Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Gov’t Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

02.26 DeVos to Conservative Conference: I Will Replace the Bush-Obama Failed Ideas with My Own Failed Ideas

Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

02.27 TRUMPCARE VS. OBAMACARE

02.27 Only China Can Save the Planet [Republicans cede renewable energy dominance to China, as if only fossil energy has worth. Could they be more stupid?]

02.27 With Obamacare in jeopardy, California considers going it alone with 'single-payer' system [with population larger than Canada, California could achieve better single-payer efficiencies than Canada's, with even greater efficiency when more states join in a common insurance market]

02.26 Windfarms aren’t the real reason energy bills are rising. Blame the free market

02.26 Food aid from warehouse to plate: fighting South Sudan’s famine – in pictures

02.26 Scott Pruitt vows to slash climate and water pollution regulations at CPAC [another immoral idiot speaks]

02.25 Revealed: thousands of children at London schools breathe toxic air [you can't see the most dangerous pollution, the particles are too small which makes them dangerous]

02.24 OMG measurements of Greenland give us a glimpse of future sea rise

02.24 Dutch minister calls on UK to join safe abortion fund after Trump ban

02.23 BREAKING: Exxon to Leave Up to 3.6 Billion Barrels of Tar Sands/Oil Sands in the Ground [Yay!]

02.23 Lancet Study on Life Expectancy by 2030 Confirms Poor US Performance

02.23 Climate scientists face harassment, threats and fears of 'McCarthyist attacks' [sociopathic behavior...]

02.23 The Case for a Fracking Ban

News Media Matters

02.26 Spurned Reporters should dump Trump Briefings, turn to Investigative Journalism

02.26 Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit [and Trump] [at what point is the label "traitor" apropriate?]

02.25 Donald Trump press ban: Guardian, BBC and CNN denied access to briefing

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

02.26 The Immigration Facts Donald Trump Doesn’t Like

02.26 'Incredibly Disappointing': Democrats Choose Tom Perez to Head Party [not changing is not the answer; can a party taking large campaign donations from healthcare companies ever support price-controlled single-payer?]

02.26 Trump national security adviser wants to avoid term 'radical Islamic terrorism', sources say [McMaster seems an unusually sane member of Trump's administration]

02.25 Wanted: Three Principled Republicans to Save America From Trump

02.25 REPUBLICANS ACCUSE VOTERS OF USING TOWN HALLS TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES

02.25 Resistance Recess Puts Congress on Notice for Supporting Trump’s Agenda

02.25 Steve Bannon: Trump is 'maniacally focused' on executing promises [videos; will increasingly unregulated and immoral capitalism save us?]

02.25 Donald Trump vows to 'get the bad people out' of US – as it happened

Justice Matters

02.26 The story of the week is Trump, Russia and the FBI. The rest is a distraction

02.26 Hate Crime Is Feared as 2 Indian Engineers Are Shot in Kansas [two foreigners walk into a red state bar...]

02.25 White House confirms conversation with FBI about Trump and Russia

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

02.25 Just as neoliberalism is finally on its knees, so too is the left

02.24 Michael Hudson: Why Failing to Solve Personal Debt and Polarization Will Usher in a New Dark Age

International

02.27 How Russia Is Using Oil Deals To Secure Its Influence In The Middle East [countries should get off of fossil fuels so the world can breathe]

02.27 Infographic: Here’s How the Global GDP Is Divvied Up

02.27 Twilight of the Technocrats? [caring for people and morals have to become prime factors!]

02.27 THE LONG HISTORY OF DEPORTATION SCARE TACTICS AT THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER [why can't we have altruistic policy to help people avoid becoming refugees? perhaps it is bad governments that should be helped...or punished. is U.S. drug policy the root problem?]

02.26 HOW PETER THIEL’S PALANTIR HELPED THE NSA SPY ON THE WHOLE WORLD [technology East Germany's STASI would have loved!]

02.25 CHINA’S NORTH KOREA PROBLEM

02.25 TRUMP, PUTIN, AND THE NEW COLD WAR

02.25 Marine Le Pen refuses to be questioned by French police

02.24 A Global Counter-Trump Movement Is Taking Shape

02.24 UN: $4.4bn needed to prevent 'catastrophe' of famine

02.24 Kim Jong-nam killed by VX nerve agent, say Malaysian police

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Scandiarabia

MEDIA ANALYSIS:

How the Economic News is Spun

When You Can't Obscure the News, Buy It

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Readers ask me to reconcile the jobs and debt data that I report to them with the positive economic outlook and good news that comes to them from regular news sources. Some readers are being snide, but most are sincere.

I am pleased to provide the explanation. First, let me give my reassurances that the numbers I report to you come straight from official US government statistics. I do not massage the numbers or rework them in any way. I cannot assure you that the numbers are perfectly reported to, and collected by, the government, but they are the only numbers we have.

Here is how to reconcile my reports with the good news you get from the mainstream media:

  1. When the US Department of Labor, for example, releases the monthly payroll jobs data, the press release will put the best spin on the data. The focus is on the aggregate number of new jobs created the previous month, for example, 150,000 new jobs. That sounds good. News reporters report the press release. They do not look into the data to see what kinds of jobs have been created and what kinds are being lost. They do not look back in time and provide a net job creation number over a longer period of time.

