Archive for deficits

There goes another GOP talking point: Deficit falls to lowest level since 2008

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chart maddow budget deficit 2013 shrinking

Steve Benen:

Republican leaders remain committed to sequestration cuts that are holding back job creation on purpose, and are focused primarily on spending bills that punish those already struggling.

Republicans have been screaming, whining, and demanding more spending cuts, despite the fact that austerity does not work:

And this from the IMF:

May 20 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday said the United States was getting carried away with a government austerity drive, offering some of the institution's bluntest criticism yet of Washington's rush to cut its budget deficit. [...] A drop in federal spending led the economy to barely expand in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Under President Obama's watch, the deficit has been shrinking, some economists say too quickly. But that doesn't stop the GOP from continuing to go all Anti-Obama on us and insisting that he's a big spender who needs to make even more cuts.

Let me put this in professional financial expert jargon: WTF?

Think Progress:

New Treasury Department figures confirm what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in the spring: the budget deficit for fiscal year 2013 will be dramatically lower than it was the past four years. [...]

These figures reinforce a key point in the argument for resetting the fiscal policy debate: Congress can afford to invest in job creation right now. While Republicans remain committed to the idea of austerity (without being able to pass specific appropriations bills that adhere to the abstract cuts imposed by sequestration), falling deficits and debt levels undercut their argument. [...]

Cuts to education programs, safety nets, infrastructure investments, and research programs will actually cost the country far more down the road than they save today.

another talking point bites the dust

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Bikini Graph time! 169k new jobs, jobless rate dips to 7.3%, Obamacare not "significantly hindering job growth"

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bikini itsy bitsy

It’s time to bring back the Bikini Graph! As always, red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration. This comes to us from the Maddow Blog, courtesy of the wonderful Steve Benen:

bikini graph September 2013 overall

bikin graph September 2013 private sector

The new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which is roughly in line with expectations. After years of public-sector layoffs serving as a drag on the overall economy, we're starting to see a slight turnaround -- the private sector added 152,000 jobs last month, while the public sector added 17,000 jobs. That may seem like a fairly modest number, but it's the most in recent memory.

The overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.3%, which is the lowest it's been in nearly five years, but it's not evidence of good news -- it ticked down largely because of people leaving the workforce [...]

All told, so far in calendar year 2013, the economy has added 1.44 jobs overall, and 1.47 million in the private sector.

For more analysis by Benen, follow the link.

Earlier Paddy posted "Video- Fox's Stuart Varney Previews Jobs Report By Pushing Myth About Obamacare Causing Part-Time Employment." When in doubt, blame Obama, right Stewy?

He should have checked out this Los Angeles Times report. It's an assessment of the Affordable Care Act's effect on the economy from Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics:

Zandi said the labor market was holding up well despite the drag from the automatic federal spending cuts and implementation of the healthcare reform law. Although there would be more hiring without those two factors, he said there's no indication they are significantly hindering job growth.

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Bikini Graph time! Unemployment rate reaches lowest point in nearly 5 years

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bikini itsy bitsy

It’s time to bring back the Bikini Graph! As always, red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration. And today we get a bonus graph, courtesy of the wonderful Steve Benen:

graph chart unemployment Obama benen Maddow

Incidentally, the other main Republican talking point on jobs for much of Obama's first term was that the net total of jobs gained on the president's watch is zero. It was always a ridiculous argument -- it was predicated on the assumption that Obama deserved the blame for the jobs lost a couple of weeks after his inauguration -- but it looks even sillier now. To date, the net gain for jobs under Obama is about 2.1 million overall and nearly 2.8 million in the private sector.

And here are the Bikini Graphs. The Maddow Blog has more details. Benen starts by calling the jobs report "underwhelming" because the 162,000 jobs added in July were below expectations. However, there was a glimmer of positive news, too:

bikini graph August 2013 overall

bikini graph August 2013 private sector

In a rare sight, public-sector layoffs were not a drag on the overall totals -- the private sector added 161,000 jobs, while the public sector added 1,000 jobs. (In recent years, the public sector ordinarily sheds several thousand jobs per month). The overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.4%, but largely because of people leaving the workforce. [...]

