Democrats & Liberals Archives

More Jobs For November, Unemployment Declines to 7.0%

It was another good month for jobs. Payrolls grew by 203,000 and the previous two months were 8,000 higher than initially reported. Over 2.2 million people have joined the workforce in the last 12 months and 6.5 million in the last three years.

The dip in unemployment came at a time when participation was actually increasing for a change. There were more people working and fewer people unemployed last month than the month before dropping unemployment from 7.3% to 7.0%.

Full time jobs also continue to make up the vast majority of job growth. The data showed over 1 million more people in the workforce today than at the start of the year and every one of them have been full time jobs.

This might come as a surprise to some on the right. Just last night I had to break the news to some of my conservative family members that millions of people have gone back to work under Obama despite what they might have heard. They've been told the economy is terrible, Obama is the worst president ever, and the only jobs that have come under his watch have been part time. One of these days they'll come out of their bubble maybe.

This good news on jobs comes on the heels of a decent revision from BEA for GDP growth of 3.6% in Q3 2013. Things are really looking up on the economy this year and next year looks to be even better.

Imagine President Romney taking credit for this "turnaround" had he reached the one year mark since he won the election. We don't even have to try hard to imagine how much the right would be gloating about the end of the "Obama doldrums." Romney lost though. Now President Obama gets to take credit for the economy he's been overseeing for almost 5 years now.

This next year will have folks looking to midterms and thinking about political leadership. The biggest threat to the GOP right now is an economy that builds steam and continues to grow consumer and investor confidence. There's only so many bad news cycles they can squeeze out of Obamacare before folks return to talking about the economy.

Posted by Adam Ducker at December 6, 2013 11:37 AM
Comment #374783

Thanks for the article. Great news on the economy! At last, we are beginning to see the focus shift to where it belongs- away from spending cuts, social security cuts, and cutting government; and towards creating jobs, improving social security and health care, and strengthening our society. Finally, it has begun. The job growth- and 200,000 jobs is good!- will quickly shrink the deficit and debt to a size small enough to drown it in a bathtub. The new focus is being presented by people on multiple fronts- by liberals like Senator Warren, by the Pope, even by the President- and great things are coming. Raising the minimum wage will stimulate demand at the same time it creates a living wage. Removing the payroll cap on Social Security will permanently solidify the system and allow a lowering of the retirement age, which in turn will open new jobs at the same time it frees retirees to create new companies. Thanks to health care reform, we will enjoy a national community of healthier people.

At some point, probably soon, the Fed will need to stop quantitative easing and raise interest rates. The markets will take a hit and a correction from their all-time record highs, but it is important to keep this coming correction in perspective, because that is precisely what it will be: a correction. Inflation is negligible, and the boom in the recovering housing industry needs to be tempered, but only enough to allow it to continue sustainable growth.

These are good times. Liberalism and progressivism are ascendant. This jobs report puts an exclamation mark on the rise and recovery of our country.

Posted by: phx8 at December 6, 2013 12:17 PM
Comment #374786

Hate to tell you this but we have a tobacco, gold, silver, palladium, rubber and cocoa boom in the Carolinas right now. What state is the most effected? One dollar says Edwards oversees it all and subsequently won’t allow congress in to do labor submissions or congressional sequesters. Mitchell is just 1930’s gumbo talk from D’wight, we are heading into a southern boom. This is all pickers and truckers for right now.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 6, 2013 2:23 PM
Comment #374790

How many of those jobs were at or just above the minimum wage? My daughter could not possibly afford to live on her own on 8$ an hour. We are long overdue for at least a 25% minimum wage increase, which in turn would lift 100’s of thousands if not a million or more workers out of government subsidy support and into independent lower middle class financial status, shrinking government expenditures, increasing government revenues, and providing a basis for low income workers to improve their jobs skills and advance their careers to higher paying positions. Long overdue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 6, 2013 3:41 PM
Comment #374791

Well Adam, perhaps now you will admit that the sequester budget cuts were actually good for the economy. Time to end QE was well. And this “ineffectual” congress should see a rise in popularity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2013 3:48 PM
Comment #374792

“Give Obama a break, it takes a long time to clean up 8 years of crap.”

Mitch McConnell’s daughter gave a FB like to that page. But it sums up what happened pretty nicely. This latest job report marks a moment of transition. Once and for all, the economy will soon be off life support. We won. We did it. The liberals saved the country.

It wasn’t pretty. It cost a lot. It required a lot of unpleasant decisions. In 2008, the Republican House refused to authorize steps to save the economy, and one GOP vote alone caused the stock market to set an all-time record, losing over $1 trillion dollars in a single day. The liberals and Democrats made the right choice. They saved the economy, even though it meant saving a lot of corporations that most certainly did not deserve saving. Now that the patient has been successfully resuscitated and is walking about on its own, the recovery has spread, and it will spread even more.

The final blow will be immigration reform. When the 11 million Americans who are ready, willing, and able to become citizens and pay taxes, when they are finally legalized, most will vote for Democrats and liberals. It is hard for Latinos not to notice the underlying hatred the GOP and Tea Party have for them. There is a good reason the Republican House has refused to pass the Senate bill. But immigration reform will happen eventually, and an overwhelming coalition of Latinos, blacks, women, the young, and the elderly will provide a demographic that powers this country to new heights. The times are changing, and for the better.

Posted by: phx8 at December 6, 2013 3:48 PM
Comment #374793

I believe Remer should set his demand higher and instead of a 25% increase in the minimum wage, a 50% increase would give us unlimited prosperity and no federal debt in just a short period of time.

It is just such a brilliant idea I wonder why no one has ever considered it before. It took Remer to put it in play. WTG!

