The fraud in GDP growth statistics continues

New York Times, today:

The U.S. economy remained resilient early this year, with a strong job market fueling robust consumer spending. The trouble is that inflation was resilient, too.

Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That was down sharply from the 3.4 percent growth rate at the end of 2023 and fell well short of forecasters’ expectations.

The word “population” doesn’t occur in the article, though it is critically important. If the population is growing at a 1.7 percent annual rate, for example, Americans are currently on track to become poorer on a per capita basis.

How much did the population grow? It’s almost impossible to say because our population growth is driven by undocumented migration and the error bars on estimates are huge (see “Yale Study Finds Twice as Many Undocumented Immigrants as Previous Estimates”).

Separately, the GDP of Harvard Square is growing. An “essential” marijuana retailer seems to have opened up on Church Street. Photos from this evening:

It’s also a great time to be a tent retailer. The “Free Palestine” encampment in Harvard Yard, view from outside Harvard’s police-guarded border wall:

Here are the stickers that supporters of Hamas/UNRWA/Palestinian Islamic Jihad have added to Harvard’s “the Yard is closed” signs:

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Why did NPR hire a white person as its new CEO?

Katherine Maher, the former head of Wikipedia and recently hired CEO of state-sponsored NPR, has been in the news lately. Christopher Rufo has been highlighting her years of progressive-themed tweets. This one is my favorite:

(It’s actually a prompt of exclusion since the password does not include “Ze”)

What I can’t figure out is why NPR hired this white native-born 40-year-old. Here’s the NPR diversity policy:

If diversity is their core value, as they say, why couldn’t they find a CEO who fits into more corners of the “big tent” that they’ve identified? A Black gay transgender poor religious old disabled conservative undocumented immigrant, for example. And why did she take the job? She says that she wants to help sex workers, Black and brown people, Muslims, “LGBTQ+ folks”, et al. Shouldn’t she have rejected the offer and told NPR to hire someone who fit into one of those categories?

Some more tweets from the head of the taxpayer-funded radio network:

(It’s a “man’s world”, but someone with only a bachelor’s degree was able to get the top jobs at Wikipedia and NPR without identifying as a “man”?)

Don’t have kids, but invite 100 million migrants and their kids into a high-carbon society from their low-carbon societies? Hearing about the possibility that immigrants destroyed the natives (Anglo-Saxons moving into present-day Britain) makes her more confident that open borders are the correct choice for current Americans:

In case the original of my favorite tweet goes into a memory hole:

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The skeptical journalists at NPR and the New York Times

A tweet that senior New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof deleted is vaguely viewable via The Google:

State-sponsored NPR and Kristof did not question the idea that 30,000 trucks were trying to get into Gaza right now. At a standard load of 80,000 lbs. per truck, this works out to 2.4 billion lbs. of aid in the backup or roughly 1,000 lbs. per resident of Gaza (2.3 million on October 7 and perhaps slightly larger now due to 65,000+ births per year).

These are the same folks whom we rely on to enlighten us regarding the crimes of Donald J. Trump, the best cloth masks for preventing infection by an aerosol virus, the merits of higher tax rates and larger government, etc.

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The Biden Administration cutoff of UNRWA, as reported by state-sponsored media

“Biden administration to restore $235m in US aid to Palestinians” (BBC, 2021):

US President Joe Biden’s administration plans to provide $235m (£171m) of aid to Palestinians, restoring part of the assistance cut by Donald Trump.

“UNRWA loses funding after charges that some employees took part in Hamas attack” (state-sponsored NPR, January 29, 2024):

The U.S. and more than a dozen other donors have now paused funding for the U.N. agency that aids Palestinians, or UNRWA. The U.N. says the agency could run out of money within weeks. NPR’s Michele Kelemen reports that the U.N. has been facing allegations that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 attack on Israel.

Congressional Research Service, February 2, 2024:

The US fiscal year starts on October 1, almost the same date as the glorious October 7 Al-Aqsa Flood operation. So the U.S. has provided $121 million to UNRWA since the attack and withheld $300,000. This 0.25% reduction in funding (or failure to increase funding by 0.25%?) is what state-sponsored National Public Radio characterizes as a “funding pause”.

