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Median Income
Come Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release another monthly jobs report. This report and the next one on October 5 are the two that will presumably have the greatest impact on the election. (The report on November 2 will come too late to matter.) Some analysts go so far as to say the election results themselves can be predicted based on those numbers. Personally, I wouldn't bet $10,000 on that. But there's no denying they will affect news coverage and, to some unknown extent, voter preference.

Even though the BLS report is filled with other numbers, the two that will stick in people's minds, as always, are the ones the headline writers focus on—the amount of new jobs created and the official unemployment rate.

The truth is those two numbers aren't quite real. They are a concocted brew of raw data and formulas of seasonal adjustments, estimated business creation and business collapse, as well as standardized measurements that don't provide the whole picture. Indeed, although no conspiracy is involved, taken in isolation those numbers deeply distort our true situation.

For example, if you live in one of the 60,000 randomly sampled households the BLS contacts for its monthly report and you tell them you are working six hours a week, you're counted as employed. Add together enough people working six hours a week and it will bring the unemployment rate down a notch or two even though most people working six hours a week want to be working more than that. To be sure, those people do get counted as underemployed in another BLS gauge abbreviated as "U6." But until recently that hardly ever made the headlines. And even now it gets only a bare mention. Those underemployed people—who are not included in the 8.3 percent (or whatever latest number the BLS arrives at)—are in real pain. Calling them employed may make some sort of statistical sense, but to anyone who cares about their well-bring, it ought not to be the least bit soothing.

There are also people who haven't had a job for a year or more who want to work but haven't actively hunted for a job in the past 12 months. They aren't included as part of the labor force at all and thus skew the unemployment rate downward. They, too, can be found in the statistics for those who want to dig a bit. But they rarely, if ever, make the news. If they and the part-timers who want to be full-timers were counted in the headline numbers, the total count of the unemployed and underemployed right now would be 27.4 million, more than double the headline number.

For the past five years, we have been mired in the impacts of recession, even if, officially, that recession is over and we've been in recovery for 38 months. It has been a stagnant, frustrating, expectation-smashing recovery that offers hope for a few months and then smacks it down for a few, then repeats. What the monthly jobs report provides is a snapshot through the lens of crisis—a blurry snapshot—of the real economic condition of Americans further distorted by traditional media's cropping out of most of the details.

By any measure, the situation is better than it would have been had Barack Obama not been the fellow who had stepped into the Oval Office in January 2009. We know full well what the right wing would have done. Waited for the economy to right itself on its own. That's what a big chunk believe should have happened in 1933 when their bête noire stepped into the White House and, something their every move these days denies, saved capitalism from the capitalists. Instead of acknowledging that Obama succeeded in partially altering the awful economic trajectory launched during the administration of his predecessor, they keep twisting the facts to show that the president's policies have made things worse than they were when he took office.

To that end, Team Romney has been working the monthly BLS reports assiduously, offering solutions like the creation of 12 million jobs in four years without actually explaining the specific ingredients that will go into this Clinton-topping miracle. Based on other elements of the Romney campaign team's plans, presumably 11 million of those jobs will be for roughnecks working oil derricks in North Dakota, the National Parks and off-shore.

There is literally less than nothing in the Republicans' economic plans to improve matters for anyone except the top tier. That applies both to the two headline numbers in the BLS report and to healing the damage caused over the past generation of economic changes.

Indeed, what we're hearing is the same old, same old cut-taxes-for-the-rich-and-they-will-build-it manure that those of us old enough to remember have heard now going on four decades. During that period we saw first a nibbling and then great bites taken out of the economic well-being of working-class Americans, a category which, despite pretentious conceits, includes the middle class.

Beneficiaries? Thanks to the Occupy movement, we've got a shorthand for them: the one percent. The same old, same old team—the one percenters and those who dream of joining them—is well-prepared for next steps: a full-bore dismantling of the remainder of the Great Society and New Deal programs that provide poor and working-class Americans a modest cushion.

Add the impact of that to the bashing these plutocrats and their puppets have already delivered and we've got the makings Third World U.S.A.

Catherine Rampell at The New York Times recently discussed one of one the impacts we've seen in the latest recession:

Across the country, in almost every demographic, Americans earn less today than they did in June 2009, when the recovery technically started. As of June, the median household income for all Americans was $50,964, or 4.8 percent lower than its level three years earlier, when the inflation-adjusted median income was $53,508.

