Are we just getting used to poor performance?

The economy added 113,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.6 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. Analysts had expected job growth of about 181,000, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

For more information… http://www.politico.com

"Before the Great Recession, there were 122 million full-time jobs in America. Now 4 1/2 years after its end, there are still just 118 million full-time jobs in America despite a labor force that is 1.6 million larger and a non-jailed, nonmilitary adult working-age population that is 14 million larger." Reference

At this rate, we will never get back to where we should be.

Posted by Christine & John at February 7, 2014 8:15 PM
Comments
Comment #376164

Let’s see what Obama has done for blacks:

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous said Sunday that black Americans “are doing a full point worse” than when President Obama first took office.

“The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” Mr. Jealous told MSNBC host David Gregory on “Meet the Press.” “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing a full point worse.”

The black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent when Mr. Obama took office. While the unemployment rate in the U.S. as a whole is below 8 percent, the Labor Department reported the black jobless rate was up from 12.9 percent to 14 percent for December.

The worst during Mr Obama’s first term was in September 2011, with 16.7 percent unemployment for blacks — the highest since 1983, the Department of Labor reports. The black teen jobless rate hit a staggering 39.3 percent in July 2012.

http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/28/naacp-president-black-people-worse-under-obama/

At last, black leaders are speaking out. But what will they do about it????

Posted by: DSP2195 at February 7, 2014 9:37 PM
Comment #376165

“Before the Great Recession, there were 122 million full-time jobs in America…”

Yes, C&J, and we found out that much of their employment was supported by a huge housing bubble that created enormous amounts of unsustainable private sector credit (money). It imploded in 2007-08. Since that time, the country has been trying to adjust to an economy unsupported by a credit bubble. In fact, one attempting to save and deleverage from the excesses of the 2000s.

Think about what the economy of the 2000s would have been without the housing bubble. We have come back to square one without the support of a huge private sector credit expansion. We are in essence struggling to live within our means. Expansion of jobs in this recovery is different and difficult.

Traditional conservative monetary policy of the Fed in a severe recession is to induce borrowing, expand credit and increase the money supply by lowering interest rates. That has been limited by the virtually zero interest levels. There is no ability to lower interest rates. The Fed has had to use unconventional monetary policy (QE) due to the zero bound problem.

It would be helpful if conservative critics took the time to at least look at what the actual problems are in the economy. Ben Bernanke, retiring chairman of the Fed, is a conservative appointed by a Republican. Perhaps a little attention to what he has been saying for the past five years might help to frame this problem is a less partisan manner.

Posted by: Rich at February 7, 2014 10:09 PM
Comment #376169

Poor performance?

Here is an example of a poor performance:

Take office with an unemployment rate of 5.3%
Leave eight years later with a rate of 7.8% and soaring higher

Here is an example of a good performance:
Take office with an unemployment rate of 7.8%, to become 10% in a matter of months
Five years later, post an unemployment rate of 6.6%

See the difference?

We can do the same with virtually any major economic statistic. When conservatives were in charge, it was a disaster, and America was brought to its knees. With the Obama administration, virtually every major economic statistic has shown major improvement.

See how that works? Bad performance involves everything going in the negative direction- unemployment, non-farm payroll, deficits, private debt, housing prices, and so on.
Good performance involves positive numbers.

Posted by: phx8 at February 7, 2014 11:37 PM
Comment #376171

phx8

We know you hate Bush. But Bush has not been president for more than five years. The performance during the past five years has been poor.

The big problem with the “low” unemployment rate (we need to put low in quotations because it is still higher than any non-Obama rate in the last quarter century)is that much of this improvement has been caused by people leaving the job market entirely, as I mentioned above. We could get unemployment rates down to zero if we could just convince people to stop looking for work. Maybe Obama will manage that by the end of his term.

Posted by: CJ at February 8, 2014 9:03 AM
Comment #376173

They didn’t leave the workforce. They cured their ailment, job lock. Now that 30 million people have signed up for Obamacare they have mobility and are exercising that mobility. Obamacare is now a jobs bill. All those people cured of the employment disease will open up new opportunities for those who are not suffering from the employment disease.

Only 3 million have signed up? Did someone forget a zero there? Wasn’t 30 million people supposed to rush in and sign up for “free” health care? What’s up with that?!

Oh, only 7 million were supposed to be signing up, not 30 million? We’re only 4 million people short. What’s a few million people here or there, right? It’s still a big success in the eyes of the Democratics who can do no wrong and are as pure as the wind driven snow.


Posted by: Weary Willie at February 8, 2014 10:26 AM
Comment #376181

CJ,
We know you love Bush. In fact, you voted for him twice. Even after five years, your hot Bush love deranges you. It affects your judgment. An example of poor performance is what happened with conservatives under Bush: job losses, negative economic growth, turning a $100 million + deficit into a trillion dollar deficit, unfunded, unnecessary wars, 50,000 manufacturing plants offshored in just one year, Climate Change denial, Osama bin Laden escaping justice, and we haven’t even mentioned social issues. Yet you still cling to that deep, conservative Bush love.

Get over it. An example of good performance is what has happened under Obama: job gains, deficits reduced every single year, ending wars, booming stock markets, Osama bin Laden dead, Khaddafi dead, and more.

There is no taking back those votes you cast for Bush. There is no taking back the support you gave conservatism for all those years. It turned out to be a horrible, horrible mistake. That is a fact. That is an undeniable fact. It was a bad relationship, but now it is over. It has been five years now. There is no reason to take out that bitterness on Obama. Not every future relationship has to be bad, just because Bush was so awful. Mistakes were made, sure, but the mistakes of the Bush era have been corrected as quickly as possible. We are all far, far better off, thanks to Obama.

Bush was president. That is a fact. It went wrong. That is a fact. Conservatism turned into a cluster-**** of epic proportions. Obama helped us overcome the disaster that is American conservatism. Perhaps you are still in the anger or denial phase. Time to let Bush go. Let conservatism go. Things are going better. It is happening. Be happy. We are better off now. Be thankful.

Posted by: phx8 at February 8, 2014 12:47 PM
Comment #376182

phx8’s last comment reminded me of a movie where the psychiatrist is brainwashing an enemy tied to a chair.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 8, 2014 12:58 PM
Comment #376184

WW,
These are facts:

“An example of poor performance is what happened with conservatives under Bush: job losses, negative economic growth, turning a $100 million + deficit into a trillion dollar deficit, unfunded, unnecessary wars, 50,000 manufacturing plants offshored in just one year, Climate Change denial, Osama bin Laden escaping justice…”

Do you dispute a single one?

These are facts:

“An example of good performance is what has happened under Obama: job gains, deficits reduced every single year, ending wars, booming stock markets, Osama bin Laden dead, Khaddafi dead…”

Do you dispute any of these?

Posted by: phx8 at February 8, 2014 1:23 PM
Comment #376185

No, it’s more of a religious doctrine being spouted by born again progressives on the street corner, devoid of logic, facts and anything resembling reality…

Since you can’t debate religion with religious people since their faith requires absence of critical thought, it’s usually best just to shake your head and move on quietly before their foaming causes them any self-damage.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 8, 2014 1:23 PM
Comment #376186

phx8

Bush is gone. I don’t bring him up unless someone else does first. I voted twice for Bush. It was the best decision at the time. Bush tried, but failed to reign in Fannie and Freddy and to control entitlements. Obama has yet to accomplish these things, even with the advantages of experience. I am glad that we defeated Al Qaeda in Iraq. I regret that Obama has been unable to exploit that victory. IMO- history will be kinder to Bush than contemporary events augured; Obama will come off worse than he does now. Neither will be called a great president.

Generally speaking, although I enjoy history I look forward instead of back. The decisions, actions and failures of the current president are what I care about today.

Today we are suffering a poor economy. It has been five years since the recovery began. Never before have we had such a slow recovery. I do not say it is all Obama’s fault, but he had not been able to make it better.

Posted by: CJ at February 8, 2014 1:26 PM
Comment #376188

(we need to put low in quotations because it is still higher than any non-Obama rate in the last quarter century

CJ, you have to be careful here, if you are going to compare the numbers you have to do it accurately. You can’t compare today’s unemployment numbers with any before the mid 1990s, when the method of calculating unemployment was changed under Clinton. If you do so, you have to adjust one side or the other with the appropriate calculations.

For example, if we used the unemployment calculations that Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush I were measured with today, unemployment would be around 15%. Don’t tell the progressives who worship the land that Obama walks on though, they won’t hear you and their heads may explode.

The popularly followed unemployment rate was 5.5% in July 2004, seasonally adjusted. That is known as U-3, one of six unemployment rates published by the BLS. The broadest U-6 measure was 9.5%, including discouraged and marginally attached workers.

Up until the Clinton administration, a discouraged worker was one who was willing, able and ready to work but had given up looking because there were no jobs to be had. The Clinton administration dismissed to the non-reporting netherworld about five million discouraged workers who had been so categorized for more than a year. As of July 2004, the less-than-a-year discouraged workers total 504,000. Adding in the netherworld takes the unemployment rate up to about 12.5%.

The Clinton administration also reduced monthly household sampling from 60,000 to about 50,000, eliminating significant surveying in the inner cities. Despite claims of corrective statistical adjustments, reported unemployment among people of color declined sharply, and the piggybacked poverty survey showed a remarkable reversal in decades of worsening poverty trends.

