Good Economic News

CNS News is reporting today that not only is the economy booming, the federal government has cut 16,000 jobs during the Trump administration–1,000 in September alone. This is wonderful news when you consider that every dollar spent by the federal government is a dollar taken out of the private sector. How many dollars does the lower federal payroll put back into the private sector?

Unfortunately state and local governments have not cut their employment numbers. The article reports:

Since President Donald Trump took office, federal employment has declined by 16,000.

In December 2016, the month before Trump’s inauguration, there were 2,810,000 people employed by the federal government, according to the BLS data. By August 2018, that had declined by 15,000 to 2,795,000. In September, it declined another 1,000 to 2,794,000.

At the same time, overall government employment (including those employed by state and local governments) increased 13,000 in September and has climbed by 100,000 since December 2016.

In December, 2016, there were 22,306,000 people employed in state, local and federal government combined. By August 2018, that had climbed to 22,393,000. In September, it jumped again to 22,406,000.

It’s time to cut all government employment and get people back to work in the private sector. I realize that we need a certain number of people to run all levels of government, but I am totally convinced that the number of people could be greatly decreased without harm to government services at all levels.

Is This Where Our Culture Is?

Dennis Prager posted an article today in National Review about middle-class values and the attack on those values by the political left.

The article reports:

In August 2017, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax wrote a column for the Philadelphia Inquirer in defense of middle-class values. She and her co-author cited a list of behavioral norms that, as Wax, put it, “was almost universally endorsed between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s.”

They were:

Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

She later wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “The fact that the ‘bourgeois culture’ these norms embodied has broken down since the 1960s largely explains today’s social pathologies — and re-embracing that culture would go a long way toward addressing those pathologies.”

For her left-wing colleagues at Penn Law School, this list was beyond the pale. About half of her fellow professors of law — 33 of them — condemned her in an open letter. And Wax wrote in the Journal, “My law school dean recently asked me to take a leave of absence next year and to cease teaching a mandatory first-year course.”

If you are over the age of 60, chances are these are the values you grew up with. Many young people rebelled against these values in the 1960’s and beyond, but these were the values they grew up with.

The article continues:

The Pennsylvania chapter of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild condemned her for espousing bourgeois values and questioned “whether it is appropriate for her to continue to teach a required first-year course.”

These are now considered bourgeois values by the political left. Let’s look at the consequences of these values.

In March 2013, the Brookings Institute posted a list of three things teenagers living in poverty themselves should do to avoid poverty in their future.

This is the list:

In addition to the thousands of local and national programs that aim to help young people avoid these life-altering problems, we should figure out more ways to convince young people that their decisions will greatly influence whether they avoid poverty and enter the middle class. Let politicians, schoolteachers and administrators, community leaders, ministers and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.

I would add avoiding illegal drugs or excessive alcohol to that list. However, note that the ways to avoid poverty are very much in line with the bourgeois values that the political left is denigrating. These bourgeois values are also the building blocks of a strong society. Again, why is the political left denigrating them?

The article concludes:

There surely are mean conservatives — witness some of the vile comments by anonymous conservative commenters on the Internet. And it is a moral scandal that Ford has received death threats. The difference in left-wing meanness is the meanness of known — not anonymous — people on the left. They don’t hide behind anonymity because they do not feel bound by traditional notions of civility, for which they have contempt.

Now you can understand why the Left hates Mike Pence, a man who has, by all accounts, led a thoroughly honorable life. He — and other Evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews — tries to live by a code that is higher than him.

That ethic is what Übermenschen seek to destroy.

They are succeeding.

I hope not. That is not the country I want to leave to my children and grandchildren.

The Jobs Report Came Out Today

The jobs report came out today. The number I watch, and I am waiting to see change is the Workforce Participation Rate. That number is holding steady at 62.9. That is not a great number, but it is an okay number. That number reached 66 during some of early 2008, but has generally been in the 63 or 64 range most of the time since then. The other numbers on the report are really good.

CNS News is reporting the numbers today:

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says a record 155,965,000 people were employed in July, the 11th record-breaker since President Trump took office 19 months ago.