The decline looks even worse when comparing today’s incomes to those when the recession began in December 2007. Then, the median household income was $54,916, meaning that incomes have fallen 7.2 percent since the economy last peaked.

She added nuance by dividing these statistics by age, race and education. But there's not much solace to be found there.

Many factors are at work. Let's look at three.

• Workers with jobs aren't demanding raises because they are fully aware that they can be easily replaced by someone who will work for less when unemployed legions are scratching at the door. This is one of the impacts from what the 19th Century economist who must not be named called the "reserve army of the unemployed." Many 21st Century workers who were part of the reserve army and out of work for a long time have taken jobs at far less pay than they were getting previously. That's true whether the new job required the same skills and duties as the one they lost or if they took a lesser position out of desperation.

For older workers, a Government Accountability Office report states, the situation is particularly difficult. Those lucky enough to find a new job after a post-55 lay-off are likely to take a deep pay cut. According to the report, 70 percent of workers 55 or older who were laid off between 2007 and 2009 now earn less than in their previous job. But it's not that great for those aged 25 to 54. Some 53 percent of them took a cut in pay.

The large number of people who have been out of work for more than half a year contributes a good deal to this problem. Nearly 40 percent of the total number of people who are unemployed have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer. That number has been gradually improving, but it's still dreadfully high.

• Peter Edelman describes a second factor in this situation: "Low-wage work has become an endemic problem in the United States in recent decades." Edelman is specifically discussing policies designed to help people who work but don't make enough to thrive, policies like food stamps, for instance. While the Republicans pretend to care about the record number of Americans now on food stamps and use it as another arrow in their campaign quiver, they eagerly embrace Paul Ryan's plan to whack the program by turning it over to the states in block grants and capping the amount of money the federal government provides. Just one step above the days 50 years ago when states handed out surplus food to the needy.

But the problem of comparatively low wages goes well beyond those in the bottom tiers of the population. An American man at the median who did not have a high school diploma earned 66 percent less in 2009 than he did in 1969, after adjusting for inflation. If he had a high school diploma, his income was 47 percent less in 2009 than 40 years earlier. And even if he had a bachelor's degree, he made 12 percent less in 2009 than in 1969.

The National Employment Law Project came out with a new report last week that added a punch to groin:

During the recession, employment losses occurred throughout the economy, but were concentrated in midwage occupations. By contrast, during the recovery, employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations. Specifically:

— Lower-wage occupations were 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth.
— Mid-wage occupations were 60 percent of recession losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.
— Higher-wage occupations were 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.

• The third factor, one obviously entangled with the others, is the jobs lost because of our "free" trade arrangements.  

The Economic Policy Institute recently released its report on a decade's worth of trade policy with China:

The United States is piling up foreign debt and losing export capacity, and the growing trade deficit with China has been a prime contributor to the crisis in U.S. manufacturing employment. Between 2001 and 2011, the trade deficit with China eliminated or displaced more than 2.7 million U.S. jobs, over 2.1 million of which (76.9 percent) were in manufacturing. These lost manufacturing jobs account for more than half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost or displaced between 2001 and 2011. [...]

But the jobs impact of the China trade deficit is not restricted to job loss and displacement. Competition with low-wage workers from less-developed countries such as China has driven down wages for workers in U.S. manufacturing and reduced the wages and bargaining power of similar, non-college-educated workers throughout the economy. The affected population includes essentially all workers with less than a four-year college degree—roughly 70 percent of the workforce, or about 100 million workers (U.S. Census Bureau 2012b).

Put another way, for a typical full-time median-wage earner, earnings losses due to globalization totaled approximately $1,400 per year as of 2006 (Bivens 2008a).

Until recently, as Edward Alden has pointed out, only the most iconoclastic economists took the view that globalization was having more than a modest impact on jobs and wages despite the widespread evidence to the contrary related by non-economists. That is changing.

One example comes from Nobel laureate Michael Spence and Sandile Hlatshwayo
in their The Evolving Structure of the American Economy and the Employment Challenge. They found that 97.7 percent of job growth in the United States occurred in the "non-tradable" sector, arenas like health care and government, with huge losses in manufacturing.

Other studies have shown that sectors of the U.S. economy most exposed to low-wage competition, much of it from China, have seen wages fall. Matthew Slaughter concluded in U.S. Trade and Investment Policy [$15 download fee] that in the decade ending in 1999, multinational companies headquartered in the United States created 4.4 million jobs here and 2.7 million abroad. For the decade ending in 2009, however, those same companies got rid of nearly 3 million jobs in the United States and added 2.4 million jobs abroad.

