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Private Sector is Doing Fine – 15 Mar 13 Edition

During the 2012 Presidential campaign President Obama said, “The private sector is doing fine,” which was immediately jumped on by his erstwhile opponent Republican Tea Party (GOTP) 2012 presidential footnote, Willard Mitt Romney, who replied, “I think he’s really defining what it means to be out of touch with reality.”

money_1

Now of course we know what happened in November, Romney had his political head handed to him on a plate, and the GOTP lost seats in both the House and the Senate, and conservatives still continue to claim the economy is failing. Some people either don’t get it, or won’t get it.

Clearly the economy is in recovery and the following indicators show the private sector is indeed “doing fine”, and all the info – by-the-way – comes from FOX Business:

First Quarter reported earnings: Cisco reported $11.9 billion, Disney reported $11.3 billion, FedEx posted $10.79 billion, Microsoft reported $16 billion, and Procter & Gamble reported $20.7 billion

In the second quarter the following earnings were reported by the private sector: Amazon.com reported $12.8 billion, AT&T reported $31.6 billion, Bank of America reported $22.2 billion, Best Buy reported $10.55 billion, Cisco reported $12.1 billion, Citigroup reported $18.4 billion, Coca-Cola reported $13.09 billion, Dell reported $14.5 billion, EBay reported $3.4 billion, Facebook reported $1.2 billion, Google reported $12.21 billion, IBM reported $25.8 billion, Intel reported $13.5 billion, Johnson & Johnson reported $16.5 billion, Macy’s reported $6.12 billion, McDonald’s reported $6.92 billion, Microsoft reported $21.5 billion, Morgan Stanley reported $7 billion, Nike reported $5.96 billion, Oracle reported $9.1 billion, Pfizer reported $15.1 billion, Procter & Gamble reported $20.2 billion, Travelers reported $6.36 billion, United Parcel Service (UPS) reported $13.4 billion, Verizon reported $28.6 billion and Yahoo reported $1.08 billion

Following are third quarter earnings: 3M reported $7.5 billion, American Express reported $7.9 billion, AT&T reported $31.5 billion, Bank of America reported $20.4 billion, Best Buy reported $10.75 billion, Boeing reported $20 billion, Caterpillar reported $16.45 billion, Citigroup reported $19.4 billion, Coca-Cola reported $12.34 billion, Dell reported $13.7 billion, Goldman Sachs reported $8.35 billion, Google reported $11.3 billion, Hewlett-Packard reported $29.7 billion, IBM reported $24.7 billion, Intel reported $13.5 billion, Johnson & Johnson reported $17.1 billion, J.P. Morgan Chase reported $25.9 billion, McDonald’s reported $7.2 billion, Merck reported $11.49 billion, Morgan Stanley reported $7.6 billion, Pfizer’s reported $14 billion, Procter & Gamble posted $22.18 billion, Research in Motion reported $2.73 billion, Travelers reported $6.51, Texas Instruments reported $3.39 billion, United Parcel Service reported $13.07 billion, Wal-Mart reported $113.2 billion, Wells Fargo reported $21.2 billion and Yahoo reported $1.09 billion

Following are fourth quarter earnings: 3M reported $7.4 billion, Alcoa reported $5.9 billion, Amazon.com reported $21.27 billion, American Express reported $8.1 billion, Apple reported $36 billion, Bank of America reported $19.61 billion, Boeing posted $22.3 billion, Caterpillar reported $16.1 billion, Cisco reported $11.7 billion, Citigroup reported $18.7 billion, Coca-Cola reported $11.46 billion, Dell reported $14.3 billion, eBay reported $4 billion, ExxonMobil reported $115.17 billion, Facebook reported $1.59 billion, Goldman Sachs reported $9.24 billion, Hewlett-Packard reported $30 billion, Intel reported $13.5 billion, Johnson & Johnson posted $17.6 billion, J.P. Morgan Chase reported $24.4 billion, McDonald’s reported $6.95 billion, Merck reported $11.74 billion, Morgan Stanley reported $7.5 billion, News Corp. reported $8.4 billion, Pfizer reported $15.1 billion, Travelers posted $6.48 billion, United Technologies posted $16.4 billion, United Parcel Service (UPS) reported $14.57 billion, Walt Disney reported $10.78 billion, Wells Fargo reported $21.9 billion, Yahoo posted $1.22 billion,

Auto Sales:

GM reported U.S. auto sales rose 4.9% in December from the same time in 2011 as all four of its brands increased their sales. The automaker said it sold 245,733 vehicles in December, up from 234,351 a year earlier and 32% above November’s total of 186,505. General Motors bought back 200 million shares of its stock at $27.50 a share from the U.S. Treasury Department in a $5.5 billion deal. The government plans to sell its remaining 300 million shares over the next 12 to 15 months.

Ford reported its cars, utilities and trucks segments all reported sales gains in 2012 with the brand ending the year with 2,168,015 vehicles sold. The automaker posted its best December sales since 2006 and overall sales increased 2% year over year that month.

Chrysler reported its sales increased 10% in December compared to the same month in 2011 and the strongest December sales in five years. The automaker also reported its full-year sales increased 21%.

Building Permits:

The Commerce Department reported that building permits rose 6.8% to a rate of 812,000, the highest level in four years.

Permits to build new homes rose 1.8% to an annualized rate of 925,000, better than the 915,000 Wall Street anticipated, and the highest since 2008.

Chicago PMI Gauge:

The Chicago PMI gauge ticked up to 50.4 in November from 49.9 in October. Readings above 50 indicate expansion while those below 50 indicate contraction.

Consumer Confidence:

The Conference Board’s gauge of consumer confidence rose to 65.9 in July from 62.7 in June, better than the 61.5 economists expected.

The Conference Board’s reading on consumer confidence rose to 70.3 in September from an upwardly revised 61.3 in August, topping estimates for a reading of 63. The reading was the highest since February.

The Conference Board’s gauge of consumer confidence rose in November to 73.7 from 73.1 in October, topping estimates of 73 and marking the highest level since February 2008.

The Conference Board’s gauge of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 69.6 in February from January, topping economists’ estimates of 61 and marking the highest reading since November.

Consumer Sentiment:

The consumer sentiment reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed consumer sentiment increased to 73.6 in early August from July’s final reading of 72.3. The August preliminary reading topped forecasts for an increase to 72.4 and marked the highest level since May.

A final reading on consumer sentiment for the month of August checked in at 74.3, higher than a preliminary reading of 73.6, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan.

A preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for the month of October checked in at 83.1, up from a September reading of 78.3 and marking the highest reading since September 2007, according to a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan. Economists were expecting sentiment to decrease to 78.

A reading on consumer sentiment for early November rose to 84.9 from 82.6 in October, topping expectations for a reading of 83. The reading was the highest since July 2007.

A final reading on U.S. consumer sentiment came in at 73.8 for the month of January, up from a preliminary reading of 71.3 and higher than the 71.5 expected, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan.

A preliminary reading on U.S. consumer sentiment from Reuters and the University of Michigan checked in at 76.3 for February from 73.8 in January, easily topping expectations of 74.8.

Consumer spending:

Consumer spending edged up 0.4% in November from October, a slightly bigger increase than the 0.3% economists forecast. Personal income climbed 0.6%, its biggest increase since February, and also higher than the 0.3% expected.

Durable Goods:

The Commerce Department reports orders for long-lasting goods climbed 4.6% in December from November, significantly outpacing estimates of a 1.8% increase. Excluding the transportation segment, orders were up 1.3%, topping estimates of a 0.7% increase.

Economy Expanding:

The U.S. economy expanded at a ‘measured pace’ in recent weeks, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, an anecdotal account of conditions across the 12 Fed districts. The report said most districts experienced “modest improvements” in hiring activity, while consumer spending grew at a “moderate pace” and manufacturing weakened. Some districts also reported weakness as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the central bank said.

Export Prices:

U.S. export prices rose 0.8% in September from August, coming in ahead of estimates of 0.4%.

The Labor Department reports export prices rose 0.8%, a bigger rise than the 0.3% forecast.

Gross Domestic Product:

A second reading on U.S. gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.7% in the second quarter, in line with economists’ estimates and faster than an initial estimate of 1.5%.

A final reading on U.S. gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 3.1% in the third quarter, up from a previous reading of 2.7%, and higher than the 2.8% economists were expecting.

A second reading on U.S. gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from an initial estimate of a 0.1% contraction, but below the 0.5% growth expected.

Home Prices:

Home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas climbed 2.2% in May from the month before on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according the S&P/Case-Shiller report. That came in stronger than the 1.5% gain economists expected.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows home prices rose 2.3% in June from May on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, a bigger gain than the 1.6% expected. Prices were up 0.5% from the same period a year earlier in the first increase since September 2010.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows home prices rose 1.6% in July from June on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Prices were up 1.2% from a year ago, more than the 1% expected.

Home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas climbed 0.3% in September from August on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according to the closely-watched S&P/Case-Shiller report. Economists expected a slightly larger increase of 0.5%. Prices were up 3% from the year prior.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows home prices rose 0.2% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in December, compared with the 0.2% fall economists were expecting. Prices were up 6.8% from a year ago, the biggest year-on-year increase since July 2006.

Home Sales (existing homes):

Sales of existing homes rose 2.3% in July from June to an annualized rate of 4.47 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Existing home sales rose 7.8% in August from July to an annualized rate of 4.82 million units, topping estimates of a 4.55-million unit rate and marking the fastest pace since May 2010.

Existing home sales rose 2.1% in October from September to a 4.79-million unit annualized rate, coming in slightly ahead of estimates of a 4.75-million unit annualized rate, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Contracts to buy previously-owned homes rose 5.2% in October from September, a much bigger jump than the 0.8% expected, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Existing home sales rose 5.9% in November from October to a 5.04-million unit annualized rate, the highest since November 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors. The association said sales would have been ‘modestly higher’ had Hurricane Sandy not occurred.

Signed contracts to buy existing homes climbed 1.7% in November from October to the highest level since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. Economists forecast a smaller gain of 1%. The forward-looking housing indicator was up 9.8% from the same month in 2011.

U.S. existing home sales rose 0.4% in January from December to a 4.92-million unit annualized rate, slightly ahead of estimates of a 4.9-million unit rate.

Home Sales (new single-family homes):

Sales of new single-family homes rose 3.6% in July from June to an annualized rate of 372,000 units. Analysts were expecting an annualized rate of 365,000 units.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose 5.7% in September to a 389,000-unit annualized rate, topping estimates of a 385,000-unit rate and marking the highest reading since April 2010.

Sales of new, single-family homes climbed 4.4% in November from October to an annual rate of 377,000 units.

Sales of new single-family homes jumped 15.6% in January from December — the largest increase since April 1993 — to a 437,000-unit annualized rate. Sales outpaced estimates of a 381,000-unit rate and marked the highest pace since July 2008.

Home Sales (Pending):

U.S. pending home sales rose 4.5% in January from December, outpacing the 1.5% gain expected, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Housing Starts:

U.S. housing starts jumped 6.9% in June from May to a 760,000-unit rate, topping estimates of a 745,000-unit rate and marking the highest rate since October 2008.

Housing starts rose 2.3% in August from July to a 750,000-unit rate, missing estimates of a 765,000-unit rate. Permits fell 1% to an 803,000-unit rate, but topped estimates of a 796,000-unit rate.

The Commerce Department reports housing starts rose 15% to an annualized rate of 872,000 units in September from August. Housing permits jumped 11.6% to an annualized rate of 894,000 units.

U.S. housing starts rose 3.6% in October to an 894,000-unit rate, well above estimates of an 840,000-unit rate and marking the highest pace since July 2008. Housing permits fell 2.7% to an 866,000-unit rate, slightly ahead of estimates of an 865,000-unit rate.

U.S. housing starts fell 3% in November from October to an 861,000-unit rate, missing economists’ estimates of an 873,000-unit rate. Permits to build new homes jumped 3.6% to an 899,000-unit rate, topping estimates of an 875,000-unit rate and marking the fastest pace since July 2008.

U.S. housing starts jumped 12.1% in December from November to an annualized 954,000-unit rate, the highest rate since June 2008. Permits rose 0.3% to an annualized rate of 903,000 units.

Imports:

U.S. import prices rose 1.1% in September from August, topping estimates of 0.7%.

Index of U.S. Consumer Confidence:

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 72.2 in October from a downwardly revised 68.4 in September. The results missed estimates of a reading of 72.5, but marked the index’s highest level since February 2008.

Index of U.S. Non-manufacturing Activity:

The Institute for Supply Management reports its index of U.S. non-manufacturing activity came in at 56.1 in December, beating expectations of a rise to 54.2 and an increase from 54.7 in November.

ISM Reading (Readings above 50 indicate expansion while those below 50 indicate contraction):

The November ISM reading on the non-manufacturing sector showed a small increase to 54.7 from 54.2 in October.

The latest ISM data show U.S. manufacturing activity increased to 50.7 last month from 49.5 in November. The index was expected to rise to 50.3.