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2013 3:53 PM
Comment #374794

phx8 makes very clear why immigration reform is so important. It’s good for liberals and democrats. GOLLY…who would of thought…?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2013 4:02 PM
Comment #374795

It is appropriate for every liberal to hang a photo of obama on their Christmas tree as savior or at the very least…Santa.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2013 4:05 PM
Comment #374796

Both sides take credit when the Sequester does positive things like cut the deficit. Both sides blame the other when the cuts hurt. I think Ryan & Murray are negotiating it away with a new budget, which is too bad, because I would like to see big cuts in defense spending.

Immigration reform could be good for conservatives if they could just get over their underlying prejudices against minorities. When conservatives actually want Latinos to become citizens, rather than demanding secured borders and fences to stop more from arriving, then immigration reform will be good for both sides.

Everyone of us should thank liberals and Democrats for the decisions they made in 2008. It was a very scary time, and no one knew for sure if the economy could be saved. Even Bush and Paulsen deserve credit, although that gets lost in the fact Bush and his minions deserved so much of the blame.

Posted by: phx8 at December 6, 2013 5:26 PM
Comment #374797

AD stated:

“Imagine President Romney taking credit for this “turnaround” had he reached the one year mark since he won the election. We don’t even have to try hard to imagine how much the right would be gloating about the end of the “Obama doldrums.” Romney lost though.”

I guess you know the winning numbers to Saturday’s Powerball drawing if you can opine on what Mitt did or didn’t do.

Btw, the BLS is losing credibility when compared to ‘other’ related sources. The number of PT workers is the highest in history (ACA played a large roll here). Gallup, who actually talked to a representative sample of thousands of people, peg the true unemployment rate at 8.4%

Regardless, I want growth, I want more jobs, I want the jobless rate to go down to 4.5 - 5%.

Many other numbers are discouraging (e.g., manufacturing growth is dismal and grew at a 0.1% clip) Moreover, of the 200k-plus jobs created, 80k came from the federal government!

Just wait 2 months for the recalculated (revised numbers).

Here’s a simple prescription on how to create growth and jobs:

1. Dump the job-killing ACA (Obamacare).
2. Lower the corporate tax rate from one of the world’s highest at 35% to 18 - 20%.
3. Open up federal land for oil/fracking/natural gas and other available resources.

That’s it.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at December 6, 2013 5:41 PM
Comment #374800

phx8 writes; “Immigration reform could be good for conservatives if they could just get over their underlying prejudices against minorities. When conservatives actually want Latinos to become citizens…”

Hmmm…are you writing that only Latinos desire to; and should be allow to; become citizens? There are many in Europe and other parts of the world that also wish to immigrate here and become citizens. Since most of them can’t simply walk across our borders they are discriminated against.

I believe we can all agree that there should be some limit to the numbers of immigrants we make citizens. Why should we favor Latinos? Are they harder workers or more educated than others? What special or unique abilities do they bring that others don’t?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2013 5:57 PM
Comment #374801

I would like to see open immigration and everyone welcomed. Anyway, the make-up of the immigrant populatin is not a matter of discrimination. The Physical proximity of Mexico and Central America make Hispanics the most likely sources of immigrants.

The non-farm payroll and employment numbers are the most accurate numbers available, and probably the most closely watched numbers in the world.

The ACA has created already created jobs. Reforms have brought health care technology into the 21st century, and that has spawned an entire new business sector specializing in data processing and management for health care organizations.

Meanwhile, the private health care insurers will profit from the gain of millions of new customers. They will give some of those profits back through phased-in taxation, and limits on some of the more egregious practices will no longer be allowed (cutting off coverage for sick people, lifetime caps on coverage, refusal to cover pre-existing conditions, and so on), but on balance, the industry should do just fine.

Opening additional land for resource exploitation makes no sense. Fracking is already taking place on a huge scale.

Posted by: phx8 at December 6, 2013 6:21 PM
Comment #374802

phx8 writes; “Anyway, the make-up of the immigrant populatin is not a matter of discrimination.”

Certainly it is discrimination. We effectively bar those from distant places and don’t effectively bar those from across the border.

Please explain how “open immigration” would be good for our nation and our current citizens.

If we were on a mutual border with Iran, China or N. Korea would you still be in favor of open immigration? What do you suppose a billion Chinese immigrants might mean for our country?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2013 6:34 PM
Comment #374810

It is about time the economy recovered, but it is still a doldrums economy. Unemployment at 7% four years after a “recovery”. This is good news only for the new normal of Obama doldrums.


Re President Romney - you would be complaining about this if it was Romney. Indeed, I would defend it, since I would hope that Romney was undoing some of the Obama damage. But it might be a false dawn. With Obama still running the show, I am afraid that we are not out of the woods. We may be experiencing the “dead cat bounce” of Obama.

Posted by: CJ at December 6, 2013 8:11 PM
Comment #374811

Here is the real deal - “There are still 1.1 million fewer employed Americans today than right before the recession started, despite a potential labor force that’s 14 million larger. Also, there are 3.6 million fewer full-time workers. The employment rate, the share of Americans with a job, is 58.6% —- exactly where it was in November 2009.”

Posted by: CJ at December 6, 2013 8:13 PM
Comment #374812

BTW 2 - what success we have achieved is due mainly to the Fed and the fracking revolution. These are things Obama didn’t hurt … so far.

Posted by: CJ at December 6, 2013 8:15 PM
Comment #374813

“If we were on a mutual border with Iran, China or N. Korea would you still be in favor of open immigration?”

Yes. People seeking freedom and economic opportunity should always be welcome to. Immigration makes the country stronger, more diverse, and it provides a new generation willing to work their way towards achieving the American Dream, however they may choose to define it. Under normal circumstances, most people are not willing to leave their home country. It takes a special kind of spirit to be willing.

