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Stimulating Way to Create Jobs

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Balladeer
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0 posted 11-03-2009 08:38 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


Analysis finds stimulus confusion

WASHINGTON — The federal government sent Bob Bray $26,174 in stimulus aid to fix a fence and replace the roofs on public apartments in Blooming Grove, Texas, a town of fewer than 900 people outside Dallas. He hired five roofers and an inspector to do the job. But the number of jobs he reported to the government looked very different — 450 jobs.

"Oh, no," said Bray, who runs the local public housing authority part-time with his wife, Linda, when asked about the discrepancy. He said that he told the government that he had created six jobs but that a federal official told him that wasn't right. So he reported the number of hours the roofers worked instead. The Department of Housing and Urban Development caught the mistake, but he couldn't fix it before the jobs figures were published. "The money was great, but the reports are really confusing," he said. "I've been fighting with it for over a month and a half."

USA TODAY reviewed the reports to determine the number of jobs created or saved per stimulus dollar. The review found 14 recipients that reported saving or creating more than 100 jobs for less than $1,500 per job — suggesting they overreported the number of jobs. Those included:

•The police department in Plymouth, Conn., claimed in its report that a $15,355 grant used to buy new computers had created or saved 108 jobs. The department had 22 law enforcement officers last year, according to the FBI. Mayor Vincent Festa said that the town has resorted to "counting paper clips" to save money but that it had no plans to lay off any of its police officers, even without the stimulus. He said he could not explain the report, and the town's police chief did not return telephone calls Monday.

•The Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, which employs about 500 people in its Head Start preschool program, reported creating or saving 935 jobs with about $1.3 million in funding. Beverly Wise, the group's fiscal officer, said she followed the advice of federal officials to come up with the number. "I thought it was high," Wise said of the number she reported, adding that the process was confusing. The group is using its stimulus money to give a 1.84% pay raise to its employees and pay for other needs such as playground equipment and training for the teachers who serve 2,300 low-income children.

•Teach for America, which helps place recent graduates in teaching jobs in urban and rural districts, reported that a $2 million grant created or saved 1,425 jobs. Spokeswoman Kerci Marcello Stroud said officials used that money to pay part of the salaries of 125 employees; a separate $6 million allowed it to expand the training program to include 1,300 more graduates.

Liz Oxhorn, a spokeswoman for the White House stimulus effort, said the reports give "the American people one of the best looks ever at real-time information about a major initiative" and the reporting "allows people to find any mistakes, as it should — which will help us correct them promptly."
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-11-02-stimjobs_N.htm?csp=34

Would that be allow people to  find mistakes....or find where records have been falsified or manipulated?

Stimulus jobs in U.S. overstated by thousands

WASHINGTON — An early progress report on President Obama's economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.

The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

For example:

• A company working with the Federal Communications Commission reported that stimulus money paid for 4,231 jobs, when about 1,000 were produced.

• A Georgia community college reported creating 280 jobs with recovery money, but none was created from stimulus spending.

• A Florida child care center said its stimulus money saved 129 jobs but used the money on raises for existing employees.

There's no evidence the White House sought to inflate job numbers in the report. But administration officials seized on the 30,000 figure as evidence that the stimulus program was on its way toward fulfilling the president's promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

The White House released a statement early Thursday that it said laid out the "real facts" about how jobs were counted in the stimulus data distributed two weeks ago. It said that had been a test run of a small subset of data that had been subjected only to three days of reviews, that it had already corrected "virtually all" the mistakes identified by the AP and that the discovery of mistakes "does not provide a statistically significant indication of the quality of the full reporting that will come on Friday."

While the thousands of overstated jobs represent a tiny sliver of the overall economy, they represent a significant percentage of the initial employment count credited to the stimulus program.

In fact, the AP review shows some businesses undercounted the number of jobs funded under the stimulus program by not reporting jobs saved.

Here are some of the findings:

• Colorado-based Teletech Government Solutions on a $28.3 million contract with the Federal Communications Commission for creation of a call center, reported creating 4,231 jobs, although 3,000 of those workers were paid for five weeks or less.

"We all felt it was an appropriate way to represent the data at the time" and the reporting error has been corrected, said company president Mariano Tan.

• The Toledo, Ohio-based Koring Group received two FCC contracts, again for call centers. It reported hiring 26 people for each contract, or a total of 52 jobs, but cited the same workers for both contracts. The jobs only lasted about two months.

