Tag Archives: unemployment

It can’t be stopped: there’s a new one every day of the week

I usually try to stay away from these kinds of stories but honestly . . . to me, today, these two no longer look like outliers. From the always amusing and sometimes squirm-worthy Dependable Renegade, where mockery of the stupid is an art form:

  • The Safety Net – North Carolina (motto: “We’re Number 45!”) has cut unemployment benefits so far that they are disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless. The changes go into effect Sunday for North Carolina, which has the country’s fifth-worst jobless rate.
  •  Free Speech! – Xristian Xrazie Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Satan’s Hollow) decided that allowing sodomite colleagues to speak on the floor of the legislature about DOMA was a bridge too far: [he said] “I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law.”

Okeydokee.

Tired old question that the dems on my teevee have no idea how to answer

Are you better off today than you were four years ago? asked Ronald Reagan, 1980 in his debate with Jimmy Carter. And it’s been asked over and over and over and over since then.

It’s now the question of this week among the pundit class and is being asked of official Democrats with some frequency. And every answer I’ve witnessed has been a complete fumble. There is an answer. It’s yes, we are better off.

The month after Obama took office, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent; it’s 8.3 percent now. Sticking him with the January number when he was president for only ten days [see below] of it seems silly to me (as, by the way, does the unemployment in his first year). But the difference is that in February 2009, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month; in July 2012, we’re adding around 150,000 jobs a month over the past year, despite a huge drop in government employment. The stock market has made big gains – from around 6500 in the spring of 2009 to almost 13000 today, inflation is under control, and interest rates are at deep lows. We’re out of the quagmire of Iraq and al Qaeda has been decimated. 30 million more people have potential access to health insurance. Yes, median household income is very meaningful – but it’s not the only metric. Of course, we’re better off.

That’s a response to an article in The New Republic, which claims otherwise, using an historical construct worthy of Paul Ryan’s speechwriter. The author, Timothy Noah writes:

There can be little doubt that Americans are worse off, economically, than they were in 2008. Median household income has fallen since 2008, and (according to one study) it’s fallen even more steeply during the recovery than it did during the 2007-2009 recession.  . . . At the moment the misery index is 9.7 (8.3 percent unemployment plus 1.4 percent inflation), compared to 7.8 (7.8 percent unemployment plus 0 percent inflation) the month Obama took office. So by that venerable metric we’re worse off than we were four years ago. We just are.

Well, sure, just like the Janesville auto plant ‘closed’ after Obama took office. Same thing.

While we contemplate stimulus vs austerity . . .

. . . herwith a tweet from Robert Reich, well known Clinton-era Commie (h/t UTMB, here); I will now add him to my Twitter feed.

Mitt and Newt – gettin’ it done for us all!

Anyone know how many jobs these two ‘job creator’ guys have created in the last few years?

Isn’t that why we have to protect them from taxes?

How will we know when FOX jumps the shark?

FOX News has a long glorious history of making ‘errors’ in their cryons and headlines – a remarkable number for a network so respected for the ferocity of their fact checkers.

Although this one comes late in the year, I’ll call it the clear winner for their 2011 Dirty Rotten Lie award. Look at the March 8.8% data point. See how it’s much lower than the November 8.6% datapoint? And how that one is on the same axis as October’s 9%?

Anyone who has ever made charts knows you use software which don’t allow for these types of errors. You enterz the numbers and your software friend puts it in the right place – unless you override it. Which they had to have done.

(They could use a new graphic designer too – that’s one sorry looking chart. )

Dialogue, 2011 style

Free markets mean f-r-e-e-e-e-d-o-m ! !

A challenge to my conservative friends – justify this:

  • Almost every American-themed trinket sold in the Smithsonian Institute is made in China.
  • San Francisco is importing its new bay bridge from China.
  • New York City awarded Chinese state-subsidized firms contracts to renovate the city’s subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River, and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium.
  • the Martin Luther King monument in Washington was designed by a Chinese sculptor and assembled by low-wage Chinese workers.

