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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: August 3, 2012

Unemployment rate graph The Morning Flap: August 3, 2012

These are my links for The Morning Flap – August 2nd through August 3rd:

  • July jobs report: America’s labor market depression continues- Only in a world of lowered, New Normal expectations was the July jobs report anything less than another disaster for U.S. workers. Nonfarm payrolls rose 163,000 last month as the unemployment rate rose to 8.3%. In addition, employment for May and June was revised by 6,000 jobs.– Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.– Job growth, as measured by nonfarm payrolls, has average about 75,000 jobs a month during the Obama recovery for a total of 2.7 million jobs. Context: During the first three years of the Reagan Recovery, job growth averaged 273,000 a month for a total of 9.8 million. If you adjust for the larger U.S. population today, the Reagan Recovery averaged 360,000 jobs a month for a three-year total of 13 million jobs.– This continues to be the longest stretch of 8% or higher unemployment since the Great Depression, 42 straight months.– If the labor force participation rate was the same as when Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11.0%.

    – Even if you take into account that the LFP should be declining as America ages, the unemployment rate would be 10.6%.

    – If labor force participation rate hadn’t declined since just last month, unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4%.

    – The broader U-6 unemployment rate, which includes “all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons,” ticked up to 15.0%.

    – Two years ago, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wrote his now-infamous “Welcome to the Recovery” op-ed for the New York Times. During those two years, the economy has added an average of just 137,000 jobs a month.

    – Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

  • 195,000 Fewer Americans Had Jobs in July; 150,000 Dropped Out of Labor Force- There were 195,000 fewer people employed in the United States in July than in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the national unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.Meanwhile, 150,000 people simply dropped out of the labor force during the month and did not seek to find a job.In June, according to BLS, there had been 142,415,000 people employed in the United States. In July, that dropped to 142,220,000–a decline of 195,000.Similarly, in June, there were 155,163,000 people in the civilian labor force in the United States. To be counted in the civilian labor force, person must be 16 years old or older, not be in the military, prison or a mental institution, and either have a job or have actively looked for a job in the past four weeks.In July, the number of people in the civilian labor force was 155,013,000–a decline of 150,000 from June.
  • Economy Creates 163,000 New Jobs but Rate Rises to 8.3%- The U.S. economy followed up a weak second quarter by creating more jobs than expected with 163,000 new positions added in July, but the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent.Markets reacted positively to the announcement, with the stock market surging at the open and safe-haven bond prices plunging. Economists had been expecting 100,000 new jobs.As the country struggles to gain growth traction, the unemployment rate held above 8 percent for the 41st consecutive month, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”I’d call this a soft 163,” said Steve Blitz, chief economist at investment research firm ITG in New York. “If you want to take from this the notion that the economy is not heading to a recession or something more ominous, that’s fine. But if you want to take from this the idea that the economy is about to accelerate, I think that would be a big mistake.”
  • CA Gov. Brown Allegedly Took $3 Million from 9/11 Fund- As California teeters near default in many areas, news is breaking that Gov. Jerry Brown may have taken up to $3 million from a fund created “in honor of the victims of the 2001 terror attacks” to make up for shortfalls.The fund, which was raised by the sale of specialized plates within the state, totals approximately $250 million, and the AP reports that both Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger each allegedly dipped into the monies in an effort to make ends meet.
  • GAO: Tax cheats get millions in Medicaid money- One in every 20 health providers getting taxpayer money from Medicaid is delinquent on their federal taxes, and in some cases the tax cheats are years behind in paying the IRS, according to a new audit by Congress’s investigators.The Government Accountability Office looked at about 7,000 providers in three large states who Medicaid reimbursed more than $6 billion in 2009 and found that they had nearly $800 million in unpaid federal taxes.In two cases, the health companies — which range from dentists and doctors to private ambulances and medical supply companies — had been under criminal investigation, including for medical billing fraud.“It is outrageous that heath care providers who cheat on their taxes are getting paid with taxpayer dollars through the Medicaid program,” said Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate’s investigative subcommittee.He called for the government to prohibit companies with unpaid taxes from Medicaid money.
  • Tax Scam: IRS Pays Out Billions in Fraudulent Refunds- The IRS is paying out billions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves; a problem that the tax service’s inspector general told CNBC is a “growing problem” involving numbers that are increasing “exponentially.”In a new report to be issued Thursday, the inspector general for the IRS says that tax thieves are stealing the identities of taxpayers and then filing bogus returns on their behalf and collecting fraudulent refunds as a result.The inspector general estimates that the IRS could issue as much as $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the next five years.
  • Pelosi, Dems push Homeland Security for clarity on LGBT deportations- Scores of House Democrats called on the Obama administration this week to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples when considering deportations.Behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the lawmakers want the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to state explicitly that LGBT “family ties” will be deemed “a positive factor” discouraging deportation as DHS agents gauge whether to pursue cases.
  • Defense Lawyers Say Prop 37 Will Bring Bumper Crop of Litigation- With recent polling suggesting Californians want labels on genetically modified food, defense attorneys warn that an upcoming ballot initiative could generate a bumper crop of litigation.Proposition 37, also known as the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, would require labels on edibles containing ingredients whose DNA was tweaked to increase yield, to fight off disease or for any other reason. If voters approve the initiative in November, California would become the first state in the nation to employ such a far-reaching consumer alert system.Proponents say their measure has a simple rationale: Californians should know what’s in the food they buy and eat. But legal critics say compliance would be a far more complex task. And they point to an enforcement provision authorizing private consumer lawsuits, something defense lawyers compare less than flatteringly to Prop 65, the 1986 law that requires businesses to warn consumers about chemicals they use.”When I used to go and talk about Prop 65 when it was on the ballot, I would say the biggest beneficiaries would be lawyers. I think that goes double for Prop 37,” said Michele Corash, a environmental defense partner with Morrison & Foerster.James Wheaton, the Oakland attorney who helped draft Prop 37, said such claims amount to scare tactics.
  • Majority of Californians say they know nothing about emissions cap-and-trade program- California’s landmark global-warming bill was a white-hot topic in the 2010 governor’s race and remains former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature environmental achievement.But as the state prepares to unroll the law’s cap-and-trade program in November with the first state auctions of emissions permits, a new poll finds that 57 percent of Californians say they have never heard anything about the program.The statewide poll by the Public Policy Institute of California further found that 30 percent of respondents said they had heard “a little,” while just 12 percent said they had heard “a lot.”
  • Police Chief’s $204,000 Pension Shows How Cities Crashed- Stockton, California, Police Chief Tom Morris was supposed to bring stability to law enforcement when he was appointed to the job four years ago.He lasted eight months and left the now-bankrupt city at age 52 with an annual pension that pays more than $204,000 — the third of four chiefs who stayed in the position for less than three years and retired with an average of 92 percent of their final salaries.Stockton, which filed for bankruptcy protection on June 28, is among California cities from the Mexican border to the San Francisco Bay confronting rising pension costs as they contend with growing unemployment and declining property- and sales-tax revenue. The pensions are the consequence of decisions made when stock markets were soaring, technology money flooded the state, and retirement funds were running surpluses.“We didn’t have very many people looking out for the taxpayers when these deals were negotiated,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, 63, said in a telephone interview. San Jose, the state’s third-largest city, approved a ballot measure in June to contain annual retirement costs that soared to $245 million from $73 million in the past decade.
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: August 3, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: April 13, 2012

