Friday, February 06, 2009

Ezra Levant: Good Call

I confess, I rarely read anything Ezra Levant pukes out, because, well, he's not a bit right, plain and simple. However, yesterday someone linked to his latest turd in the comments, so my curiosity lead me to the "column". Ezra Levant February 5:
The recession is halfway over. That might sound surprising to those who are bracing for the return of the Great Depression, but it’s true...

Despite media hysterics, this economic downturn is much milder than the two recessions of the mid-1980s or the one in the early-1990s.


February 6:
The drop in employment in January was greater than any monthly decline during the previous economic downturns of the 1980s and 1990s, Statistics Canada said.


Good call Ezra.

22 comments:

burlivespipe said...

sounds like a good buying opportunity... or hopefully for Harper, a 'goodbye!' opportunity...

KC said...

I dont think a month of really bad job losses really disproves Levants statement. Unemployment at 7.2% is still relatively low by historical standards. It has been above 7.5% for 24 of the last 32 years.

No one would dispute that things are bad but I think there has been way too much hyperbole used to justify massive deficits.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! It don't seem to matter how often some fellers is dead wrong. They still get their talkin' head spots and the manage to attract a number of brain dead followers.

I guess this must be Friday With Ezra. Stageleft has a funny letter to Ezra.

JB

Steve V said...

"I dont think a month of really bad job losses really disproves Levants statement."

The worst job numbers since the inception of the statistic. Wake up man, this isn't a "mild" anything.

Steve V said...

JB

I actually like that Ezra is a talking head. One, because his political instincts are atrocious, so hopefully Cons take his advice. Two, Ezra on television is about as attractive as skid marks on a clothesline.

KC said...

Steve - Ezra is correct in asserting that to date this recession isnt more severe than previous recessions. Maybe things will still get a lot worse (there seems to be disagreement about that).

Robert McClelland said...

This undoubtedly explains why Levant has to beg for nickels and dimes on the internet to keep the lights on in his house.

Steve V said...

"Ezra is correct in asserting that to date this recession isnt more severe than previous recessions."

Can you at least get the facts straight, he said MILDER than previous recessions.

KC said...

You're grasping at straws to avoid the larger point Steve. Whether this recession is "no worse" than previous recessions or somewhat "milder" is really a minor distinction. I know you want to whip up fear of doom and gloom to justify your party's calls for massive deficits but you've provided no evidence to refute Levant's assertion other than one month of (admitedly) really bad job figures.

Many projections including both optimists (Bank of Canada) and pessimist (Parliamentary Budget Office) are predicting a recession that is milder than both those recessions.

Steve V said...

"You're grasping at straws to avoid the larger point Steve. "

No, you can't read. 200 000 jobs in the last three months. Give me a break, or better yet, take off the rose colored glasses. Enjoy Ezra.

Ted said...

Besides which, can you really trust Ezra or our self-described "economist" of a Prime Minister or Deficit Jim with the numbers?

- Harper said there would be no recession in Canada in September and October while the US was already in a recession and economists were predicting a huge downturn (Greenspan called it a coming tsunami potentially as big as the Great Depression)

- he told us he would never allow a deficit but we were already in a deficit according to his appointed budget chief

- then in November they told us there would be a surplus in 2009

- then Harper said there might be a depression and definitely a deficit

- then they told us that there would be growth at the end of 2009 so the deficit would be gone quickly which economists ridiculed as very very overly optimistic

- then his budget came out and his budget chief is again saying his projections are way off.

This guy doesn't know what he is doing. Ezra knows what Ezra is doing though: trying to put spin and perfume on a pile of BS.

Steve V said...

Ted

It's amazing how the government is consistently behind the curve, never leading, always reacting, absolutely no foresight. What they haven't figured out yet, in continually understating the problem, while overstating the solution, they are setting themselves up to look like fools, when the real rubber hits the road.

KC said...

Riggght. I'm not wearing any coloured glasses. I KNOW things are bad. On the other hand I havent invested in a pair of Armageddon glasses like you apparently have. Our unemployment is still no higher than it was during that 'terrible' year of 2004. When all is said and done maybe this recession will end up worse than previous recessions, but at present most analyses predict a milder recession than those previous ones and Levant's statement is factually correct.

"After steady increases in 1990 and 1991, the unemployment rate hit an eight-year high in 1992: a whopping 11.2 per cent for the year and a peak of 11.8 per cent that November. (An economic think tank suggested the rate would have topped out at 13.7 per cent had 345,000 people not given up altogether on their search for work.)"

Steve V said...

"I KNOW things are bad."

Then STFU, and quit defending a guy who says this is all media hysteria and the economy is "already correcting itself".

BTW, Harper even admitted today that he expects the unemployment number to keep RISING, so get back to me in a few months with your lame quotes.

KC said...

Then STFU, and quit defending a guy who says this is all media hysteria and the economy is "already correcting itself".