The FCC spotted the problem. The company's owner, Steve Holland, acknowledged the actual job count is closer to five and blamed the problem on confusion about the reporting.

The AP's review identified nearly 600 contracts claiming stimulus money for more than 2,700 jobs that appear to have similar duplicated counts.

• Barbara Moore, executive director of the Child Care Association of Brevard County in Cocoa, Florida, reported that the $98,669 she received in stimulus money saved 129 jobs at her center, though the cash was used to give her 129 employees a 3.9% cost-of-living raise. She said she needed to boost their salaries because some workers had left "because we had not been able to give them a raise in four years."

• Officials at East Central Technical College in Douglas, Georgia, said they now know they shouldn't have claimed 280 stimulus jobs linked to more than $200,000 to buy trucks and trailers for commercial driving instruction, and a modular classroom and bathroom for a health education program.

"It was an error on someone's part," said Mike Light, spokesman for the Technical College System of Georgia. The 280 were not jobs, but the number of students who would benefit, he said.

• The San Joaquin, California, Regional Rail Commission reported creating or saving 125 jobs as part of a stimulus project to lay railroad track. Because the project drew from two pools of money, the commission reported the jobs figure twice, bringing the total to 250 on the government report. Spokesman Thomas Reeves said the commission corrected the data Tuesday.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-10-29-stimulus-jobs_N.htm?obref=obinsite

WASHINGTON — President Obama's economic advisers estimated Thursday that the economic stimulus package has saved or created about 1 million jobs.http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2009-09-10-stimulus-jobs_N.htm?obref=obinsite

WASHINGTON — Recipients of stimulus aid created or saved more than 640,000 jobs this year, the Obama administration said Friday in its most complete accounting yet of the $787 billion plan's impact on the economy.http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2009-10-30-stimulus-jobs_N.htm?obref=obnetwork


Don't these people recognize that figures are eventually going to be checked and their "Oh, we made a mistake" excuse can only be used so many times? No more "politics as usual", Barack? Oh, really...?

Local Rebel
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1 posted 11-03-2009 09:30 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Don't these people recognize that figures are eventually going to be checked and their "Oh, we made a mistake" excuse can only be used so many times? No more "politics accounting as usual", Barack? Payroll department...  Oh, really...?



Judging by the sheer volume of 'jobs' they're trying to count I'd be happy with a plus or minus 20% margin of error within the time-frame they're working with.  

The last big company I worked for couldn't get my paycheck right for... um... 9 years.

Wanna know what else is frustrating?  I couldn't tell my boss something and expect him to tell it to his boss the way I told it to him.  And so on, and so on, and so on.

What you're complaining about isn't politics as usual Mike -- it's 'work' as usual -- 'human interaction' as usual.

I notice though Mike, you're using MSM here -- I thought the MSM didn't criticize this administration.

USA Today -- a Gannet paper -- 2nd largest newspaper circulation in the country -- and the largest -- WSJ?     What's that?  A conservative paper has the highest distribution?  By golly -- that must mean that it's mainstream?

Balladeer
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2 posted 11-03-2009 09:58 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

LOL! Well, then, I guess that since FOX has the highest audience it must be mainstream, too, right, reb? Interesting that the most read newspapers and most listened to stations are all conservative, isn't it?

No, it's not work as usual. When Obama juggles and misrepresents the figures to make his plan look like doing something it isn't, it's pure politics.
Local Rebel
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3 posted 11-03-2009 10:35 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

It's ok Mike -- considering you're typing while impaired I'll forget you just admitted that Fox is CONSERVATIVE!



quote:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs downplayed errors in job counts identified by the AP's review, telling reporters, "We're talking about 4,000, or a 5,000 error."

The AP reviewed a sample of federal contracts, not all 9,000 reported to date, and discovered errors in one in six jobs credited to the $787 billion stimulus program — or nearly 5,000 of the 30,000 jobs claimed so far.

Even in its limited review, the AP found job counts that were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of paid positions; jobs credited to the stimulus program that were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs that were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

For example:

    * Some recipients of stimulus money used the cash to give existing employees pay raises, but each reported saving dozens of jobs with the money, including one Florida day care that claimed 129 jobs saved.
    * A Texas contractor whose business kept 22 employees to handle stimulus contracts saw its job count inflated to 88 because the same workers were counted four times.
    * The water department in Palm Beach County, Fla., hired 57 meter readers, customer service representatives and other positions to handle two water projects. But their total job count was incorrectly doubled to 114.