In other journalistic success stories, we can look at a New York Times headline, “Tesla Recalls About 2.2 Million Electric Vehicles Over Warning Light Font Size”:

Tesla is recalling about 2.2 million vehicles because the font on the warning lights panel was too small to comply with safety standards, U.S. regulators said on Friday.

“Warning lights with a smaller font size can make critical safety information on the instrument panel difficult to read, increasing the risk of a crash,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a notice.

The recall is one of several that Tesla has made in recent years, a setback for the company, the dominant maker of electric vehicles in the United States.

It’s “a setback for the company” to bring 2.2 million cars in for service? The font size tweak was done in one of the standard over-the-air software updates, a fact that is buried by the New York Times in a subhead and never explained in the article.

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Two men kiss (front page news for the New York Times)

January 28, 2024, front page of the New York Times:

And the link to the full story if you feel that you need to know more.

An window into what’s on the minds of progressives! (But how is it consistent with their love for the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Neither of those groups is renowned for celebrating the 2SLGBTQQIA+ lifestyle.)

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New York-based journalists identify the world’s best soccer player

“She Was the World’s Best Player. Now She Won’t Play Soccer Again.” (WSJ, January 19, 2024):

The Wall Street Journal reporter and editors determined that this player was, prior to the unfortunate injury, a better player than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Here’s the reporter’s biography:


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Two ways of reading an article about Jeffrey Epstein

A recent Wall Street Journal article (non-paywall link):

The article sheds no light on how exactly this elite guy became elite, made money, etc. A guy goes from being the son of a gardener (Wikipedia) to being rich enough to operate a Gulfstream and nobody has any explanation for how it happened (based on my extensive research (i.e., reading the Wikipedia page), I’m guessing that he stole it from investors and clients).

What about those who are interested in learning about Mr. Epstein’s associates (customers?) in activities involving young women? They too will be disappointed. No names are named! The Wall Street Journal broke open the Theranos fraud, but they can’t find the name of even one person who was a customer of what we are told was a big prostitution operation.

Where does that leave us? With an interesting use of language and a demonstration of the different impressions that selective reading can produce.

Path 1 through the article:

… registered as a sex offender … soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution … federal sex-trafficking charges … groom a new generation of women to exploit … lured dozens of women … sexually exploited … coerced them to perform sex acts

Path 2:

… private jet … then in her 20s … New York townhouse … private jet to visit scientists, political leaders and tech-company founders … in exchange for money … private island … paid the women as if they were employees … If he thought their teeth were crooked or yellow, he sent them to Manhattan dentist Thomas Magnani for a consultation … units in an apartment building near his townhouse where he housed dozens of young women as well as prominent guests

The last part of Path 2 may explain why Mr. Epstein was so tightly connected to Democrats. He was providing health care and housing, the twin pillars of the Democrat project. (See “Billionaire sex offender Epstein gave heavily to Democrats, until he didn’t” (2018))

And, of course, Mr. Epstein’s actions may depend on the context…

Harvard said in a 2020 report that Epstein donated $9.1 million before 2008 and had visited the campus dozens of times after his conviction. It declined to comment further.

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Apple News+ and 30 percent inflation

Today is my last day of Apple News+, the cost of which was recently raised by 30 percent:

I’m not sure what justifies this increase. The major news organizations have mostly been harvesting outrage from Twitter, reposting information straight from the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”), reporting on what other news outlets are saying, etc. Couldn’t ChatGPT do most of this? If so, news subscriptions should be getting cheaper, not more expensive. Maybe the 30 percent bump is consistent with media costs in what the media assures us is a mostly inflation-free environment? The latest union contract at the New York Times raised salaries by only 12.5 percent (NYT, May 23, 2023):

The New York Times reached a deal on Tuesday for a new contract with the union representing the majority of its newsroom employees, ending more than two years of contentious negotiations that included a 24-hour strike.

The agreement, if ratified, will give union members immediate salary increases of up to 12.5 percent to cover the last two years and 2023, and will raise the required minimum salary to $65,000, up from about $37,500. The previous contract expired in March 2021, and union members have not received contractual raises since 2020.

