Dean Baker looks at first-quarter 2021 economic data, and finds our economy in strikingly good health. The 6% GDP growth for the first quarter has been the headline, but other factors also testify to this economy's strength -- the spike in home construction hasn't been nearly as large as during the housing bubble of the 2000s, and of course not nearly as driven by speculation. The GDP data alone doesn't tell us if productivity is outstripping wages as usual, but the spike in productivity does seem to be keeping inflation down, as does getting a lot of cheap crap from overseas, as we still do, and did more during 2021Q1 than 2020Q4. As civilized people we should address that latter item, but if we don't, and if its persistence makes more Henny Pennys look like fools for saying we can never ever do anything good for anyone ever because inflation, I guess I'll deal.
Uh oh: New York Democratic Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang promised that his Venture for America project would create 100,000 jobs in urban areas, but it's created more like 150 jobs over the last decade. See? It isn't only Republicans who give us things like the Foxconn debacle in Wisconsin! Seriously, I don't even believe the story that the self-proclaimed "numbers guy" turned out to be just not very detail-oriented, and if you're looking for more evidence that today's corporate executives are just a bunch of clowns who would make P.T. Barnum himself blush, well, look no further than this guy, who hasn't actually had a lot of real world business success (remind you of anybody?) but who nonetheless has a very good chance of becoming the next Mayor of America's most famous city.
Dominion executive Eric Coomer settles defamation lawsuit with right-wing news channel Newsmax (though not the suit's other numerous defendants) over its 2020 election coverage, including its "reporting" that Mr. Coomer had taken part in an "antifa conference call" designed to make Donald Trump lose the 2020 election. But I sure hope he made a mint off that settlement, because he's letting Newsmax off easy by allowing them to put their apology/retraction on their website, where folks ain't gonna read it. Newsmax should be leading off every single program for the next two weeks with that retraction; that's what I would have settled for.
When I read that state lawsuits attempting to force our government to let them cut their taxes using American Rescue Plan stimulus money face an "uphill battle" in our courts, my response is pretty much well, duh. Not just because the whole point of a stimulus is to add money to the pot, not make it easier for states to provide the same amount of money in that pot, but because states don't have a "right" to use federal funding to cut the taxes they charge. And of course when they say they should have let us use the stimulus to cut your taxes, you say you were going to cut your rich cronies' taxes; you don't care about mine.
Derek Thompson at The Atlantic talks to more than a few individuals who've thus far refused to get the COVID vaccine, and though I'm glad to hear that responding "think about transmitting COVID to your grandma would be like" gives such folks pause, I almost wish the article had ended before the last paragraph, because saying "liberals don’t take much time to calmly hear out the logic of those refusing the shots" is a pretty lame attempt at both-sidesism. The people who have the most trouble "imagining the lives of other people," in my long experience, are right-wingers.
Finally, the Democratic Party did so badly in a winnable Texas 6th House district special election, as two Republicans advanced to the runoff that we can reasonably ask if they threw the race. I wouldn't advise throwing any race, but when you note 16% turnout in a district that saw 68% turnout in 2020 and which Donald Trump only won by three points, and you realize that the party hitched its wagon to yet another can-win candidate who couldn't-win in Texas during the 2018 Democratic wave, you do have to wonder. Then again, these are Democrats we're talking about; one shouldn't assume strategy explains their failure when cowardice will explain it just as well. (In case you were wondering, anti-Trumper/otherwise far-right Republican Michael Wood got a hair over 3% of the vote; thus I would say 3% establishes the ceiling of the anti-Trump vote among Republicans. In other words, it's not a high ceiling, certainly not high enough considering that our "liberal" media won't shut up about them.)