    This is why the American public is unaware that higher paid jobs in export and import-competitive industries are being phased out along with engineering and other professional "knowledge jobs" and replaced with lower paid jobs in domestic services. The replacement of higher paid jobs with lower paid jobs is one reason for the decline in median household income over the past five years. It is not a large decline, but it is a decline. How can it be possible for the economy to be doing well when median household income is not growing and when economic growth is based on increased consumer indebtedness?

    Many economists mistake offshore outsourcing with free trade based on comparative advantage. As a result of this mistake, ideology speaks instead of economic analysis. For example, Matthew J. Slaughter, an economics professor at Dartmouth, commits a huge error when he writes: "for every one job that US multinationals created abroad in their foreign affiliates they created nearly two US jobs in their parent operations." If Slaughter had consulted the BLS payroll jobs data, he would have realized that his claim could not possibly be true. Slaughter did not come to his conclusion by examining aggregate job creation. Instead, he measured the growth of US multinational employment and failed to take into account the two reasons for an increase in multinational employment: (1) multinationals acquired many existing smaller firms, thus raising multinational employment but not overall employment, and (2) many firms established foreign operations for the first time and thereby became multinationals, thus adding their existing employment to Slaughter's number for multinational employment. ABC News' John Stossel, a libertarian hero, recently made a similar error. In debunking Lou Dobbs' concern with US jobs lost to offshore outsourcing, Stossel invokes the California-based company, Collabnet. He quotes the CEO's claim that outsourcing saves his company money and lets him hire more Americans. Turning to Collabnet's web page, it is very interesting to see the employment opportunities that the company posts for the US and for India.

    In India, Collabnet has openings for 8 engineers, a sales engineer, a technical writer, and a tele-marketing representative. In the US, Collabnet has openings for one engineer, a receptionist/office assistant, and positions in marketing, sales, services, and operations. Collabnet is a perfect example of what Lou Dobbs and I report: the engineering and design jobs move abroad, and Americans are employed to sell and market the foreign made products.

  2. Wall Street economists are salesmen. The companies that employ them want to sell stocks and bonds. They don't want bad news. A bear market is not good for business. Similarly, business associations have the agenda of their members. Offshore outsourcing reduces their labor costs and boosts their profits and performance-based bonuses. Therefore, it is natural that their association reports put a positive spin on outsourcing. The same organizations benefit from work visas that allow them to bring foreign workers in as indentured servants to replace their more fractious and higher paid American employees. Thus, the myth of a US shortage of engineers and scientists. This myth is used to wheedle more subsidies in the form of more H-1B visas out of Congress.

  3. Official US government reports are written to obfuscate serious problems for which the government has no solution. For example, "The Economic Report of the President," written by the Council of Economic Advisers, blames the huge US trade deficit on the low rate of domestic savings. The report claims that if only Americans would save more of their incomes, they would not spend so much on imports, and the $726 billion trade gap would close.

    This analysis is nonsensical on its face. Offshore outsourcing has turned US production into imports. Americans are now dependent on offshore production for their clothes, manufactured goods and advanced technology products. There are simply no longer domestic suppliers of many of the products on which Americans depend.

    Moreover, many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, having lost their jobs to offshore outsourcing. They are living on credit cards and struggling to make minimum payments. Median household real incomes are falling as higher paid jobs are outsourced while Americans are relegated to lower paying jobs in domestic services.

    They haven't a dollar to save. As Charles McMillion points out, the February 28 report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that all GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2005 was due to the accumulation of unsold inventory and that consumers continued to outspend their incomes.

    Matthew Spiegleman, a Confeence Board economist, claims that manufacturing jobs are only slightly higher paid than domestic service jobs. He reaches this conclusion by comparing only hourly pay and by leaving out the longer manufacturing work week and the associated benefits, such as health care and pensions.

    Stossel simply does not know enough economics to be aware that he is being used. The bought-and-paid-for-economists are simply earning their living and their grants by serving the interests of corporate outsourcers.

  4. Policy reports from think tanks reflect what the donors want to hear. Truth can be "negative" and taken as a reflection on the favored administration in power. Consider, for example, the conservative, Bruce Bartlett, who was recently fired by the National Center for Policy Analysis for writing a truthful book about George Bush's economic policies. Donors to NCPA saw Bartlett's truthful book as an attack on George Bush, their hero, and withheld $165,000 in donations. There were not enough Bartlett supporters to step in and fill the gap, so he was fired in order to save donations.

    When I held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, I saw internal memos describing the grants CSIS could receive from the George H.W. Bush administration in exchange for removing me from the Simon chair.

    In America "truth" has long been for sale. We see it in expert witness testimony, in the corrupt reports from forensic labs that send innocent people to prison, and even in policy disputes among scientists themselves. In scholarship, ideas that are too challenging to prevailing opinion have a rough row to hoe and often cannot get a hearing.

    Even the president of Harvard University, Larry Summers, an academic economist of some note and a former Secretary of the Treasury, was forced to resign because he offered a politically incorrect hypothesis about the relative scarcity of women in science.

    The few reporters and columnists who are brave or naive enough to speak out are constrained by editors who are constrained by owners and advertisers. For example, it is impermissible to examine the gaping holes in the 9/11 Commission Report. Publications and editors are intimidated by the charge of "conspiracy theory," just as criticism of Israel is muted for fear of being labeled "anti-semitic."
All of these reasons and others make truth a scarce commodity.

Censorship exists everywhere and is especially heavy in the US mainstream media.


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com.


Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on March 4, 2006.

 

Public Service Ads: