claims for unemployment fell 27,000 to a much lower-than-expected level of 365,000.

Nonfarm productivity fell -0.5% in the first quarter on slower output and more hours worked. Unit labor costs rose 2.0% for the quarter.

The ISM’s non-manufacturing composite index slowed to 53.5 from 56.0 in March.

Chain stores are reporting their sales today. In general, sales have been solid, and some retailers are raising earning guidance as a result.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to -37.6 from -35.8 the prior week.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows the layoff count rose to 40,559 in April from 37,880 in March and 36,490 last year.

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Dale Franks
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Did anyone know we’ll soon have an “atrocities czar?”

Because every nation should have one.  Claudia Rosett fills us in:

I’m against atrocities. I’m against genocide. I’d bet you are too.

So why is it somehow so troubling that President Barack Obama, citing a “core national interest” and “core moral responsibility” of the United States, has now ordered into existence an inter-agency Atrocities Prevention Board?

The name alone is not a good sign. With its implication of bureaucrats battling evil, it sounds like satire. An outtake, perhaps, from Graham Greene’s novel, Ministry of Fear, or Washington’s variation on Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. In editorializing last week on this new Atrocities Prevention Board, the Wall Street Journal rightly warned its readers that “this is not an item from the Onion.”

Yup, that’s me – against atrocities and genocide. 

Apparently now we need government to determine what constitutes an atrocity and decide what we’ll do about it.  Of course that requires a new level of bureaucracy.  The formation of an atrocity committee headed by our atrocity czar.  Because atrocities are now a “core national interest” and requires of government action by inclusive committee:

At least once per month, and more often in times of emergency, the Atrocities Prevention Board, or APB, will convene representatives of State, Defense, Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, USAID, the Joint Staff, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, and the Office of the Vice President to hammer out “the development and implementation of atrocity prevention and response policy.” The White House is calling this approach “whole of government,” and no doubt everyone will have something to toss into the pot.

I’m sure they will.  First off though they have to decide what constitutes an “atrocity” don’t they?

For instance:

In Libya, the U.S. led from behind to remove Gaddafi — who was a vile tyrant, but not in recent years a prime threat to the U.S. But in the case of Iran, where the regime runs global terrorist networks, is pursuing nuclear weapons, and has been threatening for years to obliterate the U.S. ally and democratic state of Israel, the Obama administration confined itself to bearing “witness” and looked to the long “arc of history,” while Iranian protesters were beaten and shot in the streets. In Syria, where the regime is in bed with Iran, the death toll now tops 10,000, after more than a year of rebellion against Assad’s brutal rule — and the U.S. looks on. And in North Korea, where the entire system of government qualifies as an atrocity, the same old Pyongyang shakedown routine has carried on, with North Korea’s 2009 nuclear test and 2012 ballistic missile test (excuse me, “satellite launch”) punctuated by U.S. offers of talks, and food aid for North Koreans whose chief obstacle to feeding themselves is that they are hostage to their country’s murderous government.

Indeed. Libya apparently qualified but not any of the others.

The bureaucracy lives and spends … and breeds.  And mostly accomplishes nothing except generate meeting notes.

I wonder if they’d ever consider declaring the current governance we’re enduring an atrocity?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Perhaps Romney ought to talk about what he stands to inherit from Obama

It would seem that would be a fairly potent means of campaigning and keeping the issues most important to the forefront.  It might take care of this.

Look, one of the reasons we’re going through this “I killed bin Laden” self-congratulatory orgy right now is a day spend doing the bin Laden back pat is a day not spent on having to discuss this awful economy.

It wouldn’t be hard to compile a list of problems a new president would “inherit” from Obama.  That was (and still is) an Obama strategy – blame Bush.  It may be time for Romney to begin to blame Obama:

-For 8.2% unemployment

-For doubling the debt

-For anemic GDP growth

-For large increases in major regulations

-For ObamaCare

-For green energy boondoggles based in crony capitalism and a nonexistent energy policy

-For increasing dependency on government

-For the first credit downgrade in US history

And, that’s just a short list.

I like the “inherit” scheme.  It’s a good way to frame the debate and put the Obama campaign on the defensive.  If and when the Romney campaign and certain elements of the GOP can stop shooting themselves in the foot over gay spokespersons that is.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO