Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China, formally announced yesterday that he will seek the Republican nomination for president:
Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) launched his presidential campaign Tuesday with the message that he is a post-partisan political leader.
Speaking with the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline as his backdrop in an effort to evoke Ronald Reagan, who held a campaign event from the same spot a generation ago, Huntsman said he would bring to the presidency a focus on substance and not on politics.
“We will conduct this campaign on the high road,” Huntsman said during his speech, calling modern political debate mostly “corrosive.”
The mounting debt and other problems facing the United States are “un-American,” he said. But he wouldn’t extend that line of attack against his former boss, President Obama.
Huntsman said his campaign against the president for whom he’d served as ambassador would boil down to policy, not attacks on patriotism.
“He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love,” Huntsman said. “But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president, not who’s the better American.”
Stimulus works, right? At least, that’s what the rhetoric from DC has said since the housing meltdown began. We needed to take money from hardworking Americans and give it to someone to create jobs. President Obama has often touted “jobs created or saved”, despite sharing how he knows those jobs were actually “saved”.
Green lightbulb company saves or creates or funds 3 jobs at $1.7 million in stimulus money per job.
More than 2.7 million mortgage deadbeats are still living in homes they have not made a payment on in more than a year. Average time from first missed payment to foreclosure is now 565 days.
Number of Americans renouncing citizenship is growing.
Actual good news: More homeowners are moving into 15-year fixed mortgages to build up equity. Bill McBride digs up great mortgage-burning ad for Miller High Life.
Lost half-decade: Start date of economic slump earlier than previously thought.
First indication that UK made right call in eschewing further stimulus: Unemployment across the pond is dropping at fastest rate in 10 years.
From the folks at American Crossroads:
Do Americans have shovels at the ready to bury big government?
All economic discussion here lately really tends to boil down to the question of whether the stimulus programs by Presidents Bush and Obama worked. For most Americans, they’re willing to forgive a great many sins if they actually worked. I could sit down and take a look at what is what, but why bother? Lawrence Lindsey at The Weekly Standard already did it.
Here’s the part that really stuck with me:
Government policies to “stimulate” growth have not done so. Everyone except flacks for the White House knows that the 2009 stimulus package failed miserably to produce the promised results. But even if you buy the White House’s argument that the $800 billion package created 3 million jobs, that works out to $266,000 per job. Taxing or borrowing $266,000 from the private sector to create a single job is simply not a cost effective way of putting America back to work. The long-term debt burden of that $266,000 swamps any benefit that the single job created might provide.
We spent $266,000 – which has to be paid for via taxation – to create a single job. Unless that job is Warren Buffet’s equivalent in income, I think we all got screwed on the deal.
However, remember the horror stories we were told of what live would be like without the stimulus, and how awesome we would be doing if we passed the stimulus? Well, without the stimulus, we were told that unemployment could reach as high as 9%, but that if we passed it we would never see unemployment greater than 8%. Well, we passed it. The result?
Last week, it was announced that unemployment had risen .1%. The economy only gained 54,000 jobs. The Dow was moving in the wrong direction, which affects millions of Americans who don’t remotely qualify as “rich”. What does all of this mean? It’s simple. That’s the idea that we’re in a recovery has as much basis if fact as unicorns and leprechauns.
While we may not be having the collapse we were just a couple of years ago, we’re clearly not in anything approaching a recovery. In a recovery, people go to work. The stock markets builds. Things start moving in a much more positive direction. However, that just ain’t happening.
Instead, we have a great deal of instability. While unemployment may improve over several months, it can then drop over the next month or two. Even with a generally downward trend, that instability doesn’t exactly engender confidence in the US economy.
Things are rough all over though. Greece is looking to the EU for yet another round of bailouts (and people are already protesting the necessary austerity measures to go along with it). Portugal has had a recent change in government due to their economy as well. No one seems to really be doing well.
Now, it’s easy for people to see a couple of indicators and say “See? It’s getting better.” Honestly, I wish that was the truth. However, that just ain’t the case. Instead, those are false indicators of recovery…or so they seem at this point. Had indicators improved over a longer period of time, it might have been fine. Instead, investors are unsure what they should be doing with their money. They seem to decide that it’s best to just sit on their money for the time being. That means money isn’t being invested, money needed to create new jobs.