Obama and Buffett The Afternoon Flap: April 13, 2012

These are my links for April 12th through April 13th:

  • Obama Family Tax Shelter – First family transfers wealth, avoids taxes – President Obama and his wife, Michele, gave a total of $48,000 in tax-free gifts to their daughters, according to tax records made public on Friday.

    The president and his wife separately gave each daughter a $12,000 gift under a section of the federal tax code that exempts such donations from federal taxes.

    There is nothing illegal about the president’s taking advantage of this tax shelter, but it does raise eyebrows given that he has lamented the myriad tax exemptions used by the wealthy—“millionaires and billionaires” like himself—to pay less in taxes. He has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to reform the byzantine tax code.

    The Obama’s tax return indicates that the gifts, likely for their daughter’s college educations, began in 2007, when the maximum exemptible amount was $24,000 per couple. The maximum exemption has since increased to $26,000 per couple.

    The Obamas paid a total federal tax rate of 20.5 percent on a gross adjusted income $789,674, which would typically fall within the top federal rate of 35 percent. According to an analysis of the president’s tax return, he may have paid a lower rate than his secretary despite making more than eight times as much money as she did.

    His most recent tax proposal—the so-called “Buffett Rule”—would increase taxes on about 4,000 millionaires and raise about $4.7 billion in new revenue per year, enough to cover about 0.4 percent of the projected budget deficit in 2012. Though the rule would apparently not hit the president himself.

  • Obama Releases Taxes, Does Not Qualify for Buffett Rule – President Obama earned $789,674 in 2011, the White House announced on Friday. However, with this income, he does not even qualify for the so-called Buffett Rule that he has promoted relentlessly and the Senate will take up on Monday.

    The Buffett Rule calls for those making over $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate, named after billionaire Warren Buffett. The president did earn over $1 million in previous years–$1.7 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2009.

    The president paid $162,074 in taxes with an effective federal income tax rate of 20.5 percent, according to the returns.

    The release, four days before Tuesday’s tax deadline, capped a week in which the president repeatedly spoke about the obligation of the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. It also provided Obama’s campaign the opportunity to once again jab Republican Mitt Romney for his refusal to release more information on his tax-paying history.

