Jobs Report: "Dismal"

Newsmax - A deceptively dismal jobs report, combined with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s acknowledgement that it might be another five years before hiring fully recovers, put the final nail in the coffin Friday on the Obama administration’s claim that nearly $1 trillion in stimulus spending has rescued the economy. Although the headline number is impressive, with unemployment falling from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent, the number of new jobs created was a big disappointment and far lower than private forecasters had predicted only days ago. The Labor Department reported just 103,000 new jobs in December, about half the level projected in private consensus forecasts.
An earlier report from private payroll company ADP had suggested that hiring might approach the 300,000 mark. “We’re just not getting the jobs yet. I was really disappointed with these numbers. I was expecting a pretty big number in terms of job creation,” Wall Street Journal editorial board member and senior economics writer Stephen Moore told MSNBC. “We need to be creating about two to three times more jobs than we are right now to start making real progress in putting Americans back to work,” Moore said. The total unemployment figure, on which most people focus, fell in large part because nearly a quarter million people simply gave up their job hunts and dropped out of the workforce altogether, according to Bureau of Labor statistics. There were 1.3 million so-called “discouraged workers” in December, an increase of 389,000 from December 2009, the government reported. Markets sold off on the jobs report following a bullish year-end push higher that seemed to price in a roaring recovery. Read full story here:


LFC Offers Budget Gap "Recommendations"

John Arthur Smith
Capitol Report New Mexico - The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) released its budget recommendations for the 2011-2012 fiscal year on Friday (Jan. 7), with lawmakers calling for a state budget 3.5 percent smaller than the previous fiscal year, although Medicaid funding jumped a whopping 42.2 percent due to the loss of federal stimulus funds. The LFC recommendations are just that — recommendations — and new Gov. Susana Martinez and her administration will turn in their own suggestions Monday, Jan. 10. “This is only half the equation,” Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming) said Friday. “We’ll see what the governor says and then we’ll get to work.” The legislature convenes on Jan. 18 and together with the governor’s office, lawmakers need to hammer out a budget deal to address the state’s deficit, which is estimated between $250 million-$400 million.
Overall, the LFC recommendations shave $193.7 million from the budget and is 11.5 percent (or $705.5 million) leaner than the 2009 fiscal budget. Read full story here:

A Bit of Insight Into Speaker Intrigue

Joseph Cervantes - State Rep. Joseph Cervantes is trying to form a bipartisan coalition to become speaker and has committed to Republicans that he’s on board if they are, three Democrats who support Cervantes say. “He is committed. He is fully committed,” Rep. Andy Nuñez, D-Hatch, said of the Las Cruces Democrat. “It’s in Republicans’ lap,” said Rep. Dona Irwin, D-Deming. “Voters have spoken. They want change. Now it’s up to Republicans. Do they want change?” Cervantes challenged current House Speaker Ben Luján, D-Nambé, unsuccessfully in a Democratic caucus meeting in November. Even before that, Nuñez, Irwin and Rep. Mary Helen Garcia – D-Las Cruces and Cervantes’ aunt – said they would support a bipartisan coalition, if necessary, to oust Luján.
Andy Nunez

Cervantes isn’t speaking publicly about the situation, but Garcia, like the others, confirmed that he is working to form a bipartisan coalition. He’s been talking with Republicans and Democrats to ask them for support. Luján has also been reaching out to members of both parties as he seeks enough votes to keep the position. Minority Leader Tom Taylor, R-Farmington, said a potential bipartisan coalition is one of the main topics of discussion among House Republicans. “It’s still out there and still in discussion, almost on a daily basis,” he said. “But there’s a lot of things that have to fall in line between now and then. We all know that it’s out there and that it’s a possibility.” Read full story here:


Bernanke is a Deficit Hawk

Washington Times - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke on Friday urged Congress to act to bring down trillion-dollar deficits that he warned threaten the nation's economic future. He said that sweeping plans offered last month by President Obama's deficit commission and other bipartisan groups offered "useful starting points for a much-needed national conversation about our medium- and long-term fiscal situation." Those plans included cuts in nearly every part of government, from defense and Social Security to veterans benefits and Medicare. And several also called for raising revenues by curbing cherished tax breaks such as the mortgage-interest deduction or through a national consumption tax. Read full story here:

Wonder About Daley? Progressive Hates Him

Bill Daley - “Ramrodding bills through because you’ve got the clout to do so—rather than because you’ve got arguments on your side—is not a good way to do the people’s business,” Barack Obama once said about Bill Daley, his new chief of staff. But that was back in 2003, when Obama was just in the state legislature, and Bill Daley was the head of SBC. Obama was criticizing Daley for his heavy-handed lobbying drive that benefitted the telecommunications company. Bill Daley excels at ramrodding bills through legislatures. He served as Bill Clinton’s Commerce Secretary and was tasked with being the chair of the administration’s Task Force on the North American Free Trade Agreement. In taking the chief of staff position, Daley will leave his post at JPMorgan Chase, where he oversaw its Congressional lobbying efforts.
Daley also serves on the board of directors of companies that will have business in Washington: Boeing, the giant defense contractor, Abbott Laboratories, the drug industry powerhouse, and Chase. The business community embraces the choice of Daley. “This is a strong appointment,” said Thomas J. Donahue, the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Read full column here:

Nightline - Biggest Political "Lie" of 2010?

Larry Elder
Townhall - Under ObamaCare, the federal government mandates that every man, woman and child purchase health insurance or face a tax; that insurers carry those with pre-existing illnesses and not drop anyone; that insurers allow "children" up to age 26 to remain on their parents' policy; that employers provide health insurance to employees or pay a tax; and that the states add 30 million previously uninsured to the Medicaid program irrespective of their ability to pay for it. This is a "government takeover." And it is a lie to characterize it as a "lie." Calling an opinion, and a perfectly reasonable one at that, a "lie" stretches the definition into something unrecognizable. OK, we're game. Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 political lies of 2010. Read full column here: