DO WE NEED GROWTH?

Don’t know if you have been listening to the series Stephanomics on BBC Radio 4. Presented by Stephanie “Two Eds” Flanders, this mornings gem focused on whether or not we really need economic growth. On the programme was the the biographer of John Maynard Keynes, Lord Skidelsky; the environmental economist, Cameron Hepburn; and the leading advocate of free-markets, Patrick Minford.  Skidelsky sees long term growth as undesirable.(If you follow Keynesian ideology, you needn’t worry about growth!)  Hepburn sees it as necessary but ONLY if it deals with global warming climate change. So Minford found himself in a minority when he argued for free markets and economic growth. For the debate to be structured in this way struck me as very odd and yet very BBC. The mainstream view – that economic growth is both desirable AND essential – is marginalised and instead the listener is presented with crank left wing views which are presented as if they are the mainstream. I am also fed up with the way the BBC misrepresents free markets. The sort of crony capitalism that has caused so much woe is NOT the free market but rather the opposite of it but in its desire to bury capitalism, the BBC chooses to blindfully blur the difference. Perhaps the fact that the BBC operates in glorious seclusion from the free market which makes it so unbalanced?

NOTHING TO SEE, MOVE ALONG

Did anyone else catch Stephanie “Two Eds” Flanders on the Today programme this morning discussing the economic policies of Francois Hollande? I was stunned to hear her claim that there is really very little, if any, substantive difference between what the foaming at the mouth Socialist Hollande has in mind and what Sarkzoy was doing. Total nonsense. It is Hollande’s radicalism that won the election (along with people being fed up with Sarkozy and who can blame them?) but to allege that he is a moderate is just plain biased analysis. It’s as if the BBC wants to instantly portray Hollande as a middle of the road centrist, nothing to see, move along. 75% tax rate? Only for the wealthy! Spend what you don’t have? That’s called “growth” or “investment” in these modern times! Maybe economics guru Flanders wants to look at what has happened the Euro since Monsieur Hollande won the poll.  Stephanomics? No – more like Balls economics, if you know what I mean.

STEPHANOMICS?


Ed Balls’ andLabour’s whole line of attack on Coalition economic policy has been blown outof the water by the IFS ‘Green Budget’ report but strangely enough this is not considered ‘headlinenews’ for the BBC’s economic guru Stephanie Flanders


Biased BBC’s Alan notes;


“Balls claims that Osborne’s economic policies have cut growth and increasedborrowing because of that. The IFS report resoundingly shatters that delusion saying that Labour wouldhave caused borrowing to skyrocket by an extra £200bn in 7 years:

‘In a blow to shadow chancellor Ed Balls, the IFS undermined Labour’s argumentthat cutting ‘too far and too fast’ has driven up borrowing by choking offgrowth. The watchdog said that under the plan proposed by former Labour ChancellorAlistair Darling before the General Election, the deficit would be £76 billionin 2016-17 rather than the £24 billion currently forecast. In total, a Labour government that followed Mr Darling’s plan would haveborrowed around £200 billion more over the seven year period than planned bythe Coalition.’

But what does the BBC tell us in the shape of Stephanie Flander’s‘Steph’n’Nonsense’ blog? She fails to mention Labour’s extra £200bn borrowing at all though she does deignto tell us that perhaps the extra Coalition borrowing is not caused by theausterity policy….but this is merely ‘a small poke in the eye’ forBalls…not headline stuff!

‘Is Ed Balls right to blame the government for this poor performance? The IFSdoesn’t answer this directly. Labour would say that the extra tax rises and spending cuts introduced by thecoalition have been a waste of time – indeed, may even have hurt borrowing bytanking the recovery. There’s a complicated answer to that question in this report, but the bottomline is that the IFS does not really buy the Ed Balls version of reality. The think tank does not think the extra borrowing has been caused by the extraausterity, or not very much of it. Not a great headline, perhaps – but another small poke in the eye for Ed Ballsfrom the guild of independent economists.’

