Sean Hannity claimed that the economic recovery act "actually raised unemployment," citing minutes from a January Federal Reserve meeting to falsely suggest that the extension of unemployment benefits in the recovery act increased the number of people who don't have jobs. In fact, the Federal Reserve minutes Hannity cited actually stated that the provision had the effect of raising the measured unemployment rate because people who lost their jobs sought to remain in the workforce in order to receive benefits rather than leaving the workforce and being counted as "discouraged workers" instead of "unemployed."
From the February 22 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: And millionsof unemployed Americans are still probably wondering what exactly PresidentObama's stimulus did to help the economy. Now, it's a tough question that eventhe Obama administration has a difficult time explaining. But an editorial in Investor's Business Daily sums up one ofthe stimulus's biggest achievements: It actually raised unemployment.
This is not a joke. Now, the article quotes minutes from the Federal Reserve'sOpen Market Committee's January meeting that read, quote, "severalextensions of emergency unemployment insurance benefits appear to have beenraised and raised the measured unemployment rate." Now, all things considered, theeditorial estimates that the stimulus added 2 percentage points to theunemployment rate. Hey, congratulations, Mr. President.
Hannity was referring to a February 19 IBDeditorialin which Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote:
The AmericanRecovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 had extended federally fundedunemployment benefits by 53 weeks, and another bill in November added 20 more-- bringing the total up to 99 weeks in states with high unemployment.
As theFederal Reserve's Open Market Committee minutes for January noted: "Theseveral extensions of emergency unemployment insurance benefits appeared tohave raised the measured unemployment rate, relative to levels recorded in pastdownturns, by encouraging some who have lost their jobs to remain in the laborforce. ... Some estimates suggested it could account for 1 percentage point ormore of the increase in the unemployment rate during this recession."
My own estimate, in pastarticles available at cato.org, is that thestimulus act added about 2 percentage points to the unemploymentrate.
Federal Reserve: Extensions to unemploymentinsurance benefits are "encouraging some who have lost their jobs toremain in the labor force." From the minutes of the January26-27 meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, during a discussionon inflation:
Thoughparticipants agreed there was considerable slack in resource utilization, theirjudgments about the degree of slack varied. The several extensions of emergencyunemployment insurance benefits appeared to have raised the measuredunemployment rate, relative to levels recorded in past downturns, byencouraging some who have lost their jobs to remain in the labor force. If thateffect were large -- some estimates suggested it could account for 1 percentagepoint or more of the increase in the unemployment rate during this recession --then the reported unemployment rate might be overstating the amount of slack inresource utilization relative to past periods of high unemployment.
Several participants observed that the necessity of reallocating labor acrosssectors as the recovery proceeds, as well as the loss of skills caused by highlevels of long-term unemployment and permanent separations, could reduce theeconomy's potential output, at least temporarily; historical experiencefollowing large adverse financial shocks suggests such an effect. On the otherhand, if recent productivity gains were to be sustained, as some businesscontacts indicated they would be, potential output currently could be higherthan standard measures suggested, and the high level of the unemployment ratecould be a more accurate indication of slack in resource utilization than usualmeasures of the output gap.
ReutersMacroScope Blog: "[U]nintended consequence" of extending joblessbenefits is that it delays when people leave the labor force and are no longerclassified as "unemployed." AFebruary 18 post on Reuters'MacroScope blog, referring to the Federal Reserve meeting, explained that inorder to qualify for unemployment benefits, "you have to be looking for ajob. You also have to be looking for a job in order to be counted among theunemployed. If you give up the search, you move over to the 'discouragedworkers' category, which has grown rapidly in the past year."
Geek out! Now you can play the tenth Justice in Fantasy SCOTUS. (Keep comments below clean and violence-free, folks, and that includes any and all references to my personal fantasy, giving Alito a wedgie every time he votes in favor of Corporate Personhood.)
Open thread below...
Tonight's Rescue Rangers are Louisiana 1976, grog, Hoosier Deb, dopper0189, jennyjem and YatPundit with jennyjem as editor.
The diaries up for rescue tonight are:
jotter has High Impact Diaries: February 21, 2010.
virgomusic has Top Comments - Sky Mall Kitties Edition.
Enjoy and please promote your own favorite diaries in this open thread.
Government HealthcareGood Enough For The Dark LordBut not Good Enough For The Rest Of UsGuess which heartless spawn of Satan went to the hospital today?
Linking to a Newsweek.com blog post which stated that in his health care reform proposal, President Obama "went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted," The Fox Nation used the headline "Obama Keeps Abortion Funding in His Health Care Bill," falsely suggesting that Obama's plan exceeded what is currently allowed under the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
From The Fox Nation, accessed February 22:
The Fox Nation headline linked to a February 22 Newsweek.com blog post which reported that "In his plan, Obama went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted, which is less restrictive than the Stupak-Pitts Amendment."
The Senate health care reform bill as passed states that if a "qualified health plan" offered under the health insurance exchange provides coverage of abortion services for which public funding is banned, "the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable" to the subsidies created under the bill "for purposes of paying for such services." From Section 1303(b)(2)A):
''(2) PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.-
''(A) IN GENERAL.-If a qualified health plan provides coverage of services described in paragraph (1)(B)(i), the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable to any of the following for purposes of paying for such services:
''(i) The credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the credit under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).
''(ii) Any cost-sharing reduction under section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the reduction under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).
The Senate bill as passed further requires issuers to "collect from each enrollee" in plans that cover abortions "separate payment" for "an amount equal to the actuarial value of the coverage of" abortion services. This value must be at least $1 per enrollee, per month. All such funds are deposited into a separate account used by the issuer to pay for abortion services; federal funds and the remaining premium payments are used to pay for all other services.
Seventeen states use state funds to cover abortions for Medicaid recipients in circumstances beyond Hyde. According to a November 1, 2009, study by the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states provide coverage under Medicaid for "all or most medically necessary abortions," not just abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Those states "us[e] their own funds" -- not federal funds -- "to pay" for the procedures. Therefore, in 17 states, Medicaid, a federally subsidized health care program, covers abortions in circumstances in which federal money is prohibited from being spent on abortion.
I think this report tells you all you need to know about how feeble the U.S. Senate truly is; as Chris Hayes says, a procedural vote takes place to allow debate on a $15 billion jobs bill, which would generate about a tenth of the amount of jobs actually needed to restore this country to something approximating full employment by 2012, and most of that $15 bil is tax cuts?why do I even bother to waste the calories pointing out that tax cuts don?t do anything to create jobs?all the same, kudos to Scott Brown, shockingly so, for doing something positive, as well as Collins and President Snowe, and as K.O. and Hayes note, Bond and ?Err, err? Voinovich are leaving, so what do they care ? also, I keep pointing out that Coburn is a dangerous lunatic, but if you?re reading this, you already know that?
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Anyone else miss the days when presidents talked tough but never seemed to catch anybody? Yeah, me neither.
New York's U.S. Senate seat has become a hot commodity.[...]
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Featuring the scorching vocals of Roger Chapman, this live version of Crazy Charade by Streetwalkers really smokes. Chapman formed Streetwalkers along with former Family band mate Charlie Whitney in 1974. Crazy Charade appears on their 1976 album Red Card, which featured Nicko McBrain on drums. McBrain would later move on to play drums with Iron Maiden.
Let's jump right into a very busy day on the campaign trail. It's time for the Wrap on this, the 278th birthday for the First President of the United States, George Washington...
IN-Sen: Hill Expressing Some Interest In Senate Opening
In what could create an uncomfortable and awkward decision for Indiana Democrats, 9th district Congressman Baron Hill has spoken up, saying he might want his name considered for the Senate opening created by the retirement of two-term Senator Evan Bayh. Hill is looking at a much more perilous House election than neighbor Brad Ellsworth, and that might be serving as an incentive in this case.
IA-Sen: Ras Says Grassley Leads, But Not Overwhelmingly
Here is a headline that one will not see often in the campaign news cycle--Rasmussen has the Iowa Senate race closer than Research 2000. Indeed, incumbent Republican Charles Grassley still has a solid lead over Democrat Roxanne Conlin, but he was held to just 53% of the vote against Conlin (53-36). Remember, Grassley has never been under 60% in any of his electoral bids since his first run for the Senate in 1980. In a sign of Grassley's relative weakness this time around, he only gets 55-56% against two lesser-known Democratic candidates, as well.
NV-Sen: Reid Might Enjoy The Tea Party, According to Poll
A new survey by GOP pollsters Public Opinion Strategies confirm some of the worst fears of Republicans in Nevada. Remember, of course, that the "Tea Party" qualified for the ballot in Nevada a few weeks back. P.O.S. runs the numbers, and finds that when Tea Partier Jon Ashjian is added to the mix, Harry Reid is more competitive than he has been in months. Former state party chair Sue Lowden leads the GOP primary field, and has the biggest lead over Reid. That lead, however, is down to just five points (42-37), with Ashjian locking down 9% of the vote. Danny Tarkanian's lead evaporates almost entirely (40-39), with Ashjian at 11%.
AZ-08: GOP Senator Confirms Challenge To Democrat Rep. Giffords
It had long been in the planning stages, but now it is official--Republican state Senator Jonathan Paton resigned from the legislature today, in order to challenge sophomore Democrat Gabby Giffords for her seat in the Congress. Paton needed to make a move, as businessman Jesse Kelly had already raised over a quarter of a million dollars for his bid in the 8th, which is a classic swing district centered in the Tucson suburbs and southeastern Arizona.
FL-10/MI-14/MI-15: Three Octogenarians In The 112th Congress?
You read that right: in the past several days, three Congressman who at the end of this term will have a combined 141 years of Congressional experience. In Florida, Bill Young, who turns 80 at the end of this year, and has been in the House since 1971, announced that he will seek his 21st term in the House. It was a good weekend for such statements, as Young was joined by Michigan Congressman John Conyers (80 years of age, elected for the first time in 1964) also confirmed that he will seek re-election.
