A Critical Eye on Obama’s Jobs and Unemployment Record

Barack Obama claims he has created 8,302,000 new jobs through January 2016.

As he leaves office in January 2017, he will likely proclaim that his administration has practically achieved full employment, which is defined in the 3% range. And he’ll likely paint a rosy picture that under his management, the economy is in full recovery mode.

That is as far from reality as one can get inside the Washington beltway bubble and mindset.

The numbers, when viewed as a whole, do not support his claim, especially in light of the loss of 12.017 million jobs lost during the Bush and Obama years according the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And the majority of jobs that have been created are low-wage, not the good-paying jobs that were lost. In the U.S., jobs paying between $14 and $21 per hour made up about 60% those lost during the recession, but such mid-wage jobs have comprised only about 27% of jobs gained during the recovery through mid-2012. In contrast, lower-paying jobs constituted about 58% of the jobs regained.


Source: NELP


Continue reading A Critical Eye on Obama’s Jobs and Unemployment Record

The Presidential Scorecard©: Truman to Obama

When the monthly jobs report comes out and it says 4.9% unemployment, everyone should remember there is more to the story.

For example, between Bush & Obama there are over 12 million jobs lost; Hoover lost 6.4 million.  Hoover’s was the Great Depression; Bush & Obama call it a recession.

With that in mind, the New Deal Progressives (NDP) has created The Presidential Scorecard© in March 2016 which will compare the current and historical performance for different aspects  of U.S. presidents.


TRUMAN1949 - 1952+8,357,000-3,222,000+5,135,0004.4%
EISENHOWER1953 - 1960+10,142,000-6,562,000+3,580,0004.9%
JFK / LBJ1961 - 1964+6,067,000-390,000+5,677,0005.8%
LBJ1965 - 1968+9,983,000-158,000+9,825,0003.9%
NIXON1969 - 1972+7,404,000-1,380,000+6,024,0005.0%
NIXON / FORD1972 -1976+7,473,000-2,295,000+5,178,0006.7%
CARTER1977 - 1980+11,714,000-1,219,000+10,495,0006.5%63.2%61,531,000
REAGAN1981 - 1988+19,273,000-3,310,000+15,963,0007.5%64.7%62,780,000
GHW BUSH1989 - 1992+4,372,000-1,782,000+2,590,0006.3%66.4%65.780,000
CLINTON1993 - 2000+23,420,000-185,000+23,235,0005.2%66.8%70,488,000359,0008.8%
GW BUSH2001 - 2008+8,702,000-6,589,000+2,113,0005.3%66.2%80,380,000408,0009.2%
OBAMA2009 - 2015 (so far)+13,730,000-5,428,000+8,302,0007.8%63.8%94,103,000873,00014.3%



The rest of the story (along with the BLS detailed, summarized, and averaged data sources), is here.

Low wage jobs are dominating the U.S. recovery

By Brad Plumer, published August 31, 2012 at The Washington Post

The United States lost about 8.1 million jobs after the recession began in late 2007. The economy has since recovered about 3.3 million of those jobs, starting in early 2010. That, in itself, should alarm policymakers. The labor market is still in a deep, deep hole.

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The jobs of the future? (Washington Post)

But in some respects, the situation is even bleaker than that. The types of jobs that have come back so far don’t seem to be paying as well as those that were lost.

A new report (pdf) from the National Employment Law Project finds that low-wage jobs, paying $13.83 per hour or less, have dominated the recovery to date. In many cases, they appear to be replacing higher-paying jobs that were lost in the first place.

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In Bed with a Nation-Wrecker: 5 Ways Hillary Is As Bad As Bill

by Paul Buchheit, published February 29, 2016 at Common Dreams

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

In 1996 Bill Clinton referred to the U.S. as “the world’s greatest force for peace and freedom, for democracy and security and prosperity.”

For PEACE he cluster-bombed civilians in Yugoslavia, wiped out a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, and stood by as Iraqi sanctions and Rwandan genocide killed hundreds of thousands of people.

For FREEDOM he oversaw the largest increase in prison population in U.S. history, with the great majority of prisoners in for nonviolent drug offenses, and with more people working in criminal justice than in social services.