Whether they have taken the route Mitt Romney and other finance capitalists have chosen or gone for something marginally more traditional, the buccaneers of our economy benefit at everyone else's expense from the destruction in the factors I have described. It's crucial to remember that this Friday when the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes its announcement of the latest job numbers and the media begin discussing what they think it all means. Because you can be sure they won't be discussing what it all means.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 03:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Diary illustrates why maintaining.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SammyJames, tapu dali, tofumagoo, TexasTom

    ....the working and middle-class components of the Bush tax cuts is so essential.

    Over 75% of the Bush tax cuts accrue to the working and middle-class.  Not my opinion.  But a fact.

    Given stagnant/declining median income, Dems can not allow the tax cuts to lapse on the working and middle-class.  Doing so would amount to a HUGE after-tax wage cut.

    And why are no Dem pols discussing a PERMANENT increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, to replace the FICA tax cut which will lapse this year?  That represents another HUGE tax hike.

    I have an idea.  Let's PERMANENTLY increase the Earned Income Tax Credit by 1,500 per worker.  

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:05:23 PM PDT

  •  For a certain percentage of the unemployed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SammyJames

    How can people get retrained  If employers won't tell them what they're looking for..

    People send out resumes and the sound of silence is the result.

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:07:41 PM PDT

  •  The Koch bros and their ilk (5+ / 0-)

    like Mitt have been supremely successful. They have captured the info feed to the folks that are not the people who have time to dig through the internet or dig through alternate publications, but people who are just trying to make it through. They have successfully planted in people's head sthat ALL socialism is bad, capitalism is great and the greatest and it beat communism, etc. They have successfully planted in people's heads that government created jobs are not "real" jobs. And that workers who work for the government should not be ALLOWED to organize. They have successfully planted in people's heads that labor unions are thugs, that people who need jobs are lazy, that people who are hungry deserve to be hungry.

    What unions haven't done is work with the workers so that they can understand where their true bread is buttered. A lot of union folks voted for Scott Walker and that has got to be the shame of the year.

    What WE haven't done is find simple messages that we can hammer home to folks so that it counters the memes of the Kochs et al. Messages such as we, the workers built that, we the tax payers built that. We the teachers trained the people, the workers, we the fire fighters, the police officers and  the trash collectors created a safe and livable environment for people to work and live. And the Koch brothers and Romney and Ryan should not be able to take away our communities and our jobs and our safety and our livable communities..

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:08:36 PM PDT

  •  Mitt for president -- (0+ / 0-)

    of a country club --

    NOT the country.

  •  It seems to me, a non-economist, (11+ / 0-)

    that one way of approaching the wage problem may be to identify areas in which the USA might create significant improvements in the efficiency of our economy in a way that soaks up unemployment and lets us come out of the depression able to compete with low wage countries on the basis of sheer productivity. I am sure economists of all stripes could identify areas in which we could invest public and private money that would result in such improvements.

    One example would be to rebuild the electricity grid (including Canada and Mexico perhaps) in order to make electricity generation and distribution much more efficient and able to take advantage of wind power in the plains states and solar power in the southwest, etc. This type of investment would yield tremendous benefits to the economy, and would represent a big national project that we really need right now. It doesn't really need a huge amount of government money because utilities would be doing a lot of the construction but it would need the government to coordinate the project. I hope we see something big like this in Obama's second term.

    The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

    by Anne Elk on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:14:44 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, MB. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17, Delevie

    Very impressive and incisive analysis.

    The graf at the beginning says it all. But I really worry that low-info voters will blame Obama and the Dems rather than the real culprits.

    Obama needs to have his A++ game on for his convention speech and the debates. I'm hopeful he will.

    I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- S.I. Hayakawa

    by tapu dali on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:26:48 PM PDT

  •  Before anyone else publishes another "I'm better (8+ / 0-)

    off than I was 4 years ago diary"...I hope they look at your graph.  That isn't anecdotal data, or first person testimonies.  It is raw economic data.

    And the picture it paints is not one of a country that is better off than it was 4 years ago.