Under the contract, the median salary for reporters in the union would be about $160,000.

(The above raises a question: Why weren’t the progressive owners of the NYT willing to pay a fair wage? Why did it take two years of contention and a strike before the NYT agreed to what the union asked? Also, note that median full-time workers in the U.S. earn about $58,000 per year (BLS) and that includes government workers with their higher-than-private-sector wages. So even the lowliest journalist at the NYT is above the level of Americans identified as the principal financial losers from low-skill immigration (Harvard study) and, of course, being a native English speaker is a huge advantage in the journalism marketplace.)

Speaking of labor unrest, the progressives who scribble for the Washington Post are striking tomorrow because the DC insiders who manage the paper won’t pay them what they’re worth:

The newspaper’s editorial section says that unions are the best thing that ever happened to a company or a country. Example from September 3, 2023, “At last, a Labor Day when workers can celebrate their power”:

Young Americans are the country’s most pro-union generation. Labor has poll ratings most politicians only dream about, and the Biden administration is making workers’ pay, benefits and rights its calling card.

Lest anyone doubt where the administration stands, the Treasury Department released what it proudly called a “First-of-Its-Kind Report” on the economic value of organized labor. It found that unions raise the wages of their members by 10 to 15 percent, have “spillover effects” that benefit nonunion workers, “reduce race and gender wage gaps” and “boost businesses’ productivity.”

All this adds up to a large cultural shift, said Heidi Shierholz, president of the pro-labor Economic Policy Institute. The fact that unions are in the news again means it’s more likely that those who feel they are being treated unfairly “see a possible path to help remedy what’s going on in their own job.” This contrasts with recent decades when “unions were not being talked about at all.”

On this Labor Day, from the president on down, that’s no longer a problem.

Why won’t the paper take its own advice and give the union what it asks for?

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Israel in Crisis, print edition

My mother is an American Jewish liberal Democrat (some redundancy in there?) and bought us a gift subscription to Moment, the magazine for American Jewish liberal Democrats. The latest issue arrived in the mail a few days ago. One of the cover stories is “Israel in Crisis”. Does this refer to the October 7 attack by Palestinians coming out of Gaza? To the military and political challenge of how Israel can fight a group that hunkers down in, around, and underneath hospitals? No. The “crisis” referred to relates to how power in Israel is divided between parliament and the supreme court (the democratically elected parliament is packed with haters, perhaps due to the large number of Jews in Israel who are descended from those who fled Arab countries starting in 1948 while the supreme court is enlightened, progressive, liberal, etc.).

I think this is a good illustration of the limitations of print-and-mail!


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Washington State’s new income tax and Florida’s new billionaire resident

We are informed that Floridians are crushed under the boot of a fascist dictatorship. See, for example, “Ron DeSantis Is All In—on Creating an American Autocracy” (Mother Jones):

His plan to outflank Trump would scale up the calculated system of repression he designed in Florida. …To stifle dissent, in 2021 DeSantis signed a law that would ramp up penalties for rioting but that civil rights groups warned would ensnare peaceful protesters [what about mostly peaceful protesters?]; this spring he pushed legislation to unleash speech-­chilling lawsuits against news outlets.

DeSantis, like other distrustful autocrats, keeps a tight circle of advisers, including his wife.

One way DeSantis has created space to operate is by hollowing out state government, filling key posts with donors and loyalists—the academic term is “autocratic capture”—perhaps most notably on the state Board of Medicine, which has supported his agenda to put new limits on gender-affirming care.

Nobody would live in Florida, in other words, unless he/she/ze/they has no other option, e.g., is incarcerated or established in public housing that would take 10 years of waiting to get into in another state. Anyone who cherishes freedom should have driven north on I-95 in fall 2020 when DeSantis ordered public schools to reopen and refused to permit county and local officials to order lockdowns, masks, and vaccine injections.

