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Post-Trump

Good article from David Harsanyi, Democrats Have Only Themselves To Blame For Trump. A taste:

In all their vast coverage of agitated right-wingers, it may have escaped the attention of many in the media that over the past eight years the Democratic Party has moved dramatically to the left on an array of issues. It’s now a party of cultural imperialists and economic technocrats who want to rule through fiat. It is a party more comfortable coercing Americans who see the world differently than in convincing them. It is a movement propelled by a liberal punditry that’s stopped debating and resorted to smearing millions they disagree with.

And now, I’ll venture two predictions.

First, Hillary is done. You could say she’s young enough to run again. I say that she’s been hiding serious health issues (perhaps a contributing reason for the 10-hour delay in her concession speech). And under President Trump, she’ll be facing investigation for her long-standing corruption. Her balance of incentives will have shifted: it will be better for her to try to gain public sympathy, by playing the Brave Victim of Harrowing Illness. Which, shock of shocks, might even be somewhat truthful of her.

Next, media coverage of the economy will turn very negative. The economy has been quite poor for the last 8 years. The real unemployment rate, for example, is over 11%; not 4.9% as reported officially. The discrepancy arises from the MASSIVE drop in “labor force participation”, under President Obama. During his 8 years, tens of millions of Americans have given up even looking for a job. And once they stop looking, yup, they no longer count as unemployed.

That’s a scandal. And the media had zero interest in looking into it, because the answers would have reflected badly on Obama and Hillary. But, because (and only because) Trump will be President, the media will now discover this scandal and change their tune.

Another example: The economists and statisticians, I predict, will discover that the U.S. economy is in a recession. Not because the economy gets so much worse under Trump (although it might at first, if the current market-bubbles pop). Rather, because the economy has already been in a recession or close to it; and in order to nail President Trump, government-funded statisticians and talkers will now want to emphasize the bad. (Where before, they wanted to mask it.)

Mind you, these predictions might not happen tomorrow. Give me, say, up to a year.

Your predictions?

UPDATE – Made me laugh: John Ziegler of Mediaite thinks the reason Hillary lost is… because the media wasn’t enough on her side as they should have been. Yup. That’s what his stupid non-argument boils down to.

The Obamacomony

The size of the U.S. deficit isn’t the only thing they lie about. Unemployment is another.

Last week, The New York Times trumpeted, Jobs Roar Back With Gain of 287,000 in June, Easing Worry, with the official unemployment rate at 4.9%. Isn’t it wonderful?

“Wow, this one takes my breath away,” said Diane Swonk, an independent economist in Chicago.

Ooh, she’s “independent” – that makes her reaction valid! But here’s the real story.

  • The same jobs report has downward-revised the previous months’ numbers (from bad to horrible).
  • In the Bush years, the media would treat a jobs number in the 200k range as a crisis.
  • The Obama so-called “recovery” is the Weakest. On. Record.
  • Most of the jobs created in the Obama years, including the recent jobs report, are part-time and low-paying.
  • In the Obama years, tens of millions of Americans have given up even hoping for a job. “Labor force participation” has plummeted to lows not seen since the 1970s.
  • If we use the participation rate from early 2009 when Obama took office, the unemployment rate is 11%. (And that’s ignoring under-employment / the part-time jobs.)
  • And no, the declining participation isn’t because “the Baby Boomers are retiring”. They’re not retiring. Under Obama, they can’t afford it. They’ve been coming out of retirement, to take those low-paying, part-time Obamajobs from young people.
  • Young people face a crisis; many can’t get an entry-level job.

Perhaps this is why President Obama has the highest U.S. suicide rate in 30 years.

Newsflash: Higher wages don’t come for free

Business 101: When paying an employee, you have to pay in line with their productivity.

  • If you underpay, you lose the employee.
  • If you overpay, you run up losses and lose your business.
  • If you raise the hourly wage, you must get more from each employee hour – and you must cut the hours/employees that won’t or can’t rise to the new, higher bar.

You may have seen the following last week, but I didn’t want to let it pass without comment. After raising wages over the last 18 months, Starbucks and its employees have been learning some lessons the hard way:

An online petition accus[es] Starbucks Corp of “extreme” cutbacks in work hours at its U.S. cafes…

[Starbucks] recently introduced technology that allows customers to order and pay from mobile devices. That service aims to…reduce bottlenecks in stores. [ed: reducing the number of employees needed per shift]

Starbucks has a software system that determines labor needs based on business trends…
Comments on the petition painted a picture of broad discontent at the company…
…many signers say they noticed cutbacks in U.S. staffing hours…
One central California store has seen its labor allotment shrunk by about 10 percent, even though sales are up…
“No matter what we do to save on labor at my store, the system tells us EVERY SINGLE DAY that we are at least 8 hours over in labor for the day and have to cut even more,” wrote [a petition] signer…

Like other restaurants and retail companies, Starbucks is wrestling with the effects of local minimum wage increases…tipping has fallen substantially amid broad customer adoption of the “Starbucks Rewards” program, which allows customers to pay with a loyalty card or mobile phones.