“Our economy is soaring. Our jobs are booming. Factories are pouring back into our country, they coming from all over the world. We are defending our workers,” President Trump told a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday.

BLS said the economy added 157,000 jobs in July (compared with a revised 248,000 in June).

The unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, as the number of employed people reached new heights, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 284,000 to 6,280,000 in July. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent) and Whites (3.4 percent) declined in July. The jobless rates for adult women (3.7 percent), teenagers (13.1 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), and Asians (3.1 percent), showed little or no change over the month. The unemployment rate for Hispanics hit a record low of 4.5 percent, down from last month’s record 4.6 percent.

There was also good news for wage-earners–in addition to the tax cut, hourly wages went up:

In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent.

This growth is the direct result of the policies of President Trump–the combination of deregulation, tax cuts, and domestic energy development has resulted in economic growth.

 

The Trump Economy Keeps Rolling Along

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about the latest unemployment numbers. There is lots of good news.

The article reports:

The U.S. labor market was firing on all cylinders in May: the unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low, employers added jobs at a faster pace and wages modestly improved.

The unemployment rate ticked down to a seasonally adjusted 3.8%, matching April 2000 as the lowest reading since 1969, the Labor Department said Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 223,000 in May, a jump from gains from March and April. Average hourly earnings ticked up to a 2.7% from a year earlier—and raises were even stronger for nonmanagers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the workforce participation rate is at 62.7. That number has fluctuated very little since January 2016. It should increase as the economy further improves.

The article further reports:

A broad measure of unemployment and underemployment that includes Americans stuck in part-time jobs or too discouraged to look for work fell to 7.6% from 7.8% the prior month. That rate, known as the U-6, remains somewhat elevated compared with the last time unemployment was similarly low. In April 2000, the broader measure was 6.9%.

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump understands what was needed to grow the American economy. I am grateful that he is helping all of us to prosper.

The article also reports:

The unemployment rate for women, 3.6% last month, was the lowest since 1953, when far smaller share of women sought jobs. The jobless rates for blacks, Latinos and those without high-school diplomas are trending near record lows.

It is amazing what has happened to the economy in the last eighteen months. I suspect that not everyone is cheering.

 

 

Moving Forward Slowly

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the economic numbers released today. The editorial is cautiously optimistic.

The editorial reports:

If you’re looking for good news in the latest jobs numbers, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, 313,000 was 50,000 more than expected, and is the biggest monthly gain in jobs in a year and a half.

In fact, since the recession ended in June 2009, there have only been six months in which job gains beat this number — which doesn’t say much for President Obama’s economic performance.

Better still, these employment gains were across the board. In fact, almost a third of the increase was in goods-producing industries, which climbed at a rate more than twice as fast as the overall job market.

The only part of the economy that didn’t grow was government, which can also be seen as good news. The federal workforce, in fact, dropped in February, and is now 14,000 lower than when Trump took office

At 4.1%, the overall unemployment rate is at a 17-year low, while the unemployment rates among blacks and Hispanics remain at historic lows.

But the employment numbers also show why, despite these strong gains, the economy is still far from “full employment.”

The article further reports that 653,000 people rejoined the labor force in February. That is really good news.

The editorial also notes the change in the workforce participation levels:

As a result, the employment-to-population ratio climbed to 60.4% in February. That’s higher than it ever got during Obama’s eight years in office. Better still, the employment-to-population ratio among those of prime working age jumped to 79.3%, its highest level in almost a decade.

And the labor force participation rate — the share of people looking or who have jobs — is now up to 63%, after having fallen steadily during Obama’s years (it went from 65.7% when he took office to 62.7% when he left).

There are still 5.1 million  Americans not in the labor force. Hopefully as the economy improves and the regulations on food stamps and welfare programs tighten, they will be able to find jobs.

The Jobs Report Is Out

CNBC posted the numbers from today’s jobs report on December 2017. Overall it is a positive report, although some numbers are not changing as rapidly as we might hope–the labor force participation rate is holding steady at 62.7.

There is a lot of good news in the report.