Those errors were included in an early progress report on the stimulus released two weeks ago that featured numerous mistakes, including a Colorado business' claim that its stimulus contract created more than 4,200 jobs. In fact, the actual count was less than 1,000.

Some businesses actually undercounted jobs funded with stimulus money, the AP's review shows, because they reported only new jobs created, not existing jobs saved. But by far the most reporting errors were found in the number of jobs credited to the stimulus.

Gibbs said that early data couldn't be reviewed as carefully as new data will be. "Three days after the data was received, it was required to be put on the Web site," he said, referring to the government's recovery.gov site that serves as the official accounting of stimulus data.

The Colorado business' job count, along with many others, has been corrected, Gibbs said, and will be updated in Friday's report.

"We disputed, as the AP disputed, the report that came in that calculated a number of jobs but didn't accurately account, the way we account for, a full-time, yearlong employee as being a job," Gibbs said.

His comments during his daily meeting with reporters came hours after the White House issued a midnight press release complaining about the AP's review of jobs the government credits to stimulus spending.

DeSeve, who criticized the AP's review as misleading, said the administration is aware of problems with the early data. Agencies have been working with businesses that received the money to correct mistakes. Other errors discovered by the public also will be corrected, he said.

"As a result, whatever problems the early and partial data had, the full data to be posted on Friday will provide the American people with an accurate, detailed look at the early success of the Recovery Act," DeSeve said in a statement the White House issued just after midnight Thursday.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33522856/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/



Wowee! look at this will ya?  MSNBC and the AP being critical of the Obama administration... it must mean they're fair and balanced....?
Balladeer
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4 posted 11-03-2009 10:55 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

No problem, reb...keep trying to lead away from the actual topic. Not much else you can do, I know.
Local Rebel
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5 posted 11-03-2009 11:45 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Beg pardon Mike.... you're the one diverting -- and that's called being political -- from the real issue -- which isn't that the 30k number was wrong -- but that the Stimulus is WORKING!

Nite!  

I'll get back into your flu fluff another time.
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6 posted 11-04-2009 01:24 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     The early data was pretty much posted as it came in, without review.  It appears that what your sources are saying, if I understand them correctly.  There's a high percentage of bad data.  It makes no sense, and appears offensive and raises ugly questions.  Is that basically right, Mike?

     My preference is to have early data out before it's been curry combed too much, so that folks can see what the raw data looks like.  There are problems with the collection instruments in cases like this that need to be looked at, as you've pointed out, before we can get data that looks properly organized, and you'd have to know enough statistics to know how to go about that without messing up the sample.  It's well over my head, though it probably shouldn't be.

     You're right to be skeptical, just on general principles, I think, but it might be helpful to remember that this is preliminary data, and that treating it as finished data is like treating apple pips like an apple pie.  You simply don't get the same taste sensation because the two are very different things.

     The same paragraph in one of the quotes above offers some of the delights in the confusions proposed by these news reports.

quote:

There's no evidence the White House sought to inflate job numbers in the report. But administration officials seized on the 30,000 figure as evidence that the stimulus program was on its way toward fulfilling the president's promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.



     The first sentence — " There's no evidence the White House sought to inflate job numbers in the report...." — tells us that there's probably no wrongdoing involved by the White House, despite the barrage of examples offered elsewhere in the article.  The second sentence offers a generalization that the administration doesn't seem to have the data, on the basis of the information offered in these articles at least, to make with any authority.  I think they may well have reason to make assertions like this on other data, but I'd feel much better if they specified it here, so we might check it out for ourselves.  Until the more refined data appears on Friday, they don't seem to have enough to back up their assertion here.

     I think Mike may be making his assertions in advance of the data as well, though.  I'll be interested in seeing what Friday brings.

BK
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7 posted 11-05-2009 08:18 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

But administration officials seized on the 30,000 figure as evidence that the stimulus program was on its way toward fulfilling the president's promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

That's my take on it, Bob. They grabbed inaccurate figures that were adventageous to them without verifying them and released them as proof the plan was working. Would they have offered to go back and check the figures if the press hadn't exposed them as being invalid?  I'll let you answer that one..

