“Doublethink is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct,” as in there is more unemployment even though the unemployment rate is dropping.
Far fewer entered the workforce in March than expected while many more jobless officially became non-persons as they were dropped from being counted. The magic results of this is the unemployment rate actually dropped slightly. The 90 million Americans who are no longer looking for work and thus not included in jobless statistics will certainly be cheered by this. My wife and I call call these creative methods of counting the MSU Method, as in Making Sh*t Up.
Even worse, the labor force participation rate plunged from an already abysmal 63.5% to 63.3% – the lowest since 1979! But at least it helped with the now painfully grotesque propaganda that the US unemployment rate is “improving.”
The 0.4% perfectly unmanipulated and totally coincidental swing in the unemployment rate in an Obama favorable direction one month before the election came at a prime time moment for the market.
What’s more, the government revised unemployment numbers for previous months downwards too, apparently after stumbling across some key pieces of data they’d somehow overlooked before. Only conspiracy theory nutcases on the right and cranky lefties could find fault with the government’s diligence in insuring that unemployment numbers are squeaky clean, even if the downwards trend bizarrely occurred right before the election.
And of course, liberals who would have attacked GWBush releasing for such suspicious unemployment numbers are now resolutely mute since it is Obama who is doing it.
Eric Platt/Business Insider, Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics
This definitely contradicts the accepted wisdom the cities are where the jobs are, doesn’t it? Most of the jobs in the rural heartland are due to the oil and gas drilling boom. North Dakota has unemployment of just 3.1% and some towns have no available housing so bring a camper.
The primary cause of unemployment, says a survey a business owners, is poor sales. Concerns about regulations are a distant third.
It’s not surprising that regulatory uncertainty seems to have such marginal economic effects. Regulations do impose burdens on businesses, but the numbers are relatively small compared to everything else that affects a business, from wages to sales trends. You wouldn’t expect uncertainty about a secondary factory like regulation to have significant economic impact. The Obama Administration’s regulatory efforts may be good or bad, and the same can be said about Republican efforts to roll them back. But either way, the impact of the resulting uncertainty on the economy is simply not a big deal.
Rapper J-Hustle videoed a six block line of people in Chicago standing in minus 8 wind chill weather waiting to get an application to work at Ford. And then Ford closed the doors early. The unemployment rate there and in too many other areas is off the charts. Make no mistake, these are people who want to work. But the jobs aren’t there
“Where the hell is the help you bastard [politicians] promised the people for voting you into office,” he asks. Agreed.
The Economist explores how automation and technology is replacing jobs. Unlike previous eras when such disruptions did indeed create many new jobs, this time the robots and bots may be self-perpetuating. And the jobs they are replacing are ones previously thought immune from such technological shifts.
First thing we do, we replace all the lawyers.
Lawyers are in a similar boat now that smart algorithms can search case law, evaluate the issues at hand and summarise the results. Machines have already shown they can perform legal discovery for a fraction of the cost of human professionals—and do so with far greater thoroughness than lawyers and paralegals usually manage.
The original Luddites just wanted a level playing field. Sound familiar?
But the Luddites themselves “were totally fine with machines,” says Kevin Binfield, editor of the 2004 collection Writings of the Luddites. They confined their attacks to manufacturers who used machines in what they called “a fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labor practices. “They just wanted machines that made high-quality goods,” says Binfield, “and they wanted these machines to be run by workers who had gone through an apprenticeship and got paid decent wages. Those were their only concerns.”
The Oklahoman is not impressed with Obama’s jobs plan. Welfare for the rich, it seems to me.
Washington is paying $2,571 per resident of three Oklahoma hamlets for broadband connections. These citizens (fewer than 600 altogether) won’t get the money themselves. It goes to large telecom firms. But please don’t call that corporate welfare. Surely you know that only Republican fat cats cook up that kind of sauce.
It’s difficult to see how this kind of pork and patronage creates any serious amounts of jobs.Obama has a way of talking populist while sending more money to the politically connected and already wealthy.
As for his jobs speech today, it was indeed mildly populist. But let’s see what he actually does (if anything) to fight for it. And he made no mention of the cause of the recession or of prosecuting the financial industry criminals responsible.
We’ve noticed that our discussions have sometimes degenerated into “bitch sessions,” so instead of complaining about things, we wanted to do an episode where we talked about potential solutions.
He and our third co-host Steve Hynd bloggedabout three areas where we need solutions. That’s what we’ll be talking about, on what will probably be the first of several podcasts on these topics.
Campaign finance reform so access becomes fair and equal for all, This is crucial
Genuine access for third parties. Level the playing field
More members in the House (and maybe the Senate too.)
Ending officials abusing journalistic stenography
Cut unemployment drastically, probably by a real job plan that employs millions.
View Energy, Transportation, and Housing as an integrated issue by simultaneously:
1) Investing in nationwide freight rail and high-speed rail in regions where it is best suited.
2)Investing in nuclear energy now, even though it has a long development time because breakthroughs in alternative and clean energy are probably decades away.
3) Encouraging the development of higher density housing and zoning policies which make communities walkable and ride-able. This allows the development of work/eat/sleep communities that require shorter commutes, less energy consumption, and better utilization of mass transit.
Budget changes so that the big spenders like Defense don’t eat all the pie and the national debt doesn’t just grow forever, tax reforms so that everyone pays their fair share instead of the share an army of tax-dodging experts can get them, ending the too obvious culture of privilege – where laws get ignored for specific sets of people (banking fraudsters, government torturers and government gun-runner to name but a few), infrastructure spending to repair American competitiveness, long-term thinking about climate change, energy, education and innovation.
Smart grid, conservation, decentralizing power distribution (and political power.)
Foreign Policy reforms
A resurgent Peace Corps so that practical things can again be done by people who don’t carry guns, ending wars and occupations that don’t address core interests, realistic “future threat” and “core interest” assessments, not always reaching for the bigger hammer as soon as possible.
Divest ourselves of “ownership” of the Middle East in part by developing the energy policies listed above. It is no secret that much of our interest in the region derives from its abundance of oil. Especially divest ourselves of our relationship with the Saudi monarchy–the same one that makes all our claims of caring about human rights hypocritical.
Make a sustained and serious effort at encouraging reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. If, after 2 or 3 years of sustained effort, progress cannot be made, divest ourself of support of BOTH sides.
Don’t view China’s rise as zero-sum. It is not something we can “manage.”
Join us tonight!
Listen to the show live, at Polizeros Radio on BlogTalkRadio. You can also listening by dialing in at 626-414-3492. The show is tonight at 8:00 PM PT (9:00 PM MT, 10:00 PM CT, 11:00 PM ET.) You can download it or listen to the archive on BlogTalkRadio after it’s done.