Somehow, the Clinton administration successfully set into motion reestablishing the full 60,000 survey for the benefit of the current Bush administration’s monthly household survey.

http://www.shadowstats.com/article/employment

This article was written in 2004 BO (before Obama) and was done to impress upon people that Bush’s unemployment numbers weren’t as rosy as they appeared. Since nothing has changed in the meantime, we are now supposed to ignore that information and not look at Obama’s numbers the same way that critics of Bush were using them?

It’s good to be the king, I guess…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 8, 2014 1:34 PM
Comment #376189

phx8

Re Obama and me - there is an irony here. As a member of the establishment, with investments made and a steady job, I have done relatively well under Obama. In fact, us richer guys have done generally well under Obama. The people suffering are young people and the less privileged. My kids are having real trouble getting established in good jobs. The less skilled losing their jobs and are unable to get new ones.

You mention Bush. If we had a significant increase in equality and a jobless (at least net new jobs) recovery that favored the wealthy and their investments, and this was Bush, what would you be writing?

Posted by: CJ at February 8, 2014 1:37 PM
Comment #376190

Rhinhold

So it is even worse than I thought. With those numbers, Obama is the worst recovery since the 1930s.

Posted by: CJ at February 8, 2014 1:39 PM
Comment #376195

CJ, it may actually even be worse, I was using the U-6 number there, if we look at the entire picture, it could be said that real unemployment is actually over 23%. But I’m trying to be fair here and use the same calcs that were used before…

A good graph of the situation can be found here:

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 8, 2014 1:58 PM
Comment #376199

Rhinehold,
You are citing a link from a site called “shadowstats” and suggesting I am not using critical thought? That is really funny.

The “real” unemployment rate- the one virtually everyone uses- is 6.6%, and the most important number of all employment numbers is the non-farm payroll.

Unemployment rose under Bush. The economic crash was the worst since the Great Depression. Since then, the employment statistics have been consistently positive. The unemployment rate has declined under Obama, and jobs have been created, month and month after month. The economy has consistently grown. Housing has recovered and is heading north. We are far from finished, by the way, so expect more jobs to be created, and the unemployment rate to continue declining, and the economy to continue expanding, and housing to keep going north.

Posted by: phx8 at February 8, 2014 2:50 PM
Comment #376200

The favorite “spin” word today for leaders of the dem party is “job lock”. They act as though they invented the term. They should review Hillarycare.

Obamacare provides a disincentive to work, thanks to the subsidies provided by Obamacare for purchasing the mandated insurance coverage.

The White House loves this explanation, even though it has insisted that the same incentives do not apply on extending unemployment insurance.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 8, 2014 3:00 PM
Comment #376201

phx8’s last comment reminded me of a movie where the psychiatrist is brainwashing an enemy tied to a chair.
Posted by: Weary Willie at February 8, 2014 12:58 PM

Good comment Willie…kind of like the “Manchurian Candidate”.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 8, 2014 3:06 PM
Comment #376202

Some people think video games cannot understand the difference between reality and fantasy. A lot of liberals have the same problem.

The things that are spoken from the left here on WB reminds me of a drunk driver veering from left to right and when he is stopped by the police officer and asked how much have you had to drink tonight he cannot be truthful.

Liars figure and figures lie. All government accounting is done in a manner that should put the opperators of the methods in prison for distortion and fraud. Mathematics taught in school is not the Math used in government. It is distortion and deceit and therefore causes derangement of the argument. This is planned by the central planners. They know full well what they are doing the direction it is taking them. They try to without tounge in cheek say reduction in spending is adding more spending. They say that the latest “so called health whatever” is going to save Americans money and cost less and in the same sans tongue in cheek watch the numbers on the chart climb upward.
And on and on it goes. What a sham and shame.

Posted by: tom humes at February 8, 2014 3:16 PM
Comment #376203

phx8

I hope you are right about recovery. But it remains that economies recover. This time it has been more painful than usual. We need not blame Obama to understand that his response was ineffective.

The big stimulus is the energy boom, BTW. Billions are coming into the U.S. and most of the new jobs are associated with this one bright spot. We all recall Obama’s attitude toward oil and gas when he was running for president. We can be thankful that he was incompetent enough not to stop it.

Posted by: CJ at February 8, 2014 3:17 PM
Comment #376204

We can be thankful that he was incompetent enough not to stop it.
Posted by: CJ at February 8, 2014 3:17 PM

Voted best sentence of the week.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 8, 2014 3:24 PM
Comment #376206
You are citing a link from a site called “shadowstats” and suggesting I am not using critical thought? That is really funny.

No, actually you have just proven that you aren’t and possibly don’t even know what critical thought is…

You are rejecting the information on a site based on the site name alone? You didn’t check on the information to see if it was credible, sources, logical, etc? Of course not, you didn’t want to see anything outside of your own echo chamber so you diminish the source based solely on the name.

You think that’s ‘critical thought’?