    The Obamas adjusted gross income was their lowest income since 2004 when he wrote his best-selling memoir, “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” This was the first year since 2006 that the Obama family income dipped below $1 million. In 2010, his adjusted gross income was $1.7 million; in 2009, it was $5.5 million.

  • Human Rights Campaign Quietly Removes Illegally Obtained Tax Information from Website – Following the release yesterday of proof by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the source of leaked confidential donor information, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) removed from its website all reference to NOM’s un-redacted 2008 1099 tax form, which it had previously posted. The action by the Human Rights Campaign comes within a day of NOM’s attorneys contacting them and demanding they remove the material is a clear indication of the seriousness of the criminal activity that has occurred.

    “They now realize that they have done something tremendously wrong here or they would not have removed the references,” NOM President Brian Brown said today. “A felony has been committed and the Treasury Department must investigate who within the IRS has committed it, and whether people with the Obama Administration or the HRC are co-conspirators in the criminal release of our confidential tax return. We demand that federal authorities immediately launch an investigation into this crime. This is not a routine leak of some obscure document. We’re talking about someone in the Obama Administration’s IRS releasing to a group headed by President Obama’s national co-chair the private tax return containing confidential donor information of their main opponent. This is reminiscent of Watergate, and the American people are entitled to know the truth of what has occurred.”

  • NC Dem official sexually harrassed staffer; Party fears credibility ‘doomed’ – A former North Carolina Democratic Party staffer was sexually harassed by a party official, made a financial settlement with the party and signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the incident quiet.

    “If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” reads one email exchange between state Democratic leaders.

    An email chain between those Democratic leaders, obtained by The Daily Caller, indicates the executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Jay Parmley, and the alleged sexual harassment victim both signed non-disclosure agreements.

    The email chain does not make clear who was guilty of the harassment, the status of that individual’s employment with the Democratic Party or the identity of the victim.

    State Democratic Party spokesman Walton Robinson did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.

  • Statement by ALEC in Response to the Outpouring of Support in Wake of Intimidation Campaign Against Its Members – Ron Scheberle, Executive Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), issued the following statement today in response to the support the organization has received in response to the intimidation campaign against its members:

    “Over the last 24 hours, ALEC has been inundated with letters of support from elected officials, community leaders and concerned citizens in response to the intimidation campaign launched by a coalition of extreme liberal activists committed to silencing anyone who disagrees with their agenda.

    “I am thankful for the support and want to take this opportunity to remind people what we are facing:

    “First, the people now attacking ALEC and its members are the same people who have always pushed for big-government solutions. Our support for free markets and limited government stands in stark contrast to their state-dependent utopia. This is not about one piece of legislation. This is an attempt to silence our organization and it has been going on for more than a year.

    “Second, ALEC is one of America’s premier ideas laboratories when it comes to advocating free market reforms. We are a target because our opponents believe they have the opportunity to attack an effective, successful organization that promotes free-market, limited government policies that they disagree with. We work to promote the Freedom of Choice in Health Care initiative against ObamaCare’s individual mandate. We support fair tax policies and tort reform. This is an all-out intimidation campaign designed to promote government-based solutions rather than the free-market principles that we have seen work.

    “Finally, now more than ever, America needs organizations like ALEC to foster the discussion and debate of policy differences in an open, transparent way and not fall back on bullying, intimidation and threats.”

  • What’s Color of Change hiding about itself? – Coca Cola executives who recently decided to stop supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) did so in response to demands from an obscure left-wing activist group, Color of Change (COC). So were executives of giant candy-maker Mars, Inc. when they announced a similar decision earlier today.

    That is why Color of Change may be the most powerful group in America you’ve never heard about.

    The demand that Coke, Mars and other corporate donors stop making contributions to ALEC – a long-established conservative legislative group that researches and writes model legislation that is often adopted by state legislatures – is only the latest COC campaign to hit a nerve.

    Previous COC successes include pushing advertisers on Glenn Beck’s Fox News Show to withdraw their ads, a campaign that played a role in the cable news and opinion network’a decision to drop the controversial production in June 2011.

    Others who have felt the wrath of COC include now-former MSNBC opinion analyst Patrick Buchanan, Fox Business News anchor Eric Bolling, Lou Dobbs when he was on CNN, and the late Andrew Breitbart.