    As Chris Mathews said...that isn't opinion, it's factual.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:32:35 PM PDT

    •  As Dean Baker wrote, however... (9+ / 0-)

      ...the question itself has inherent problems. He explains why a reporter who asks "Are the American people better off than they were four years ago?" is incompetent:

      Suppose your house is on fire and the firefighters race to the scene. They set up their hoses and start spraying water on the blaze as quickly as possible. After the fire is put out, the courageous news reporter on the scene asks the chief firefighter, "is the house in better shape than when you got here?"

      Yes, that would be a really ridiculous question. Hence George Stephanopoulos was being absurd when he posed this question to David Plouffe, a top political adviser to President Obama on ABC's This Week. Bob Schieffer was being equally silly when he asked Martin O’Malley, the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, the same question on CBS's Face the Nation.

      A serious reporter asks the fire chief if he had brought a large enough crew, if they enough hoses, if the water pressure was sufficient. [...]

      Similarly, serious reporters would ask whether the stimulus was large enough, was it well-designed, and were there other measures that could have been taken like promoting shorter workweeks, as Germany has done.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:42:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you really think it would have better under (0+ / 0-)

      McFail and Failin'?

      I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- S.I. Hayakawa

      by tapu dali on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:42:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're Better (5+ / 0-)

      No, that graph doesn't show us better off. Because it's far from an accurate picture of 4 years ago.

      We are better off today than in August 2008 because at that time a total and irreparable collapse of practically every part of the global economy was in the works. Probably 5 billion of humanity's 8 billion people were facing a completely different day finding food, shelter and energy a few months down the road.

      Today we have suffered some damage, but our civilization is not at risk of literal collapse (like a bridge in Ohio) by next Spring the way it was in 2008. Obama didn't go nearly far enough managing us out of the disaster (like a $1.5T stimulus, or Medicare for All, or ...). So the ongoing damage is still with us. But we're so much better than we were in 2008 (or where we'd be if WcCain were president now) that we often have trouble even remembering what the probabilities were 4 years ago.

      The future ain't what it used to be. 4 years ago it was probably apocalyptic. Merely sucking in a traditional degree is far better.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:48:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Graph's slightly misleading (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indie17

      It only covers a small range to make the dips look more dramatic. And I'd say June 2009 is really the starting spot for Obama when the stimulus started to kick in, when median income was at $52,000. Now it's about $51,000. Nothing to brag about, but no albatross either.

      Of course things could be better, and I think debates can be had about whether we should be further along the recovery. But people who question whether or not we're better off now than in 2008 forget what 2008 was like. I work in a relatively stable industry in higher education, and around the end of 2008, we were starting to worry whether enough students would be able to afford to stay in school and pay our salaries, given what was happening to the banks and the housing bubble bursting. If enrollment fell by a thousand or two, jobs were going to be chopped. Fortunately, we got by with salary freezes and budget cuts, but it was nervous times, which we don't have now.

    •  I am emphatically NOT better off than I was (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, Square Knot, indie17

      four years ago, but I have a feeling I'd be even worse off if the anti-environmental Greed Oil and Power Republicans controlled the entire government. That being said, its a shame Obama has capitulated to a lot of their agenda, as I remain underemployed. The Green New Deal has not materialized, and small elements of it such as high speed rail have been torpedoed by the reactionary Fossil Fool Republicans.

      That being said, I blame people like Scott Walker and his ilk rather than Obama, as those people were responsible for canceling many worthwhile infrastructure projects and crushing renewable energy in Wisconsin, where I live. It proves the importance of down ticket votes; you can have excellent initiatives from the President and the Federal government, but they aren't worth warm spit if your local and state officials are reactionary and refuse or cancel them.

      Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

      by NoMoreLies on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:57:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Financial Elites are better off (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      In no small part because they've rigged ALL the rules, incentives and even the way we measure "better off" to benefit them.

      Sort of like asking only the apex predator if a prey animal is "better off" running free or jugular severed and ready to eat.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:02:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  need actual industrial policy rather than GOP bs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, divineorder, NoMoreLies
    These lost manufacturing jobs account for more than half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost or displaced between 2001 and 2011. [...]

    Don't roof rack me bro', Now the brown's comin' down; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:38:35 PM PDT

    •  That was all set into motion during the 90s (0+ / 0-)

      With MFN status it didn't take long for the chinese robber barons to ramp up their production and export businesses.  There are so many guilty parties that allowed this happen and they're on both sides of the aisle.

      To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.” ― Woody Allen

      by soros on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 06:13:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Green Economy Is Better (5+ / 0-)

    Everything about the US screams in our faces to retool our economy to a Green one. More work in conservation, efficiency, remediation; less work in pollution and waste. We can't afford the filthy old economy - we couldn't for at least a couple of generations. The 1970s oil crises should have forced the country into relentless growth of Green economics, led by the pictures and inventions from NASA that showed us all the future.

    Instead we bought into schizophrenic denial, with nothing but debts of every kind (financial, trade, production, natural, moral...) to show for it.

    Even foreign competition doesn't threaten Green American work, with all the local infrastructure and sustainable resources making local labor and knowhow far superior to imports and outsources. While still keeping America globally integrated - as a leader, not a bullying beggar.

    It's not too late. But only just barely. We have one more generation to leap the tracks running us to hell, onto paths back into a temperate and sustainable life.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:40:30 PM PDT

  •  I get so mad at the Beltway talking head (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Eric Nelson, TexasTom, indie17

    who just go by these bullshit job numbers which to them don't look "so bad" and wonder why Americans are still acting "insecure". I hear this even on "liberal" MSNBC shows like Chris Haye's.

    Even the "liberal" beltway insiders are almost completely out of touch. For them, being employed is fine because they've got good jobs. They can't even fathom that for everyone else, going from a 50K job to a minimum wage job with no benefits is not "OK", even if it is officially "employment".

    Guess what you Beltway out of touch idiots: minimum wage, no benefits, no heath care, no job security = unhappy and economically insecure. So please forgive us for not singing a happy dance about the job numbers that aren't "that bad".

    Assholes.

    If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

    by Oaktown Girl on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:43:51 PM PDT

  •  Charming tale (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2020adam

    "By any measure, the situation is better than it would have been had Barack Obama not been the fellow who had stepped into the Oval Office in January 2009. "

    Indemonstrable contrafactuals make for charged rhetoric, and little else. Given that Mr. Obama-Geithner basically ran with the playbook the previous administration and congress had concocted, and adding to that the politicians' ingrained inability to do nothing, I am highly skeptical that a McCain administration would have sat on its hands to watch the economy right itself. Whether they would have done any better or worse is sheer guesswork.

    •  You can be as skeptical as you like... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman, TexasTom, 2020adam, indie17, NoMoreLies

      ...but, as for contrafactuals, as Senator instead of President, McCain opposed the stimulus bill. McCain has consistently voted against green-energy bills, he has consistently opposed infrastructure spending, he opposed Dodd-Frank, and he opposed the auto bailout.

      So, there is a bit more than "sheer guesswork" involved in figuring out what would have happened under his presidency.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Massive collapse in middle class net worth also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Square Knot, NoMoreLies

    See http://www.forbes.com/...  

    An excerpt:

    "The median family net worth dropped a staggering 40% to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007, the Fed said in its Survey of Consumer Finances which is released every three years. The median family income dropped as well from $49,600 in 2007 to $45,800, or a 7.7% drop.

    Middle-class families faced the brunt of the declines with those in the 60th to 80th percentile of income seeing a 40.4% drop in net worth from $215,700 to $128,600. Families with a net income in the the 20th to 39.9th percentile of income saw a 35.4% drop in net worth from $39,600 to $25,600. "

  •  Somebody give Joe Biden a clue (0+ / 0-)

    People don't really give a hairy rodent's posterior if Bin Ladin is dead.  

    They don't even care about GM's survival all that much given how GM CEOs screwed us with several decades of overpriced crap.

  •  Obama, unfortunately, is no FDR. (3+ / 0-)

    He's not out there talking to us and telling us that he's not fooled by the numbers.  He's not telling us that he knows the recession never ended, in spite of what the economists say.

    FDR lived with the reaility of the Great Depression -- and World War II.  In the first two years of his administration, he lived with Republcans standing in his way  --- and the Supreme Court doing the same.

    He kept figihting for ought-to-be working Americans and made sure they knew he was on their side.

    He may keep the Presidency by virtue of the gift that is Mitt Romney, but, frankly, I really don't know who he's fighting for, if anybody.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:50:16 PM PDT

  •  Isn't the Clinton-Topping Job Miracle Simply (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot, NoMoreLies

    promising to "do" what projections expect to happen with no changes to policy? I think that's what I've been hearing on prog talk radio.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 04:56:56 PM PDT

    •  There is a whole line of economic theory (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      about how expectations drive behavior.  While relatively easy to prove on a micro level (when people expect a stock price will rise, they buy the stock, thus driving up the price), on the macro level it becomes more complicated - because economic power is so concentrated at the top these days, particularly with negligible union presence/pressure in so many fields.