A major plank of Labour’s attack is torpedoed and Flander’s thinks this is notheadline news…in fact not news at all…as she doesn’t mention the £200 bn albatross. However credit where credit is due…she does reveal this!

‘Kevin Daly from Goldman Sachs noted recently, the official story that we havepermanently lost at least 7-8% of our national output in this crisis impliesthat the past few years have done more lasting damage to our economic potentialthan either World War II or the Great Depression.’

‘More lasting damage than WWII or the Great Depression’! And note the weasel phrase ‘past few years’…..the Coalition has been in powerfor nearly 2 years…is she suggesting that they are to blame?

She seems reluctant to state the unvarnished truth, namely that economic stabilityand potential has been destroyed by Gordon Brown and his team of Treasuryadvisers….that is Ed Balls and Ed Miliband….currently the two main playersin the Labour Party car crash now….and of course both ex boy friends of theBBC’s very own Stephanie Flanders.

This (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16829768)is the official BBC report on the Green Budget…and is intent on claiming theIFS supports Ball’s policies of more borrowing and ‘stimulus’…and of coursefails to mention all the above.

WHEN GOOD NEWS IS NO NEWS!

Good to see the Daily Mail following in our humble footsteps and getting stuck in to the State Broadcaster;

“Two hours before Britain’s economic figures were released yesterday, the BBC enthusiastically predicted that growth would be ‘even worse than we thought’. The potential economic slowdown was discussed at length in grave tones for three and a half minutes on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme. The issue was considered important enough to be placed third on the programme’s news bulletins at 7.30am and 8am. 

Unfortunately, their pessimistic predictions were wrong. Instead of growth being worse than forecast, it was better. But rather than injecting a more optimistic tone into their analysis, they simply relegated the story to being an also-ran. 

Indeed it dropped off some later bulletins altogether. The World at One on Radio 4 did not include it in its headlines, neither did BBC1’s 1pm news. Earlier on the Today programme, the normally scrupulously impartial John Humphrys introduced the economy story with a dose of doom. He said: ‘We know the economy is slowing down, which is another way of saying the nation won’t be getting much richer, if at all. But today the latest revised growth figures will be published and everyone seems to think they will show it’s even worse than we thought.’

If only the Mail would get with the BBC view of economics and accept that we need to follow the received wisdom of Stepahnie “Two Eds” Flanders and resort to Plan B ….more unfunded spending.


NO SAFE HAVEN, NO IMPARTIALITY

“Over the past few weeks we have heard a new refrain from the BBC George Osborne says that low interest rates and foreign investment are a sign of confidence in his economic policies. However the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders (and others in the Beeb) beg to differ….it is a sign of looming economic disaster and investors are panicking.

“I guess it depends on your definition of safe haven. Investors are buying UK government debt these days, not dumping it. The chancellor says that is the reward for his commitment to bring down the deficit.  But yields are also falling because investors are panicking. As Mr Osborne understands very well, when it comes to the global recovery, we are not a safe haven and we never will be.’

It all comes together of course when you hear something else from Stephanie on Newsnight that I missed….

“It has been mildly nauseating the last few days the way the Chancellor has sort of crowed here about how we are a safe haven and no one is worried about our commitment to cutting the deficit.”

Perhaps not something you would expect to hear from an impartial journalist. Then again, “Two Eds” is not impartial.”



Hat-tip to Alan

MORE FLANDERNOMICS


Laughed at Stephanie “Two Eds” Flander waffling on the BBC this morning. Once again, she is pushing the farcical notion that what she calls “growth” must not be sacrificed by trying to control out of control Government spending! In other words, she is fully aligned with the madness of Ed Balls and the “Plan B” brigade from outer space. I also was amused by her cringing deference to that fiscal intellect Madame LaGarde. The IMF like the UN is above criticism when viewed through the BBC prism. Gillian Tett from the Financial Times was brought on to provide a little more support for Obama’s brave new world but don’t think she was quite on-message.

U.S. Government Shut Down Blues – A Dishonest BBC Song

The BBC keeps reporting on the debt and budget talks between the President and the Republicans in the House of Representatives. The latest report covers the announcement by Moody’s that they’re going to review the US credit rating with an eye to downgrade it to a default risk.

My position is that the BBC has an ideological stance when it comes to government borrowing, spending, and debt. Stephanie Flanders has trumpeted the Keynesian solution on a number of occasions (just search her name on this blog and read the links to her pearls of wisdom), thinks the Greek bailout worked (yeah, I know, which one?) and at one point even told us that the US would never default.

With this in mind, let’s look at the BBC’s report on the Moody’s news. As everyone here knows, the problem is that the US is at an impasse regarding the debt ceiling. We either have to raise it, or do some serious cutting in spending right now. There are ideological opponents on each side, but there are also hard facts which are not debatable. The BBC says this about the President’s side of the argument:

He has said he is willing to countenance cuts to social safety-net programmes dear to Democrats, as long as there are tax rises for the rich.

Republicans have rejected the latter proposal, saying that would stifle investment and job growth.

This is false. In fact, it’s more than the class war stuff. As I posted the other day, the President said Himself that He wants to raise taxes on a lot more in 2013, which, you know, is what the whole budget deal is about. Yeah, the BBC censored that bit out of the speech video they showed you. So all you know is that Republicans are holding the country hostage over protecting the evil rich. But since it’s the White House Narrative, that’s what they’re going to report.

Now, about that debt ceiling:

When it came to the crunch in the past, Congress regularly voted to raise the debt ceiling, giving government access to the cash it needed.

How about some context, BBC? The current situation is unprecedented, and Congress never rubber-stamped (that’s implied by the BBC sub-editor’s choice of words) an increase when the country’s finances were in such dire straits. It’s completely dishonest to compare today with the past, and act as if the Republicans are somehow an anomaly and not the situation itself. But they do it anyway.

This year, however, newly empowered Republicans have demanded steep cuts in government spending in return for raising the limit.

“Newly empowered”, eh, BBC? I think we all know what that means: Evil Tea Party Influence. It’s funny, because the BBC and Obamessiah worshiper Mark Mardell initially claimed that the Tea Party hurt the Republicans in the mid-terms. But never mind that. I don’t need to remind anyone here what the Tea Party movement represents to the Beeboids. So back to BBC dishonesty.

Mr Obama has proposed a package of up to $4 trillion in budget deficit reduction over the next 10 years, but Republicans have rejected that and other proposals because it calls for raising taxes.

Again, false. I posted a few days ago about how this White House/BBC Narrative is also false. He’s not giving in on the entitlements at all. But the BBC doesn’t care, they just keep spinning for the leader of a foreign country. Notice also the appearance of “newly empowered Republicans” in a previous BBC propaganda piece report about the budget talks. I’d say this code for “Evil Tea Party Influence” has made its way into the BBC style guide, but it’s probably just the same Beeboid writing it. But still: Narrative? What Narrative, eh?

And then Keynes raises his ugly head again, in the form of Ben Bernanke.

In his testimony to Congress, Mr Bernanke said the Fed would renew stimulus efforts if the economy remained weak.

The Fed’s second quantitative easing programme (QE2) ended two weeks ago, and there has been much speculation about whether a QE3 programme is on the cards.

Now, to someone who is trying to follow reality and is not ideologically locked into policy, this might sound like the captain of the Titanic saying that he’s just going to cut another hole in the hull to help the water flow out the other side. At least the BBC didn’t censor news that people in the real world see it that way:

The dollar extended earlier losses against the euro following Mr Bernanke’s comments, with the euro rising more than a cent to $1.4088.