For DEMOCRACY he backed NAFTA, which allowed corporations to undermine local governments with lawsuits against public health and environmental and food safety laws.

For SECURITY he dismantled the safety net for families with children, leading to a dramatic increase in extreme poverty in the U.S.

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Don’t Shut Post Offices—Reinvent Them

By Naomi Klein, published February 29, 2016 at Common Dreams

(Image: Delivering Community Power)

Naomi Klein delivered the following remarks in Ottawa on February 29, at the Leap Day launch of Delivering Community Power, a proposal to turn postal offices into green community hubs to power Canada’s next economy. Leap Day is the official kickoff date for dozens of climate action and events already planned in Canada and around the world, which will take place throughout February and beyond. Check out leapyear2016.org and #leapmanifesto on Twitter for more.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that we’re on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

I’m delighted to be here today with my colleagues from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Idle No More, ACORN and the Canadian Labour Congress, brought together by our allies from Friends of Public Services.

2016 is a leap year, and today, February 29th, is Leap Day. We are all currently enjoying the extra day we add to our calendars, every four years, to bring them into alignment with the earth’s orbit around the sun.

We do this because it’s easier to change our human-created systems than to change the laws of nature. In this way, the leap year is a perfect metaphor for the present moment, in which our political and economic systems badly need updating to accommodate the hard realities of our common home, the Earth.

We see the conflicts all around us. In the gap between what scientists tell us we must do to prevent catastrophic warming, and the emission reduction pledges our government has proposed. In the gap between even those inadequate pledges and the actual policies that would get us there.

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11 Principles of Oligarchy

Noam Chomsky Wants You to Wake Up From the American Dream

By David Swanson / Let’s Try Democracy February 27, 2016 via Alternet

Photo Credit: fotostory/Shutterstock.com

If you’ve just seen Michael Moore’s movie and are wondering how in the world the United States got diverted into the slow lane to hell, go watch Noam Chomsky’s movie. If you’ve just seen Noam Chomsky’s movie and are wondering whether the human species is really worth saving, go see Michael Moore’s movie. If you haven’t seen either of these movies, please tell me that you haven’t been watching presidential debates. As either of these movies would be glad to point out to you, that’s not how you change anything.

“Filmed over four years, these are his last long-form documentary interviews,” Chomsky’s film, Requiem for the American Dream, says of him at the start, rather offensively. Why? He seems perfectly able to give interviews and apparently gave those in this film for four years. And of course he acquired the insights he conveys over many more years than that. They are not new insights to activists, but they would be like revelations from another world to a typical U.S. resident.

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Some Real Costs of the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Nearly Half a Million Jobs Lost in the US Alone

Published  March 1, 2016 at Naked Capitalism 

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, an Assistant Secretary General working on Economic Development in the United Nations system during 2005-15, and was awarded the 2007 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. Originally published as a Global Development and Environment Institute Policy Brief

The Trans-Pacifc Partnership (TPP) Agreement, recently agreed to by twelve Pacifc Rim countries led by the United States,1 promises to ease many restrictions on cross-border transactions and harmonize regulations. Proponents of the agreement have claimed significant economic benefits, citing modest overall net GDP gains, ranging from half of one percent in the United States to 13 percent in Vietnam after fifteen years. Their claims, however, rely on many unjustified assumptions, including full employment in every country and no resulting impacts on working people’s incomes, with more than 90 percent of overall growth gains due to ‘non-trade measures’ with varying impacts.

A recent GDAE Working Paper finds that with more realistic methodological assumptions, critics of the TPP indeed have reason to be concerned. Using the trade projections for the most optimistic growth forecasts, we find that the TPP is more likely to lead to net employment losses in many countries (771,000 jobs lost overall, with 448,000 in the United States alone) and higher inequality in all country groupings. Declining worker purchasing power would weaken aggregate demand, slowing economic growth. The United States (-0.5 percent) and Japan (-0.1 percent) are projected to suffer small net income losses, not gains, from the TPP.

Continue reading Some Real Costs of the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Nearly Half a Million Jobs Lost in the US Alone

The U.S. has Gone F&*%ing Mad

by James Allworth, published February 22, 2016 at Medium

On December 2, 2015, an absolute tragedy occurred. 14 Americans were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a mass shooting in San Bernardino.

