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Monthly Archives: September 2012


Economic Statistics for 4 Sep 12 (Updated)

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The final manufacturing PMI from Markit Economics is 51.5, almost unchanged from July’s 51.4.

The ISM manufacturing index remains at contractionary levels, falling 0.2 points to 49.6. New orders are contracting for the third straight month, and are at the worst level since April, 2009, at 47.1. The lack of new orders means the production index fell a very steep 4.1 points 47.1, the first reading under 50 since May 2009. There’s really nothing positive in this report.

Construction spending fell unexpectedly in July, falling -0.9% from June. On a year-over-year basis, spending rose 9.3%.

Motor vehicles sales will be reported throughout the day today. The consensus estimate is for 11.1-11.4 million units sold domestically, with 14.0-14.7 units sold worldwide.

UPDATE: The auto industry posted the best August sales in 5 years, with domestic vehicle sales at an annual 11.6 million annual rate, and total vehicle sales at 14.5 million. Sales were up over 20% from a year ago.Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, showed a sales increase of 46%, and Honda’s sales rose 59.5% as the company’s recover from the earthquake and tsunami last year. All three domestic auto makers posted greater sales gains than analysts had expected.

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Dale Franks
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Indicators: And then there’s this poll – Are you better off now than 4 years ago?

The Hill says:

A majority of voters believe the country is worse off today than it was four years ago and that President Obama does not deserve reelection, according to a new poll for The Hill.

Fifty-two percent of likely voters say the nation is in “worse condition” now than in September 2008, while 54 percent say Obama does not deserve reelection based solely on his job performance.

Only 31 percent of voters believe the nation is in “better condition,” while 15 percent say it is “about the same,” the poll found. Just 40 percent of voters said Obama deserves reelection.

Key word above? “Likely” voters.

The poll sort of echoes Eastwood’s words about what you do with someone not performing, doesn’t it? And, finally, the president is faced with actually earning something … or not. Apparently it’s “or not”.

Prepare for spin city this week as Democrats meet to try to salvage this presidency and frame the GOP as the equivalent of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Pol Pot’s Cambodia all rolled into one. And don’t be surprised if Idi Amin gets a mention as well.

But they’ll be civil about it.

Sure they will.

Oh, and before I forget … one other indicator. Reports have it that the Romney campaign raised $100 million in August. That ought to help set the right tone for the DNC.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Indicators: Enthusiasm among critical voters down for Obama

So the question of the week is can the DNC via Obama reignite the “magic” of 2008 in dispirited voters?

Charlie Cook, the dean of Democratic strategists, takes a look at three demographic groups critical to Obama’s 7 point margin of victory in in 2008. While he finds one of the groups, African-Americans, still with Obama in numbers similar to 2008, two other groups are not at all showing the same enthusiasm they had then. They are voters 18-29 and Latinos. Obama leads comfortably in both demographics. However, the question is, will they vote in the numbers necessary to push Obama over the edge.

Cook says it doesn’t appear so.

In each case, the percentage who say they will definitely vote is significantly lower than it is among other demographic groups who view Obama less charitably.

Groups among those who see Obama “less charitably”, as Cook puts it, includes seniors (65 and older):

Voters ages 65 and older favor Romney by a 15-point margin, 54 percent to 39 percent, and 86 percent of those in that oldest cohort say they definitely plan to vote, compared with just 61 percent of those ages 18-29. Romney has a statistically insignificant 1-point edge (46 percent to 45 percent) among those 30 to 49 years of age, but 80 percent of them say they will definitely vote. Among the 50-to-64 age group, Romney leads by 3 points, 48 percent to 45 percent, with 86 percent of that cohort saying they will definitely vote.

Cook believes it is a matter of enthusiasm, or lack thereof:

But the study also found “consistent evidence that President Obama’s 2008 first-time voters are less supportive than other Obama voters, reflecting a decline in enthusiasm among a key voting bloc in the 2012 elections.”

Note, both polls are those of “registered voters”, however, the point is clear – enthusiasm for Obama isn’t at all near the fever pitch it was in 2008 and experts like Cook know that. As he says, there’s “consistent” evidence Obama’s support among those groups has eroded when it comes to enthusiasm. Cook also knows what has to happen for Obama to again grab the edge and win. How critical is the Democratic convention to that?

Very. It is there the spark needs to be lit again, where a message that resonates and energizes the same demographic groups that put him over the line last time.

Will it happen? Well that’s the “big question”.

And behind all these problems isn’t the “war on women”, “race” or “inequality”. It’s the economy. If, in fact, the Democrats concentrate on the diversion of the first three, the likelihood of them reenergizing their voters isn’t high. It may, however, even further energize the other side.