Now, if, as we heard before from the BBC, printing money and throwing it around increasing borrowing for more stimulus works, why would the dollar tank against a currency that’s the shakiest thing going when the Fed suggests more of it?

Analysts said that Mr Bernanke had only raised the possibility of a further stimulus, and was not saying that it was necessary.

Oh, right, it’s not really his fault, just stupid speculators over-reacting.

Alternatively, it could be because the previous “stimulus” efforts failed and only added another couple trillion dollars to the debt.

Morning Bell: Why Obama’s Stimulus Failed

Oops, my bad. That’s about how the first stimulus failed. Here’s something on QE2:

Obama’s People Admit Stimulus Failed Miserably In Creating Jobs

So we can see how….hang on…what the hell is this?

Democrats Press Obama to Include Stimulus in Debt Deal After Jobs Report

Democrats pressed for some form of economic stimulus in the debt deal President Barack Obama is negotiating with Republicans following a U.S. Labor Department report yesterday showing job growth slowing.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the chamber’s third- ranking Democrat, called for an “immediate jolt” to the economy by extending and enlarging a one-year payroll-tax cut that’s set to expire Dec. 31. He asked for action “as quickly as possible by including it in the final debt-limit agreement.”

You have got to be kidding me. No wonder we’re heading towards a Weimar-type situation. So it’s not Republican intransigence to protect the evil rich at all. And the BBC has told you none of this. All you know is the heroic Obamessiah has been trying to save us from ourselves.

Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.

U.S. News The BBC Thinks You Don’t Need To Know

While they’re eager to tell you the latest updates from the White House spokesman, celebrity gossip, irrelevant death tattle, a human interest story about a US Communist who moved to the paradise of China, every new detail on a celebrity rape case, and a non-story about how a manufacturing increase really isn’t one (but it made for a good opportunity for a headline to mislead the lazy reader into thinking that The Obamessiah’s economy is on the mend), there are quite a few things going on in the US that might be of more interest and import.

The BBC’s North America editor has been rather silent since his last dismissal of a newly-declared Republican candidate for an election that’s 18 months away. One would think there are a number of issues on which he could comment. For example:

Public sector unions versus the Government is the biggest story in Britain right now (in between live coverage of Kate & Wils’ Canadapalooza, I mean). One would think that the exact same issue coming to a boil in a few US states would be worth your attention. Only the BBC has been silent about the events in Wisconsin and Ohio.

Many people here probably remember a few months back when the BBC actually did report on public sector union protests against the evil Republicans who (insert NUT/PCS talking point about attacking the poorest and most vulnerable here). As was pointed out here at the time, the BBC’s coverage was biased in favor of the unions and censored news of violence and unlawful behavior by union supporters which might harm the cause in the public eye. The point is, though, that the BBC though you should be informed about the union’s cause, all the way until they lost. Then….silence.

The problem for the BBC is that it turns out that at least part of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s victory has, contrary to the protests at the time, in fact been good for schools. One school district even went from a $400k budget deficit to a $1.5 million surplus. Sure, there are about to be 354 teachers and a number of desk-jockeys laid off because of budget cuts, but there is also going to be a big increase in school vouchers. More independent schools equals more choice for students and parents, and more jobs for teachers: if they’re worth it.

Seeing as how this is directly relevant to what’s going on in Britain right now, this ought to be of interest to you. Except it’s on the wrong side of the Narrative.

In Ohio, another Republican Governor who defeated the incumbent Democrat in November just passed a major state budget in which he cut a lot of stuff and practically made up for a $6 billion+ deficit over the next two years – all without raising taxes. This is the exact opposite of what the President just recommended (and about which the BBC made sure to inform you), and the kind of plan which Justin Webb told you doesn’t exist.