Suppose Starbucks gives in and boosts employee hours (arbitrarily; without a matching, widespread sales & productivity gain). What happens then? Operating budget overruns and closing stores. And/or price increases, declining sales, and closing stores. Perhaps eventually, a closing company. Thanks, Blue State lefties!

UPDATE: This oldie from The Guardian in 2014 may help us to see the problem:

(more…)

Bipartisan War on Working Men Going Well

Posted by V the K at 10:45 am - December 12, 2014.
Filed under: Unemployment crisis

Almost as if by design, working class men are being driven out of the American workforce.

Working, in America, is in decline. The share of prime-age men — those 25 to 54 years old — who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s, to 16 percent. More recently, since the turn of the century, the share of women without paying jobs has been rising, too. The United States, which had one of the highest employment rates among developed nations as recently as 2000, has fallen toward the bottom of the list.

As the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession, many of those men and women are eager to find work and willing to make large sacrifices to do so. Many others, however, are choosing not to work, according to a New York Times/CBS News/Kaiser Family Foundation poll that provides a detailed look at the lives of the 30 million Americans 25 to 54 who are without jobs.

Thirty million out of work, but we’re going to give Amnesty and work permits to 11 million illegal immigrants?  o_O

Both parties are complicit in this, since both parties strongly favor the import of cheap foreign labor to drive down the wages of American workers; this is called “competitiveness.” Notably, the Republicans … who are totally unwilling to fight for border security, but really went to the wall on the CRomnibus to make sure Megabanks could gamble in derivatives with taxpayer money.  The Democrats also foster an environment of over-regulation and Government micromanagement, an uncompetitive tax regime, and onerous union rules (it’s not really the wages, it’s the inefficient work rules that kill manufacturing)… all of which have driven good-paying manufacturing jobs out of the country.

Sadly, the only Republican who actually has a handle on this is Rick Santorum, who made rebuilding the manufacturing sector the centerpiece of his failed presidential campaign. But he is, of course, unelectable, because Dan Savage hates him.

Because we can’t let Seattle beat us

Follow-up to V’s post on Seattle, last week the California Senate voted to destroy entry-level jobs:

The state Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would gradually raise the minimum wage in California from the current $8 an hour to $13 in 2017, despite warnings from the California Chamber of Commerce that the bill is a “job killer.”

Warning: Gay Left politicians at work!

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said his bill is necessary to help lift many of the 7.9 million Californians being paid minimum wage out of poverty. “Income inequality has been spoken of by our president as the defining challenge of our time,” Leno told his colleagues.

He said the current minimum wage is so low it allows many who receive it to get public assistance. “It is our tax dollars that are subsidizing the largest corporations paying these poverty wages.” Leno said. No other state has a minimum wage of $13 an hour…

Related: Calif. Senate votes to reduce penalties for sale of crack cocaine

The “Related” was added by the LA Times (when I pasted the text). Fitting, isn’t it? Because the measure would actually keep poor Californians in poverty, increase inequality, and push more people onto public assistance. Is that Leno’s real goal?

And Chicago also wants a $15/hr minimum wage. It’s trendy.

But not trendy enough for the Swiss: in May, they rejected a high minimum wage by a huge margin. (The Swiss proposal would have been $25/hr by exchange rates, or $14 by PPP adjustment.)

Obama’s daily lawlessness

On Wednesday, V noted how President Obama set aside his own Obamacare law and decreed a delay to the “individual mandate”. (The mandate that he previously told the Supreme Court was an absolutely essential part of Obamacare.)

Thursday’s example was Obama’s plan to decree overtime pay for some 10 million who had willingly been working without it, because they are salaried employees.

It’s not a good thing. First of all, anytime the government mandates pay increases, it costs real people their jobs. While some people might get more pay, others’ pay goes to part-time, or to zero. When Obama proposed his minimum wage hike last month, even the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agreed that it would cost 500,000 jobs.

But the deeper problem is that, in Barack H. Obama, we have a President who increasingly abandons constitutional, legislative and democratic processes. Throughout his administration, in issue after issue, he has declared that the rules are now different because he says so. Whether it’s ripping off honest GM bondholders, Fast and Furious, hiding information about corrupt federal prosecutors, Obamacare or countless other issues, you never can tell when this President will suddenly decide on different rules.