Thanks for addressing the actual topic, Bob...doesn't happen that often in these parts
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8 posted 11-06-2009 05:21 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer



By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The nation's unemployment rate shot up more sharply than expected last month, to 10.2% from 9.8% in September, as employers shed 190,000 jobs.

It marks the first time since 1983 that the jobless rate has reached 10%. Unemployment for adult men and teen-agers set records as major industries such as construction and manufacturing continue to slash tens of thousands of jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

"It's a very disconcerting report," says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.com.

Chris Rupkey of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, among the few economists who had been expecting a strong recovery, says the big jump in the unemployment rate "is like a kick in the stomach" to hopes for a robust upturn.

President Obama called the jobless rate a "sobering" figure that underscored the economic challenges ahead.


Twist those numbers around, Barack....
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9 posted 11-06-2009 08:38 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Count me as one of the economically challenged...

I've even gotten to the point of making aguas horchata! Just to feel like I'm still alive and treating myself to a high life! LOL...

Local Rebel
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10 posted 11-07-2009 07:24 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Aha.  As I suspected all along Mike -- you AGREE with Krugman! :

quote:

The good news is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a k a the Obama stimulus plan, is working just about the way textbook macroeconomics said it would. But that’s also the bad news — because the same textbook analysis says that the stimulus was far too small given the scale of our economic problems. Unless something changes drastically, we’re looking at many years of high unemployment.

And the really bad news is that “centrists” in Congress aren’t able or willing to draw the obvious conclusion, which is that we need a lot more federal spending on job creation.

About that good news: not that long ago the U.S. economy was in free fall. Without the recovery act, the free fall would probably have continued, as unemployed workers slashed their spending, cash-strapped state and local governments engaged in mass layoffs, and more.

The stimulus didn’t completely eliminate these effects, but it was enough to break the vicious circle of economic decline. Aid to the unemployed and help for state and local governments were probably the most important factors. If you want to see the recovery act in action, visit a classroom: your local school probably would have had to fire a lot of teachers if the stimulus hadn’t been enacted.

And the free fall has ended. Last week’s G.D.P. report showed the economy growing again, at a better-than-expected annual rate of 3.5 percent. As Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com put it in recent testimony, “The stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do: short-circuit the recession and spur recovery.”

But it’s not doing enough.

Suppose that the economy were to keep growing at 3.5 percent. If that happened, unemployment would eventually start falling — but very, very slowly. The experience of the Clinton era, when the economy grew at an average rate of 3.7 percent for eight years (did you know that?) suggests that at current growth rates we’d be lucky to see the unemployment rate fall by half a percentage point per year, meaning that it would take a decade to return to something like full employment.

Worse yet, it’s far from clear that growth will continue at this rate. The effects of the stimulus will build over time — it’s still likely to create or save a total of around three million jobs — but its peak impact on the growth of G.D.P. (as opposed to its level) is already behind us. Solid growth will continue only if private spending takes up the baton as the effect of the stimulus fades. And so far there’s no sign that this is happening.

So the government needs to do much more. Unfortunately, the political prospects for further action aren’t good.

What I keep hearing from Washington is one of two arguments: either (1) the stimulus has failed, unemployment is still rising, so we shouldn’t do any more, or (2) the stimulus has succeeded, G.D.P. is growing, so we don’t need to do any more. The truth, which is that the stimulus was too little of a good thing — that it helped, but it wasn’t big enough — seems to be too complicated for an era of sound-bite politics.

But can we afford to do more? We can’t afford not to.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/opinion/02krugman.html



Good to see that you're FINALLY discussing the topic...

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11 posted 11-07-2009 08:35 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Unless something changes drastically, we’re looking at many years of high unemployment.

I don't understand. Didn't Obama assure us that, if congress passed his stimulus plan, unemployment would not pass 8.5%? Are you calling him either dumb or a liar? Mut be one of the two....

not that long ago the U.S. economy was in free fall. Without the recovery act, the free fall would probably have continued, as unemployed workers slashed their spending, cash-strapped state and local governments engaged in mass layoffs, and more.

"Probably"  is such an interesting word, isn't it? Sounds a little like Obama claiming that so many jobs were PROBABLY saved by his actions. For Klugman to have to use that word means he doesn't really know, either.