The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing PMI gauge rose to 53.1 in January from 50.2 in December, topping an expected reading of 50.6. Readings above 50 point to expansion in the sector, while those below point to contraction.

Manufacturing Sector (U.S. Midwest):

The manufacturing sector in the U.S. Midwest expanded at a slightly swifter pace in July than it did the month before. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s PMI gauge came in at 53.7, higher than expectations of 52.5 and a reading of 52.9 in June.

Nonfarm Payrolls:

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls rose by 96,000 in August from July. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.1% from 8.3.

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls increased by 114,000 in September. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 7.8%, the lowest rate since January 2009, from 8.1% the month prior.

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls rose by 146,000 in November, significantly more than the 93,000 expected. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9% the month prior to its lowest level since December 2008. Economists were expecting the unemployment rate to remain at 7.9%.

The Labor Department reports non-farm payrolls increased by 155,000 in December, beating expectations of an increase of 150,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8%. November’s jobless rate was revised up by 0.1 percentage point to 7.8%.

The Labor Department reports nonfarm payrolls rose by 157,000 in January from December, slightly below the 160,000 expected. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% from 7.8% the month prior. December’s nonfarm payroll increase was revised up to 196,000 from a previously reported 155,000.

Orders for Long-Lasting Goods:

Orders for long-lasting U.S. goods rose 4.2% in July from June, blowing past estimates of a 2.4% increase.

The Commerce Department reported orders for long-lasting goods climbed 9.9% in September from August, topping estimates of a 7.1% increase.

Orders for long-lasting goods remained flat in October from September. They were expected to fall 0.6%. Excluding the transportation segment, orders were up 1.5%. Economists were expecting a 0.5% drop.

Orders for long-lasting goods climbed 0.7% in November from October, a bigger gain than the 0.2% economists expected. Excluding the transportation component, orders jumped 1.6%, topping estimates of a 0.2% decline.

Personal Spending:

Personal spending rose 0.4% in July from June, as expected, to the highest level since February. Personal income rose 0.3%, also as expected.

U.S. personal spending rose 0.2% in December from November, slightly shy of the 0.3% expected.

Personal Income:

U.S. personal income rose 2.6% in December from November, outpacing estimates of a 0.8% gain; the increase was the largest since December 2004.

Pending Home Sales:

U.S. pending home sales rose 2.4% in July from June, topping the 1% expected and hitting the highest level since April 2010. Sales were up 12.4% from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors reported its index of pending home sales rose 0.3% in September from August, the index climbing 14.5% from a year ago.

PMI Gauge:

The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI rose to 51.9 in August from 51.4 in July, the first monthly increase in five months. Readings over 50 point to expansion while readings below 50 indicate contraction.

The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing PMI gauge rose to 51.5 in September from 49.6 in August, topping expectations for a reading of 49.7 and marking the first time the index rose above 50 since May. Readings above 50 point to expansion while those below indicate contraction.

The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing PMI gauge rose to 51.7 in October from 51.5 in September, the highest reading since May. The index was expected to fall to 51.2. Readings above 50 indicate expansion while those below indicate contraction.

The Labor Department reports nonfarm payrolls rose by 171,000 in October from September, surpassing the 125,000 expected, for 32 straight months of positive job growth. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9% from 7.8%, as expected.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s PMI gauge climbed to 51.6 in December from 50.4 the month before, a slightly better reading than the 51 economists forecast. Readings above 50 point to expansion in the Midwest manufacturing sector, while those below indicate contraction.

Private Sector Jobs:

The private sector added 163,000 jobs in July, according to the ADP report. Analysts had been expecting an increase of 120,000.

The ADP National Employment Report shows the U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in October, more than the 135,000 expected.

The ADP National Employment report shows the private sector added 118,000 jobs in November 2013.

The ADP national employment report shows the private sector added 215,000 jobs in December. Analysts had expected an increase of 133,000 jobs for the month.

The ADP National Employment Report shows the U.S. private sector added 198,000 jobs in February, more than the 170,000 jobs expected.

Producer Prices:

Prices at the producer level rose 0.2% in January from December, a slower pace than the 0.4% economists expected. Excluding the food and energy components, prices were also up 0.2%, matching forecasts.

Producer prices rose 1.1% in September from August, a bigger jump than the 0.7% expected.

The Labor Department reported producer prices climbed 0.3% in July from June, the fastest pace in five months. Analysts expected an increase of 0.2%. Excluding the food and energy components, prices were up 0.4%, also more than the 0.2% increase forecast.

The Producer Price Index ticked lower by 0.2% in December from the month prior, slightly more than the 0.1% expected, as food prices took their biggest fall since May 2011. Excluding the food and energy components, prices rose 0.1%, which was in line with estimates.

The ADP National Employment Report shows the U.S. private sector added 192,000 jobs in January, topping estimates of 165,000.

Retail Sales:

Retail sales climbed 0.8% in July from June, the largest increase since February and a bigger gain than the 0.3% economists expected.

U.S. retail sales rose 1.1% in September from August, more than the 0.8% expected. Excluding the auto component, sales were up 1.1%, the biggest rise since January and topping estimates of 0.6%.

U.S. retail sales rose 0.9% in August from July, more than the 0.7% expected and the largest rise since February. Excluding the auto segment, sales were up 0.8%, topping estimates of 0.6%.

U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in November from October, less than the 0.5% expected, but still an increase. Excluding the auto segment, retail sales were unchanged from October.

U.S. retail sales jumped 0.5% in December from November, topping the 0.2% expected. Excluding the auto component, sales were up 0.3%, slightly higher than the 0.2% expected.

U.S. retail sales rose 0.1% in January from December, as expected. Excluding the auto segment, sales were up 0.2%, slightly above the 0.1% estimated.

The Commerce Department reports retail sales jumped 1.1% in February from January, the largest gain since September. Economists expected a smaller 0.5% increase for the month.

Service Sector Activity:

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of service-sector activity rose to 53.7 in August, the highest level since May, from 52.6 in July; the index was expected to fall slightly to 52.5.

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of service-sector activity rose to 55.1 in September from 53.7 in August, suggesting the sector is expanding at a faster rate. Economists expected a reading of 53.1.

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of service sector activity rose to 56 in February from 55.2 in January, topping expectations of a reading of 55. Readings above 50 point to expansion, while those below point to contraction.