In some respects, the current recovery resembles the weak recovery after the First Bush Recession. Job creation has been slower than everyone would like to see, but it is definitely steady, and it is definitely improving. There are important differences from the period between the two Bush Recessions. During the 2003 - 2007 period (the real estate market actually peaked in 2006), the jobs that were created were government jobs, primarily in the TSA and in Defense. The private sector off-shored jobs at an incredible rate; in one year alone, 50,000 manufacturing plants closed. One of the greatest innovators in American technology, Apple, moved to China. There are 50,000 Apple employees in the US, and 600,000 in China. Conservative policies were an absolute catastrophe, and that has a lot to do with the so-called ‘Obama doldrums.’ Jobs and manufacturers went offshore.

Much of the recovery 2003 - 07 was fueled by refinancing mortgages. That did not end well. Although there has been a lot of improvement in housing prices, a significant number of mortgages are still underwater. Jobs in housing construction are kicking in more and more, but it is hard to come back from the catastrophic economic policies of conservatives during the Bush years- and that is without even going into the collapse of the financial sector due to inadequate regulation and oversight.

Posted by: phx8 at December 6, 2013 8:33 PM
Comment #374814

We are innundated with a billion plus Chinese, Iranians and Koreans—why? No one over there decidedely built up an economy for themselves instead went Ron Paulishly into the pseudo-scientificus of economy building through communism and tyrrany et al Ponzi. We live with them daily here and it’s not so much a melting pot but a true to life calamity that there is no monetary policy or economy for them abroad not even in France hence or even England (so much for Blair’s koooool Britania trifle).

The question is what does this mean for us right now??? Do we support the entire under-educated and barely literate world?—-SIMPLEHEADED NOTE: All of South America is communist governmentally how is this going to effect our votaries here in the future? What does it all mean here in the present? These people WILL NOT educate SO I GUESS IT’S HEIL CHAVEZ or something suchedly a-smacked of the crazy.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 6, 2013 8:42 PM
Comment #374815

Oh and that’s just Britain.

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 6, 2013 8:45 PM
Comment #374816

Kevin L. Lagola, you say a lot of things that aren’t true.

“The number of PT workers is the highest in history (ACA played a large roll here).”

This is not correct. It did reach a high about 6 months ago but it’s not the highest ever. This number grows with population though so it’s pretty much always going to be at or near the highest mark ever each year.

“Gallup, who actually talked to a representative sample of thousands of people, peg the true unemployment rate at 8.4%”

Funny how “true unemployment” generally means a number much higher than BLS. I’m not sure what you mean by Gallup actually talking to a representative sample though. Gallup talked to 30,000 while BLS talked to 60,000. Which one is going to be more accurate? Gallup also doesn’t seasonally adjust the numbers and starts counting at 18 instead of 16. The two data sets aren’t that comparable because of this.

“Regardless, I want growth, I want more jobs, I want the jobless rate to go down to 4.5 - 5%.”

We’ll be lucky to ever see 5.0% or lower again in the next few decades with the changing demographics of the labor market.

“…of the 200k-plus jobs created, 80k came from the federal government!”

That’s not true. I’m not sure where you got that. The number of federal government jobs declined between November and October.

“Just wait 2 months for the recalculated (revised numbers)”

It’s been a while since the 1st and 2nd revisions of these numbers dramatically reduced the count. They’ve actually been revising the numbers upward lately.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at December 6, 2013 8:56 PM
Comment #374824


Comparing the weak Bush recovery with the weaker Obama recovery is not very comforting. Maybe this indeed has become the new normal. This means that we need new thinking and new leadership. My longer term view is that both Bush and Obama were substandard presidents and will be lumped together, sort of like Franklin Pierce and Jame Buchanan who just couldn’t or wouldn’t solve the problems of the country.

Re the collapse of the financial sector - you need to update your information. The lack of regulation idea is no longer believed by most people who analyze the situation. There is a general assessment of risk that was a problem, plus the encouragement of politicians, on both sides, to take risks and extend lending to poor prospects.

Posted by: CJ at December 7, 2013 5:11 AM
Comment #374826

“The lack of regulation idea is no longer believed by most people who analyze the situation.”


“There is a general assessment of risk that was a problem, plus the encouragement of politicians, on both sides, to take risks and extend lending to poor prospects.”

If every single subprime mortgage had failed, the total loss would have been $280 billion. That would have been bad, of course, but what actually happened was orders of magnitude worse. Ask yourself why the economic collapse extend beyond mortgage lenders. The entire financial sector collapsed, including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG. Commercial banks, investment banks, and insurers all suffered. Remember? Come on, now, it wasn’t that long ago.

Posted by: phx8 at December 7, 2013 11:08 AM
Comment #374827

CJ, you are comparing employment figures of today against those under a bubble of fraudulent and absurdly greedy and unregulated conditions, which for a very brief time maxed out employment just before causing millions to lose their jobs. The goal is sustainable high employment and low unemployment, and we have established a trend in that direction today. To maintain that trend however, Republicans in Congress have to get off their fat wallets and legislate policies that will sustain the current trend WITHOUT another boom bust bubble rearing its ugly head again. Tall order for Do Nothing Good Republicans in the U.S. House.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2013 12:22 PM
Comment #374831


It was not that long ago, but as we have had more time to look at the situation, we see the complex nature of the problem was more than supposed greed or poor regulation. Greed is pretty much with us always, as are poor regulations. There was a general miss-allocation of risk, mixed with some bad decisions and simple bad luck. Little of this had anything much to do with Bush policies.


Regulations were poorly suited to the changed situation but there was not unregulated. In fact, much of the risk was made possible by the regulations in place and the requirements to use particular rating agencies.

The financial industry is heavily regulated and was back in 2007. In fact the complexity of regulation allows bad behavior by those who know how to leverage them. Beyond that, in the five years of Obama in charge and the two years before that when Democrats controlled Congress, concentration in the financial industry did not improve.

We are still dealing with a protean system nobody really understands and nobody can control. This does not mean we are powerless. We can live with and adapt to lots of things we don’t understand or control, but we will never produce a fool proof system.

Posted by: CJ at December 7, 2013 3:08 PM
Comment #374839

Royal Flush-
No, the sequester cuts have not helped the economy. They’ve prevented the recovery of about a million jobs, with more to come later. They’ve reduced growth, again with more to come later.

And that’s the point of austerity! The evil of excessive deficit spending and debt comes down to increased interest and inflation that it causes. Some recessions come about because those burdens get so heavy that it overheats the economy.

In those cases, you want austerity. It will rebalance things, and the underlying growth will prevent economic contraction. Here, though, we are trying to recover from what could be termed forced economic austerity- the credit crunch and sudden job losses of 2008.

So, you’ve got it completely backwards, and why? Because if you don’t pretend that this is a inflational recession, then we have no business trying to cut spending, at least not in economically maladapted ways.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 8, 2013 11:08 AM
Comment #374840


I just read a book about Wisconsin balancing its budget. They went from a serious deficit that required a bailout from the so-called stimulus to a self sustaining surplus. They did not raise taxes. In the last two years, they did not have to lay off anybody and in fact were able to INCREASE numbers of teachers and improve performance. This is what we should emulate. GOOD government does not mean austerity, but it does mean setting priorities and knocking out the cronyism. That means no more Solyndras and reigning in unions, but it works.

It is not magic; it is just leadership. Too bad Obama doesn’t pay enough attention to be able to do that.

Posted by: CJ at December 8, 2013 12:24 PM
Comment #374841


And BTW - Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is a full half point below the national average, even with the recent drop at the U.S. level. Tellingly, the U.S. and Wisconsin’s unemployment were identical what Obama was first elected.

Of course, Wisconsin is also benefiting from fracking in are around North Dakota. Good thing that we have that wonderful prospect. The fracking stimulus has done much more for us than the cash for clunkers and all that other junk we go from Obama.

Posted by: CJ at December 8, 2013 12:33 PM
Comment #374846

Always look at the numbers. Perhaps he did resolve the budget crisis in his state, but it appears that he did so at the cost of another promise he made: to regain 250,000 jobs for Wisconsin.

It’s the same story as with Congress: extraordinary results promised, less than extraordinary results delivered.

That could be the Tea Party motto, in fact. Problem is, Though Americans might choose to put ideologues who love listening to themselves speak and glorying at their own purity, the Congress itself was meant to be a mixing mechanism for opinion, a catalyst for creating consensus based policy. They’ve resisted that, because they set their politics and their promises on the premise that they would never compromise, never give up their political purity. But going to Congress to maintain your purity is kind of like going to a brothel to maintain your virginity.

The purpose of the institution, the constitution itself works against you. Republicans might blame Democrats for not rubberstamping their far right agenda (an act that would decimate their ranks when their own voters bashed them for it), but the real truth is that they set far too high and unrealistic a standard for political purity. They set themselves up to fail, and they’ve done a marvelous job of that on all levels.

The latest report, issued Nov. 21, 2013, indicates that Walker is a little more than a third of the way to his promise of creating 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

Our latest calculations estimate the state has created about 96,482 jobs since Walker took office, leaving 153,518 to go with 14 months of his term remaining.

That means the state would have to add, on average, nearly 11,000 jobs a month before the end of 2014 to reach 250,000.

He’s not creating an economic expansion that he promised. Gouging the Public Sector doesn’t improve the Private sector.

He’s not so great for job growth as he claims.

Like him, you’re making a bunch of claims about performance. You talk about increasing the number of teachers, but did you mention that some of the reason he was able to do this is that his policies lead to a wave of retirements? Part of that may have been the increased pension and health insurance costs that Walker “rewarded” teachers with. As for Test results, which is doubtlessly what you’re citing as an improvement? I wonder whether they are truly a real indicator of performance.

As for wiping out the 3.6 billion dollar budget deficit?. Only if you use Cash Accounting rather than GAAP accounting in order to make that determination

As far as cronyism goes, who is it who invited all the energy executives to come in and write the law on energy, who started us on the heavy duty use of ethanol in our gas? Why is it that even with all this wonderful fracking, the gas prices remain at three dollars a gallon?

As for fracking? You are certainly not a Texan. You’re taking the rate of flow from these wells for granted. That’s not how these resources work. You’re also taking the safety and non-polluting nature of the technique for granted. We need empirical examination of what’s going on, not simply your assurances that it must be good, that it isn’t getting into the groundwater, or anything else like that. That’s one of the big problems with the way Republicans set policies these days: your confidence in what you believe does not match your accuracy. Your ability, much less your willingness to correct is in doubt as well.

Take this whole stimulus claim.
You know what’s useful in being curious? It allows one to move past claim to evidence. If you’re incurious, you’ll just accept what you’re told.

In 2011, the figure for the oil and gas extraction business was about 174.2 billion dollars. The increase in durable good from 2009 to 2012 was greater than that entire contribution.

The difference from 2009 to 2011 on energy extraction, fracking and everything, is about 38 billion dollars. That’s your stimulus. That’s what’s supposed to explain TRILLIONS of dollars in growth. What is it about Republicans and magic economics? Yes, it’s good that it’s plentiful, good that it’s sourced here, rather than among our enemies. But there are economic consequences, especially in times of global warming, to water pollution, and if those aren’t a practical problem, the fact that these resources are finite, and well-life for fracked wells is shorter means that we won’t necessarily see whatever small stimulus this is providing continue.