BTW, from the link you disparage because you don’t like the name…

Walter J. “John” Williams was born in 1949. He received an A.B. in Economics, cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 1971, and was awarded a M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Business Administration in 1972, where he was named an Edward Tuck Scholar. During his career as a consulting economist, John has worked with individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies.

That began a lengthy process of exploring the history and nature of economic reporting and in interviewing key people involved in the process from the early days of government reporting through the present. For a number of years I conducted surveys among business economists as to the quality of government statistics (the vast majority thought it was pretty bad), and my results led to front page stories in 1989 in the New York Times and Investors Daily (now Investors Business Daily), considerable coverage in the broadcast media and a joint meeting with representatives of all the government’s statistical agencies.

Nonetheless, the quality of government reporting has deteriorated sharply in the last couple of decades. Reporting problems have included methodological changes to economic reporting that have pushed headline economic and inflation results out of the realm of real-world or common experience.

Over the decades, well in excess of 1,000 presentations have been given on the economic outlook, or on approaches to analyzing economic data, to clients—large and small—including talks with members of the business, banking, government, press, academic, brokerage and investment communities. I also have provided testimony before Congress (details here).

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994.

All he is doing is calculating the unemployment now the same way it was calculated before 1994 when Clinton changed the methods to eliminate half a million people from existence for political gain. He also is using the same raw data for inflation and calculating it as it was in 1980 and 1990 before those changes took place as well. If you are going to compare past numbers with current numbers, they have to use the same calculation methods or they are NOT VALID COMPARISONS.

BTW, the hearing was instigated by Barney Frank… you might have heard of him.

But no, you’d rather chalk this site up to George Noori or Breitbart or some other site you disagree with, despite the fact that he was one of the primary sources for attacks on George Bush from 2001 to 2009…

BTW, a great quote from you in the past that you appear to be doing a 180 on…

Only twice in the past year have we seen non-farm payroll numbers like today. Since the beginning of the Bush administration we’ve seen a little over 2 million jobs created, which is disastrous.

(Btw, Bush apologists will counter with numbers of jobs created since the low point of the recession. That’s pretty funny. So, if a person goes gambling with a hundred dollars, loses fifty, and then makes 40 back, does that mean the person won $40?).

And this one:

I’m sure, after 5 + years of Bush, we’re looking at a total of 2.3 million non-farm payroll jobs created. Yes, it’s that bad. Keep in mind, too, that the population is considerably larger today than under Carter. And, keep in mind Bush administration policies produced only 2.3 million non-farm payroll jobs while the population grew by 12 million. Yes, it’s that bad.

Or this one:

Hey, didn’t the non-farm payroll numbers come out today? Wait a minute! Where is this number in the article. After all, ‘It’s the Economy, Stupid.’ Why, Jack. You neglected to mention them! Tsk, tsk. 108,000. Pretty crappy employment numbers. Jack, Jack, Jack. That’s just a trifle dishonest, isn’t it, neglecting to mention such an important economic number?

Two million non-farm payroll jobs created this year. Well, let’s put that number in perspective, shall we? The population of the country was smaller during Jimmy Carter’s administration. Hard times back then, right?

Did you know Carter created 10 million non-farm payroll jobs during his administration? Four years, 10 million jobs. So, how did Bush stack up?

How many jobs have been ‘created’ under Obama in 5 + years of Obama again?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 8, 2014 10:34 PM
Comment #376210

Rhinehold,
Here is why you do not use U-6 (Work Force Participation) to analyze employment:

The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemploy­ment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).

CBO Report, as quoted on CNN

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2014 12:03 AM
Comment #376211

phx8

I don’t need to speak for Rhinhold, but let me do it anyway.

Rhinhold simply points out that others - AND you - wanted to use the stricter standard when Bush was president. But no matter how you cut it, Obama’s numbers are really bad.

Posted by: CJ at February 9, 2014 12:05 AM
Comment #376212

The Bush non-farm payroll numbers did not occur as the result of the predecessor’s policies. The preceding Clinton administration provided a solid foundation for creating further jobs, including an annual budget surplus, and a budget projection of a ten year $10 trillion surplus. The ensuing failures resulted from the failed policies of the Bush administration. Non-farm payroll jobs during the Bush administration were mostly government jobs, with private sector job creation poor throughout most of the eight years.

The Obama non-farm payroll numbers have suffered from the asset deflation that resulted from Bush administration policies. It has been a far, far different experience from inheriting the strong economy of the Clinton administration. The Obama administration has managed to create job gains almost exclusively in the private sector, and it has managed to consistently post gains, month after month, despite the hammering that occurred in housing and construction.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2014 12:14 AM
Comment #376213

phx8

When Obama is finished with his second term, will you still be blaming Bush? Actually, I think you will if Hillary is elected. But if a Republican is elected there will be no problem blaming the new guy.

It takes around 200,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth. We would suppose that jobs would bounce back after being pushed down. They didn’t. To the extent that we blame any president, it would all be on Obama.