Unemployment:
The unemployment rate in the U.S. unexpectedly fell to 7.8 percent in September 2012, the lowest since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. In spite of the Republican majority ‘do nothing congress’ not passing President Obama’s Job’s Bill – (5 Oct 12)

 

The Department of Labor reports non-farm payrolls increased 236,000 in February, pushing the unemployment rate down to 7.7% — the lowest since December 2008 — from 7.9% in January. Economists were expecting an increase of 160,000 jobs with the rate holding steady at 7.9%.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 339,000 during the third week of October 2012 from an upwardly revised 369,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to rise to 370,000 from an initially reported 367,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 369,000 during the fourth week of October 2012 from an upwardly revised 392,000 the week prior.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 355,000 last week – week ending 3 Nov 12 – from 363,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to rise to 370,000. A Labor Department analyst says super-storm Sandy depressed claims in at least one state and resulted in an increase in claims in others.

For the week ending 23 Nov 12, new claims for unemployment benefits continued to fall for the same week reported to 393,000 last week from an upwardly revised 416,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 390,000 from an initially reported 410,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 370,000 during the week – ending 30 November 12 – from an upwardly revised 395,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 380,000 from an initially reported 393,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 343,000 during the week – ending 7 December 12 – the lowest level since the week of 6 October. Claims were expected to remain unchanged from an initially reported 370,000.

New claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to 335,000 last week – ending 11 Jan 13 – the lowest level since January 2008 – from an upwardly revised 372,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 365,000 from an initially reported 371,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 330,000 – ending 14 Jan 2013 – the lowest level since January 2008 -from 335,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to increase to 355,000. The Labor Department said the four-week moving average, which smoothes out volatility, is at its lowest since March 2008 while continued claims are at their lowest since July 2008.

New claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to 341,000 last week – ending 8 Feb 2013 – from an upwardly revised 368,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 360,000 from an initially reported 366,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 344,000 last week – ending 22 February 13 – from an upwardly revised 366,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 360,000 from an initially reported 362,000.

The Labor Department reports weekly jobless – for the week ending 1 March 13 – claims fell 7,000 to 340,000, declining for a second straight week. Economists expected claims to rise to 355,000.

The Labor Department reports initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 10,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 332,000, the lowest level since mid January. Economists had expected first-time applications last week – ending 8 Mar 13 – to rise to 350,000. The four-week-moving average, which helps smooth volatility, dropped to its lowest level since March 2008.

Stock Market was 8077.56 on 19 Jan 09 and 14,514.11 on 15 Mar 13.

So, let’s see, even though the 2012 GOTP presidential footnote claimed President Obama was defining what it meant to be “out of touch with reality” it appears it was he – Willard Mitt Romney, and the entire corps of conservative talking heads – who appears to have defined it.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Economics

 

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Private Sector is Doing Fine – 4 Jan 13 Edition

During the 2012 Presidential campaign President Obama said, “The private sector is doing fine,” which was immediately jumped on by his erstwhile opponent Willard Mitt Romney, Republican Tea Party (GOTP) 2012 presidential footnote, who replied, “I think he’s really defining what it means to be out of touch with reality.”

money_1

Now of course we know what happened in November, Romney had his political head handed to him on a plate, and the GOTP lost seats in both the House and the Senate, and conservatives still continue to claim the economy is failing. Some people either don’t get it, or won’t get it.

Clearly the economy is in recovery and the following indicators show the private sector is indeed “doing fine”, and all the info – by-the-way – comes from FOX Business:

First Quarter reported earnings: Cisco reported $11.9 billion, FedEx posted $10.79 billion, Microsoft reported $16 billion, and Procter & Gamble reported $20.7 billion

In the second quarter the following earnings were reported by the private sector: Amazon.com reported $12.8 billion, AT&T reported $31.6 billion, Bank of America reported $22.2 billion, Best Buy reported $10.55 billion, Citigroup reported $18.4 billion, Coca-Cola reported $13.09 billion, Dell reported $14.5 billion, EBay reported $3.4 billion, Facebook reported $1.2 billion, Google reported $12.21 billion, IBM reported $25.8 billion, Intel reported $13.5 billion, Johnson & Johnson reported $16.5 billion, Macy’s reported $6.12 billion, McDonald’s reported $6.92 billion, Microsoft reported $18.06 billion, Morgan Stanley reported $7 billion, Nike reported $5.96 billion, Oracle reported $9.1 billion, Pfizer reported $15.1 billion, Procter & Gamble reported $20.2 billion, Travelers reported $6.36 billion, United Parcel Service (UPS) reported $13.4 billion, Verizon reported $28.6 billion and Yahoo reported $1.08 billion

Following are third quarter earnings: 3M reported $7.5 billion, American Express reported $7.9 billion, AT&T reported $31.5 billion, Bank of America reported $20.4 billion, Best Buy reported $10.75 billion, Boeing reported $20 billion, Caterpillar reported $16.45 billion, Citigroup reported $19.4 billion, Coca-Cola reported $12.34 billion, Dell reported $13.7 billion, Goldman Sachs reported $8.35 billion, Google reported $11.3 billion, Hewlett-Packard reported $29.7 billion, IBM reported $24.7 billion, Intel reported $13.5 billion, Johnson & Johnson reported $17.1 billion, J.P. Morgan Chase reported $25.9 billion, McDonald’s reported $7.2 billion, Merck reported $11.49 billion, Morgan Stanley reported $7.6 billion, Pfizer’s reported $14 billion, Research in Motion reported $2.73 billion, Travelers reported $6.51, Texas Instruments reported $3.39 billion, United Parcel Service reported $13.07 billion, Wal-Mart reported $113.2 billion, Wells Fargo reported $21.2 billion and Yahoo reported $1.09 billion

Following are fourth quarter earnings: Alcoa reported $5.9 billion, Apple reported $36 billion, Cisco reported $11.7 billion, Hewlett-Packard reported $30 billion, News Corp. reported $8.4 billion and Walt Disney reported $10.78 billion

Auto Sales:

GM reported U.S. auto sales rose 4.9% in December from the same time in 2011 as all four of its brands increased their sales. The automaker said it sold 245,733 vehicles in December, up from 234,351 a year earlier and 32% above November’s total of 186,505. General Motors bought back 200 million shares of its stock at $27.50 a share from the U.S. Treasury Department in a $5.5 billion deal. The government plans to sell its remaining 300 million shares over the next 12 to 15 months.

Ford reported its cars, utilities and trucks segments all reported sales gains in 2012 with the brand ending the year with 2,168,015 vehicles sold. The automaker posted its best December sales since 2006 and overall sales increased 2% year over year that month.

Chrysler reported its sales increased 10% in December compared to the same month in 2011 and the strongest December sales in five years. The automaker also reported its full-year sales increased 21%.

Building Permits:

The Commerce Department reported that building permits rose 6.8% to a rate of 812,000, the highest level in four years.

Chicago PMI Gauge:

The Chicago PMI gauge ticked up to 50.4 in November from 49.9 in October. Readings above 50 indicate expansion while those below 50 indicate contraction.