If that’s not enough to make this story relevant, then consider that Ohio is considered by most pundits to be the poster child of “swing states”. Where Ohio goes in mid-term elections, so goes the rest of the country in the next general election. You can bet that Beeboids assigned to the US know all about this concept. They have no problem covering the early fits and starts of the election campaign itself (we’ve already had plenty of coverage of the Republican debate, speeches, appearances, Sarah Palin, etc.), but the BBC is going to be shy about mentioning this because Ohio made a major turn towards Republicans last November, taking the Governor’s seat, as well as winning most of the state’s Congressional seats, and a bunch of other top offices. And yes, the state legislature is majority Republican now. This budget is the exact kind of thing the Tea Party movement has been pushing for over the last two years and more, in a state which is often looked to as a weather vane for the country, and the BBC remains silent.

California has such severe budget problems that they’re practically bankrupt (when did you last hear about this from the BBC?), and need every last dime they can scrape up. So what did the State Legislature do? They passed a law requiring sales tax on online sales from Amazon.com. Sounds simple enough: install a new tax where none existed before, raise loads of revenue. Except Amazon told them beforehand that if the tax was enacted, they’d shut down the accounts of all the Amazon Affiliates in the state because it would Amazon’s profit (this was really about big brick-and-mortar retailers fighting their online competition). So when the tax went into effect the other day, about 25,000 people logged on to find out their accounts were shut down.

Result: The $151 million in income tax these people pay every year just vanished into thin air, in exchange for….um….no sales tax revenue for the state. California, by the way, is run by a far-Left Governor and a Democrat-controlled State Legislature. Whether one agrees with Amazon or California, this is a pretty major deal that has more informative news value than a special feature comparing Michelle Bachmann with Sarah Palin. Although that depends on what one’s newsgathering priorities are.

While Justin Webb can tell you that the Republicans don’t have a plan to reduce the debt, and only raising taxes on the rich is the way forward, nobody at the BBC is going to tell you that The Obamessiah’s plan to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the failed institutions which fueled the mortgage crash that led to the economic crisis we’re all still dealing with – will cost 2.5 times more than He said it would. $317 billion down the toilet, to prop up two failed government-funded organizations, which will only continue the damage they’re doing to the housing market.

His big stimulus package? All that “quantitative easing” Stephanie ‘Two Ed’s Flanders was sure would work? Didn’t do a thing. $2 trillion (!) down the tubes, all thanks to ideology. Not a word from the BBC. Again, this is exactly the kind of thing that fueled the growth of the Tea Party movement, and you can bet will be relevant in the coming election.

The BBC did find time today to mention that corn prices have dropped due to a bumper crop, suggesting that this is a sign that food prices will finally start to drop as well. Except they don’t tell you that ethanol subsidies have screwed things up so badly that both political parties voted at last to drop the massive tax breaks for ethanol farmers. These subsidies mean less people grow the corn we (and beef cattle) eat in favor of “dirty corn” for fuel, so food prices go up. The In this case, the Tea Party-inspired Republicans actually voted to raise taxes. One would think this kind of flip-flop is something the BBC would be eager to report with cries of “hypocrisy!”, never mind how it’s totally relevant to the story of a temporary drop in corn prices. Only they don’t think it’s worth your interest. Why?

Remember last week when the President announced he’d release 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to help reduce skyrocketing fuel prices? It turns out that He learned a lesson from last year’s Gulf Oil Spill and waved the Jones Act to allow foreign ships to come in and deliver it. One would have thought this is the kind of smart move the BBC would tell you about. Only they’d have to remind you of one of His errors they censored before, so never mind.

That’s enough US news for now, so I’d like to ask everyone here two questions:

1. Does the BBC, with all the staff assigned to the scene, keep you informed on US issues you think are important?

2. What kind of stories does the BBC ignore which you think they ought to report?

THE IMPARTIAL GENE GENIE

Here is a guest post by Clameur de Haro.
“With all the protestations coming from Our Beloved Bastion of Collectivism about how impartiality is in their genes, I thought I’d occasionally delve a little deeper into the genes of some of its more prominent luminaries to try and establish just how much impartiality there is to be found there. 