Breitbart also posted an article about the jobs report.

Here are some of the highlights from that article:

…the unemployment rate for black Americans dropped to just 6.8 percent, which is the lowest ever recorded. Prior to this month, the previous record was 7.4 percent in 2000.

The Hispanic unemployment rate remains at a near record low of just 4.9 percent, up just a bit from the record of 4.7 percent in November of last year.

White unemployment sits at 3.7 percent, while only 2.5 percent of Asians are unemployed.

The overall unemployment rate is just 4.1 percent.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

With unemployment so low, job growth should mean wage gains. More jobs than people looking for them puts employees in the driver’s seat. Also good news for workers is the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. This can only mean better wages and more job opportunities, especially for unskilled, entry, and blue-collar workers — those who have been left behind more than any other group.

That is good news for all Americans. As wages rise, it becomes less attractive to collect welfare. Hopefully, we will see the welfare rolls decrease as the tax cuts and wage increases take hold.

Moving In The Right Direction

It is often overlooked that every dollar spent by the federal government is a dollar that is not spent in the private sector. Therefore, when you shrink government, it often will result in growth in the private sector.

CNS News posted an article today about the impact of the Trump Administration on both the government sector and the private sector of the economy.

The article includes the following graphs:

Federal and state governments have decreased, but at the same time, local governments have grown.

The Numbers Are Good, But They Need To Be Better

The American economy is slowly improving. It is not racing along, but it is improving. Investor’s Business Daily recently posted an editorial explaining that although we have a 4.1 percent unemployment rate, we are not yet at full employment. As the article explains, there are other numbers that need to be considered when looking at the economy.

The editorial reports:

But look at the numbers more closely and you see that we are far from full employment.

First, the 0.1 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate in October was almost entirely the result of the fact that 968,000 dropped out of the labor force that month.

That’s right, for every new job created, nearly four people left the labor force.

The broader measure of unemployed — which combines those actively searching for a job with those working part time but want to work full time or are “marginally attached” to the labor force — show the jobless rate to be 7.9%.

And the IBD-TIPP poll shows that there’s likely even more slack than that. The October survey — which asks those polled whether they or anyone in their household is looking for work — shows that the share of job seekers is currently above 10%. This number, by the way, has consistently tracked higher than either of the BLS’s two measures.

Here’s another way to look at it. Back in December 2000, the unemployment rate was 3.9%. But that month, the labor force participation rate — the share of the population that’s either working or looking for a job — was 67%.

The current rate: 62.7%.

If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was in 2000, the official unemployment rate would be more like 10%.

The 10% unemployment rate would be better than what the actual rate has been in recent years, but obviously, it is not good.

The editorial concludes:

There is clearly still a need for pro-growth policies to get millions of workers sitting on the sidelines back to work.

Those pro-growth policies need to begin with the passage of President Trump’s tax proposal followed by a complete repeal of ObamaCare. If the Republicans in Congress want to be re-elected, they need to do both. It is time to put away the fear of a political outsider succeeding as President and begin to work together to move the country forward.

An article on

An article on the website of the JFK Library includes the following paragraph:

The president finally decided that only a bold domestic program, including tax cuts, would restore his political momentum. Declaring that the absence of recession is not tantamount to economic growth, the president proposed in 1963 to cut income taxes from a range of 20-91% to 14-65% He also proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate from 52% to 47%. Ironically, economic growth expanded in 1963, and Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress insisted that reducing taxes without corresponding spending cuts was unacceptable. Kennedy disagreed, arguing that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that strong economic growth would not continue without lower taxes.

I wonder if John Kennedy would be welcome in today’s Democratic party.

 

Slowly But Surely Things Are Changing

On Friday, CNS News reported that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working for the federal government declined by 13,000 in 2017.

The article reports:

At the same time, overall government employment in the United States increased by 7,000 as the number of people working at the state government level and the local government level both increased.

The following chart is from the article:

I realize the chart is difficult to read, but basically, the intersect of manufacturing and government jobs took place about 1989. That is when government jobs began to outpace manufacturing jobs in America. It should be noted that every dollar spent by the government on employment or anything else is a dollar taken away from the private sector. Since the private sector is responsible for growing the economy and increasing employment, increased spending by the government is not a wise long-term strategy.

The article concludes:

Despite losing 1,000 jobs in September, the manufacturing sector has still gained 104,000 jobs in this year. In December, there were 12,343,000 employed in manufacturing in the United States. In September, there were 12,447,000.

Despite the gain in manufacturing jobs since the start of this year, government jobs continue to massively outnumber manufacturing jobs in the United States. As of September, the 22,337,000 employed by governemt in the United States outnumbrered the 12,447,000 employed in manufacturing by 9,890,000.

The first time government jobs outnumbered manufacturing jobs in this country was August 1989, prior to that–going back to 1939 (the earliest year for BLS’s sector-by-sector employment numbers)–manufacturing jobs had always outnumbered government jobs in this country.

Slowly, but surely, things may be getting back under control.

 

The ADP National Employment Report Was Released Today

The ADP National Employment Report was released today.  Yahoo News posted a story about the report.

The report includes the following:

The Report states:

“May proved to be a very strong month for job growth,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Professional and business services had the strongest monthly increase since 2014. This may be an indicator of broader strength in the workforce since these services are relied on by many industries.”

I am waiting for the workforce participation rate numbers for May to come out. Those numbers will provide more insight into what is happening with the American economy.

The Impact Of A President On The Economy

Reuters is reporting today that U. S. weekly jobless claims have recorded their biggest drop in two years.

The article reports:

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The drop was the largest since the week ending April 25, 2015.

The prior week’s data was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market for 109 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970 when the labor market was smaller.

The labor market is currently near full employment.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 250,000 last week.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data. Claims for Louisiana were estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,500 to 250,000 last week.

The article reminds us that last week’s data will have no impact on the March unemployment report due out on Friday.

The article further reports:

According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 180,000 jobs last month after rising 235,000 in February. The unemployment rate is seen steady at 4.7 percent.

Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 24,000 to 2.03 million in the week ended March 25. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims fell 7,750 to 2.02 million, the lowest level since 2000.

This is good news. The number to watch in the report coming out tomorrow will be the Labor Force Participation Rate. If the unemployment rate stays low as more people enter the workforce, then we are on our way to an actual recovery. The unemployment number was kept artificially low during the Obama Administration by not counting people who had given up looking for work. As those people begin to look for work, it is quite possible that the unemployment number will rise slightly. In order to get a true picture of what is actually happening to employment in America, you need to look at both the unemployment rate and the Labor Force Participation Rate. The unemployment rate needs to be low and the Labor Force Participation Rate needs to be high. I will be posting both of those numbers as soon as I get them.

 

The Business Optimism That Surrounds President Donald Trump

President Trump has been in office for about two weeks. He has issued a number of executive orders that he believes will help restart the American economy, but he really hasn’t been in office long enough to see very much in terms of results. However, what he has done is increase optimism, which does influence the business climate.

Yesterday the January jobs report was released. Hot Air posted a story.

Here are some of the highlights:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 227,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, and financial activities. …

After accounting for the annual adjustments to the population controls, the civilian labor force increased by 584,000 in January, and the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, was up by 457,000 over the month, and the employment-population ratio edged up to 59.9 percent.

…U.S. job growth surged more than expected in January as construction firms and retailers ramped up hiring, which likely gives the Trump administration a head start as it seeks to boost the economy and employment.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 227,000 jobs last month, the largest gain in four months, the Labor Department said on Friday. But the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.8 percent and wages increased modestly, suggesting that there was still some slack in the labor market.

This is the chart on the workforce participation rate since 2007:

It may be a slow climb, but we are at least moving in the right direction.

Last Week’s Job Numbers

This is a chart from this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal:

image

There was good news and bad news for the American economy in the jobs report released last week.

One positive note:

One positive development is that the number of “long-time” unemployed, those out of work for six months or more, fell again and is down by one million workers over the past year. The dismally low labor participation rate ticked up to 63.5% from 63.4% in May as 177,000 more Americans entered the workforce, though the rate is still below the 63.8% from last June. Average hourly wages climbed a welcome 10 cents and for the first time hit $24.