Posted by: CJ at February 9, 2014 12:24 AM
Comment #376214

phx8,

The quote you provide has nothing at all to do with U-6, I can see why you didn’t provide a link. The quote you provided was concerning the loss in manhours estimated over the next decade as a result of the Obamacare laws.

The U-6 captures users who are discouraged from looking for work and somewhat term unemployed (you know, the ones you want to extend benefits for) that are not a part of the U-3 numbers. The longer term unemployed are ignored by both numbers ever since 1994.

Get back to me when you want to debate what I’m talking about and when you realize that I am going to check up on what you say even though you don’t provide a ‘link’… I accept little on face value from anyone. I don’t use CNN quoting the report, I actually open the report and read it myself.

BTW, I notice you ignored the quotes you made eight years ago…

Again, this is the entire section of the CBO report, not the cherry picked parts that both sides seem to want to use:

The ACA’s largest impact on labor markets will probably occur after 2016, once its major provisions have taken full effect and overall economic output nears its maximum sustainable level. CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor—given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive. Because the largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wage workers, the reduction in aggregate compensation (wages, salaries, and fringe benefits) and the impact on the overall economy will be proportionally smaller than the reduction in hours worked. Specifically, CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017–2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise. Although such effects are likely to continue after 2024 (the end of the current 10-year budget window), CBO has not estimated their magnitude or duration over a longer period.

The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024. Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA. The decline in fulltime-equivalent employment stemming from the ACA will consist of some people not being employed at all and other people working fewer hours; however, CBO has not tried to quantify those two components of the overall effect. The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).

CBO’s estimate that the ACA will reduce employment reflects some of the inherent trade-offs involved in designing such legislation. Subsidies that help lower income people purchase an expensive product like health insurance must be relatively large to encourage a significant proportion of eligible people to enroll. If those subsidies are phased out with rising income in order to limit their total costs, the phaseout effectively raises people’s marginal tax rates (the tax rates applying to their last dollar of income), thus discouraging work. In addition, if the subsidies are financed at least in part by higher taxes, those taxes will further discourage work or create other economic distortions, depending on how the taxes are designed. Alternatively, if subsidies are not phased out or eliminated with rising income, then the increase in taxes required to finance the subsidies would be much larger.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 12:38 AM
Comment #376215
The Bush non-farm payroll numbers did not occur as the result of the predecessor’s policies. The preceding Clinton administration provided a solid foundation for creating further jobs, including an annual budget surplus, and a budget projection of a ten year $10 trillion surplus.

BZZZT. I know that you have bought into this fantasy, it just isn’t true. The economy was in shambles during Clinton’s last year, the imagined projected budget surpluses were based on unattainable internet bubble numbers that collapsed before Bush took office. In addition, any imagined surplus was a result of borrowing from social security. There was never any real surplus during the Clinton years as has been pointed out to you on MULTIPLE occasions. There was not one fiscal year during the 1990s when the debt decreased, a condition that would have to exist if we had a surplus in any form.

Not being a member or supporter of either party, I don’t have a dog in the fight. I look at the numbers rationally and with critical thought because they are important. Thankfully I am not subjected to the religion that you have bought into and can see the reality for what it is.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 12:45 AM
Comment #376216

phx8, re-read that emphasized part of the CBO report I quoted. The lowering of man hours is not a result of people feeling ‘free to not work as much’ or whatever tosh the left has been trying to present to make the situation seem a rosy one. The reason that those people will work less is because it will COST THEM MORE to work more.

The end result is that the poor will stay poorer and the rich, who are not reliant on the subsidies and will need to work harder (and/or charge more for their work) in order to continue paying those taxes for those subsidies will make more. As a result, income inequality is going to increase as a result at a time when the left wants to make that an issue. Ignoring, of course, the fact that they always ignore, they are the CAUSE of that inequality.

It’s a good gig if you can pull it off, I guess. Make people’s lives harder and then tell them you are there to help them out…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 12:51 AM
Comment #376217

CJ,
I have also seen an estimate of 150,000 non-farm payroll jobs/month needed to keep up with population growth. In any case, the latest report was weak, but still in positive territory. Some blame it on the impact of weather on Christmas shopping right before Christmas. I’ve also seen the blame place on several other things as well, including the government shutdown. In any case, it takes some judgment to decide whether a one or two month slowdown is the beginning of a trend, or just background noise. Personally, I think construction and housing will continue to improve, and do more to support the recovery.

Will I blame Bush three years from now? There is simply no escaping the fact that the conservative policies of the Bush administration formed the context for what ensued under Obama. It happened. I have said before that much of the Obama administration can be viewed in a historical context as a clean-up action for the mess of the previous administration.

