Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day comes from Tam. After driving past dead strip malls and boarded-up restaurants, she notes that the stock market has rallied on news of (another) Greek bailout.

Meanwhile, the TeeWee talking heads are cooing at the Dow passing 13,000 again. Investors, they say, are excited about yet another Greek bailout. Let me get this straight: Germany has taken out another cash advance on its maxed-out credit card and given it to its deadbeat cousin, Greece, who swears that this time they’ll use the money to get a haircut and a job, instead of wasting it on hookers and blow again, and investors take this as a good sign?

Every time I hear the words “Leading economic indicators are…” come out of a newscaster’s mouth these days, I expect them to be followed by “…from the planet Mars.”

As a ,  I have to say I agree with Tam. Despite the mainstream media playing up the spurious numbers coming out of the Obama Administration, I don’t see glad tidings on the horizon either.

A Tale Of Two Networks

Yesterday, the lead news story on both ABC and CBS was the growth of the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter of 2011. How they treated this news was a study in contrasts.

First, ABC which trumpeted the news as the best growth in 18 months which it was. What was not said is that the growth in GDP of 2.8% was less than the expected 3.1%. The stock market reacted negatively and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 74 points.

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Next, CBS discussed the same story and even interviewed the same economist – Diane Swonk of Chicago’s Mesirow Financial – as did ABC News. However, unlike ABC News, they gave the full story. Included in Anthony Mason’s report was the fact that much of the growth came from business restocking inventory and that the recovery was weak. They also discussed how the stock market reacted negatively to this information.

If you had just interviewed President Obama like Diane Sawyer did this week, you don’t want to release information that doesn’t portray him and his policies in the most positive light. However, it doesn’t say much for your network and honesty.

Proud To Be A Barbarian

Vice-President Joe Biden told a crowd of AFL-CIO supporters in Cincinnati today that “you are the only folks keeping the barbarians from the gates.”

One of the older definitions of “barbarian” is a non-Greek. During the Renaissance, it was used by Italians to mean anyone who wasn’t an Italian. Given the state of the economies of Greece and Italy, I am proud to be a barbarian. Unfortunately, given the actions of the Obama Administration since January 2009, I think they would be happy if we were to adopt the failed economic policies of both countries.

Padding the Jobs Report Numbers

Inspector General’s Memo: Census Says It Hired More Workers Than It Needed As a ‘Cost-Saving Measure’

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Census purposefully hired more workers than it needed, telling the Office of the Inspector General of the Commerce Department that it did so as a “cost-saving measure,” according to a memorandum that Todd J. Zinser of the inspector general’s office sent to Census Bureau Director Robert Groves last week.

If the Obama Administration thought the financial markets would react well to the padding of the jobs numbers, they were sadly mistaken. On Friday, all the major stock indices were down by over 3% with the Dow Industrials losing 323 points. Even bonds were down on the news. The only thing that went up was gold. Go figure.

Anyone who thought that stock traders would just look at the aggregate numbers of the jobs report and not delve a little deeper into composition is a fool. When 411,000 out of 431,00 “new jobs” are due to the U.S. Census, it does not mean the US economy is expanding. Stunts like this may have worked in Chicago but it doesn’t work for the rest of the world.