If we want to maintain energy independence, we have to get the ball rolling on it now, while it is more affordable and our cushion of other energy options is big enough. If we wait until necessity forces us to it, then we get punished for waiting. I’d rather do the smart thing now, and get ahead of the market curve.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 9, 2013 8:41 AM
Comment #374847

Actual facts about the minimum wage…

    Fewer than 3 percent of all workers in the United States make the minimum wage. The percentage drops further if you’re talking about full-time employees.
    77 percent of minimum wage earners belong to households above the poverty line.
    51 percent of minimum wage earners are 24 years or younger. Of the minimum wage earners over 24, less than a quarter are below the poverty line and 62 percent live in households that are at or above 150 percent of the poverty line.
    Even economists who question whether hiking the minimum wage causes significant unemployment for low-skilled workers tend to agree that doubling wages will reduce jobs.
Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2013 9:50 AM
Comment #374848
“The lack of regulation idea is no longer believed by most people who analyze the situation.”

If you are using some weird definition of the word ‘baloney’ that means ‘absolutely true’, then you are correct!

It isn’t even that it is no longer believed today, it wasn’t really believed then. There was an attempt to lay the blame at McCain by suggesting it was all the fault of his economics advisor, Phil Gramm… Actual facts be damned.

Just months after the 2008 election, when pressed about re-enacting Glass-Stegall, Timothy Geitner acknowledged that the Gramm–Leach–Bliley had ZERO to do with the economic issues we saw…

In fact, it made it LESS of an impact than it could have been had Glass-Stegall still been in place.

If every single subprime mortgage had failed, the total loss would have been $280 billion. That would have been bad, of course, but what actually happened was orders of magnitude worse. Ask yourself why the economic collapse extend beyond mortgage lenders. The entire financial sector collapsed, including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG. Commercial banks, investment banks, and insurers all suffered. Remember? Come on, now, it wasn’t that long ago.

No, it wasn’t, but some people just seem to want to blame for political reasons, not actual reasons…

The reason it extended so far was because of a specific regulation that was in place that caused banks to tie the value of their mortgage packages to the market value instead of real world value. Since the market for derivitives had crashed, that meant that BILLIONS of dollars of assets were ‘virtually’ wiped off of their books, preventing them BY LAW from lending any more funds.

That is why TARP was introduced and passed, to give the banks some relief, when in reality the Mark-to-Market regulation should have been at least temporarily suspended when the market collapsed, which was just prior to the election.

Just after taking over congress in 2009, congress rightfully suspended this accounting regulation and immediately the banks were once again flushed with lending capability, nearly all of them repaid their TARP loans on the spot.

THAT is what prevented an economic collapse, the lightening of a restrictive regulation, everything else was just fluff. Had congress acted in 2008, the damage would have been minimal.

BTW, who should we be looking to for the reasons for the collapse? Those who were caught completely unaware of it (Congressmen and Fed Chairs who were saying months earlier that there was no problem, there was no bubble, etc) or people who predicted it?

“I view one of the big myths of the [2007-08 financial] crisis as that it was purely the effect of free markets, that this is what happens when you have free markets,” says Jim Bruce, filmmaker behind the new documentary “Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve.”

Bruce predicted the meltdown, invested accordingly, and used the money he made from the collapse to fund his movie, which features interviews with economists who predicted the crisis, as well as former and current Federal Reserve officials such as Paul Volcker and future Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2013 12:46 PM
Comment #374852

CJ, the hedge fund industry was, for all intents and purposes, UNregulated.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 9, 2013 1:58 PM
Comment #374853
America is still gaining jobs under President Obama, but millions more live in poverty, typical household incomes have not kept pace with inflation, and the federal debt is up nearly 90 percent and on pace to double before he leaves office. Stockholders, meanwhile, are far wealthier than they were the day he was sworn in.

U.S. oil production continues to boom, as do wind and solar power, while dependence on foreign oil keeps dropping. International opinion of the United States has slipped a bit, but generally remains far higher than before he took office, except in the Muslim world, where it has gotten even worse.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2013 2:11 PM
Comment #374854

BTW, I got a copy of the movie I mentioned and it is fantastic… I recommend it highly. And no, it isn’t what you think it is, no matter which side of the fence you sit on… It isn’t an ‘end the fed’ movie, though it does point out the good and bad points of the fed, the gold standard and the economic history of the US from 1907 on. And it provides interviews with LOTS of former fed members and other economists (as well as some funny daily show clips, etc). It is entertaining AND informative.

It is 19.95 for digital download or, if you are lucky enough, it can be screened in select cities…

And to further my point earlier, the MTM issue was what caused the crisis to spill outside of the financial markets, the actual cause was artificially lowered interest rates that HAD to increase some day, allowing some people to get homes so cheap that when their adjustable mortgages rose at that time, they wouldn’t be able to pay them back… and the people who knew that and bet on it happening.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2013 2:36 PM
Comment #374857
…. perhaps now you will admit that the sequester budget cuts were actually good for the economy.

Royal not exactly……when you consider the job number could have been 400k were it not for the economic sabotage of conservatives in Congress.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 9, 2013 3:25 PM
Comment #374862

This is an ‘interesting’ re-interpretation of the term ‘fiscal drag’. When conservatives use such inventive techniques to suggest how much better the economy would be doing if certain policies were not in place, they are lambasted by the left as being fanciful, but when the left does it, well, then it’s real math, right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2013 5:33 PM
Comment #374863

There was a great comment in the movie I have mentioned before that “Capitalism doesn’t work when money is free”. Which is the exact situation we have had since the late 1990s…

So, the progressives have gotten their wish and effectively eliminated capitalism from our society, while introducing moral hazard in its place… and we have been living with those results for the past 15 years.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2013 5:37 PM
Comment #374869


Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped and it is lower than the nation’s rate. Walker still has a couple years to go. He had to make up for the “problem he inherited”. Of course, he is doing better than Obama. Wisconsin has more people employed today than when Walker took office. Obama is still not there.