In another thread you wondered if I hate Bush. The answer is no, not really. I have never met the man. From what I know about him, I would not particularly care to meet him, but public images are sometimes very different from private life, so I try to keep that in mind. I do hold Bush responsible for his decisions, and his decision-making & managerial skills were absolutely horrible. Once elected, he surrounded himself with people like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and a whole coterie of Neocons. It went very, very badly. The policies of the Bush administration had a very negative impact on my life and the life of my family, both nuclear and extended. Since then, the impact of the Obama administration has been incredibly positive for me and my family, both nuclear and extended, in a very quantifiable sense.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2014 1:17 AM
Comment #376219

Will I blame Bush three years from now?

And you got your answer CJ. He will.

And he has already stated that Bush was responsible for the mess he inherited from the day he took office.

I think we can safely just ignore phx8 on this topic going forward… :/

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 1:49 AM
Comment #376220

And of course phx8 uses his personal experience for whether or not a president was successful economically (which also ignores the role congress plays, which is much more important and the FED, which is much more important).

Here’s my personal experience.

During Bush’s administration, I nearly tripled my annual salary. During Obama, it has been relatively flat. I guess we have our proof now that Bush was good and Obama was bad…

LOL

The reality is that we haven’t had much success in the economy department since the FED decided after black monday that they could do things that they weren’t charged with doing. Despite an inflated economy due to bubbles (internet in 1990s, housing in 2000s, debt/energy in 2010s) we haven’t seen much of anything positive economically. Couple that with the reality since the mid 2000s that money for big business has been free while saving for individuals has been discouraged do to non-existent returns on investment, it’s no wonder the income disparity is as much as it is.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 1:56 AM
Comment #376223

“In addition, any imagined surplus was a result of borrowing from social security. There was never any real surplus during the Clinton years as has been pointed out to you on MULTIPLE occasions.”

Rhinehold,

And on multiple occasions, you also make the same mistake. There was indeed a surplus during two of the Clinton years that was not a function of borrowing from social security. In fiscal 1999 and 2000, the federal government showed a surplus of revenue over expenditures excluding social security revenue and outlays. When considered through a unified budget perspective (including the off-budget social security revenues and outlays), there were surpluses in two additional years 1998 and 2001.
http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/the-budget-and-deficit-under-clinton/
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/

“There was not one fiscal year during the 1990s when the debt decreased, a condition that would have to exist if we had a surplus in any form.”

Not entirely true. The public debt decreased in two years, 1999 and 2000. However, due to the surplus of social security funds, the intra-governmental debt and overall debt necessarily increased since surplus social security funds must be invested in treasury bonds by law and the government must buy them even if in surplus.

Posted by: Rich at February 9, 2014 8:54 AM
Comment #376224

Rich,

And on multiple occasions, you also make the same mistake.

No, no mistake at all. In fact, we are both saying the same thing. But you give the government a pass on spending that it decides it can ‘keep off the books’. Just like some of the military spending under Bush was ‘off the books’ and Democrats rightfully howled, so did Clinton count spending that was ‘kept off the books’ in order to show a surplus ON PAPER.

You admit that there was no actual surplus, just a paper one. Clinton can no more claim a surplus by doing that than Bush could by putting Iraq war spending ‘off book’. Under Clinton, it was not up to him to do that, it was done by law. But he did try to claim a surplus when one never actually happened.

BTW, what is the difference in the government having to pay welfare benefits, by law and the government having to buy bonds for SS (and other pension plans) by law? You have to count one but don’t have to count another? The debt increased, therefore there was no ‘surplus’, other than on paper by not counting retirement plans… If a company did that wouldn’t you be screaming for their accountants head?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 9:19 AM
Comment #376228

“The debt increased, therefore there was no ‘surplus’, other than on paper by not counting retirement plans… If a company did that wouldn’t you be screaming for their accountants head?”

Rhinehold,

OK, lets take that approach and treat government accounting as if it were a public corporation. It is already done in the annual “Financial Report of the U.S. Government.” “But even under accrual accounting, the annual reports showed surpluses of $69.2 billion in fiscal 1998, $76.9 billion in fiscal 1999, and $46 billion for fiscal year 2000. So even if the government had been using that form of accounting the deficit would have been erased for those three years.” http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/the-budget-and-deficit-under-clinton/

In terms of trickery, there is none when it comes to social security. It is simply treated as a separate accounting entry by law with its own identifiable revenue and outlays. It is not “off budget” to hide it but rather to demonstrate a clear distinction between general revenue and expenditures (on-budget)and ss revenue and outlays (off-budget). It can be somewhat of an issue when the government reports a “unified budget” which combines the general budget of the U.S. with the social security trust funds. But, that is just a presentation device. There is no real unified budget.

Posted by: Rich at February 9, 2014 10:03 AM
Comment #376229

Phx8

Read “Days of Fire” and the new book by Robert Gates “Duty.” I doubt that you will learn to love Bush or the others, but you will understand better the differences among them and why many of your misconceptions are wrong.