We're steadily adding jobs every month at rates above population growth, but we're seeing neither a hiring boom nor a deteriorating employment landscape. It's just ... leveled off.

Money quote (no pun):

Republican leaders remain committed to sequestration cuts that are holding back job creation on purpose, and are focused primarily on spending bills that punish those already struggling.

I made similar points here: Boehner wants Pres. Obama to destroy a growing economy.

So far this year, 1.34 million jobs were added overall, 1.37 million in the private sector.

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Boehner wants Pres. Obama to destroy a growing economy

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John Boehner

chart budget deficit shrinks 4 year low Steve Benen Maddow Blog Oct 2012

chart debt changes under bush obama deficit via Ezra Klein

John Boehner is obsessed with grinding a slow-growing (key word: growing) economy to a halt, but certainly not because it's good for America. Nonono, it's because it's bad for Obama. Gotta make the president appear inept, gotta make him look like a failure, gotta ruin his legacy. Priorities, priorities...

President Obama and Democratic lawmakers have tied themselves in knots trying to push this country along, rebuild a crumbling infrastructure, pull Americans out of poverty, and grow the so-called middle class. But there The Boehner is, demanding that the White House cave to his unreasonable and irrational demands for more spending cuts, despite the fact that austerity does not work:

European leaders begin to realize austerity is crippling nations. Gee, ya think?

And: Krugman, take a victory lap: University Grad Student Debunks Major Austerity Theory by Exposing Flawed Stats.

And: Researchers: Austerity is “having a devastating effect on health in Europe and North America, driving suicide.”

And: In other news, IMF says Europe austerity strategy is dragging down global growth.

The deficit has been cut a lot already, and too quickly, resulting in unemployment for hundreds of thousands of public sector employees. Cutting isn’t the answer, jobs are, rebuilding our infrastructure is:

May 20 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday said the United States was getting carried away with a government austerity drive, offering some of the institution's bluntest criticism yet of Washington's rush to cut its budget deficit. [...] A drop in federal spending led the economy to barely expand in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Of course, Boehner had to go exactly where he always goes: Blame Obama.

Via Roll Call:

Sequestration is going to remain in effect until the president agrees to cuts and reforms that will allow us to remove it,” the Ohio Republican said to reporters in his weekly news conference. “The president insisted on the sequester none of us wanted, none of us like it, there are smarter ways to cut spending..."

But, per Think Progress: The Devastating Spending Cuts That Were Too Much For House Republicans To Swallow.

I still have to ask: Hey GOP, how’s that rebranding thing workin’ for ya?

blame obama

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Krugman, take a victory lap: University Grad Student Debunks Major Austerity Theory by Exposing Flawed Stats

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krugman victory lap

Speaking of how austerity is “having a devastating effect on health in Europe and North America, driving suicide,” here is your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

It's about time Paul Krugman took a victory lap – and he does in his Monday New York Times column:

...People like me predicted right from the start that large budget deficits would have little effect on interest rates, that large-scale “money printing” by the Fed (not a good description of actual Fed policy, but never mind) wouldn’t be inflationary, that austerity policies would lead to terrible economic downturns. The other side jeered, insisting that interest rates would skyrocket and that austerity would actually lead to economic expansion. Ask bond traders, or the suffering populations of Spain, Portugal and so on, how it actually turned out. [...]

Some... see the crisis as an opportunity to dismantle the social safety net. And just about everyone in the policy elite takes cues from a wealthy minority that isn’t actually feeling much pain. [...]

[A] Univeristy of Massachusetts graduate economic student... discovered major statistical errors in the primary research paper (authored by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff) used by advocates to justify austerity measures. [...]

Herndon proved that their database and coding was so statistically flawed as to offer little basis for justifying national austerity measures as a viable economic option.

