Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: July 16, 2012


ICYMI: Companies planning on less hiring in near future

According a report by Reuters, much of it is related to the looming crisis in Europe:

Only 23 percent of the firms polled in June plan to add to staff in the next six months, the National Association for Business Economics said on Monday.

NABE’s prior survey, conducted in late March and early April, had shown 39 percent of companies planning to add workers.

The point, of course, is now is certainly not the time, with unemployment at 8.2%, to give business another reason to delay hiring, right?  That would seem, to most, to be a reasonable point.  While the European problem unfolds and comes to some sort of resolution, you’d think government would be attempting to encourage and enable domestic businesses to do some hiring anyway, right?

Instead, as demonstrated in the story below, you have a president (and a party) who seem dedicated to killing whatever possibility there is for such hiring in the bud by calling for higher taxes on the “rich”.

Of course they count on the bulk of the public being ignorant of what comprises the “rich” that the administration wants taxed (small business which produces 85% of the jobs in the US) and certainly, to some extent, they’ve been successful in that endeavor. 

Many will tell you that there’s really not much government can do economically.  That they get blamed or praised when it goes south or does well, but in fact that’s more political tradition than reality.

I disagree.  Economic policy can have a profound effect on the economy.  A policy that encourages and enables business will have a net positive effect economically.  One that discourages or unsettles the business climate (increased regulation, increased taxation, etc.) will have the opposite effect.

Right now we have an example of the latter.   The 8.2% unemployment rate we now endure isn’t a result of the “European crisis”, it is the result of an unsettled and hostile domestic business climate, much of it created by the current administration’s policies.  Europe’s woes will only add to that.  Instead of doing everything they can domestically to encourage expansion and hiring, this administration has decided to again lobby for taxing the job creators at an even higher level.

Of course be prepared for the ready excuse that the crisis in Europe presents.  Blaming Bush doesn’t work as well now as it did 4 years ago.  ATMs and tsunamis won’t work either.  But President “It’s the Other Guy’s Fault” will try very hard to shift the blame of any economic downturn in the next few months across the Atlantic.

But remember – we are at 8.2% now.  And that has much more to do with this President’s policies than anything that has happened in Europe.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 16 Jul 12

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

Retail sales declined for the third month in a row, falling a greater-than-expected -0.5% in June. Less autos, sales fell -0.4%; less gas and autos, sales fell -0.2%. Retail sales on a year-ago basis were up 3.8%.

In another unwelcome sign for the economy, Business inventories in May rose 0.3%, while sales fell 0.1% for the second month in a row. This raised the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.27. That’s the highest level since May 2011.

The Empire State Mfg Survey rose more than 5 points to 7.39, but new orders, an indication of future activity, fell to -2.69. Unfilled orders are also contracting, at a very steep -13.58.

~
Dale Franks
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Quote of the day: Silly collectivist edition

Apparently Barack Obama was channeling Elizabeth “Fauxahontas” Warren the other day in a speech when he said:

Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.

The natural angle of attack when one wants to demean accomplishment is to attempt to portray it as something you were given vs. something you earned.

In this case, where Obama denigrates the accomplishments of the successful (and my goodness when did success become something you attack?), he’s attempting to do just that.  Because, so the collectivist thinking (oxymoron alert) goes, if he and others helped the successful become successful then they can justify claiming a portion of the pie the successful have.

Of course that requires ignoring how the successful become successful.  We heard Elizabeth Warren talk about public works that she claims enabled businesses to succeed.  Like roads, power grids, etc.  What she would have you believe is everyone else paid for those things but apparently the entrepreneur was just a net beneficiary.  Silliness to the extreme.

Also always shunted aside are the sacrifices the “successful” made to reach the stage of success they enjoy.  I personally know “successful” people who mortgaged their house to the hilt, cashed in whatever they had in savings and borrowed the rest to start their business. 

They took all the risk, and yes, some of them failed.  But they didn’t have anyone holding their hand when they set out on their journey to success.  They simply worked harder than anyone else, made the additional sacrifices that had to be made (80 hour weeks, little time with the family, etc). to make that success a fact.

The focus for the collectivists starts at the big house the successful have now, not the risk, work and sacrifice they went through to build that house.

And now that they are a success, suddenly they have a bunch of leeches who want to claim a portion of it (remember about 50% of those in this country pay no income taxes at all).  It reminds me of the lottery winner who suddenly discovers he has cousins, nieces and nephews he’s never heard of all clamoring for some of the winnings.  But in this case, what Obama is trying to justify via this nonsense is not asking for money, but taking it “legally”. 

His is the same song the communists sang in 1917 Russia.  Those who worked hardest and achieved the most don’t “deserve” what they have accumulated because they did it on the backs of everyone else.  We’ve heard variations on the theme quite often from leftist politicians:  “It takes a village”, for instance  or claiming the successful are simply  “the winners of life’s lottery”, etc.

