Monthly Archives: July 2015

Weekend Newsletter (July 3, 2015)

by Bud Meyers, published July 3, 2015

First, a couple statistics worth noting:

government-workers

 

In other recent news:

Jeb Bush’s Golden Nest Egg: Via the Washington Post (July 2, 2015):

A close review of the tax forms released this week show how Jeb Bush maneuvered to minimize his tax bill through his company Jeb Bush & Associates. The returns show that the company set up a generous and well-funded pension plan now rare in corporate America, allowing Bush to take large tax deductions while he and his wife built up their retirement portfolio.

Daniel Halperin, a professor at Harvard Law School who specializes in pensions, said federal law allows companies to take a tax write-off for large pension contributions in an effort to encourage them to offer solid retirement plans to their employees. He said those rules make less sense in the case of Jeb Bush & Associates, which offers the plan to only two people. “It is generous,” Halperin said. But, he added, “the law allows them to be generous.”

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The Triple Trade Treaty Threat: TPP, TTIP and TISA

by Bud Meyers, published June 30, 2015

Via Popular Resistance: This week, hidden amidst the news of the massacre in Charleston and the Supreme Court decisions on the health law, fair housing and marriage equality, the Senate passed Fast Track legislation and sent it to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

Now the path is clear for the president to push the triple-trade-treaty-threat through Congress. The first one, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), is expected to come to a Congress this fall. It will be followed by the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TiSA).

The choreographed corruption required to accomplish this feat, given the massive opposition to Fast Track, was obvious. Both the House and Senate had exactly the number of votes needed — and not one more — because they knew everyone who voted for the unpopular Fast Track risked their political career.

Members who supported Fast Track in the House received nearly $200 million from corporations who will profit from the treaties.

Continue reading The Triple Trade Treaty Threat: TPP, TTIP and TISA

How the Jobless rate dropped to a 7 year low

by Bud Meyers, published July 2, 2015

How did the unemployment rate go down again? Because as usual, more people dropped out of the labor force.

June 2015 — 93,626,000 Not in the Labor Force (an all-time record high) per the Bureau of Labor Statistics
May 2015 — 92,986,000
—————
+640,000   More just since last month!

And this wasn’t because of people on Social Security disability, because we actually had a net decrease since last month:

April 2015 — 8,939,419 per the Social Security Administration
May 2015 — 8,939,029
——————-
-390 less

And I doubt is was because of retiring Baby Boomers either:

Apr 2015 — 39,432,426 per the Social Security Administration
May 2015 — 39,505,145
—————-
+72,719 Not even close to the 640,000 who dropped out of the labor force since last month.

Continue reading How the Jobless rate dropped to a 7 year low

Obama could sink 2016 Dems

by Brent Budowsky, published June 30, 2015 at The Hill

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Getty Images

Nothing better dramatizes the damage that President Obama has done to Democrats than the fact that Republicans now control the House of Representatives, the Senate and a majority of governorships across America.

Nothing better illustrates the reason for this damage than the president’s recent behavior on the trade bill, when he attacked and berated liberal members of his party and organized labor, and then claimed success when the bill was passed through his alliance with Republican congressional leaders, infuriating a majority of Democrats in Congress.

In January 2014, I wrote a column for The Hill titled “2014 warning to Democrats,” where I warned that Obama’s political style depresses liberal Democratic voters, who then would not turn out on Election Day, while inflaming conservative Republican voters, who would turn out, creating the grave danger of a big Republican victory in the 2014 midterms.

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Another 640,000 Drop Out of the Labor Force Causing Unemployment Rate Decline

by Robert Oak, published July 2, 2015 at the Economic Populist

The June employment report brings some OMG, jaw dropping, are you kidding me numbers. Over 640,000 dropped out of the labor force. As a result, the unemployment rate drops two tenths of a percentage point to 5.3%. The labor participation rate dropped by -0.3 percentage points to 62.6%. This new low of a labor participation rate has not seen since October 1977 when women and minorities were still were not in the workforce extensively. While the United States does have baby boomers entering retirement, these figures are horrific.

fredgraph 1

This article overviews and graphs the statistics from the Employment report Household Survey also known as CPS, or current population survey.  The CPS survey tells us about people employed, not employed, looking for work and not counted at all.  The household survey has large swings on a monthly basis as well as a large margin of sampling error.  This part of the employment report is not about actual jobs gained.

Continue reading Another 640,000 Drop Out of the Labor Force Causing Unemployment Rate Decline

Capitalism Has Devolved Into Looting

by Paul Craig Roberts, published June 29, 2015

…when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed.   –  Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”

There’s no such thing as markets anymore – only interventions.  –  Chris Powell, co-founder and Treasurer of GATA

Ayn Rand is a pariah among those who believe that government is our benefactor. There are times and conditions when government can be a benefactor of the people. But not in the Western world at the present time. As Michael Hudson and I agree, Western central banks refuse to create money to finance economy recovery. Money is created only for the benefit of the oligarchs’ banks in order that the oligarchs can continue to control the governments.

In the US for the past seven years the Federal Reserve has provided cheap bank reserves for the banks to lend at a markup or to speculate with. Banks are no longer suppliers of capital for productive investments and employment. Instead banks invest in speculation, arbitrage, derivatives, financing corporate takeovers and stock buybacks. The Fed has made it unnecessary for banks to pay for deposits. Instead, the banks get free money and charge consumers with negative interest rates for making deposits. For seven years Americans have, thanks to the utterly corrupt Federal Reserve and US government, been deprived of interest on their savings. In the Western world today, savers are penalized, not rewarded.

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The Reported ‘Good News’ Was Bad News — John Williams

by Paul Craig Roberts, published July 3, 2015

This is from John Williams’ (shadowstats.com) introduction to his detailed report on the shortcomings of the June jobs and employment report.

“The Good News in the Reporting of June Labor Conditions Was Not Good News. Headline June employment and unemployment numbers were more typical of deteriorating, broad economic activity than they were of an expanding economy in its purported sixth year of recovery.

“Conditions deteriorated sharply in June. Headline payroll jobs rose by 223,000 per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but underlying reality likely was an outright monthly loss of at least 50,000 (-50,000) jobs in the headline aggregate. The headline gain came in close to consensus expectations, only because of a downside revision of 60,000 jobs to May payrolls. Net of that revision, June payrolls rose by 163,000. Yet, that gain was exaggerated further by undisclosed, upside shifting in seasonal factors for May and June payrolls, due in turn to unreported inconsistencies in historical data generated by BLS concurrent seasonal-factor adjustments. Allowing further for false, monthly add factors in the Birth-Death Model, in excess of 200,000 jobs, June 2015 payrolls most likely fell month-to-month.

“Not-seasonally-adjusted headline, annual growth in payroll employment continued to slow for the fourth consecutive month.

“Separately, aside from the headline June payroll gain of 223,000, which was a count of jobs, not people holding jobs, headline full-time employment fell by 349,000 (-349,000), representing the count of people who lost full-time jobs in June.

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News From the Twilight Zone: Americans Say They’re Just Fine With a Mediocre Economy

by Carlos Torres and Michelle Jamrisko, Bloomberg News, published June 26, 2015

Americans are placing bigger bets that incomes will outpace inflation

For the past six years, Americans have been hearing that this economic expansion is lackluster. They’re now OK with it, and moving on.

That’s how Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, characterized the disconnect between weaker economic growth and improving household confidence. A report Friday showed the group’s consumer sentiment gauge rose to 96.1 in June, the second-highest reading in eight years.

Continue reading News From the Twilight Zone: Americans Say They’re Just Fine With a Mediocre Economy