Saturday, May 5, 2012

Last Call

I don't expect Republicans to actually understand economics, only to cherry pick statistics.  The latest nonsense is about the labor participation rate, or the number of people in the workforce.  It's shrinking rapidly.  Republicans claim it's "Obama's failed economic policies destroying the work force."  The rality is of course far more interesting and far more complex.  Yes, some people are being criven out of the work force by economic conditions.  But far more are being driven out by simple Boomer demographics.

Demographics have always played a big role in the rise and fall of the labor force. Between 1960 and 2000, the labor force in the United States surged from 59 percent to a peak of 67.3 percent. That was largely due to the fact that more women were entering the labor force while improvements in health and information technology allowed Americans to work more years.

But since 2000, the labor force rate has been steadily declining as the baby-boom generation has been retiring. Because of this, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago expects the labor force participation rate to be lower in 2020 than it is today, regardless of how well the economy does.
In a March report titled “Dispelling an Urban Legend,” Dean Maki, an economist at Barclays Capital, found that demographics accounted for a majority of the drop in the participation rate since 2002.

And what about the most recent downturn? Based on survey data, Maki found that about 35 percent of Americans who have dropped out of the labor force since the recession began in 2007 do want a job, but they have become too discouraged to fire off résumés. That’s a sign of a weak labor market. But the other 65 percent are people who have left the labor force and do not want a job. The biggest chunk of that group seems to be composed of baby boomers, those 55 and older, who have decided to retire early.

That suggests, Maki and his colleagues wrote, that unemployment will not necessarily start ticking up again as the economy keeps adding jobs, as many people expect.

“Such an event has not happened in the past and we do not believe it will this time either,” they argued.

Yes, if labor force participation were as high as it used to be, unemployment would be in double digits.

It's not going to be that high again in our lifetimes, and that's simply due to Boomers like my parents retiring.  It's not a massive economic conspiracy, it's Boomers hitting 65, period.  The next decade will see tens of millions of new retirees.  The Bush crash simply drove them into retirement earlier than anticipated.  The labor force would be shrinking no matter who was President right now, and it will continue to shrink, period.

It's simple math.  But Republicans think you are too stupid to understand it.

Chart Of The Day

And here's your chart of the day, courtesy TPM:

Wow.  To recap, the chart shows that the economy has now replaced the roughly 4.2 million jobs lost since President Obama took office in January 2009.

Let me repeat myself:

As of April, there are now more private sector jobs in the United States than there were in January 2009, when President Obama took office. You read that right. We have now replaced all of the private sector jobs lost while Obama has been president. And that was no mean feat, given that over the course of 2009, the private sector shed about 4.2 million jobs.

Unfortunately, the news is not nearly so good when it comes to the public sector, where there are currently 607,000 fewer people working than there were when President Obama took office. 

You dig?   Yes, it took 3 years and 4 months to get there, but we've recovered the jobs lost since then.  This is what the media will not tell you.  This President's policies created 4.2 million private sector jobs in a bit over 3 years.

The problem is in 2008, the final year of the Bush Presidency, we lost another 2.6 million jobs.  So now we have to dig out of that hole, plus the 600k public sector jobs lost at the state and federal level, so 3.2 million still to go and some change.

If you honestly believe Mitt Romney's economic policies (the same Bush policies that cost us nearly 8 million jobs only with more tax cuts for the rich) are the answer, then by all means, vote for the guy.  I'm thinking that a second Obama term is going to see a significant recovery.

I hope.

West Of The Loon, East Of The Facts

GOP Rep. Allen West is attacking President Obama again, this time trying desperately to hang the African-American unemployment rate of 13% squarely around Obama's neck.

Florida Republican congressman Rep. Allen West has torn a page from Sarah Palin’s book and issued a proclamation to the world via his Facebook page.

West cited the 13 percent unemployment rate among black Americans and wrote, “The failed economic policies of President Obama are destroying the black community and lessening the chances for economic freedom while promoting economic dependence.”

Referencing the fact that he was recently un-invited by the NAACP to speak at an event, West said, “Perhaps this is what the NAACP was afraid to hear me address.”

If Allen West had bothered to check his own numbers, he would see that the President actually lowered black unemployment by nearly 4 points in just the last year or so from 16.7%.

Chart 1: Unemployment Rate for African Americans, Hispanics and Whites (seasonally adjusted monthly data, January 2007 - January 2012)

Second, West would have noticed a structural unemployment problem with the black unemployment rate being double that of whites dating back to 1970 or so, including even higher 17% black unemployment under Ronald Reagan in the middle of his recession.  In 1984 back unemployment was 14% or so.  Reagan won in a landslide because of his "job policies" anyway.  I guess America didn't blame Reagan for "destroying the black community".  I'm kind of wondering how Obama's time machine caused that little problem.  Oh, and the man that FINALLY got black unemployment down to 6%?