  • Video, Social Boost US Mobile Content Consumption – eMarketer – RT @katieharbath: 42.6% of mobile phone users will log in to social net sites via mobile at least monthly by 2014 -
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-13 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-13
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » President 2012 Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 46 Vs. Barack Obama 44% – President 2012 Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 46 Vs. Barack Obama 44%
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Video: President Obama Throws Democratic Party Consultant Hillary Rosen Under the Bus – Video: President Obama Throws Democratic Party Consultant Hillary Rosen Under the Bus
  • Axelrod expresses no qualms at targeting Rosen, a ‘friend’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @PoliticalTicker: Axelrod expresses no qualms at targeting Rosen, a ‘friend’ -
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 12, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 12, 2012
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Video: Charles Manson Parole Hearing – Parole Denied – Video: Charles Manson Parole Hearing – Parole Denied
  • 72% of Americans Follow Local News Closely – Nearly three quarters of Americans (72%) report following local news closely “most of the time, whether or not something important is happening.” Local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need.

    One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news. Most likely to report a major impact if their newspaper disappeared are local news followers age 40 and older (35%), though even among younger local news followers 26% say losing the local paper would have a major impact on them.

    Local news enthusiasts are more likely than others to prefer newspapers for almost all of 16 topics that were asked about in a survey, with the exception of weather and breaking news. Three-in-ten or more local news enthusiasts prefer newspapers for following crime, local politics, community events, or arts and culture. About one-quarter prefer newspapers when seeking information about local schools, taxes, government activity, other local business, and housing issues. Two-in-ten primarily use newspapers for following restaurants, job openings, or local zoning issues.

    While this seems to be positive news for local newspapers, in many cases the reliance on newspapers is heaviest among local news enthusiasts age 40 and older, while younger local news followers rely more heavily on other sources. Specifically, among local news enthusiasts under age 40, the internet is the preferred source for eight of the 16 topics asked about, including:

    Local restaurants, clubs and bars
    Other local businesses
    Schools and education
    Local politics
    Jobs
    Housing
    Arts and cultural events
    Community or neighborhood events

  • Barrett & Falk Won’t Say How They Would Have Balanced Wisconsin’s Budget – Democrats have hammered Wisconsin governor Scott Walker over the past year for cutting nearly one billion dollars in state aid to school districts as part of his plan to close the state’s $3.6 billion deficit. Democratic anger with Walker’s budget cuts is a huge reason why Walker is facing a recall election on June 5. But the two leading Democrats vying to replace Walker, Dane county executive Kathleen Falk and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, were unwilling to say Wednesday night how they would have balanced the budget or even how much they would have cut from the state’s education budget.

    “Education is the top funding priority for the state budget,” Falk said at a Democratic candidate forum in Madison on Wednesday night. “I do not support public dollars for private school vouchers.”

    But when asked how much state aid to local school districts should have been cut in last year’s budget, Falk told THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “Well, nobody’s going to answer that, needless to say. But I have a track record as county executive what I’ve done, which was shared sacrifice.”

    During follow-up questioning, Falk refused to give even a ballpark figure of how much education funding she would have cut:

  • COMMENTARY: Dis-United Wisconsin? – Finally, the stage is set for the June 5 production of the one-show-only recall election of Gov. Scott Walker.

    There is one problem — one the scriptwriters camping in the capitol rotunda a year ago and the producers in their union halls and party offices forgot: the all-important casting of the candidates who will take over the governor’s job if Walker is indeed recalled.

    The auditions are proving a messy affair for all involved.

    Wisconsin’s largest teacher’s union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, and the state chapters of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, had settled on former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

    Then Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stepped up, crowding Falk for the spotlight. To add insult to his last-second entrance, Barrett — who lost to Walker 52-46 for governor in 2010 — has been racking up major endorsements from such party establishment types as former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, D-District 7, and former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton.

    Some are calling the Falk-Barrett showdown evidence of a Democratic Civil War, but that’s only if you include Internet videos as the modern-day equivalent of cannon fire. No, what’s going on right now is more like the beginning of a four-week knife fight. The winner will not just take on Walker in June. He or she and his or her backers will run the Democratic Party in the Badger State.

    AFSCME never wanted Barrett as a candidate, reportedly telling him not to run in a meeting between the mayor and various union leaders. It’s also furious with Barrett for deploying the very reforms Walker made available through Act 10 — making changes in City of Milwaukee employee health-care and pension contributions without having to have them collectively bargained. In doing so, he helped cut $25 million from Milwaukee’s budget over the past year, all without raising taxes.

  • Obama on Why Michelle Was a Working Mom (at $316K Per Year): ‘We Didn’t Have the Luxury for Her Not to Work’ – Speaking Friday at what the administration called “The White House Forum on Women and the Economy,” President Barack Obama said that after his two daughters were born, he and his wife—both Harvard Law School graduates—could not afford the “luxury” of having her stay home with the children.

    In 2005, when Obama began serving in the U.S. Senate (and his daughters turned 4 and 7), he and his wife were earning a combined annual income of $479,062. Barack Obama was paid a salary of $162,100 by the U.S. taxpayers, and Michelle Obama was paid $316,962 to handle community affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: April 13, 2012
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