Solid growth will continue only if private spending takes up the baton as the effect of the stimulus fades. And so far there’s no sign that this is happening.

either (1) the stimulus has failed, unemployment is still rising, so we shouldn’t do any more, or (2) the stimulus has succeeded, G.D.P. is growing, so we don’t need to do any more.


Depends who he  considers "we". There is certainly a third choice...tell the government to get the hades out of the way and let the country heal itself, which it has always done. You threaten businesses with higher taxes and complain at the lack of privates spending? You set the wheels in motion to insure unemployment will rise by going after all those "rich" guys you love to use as whipping boys and then bemoan the fact they are not hiring? You throw the country into a quadrupled national debt that won't be paid for generations and then whine that we're broke?

I keep getting reminded of that famous painting of Emmet Kelly, the bum sitting on the curb, reading the Wall Street Journal. Keep telling everyone how the economy is rebounding, how better days are coming, how Obama's grand plans are working. They can read all about  it while they're standing in the unemployment lines.

When John Galt was told to fix the economy, he said "Easy...get out of our way." (to which the government replied, "Oh, no! We can't do that.")

The lady was way ahead of her time.  
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12 posted 11-07-2009 12:28 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

A year ago:

quote:

Alan Greenspan is surprised ... by human nature.

There was a kind of lion-in-winter quality to the testimony the former Federal Reserve Board chairman delivered to Congress on Thursday. Summoned before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the Wall Street meltdown, the onetime oracle of the global financial system told Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills):

"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms."

Greenspan, 82, who relinquished leadership of the Fed just two years ago, said the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry -- and the vast, mostly hidden trade in derivative financial instruments it spawned -- exposed a "flaw" in his categorical reliance on free markets.

Over the last two decades, fortunes have been made and lost parsing Greenspan's Delphic declarations, but there's a breathtaking example of ideological blindness embedded in that first sentence. Does Greenspan really believe that banks, brokerages, rating agencies and insurance companies act of their own accord? Even he has to understand that the people who run them decide how they respond, even to market forces.

There are no autonomic reflexes in finance. Did Greenspan really believe that the people in power, presented with a chance to make a killing, would put the interests of their institutions and stockholders ahead of their own?

Put aside for a second the fact that the former Fed chairman spent more than 20 years of his life as a disciple of the novelist-turned-barely-baked-philosopher Ayn Rand, whose concepts of "rational egoism" and "individualism" put the "R" in ruthless and have provided generations of gullible undergraduates an intellectual rationale for their lingering adolescent self-absorption. Has Greenspan lived through the same times the rest of America has recently experienced?

The idea of loyalty -- or of just a sort of reciprocal obligation, for that matter -- simply doesn't operate on Wall Street or much of anywhere in American business any more. The notion that CEOs and other executives would forgo a chance to enrich themselves to keep their institutions solvent or their stockholders' investment whole seems quaint in today's environment. That's true even when the executives' good conduct is supposedly guaranteed by an equity stake, as it is in investment banks.

What Greenspan and the rest of the aiders-and-abettors of Wall Street's greed spree don't want to admit is that there's something wrong in the economy and financial system that new regulations on trading and disclosure won't correct. Long before the financial system melted down, American business' share of the social compact melted completely away. The corrosion didn't begin at the top but at the bottom -- with the renunciation of any corporate loyalty toward working men and women. For nearly as long as Greenspan has hovered in the financial stratosphere, U.S. companies have been encouraged to treat their workers like any other "expense." Wall Street has rewarded -- indeed, lionized -- companies "tough enough" to treat workers like the electric bill. Presto! Layoffs became "cost management."
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rutten25-2008oct25,1,6603109.column



Her 'time' has been the last 30 years (including the Clinton years) of de-regulation and borrow and spend philosophy -- her place -- another planet called la-la land.  

More later.....

Hope your 'recovery' is going faster and better than the economic one...

Sunshine -- Stay Alive!  

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13 posted 11-07-2009 01:07 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You offer an editorial of a left-wing blogger as proof of....something?

of the novelist-turned-barely-baked-philosopher Ayn Rand, whose concepts of "rational egoism" and "individualism" put the "R" in ruthless and have provided generations of gullible undergraduates an intellectual rationale for their lingering adolescent self-absorption.

So easy for midgets to insult giants....nothing new here.

I'll repeat my question since you didn't get around to it....