Bill Clinton.  Then Dubya pushed it up to 8%, then doubled it when the economy crashed.

Figure 3 Image

So maybe Allen West wants to explain why there's a structural unemployment imbalance for African-Americans, and how Obama has caused it since 1970.  Can't wait to hear that theory.

Or maybe better yet, Allen West should stop lying in public and assuming his constituents are buffoons.

Horror Slideshow

An artist has made a name for himself taking still shots of terrifying scenes.  Joshua Hoffine is a talented photographer, that I can tell for certain.  I guess my question is more about what horror is, and how it can rise above the cheesiness that we have put on horror so we can tolerate it.  For example, making Freddy Krueger witty to distract us from his kills.

If you have a moment, please check out the slideshow of his photographs and tell me what you think.

They didn't budge me, not one bit.  In fact, I found most of them laughable.  The only picture that brought out a reaction was the spiders and the baby (because they were about to touch the child, I attribute this to years as a highly protective aunt).  Did any of them make your hair rise?

This is what I consider canned horror, images taken from a stockpile that is generic and not very effective.  I am not afraid of a wolf, or a clown. I am not afraid of an altered voice asking me about my favorite scary movie.  Maybe it's a lifetime of growing up reading Stephen King and watching the evolution of horror film.  But it just doesn't reach me, in fact it annoys me as though I were spoken to like an elementary school child.  I am afraid of spiders, but the imagery didn't really touch me, it was fear for the child that made my heart leap for a fraction of a second, then settle back into an unimpressed rhythm.

But a clown and balloons?  Nope.  What say you, does horror really scare you, entertain you, or fail all around?

Romney Is As Dense As Ever

And for this mornings WTF moment, I present Mitt Romney's "regret" that Grenell left his team

Mitt Romney said today he wanted openly gay spokesman Richard Grenell to remain on his team, as he stressed his campaign does not discriminate in its hiring.
"He's a very accomplished spokesperson," Romney said on Fox News, in his first remarks on the Grenell controversy. "We select people not based upon their ethnicity or their sexual preference or their gender but upon their capability."
Sure, you hire without discrimination, but you don't want him to have the same rights as straight folks.  You want to make sure he can't have benefits that cover him and his partner equally.  You want to make sure that if he adopts a daughter, she won't be paid equally or have full control over her body and medical rights.

But gee, Grenell is a quitter.  He dumped you, jackass.  Everyone knows it but you.

Of course Romney wishes he had stayed. It exposes him as an asshat when Grenell stood up for himself and his right to live how he chooses.

The Best Day Ever Of All Time

Folks, today is the Best Day Ever Of All Time.  Why?  Because:

It's Free Comic Book Day.

It's The Avengers opening weekend.

It's Cinco de Mayo.

It's Kentucky Derby day.

I'm gonna be a little busy today.  Have a good one.

In A New York State Of Ni-CLANG

Dear Phil Mushnick:

Kiss my black ass.

As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N——s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!
“I guess I won’t need my color TV anymore now that the Nets will be wearing black and white,’’ writes reader John Lynch. And reader David Distefano now wonders what’s left for the Nets to choose as “their alternate third-uniform to sell during nationally televised games.”

Sure, as long as we get to rename the Knicks to the New York Racist Shithead Post Columnists, with a logo of a half-empty bottle of booze spilled on a keyboard next to an envelope of cash.  Alyssa Rosenberg finds the real double standard here:

And his editors saw fit to let this get into print, which perhaps says more about their failings. If you can’t see Jay-Z, the guy who made it possible to be viably middle age in hip-hop, a long-established businessman, a guy with a wife and kid as anything other than an ignorant thug, you’re willfully blind in the same way as people who look at President Obama and insist on seeing a radical. No one who sees the world through lenses that distorted should be trusted to interpret it for the public. And it’s contemptible to make money off that kind of willful blindness and the pleasure people get out of casual racism. This column may be the consequence of Mushnick’s views being taken to their logical extension. But someone let him off the leash.

It's not like I regularly read the Post, that's for damn sure.  Now I won't at all.  Not until Mushnick's gone.  Frankly, I'd love to see Jay-Z throw some shade on this idiot.

StupidiNews, Cinco De Mayo Derby Weekend Edition!

Related Posts with Thumbnails