Walker did not “gouge the government sector”. His wise policies saved jobs in the public sector in Wisconsin. He made it possible to keep jobs that unions would have allowed to be lost to layoffs and furloughs.

Re fracking - you keep on mentioning you are a Texan. Most Texans disagree with you. You may live there, but you are not of Texas. A large majority of Texas voters had the good sense to vote for Romney. You were not like them, were you? And just living in Texas would not give you any special knowledge of energy in any case. Texas also produces lots of beef, cotton and chicken. Are you also an expert on those things by virtue of being close to them?.

Fracking is working now. Whether it will continue to work in the future is unknown. But for now it looks really good.

The fracking boom has pumped more money into the U.S. economy than the Obama stimulus. We don’t know if fracking boom will continue. We know the Obama stimulus did not and could not.

What really pisses you off about fracking is that it works. For a generation, the luddites and progressives have been counting on us running out of oil, gas and everything else, but enterprising people have been proving them wrong year on year. Eventually, you gloomy folks will be right, but not today, not tomorrow and not in our lifetimes.

Posted by: CJ at December 9, 2013 7:51 PM
Comment #374871

“…the luddites and progressives have been counting on us running out of oil, gas and everything else..”

Nonsense, C&J. It was the Carter energy policy that initiated unconventional gas R&D and provided tax credits to stimulate private investment in unconventional gas development.

The fact that progressives promote development of solar and other clean energy sources is hardly evidence that they want us to run out of gas and oil. It is simply recognition that there are potentially greater and cleaner sources of energy available.

In the 70s, we knew that there was an abundance of natural gas but we didn’t have the technology to exploit the reserves. It took over 30 years of research and development to tap into those reserves. Thankfully, we made the investments to make unconventional gas commercially viable. Investment today in solar promises an even greater payoff in the future.

It is not a question of one or the other. We need fossil fuel. We also need nuclear, solar, wind and hydraulic also. The extent to which we will be better off in the future is the extent to which we develop and exploit the cleanest and most abundant sources of energy.

Posted by: Rich at December 9, 2013 9:38 PM
Comment #374873

CJ: “Wisconsin has more people employed today than when Walker took office. Obama is still not there.”

I have to take issue with that since it’s not true.

* Jan 2009: 133,631,000 on nonfarm payrolls, 142,153,000 employed, 7.8% unemployment

* Nov 2013: 136,765,000 on nonfarm payrolls, 144,386,000 employed, 7.0% unemployment

There are between 2.2 million and 3.1 million more people working today than when the president took office depending on which data you want to go by.

“The fracking boom has pumped more money into the U.S. economy than the Obama stimulus.”

You keep saying that as if it runs contrary to what the stimulus was designed to do. It was designed to shore up a foundation for the economy to start growing again quickly so that things like the oil and natural gas industry, housing, and auto industries could actually grow again. It did exactly that. It’s not that useful to pretend the stimulus should have outdone one of the major drivers of economic activity in America.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at December 10, 2013 7:34 AM
Comment #374874

First, we should not be surprised that few actually make just the minimum wage. That said, it’s still where most pay rate scales start, including those negotiated by unions. If you want a good way to raise plenty of wages, that’s a start. Additionally, we ought to pause a moment and consider what the employment argument is based on: supply side bias.

The idea that supply creates demand is equitable to the notion that cheese creates mice, and rotting meat flies. If your expectations are that people are going to pay for everything they want out of pocket, if you want no cheaters, no moochers, then you can’t be cheapskates, because what you’re otherwise asking people to do is keep up with more costs with less money to do it.

It’s no accident that most people rely on credit cards and debt finance. It’s a product of our low wage, high cost environment. People do what they have to do to get the things they’re expected to get by society, to reach the markers our culture sets for them.

In terms of regulation? Look, you guys blame one guy for his actions with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because in 2008, he argued for going easy on them. Except, the problem with the system were the toxic assets on the books, and what made most of those assets toxic was the unexpected decline of the real estate market, not to mention the drawdown on the origination of mortgages, as non-bank lenders who relied on a constant flow of customers could no longer get them. That’s what TARP was meant to deal with, a derivatives problem.

Thing is, what they’re blaming him for happened before this action that he took.

Thing is, the GSEs problem wasn’t that their portfolio was overladen with junk mortgages. They couldn’t buy them, not as risky as the ones these other fellows were buying. No, beyond the fact that some of the subprime mortgages went under, their problem was that their entire business was the secondary mortgage market. They didn’t have enough mortgages to buy in order to preserve their business model.

The other guy gets blamed for objecting to a new regulation on Fannie and Freddie, but the strange part about that is that this event supposedly took place in 2003 or thereabouts, when Republicans had unquestioned majority power, and the President on their side. Do you seriously expect us to believe that one Democrat could overwhelm all the rest? Even if you are blaming Fannie and Freddie on substantive grounds, what they’re talking about would have required the approval of a hell of a lot of Republicans, a hell of a lot of which are still around to be blamed.

Phil Gramm, on the other hand? The legislation he puts forward makes it impossible to further regulate the derivatives market. This both occurred before all the crises, crunches, and market busts, and within the period of time in which Republicans still dominated the government, and even Democrats were willing to back Republican business policies. You have means, motive, and opportunity.

I think people ought to stop worrying about balancing abstract political equations, and start worrying about getting their facts straight.

As for mark to market? First, it’s what these people ASKED for. It was the federally acceptable system precisely because people could claim that future profits could be counted now on the balance sheet. But identifying this as the problem is basically economic scapegoating.

The real problem is that the financial markets essentially used derivatives to ignore market realities, and make a hell of a lot of money.