But there were a few negative notes:

…a big jump of 247,000 in the number of “discouraged workers,” those who have stopped looking for a job

…big jump in the number of Americans who want to work full time but could only find part-time work. That number leapt to 8.23 million, a 322,000 one-month increase. Total part-time employment rose by 432,000, more than double the total number of net new jobs.

…those who can’t find a full-time job for economic reasons—still totals more than 20 million Americans and the rate unexpectedly rose in June to 14.3% from 13.8%

The article in the Wall Street Journal concluded:

On Tuesday the Obama Treasury announced it is postponing this employer mandate until 2015, and perhaps this will encourage more full-time hiring. But thousands of businesses, especially in retail and fast-food, have already started to cap employment for many workers at 30 hours and they know their reprieve is only for a year. If President Obama really wants to spur hiring, he’d let Congress delay the employer mandate forever.

ObamaCare is bad for American business and bad for the healthcare Americans now have available. If Congress and President Obama truly cared about the health of Americans, they would scrap ObamaCare completely and rewrite it to allow free market forces to control the cost of healthcare.

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The Numbers Behind The Jobs Report

Investors Business Daily posted an article today on the latest jobs numbers.

The article reports:

Although somewhat better than expected, the 175,000 net jobs created in May continues the historically tepid jobs growth trend that has come to characterize the now four-year-old economic recovery.

The result has been continued high unemployment, a vast pool of long-term jobless, and an unprecedented number of people who’ve dropped out of the labor force.

The article reminds us that there are 2.4 million fewer people working than there were in January 2008. The Democrats have attempted to blame the slow job growth on sequestration, but that doesn’t make sense. Sequestration did not go into effect until March, and sequestration cut the rate of growth–it did not cut the budget.

The article also points out:

…the total number of government jobs climbed more than 7,000 since January (not including U.S. Postal Service jobs, which get included in government statistics even though the USPS is independently run).

It really is time to shrink the government. It is ridiculous that as the number of people leaving the workforce increase, the government continues to grow.
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The Law Of Unintended Consequences Strikes Again

The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial today entitled, “ObamaCare and the ’29ers.'” When I first looked at the title, I thought it was about the unemployment rate of the twenty-something generation. It’s not. It’s about how ObamaCare is affecting the number of hours employers allow their employees to work.

The article reports:

The law (ObamaCare) requires firms with 50 or more “full-time equivalent workers” to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says “equivalent” because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don’t offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.

Is Washington capable of making anything simple?

The article explains how the mathematics of employing people under ObamaCare work:

The savings from restricting hours worked can be enormous. If a company with 50 employees hires a new worker for $12 an hour for 29 hours a week, there is no health insurance requirement. But suppose that worker moves to 30 hours a week. This triggers the $2,000 federal penalty. So to get 50 more hours of work a year from that employee, the extra cost to the employer rises to about $52 an hour—the $12 salary and the ObamaCare tax of what works out to be $40 an hour.

This chart from the article shows the number of people currently working part-time:

image

It’s time to repeal ObamaCare, replace it with something that has actually been thought through, and get the American economy working again.

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Both Sets Of Jobs Numbers For January 2013

Yesterday CNS News reported that the number of Americans not in the labor force grew by 169,000 in January. Meanwhile, aol.com reports that 157,000 new jobs were added in January 2013.

The article at aol.com reported:

Federal Reserve officials said on Wednesday that economic activity had “paused,” but they signaled optimism the recovery would regain speed with continued monetary policy support. The Fed left in place a monthly $85 billion bond-buying stimulus plan. Economists polled by Reuters had expected employers to add 160,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.8 percent last month.

…Job growth in 2012 averaged 181,000 a month, but not enough to significantly reduce unemployment. Economists say employment gains in excess of 250,000 a month over a sustained period are needed.

We are losing jobs as fast as we are gaining them. This really does not look like a strong economic recovery.

Elections Have Consequences

On Saturday, Breitbart.com posted an article about the impact Obamacare is having on jobs.