In an April 19 column, Krugman discusses the torpedoing of the academic austerity touchstone:

... Reinhart-Rogoff ... tipping-point claim was treated not as a disputed hypothesis but as unquestioned fact. [...]

[S]ome correlation between high debt and slow growth, with no indication of which is causing which, but no sign at all of that 90 percent “threshold.” [...]

What the Reinhart-Rogoff affair shows is the extent to which austerity has been sold on false pretenses. For three years, the turn to austerity has been presented not as a choice but as a necessity. ... But “economic research” showed no such thing... Policy makers abandoned the unemployed and turned to austerity because they wanted to, not because they had to.

It took a university grad student to reveal research that powered the likes of Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, the Club for Economic Growth and most of the politicians in DC – when it comes to being cheerleaders for austerity – as highly flawed.

(You can read the University of Massachusetts study that finds the "austerity bible" coding errors here. It was co-authored by Mass U Professors Michael Ash and Robert Pollin.)

Please read the entire post here.

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VIDEO: The "breathaking dishonesty" of Paul Ryan and his "LaLaLand fantasy budget"

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ryan budget ridic

I would like to thank the Nation's Katrina vandenHeuvel for making the following excellent point and doing so in about a minute:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Katrina:

Paul Ryan is no apostle of fiscal rectitude.

With all due respect to Ezra, you're hearing Paul Ryan, who is cruel and clueless, and this is LaLaLand fantasy budget proposal, being treated seriously by someone like Ezra Klein, who is treated seriously inside the Beltway. For too long... inside the Beltway has had a a fixation, an obsession, with the deficit. We now see the deficits dwindling...

The danger is that Paul Ryan, bringing this out, is gonna shift the playing field so it moves even further to the right.

Ezra Klein then says Ryan deserves to be taken seriously because he's the House Budget Chairman. Well, newsflash, Ezra, per my November 2012 post "Global warming skeptic set to chair House Science Committee"(the following was true as of then):

Marco Rubio is unsure how old the Earth is. He is a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee.

Michele “Man-Made Climate Change is ‘Manufactured Science” Bachmann sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The soon-to-be forgotten moron on climate change, Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, sits on the Science Committee, as does Paul Evolution, Embryology and Big Bang Theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell, Climate Change is a Hoax” Broun.

And via Amanda Terkel at HuffPo:

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a skeptic of man-made global warming, is set to take over the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in the 113th Congress.

Should we take those people seriously too?

Here is the entire segment, all of it worth watching:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Yes, Paul Ryan is proposing that Congress make the very same cuts to Medicare that he previously ranted and raved about during the 2012 elections. No hypocrite, he!

Ezra Klein:

Keep two numbers in mind... 59 and zero. 59% of Paul Ryan's cuts, 59%, so almost 6 out of 10 dollars that he cuts... come from health care mostly for the poor [Medicaid, Obamacare, some Medicare cuts affecting the working class and the poor].

The "zero" is taxes. He doesn't raise a dollar in taxes.

The experts I've spoken to don't think that is mathematically possible.

Joy Ann Reid:

He doesn't mind spending federal money, as long as it's on the rich.

Ari Melber:

Just 'cause it has numbers in it doesn't make it a budget. Right? My lottery ticket is not a budget just 'cause it's a bunch of numbers on the page.

He's not a deficit hawk, he's a health care hawk.

This was a terrific segment. Please watch it all the way through.

lala land

NOTE: Apologies for the mistake on Katrina vandenHeuvel's name, which I clearly do know. I'm, literally half asleep and let my fingers do the walking for me. It's been corrected.

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Poll-itics Chart: Cut the deficit, just don't cut the programs we like

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Americans favor cuts to the deficit and less spending in general, just as long as it's not to programs they like specifically. Isn't that just like America? They also support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, by the way.

Via Think Progress:

[W]hen asked about specific programs, wide majorities almost always favor either increasing spending or maintaining the current level, according to the Pew Research Center.

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