Stephanie Flanders (above) seemed as good a place as any to start – and topical too, for she’s been much in evidence in recent days, pronouncing Thursday on the G20 in Seoul (but contradicted very convincingly at 1:54:25 by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs Asset Management) and a couple of days earlier on the US’ latest round of quantitative easing (but contradicted persuasively even by Larry Elliott in the Guardian!).

It turns out that Flanders’ maternal grandfather was none other than that gifted writer but also long-time communist sympathiser and probable Soviet agent of influence, the journalist Claud Cockburn. 

Cockburn it was who, when covering the Spanish Civil War, was accused by George Orwell of slanting his reports to discredit non-Stalinist elements fighting against Franco, and of being Stalin’s confidant, mouthpiece and direct agent in Spain: Cockburn it was too who recanted his previous opposition to the 1930s’ appeasement of Hitler immediately on the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 which conceded to Stalin the subjugation of Eastern Poland. It’s sometimes alleged that, curiously, despite his professed sympathies for Stalinism and antipathy to capitalism, Cockburn never visited the Soviet Union but visited the US on many occasions – well, I guess you have to experience a free society many times to remind yourself how bad it is………

Flanders also has as one of her half-uncles the US-based journalist Alexander Cockburn, equally a very fine writer, but one who – apart from his scepticism about the AGW scam – is predominantly left-wing. Among the most consistent themes of his writing are: criticism of the Democrats for not being sufficiently “progressive”: criticism of US foreign policy generally and of support for Israel in particular: and criticism of those already on the left who attack political positions further to the left than their own.

Flanders is an alumna of the same St Paul’s Girls’ School which counts Harriet Harman and Shirley Williams as former students, and is noted for her close networking links with current pillars of the Labour establishment. (Two Eds…..DV)

None of this is to decry Flanders’ formidable intelligence, commitment, or achievements – we’re not talking ability here, after all, we’re talking genes, and it’s not us, it’s the Beeb, who brought the subject up. But, with that kind of pedigree, surely we mere mortals of ignorant licence-payers could be forgiven for wondering whether, whatever it is that’s actually in Our Steffie’s genes, impartiality between statist collectivism and free-market libertarianism it quite probably ain’t.

STEPHANOMICS AND STIGLITZ

Stephanie Flanders is pretty excited by the decision by the US ‘Fed’ decided to pump $600 bn intothe US economy.Whilst the rest of the media reported that just about everyindustrial country in the world was outraged by the US move ‘Stephanomics’ wasas usual behind the curve :

” This week’s statement by the Federal Reserve hasachieved all that Ben Bernanke might have hoped it would achieve; stocks areup, the dollar is down, and so are US bond yields. We can’t say for sure thatit will “work”, but all of these developments ought to be netpositive for the US economy….the US sees competitive depreciation as awin-win for them. If other countries, with flexible countries, don’t respondwith QE2 of their own, then their currencies will strengthen, and demand for USgoods in those economi! es will (theoretically) go up. If they do respond, withmore easing to counteract the rise in the currency, then global demand goes up,and the US is once again better off. Put that way, it sounds like a no-brainer’

What is missing is the BBC’s usual kneejerk jump to get a comment from JosephStiglitz, Nobel prize winning economist….and supporter of Labour’s and theBBC’s positon that ‘stimulus’ works, tax cuts don’t. This time Stiglitz wasopposed to the Fed’s printing money….saying Fed policies will not reduce longterm interest rates and produce loans for SME’s and are creating chaos inemerging markets…the money is going to emerging markets which don’t want themoney…because India and China are doing fine, but the influx of short termmoney creates a bubble and increases exchange rates, destabilising theireconomy…The US policy is having an adverse effect around the world.


So no gig for Stiglitz! If you run against their meme, you’re history