The article explains:

The Obamacare employer mandate doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2014, but the government requires businesses to track worker schedules for three to 12 months in advance.  That means many employers plan to get a jump start on avoiding Obamacare’s $2,000 per-worker fine by firing workers now, reducing employee hours, or replacing full-time employees with part-time workers.

The article lists companies in various industries that have been forced to layoff employees or cut employee hours in order to avoid the fines that will be imposed on them by Obamacare if they do not meet the specific requirements of Obamacare in the health care they provide.

The article reminds us that unemployment is currently much higher than it normally is during a ‘recovery’ from a recession:

The looming Obamacare layoffs and hiring freezes come as a Labor Department report announced today that the unemployment rate remains at 7.8% (revised up from the originally reported 7.7%).  Presently, 22.6 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or marginally attached to the work force. 

If we want to see the economy grow, we need to take a serious look at the policies of the federal government and the impact they are having on businesses.

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Between The Lines On The Jobs Numbers

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the latest jobs report. The article points out that the dip in the unemployment rate was the result of over a half-million people dropping out of the workforce.

The article also points out:

Over the last five months, 73% of all jobs created were government jobs. Moreover, the unemployment rate for government workers plunged to 3.8% in November — which is considered full employment.

Logically, when the civilian workforce is smaller, fewer people are paying taxes, and the money to fund the government shrinks.

The article reminds us:

Even though deficits rule the day at every level of government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 847,000 new jobs created since June, a full 621,000 were government jobs. In November alone, 35,000 new government jobs were created.

In other words, as the labor participation rate plummets to a thirty year low — which means we have fewer taxpayers — we’re not only increasing the number of taxpayer-funded jobs, but the government is using the creation of these jobs to juice the employment numbers in a way that makes it look as though the job situation is actually improving.

I would be very surprised to see any of these numbers reported in the mainstream media.

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The Taxman Cometh (Again)

Investors.com posted an article about some of the ideas the government is considering in its search for increased revenue to close the budget deficit. It seems that the government is eyeing our 401(k) accounts.

The article states:

Rather than the current $50,000, Congress is considering limiting employer-employee 401(k) contributions to 20% of an employee’s salary up to a ceiling of $20,000, an idea dubbed the “20/20” plan. Even voters without 20/20 vision will quickly see it as another promise broken by a political culture whose spending has reached the level of insanity.

The Post (the New York Post) also interviewed Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center co-director William Gale, whose idea of replacing all tax deductions on 401(k)s and IRAs with an 18% credit sent straight into everyone’s retirement account is also being considered within Congress.

This news comes as it was reported today that Social Security and Medicare will be out of money by 2033, three years earlier than last year’s estimate.

How about simply cutting the spending, ending GSA boondoggles, and making the first family pay for their own vacations?

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The Evolution Of A Story

Yesterday The Blaze posted an example of how a story can be changed after it is posted on the Internet so it does not hurt the Obama Administration. The story in question was posted at CNN Money.

The original story stated:

“As Kermit knows, it’s not easy being green,” the story began. “There were only 3.1 million green jobs in the U.S. in 2010.”

Later, after the revisions, the story stated:

“Kermit has more company lately.

“There were 3.1 million green jobs in the U. S. in 2010, or about 2.4% of the nation’s employment.”

The information has not changed–the slant has.

The Blaze concludes:

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its first tally of jobs associated with producing green goods and services,” the story says (take these numbers with a grain of salt; the administration uses an extraordinarily loose definition for the term “green job“).

“The utilities industry — which includes nuclear and hydroelectric power generation — has the highest share of green jobs, at nearly 12 percent, while the construction industry comes in second at 6.8 percent. Some 5.3 percent of federal government jobs are green,” it adds.

In fact, as reported yesterday on The Blaze, the federal government has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in agency-related “green” energy initiatives.

Which brings us back to the original point: for the amount of money that has been poured into “green” energy, 2.4 percent of the nation’s workforce hardly seems like a fair return on investment.

The whole thing makes me want to see a real definition of a ‘green job.’

 

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Does This Bother Anyone Else ?