I don't understand. Didn't Obama assure us that, if congress passed his stimulus plan, unemployment would not pass 8.5%? Are you calling him either dumb or a liar? Must be one of the two....
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14 posted 11-07-2009 01:36 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Didn't Obama assure us that, if congress passed his stimulus plan, unemployment would not pass 8.5%?


No.

As I recall Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein made that particular estimate in a white paper released in January.


.
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.
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16 posted 11-07-2009 11:32 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

New York, NY, November 14, 2008 … Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten was honored today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with its distinguished ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize for his body of "lively, literate and pointed" writing chronicling and commenting on the major social, political and religious issues of the day.

Following in the footsteps of a long line of distinguished media figures and institutions – among them Walter Cronkite, George Will, Jon Meacham and Meet the Press – Mr. Rutten, whose career at the Times spans more than three decades, accepted the award during the League's annual meeting in Los Angeles.

"As a columnist free to advance his personal viewpoint, Tim Rutten uses language that is lively, literate and pointed," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "His writing reflects a keen interest in domestic and international issues, analyzing the social, political, and even religious forces at play.  His criticism and editorial writing display a concern for our most cherished principles and the mandates of real politik." (full remarks)

The ADL Humphrey Prize recognizes those who have made significant and lasting contributions to the protection and advancement of the First Amendment.

Mr. Rutten, who presently serves as an op-ed columnist and book critic for The Times, has held numerous positions at the paper, including city bureau chief, metro reporter, editorial writer and assistant national editor.  In 1994, he was part of the team coverage reporting on the Northridge earthquake that earned The Times a Pulitzer Prize.  But it is his work as a columnist that has had the most profound impact.

"We give this award in support of a journalist who openly invokes both the blessings of free speech and its responsibilities, said Mr. Foxman, citing Mr. Rutten's column as having a special insight into inconsistency, hypocrisy, irony and history.
http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Mise_00/5393_00.htm

His readers surely know that he is as capable of teasing liberal pieties and facile left-wing slogans as he is of skewering conservative ideology.

As a columnist free to advance his personal viewpoint, Tim uses language that is lively, literate and pointed, but that also builds an informative and well-reasoned argument.

His commentary about Iranian President and Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s embarrassing public relations coup at Columbia University informed his readers of the ivy league university’s own lamentable past history when its then president, Nicholas Murray Butler, was an outspoken admirer of Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini and gave quarter to Nazi emissaries during the 1930s.

But Tim went further by remarking on “the almost willful refusal of commentators in the American media to provide their audiences with insight into just how sinister Ahmadinejad really is.”

More recently, after the Iranian president delivered another of his anti-Zionist harangues at the United Nations, remarks that also rehashed classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the power of international Jewish finance, Tim wrote a column warning us that Ahmadinejad’s evil words aren’t just talk.  He called out the General Assembly for applauding his extremist remarks and chided the American media for passing over them in silence.

Tim’s willingness to call into question the fourth estate has not always endeared him to his colleagues, and yet he has insisted on highlighting the lapses of today’s electronic and print journalists.
http://www.adl.org/sp_humphrey_2008.asp



Left wing, blogger, and midget are hardly the adjectives most would apply to Rutten Mike, although you're certainly entitled to your opinion.

On the other hand -- I fail to see why a failed screenwriter who wrote a few best-selling novels qualifies as a 'giant' in the world of economics -- especially since she was no economist.  I admit I find this as curious as people following L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology.

But you miss the main point -- which is not Rutten's conclusions, with which I agree and have oft written similarly -- hence my posting them, but rather in his writing Greenspan's admission that his worldview (Rand's) had been mistaken:

quote:

"You found that your view of the world, your ideology was not right, it was not working?" said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee chairman.

"Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan said. "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."

Greenspan alternately defended his legacy and acknowledged mistakes. Waxman asked whether the former chairman was wrong to consistently oppose regulating the multitrillion dollar derivative market that has contributed to the financial crisis.

"Well, partially," said Greenspan, before stressing the difference between credit-default swaps and other types of derivatives.

With the global financial system unraveling, economists and political leaders are coming to doubt some of Greenspan's most closely held views: that markets can exact self-discipline, that central bankers should generally not try to prick bubbles in the price of houses or tech stocks, that a policymaker's most powerful tool to encourage growth is to stay out of the way.
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Even Greenspan seemed genuinely perplexed yesterday by all that had happened, hard-pressed to explain how formerly fundamental truths about how markets work could have proved so wrong.