Consumer Confidence:

The Conference Board’s gauge of consumer confidence rose to 65.9 in July from 62.7 in June, better than the 61.5 economists expected.

The Conference Board’s reading on consumer confidence rose to 70.3 in September from an upwardly revised 61.3 in August, topping estimates for a reading of 63. The reading was the highest since February.

The Conference Board’s gauge of consumer confidence rose in November to 73.7 from 73.1 in October, topping estimates of 73 and marking the highest level since February 2008.

Consumer Sentiment:

The consumer sentiment reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed consumer sentiment increased to 73.6 in early August from July’s final reading of 72.3. The August preliminary reading topped forecasts for an increase to 72.4 and marked the highest level since May.

A final reading on consumer sentiment for the month of August checked in at 74.3, higher than a preliminary reading of 73.6, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan.

A preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for the month of October checked in at 83.1, up from a September reading of 78.3 and marking the highest reading since September 2007, according to a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan. Economists were expecting sentiment to decrease to 78.

A reading on consumer sentiment for early November rose to 84.9 from 82.6 in October, topping expectations for a reading of 83. The reading was the highest since July 2007.

Consumer spending:

Consumer spending edged up 0.4% in November from October, a slightly bigger increase than the 0.3% economists forecast. Personal income climbed 0.6%, its biggest increase since February, and also higher than the 0.3% expected.

Economy Expanding:

The U.S. economy expanded at a ‘measured pace’ in recent weeks, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, an anecdotal account of conditions across the 12 Fed districts. The report said most districts experienced “modest improvements” in hiring activity, while consumer spending grew at a “moderate pace” and manufacturing weakened. Some districts also reported weakness as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the central bank said.

Gross Domestic Product:

A second reading on U.S. gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.7% in the second quarter, in line with economists’ estimates and faster than an initial estimate of 1.5%.

A final reading on U.S. gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 3.1% in the third quarter, up from a previous reading of 2.7%, and higher than the 2.8% economists were expecting.

Home Prices:

Home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas climbed 2.2% in May from the month before on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according the S&P/Case-Shiller report. That came in stronger than the 1.5% gain economists expected.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows home prices rose 2.3% in June from May on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, a bigger gain than the 1.6% expected. Prices were up 0.5% from the same period a year earlier in the first increase since September 2010.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows home prices rose 1.6% in July from June on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Prices were up 1.2% from a year ago, more than the 1% expected.

Home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas climbed 0.3% in September from August on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according to the closely-watched S&P/Case-Shiller report. Economists expected a slightly larger increase of 0.5%. Prices were up 3% from the year prior.

Home Sales (existing homes):

Sales of existing homes rose 2.3% in July from June to an annualized rate of 4.47 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Existing home sales rose 7.8% in August from July to an annualized rate of 4.82 million units, topping estimates of a 4.55-million unit rate and marking the fastest pace since May 2010.

Existing home sales rose 2.1% in October from September to a 4.79-million unit annualized rate, coming in slightly ahead of estimates of a 4.75-million unit annualized rate, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Contracts to buy previously-owned homes rose 5.2% in October from September, a much bigger jump than the 0.8% expected, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Existing home sales rose 5.9% in November from October to a 5.04-million unit annualized rate, the highest since November 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors. The association said sales would have been ‘modestly higher’ had Hurricane Sandy not occurred.

Signed contracts to buy existing homes climbed 1.7% in November from October to the highest level since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. Economists forecast a smaller gain of 1%. The forward-looking housing indicator was up 9.8% from the same month in 2011.

Home Sales (new single-family homes):

Sales of new single-family homes rose 3.6% in July from June to an annualized rate of 372,000 units. Analysts were expecting an annualized rate of 365,000 units.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose 5.7% in September to a 389,000-unit annualized rate, topping estimates of a 385,000-unit rate and marking the highest reading since April 2010.

Sales of new, single-family homes climbed 4.4% in November from October to an annual rate of 377,000 units.

Housing Starts:

U.S. housing starts jumped 6.9% in June from May to a 760,000-unit rate, topping estimates of a 745,000-unit rate and marking the highest rate since October 2008.

Housing starts rose 2.3% in August from July to a 750,000-unit rate, missing estimates of a 765,000-unit rate. Permits fell 1% to an 803,000-unit rate, but topped estimates of a 796,000-unit rate.

The Commerce Department reports housing starts rose 15% to an annualized rate of 872,000 units in September from August. Housing permits jumped 11.6% to an annualized rate of 894,000 units.

U.S. housing starts rose 3.6% in October to an 894,000-unit rate, well above estimates of an 840,000-unit rate and marking the highest pace since July 2008. Housing permits fell 2.7% to an 866,000-unit rate, slightly ahead of estimates of an 865,000-unit rate.

U.S. housing starts fell 3% in November from October to an 861,000-unit rate, missing economists’ estimates of an 873,000-unit rate. Permits to build new homes jumped 3.6% to an 899,000-unit rate, topping estimates of an 875,000-unit rate and marking the fastest pace since July 2008.

Imports:

U.S. import prices rose 1.1% in September from August, topping estimates of 0.7%. Export prices rose 0.8%, coming in ahead of estimates of 0.4%.

Index of U.S. Consumer Confidence:

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 72.2 in October from a downwardly revised 68.4 in September. The results missed estimates of a reading of 72.5, but marked the index’s highest level since February 2008.

Index of U.S. Non-manufacturing Activity:

The Institute for Supply Management reports its index of U.S. non-manufacturing activity came in at 56.1 in December, beating expectations of a rise to 54.2 and an increase from 54.7 in November.

ISM Reading (Readings above 50 indicate expansion while those below 50 indicate contraction):

The November ISM reading on the non-manufacturing sector showed a small increase to 54.7 from 54.2 in October.

The latest ISM data show U.S. manufacturing activity increased to 50.7 last month from 49.5 in November. The index was expected to rise to 50.3.

Manufacturing Sector (U.S. Midwest):

The manufacturing sector in the U.S. Midwest expanded at a slightly swifter pace in July than it did the month before. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s PMI gauge came in at 53.7, higher than expectations of 52.5 and a reading of 52.9 in June.

Nonfarm Payrolls:

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls rose by 96,000 in August from July. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.1% from 8.3.

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls increased by 114,000 in September. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 7.8%, the lowest rate since January 2009, from 8.1% the month prior.

The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls rose by 146,000 in November, significantly more than the 93,000 expected. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9% the month prior to its lowest level since December 2008. Economists were expecting the unemployment rate to remain at 7.9%.