Today’s Boston Herald reported that a bankruptcy judge has approved nearly $370,000 in bonuses for certain employees of Solyndra LLC.

The article reports:

Solyndra, based in Fremont, Calif., wanted to award bonuses of up to $500,000 to as many as 21 employees but scaled back its request after discussions with its official creditors committee.

Gee, that makes me feel so much better.

The article further reports:

Solyndra, which has failed to find a buyer to operate the company as a going concern, says it needs to retain key employees with the expertise needed for an orderly liquidation of its remaining assets.

For that kind of money I would volunteer to handle the liquidation! As I reported on January 23 (rightwinggranny.com), the liquidation is not being handled well:

At Solyndra’s sprawling complex in Fremont, workers in white jumpsuits were unwrapping brand new glass tubes used in solar panels last week. They are the latest, most cutting-edge solar technology, and they are being thrown into dumpsters.

This is taxpayer money, and as a taxpayer–I object!

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It’s All Smoke And Mirrors

Katie Pavlich at Townhall.com posted an article this morning about the Obama Administration’s non-compromise on the latest healthcare directive from Health and Human Services. Yes, I said non-compromise.

The Obama Administration’s definition of a compromise is to still require religious institutions to provide insurance covereage for procedures that violate their religious principles.

The article reports:

…a “compromise” that allows religious employers to opt out of paying for providing birth control to women, but will still be required to provide contraception. What this means is, insurance companies will pick up the tab for contraception, but religious employers are still required to provide contraception through insurance plans to their employees, despite the move being against religious beliefs.

This is all smoke and mirrors. Under the compromise, religious institutions are still required to ignore their basic beliefs and provide coverage, they just don’t have to pay for it. That is not a compromise. Also, why is the federal government requiring a religious organization to ignore their religious beliefs in order to comply with any law?

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Who Is Paying For This ?

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The Contra Costa Times reported on Friday that Solyndra has asked its bankruptcy judge to pay remaining employees up to $500,000 in bonuses.

The article points out:

Senior executives at Solyndra collected hefty quarterly bonuses — ranging from $37,000 to $60,000 apiece, with some executives receiving both rounds of bonuses — within six months of the company’s closure last August, when about 1,100 workers were laid off without severance.

According to the article, the bonuses requested would “go to workers lower on the food chain than the sizable bonuses handed out to key executives in the months before the company’s bankruptcy — 13 of the 21 possible recipients the Associated Press listed were equipment engineers and facilities workers.”

There are a few things at work here. What kind of responsible executive takes a huge bonus as the company is going under? What about taking the bonus and then laying off workers without severance? I am all in favor of people making money–I just think we need to bring the concept of ethics back into our business model.

The kind of abuses we have seen in the financial sector of our economy will not be fixed by increased regulation–they are indications of a lack of morality and accountability that is currently running rampant in our society. Until we get back to our national roots as a Judeo-Christian country, we are not going to solve our problems–financial or otherwise. The reason the Ten Commandments were posted in our schools was to let students know that at some point in their lives they would have to answer to a higher authority. When we removed the concept of a higher authority, we opened the door for the financial collapse that we have seen. When our financial moguls do not realize that they are accountable for their behavior, they don’t bother to play by the rules.

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A Few Things To Add To The Unemployment Picture

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today on the unemployment numbers released today. Everything is not quite what we are told it is.

Mr. Morrissey reports that the numbers are slowly going down–we are now at 8.5 percent. There is, however, a bit more to the story.

The article points out:

The civilian population participation rate hasn’t changed at all from the 64.0% of last month, which remains the lowest level since the Reagan years and which keeps the jobless rate artificially low. The civilian labor force — all the employed and all those seeking employment — actually declined by 50,000 people since November.  However, the U-6 measure of “real” unemployment dropped from 15.6% in November to 15.2% in December, which is the lowest in three years.

The economy is improving very slowly. It would improve much more quickly if we began to remove some of the choking regulations from businesses and if we revised our tax code down to one or two pages that were easily understood by average Americans. Hopefully, this year’s elections will give us leadership that will do that.

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