In Latinx migrant suffers from fascism and tyranny imposed by Governor Ron DeSantis, we looked at Lionel Messi apparently having no other choice for where to live. This month, the victim of tyranny is Jeff Bezos. “Jeff Bezos Says He Is Leaving Seattle for Miami” is the typically thorough New York Times article:

Mr. Bezos, 59, announced his move in an Instagram post on Thursday night. He said his parents had recently moved back to Miami, where he attended high school, and that he wanted to be closer to them and to his partner, Lauren Sánchez.

Another factor, he said, was that operations for his rocket company, Blue Origin, are increasingly shifting to Cape Canaveral, Fla., just over 200 miles by road north of Miami along the state’s Atlantic coast.

Bloomberg News reported last month that Mr. Bezos had purchased a mansion in South Florida for $79 million, a few months after buying a neighboring one for $68 million. Mr. Bezos is worth $161 billion, making him the world’s third-richest person, according to Bloomberg.

Mr. Bezos said in his Instagram post that he had “amazing memories” of Seattle and had lived there longer than anywhere else. “As exciting as the move is, it’s an emotional decision for me,” he wrote. “Seattle, you will always have a piece of my heart.”

The fearless journalists uncritically accepted the “emotional” explanation and did not include the word “tax” anywhere in the article. What’s new in Washington State, historically a state that was free from any personal income tax? A 7 percent income tax on long-term capital gains (, starting in 2022:

The 2021 Washington State Legislature recently passed ESSB 5096 (RCW 82.87) which creates a 7% tax on the sale or exchange of long-term capital assets such as stocks, bonds, business interests, or other investments and tangible assets.

This tax only applies to individuals. However, individuals can be liable for the tax because of their ownership interest in a pass-through or disregarded entity that sells or exchanges long-term capital assets. The tax only applies to gains allocated to Washington state.

Washington State also imposes a death tax of 20 percent on residents who were successful in life. Florida’s constitution bars both income and estate taxes.

Even if the new tax was not a factor in Bezos’s decision to move to Miami, the move will have a big impact on how much revenue the Covidcrats of Washington State will collect from the new tax and, therefore, what they can spend on social justice initiatives (“The Democratic Party controls the offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and both chambers of the state legislature” (source)). It seems like a failure of what we used to call journalism that the New York Times didn’t mention the dramatic changes in the Washington State taxation landscape (first the new tax and second the moving out of the biggest taxpayer).


  • Effect on children’s wealth when parents move to Florida (a calculation that kids can be about 40 percent richer if parents move from Massachusetts, who tax rates are actually lower than Washington’s)
  • Back in 2021, the state held a public hearing on House Bill 1406, which concerns a proposed Washington state wealth tax, Sen. Noel Frame, D-Seattle remarked at that hearing that there is a “really pessimistic view of the world to just assume someone would leave [Washington state].” “These are folks who have been deeply invested in our community,” (source)
  • The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight, by Cornell sociologist Cristobal Young, pointing out that rich people won’t move in response to higher state taxes
  • “Lessons from Washington State’s New Capital Gains Tax” (by Kamau Chege; The Urbanist, June 2023): Taxing the rich works like a charm. … For decades, the wealthiest Washingtonians have gotten out of paying what they truly owe in state and local taxes. … One of the first lessons is that our state’s richest residents are much, much richer than we understood — and they are continuing to get richer at a faster rate than previously assumed. … working people know that private wealth is built on public infrastructure and public investments paid for by all of us — especially low-income folks who pay more than their share in taxes. … the richest people in our state, like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, have armies of accountants working to find tax loopholes and write-offs.
  • “Capital Gains and Tax ‘Fairness’” (Editorial Board; WSJ, 2021): “The Biden and Olympia tax increases on capital gains won’t matter to Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, who are already rich and can hire lawyers to shelter their future gains.” [Maybe the WSJ envisioned that Bezos would switch to borrowing against his stock? But that doesn’t work in a high-interest-rate environment.]
  • “Victory! Bill to levy capital gains tax gets “do pass” recommendation from House Finance” (Northwest Progressive Institute, 2021): A substantial chunk of the revenue from the proposed capital gains tax would be paid by just two individuals: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, who are among the world’s richest men.
  • cities ranked by sunshine ( 73 percent of days in Miami vs. 46 percent of days in Seattle
  • Ron Desantis’s latest outrageous position:
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