Naturally where Obama wants to strike is precisely where jobs are created.  Almost a million of those in the tax bracket he wants to hit with higher taxes are small businesses.  You’d think the guy who obviously thinks he’s a economic genius would know that.  You’d think a guy who said “the last thing you want to do in a recession is raise taxes” would actually follow through on something he got right.

But no, instead he plays the class warfare card and essentially parrots the communists. 

No, I’m not calling him a communist, I’m simply pointing out the irony of what he’s doing.  Draw your own conclusions about what he is, but one thing he isn’t is a friend of the free market.  He certainly isn’t the economic genius he thinks he is and frankly, he’s leading us down the same path Europe went down years before and we all know how that is turning out.

It is envy cloaked as “fairness”.  Class warfare designed empower government even while it cripples business and, in the end, would contribute to increasing our economic woes.

However, there is value in such quotes as his above.  When you hear him say things like this, it becomes much clearer as to his true ideological roots and what an additional 4 years would bring.  The press may not have done the job of vetting this president before he took office, but quotes like this do as much for that process as any vetting by the press would accomplish There’s no question of where he lives ideologically.   And it isn’t an ideology that belongs in the most powerful office in this land.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


The Obama campaign’s strategy of distraction

If you’re wondering where all this nonsense about Bain Capital is coming from and why, Jen Rubin of the WaPo gives you the low down:

The Obama team knew months ago that the economy would not sufficiently improve before Election Day to justify his reelection. Its polling showed simply blaming President George W. Bush wouldn’t be sufficient. The president and his political hacks concluded that it was too late and too risky to adopt a whole new second-term agenda. (It would risk offending either the base or centrists and reveal his first-term agenda to have been entirely inadequate.) So what to do?

Extend the Republican primary by running ads hitting Romney and encouraging Democrats to vote against Romney in Michigan and elsewhere. Then, before Romney could fully get his bearings, unload a barrage of negative attacks, scare mongering and thinly disguised oppo attacks through the mainstream media, taking advantage of many political reporters’ relative ignorance about the private equity field and their inclination to accept whole-hog President Obama’s version of “facts.”

We here at Q&O have addressed the problem of media ignorance many times in the past.  I’ve seen in manifested in both the military reporting and, of course, economic reporting.  In fact, what that ignorance produces is a steno pool that pretty much reports what it is told vs. having the knowledge and experience to spot inaccuracies or disingenuousness put out in press releases or talking points.

When you add a bias, this becomes a very dangerous but potent means of accomplishing the twin goals of discrediting your opponent and distracting the public from the real issues (economy) and the President’s record (abysmal).

Obviously our latest attempt at distraction is Bain Capital.  With the 800 pound twin gorillas of 8.2% unemployment and multi-trillion dollars of debt, you can bet that this is really the only avenue open to the Obama campaign and, as soon as they’ve gotten all they can get from this distraction, they’ll have another lined up and ready to go (my guess is it will have something to do with the Mormon faith).

Rubin is of the opinion that the Obama campaign has “shot its wad”.  They don’t have the money the Romney campaign has, the Bain nonsense isn’t resonating with voters and the polls have not moved significantly since they’ve started it.  I say, not so fast.

When you have a compliant media ready, willing and able to be your stenographer, money really isn’t a problem.  Romney’s campaign may have more money by you can bet it won’t get as much free press engaged in taking down Obama.  In fact precisely the opposite will be true. 

It is a mistake to believe that the Obama campaign is pretty much done with its apparent failure to see Bain swing the voters to their side.   They know they have to stay away, as much as possible, from unemployment and the economy.  My guess is we’ll see the new line of attack begin to unfold within days, if not weeks.    Because here’s what they’re faced with (according to a Democratic strategist):

On the one hand, the last round of Bain attacks has clearly rattled the Romney campaign, and a smattering of survey evidence suggests that the sustained ad campaign in swing states has scored some points. On the other hand, the Pew survey found no shift since May in swing-state voter preference.

But it’s not too early to say that Obama’s vital signs look dicey. Over the past 33 months, his job approval has been lower than George W. Bush’s at a comparable time in his presidency for all but one week. Bush averaged above 50 percent in the quarter before his successful reelection campaign, while Obama has been stuck in the 46-48 percent range for months. And the famous “wrong track” measure now stands at 63 percent, versus 55 percent in the days preceding the vote in 2004. If these two numbers don’t improve for Obama, his presidency will be in jeopardy. And they probably won’t — unless the economy perks up noticeably.

The economy won’t perk up noticeably by November.  And that means they’re not done with the distraction campaign … it’s all they have.  That means it is only going to get nastier and nastier.

Mark my words.

The smell of desperation in the air is clear and significant.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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