At CNBC Wednesday morning, just after the release of the government's GDP report, Squawk Box panelist Steve Liesman appeared to do everything he could to downplay the significance, and even the relevance, of the 3.3 percent annualized growth estimate. At the end of the segment, he gave away his ignorance when he expressed outrage that the tax bill currently under consideration in Congress, while eliminating or significantly curtailing individual taxpayers' ability to deduct state and local taxes, leaves business deductions for state and local taxes intact. He, and show host Becky Quick, should know that it's bogus to try to make such a comparison.
The September jobs report turned out to be a disappointment with fewer than anticipated jobs gains and labor force participation at its lowest rate since October of 1977.
CNBC’s Squawk Box discussion of the disappointing report quickly turned to Federal Reserve policy and whether it vindicated the Fed’s decision not to raise rates, or just proved they missed their chance to do so.
The business press has gotten really excited about the possibility — some of them are even treating it as a probability — that the first-quarter's recently reported annualized economic contraction of 0.7 percent will go positive if it gets revised for so-called "residual seasonality."
"Residual seasonality" is "the manifestation of seasonal patterns in data that have already been seasonally adjusted." (Supposedly, the way to fix this is add more "seasoning.") On April 22, CNBC's Steve Liesman contended that it's been a chronic 30-year problem. As far as I can tell, no one in the press has followed up on that claim. If they had, they would have found that it has not been a 30-year "problem," and that it's a "problem" remarkably unique to the presence of Democratic Party presidential administrations and policies:
At the beginning of the July 24 edition of Fast Money, CNBC aired an exclusive interview of President Obama by the network's Steve Liesman focused primarily on taxes and tax reform, particularly the president's call to prevent large corporations from capitalizing on an "inversion" to lessen their federal tax bite.
But after the interview was aired, CNBC panelists excoriated the president as "duplicitous" and "disingenuous" for pretending like he has no share in the blame for a lack of movement on tax reform during his tenure in office and for offering an inaccurate, misleading description of what exactly happens to a U.S. corporation's tax obligations after it undergoes an inversion.
Paul Krugman at the New York Times and other fever-swamp leftists who, incredibly, are operating under the assumption that the economy has experienced an acceptable if uneven "recovery" during the five years since the recession ended are celebrating what they believe was an epic live "embarrassment" of Rick Santelli at the hands of Steve Liesman at CNBC on Monday.
A Google search shows that Mediaite ("CNBC Reporter Torches Rick Santelli"), New Republic ("CNBC's Rick Santelli Was Embarrassed on Live TV"), Talking Points Memo ("Watch CNBC's Tea Partier Get Told How Wrong He's Been"), Business Insider ("Steve Liesman Issued A Devastating Line To Rick Santelli"), and of course Vox ("Watch Steve Liesman demolish Rick Santelli's inflation fearmongering") are all piling on. Following the jump, I will show that Santelli only claimed to have been right about the direction of the economy for the past five years, after which Liesman changed the subject and hogged the microphone:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday reported upside revisions to the number of jobs that were created in last year's fourth quarter.
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box, Austan Goolsbee, the former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Barack Obama, joked, "It’s an elaborate left-wing plot to make the numbers much better several months after the election so that nobody thinks that there was a conspiracy just before the election."
"Militantly non-partisan" Major Garrett sounded more like an Obama administration flack on Thursday's CBS This Morning as he spotlighted the President's latest P.R. stunt. Garrett noted Obama's plan to visit a northern Virginia middle-class family and claimed that the Democrat was underlining the "self-evident point that if the there is a deal and their taxes aren't raised by about $2,000, they'll be happier and spend more money."
The correspondent also uncritically pointed out how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner signaled that the White House was willing to go over the fiscal cliff if their demand for higher taxes isn't satisfied.
Each month before the jobs report is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hosts and guests of CNBC make predictions about the payroll employment number and unemployment rate.
On April 6, when the March data was released Steve Liesman was the high end predictor, with 290,000, and former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee was low, with 180,000. But everyone turned out to be wrong, when the BLS report showed gains of only 120,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent.
The question of whether or not Social Security is a Ponzi scheme moved from Wednesday's Republican presidential debate to the set of CNBC Thursday.
In a heated debate, CNBC's Rick Santelli and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman argued the issue with them ending up calling each other "idiotic" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Perhaps using a preemptive strike to help combat the May jobs report to be released on Friday, MSNBC has already found an excuse for lost jobs, and an increased unemployment rate – storms, tornadoes and flooding. According to a business report:
“…homes or places of business have been destroyed in this year's wave of storms, tornadoes and flooding. That means thousands of workers in the South and Midwest could be out of work for some time, potentially pushing up the nation's jobless rate and further taxing financially strapped state unemployment funds.”
Yet in 2004, when reporting on an October jobs report in which hiring had increased at the fastest pace in seven months, MSNBC somehow managed to find analysts who said the jump in hiring was due mainly to another form of natural disaster – hurricanes. The business report at that time read:
“Some analysts were skeptical about the latest surge of hiring, pointing out that much of the unusually large jump in October stemmed from cleanup and rebuilding in Florida and other states that were ravaged by four hurricanes…”
That assessment is buoyed by an accompanying CNBC video (seen below) in which Senior Economics Reporter, Steve Liesman, asks President Bush’s economic advisor, Gregory Mankiw, about the ‘Hurricane Effect’ on a jobs report.
On MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" today, Steve Liesman robustly defended raising gasoline taxes as a way to address rising oil prices.
The CNBC senior economics reporter minced no words to show his support for hiking the unpopular consumption tax in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery: "I want to offer that one of the real solutions here is a gas tax."
After positing that the problem with oil prices "is not that they're high, it's how they oscillate," Liesman claimed higher gas taxes "would accomplish two things: one, it would create incentives to use less of it and two, create a little more certainty around the price, which by the way is one of the things making gasoline a bad fuel for the economy."