So you may see them tip-toe around mentions of the economy and attempt to push it off on Bush again. They’re already trying out “the Bush recession”, “the Bush economy”, etc. That’s unlikely to impress many (most polls have indicated that voters think, after 3 years, Obama owns the economy now), but it’s about all they have in that arena.

Of the two conventions, the DNC is likely to be the more interesting of the two by a long shot.

~McQ
Twitter: McQandO
Facebook: QandO


The philosophy of Obama’s speechwriters: "Thank goodness for cut and paste"

This is definitely worth two minutes:

Of course, politicians routinely repeat their stump speeches, so you could generate a video with repeated mantras for almost anyone in office. But this many, four years apart?

Remember, this guy is supposed to be a world class orator with world class intelligence. Can’t he come up with some different ways to explain himself? Hasn’t he learned from four years of being president, and gained a deeper understanding of the problems?

Four years ago, those soundbites sounded fresh, and people hearing them could believe that he meant them and would take action on them.

Recycling soundbites after four years in office doesn’t sound fresh. It sounds desperate, unoriginal, and generally sad.

Back in December, 2008, I said:

If Obama supporters don’t feel the quasi-religious fervor they felt in 2008, which I think is probably the case, then they might not give nearly as much money, or work nearly as hard for him. He’ll have to find other ways of connecting with voters to make up for that.

It’s pretty clear now that he has no other ways. He used everything he had in 2008, aided by a compliant, sycophantic media. He must confront the reality of four years in office, yet he has nothing left to offer but the same empty rhetoric and the same empty promises.

Every week, in more ways, this man sounds like a loser. With four years in office rebutting everything that was said about him in 2008, I doubt that his tingle-thighed acolytes in the media can do much about that.

(Video found via Instapundit.)


The question that resonates

We’ve said it is a question that ought to be asked. Mitt Romney brought it up in his RNC speech. Chris Wallace ask it of David Axelrod. George Stephanopoulos posed it to David Plouffe. The answer? Well you’ll not hear a straight one from either Axelrod or Plouffe.

The question they’re avoiding?

The question Democrats didn’t want to answer head-on Sunday: Are Americans better off today than they were four years ago?

Asked the same question repeatedly host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” President Barack Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Plouffe, reverted to talking points about job creation and the failings of the Bush administration.

“We were this close to a Great Depression,” Plouffe said at one point, pinching his thumb to his index finger.

Stephanopoulos cut him short.

“We’ve clearly improved, George,” Plouffe replied. “We’ve made a lot of progress from the depths of the recession … We’ve got to continue to recover.”  

Of course, what Axelrod and Plouffe both understand, surely, is that it really doesn’t matter how close we got to a depression or whether or not we are actually technically recovering. What matters is how the American voter perceives the situation.

That, of course, includes the unemployed and the underemployed. It means all the households which have seen their income slip over the years (median income dropped from about $54,000 to $50,000 during the Obama years).

As I keep pointing out, economic issues become priority issues when a voter is effected by something like a downturn. When the negative effect is widespread, it is likely to be the priority issue for the majority of the voters.

So it will be interesting to see how the DNC chooses to theme its convention. Sandra Fluke being a keynote speaker should tell you much of what you need to know. My guess is it will be themed to avoid talking about the economy and the administration’s dismal record and instead, heavy on this faux “war on women” theme, with splashes of “I got Osama” and “why didn’t the Republicans talk about Afghanistan?”. Throw in a dash of “the evil rich not paying their fair share” and you’re done.

What you won’t hear, not even faintly, is whether or not we’re better off than we were 4 years ago.

Because we know we’re not.

And they know it too.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 02 Sep 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale talk about the Conventions and whether any of it will matter in the end.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Jobs, jobs, jobs …

We’ve been told for months now about all the jobs that have been created by the laser-like focus on jobs that Barack and Sheriff Joe have given us.

Of course the inconvenient statistic that keeps dogging their claim is the unemployment rate.

As for the jobs themselves? Well, per the New York Times, not so hot:

While a majority of jobs lost during the downturn were in the middle range of wages, a majority of those added during the recovery have been low paying, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project.

[…]

Lower-wage occupations, with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83, accounted for 21 percent of job losses during the retraction. Since employment started expanding, they have accounted for 58 percent of all job growth.

Another of those indicators. Again something that effects voters personally. Not only are those in the 8.2% unlikely to be particularly happy about the current economic situation and those in charge, but those that are employed but earning far less than they were are unlikely to be very happy either.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO

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