The Labor Department reports non-farm payrolls increased by 155,000 in December, beating expectations of an increase of 150,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8%. November’s jobless rate was revised up by 0.1 percentage point to 7.8%.

Orders for Long-Lasting Goods:

Orders for long-lasting U.S. goods rose 4.2% in July from June, blowing past estimates of a 2.4% increase.

The Commerce Department reported orders for long-lasting goods climbed 9.9% in September from August, topping estimates of a 7.1% increase.

Orders for long-lasting goods remained flat in October from September. They were expected to fall 0.6%. Excluding the transportation segment, orders were up 1.5%. Economists were expecting a 0.5% drop.

Orders for long-lasting goods climbed 0.7% in November from October, a bigger gain than the 0.2% economists expected. Excluding the transportation component, orders jumped 1.6%, topping estimates of a 0.2% decline.

Personal Spending:

Personal spending rose 0.4% in July from June, as expected, to the highest level since February. Personal income rose 0.3%, also as expected.

Pending Home Sales:

U.S. pending home sales rose 2.4% in July from June, topping the 1% expected and hitting the highest level since April 2010. Sales were up 12.4% from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors reported its index of pending home sales rose 0.3% in September from August, the index climbing 14.5% from a year ago.

PMI Gauge:

The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI rose to 51.9 in August from 51.4 in July, the first monthly increase in five months. Readings over 50 point to expansion while readings below 50 indicate contraction.

The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing PMI gauge rose to 51.5 in September from 49.6 in August, topping expectations for a reading of 49.7 and marking the first time the index rose above 50 since May. Readings above 50 point to expansion while those below indicate contraction.

The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing PMI gauge rose to 51.7 in October from 51.5 in September, the highest reading since May. The index was expected to fall to 51.2. Readings above 50 indicate expansion while those below indicate contraction.

The Labor Department reports nonfarm payrolls rose by 171,000 in October from September, surpassing the 125,000 expected, for 32 straight months of positive job growth. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9% from 7.8%, as expected.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s PMI gauge climbed to 51.6 in December from 50.4 the month before, a slightly better reading than the 51 economists forecast. Readings above 50 point to expansion in the Midwest manufacturing sector, while those below indicate contraction.

Private Sector Jobs:

The private sector added 163,000 jobs in July, according to the ADP report. Analysts had been expecting an increase of 120,000.

The ADP National Employment Report shows the U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in October, more than the 135,000 expected.

The ADP national employment report shows the private sector added 215,000 jobs in December. Analysts had expected an increase of 133,000 jobs for the month.

Producer Prices:

Producer prices rose 1.1% in September from August, a bigger jump than the 0.7% expected.

The Labor Department reported producer prices climbed 0.3% in July from June, the fastest pace in five months. Analysts expected an increase of 0.2%. Excluding the food and energy components, prices were up 0.4%, also more than the 0.2% increase forecast.

Retail Sales:

Retail sales climbed 0.8% in July from June, the largest increase since February and a bigger gain than the 0.3% economists expected.

U.S. retail sales rose 1.1% in September from August, more than the 0.8% expected. Excluding the auto component, sales were up 1.1%, the biggest rise since January and topping estimates of 0.6%.

U.S. retail sales rose 0.9% in August from July, more than the 0.7% expected and the largest rise since February. Excluding the auto segment, sales were up 0.8%, topping estimates of 0.6%.

U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in November from October, less than the 0.5% expected, but still an increase. Excluding the auto segment, retail sales were unchanged from October.

Service Sector Activity:

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of service-sector activity rose to 53.7 in August, the highest level since May, from 52.6 in July; the index was expected to fall slightly to 52.5.

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of service-sector activity rose to 55.1 in September from 53.7 in August, suggesting the sector is expanding at a faster rate. Economists expected a reading of 53.1.

Stock Market was 8077.56 on 19 Jan 09 and 13,435.21 on 4 Jan 13.

Unemployment:
The unemployment rate in the U.S. unexpectedly fell to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. In spite of the Republican majority ‘do nothing congress’ not passing President Obama’s Job’s Bill – (5 Oct 12)

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 339,000 during the third week of October from an upwardly revised 369,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to rise to 370,000 from an initially reported 367,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 369,000 during the fourth week of October from an upwardly revised 392,000 the week prior.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 355,000 last week – week ending 3 Nov 12 – from 363,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to rise to 370,000. A Labor Department analyst says super-storm Sandy depressed claims in at least one state and resulted in an increase in claims in others.

For the week ending 23 Nov 12, new claims for unemployment benefits continued to fall for the same week reported to 393,000 last week from an upwardly revised 416,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 390,000 from an initially reported 410,000.

The ADP National Employment report shows the private sector added 118,000 jobs in November.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 370,000 during the week – ending 30 November – from an upwardly revised 395,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 380,000 from an initially reported 393,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 343,000 during the week – ending 7 December – the lowest level since the week of 6 October. Claims were expected to remain unchanged from an initially reported 370,000.

So, let’s see, even though the 2012 GOTP presidential footnote claimed President Obama was defining what it meant to be “out of touch with reality” it appears it was he – Willard Mitt Romney, and the entire corps of conservative talking heads – who appears to have defined it. Aw well, you can’t be right about everything; oh wait, that’s right, you seldom (if ever) are; wishing something’s true so seldom ever equals that it is, or ever will be.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Economics

 

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Ryan makes bogus photo op stop at soup kitchen?

Sometimes politicians do stupid things, sometimes they take advantage of situations for political gain by having pictures taken with different groups or individuals, such as with veterans or school children, but according to news reports Republican Tea Party (GOTP) vice presidential wannabe Paul Ryan – the author of America’s own austerity plan – has stooped to new levels when his campaign stopped at a Youngstown, Ohio soup kitchen and reportedly, “ramrodded their way” in so the GOTP candidate could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall.

Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, told the Washington Post he wasn’t contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of the Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who “stopped by” the soup kitchen after a town hall at Youngstown State University presumably to soften his Grinch-like persona by doing a little “charity” work.

“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”

“The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall,” he added.

According to the press pool reporter accompanying Ryan, the group stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on its way to the airport after his Saturday morning town hall in Youngstown. But, by the time they arrived, the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and the hall had been cleaned.

Ryan, his wife and three young children greeted and thanked several volunteers as they entered the soup kitchen, then put on white aprons and offered to clean some dishes. Photographers snapped photos and TV cameras shot footage of Ryan and his family washing pots and pans that “did not appear to be dirty.”