Arent we touchy today? To me you and Ezra just represent the two extremes. 'Nothing to see here' vs. 'The sky is falling'. I dont think either is necessarily right.

But you took issue with a very specific statement that Ezra made: "Despite media hysterics, this economic downturn is much milder than the two recessions of the mid-1980s or the one in the early-1990s."

My simple point (which you have reacted very angrily and defensively to) is that the statement you take issue with is supported by evidence, and the 'proof' you have offered up to rebut him is insufficient and narrowly focused.

There HAS been media hysteria (talking about "depressions" and the like) and this downturn IS, as of this date, "milder than the two recessions of the mid-1980s or the one in the early-1990s", both in terms of jobs lost and GDP contraction. Whatsmore, even if we construe his statement to be forward-looking, most economic projections as of this date support his view.

Im not defending the guy (I dont particularly like Levant). Im defending the statement.

Im sorry that you feel that economic statistics are "lame quotes".

Steve V said...

KC

First off, I didn't say the "sky is falling" and you just admitted that Levant is WRONG. All I did is point out the disconnect between Con spin and reality, and then you show up- "well actually Steve, Ezra has a point". Then, you come up with these quotes, and all I'm telling you, just wait a few months and we'll see about four years, and all this other crap you using to downplay. Harpo even said he expects unemployment to continue to rise "sharply", so don't give me the previous recessions worst numbers, while we are no where near bottom yet, as though it's comparable. Anyways, whatever man.... you're in for some surprises.

KC said...

Steve -

All I did is point out the disconnect between Con spin and reality, and then you show up- "well actually Steve, Ezra has a point".

Actually no, I believe I said "I dont think a month of really bad job losses really disproves Levants statement", "Ezra is correct in asserting that to date this recession isnt more severe than previous recessions", "you've provided no evidence to refute Levant's assertion other than one month of (admitedly) really bad job figures", and "Levant's statement is factually correct".

I suspect Ezra is wrong if he thinks things are already turning around and 'correcting themselves' but you bolded the other portion of his statement.

Harpo even said he expects unemployment to continue to rise "sharply",

So which is it? I thought you just said you were trying to "point out the disconnect between Con spin and reality".

so don't give me the previous recessions worst numbers, while we are no where near bottom yet, as though it's comparable.

I am well aware that you are "nowhere near the bottom yet", and would concede that fact. I provided those quotes primarily to support Levant's statement if it were interpreted to mean that it is milder to date than those previous recessions. I also provided them to show we have a long way to go to reach those lows.

As for the future, that is purely speculative, but most analyses I've seen have suggested that the "bottom" will still be better than where it was in those previous years. In that context Levant was justified in making the statement that he did.

Anyways, whatever man.... you're in for some surprises.

Neither of us can predict the future. Nothing would surprise me. I am quite concerned that the credit crunch sets this recession apart from previous ones. But at the same time a rebound in 2010 or 2011 wouldnt surprise me either (although if the media keeps throwing around the word "depression" and other hyperbole it probably wont)

At the very least Levant has a few economic analyses from the Bank of Canada, the PBO, and the OECD to go on to assert that "this economic downturn is much milder than the two recessions of the mid-1980s or the one in the early-1990s". Presumably you're going on your gut? Im not really sure. All you've put forward is one months job losses. Unless you have seen some reports that I havent.

kheimbuch said...

That's the thing that got me with Levant's piece, how out of touch it is. Just like Harper telling us a few months ago that "there are lots of good deals out there". A good cursory study in propaganda.

On another note, these unemployment stats are dangerously misleading if we compare them to years past as some are doing, because of the fact that job quality skews the practical reality. I would be interested to see the discrepancy between the job quality index of say, 1981, 1991, and 2009's first quarter. That is a step closer to reality, as we have been replacing many good middle class jobs with low paying service sector ones.

KC said...

In the interests of disclosure... I would note that since I posted it has came to my attention that the OECD has revised their numbers downwards.

Steve V said...

"Anyways, whatever man.... you're in for some surprises."

Steve V said...

"Worst economic crisis since 1970's:OECD"

Canada and its major trading partners are facing the worst economic outlook since the oil crisis of the 1970s, the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development reported Friday.


Just in case anyone wondered what KC was referring too.

WesternGrit said...

It's funny what Conservatives are saying about this publicly and privately. Publicly, "all's well... nothing to see here". In private, some of my friends are desperately trying to sell their homes, and move their stock portfolios around.

It is wishful thinking that most of these Cons take their own advice - few of them will - because, as bankers, financial "experts", and "economists", many of them knew well before we did, although MOST fools could easily look South and predict what was coming here - when we do 80% of our trade with them. Don't even get me started on Harper's own "subprime" scandal - the "0 down, 40 year mortgages". Those shit mortgages ALONE are the cause of some of the worst bank problems we've seen up here ever. The zero/forty crowd is going to drop mortgages left and right, when they can't pay them...