Members of Congress who not long ago would seek Greenspan's blessing for their preferred public policies were at turns combative and disdainful. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) called him a "Bill Buckner," referring to the Boston Red Sox first baseman who missed an easy ground ball against the Mets in the 1986 World Series, costing the team the game.

The tough talk reflected a widening sense that some of Greenspan's apparent successes in managing the economy from 1987 to 2006 were in fact illusory, that they came at the cost of building the biggest credit bubble in world history.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/23/AR2008102300193.html  



Moreover -- I think most of the world missed that even the Bush Administration admitted the same:

quote:

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says the current financial crisis has uncovered a flaw in how the free market system works and that has shocked him.

Greenspan told the House Oversight Committee on Thursday that his belief that banks would be more prudent in their lending practices because of the need to protect their stockholders had proven to be wrong in the latest crisis.

Greenspan said he had made a "mistake" in believing that banks in operating in their self-interest would be sufficient to protect their shareholders and the equity in their institutions. Greenspan said that he had found "a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works."

He bluntly called the current financial crisis is a "once-in-a-century credit tsunami" which will have a severe impact on the U.S. economy, driving unemployment higher.

Asked if the White House agreed with Greenspan, Press Secretary Dana Perino said, "I think that is right." Perino added more grim assessments, saying, "we’re in for a rocky road on the employment front and we expect our GDP number next week not to be a good one. And the next quarter could probably be tough as well.

Greenspan, who headed the U.S. central bank for 18˝ years, said that he and others who believed lending institutions would do a good job of protecting their shareholders are in a "state of shocked disbelief."

He said that the current crisis had "turned out to be much broader than anything that I could have imagined.

The committee called Greenspan to testify along with former Treasury Secretary John Snow and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox as lawmakers sought to discover if regulatory failings had contributed to the crisis.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said that he believed that the Federal Reserve, which regulates banks, the SEC and the Treasury had all played a role in contributing to the mistakes.

"The list of mistakes is long and the cost to taxpayers is staggering," Waxman, a Democrat, told the three men. "Our regulators became enablers rather than enforcers. Their trust in the wisdom of the markets was infinite. The mantra became that government regulation is wrong. The market is infallible."

In his testimony, Greenspan blamed the problems on heavy demand for securities backed by subprime mortgages by investors who did not worry that the boom in home prices might come to a crashing halt.

"Given the financial damage to date, I cannot see how we can avoid a significant rise in layoffs and unemployment," Greenspan said. "Fearful American households are attempting to adjust, as best they can, to a rapid contraction in credit availability, threats to retirement funds and increased job insecurity." http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/23/national/main4540592.shtml



Yet --as unemployment continues to rise -- you still want to give us the hair of the dog.

Keep on wagging that.  
Ron
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I don't believe most people will voluntarily put their hand into a hot flame. Why? Because, sometime as a child, they learned it hurts. What would happen, though, if parents could turn off the pain centers in their child? Would the child ever learn to respond to fire appropriately?

Personally, I don't think Greenspan or Rand were necessarily wrong. For self interest to rule, however, you have to be willing to let pain do its job. That's how people -- and institutions -- learn. A hands-off approach also means letting people fail.


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Thank you, Ron. My point exactly....
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quote:
A hands-off approach also means letting people fail


Do you mean we should let the kids burn to death Ron?

.
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http://www.childproofing.org/

  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007VWCLW

  http://babyparenting.about.com/od/healthandsafety/a/babyproofing.htm  

http://www.babycenter.com/0_childproofing-around-the-house_460.bc  http://www.babypro.com/  

http://www.safebeginnings.com/  

http://www.childsafetytech.com/  

http://www.babysupermall.com/main/browse/child-safety-devices.html

The child that sticks his hand in the fire is, hopefully, supposed to learn two lessons; a.) Fire hurts b.) I should listen to mommy.

Mommies and daddies are supposed to look after their children -- not give them matches and tell them to go out and play and catch the world on fire.

Wall Street sneezes -- it's the rest of us that gets Swine Flu.  Our pain centers are firing on all cylinders just fine.
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Reb, I think you forgot the best one of all. The most effective child-proofing would be to keep them sleeping 24/7.  

Of course I don't mean we should let our children burn to death, Grinch. They won't learn anything from that, either.  