Of the last, David Sirota, in an op-ed published in Truthout September 2, said:

Imagine the contradiction: a memorial for a civil rights leader who deplored “starvation wages” and died supporting a sanitation union’s strike is built by non-union serfs from China! The Chinese invasion, Sirota wrote, is caused by an America “no longer willing or able to invest in its own future.”

Original article at Human Rights for Workers, via an email from Joe.

When A Country Goes Insane

One job for every five looking

That’s the headline on a recent article at Common Dreams, a website I visit when I need to refresh my inner liberal, the one who’s deeply offended by a wealthy country that let’s its children go to bed hungry. Where my Governor is bragging about the 65,000 new ‘jobs’ this year – which pay around $20K and replace the lost jobs that paid $40K.

Six million people have lost their jobs. Twenty five million are underemployed. Many will never work again. Eight trillion dollars of middle class wealth has been destroyed in the housing collapse. One out of four mortgage holders are under water, owing more on their home than it’s worth. Fifty million people are living in poverty. One out of eight Americans are on food stamps. One of every two children will be on food stamps at some point .

And meanwhile:

[The country] can’t tell truths from lies . . . Sleazy operators pass themselves off as statesmen . . . and the crowds, unable to distinguish sanctimony from sincerity, bravado from bullshit, lap it up.

Let’s just ignore:

. . . the Republicans’ response? The working and middle class need to pay. Never mind that it was Reagan and Bush I who quadrupled the national debt in only 12 years, and Bush II who doubled it again in only eight, all to grease the pockets of their wealthy base. It’s the working and middle class who need to be bled. They still have assets that can be milked from them. They can still be made more subservient, more docile.

Remember, it’s Obama’s economy. And what about the American people? The ones who aren’t the 1% who enjoyed all the economic gains of the last 30 years?

. . . they need to give up any expectation of security, or dignity. They need to give up any childish illusions that [government] is operated for any such quaint Madisonian ends as “the general welfare.” They need to put on their kneepads and accustom themselves to being grateful servants to their new feudal masters . .

And through it all:

The media genuflect before gibberish and idolize idiocy. They are the media-tors of a Gresham’s Law of public discourse where bad information drives out good. For their own slick whoring they become “players,” while everybody else is left with a debauched civic currency, a crushed economy, and a collective impotence that makes true democracy and true prosperity impossible.

God bless us every one.

Can you handle some good news?

From Bloomberg this morning:

U.S. Payrolls Grew 216,000 in March; Unemployment at 8.8%

The U.S. economy added more jobs than forecast in March and the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined to a two-year low of 8.8 percent, a sign the labor- market recovery is gathering speed.

Payrolls increased by 216,000 workers last month after a revised 194,000 gain the prior month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Economists projected a March gain of 190,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The jobless rate dropped from 8.9 percent in February, the fourth straight decrease.

Right direction/wrong direction?

Just shame on us – on you and on me

This segment from last night’s 60 Minutes is devastating. 

“American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers. The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives.  . . .  One of the consequences of the recession that you don’t hear a lot about is the record number of children descending into poverty. . . it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.”

You can go elsewhere for the statistics; they can’t be too hard to find.  But just watch these kids tell Pelley what hunger feels like and if you don’t weep, you may need an empathy check.

The pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps crowd can kiss my butt.  We’re a rich country and we should feed our kids.

Such short memories

While commenters here and pundits everywhere bluster about how Obama’s policies are to blame for today’s unemployment and debt – not to mention the world wide financial crisis that was well under way by the time he took office, I feel compelled to re-post a few old favorites.

Here’s a little history lesson re the debt. Periods of debt (as a percentage of GDP) increases are seen in grey.

This chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is number of jobs lost, which of course – cumulatively – is the basis for unemployment figures. (Jan ’08 to Nov ’09)