With this overtime change, there is serious debate about whether the President has the legal authority to do it. Some say he doesn’t; some say he does. But that means his move is dubious. And however that might be – and I say, even worse – Obama’s move makes the government interfere, once again, in arrangements that freely consenting adults had agreed on. (Liberals may want government out of the bedroom, but boy, do they want government in everything, everyone and everywhere else.)

This is one more, little thread in the tapestry of America’s decline: we have become a nation ruled by “men, not laws.” And if you think that arbitrary government doesn’t make for an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty that stifles the economy, think again.

UPDATE: Allahpundit has video, as he puts it, of Obama “in 2008 promising to roll back Bush’s executive overreach because he was a law professor and knew the Constitution ‘n stuff.”.

Rep. Trey Gowdy gives an appropriate response.

Is Obama dumb, or just his base?

Is President Obama ignorant of how the job market works, or does he cynically exploit the ignorance of his left-wing, “low information” voter base?

If economics has two consistent findings, they are:

  1. Rent control messes up a city’s rental market, driving rents *up* (and rental quality down) over time.
  2. Raising the minimum wage kills low-end jobs, the ones held by young and/or poor people.

You can prove (2) to yourself with a simple thought-experiment. Imagine we raised the federal minimum wage from its present $7.25/hour to, say, $25. Would McDonald’s or any other restaurant, large or small, be able to stay in business?

They might, if they adopt Applebee’s new “Waiter Terminator”.

The E La Carte Presto tablets – powered by Intel – will allow patrons to pay from their seats while also adding food and beverages to their existing orders…

The Presto tablets, which were developed at MIT, have been “ruggedized” to deal with the spills and rowdy children…

DineEquity said it might consider introducing the tablets at its IHOP restaurant chain as well. The company joins many others in the industry that have begun incorporating technology into the customer experience.

When government forces wages up, it forces businesses to kill jobs: either by the business dying, or by its replacing workers with technology (a.k.a. capital). The restaurant industry has technology waiting in the wings.

As if to defy that reality, last week Obama tweeted his base the following total falsehood:

Hence, my question. (more…)

2012 unemployment numbers: the next Obamascandal?

We know that the Obama administration lied to America during the 2012 election, about Benghazi. And about “If you like your plan you can keep it”, and many other matters, such as the fact that the IRS was helping to stifle Obama’s grass-roots opposition.

Now the New York Post alleges that the declining unemployment rate (announced in the last few weeks of the election) was faked.

It looks like lower-level employees did it; probably tough to blame it on Obama directly. But that touches on a classic ethical question. If the guy at the top is kept in a bubble by people who cheat and lie extensively on his behalf (and don’t usually tell him), is he culpable? At what point?

Also, how much election-year lying does it take to de-legitimize a Presidential election? (If, or since, he only won by giving people false information.) Did President Obama reach that point in 2012?

Recovery update

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 5:17 pm - October 22, 2013.
Filed under: Economy,Obama Incompetence,Unemployment crisis

From Zero Hedge, an update of that chart that shows where the White House originally said unemployment would be, under President Obama’s brilliant policies:

Unemployment, with and without the 2009 stimulus plan

And remember, to call unemployment 7.2% is to be very generous to Obama; it forgets the millions who have departed from the labor force in despair, on his watch.

Using labor force participation rates from when Obama took office, current unemployment would be somewhere above 11%.

UPDATE (from Dan): As CNN reports, the “labor force participation rate — the percentage of people over 16 who either have a job or are actively searching for one — fell to 63.2% in August. The last time it was that low was in August of 1978.”

Obamacare Schadenfreude: April Jobs Report Edition

Something strange happened with the latest jobs report.  A few lamestream press outlets woke up from their Obama-induced daze long enough to recognize that although the unemployment figure is purportedly lower than it was in March, and lower than it has been in some time, things don’t seem quite right with the numbers.   Just seeing them grapple with the data and begin to recognize its implications has brought on my latest instance of Obamacare Schadenfreude.

Let’s begin with the National Journal.  Today its website ran a story entitled “Forget the Unemployment Rate: The Alarming Stat Is the Number of ‘Missing Workers.'”  The story begins by summarizing the “unexpected” state of affairs:

The federal government’s latest snapshot of the unemployment rate offered few bright spots Friday. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April—slightly better than March’s revised number of 138,000 jobs. Unemployment went down one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.5 percent; and health care, retail trade, and the food-services industry added positions.