At each stage, whether it’s predatory lending practices that put people in debt that the mark to market accounting standards let them pretend was solid future profits, or the way they used derivatives to both sell off bad risks, and make them look like good risks by way of yet other derivatives, or the way that Wall Street just spun the whole derivatives market into a huge cocoon of speculative assets, the whole point was to keep this real estate bubble expanding, keep the bad loans circulating on somebody else’s sheet, and keep the money coming in on top for all the great bets they made.

But at the end of the day, the effects of having all those people foreclosed on, of having the market effectively saturate at its lower level, was too much for even their turbocharged market-denial machine to absorb. And of course when you deny market realities for that long, the bill that comes due is incredibly high.

It’s no use denying Wall Street’s responsibility. Even now, they’re trying to reinflate that bubble, to bring back that toxically skewed system.

You assume that people following the incentives will do what’s good and right and reasonable, and that the market punishes them otherwise. Yet here we are in the aftermath of what is essentially a bonfire of this economic dysfunction their hubris created. They haven’t learned their lesson yet, and they probably won’t, because they gauge the economy by whether their interests are satisfied, whether they’re making money. Using their success as a proxy measure for our success as a nation, when it comes to determining the proper extent of regulation, is what has brought us to this stagnant, problematic period in our nation’s history.

I’m the child and grandchild, the Nephew of those who worked in the petrochemical industry. I’m also a technically well informed student of the sciences, who understands what kind of engineering goes into drilling those wells. They are more complicated than the soda-straw sort of wells that have been classically used. We aren’t dealing with Tar Sands oil and oil we have to break shale strata with hydraulic force because it’s cheap, we’re dealing with it because getting things the other way, the old way isn’t giving us the production we need.

“For now, it looks good” doesn’t satisfy me. I’m not merely waiting for the other shoe to drop, and then react. We ought to have that new capacity online before we run out of relatively inexpensive oil to extract. Booms end. I know this because my family felt the effects when that happened. So I know the on the ground reality of energy booms and energy busts.

What ticks me off about fracking? So long as it’s not causing very harmful side effects, I have no real problem with shattering shale rock formations far below the surface to extract oil. My problem is that your side is using this as an excuse not to give up on America’s addiction to oil. See, there’s still good **** to inject! But my sensibility is, we ought to prepare for the bust, not just ride the boom. We ought to realize that this is an energy reprieve, not a long term energy solution. I’m no luddite. I insist we move forward technologically, where a luddite would insist that we stick with the technology that serves their economic interests.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2013 8:28 AM
Comment #374876
That said, it’s still where most pay rate scales start, including those negotiated by unions. If you want a good way to raise plenty of wages, that’s a start.

And there is the issue, isn’t it Stephen? Do you realize what would happen if we raised the minimum wage? Effectively, nothing. Everyone would want to make more money, businesses would either have to cut jobs or raise prices or go out of business (they aren’t going to pay for the minimum wage increase out of profits). Everyone making more money would then have to pay more for their goods and services they consume. And it would be harder for those who are trying to better their lives to enter a workforce and earn experience so that they can bring themselves out of poverty.

It would do nothing more than raise the numbers we all talk about, make some people like yourself feel like they accomplished something and (this is the big one) would get people to vote for Democrats who are supporting this nonsense in the next election before they realize they’ve been had.

It’s no accident that most people rely on credit cards and debt finance. It’s a product of our low wage, high cost environment.

Wow, you are missing so much here it’s hard to figure out if you are doing it on purpose or truly think that is the reason… The REAL problem is that we have an environment now that incentivies borrowing and deincentivies saving. What good does saving to these days? Saving rates are less than 1% now, with borrowing rates lower than inflation rates, it makes borrowing that money basically free.

We have designed a culture, since the late 1990s, that tells people that they should buy, buy, buy… No one is saving or doing with less because there is no point anymore. If you fail, you are taken care of. If you don’t have enough money to buy something, just borrow it and pay for it later, if you can’t, we’ll bail you out. We don’t have capitalism anymore, we have moral hazard.

Until we fix that, until we decide that we need to make hard choices now so that we can have a better future, we are stuck, any other manipulation we do is just creating another bubble that will burst on us.

Most parents, throughout history, has only wanted to make things better for their children. This is the first generation in history where we actually want to make things HARDER for our children and grandchildren so that we can have things easier for ourselves. It’s despicable, it’s unsustainable and it IS going to collapse again unless we change that view point…

Look, you guys blame one guy for his actions with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because in 2008, he argued for going easy on them.

‘you guys’? Please Stephen, tell me where I once said anything like what you are saying I said here… If you want to talk to others about what they said, direct it to them, ok? Otherwise, I don’t want to listen to your insipid talking points.

Except, the problem with the system were the toxic assets on the books, and what made most of those assets toxic was the unexpected decline of the real estate market, not to mention the drawdown on the origination of mortgages, as non-bank lenders who relied on a constant flow of customers could no longer get them

LOL, Stephen, that is so cute… it was only unexpected to the FED who screwed everything up. Seriously, get Money For Nothing if you want to understand just how wrong your statement here is…

Your argument here requires that we look at the middle of the problem, not look at what actually CAUSED the problem. And how some people, the ones we gave the job of regulating the banks, completely failed because their ‘math’ told them that a nationwide failure of the housing market was an impossibility. And that if it DID happen, they were smart enough to manage it…

BTW, there were plenty of smart people warning of a housing bubble since 2002, even some that were part of the FED, they were told by Greenspan (and then Bernanke) to shut up and sit down…

Why were those ‘toxic assets’ on the books in the first place Stephen? Because the FED told them to do it in their policy. When you can borrow money as a company at

Unfortunately, at a time when we should have been putting the brakes on the whole train, as Volcker would have done (and did do), we put our foot on the gas because we wanted to use the FED to do more than it was supposed to do. We wanted it to also keep unemployment low, which is not what they are supposed to do or were tasked to do…

It’s like that old adage in IT that you may have heard… Each project can be done quickly, it can be done cheaply and it can be done well. You have to pick 2 of those 3, you can’t have all 3 at once.