I know you get annoyed when I name drop and I am not saying I know any of them well, but I have met Bush, Cheney & Rice, as well has Bill & Hillary Clinton. All of them are patriots who do what they think is best for the U.S. None of them acted out of narrow self-interest. If Al Gore had become president, the U.S. economic trajectory would have been very similar. If McCain had been elected in 2008, things would be similar today too. The difference is McCain probably would not have wasted all that money in stimulus.

Posted by: CJ at February 9, 2014 10:11 AM
Comment #376230

Rich, first of all, you can stop re-linking the factcheck article that I studied years ago when researching this issue. You think it is somehow the definitive word on the subject and it just isn’t. Mainly because they take the government’s word on what is and isn’t a ‘surplus’.

Second, no where did I use the word ‘trick’. Having studied accounting for years in college and being the son of an accountant, I understand what accounting can do and what it can’t, why we need it and how things are identified to tell a story. It is appropriate that those numbers (which isn’t just SS) are identified differently.

But the fact remains, that money, even though it was accounted for differently on a ledger, was not surplus, other than in accounting terms within the accounting rules. We still spent more than we took in. That’s the suggestion that people are making when they use the word politically. Too few people understand the difference between actual surplus and accounting budgetary surplus.

When you see most people talking about ‘surpluses’ and the Clinton Surplus, they say that we had extra money. We didn’t, the money was buy law already designated to go somewhere else. It wasn’t ‘extra’, it has to be spent whether we had the money or not. But they don’t understand that. Instead you get people like phx8 who think we had extra funds AND that we had a valid projected 10 year surplus of $10 TRILLION. You and I, because we are more knowledgeable on the subject, know how absurd that projection was, especially in the light of what happened the last year and a half of Clinton’s term. So if we don’t address this misconception head on, as I am trying to do, we get uninformed people who aren’t willing to actually look into the issue non-partisanly.

You and I both agree that at no time during the Clinton administration did we bring in more in revenue that we spent during any fiscal year. If you want to haggle the value of not having a unified budget so that people who do not understand the nature of accounting become confused on that, we can do that, but it doesn’t change the facts.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 10:37 AM
Comment #376231
The difference is McCain probably would not have wasted all that money in stimulus.

Sorry CJ, but I was agreeing with everything you said right up to this point. I don’t see any indication that McCain wouldn’t have pushed through some form of ‘stimulus’. It would have been different, but the Republican party, especially McCain, has never really shied away from spending money.

Heck, look at their proposed budget for this next fiscal year, it spends more than was originally budgeted to be spent. They aren’t interested in spending less, just spending it differently…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 10:39 AM
Comment #376232

http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/this-is-the-paul-ryan-budget-patty-murra

Spending goes up a bit. The deficit goes down a bit less. There are offsetting fee increases and targeted cuts in spending. The deal would send more money to the Pentagon
Posted by: Rhinehold at February 9, 2014 10:42 AM
Comment #376240

Since then, the impact of the Obama administration has been incredibly positive for me and my family, both nuclear and extended, in a very quantifiable sense.
Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2014 1:17 AM

You have told us on numerous occasions that you had a windfall of profits in the equity markets. So you received some of the $7 Trillion in added debt…good for you, bad for others.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 9, 2014 11:46 AM
Comment #376295

You know things are BAD when the AP dispatches stories like this….Yikes!



ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

US economy may be stuck in slow lane for long run

By Josh Boak

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In the 4½ years since the Great Recession ended, mil­lions of Americans who have gone with­out jobs or raises have found them­selves wondering something about the economic recovery: Is this as good as it gets?

It increasingly looks that way.

Two straight weak job reports have raised doubts about economists’ pre­dictions of breakout growth in 2014. The global economy is showing signs of slowing – again. Manufacturing has slumped. Fewer people are signing
contracts to buy homes. Global stock markets have sunk as anxiety has gripped developing nations.

Some long-term trends are equally dispiriting.

The Congressional Budget Office foresees growth picking up through 2016, only to weaken starting in 2017. By the CBO’s reckoning, the economy will soon slam into a demographic wall: The vast baby boom generation will retire. Their exodus will shrink the share of Americans who are working, which will hamper the economy’s ability to accelerate.

At the same time, the government may have to borrow more, raise taxes or cut spending to support Social Security and Medicare for those retirees.

Only a few weeks ago, at least the short-term view looked brighter. Entering 2014, many economists predicted growth would top 3 percent for the first time since 2005. That pace would bring the U.S. economy near its average post-World War II annual growth rate. Some of the expected improvement would come from the government exerting less drag on the economy this year after having slashed spending and raised taxes in 2013.

In addition, steady job gains dating back to 2010 should unleash more consumer spending. Each of the 7.8 million jobs that have been added provided income to someone who previously had little or none. It amounts to “adrenaline” for the economy, said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist for Northern Trust.