The glaring caveat to this jobs report is the huge number of Americans who remain out of the workforce. Called the “labor force participation rate” in wonkspeak, that number held steady in April at 63.3 percent—the lowest level since 1979.

The story goes on to speculate about the causes behind the decreased labor force participation rate, explaining that some of the number–but by no means all–can be explained by the fact that the first of the baby boomers have now reached retirement age.  The article says that beyond retirees, “Roughly 3 million to 5 million of them left because they could not find jobs, economists estimate.”

But the article doesn’t stop there.  It recognizes that decreased labor force participation has serious economic implications for government because it decreases revenues coming in from taxes.  Suddenly, in other words, the decreasing labor force in the United States is much more of a matter of concern than it was a year ago when Obama was facing re-election, because it doesn’t bode well for the future of the economy or the budget (something that conservatives have been pointing out for years):

If these workers do not return to the labor market, their absence may alter the country’s budget picture. “One of the biggest problems we face with the baby-boomer bulge in retirement is having enough workers behind them to pay their bills,” says Harry Holzer, a professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.

Missing workers can translate to a decrease in tax revenue, coupled with an increase in the use of government benefits, such as food stamps and disability insurance. The number of Americans collecting food stamps hit a high of 47.8 million people in December 2012. A similar spike has occurred in enrollments for the Social Security disability payments.

Since the start of 2007, the percentage of Americans in the labor market has dropped from 66.4 percent to 63.3 percent. In the 1970s and 1980s, the number of working Americans grew—because of the dramatic increase in women holding jobs outside of the home.

Nancy Cook ends her article by quoting a very optimistic prediction that unemployment will eventually fall to around 5.5% by 2017, but then she notes, ominously, “Only then can economists gauge if people have left the workforce because of the downturn in the economy, or if they’ve left forever because the economy fundamentally changed. If that’s the case, the U.S. officially will become a place where the labor market has little use for millions of Americans.”

The National Journal article, though, isn’t the only such piece by a lamestream press outlet today.  None other than the Gray Lady herself suddenly woke up and noticed the missing workers: (more…)

The Obama Economy: Rearranging the Deck Chairs

Over the summer of 2012 and during the last few months of the presidential campaign, a number of us watched the changing employment numbers and labor statistics with an increasing sense of skepticism.  The lamestream press would dutifully report the administration’s numbers and note that the unemployment number was going down slightly, but anyone who looked into the numbers quickly realized that the only reason the numbers ever went down was that with each successive report, the number of people in the workforce kept shrinking.  And so things have continued throughout the first few months of 2013.

Tuesday on his Twitter feed, Bruce linked to this article by Mortimer Zuckerman in the Wall Street Journal, which once again confirms what many of us have come to believe about the Obama economy:

The Great Recession is an apt name for America’s current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion—because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify.

The country isn’t really advancing. By comparison with earlier recessions, it is going backward. Despite the most stimulative fiscal policy in American history and a trillion-dollar expansion to the money supply, the economy over the last three years has been declining. After 2.4% annual growth rates in gross domestic product in 2010 and 2011, the economy slowed to 1.5% growth in 2012. Cumulative growth for the past 12 quarters was just 6.3%, the slowest of all 11 recessions since World War II.

And last year’s anemic growth looks likely to continue. Sequestration will take $600 billion of government expenditures out of the economy over the next 10 years, including $85 billion this year alone. The 2% increase in payroll taxes will hit about 160 million workers and drain $110 billion from their disposable incomes. The Obama health-care tax will be a drag of more than $30 billion. The recent 50-cent surge in gasoline prices represents another $65 billion drag on consumer cash flow.

And that’s just the beginning of the article.  Read the whole thing if you want to feel even more depressed about the state of the economy than you felt already.

But that’s not even the whole story.  Tuesday when I was driving to lunch, I heard Tom Sullivan discussing “America’s Disability Scam Crisis.”  The facts of the disability crisis are alarming enough as it is, but even more surprising was that the facts which inspired the discussion on the Tom Sullivan show were first reported by NPR.   Scott Johnson at Powerline noticed and wrote up a post about it entitled “NPR goes Rogue.”

The NPR story linked above is quite long, but it focuses largely on the fact that since Clinton signed “welfare reform” into law, more and more people have been going on to disability and the disability rolls have grown to unsustainable levels.  It also mentions  the fact that many lawyers and doctors have found a lucrative business focusing on disability cases.

And it gets even worse.  As the NPR story reports: “signing up for disability benefits is an excellent way to stay hidden in one key way: People on disability are not counted among the unemployed.”  The story continues: (more…)