That’s essentially what we did in the 1998-current FED environment, heck even GE and GM were realizing that they made more money lending free money than they did in actually making and selling a product. We wanted to have our cake and eat it too, pushing the FED to make political decisions and not good financial decisions.

The legislation he puts forward makes it impossible to further regulate the derivatives market.

This is complete BS. The FED was given the task of regulating the banking industry years before. It just chose NOT to. Glass-Steagall was being ignored by Greenspan so it wasn’t effectively doing anything anyway for years. Putting your attention on that is/was nothing more than politics. And Glass-Steagall had nothing to do with directly regulating the derivatives market anyway. It also wasn’t just Gramm, it was also the Democrats in office, including Clinton, who voted for that. If you are telling Republicans that they can’t blame Fannie/Freddie because of the Republican support, which is correct, you can’t blame Phil Gramm for Gramm–Leach–Bliley because of the number of Democrats that voted for it, supported it and SIGNED it into law.

“Bill Clinton (Sept. 24): Indeed, one of the things that has helped stabilize the current situation as much as it has is the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, which was much smoother than it would have been if I hadn’t signed that bill. …You know, Phil Gramm and I disagreed on a lot of things, but he can’t possibly be wrong about everything. On the Glass-Steagall thing, like I said, if you could demonstrate to me that it was a mistake, I’d be glad to look at the evidence. But I can’t blame [the Republicans]. This wasn’t something they forced me into.”

I think people ought to stop worrying about balancing abstract political equations, and start worrying about getting their facts straight.

I agree completely, I just wish you really did…

the whole point was to keep this real estate bubble expanding, keep the bad loans circulating on somebody else’s sheet, and keep the money coming in on top for all the great bets they made.

Yes, because that is what the FED wanted them to do, because we politically wanted things to grow while ignoring what those action’s unintended consequences were. We wanted the good times and figured that we would never have bad times again.

And nothing, at all, has changed. We are just switching out one bubble for another for political reasons.

You assume that people following the incentives will do what’s good and right and reasonable, and that the market punishes them otherwise.

Except we proved that we wouldn’t punish them in 1998 when the FED bailed out Long Term Capital Management, it sent a message to Wall Street that there was a safety net, it implanted Moral Hazard and Wall Street was told that if they did get into trouble, we would bail them out and with low interest rates, there was plenty of money to make. It is what the FED, and the Clinton and Bush administrations (and Obama administration) *WANTED*, to have money flowing into the system to ‘fix’ it. It didn’t actually fix anything though, it just makes rich people richer on the backs of the middle class…

And we haven’t change anything, at all, by electing Obama as president. The mindset is STILL there, it is still pushing our political meddling into the banking system by trying to have our cake and eat it to.

The whole point was to avoid a Japan economic disaster. In the end, we got just what we were trying to avoid.

That’s what you are missing, Stephen. IT isn’t that Wall Street was greedy, it was that the FED wanted them to be greedy for political reasons, instead of enacting good sound banking principles. With savings no longer a way to make money with artificially low interest rates and moral hazard in place, we are fueling all of this because of political pressures…

Remember, CDSs were thought of in the 1980s and dismissed as a stupid idea because you couldn’t make enough money doing it because interest rates were at a reasonable level. It was when the interest rates were at these artificially low levels that made them attractive.

A great analogy in the movie I mention, the FED is suppose to be the guy at the height of the party to take away the punch bowl to keep the party from getting out of hand. This is what Volcker did. Greenspan (and Bernanke) kept refilling the punch bowl…

The question is will Yellen follow the same tact? Has the FED learned? There are some interviews with Yellen in the movie and from what I’ve heard from her there it is POSSIBLE that she gets it… But when political pressures come again, does she have the strength of Volcker to say no or will she follow the Greenspan and Bernanke path of playing god and wanting to be liked?

I’ll believe it when the the FED raises interest rates to where they should be and stops the influx of free money into the stock market as it is doing now, causing us some predictable pain now to provide us with sound banking practices going forward. I’m not holding my breath though.

My problem is that your side is using this as an excuse not to give up on America’s addiction to oil.

Stephen, I don’t know many people, if anyone, who is saying that we shouldn’t find alternative energies that are cost effective. The key is cost effective. Developing that technology will take TIME, not money, not government pushing, TIME. We make progress every year. But until it IS cost effective, we have to power that engine of discovery and keep our society running.

Of course, your ‘problem’ ignores that there are actual valid and cost effective means to do that now, but are restricted from doing so because you are scared of it… So, before pointing your fingers all over the place, you should really look at your own side first.

We now have nuclear reactor technology that creates safe energy with no waste, but we aren’t allowed to deploy them because of irrational fears concerning outdated, decades old technology.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2013 11:43 AM
Comment #374878

The paragraph that was accidentally cut from the above is:

When you can borrow money as a company at LESS THAN 1% rates and loan it out at 5% rates, and you are told that if they all go to hell you will be bailed out, and you are told that the one agency with the authority to regulate that market (the FED) isn’t going to do it, where is the incentive not to do exactly what Lehman Brothers did?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2013 12:22 PM
Comment #374894


You don’t inherit that knowledge. I find if really cute that you think that your daddy and grandpa could leave it to you or that since you live in Texas you know all about hydrocarbons, but you cannot be serious. Really?

Can’t you see reality? In your theories we don’t have oil and gas. In reality we do.

Re making plans for different energy - Rhinehold explained it to you. We are all for looking for alternatives. But right now we can use what we have.

We all wish for that magic dust you think will give us abundant cheap energy. But sometimes we have to use what we have available.

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Comment #375129

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