And since 70 percent of the economy flows from consumers, their increased spending would be expected to drive stronger hiring and growth.

“There is a dividing line between a slow-growth economy that is not satisfactory and above-trend growth with a tide strong enough to lift all the boats and put people back to work,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. “That number is 3 percent.”

The recovery had appeared to achieve a breakthrough in the final quarter of 2013. The economy grew at an annual pace of 3.2 percent last quarter. Leading the upswing was a 3.3 percent surge in the rate of consumer spending, which had been slack for much of the recovery partly because of high debt loads and stagnant pay.

Yet for now, winter storms and freezing temperatures, along with struggles in Europe and Asia, have slowed manufacturing and the pace of

hiring. Just 113,000 jobs were added in January, the government said Friday. In December, employers had added a puny 75,000. Job creation for the past two months is roughly half its average for the past two years. A third sluggish jobs report in February would further dim hopes for a breakout year. “Three months in a row would mean the job market is taking a turn for the worst,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services.

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman have suggested that the economy might be in a semi-permanent funk. In November, Summers warned in a speech that the economy is trapped by “secular stagnation.” By that, he meant a prolonged period of weak demand and slow growth. If the United States hasn’t already slipped into that period, the CBO predicts it could over the next four years. That’s when the retirements of baby boomers would start to restrain growth. The economy will expand 2.7 percent in 2017 before declining to an average of 2.2 percent through 2024, the CBO estimates.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at February 10, 2014 5:12 PM
Comment #376348

C&J-
Stop bellyaching about people hating Bush. He earned that scorn. The fact is, our economy continues to grow and recover, despite the fact that many people like you are complaining Obama’s the worst President ever.

Well, our worst President is doing better by many measures than the one under whom the recession started.

You’re measuring by a much less forgiving standard than the critics you despise!

Kevin L. Lagola
Did you pay the AP for that story? What is it with conservatives and their lack of respect for intellectual property?

The Republican Arguments seems to be:

1) We get nothing done. This is good because Government can’t do anything right.

2) You should vote for us because we prevent anything from getting done.

3) Obama can’t get anything done, he’s the worst President ever! Lame duck!

Republicans have long drawn political benefit from promoting cynicism about government. But now they’re using their position in order to create the reasons why people are cynical about government.

They’re creating an artificial bubble of incompetence and unresponsiveness in Washington, and profiting by it. All bubbles burst, eventually, as people re-evaluate the worth of overvalued commodities.

The Republicans have tried to recover their party the same way they recovered the economy from the recession before last, by inflating it with another bubble of overpriced assets. The Tea Party are those assets. The fact that we just got another debt ceiling increase for free, basically, should tell you that. The Republican majority isn’t really a majority in the real world, it’s two minorities blocking another minority’s expansion. How long can that last when it’s clear that many Tea Partiers and Establishment Republicans can’t stand to cooperate? There’s a reason I will believe that Republicans will take the Senate in the fall when I see it, because time and again, Republicans have turned the advantages they ruthlessly sought out in 2009 and 2010, and squandered them, only keeping their majority because they had friendly legislatures create bubbles of excessive Republican representation beyond what the populations in the states merited.

The Strength of their party is only sustained by their ability to set people like me, the liberals, progressives, and Democrats, as their ultimate enemy. But even that hasn’t been enough to prevent them from losing the last two elections. They’ve been ringing the bell like crazy on Obamacare, but I think that’s only going to get them so much mileage.

If the best you can say is that Obama’s disappointing… Well yeah, so was GWB, Bill Clinton, GHWB, and Ronnie Reagan. Politicians in my lifetime make promises, and then fall short. It doesn’t seem that, historically speaking, anybody’s satisfied with politicians until their terms are part of history.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 11, 2014 2:43 PM
Comment #376357

Stephen O’ Stephen…what are we going to do with you?

Do you have a J-School degree? I do. Did you study Libel, plagiarism, slander, defamation and Fair Use? I did.

At any rate, I satisfied six out of the seven main principles of the Fair Use Clause.

Take a gander here, Stephen

Btw, I gave attribute at the beginning.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at February 11, 2014 4:46 PM
Comment #376366

Stephen

I am not complaining about criticism of Bush. I am simply pointing out the criticism of Obama is nothing special or new. You think Bush earned the scorn. Evidently many American agree that Obama has earned the scorn. In either case, it is a long tradition to criticize presidents. Obama has not gotten it worse than others.

Posted by: CJ at February 11, 2014 7:37 PM
Comment #376482

Kevin L. Lagola,

What happened to this:

Where linking to the material is an alternative compatible with the journalist’s objectives, it should be preferred to unlicensed re-use of copyrighted material.

My understanding is that Fair Use allows one to quote a short excerpt, not to copy and paste an entire article.

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 15, 2014 7:40 PM
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