Allegedly, at least according to an unnamed Romney aide – who wasn’t authorized to “speak publicly about the event” – the campaign followed its usual protocol for “impromptu, on-the-road stops by candidates”, meaning they assume whatever they want to do is going to be OK because after all they’re rich, wealthy republican candidates and can do whatever they wish. A staffer was allegedly dispatched to the St. Vincent De Paul Society ahead of Ryan’s visit Saturday morning and spoke with a woman in charge on site, who allegedly said it would be fine for the congressman to stop by. The woman on site allegedly told the Romney staffer some of the volunteers had already left, but most were happy to remain until Ryan arrived, according to the aide. After Ryan left the soup kitchen, the woman allegedly approached a campaign staffer and expressed gratitude for Ryan’s visit, the aide said.

Chris Maloney, Ohio communications director for the Romney campaign, said the visit by Ryan had been intended to “highlight the work of the soup kitchen volunteers.” So, that’s why we took bogus pictures of the congressman and his family washing already clean dishes to demonstrate just what a wonderful job the soup kitchen volunteers were doing?

Antal said the soup kitchen relies on funding from private individuals who might reconsider their support if it appears that the charity is favoring one political candidate over another.

“I can’t afford to lose funding from these private individuals,” he said. “If this was the Democrats, I’d have the same exact problem.”

He added that the incident had caused him “all kinds of grief” and that regardless of whether Ryan had intended to serve food to patrons or wash dishes, he wouldn’t have allowed the visit to take place, which might be why the campaign didn’t contact him, but just barged in.

“Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted. … But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture,” Antal said.

It’s shameful, disingenuous and incredibly spurious for someone like Paul Ryan to take his family into a soup kitchen in an effort to make himself look like a “compassionate conservative” when he’d cut funding to help the poor in a heartbeat is beyond contempt; it’s another example of what the Romney/Ryan ticket isn’t rather than of what it is. Ryan’s not just a liar he’s also a phony.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in 2012 Election

 

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Latest 2012 Presidential Polls – 07 Aug 12 Edition

Thirteen weeks until the November election and the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) presidential wanna-be Willard Mitt Romney’s still trying to dodge the need to release his tax records and the heat’s now been turned on by Senate Leader Harry Reid who announced on floor of the United States Senate that he’d received a phone call from a former Bain investor who claimed Willard hadn’t paid any taxes in ten years; Romney’s campaign turned around and told Senator Reid to prove it, and to “put up or shut up”. Oddly enough that’s how Willard could solve this problem, he could put up and then everyone else would shut up.

So, how does the GOTP candidate stand up against the President?

The last favorability Pew Research poll of registered voters conducted from 16 – 26 Jul 12, showed the President with a 50% favorability rating compared to Romney’s 37%. No candidate has ever even come close to winning the presidency with such pathetic favorability ratings.

So, who’s more electable right now?

In the most recent viable’ national poll(s) – which are any group other than the Washington Times or Rasmussen (which are generally always skewed not just to the right, but far to the right) – the most current Gallup Tracking poll of registered voters conducted 31 Jul – 06 Aug 12, if the general election were held today:

President Obama 46/Romney 46

The most recent Pew Research poll of registered voters conducted 16 – 26 Jul 12, if the general election were held today:

President Obama 51/Romney 41

And finally, the most recent Democracy Corps (D) poll of likely voters conducted 21 – 25 Jul 12, if the general election were held today:

President Obama 50/Romney 46

If the general election was held today, according to national polls, Willard Mitt Romney loses to President Obama in the general election.

According to state polls, if the General Election were held TODAY (note these are based on current poll numbers – not projections), the Electoral College totals based on all available current poll numbers the President defeats Romney 347/191:

Results of 15 consecutive simulations based on poll data as of 07 Aug 12

Obama 324/214
Obama 302/236
Obama 325/213
Obama 286/252
Obama 319/219

Obama 288/250
Obama 312/226
Romney 273/265
Obama 347/191
Romney 271/267

Obama 347/191
Obama 320/218
Obama 304/234
Obama 342/196
Obama 311/227

Of 15 simulations Romney manages only three victories, while the President not only beats Romney but beats him by a landslide more than half the time defeating Romney 12/3.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in 2012 Election

 

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Latest 2012 Presidential Polls – 25 Jul 12 Edition

It’s only 15 weeks until the November election and the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) presidential wanna-be Willard Mitt Romney’s decided that he agrees with President Obama that business success didn’t happen by itself while disagreeing that success didn’t happen by itself. He continues to be under fire for having said he left Bain Capital in 1999 while records from the company filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) show he was still involved into 2002. He’s telling the President it’s time to stop stonewalling on alleged leaks from the White House while he’s been stonewalling for months in refusing to release his tax returns – not smart speech writing.

So, how does the GOTP candidate stand up against the President?

According to the last CBS News/NY Times poll of registered voters conducted from 11 Jul 12 – 16 Jul 12, shows the President with a 36% favorability rating compared to Romney’s 32%.

So, who’s more electable right now?

In the most recent viable’ national poll(s) – which are any group other than the Washington Times or Rasmussen (which are generally always skewed not just to the right, but far to the right) – the most current Gallup Tracking poll of registered voters conducted 18 Jul – 24 Jul 12, if the general election were held today:

President Obama 45/Romney 46

The most recent NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl poll of registered voters conducted 18 Jul – 22 Jul 12, if the general election were held today:

President Obama 49/Romney 43

And finally, the most recent FOX News poll of registered voters conducted 15 Jul 12 – 17 Jul 12, if the general election were held today:

President Obama 45/Romney 41

If the general election was held today, according to national polls, Willard Mitt Romney loses to President Obama in the general election.

According to state polls, if the General Election were held TODAY (note these are based on current poll numbers – not projections), the Electoral College totals based on all available current poll numbers the President defeats Romney 347/191:

Results of 15 consecutive simulations based on poll data as of 25 Jul 12

Obama 337/201
Obama 312/226
Obama 316/222
Obama 294/244
Obama 311/227

Obama 275/263
Obama 317/221
Obama 299/239
Obama 305/233
Obama 295/243

Romney 273/265
Obama 352/186
Obama 313/225
Obama 314/224
Romney 275/263

Of 15 simulations ran, Romney ekes out only two victories by the slimmest of margins, while the President not only beats Romney but beats him by a landslide more than half the time defeating Romney 13/15 times.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in 2012 Election

 

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GOTP House Buckles Under Pressure?

Well, wonder of wonders, the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) dominated House buckled under and approved legislation preserving jobs on transportation projects from coast to coast and avoiding interest rate increases on new loans to millions of college students. The bill, which then sailed through the Democratic controlled Senate (for once with no threats of GOTP filibusters), was then sent for the President’s signature.

With the bill’s passage, just over $100 billion can now be spent on highway, mass transit and other transportation programs over the next two years, projects that would’ve expired Saturday without congressional action; it also ends the stalemate over student loans.

Under the bill, interest rates of 3.4 percent for subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates will continue for another year, had the uber-right Tea Party members had their way, interest rates would have mushroomed to 6.8 percent for 7.4 million students expected to get the loans over the coming year, adding an extra $1,000 to the average cost of each loan.

The Democratic-led Senate passed the measure by a 74-19 vote, after the GOTP-run House approved it 373-52; with all the no votes – of course – being cast by the uber-right conservative members of the Congress.

The final version of the transportation measure dropped a provision – which had drawn a Presidential veto threat – that would have forced government approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas coast.

According to the Associated Press (AP), White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration was glad Congress acted “before middle class families pay the price for inaction.” He said President Obama will keep pressing for approval of more of his job-creating proposals from last year, to hire teachers, police officers and firefighters and for tax credits to companies that hire new workers.

Financing for most of the measure came from extending federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel for an additional two years which levies, unchanged for nearly two decades, are 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel and which fall woefully short of fully financing the highway programs they were designed to do.

About $20 billion would be raised over the next decade by reducing tax deductions for companies’ pension contributions and increasing the fees they pay to federally insure their pension plans. In return, a formula was changed to, in effect; let companies apportion less money for their pensions and to provide less year-to-year variation in those amounts.

Additional revenues will be raised by charging interest on subsidized Stafford loans no more than six years after undergraduates begin their studies.

A loophole was also tightened making it harder for businesses with roll-your-own cigarette machines to classify the tobacco they sell as pipe tobacco – which is taxed at a lower rate than cigarette tobacco. The change is expected to raise nearly $100 million.

The measure also extends Federal flood insurance programs that protect 5.6 million households and businesses, allowing higher premiums and limiting subsidies for vacation homes to help address a shortfall in the program caused by claims from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

It also steers 80 percent of the billions in Clean Water Act penalties paid by BP and others for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion to the five Gulf States whose beaches and waters were soiled by the disaster. The money would have otherwise gone to federal coffers.

Federal timber subsidies worth $346 million would be distributed for another year to rural counties, while other funds would be steered to rural school districts.

No matter how this is sliced it’s a victory for the President and a loss for the GOTP, particularly for the uber-right Tea Party; it’s one more victory in a week of victories which saw the Supreme Court’s overturning of the most controversial parts of Arizona’s papers please bill and the upholding of the Affordable Care Act. Try though they might, spinning this beyond their own will be extremely difficult.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in 2012 Election

 

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Romney says it’s OK for public sector employees to be fired?

According to news reports, Republican Tea Party (GOTP) presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney’s running around the country proclaiming it’s bad for private-sector workers to lose their jobs, but it’s good for government workers to do so.

Of course Willard’s various – as in ever changing – positions on employment are drawing renewed scrutiny following continuing comments that the country doesn’t need to hire anymore firefighters, police officers and teachers, and besides all that the federal government doesn’t pay for them.

The idea the federal government doesn’t pay for firefighters, police officers or teachers is – to use Willard’s words – absurd; of course the federal government pays for, or at least a very sizeable part of the salaries for these positions; in fact it spends billions of dollars annually paying for teachers, police officers and firefighters throughout the country, and the fact Romney fails to know this is just one more clear demonstration of how he’s not ready for the prime time – he’s just one more conservative businessman in an expensive suit proclaiming how he’s going to run the government like a business, and won’t that be grand? Well, except for two things, the government’s not a business, and second, the last time we elected a “business man” as president we ended up with two unfunded wars and the economy over the side of a cliff.

Local governments of course do the actual hiring, but many of those hires are only possible thanks to federal dollars and all too many local communities would have far fewer of these vital public employees if the federal government suddenly stopped funding teachers through Title I, police officers through the COPS program and firefighters through the SAFER program.

Everyone knows how Willard “likes to fire people”, but his non-stop suggestion that firing a government employee can directly lead to the hiring of one or more private-sector workers is pure fantasy. Recently he told Colorado voters that President Barack Obama’s stimulus program “didn’t help private-sector jobs. It helped preserve government jobs.”

As Ronald Reagan would say, “Well, there you go again,” meaning Willard’s not just a liar, but a big fat hairy liar and what’s more he knows he’s lying. President Obama’s more than $800 billion stimulus created both public-sector and private-sector jobs and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently estimated the stimulus saved or created more than 3 million jobs. Talk about being out of touch with economic reality; the truth is the vast majority of the stimulus was used for “shovel ready” construction projects which hired? Wait for it; private sector employees wielding those shovels.

But facts don’t concern the Rominator, and who cares if it saved public sector jobs, he’s selling the idea government employees aren’t real people, so if they lose their jobs, health insurance etc it’s no big deal. “We have 145,000 more government workers under this president,” Willard mews. “Let’s send them home and put you back to work.”

And dolts look at him and nod, thinking, “That’s right, fire them govment people and give me their jobs instead,” because that’s what he’s selling.

Romney wants to take public sector jobs and convert them into private sector jobs; we’ll hire companies like Black Water to run our local police forces because that’s worked so well in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that’s where this is going, it’s going towards private sector run schools, police departments and fire departments where we – as citizens – will pay these groups to perform these services instead of paying taxes; the catch is if you don’t pay, you don’t have fire fighters showing up to put out your burning house, and you don’t have police officers coming to help with that intruder, and your schools will be run by some giant conglomerate a thousand miles away; no more school board, instead you’ll have a board of directors more concerned with stock holders being paid dividends than your child getting the best possible education.

It doesn’t matter to Romney and his minions that numerous independent economists have verified the stimulus prevented a devastating economic collapse, including private and public-sector jobs losses, from being worse; facts don’t matter to Willard.

Recently on Fox News, Willard rejected claims his policies would worsen unemployment and deprive communities of needed services.

“Teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level, and also by states,” Romney said. “The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously, that’s completely absurd.”

Well, let’s look at the facts; Title I funding for school personnel was $14.5 billion this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee said. Federal grants to states for special education reached $11.5 billion. Additionally, millions of federal dollars put police and firefighters in various communities.

Clearly Romney doesn’t get it; he doesn’t understand how federal funding’s essential to local communities; he’s out of touch with anything outside his millionaire reality. Many on the right scream about cutting federal spending and handing the programs back to the states; well, guess what? When you remove federal dollars for essential services those states will be forced – sooner or later – to increase state taxes and localities will also raise taxes to pay for them; we’ll see our federal tax burden drop only to see our state and local tax burdens rise to meet the deficit.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in 2012 Election

 

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