Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 27, 2012


Economic Statistics for 27 Jun 12

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

Durable goods orders came in much better than expected, with an overall 1.1% increase in May. On a year-over-year basis, orders rose 4.6%. The increase was mainly the result of a big increase in aircraft orders. Ex-Transportation, orders rose 0.4% for the month, and 3.8% on a year-over-year basis.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association reports mortgage applications fell -7.1%, with purchases down -1.0% and re-finance apps down -8.0%.

The National Association of Realtors reports that the Pending Home Sales Index rose 5.9 points to 101.1.

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Dale Franks
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“Outsourcing” and “Offshoring” are not the same thing

John Hinderaker at Powerline makes a point that I wish more people would make:

President Obama has decided to make the claim that Mitt Romney “outsourced” jobs as head of Bain Capital a major theme of his reelection campaign. Today in Waterloo, Iowa, Joe Biden repeated the “outsourcing” mantra.

I’m not sure that either Obama or Biden has any clear idea what outsourcing means, and their application of the charge to Romney’s business career is dubious at best.

I’m not sure they understand the term either.  It is entirely probable that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital did outsource jobs – but that’s not necessarily bad.

As I understand outsourcing, it can be as simple as a company deciding, for whatever reason (but usually because of cost and/or efficiency) to quit doing something internally and contract the work outside the company.  So instead of making widgets to go in their gadget, they contract with another company to make the widgets for their gadgets.  The savings in cost and efficiency go to the bottom line and make the company more profitable (and, obviously, helps the bottom line of the new widget maker as well).  Depending on the circumstances, such outsourcing could end up with a net job gain.

Offshoring, of course, is when the job is moved, well, offshore. To another country.  A net job loss.  Certainly an outsourced job can also be offshored.

This is offshoring:

The Obama campaign spent nearly $4,700 on telemarketing services from a Canadian telemarketing company called Pacific East between March and June, a Washington Free Beacon study of federal election filings shows.

Pacific East is not the only overseas telemarketing firm raking in cash from the president’s reelection campaign. Obama paid a call center in Manila, Philippines$78,314.10 for telemarketing services between the start of the campaign and March.

Pacific East is headquartered in British Columbia, Canada, though the campaign issued more than a dozen checks to a P.O. box located in Washington State—about 1,000 feet from the Canadian border and 9 miles from its headquarters in Canada.

Neither Obama for America nor Pacific East returned requests for comment.

I’m sure they didn’t.  Ironic, no?

Someone pass this along to Joe Biden, will you?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Was “Fast and Furious” a government plot to increase gun control?

We’ve been asking about that since the scandal first came to light months and months ago on the podcast and on the blog.  Usually not given to conspiracy theories, we’ve found it hard to justify the operation otherwise.  The recent use of executive privilege by the President seems to lend credence to the assertion/theory.

At least in this case, It appears where there’s smoke there may be fire.  And both Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley have spoken out on the notion:

But the suggestion by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that the deadly operation was conceived to advance the administration’s gun-control agenda is quite plausible.

"Here’s the real answer as to gun control," Issa said on ABC’s "This Week": "We have email from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons — ban or greater reporting."

Issa was asked about the possible connection after comments he made at an NRA convention. "Could it be," he said on NRA News’ "Cam & Company" program, "that what they really were thinking of was in fact to use this walking of guns in order to promote an assault weapons ban? Many think so. And they haven’t come up with an explanation that would cause any of us not to agree."

Grassley is less oblique about it:

According to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, "There’s plenty of evidence developing that the administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement."

In fact, they’ve already cranked up the reporting requirements:

As Issa noted on "This Week," the Department of Justice announced on April 25, 2011, "right in the middle of the scandal," that it was requiring some 8,500 gun stores in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico to report individual purchases of multiple rifles of greater than .22 caliber by law-abiding American citizens to the ATF because such guns are "frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest border."

Of course every one of the multiple sales that contributed to the guns that went into Mexico were okayed by the ATF. And don’t forget the prelude to all of this:  the use of a discredited study that supplied the justification for an attempt to increase gun control:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others in the administration had been pushing the discredited line that 90% of guns seized in Mexico came from the U.S. as justification for stricter gun laws and reporting rules.

But of course, it’s all really nothing more than a logical assertion or theory at the moment since the misnamed Department of Justice won’t release key documents as legally and rightfully demanded by Congress (in the execution of its Constitutional duty of oversight) and the President of the United States is aiding and abetting this avoidance of DoJ’s legal duties.

Reinstating the assault gun ban and tightening gun control are undeniable goals of the liberal left.  There’s no denying that.  But to summarily do it would be politically disastrous and they know that as well.  So there has to be a pretext, a reason for it.  What better pretext than the death of hundreds of Mexicans at the hands of guns smuggled in from the US coupled with the false 90% stat?  Convenient, no?

Obviously it wasn’t supposed to leak out that the Federal government ordered it or, I’d guess, see 2 Federal agents be murdered as a result of their operation.

What could be worse than turning over the documents requested by Congress?

Something like this coming to light.

Look for the Obama administration to do whatever is necessary to delay, deny and obfuscate for 4 months on this.

But if this is true, and if Obama is fortunate enough to be re-elected, it may end up being a very short second term.  There are scandals presidents can survive and then there are those they can’t survive.

This would be, or at least should be, one that isn’t survivable.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Quote of the Day: Political vernacular edition

Thomas Sowell, as he has so aptly and wonderfully done for decades, distills down some of the silliness that happens with the language of politics.  He pens a short political glossary  for those who need it.  You can’t tell what a politician is saying without it.

Fairness:

One of the most versatile terms in the political vocabulary is "fairness." It has been used over a vast range of issues, from "fair trade" laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. And recently we have heard that the rich don’t pay their "fair share" of taxes.

Some of us may want to see a definition of what is "fair." But a concrete definition would destroy the versatility of the word, which is what makes it so useful politically.

If you said, for example, that 46.7 percent of their income — or any other number — is the "fair share" of their income that the rich should have to pay in taxes, then once they paid that amount, there would be no basis for politicians to come back to them for more — and "more" is what "fair share" means in practice.

Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.

Dead on right and yes it is indeed a word that has become an “inexhaustible asset” to politicians of a certain ilk.

Racism:

"Racism" is another term we can expect to hear a lot this election year, especially if the public opinion polls are going against President Barack Obama.

Former big-time TV journalist Sam Donaldson and current fledgling CNN host Don Lemon have already proclaimed racism to be the reason for criticisms of Obama, and we can expect more and more other talking heads to say the same thing as the election campaign goes on. The word "racism" is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a "racist."

On the positive side, sort of, “compassion”:

A more positive term that is likely to be heard a lot, during election years especially, is "compassion." But what does it mean concretely? More often than not, in practice it means a willingness to spend the taxpayers’ money in ways that will increase the spender’s chances of getting reelected.

If you are skeptical — or, worse yet, critical — of this practice, then you qualify for a different political label: "mean-spirited." A related political label is "greedy."

In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be "greedy," while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show "compassion."

Make sure to read the rest.

Suffice it to say, Sowell nails it.  Of course there are many other words and phrases that can be included as well. Language is malleable as our politicians prove every day.  That’s why so many people listen and then point to Orwell’s “1984” after many political speeches today.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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