As has been speculated, the unemployment numbers for May show a slowing job market and an unemployment rate that has increased to 9.1%; according to figures released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The U.S. economy may be in for a prolonged period of soft growth as employers hired the fewest number of workers in eight months in May and the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 54,000 last month, the Labor Department said, fewer than the most pessimistic forecast in the Reuters survey and just over a third of what economists had expected.
The employment report which showed broad weakness confirmed the loss of momentum in the economy already flagged by other data from consumer spending to manufacturing, and stoked fears the economy could be facing a more troubling stretch of weakness than had been thought.
“There are plenty of reasons to expect the third quarter will be better. But the question is now becoming how much better?,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Economists had pinned the economy’s sluggishness largely on high energy prices, supply chain disruptions stemming from Japan’s earthquake and tornadoes and flooding in the U.S. Midwest and South. The department said it found “no clear impact” from weather on the jobs figures.
The private sector, which has shouldered the burden of job creation added just 83,000 jobs, the least since last June, while government payrolls dropped 29,000.
Adding to the gloomy labor market picture, about 39,000 fewer jobs were created in March and April than previously estimated.
Payrolls had been expected to rise 150,000, with private employment gaining 175,000.
There are worries, despite several months of job growth and signs of an economic recovery, that the economy is slowing down:
The drumbeat of bad news about the U.S. economy got louder on Wednesday, rattling financial markets and driving stocks to their biggest drop in a year.
The U.S. factory sector, which has been an engine of the recovery, notched its biggest one-month slowdown since 1984 as companies hit the brakes on hiring and production. Another report showed private-sector hiring dropped precipitously in May, prompting economists to ratchet down their expectations for the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 279.65 points, or 2.2%, to 12290.14, its biggest point decline since June 4 of last year. Investors piled into the safety of Treasury bonds, sending yields on the 10-year note below 3% for the first time this year. Yields move in the opposite direction of price.
Wednesday’s reports marked a notable shift in sentiment, particularly among stock investors, who have largely shrugged off signs of economic weakness, choosing to focus on strong corporate-earnings growth. The slowdown of manufacturing output could crimp those profits.
The disappointing U.S. economic data followed poor manufacturing reports around the globe. The numbers, together with evidence of a continuing downdraft in housing and signs that companies and consumers remain apprehensive about spending, suggest the economy is rapidly losing speed.
Why won’t Jon Huntsman be the Republican nominee in 2012? This video posted by Verum Serum highlights many positions Huntsman has taken, including support for cap-and-trade and the stimulus, that aren’t going to jive well with the Republican base:
Over at Slate, Dave Weigel offers up an interview by Neil Cavuto from early 2009 with Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, Ambassador to China and likely GOP presidential candidate, where he not only expressed support in the concept of economic; but believed the package being pushed through Congress wasn’t large enough (emphasis Weigel’s):
CAVUTO: Were you against the stimulus, Governor?
HUNSTMAN: Well, if I were in Congress, I probably would not have voted in favor because it didn’t have enough stimulus and probably wasn’t big enough to begin with.
Huntsman has been playing down his support of the stimulus. For example, in a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos, Huntsman said that he wanted more in terms of tax breaks; including a corporate income tax cut. However, Weigel points to a post at Washington Monthly by Steve Benen, who breaks down that claim; posting video of Huntsman in his on words:
Some Keynesians, such as Larry Summers, are claiming that the recent earthquake in Japan - truly a devastating and saddening event that has claimed the lives of thousands - could help that country’s economy:
It may lead to some temporary increments ironically to GDP as a process of rebuilding takes place. In the wake of the earlier Kobe earthquake Japan actually gained some economic strength.
After expressing sorrow for the people of Japan, former White House economics adviser Larry Summers said, “it may lead to some temporary increments in GDP as a process of rebuilding takes place. In the wake of the earlier Kobe earthquake, Japan actually gained some economic strength.” Any economist is dead wrong to claim that there is a silver lining in a natural or man-made disaster. As it turns out, earthquakes and tsunamis are not stimuli. Destruction will not create prosperity.
As economics Professor Steven Horwitz notes, “If one really believes such disasters are good for the economy, even in the short run, then one should positively recommend burning down neighborhoods and destroying farm machinery. After all, think of the demand for construction workers and equipment, as well as the demand for manual labor on farms that would generate. Why we’d be rich as kings in no time, right?”