While these young whippersnappers made their plans known, they were joined by no less than the Dean of the House, John Dingell (83 years of age and in the House since 1955) who also announced that he would seek re-election.
OH-06/OH-16/OH-17: Traficant Still Mulling '10 Bid
He can no longer do it as either a Republican or a Democrat (the filing deadline for major party candidates lapsed last week), but that doesn't mean that disgraced former Congressman Jim Traficant is out of the 2010 electoral sweepstakes. Traficant is now saying that if he runs, he will do so as an Independent (this buys him an additional two months--the deadline for Indie candidacies is May 3rd). For what it's worth, he is still not saying in which district he would run.
PA-12: Lots Of Movement in Murtha Special Election
A huge amount of movement since the last Wrap in the May 18th special election to replace the late John Murtha in southwestern Pennsylvania. Several candidates had tentatively entered the fray, promising to defer to Murtha's widow, Joyce Murtha. As of today, that doesn't appear to be an issue--Joyce Murtha is a no-go, releasing a statement this afternoon. Two other candidates went the other way, making noises that they are heading into the race. They are Murtha district director Mark Critz and Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic, Jr.
GA-Gov: Ras Gives GOP Lead, But Barnes Within Striking Distance
Rasmussen also lands in the Peach State this week, and they find former Democratic Governor Roy Barnes within single digits of any of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination. Even though she is a longshot right now in the GOP primary, Secretary of State Karen Handel does the best against Barnes, leading him by nine points (45-36). Republicans John Oxendine (45-37) and Nathan Deal (43-37) do incrementally worse when paired with the likely Democratic nominee, who served as the state's governor from 1999-2003.
IA-Gov: Branstad Leads Culver, According to Rasmussen
Rasmussen's new numbers in the Hawkeye State (already addressed vis-a-vis the Senate race earlier in the Wrap) confirm virtually every pollster on the gubernatorial matchup between incumbent Democrat Chet Culver and Republican Terry Branstad, who held the office for a decade-and-a-half. Indeed, Ras shows a lead identical to last weeks R2K poll in the state--sixteen points for Branstad (53-37). Ras being Ras, however, they do have one result a little different than the others: they have conservative alternative candidate Bob Vander Platts with a pretty solid lead (46-40) over Culver. Recent polls have either had Vander Platts up or down by three points or less.
In other Iowa Guv news, a quick headline, though not a critical one, that the Wrap missed last week--longshot Republican Chris Rants dropped out of the race late last week. The one potential loser in that could be Branstad. As has been reported here before, there is at least some discontent with Branstad on the right, owing to his days as Governor. Clearly, he benefits from a large primary field. The smaller the field gets, the fewer ways an anti-Branstad vote gets split.
NE-Gov: Democrats Finally Get Candidate in Gubernatorial Race
Given the recent history of statewide politics in the Cornhusker State, it is pretty tough to win as a Democrat unless your name is Ben Nelson. An Omaha-area businessman, Mark Lakers, is looking to change that. Lakers became the first Democrat of note to challenge the re-election of Nebraska's GOP Governor Dave Heineman. Heineman, who was elected in 2006 with 73% of the vote, is a strong favorite for re-election.
NV-Gov: GOP Poll Shows Tight GOP Primary, Wide Split on General
The same poll out of the Silver State alluded to earlier has to be a cause of significant consternation for the GOP in this race, as well. The poll, done by respectable GOP pollster Glen Bolger, shows that the lead for former federal judge Brian Sandoval over embattled incumbent GOP Governor Jim Gibbons has dropped (PDF File) to just six points. Sandoval is sitting on 38% of the GOP vote, with 32% for Gibbons and 9% for North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon. More intriguing, among those who are certain of their vote, the Sandoval lead drops to a single point. The danger for the GOP? In a general election, Sandoval has a double digit lead over presumptive Democratic nominee Rory Reid (50-34). Gibbons, meanwhile, is down by double digits to Reid (47-36).
NM-Gov: Domenici Leads In First GOP Primary Poll
This won't come as a surprise, seeing how he undoubtedly has the highest name recognition of any of the candidates in the field. That said, Pete Domenici Jr. leads the GOP primary field for Governor in the Land of Enchantment. Undecided is the real leader, since 42.5% of the voters are expressing no preference. Domenici leads with 29%, with Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez running second with 12% of the vote. The poll was conducted by New Mexico State University, and was conducted before the revelation (of sorts) that Domenici used drugs in college.
NY-Gov: Paterson Continues To Hurt, According to Siena Poll
Was there any good news for Governor Paterson in the latest incarnation of the Siena Poll (PDF)? Well, voters didn't buy the variety of negative rumors about the incumbent. That's the only good news, however, as the poll shows that little has changed in Paterson's electoral fortunes. He continues to trail state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo badly in the Democratic primary (64-22), and he continues to trail likely GOP nominee Rick Lazio in the general (46-39). Meanwhile, Cuomo continues to blast Lazio in a prospective general election match-up (63-26).