      I remember about 15 years ago, the Nobel Prize in economics was awarded for work in this area (I wrote a paper on it), and I've always found it fascinating.

  •  Every time a Republican repeats the false claim (4+ / 0-)

    that's become their election-season mantra that the only thing Barack Obama did in his first two years when he had control of both the executive office and Congress was health care, our immediate and firm reply must a fast and firm reminder that the FIRST thing this president did was to successfully stop the free fall into a world-wide economic catastrophe caused by the runaway, deregulated bankers and Wall Street barrons.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:29:13 PM PDT

  •  Dear Diary: Wow! Fox News is even more insightful (0+ / 0-)

    then Clint Eastwood. Boll O'Reilly just nailed that sex crazed Fluke person.
     =============
    Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, covering the Republican National Convention, offered his thoughts on what might replace the balloons that traditionally drop from the ceiling at the Democratic National Convention when reproductive rights advocate Sandra Fluke speaks. He did not elaborate, but his fellow panelists perhaps laughed knowing that a certain prophylactic makes an effective balloon substitute.

    “I’m going to leave when the balloons come down,” said O’Reilly. I’m frightened of the balloons.”

    “I don’t consider that when I’m struck by a balloon, I’m really hit, Bill,” said James Rosen. “It’s gentle.”

    “I’m just wondering when Sandra Fluke speaks at the Democratic convention, what they’re going to drop from the ceiling,” said O’Reilly.

    “Goodness,” Rosen said.

    “There goes that suggestive O’Reilly again,” said John Roberts.

    “I’m just pointing out there’s only one reason this woman is speaking. One and one only,” said O’Reilly, laughing.

    ================

    He, he, he, he, he. That's almost as funny as getting a vision impaired teacher to walk into a door.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:36:15 PM PDT

  •  the well paying jobs that were lost have been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmastiff, NoMoreLies

    slowest to recover.  The Atlantic currently has a piece with some good graphics on this.  Most of the monthly job growth is, and has been, in low paying jobs...retail, restaurants and hospitality.

    This trend is very well established, and doesn't seem to be changing.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:58:28 PM PDT

  •  If you think Joe Q. Public (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmastiff

    Wants to hear about Macro-Economics after he's been laid off and the wife is pregnant, you're dreaming.

  •  More tax cuts for the rich! (0+ / 0-)

    It's the cure for every itch

  •  Statistics lie and the media doesn't have a clue. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Just finishing reading Barofsky's Bailout. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, bmastiff

    It's intensely uncomfortable, learning how little this administration cared about homeowners. Ignorance at 1500 & 1600 Pennsylvania Ave regarding the impact homeowners' plight would have on the wider economy is astounding.

    Anything and everything was done to shore up the financial superstructure, public opinion be damned, while 'political reality' was obsessed over when it came to doing anything for the people who actually make up (and fuel) our economy.

  •  I heard Steve Forbes on CNBC (0+ / 0-)

    this morning - I had always thought he was a mindless idiot.
    It's now clear to me that he is just a selfish mindless  idiot.

    He's been trained in the British debate style where the person wins who has the most arrogant rapid fire verbal attack.
    Thoughtful, truth based analysis plays less of a role.
    Cherry picked volleys of verbal garbage will suffice.

    I am sick of it.

    I hope the voters see how important it is that the two pinochios don't win this election and that the tea baggers are beaten back to where a massive infrastructure program including clean energy can begin in a serious way.

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 05:40:25 AM PDT

  •  This is the talking point (0+ / 0-)

    In September 2008 the economy lost 159,000 jobs.  According to the NY Times
     report on October 3, 2008, the nation's job loss between January 2008 and October 2008 was 760,000 jobs.

    This is not a blame game.  It is comparison.  Romney/Ryan/Aiken want to take us back to that terrible period.  President Obama has brought us out of that terrible period.  

    The fact is, the US economy added over 90,000 jobs in August 2012. And the unemployment rate dropped.  

    We cannot allow Romney/Ryan to frame this report as bad news.  It is better than when the Rethuglicans were in power and it is another month of continued job growth.  

    Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

    by Tchrldy on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 06:19:27 AM PDT

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