Kids, being kids, need to be protected from themselves. Kids, being kids, will suffer if protected too much. My earlier analogy was, of course, flawed in that rational adults aren't kids. So long as rational adults remain rational, they should be allowed to hurt themselves as much as they want. It's called making mistakes.

Reb, I completely agree that sometimes when rational adults make mistakes it can hurt more than just themselves. Sometimes, a lot more. I'm not necessarily suggesting we should let Wall Street fail, I'm not suggesting the bailout was a mistake, and I'm not suggesting that government doesn't need to exercise restraint on Capitalism. All I'm saying is that a hands-off approach that fails because government stepped in shouldn't be an indictment of the approach. It simply wasn't allowed to run its course.


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22 posted 11-08-2009 05:04 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     The institution that makes such massive mistakes is gone.  It has no institutional memory, therefore, with which to learn and correct itself.  The method by which the market as a whole corrects itself is through institutions larger than the market that it can depend upon to exert corrective forces.  That has meant governments and regulatory agencies thus far.  With the coming of transnationals, it is unclear whether governmental regulation can or will work.

     I believe that it's worth a try.

     Government and regulation serve as the memory for markets.  They are the way they remember that doing x means that everything goes bang.  Otherwise, the market sees all that ripe fruit hanging temptingly just out of reach and forgets that it's poison.  

     Brokers who haven't seen a recession or a depression can and do forget that the market can go any direction but up when the market has gone up for more than a generation worth of brokers..  Bankers and insurance agencies start to intermarry and produce — as President Bush was wont to say — human animal hybrids.  Things get hideous.

     Some may hate regulation, but they forget that regulation is part of the market system and part of the market itself.  It's part of how the market self regulates, if you'd rather think of it that way.  And it's a necessary to the function of the market as predators are to the functioning of an ecology.

     No hunters, and what happens to the deer population?  No regulation, and the same thing happens to the market.  Government regulation keeps the growth steady and reasonably healthy.  Getting rid of government regulation is probably a natural counte-rreaction as the market  tries to escape feedback control.

     What you see about you now is what happens when too many controls have been taken off.  

     It looks to me very much like what happens with the initial explosive population growth then crash when effective predation has been taken out of a population cycle.  Hunters will be aware of this from hunting deer when they are serving as the institutional memory for a population (of deer) whose natural predators (wolves or the like) have been removed.

     Government regulation, I'd argue is part of the market, and not an outside force, as many of you have been saying that it is.

     That's my theory.  It would suggest that everybody's right, but simply hasn't looked at the whole thing as a system, but only as a series of opposing forces.  I'd suggest that all the pieces are necessary for the whole thing to function well.
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What you see about you now is what happens when too many controls have been taken off.  

I would say just the opposite, Bob. Go back to when banks were basically forced to give loans without sufficient collateral which ultimately caused an avalanche of foreclosures and bankruptcies.
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24 posted 11-08-2009 09:47 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Capitalism is often defined as an economic system where private actors are allowed to own and control the use of property in accord with their own interests, and where the invisible hand of the pricing mechanism coordinates supply and demand in markets in a way that is automatically in the best interests of society. Government, in this perspective, is often described as responsible for peace, justice, and tolerable taxes.

This paper defines capitalism as a system of indirect governance for economic relationships, where all markets exist within institutional frameworks that are provided by political authorities, i.e., governments. In this second perspective capitalism is a three level system much like any organized sports. Markets occupy the first level, where the competition takes place; the institutional foundations (e.g., rules, referees, infrastructure) that underpin those markets are the second; and the political authority that administers the system is the third (e.g., the NFL, NBA or FIFA). While markets do indeed coordinate supply and demand with the help of the invisible hand in a short term, quasi-static perspective, government coordinates the modernization of market frameworks in accord with changing circumstances, including changing perceptions of societal costs and benefits. In this broader perspective government has two distinct roles, one to administer the existing institutional frameworks, including the provision of infrastructure and the administration of laws and regulations, and the second to mobilize political power to bring about modernization of those frameworks as circumstances and/or societal priorities change.

For a capitalist system to evolve in an effective developmental sense through time, it must have two hands and not one: an invisible hand that is implicit in the pricing mechanism and a visible hand that is explicitly managed by government through a legislature and a bureaucracy. Inevitably the actions of the visible hand imply a strategy, no matter how implicit, short sighted or incoherent that strategy may be.
http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5593.html

 
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