Which of the following would you attribute responsibility for what happened:

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 9.18.47 AM

Let me give you a hint. It’s not the one that comes in five flavors.

Next question: in the wake of San Bernardino, which one is the US Government going after?

Do you know how a properly functioning society would react to an event like San Bernardino? I do — because I’ve had the misfortune of living through such an event. On the 28th of April, 1996, a gunman equipped with an AR-15 assault rifle — the same kind that the San Bernardino shooters used — opened fire in Port Arthur, in Australia. 35 people were killed and 23 were wounded. It remains one of the world’s deadliest shootings by a single person.

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Bernie Sanders in 1995: A Brutal Assessment of Bill Clinton’s First 2 Years as President

by Bernie Sanders, published on February 24, 2016 at In These Times 

In this 1995 column for In These Times, Bernie Sanders laments then-President Bill Clinton’s ties to corporate money—and lays out a progressive program that looks strikingly similar to his own 2016 presidential platform.


Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.09.57 PMWritten in January 1995, this never-before-published-online article by then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) assesses the first two years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, taking Clinton to task for not pushing hard enough for progressive goals including raising the minimum wage and economic stimulus spending. Sanders explains why, under Clinton, there was “virtually no organized and effective opposition to the American ruling class,” and criticizes the former president for his focus on welfare reform, crime and free trade as ways to “placate corporate America.”

Before we can analyze Bill Clinton’s presidency and its prospects, we must discuss the social context in which the Clinton administration is currently functioning.

For the vast majority of its people, the United States is becoming a poorer country. The standard of living of the average American worker continues to decline, people are working longer hours, and new jobs are often low-wage, part-time and without benefits. The average American is nervous and angry—and has every reason to be.

The rich are growing richer—and the power they hold over the economic and political life of the nation makes them ever more arrogant as well. No apologies are needed when millionaires and billionaires spend vast sums of money to buy elective office. No apologies are made when striking workers are permanently replaced. No apologies are even expected when profitable corporations “downsize” their workforces and replace full-time employees with “temps.” The wealthy have the power, and are fully prepared to use it for their own selfish ends.

Never before in American history has the mass media’s construction of reality been so divorced from the experience of the average American. Workers see with their own eyes the jobs in their communities being exported to Mexico and China, while television gives them endless hours of the O.J. Simpson trial. Working people see with their own eyes the corporate CEO earning 150 times as much as the line worker, while television gives them rapt descriptions of the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive strategy.

Continue reading Bernie Sanders in 1995: A Brutal Assessment of Bill Clinton’s First 2 Years as President

Why We Need Democratic Socialism to Fix Our Educational System

by Paul Buchheit, published February 22, 2016 at Common Dreams

Rural schoolroom, Wisconsin, September 1939. (Photo: Archive/John Vachon)

Latoya and Jalesa, both 26, grew up on the west side of Chicago, attending Calhoun Public School during the day and stepping across the street to Marillac Social Center for after-school programs. They lived in a tough neighborhood. Latoya said the summer gunshots came as often as the sound of ice-cream truck bells in the suburbs. But everyone knew each other on those two blocks; kids walked together, to and from school and in the evenings. Parents—most of whom had gone to Calhoun—also knew each other, often through volunteer work at the social center.

In 2013 Calhoun was one of 50 schools closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It was shut down despite a committee recommendation that it remain open. Jalesa and Latoya, who still work at the center as they pursue other career interests, said the children are scattered now. Most of them take buses to a variety of public and charter schools outside the once-intimate neighborhood. Some have to walk a few blocks, some have to cross busy streets. None of them gather together before and after school, as they used to do on the grounds of Calhoun.

K-12 Education is Getting Worse

A shocking new OECD report says that among developed countries the U.S. has the highest percentage of youths ages 16-19 with low numeric skills, and the 3rd-highest percentage with low literacy skills.

SAT scores in 2015 were the lowest since the test was revised in 2005. Math scores for fourth-graders and eighth-graders dropped for the first time since the tests were first administered in 1990.

Market “Reform” Isn’t Working

The unsatisfactory results, according to the Washington Post, “reflect a troubling shortcoming of education-reform efforts.”

Continue reading Why We Need Democratic Socialism to Fix Our Educational System