Tag: Unemployment

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: The Word is Crisis, Not Recession! by NY Brit Expat

Yes, comrades, we need to talk about crises again, the term recession simply does not explain what is really going on! Just in case you might not have noticed or perhaps the mainstream media where you live ignored it, the obvious has happened and the end of the so-called recession has disappeared into the fantasy novel. Once again there is a slowdown in growth and the financial markets are not particularly happy. This time, Germany and China are showing signs of slowdown. Globalisation has not ended the potential towards crises in the capitalist economic system; in fact, the greater interconnectedness of the world economy has exacerbated the situation and ensured that the contagion spreads.  

For those who believe the fantasies of neoliberal economics, the shock of these latest failures of neoliberalism must come as a surprise. But for those of us that have been warning of the stupidity of squeezing wages and destroying work conditions, rising inequality in income and wealth, the dangers of export-led growth when wage incomes are being squeezed meaning that unless governments become the sole purchasers of goods and services that are being produced (and they are not) that obviously there comes a point when working people cannot purchase goods and services as their incomes are too low, wiping out of savings  has happened and personal indebtedness leads to default and bankruptcy. Neither of these things helps to maintain capitalist growth, accumulation and profitability in the long run; forget that, it hasn’t even lasted in the short run.

I will be giving a run through on what is going on and why our lives feel as though we are living through the Shock Doctrine (which we are) then address the proposals of dealing with persistent unemployment under capitalism from the Left on which there is significant disagreement.

A-C Meetup: For May Day – Capitalism, Charity, Food Banks and Workers’ Rights by NY Brit Expat

Most probably people have heard of the bizarre investigative journalism by The Mail on Sunday in an article which appeared on Easter Sunday (of all days in the year). The Mail on Sunday sent in a reporter, a wannabe Jimmy Olsen, to investigate provision of food by food-banks in Britain and that reporter literally took food out of the mouths of the hungry in order to prove some point. This provoked a backlash on social media that demonstrated that the neoliberal agenda seems to not have sunk too deeply in the hearts and minds of the British people. That is a relief and quite honestly more than I expected, given the constant barrage in the newspapers and on the news on telly that has never questioned the logic (forget the morality) of welfare caps and cuts to welfare benefits.

 photo 11c403ab-c379-41dc-8ad6-33e6ee1e497c_zps6bff82ce.jpg

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=brand-name-cialis-super-active ht: my sister Mia for comments and editing on this piece

Unemployment Deficit Disorder

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Democratic held Senate tried to pass a three month extension of unemployment benefits for 1.7 million people whose benefits had run out since December. It failed by 2 votes, 58-to-40, the second vote was by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), a formality so he could reintroduce the bill at a later date. So, it actually go site failed by one vote. Since 2008, the federal government has provided extended benefits to the unemployed who used up the standard 26 weeks provided by the states. The average time it takes to find another job is at least 37 weeks. Republican Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) voted with Democrats to end debate.

In other words, the go to site Republicans filibustered, again. Yes, I know it is a cloture vote to end debate. No matter what you call the need for 60 votes, a super majority, for whatever reason, that is a filibuster. http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquistare-levitra-Liguria They refused to end debate to bring the bill to the floor for a majority vote.

Democrats tried to sweeten the deal by banning millionaires from receiving benefits. Thursday’s measure would have required unemployment claimants to certify they’d earned less than $1 million in the previous year; currently, there is no income restriction.

The bill’s cost would have been offset through “pension smoothing,” or allowing companies to make smaller contributions to employee pensions, thus earning higher profits and giving the government more tax revenue.

But that’s wasn’t good enough for 40 Republican senators. Sen, Reid has vowed not to give up getting the long term unemployed the benefits they need.

How Will the ACA Impact the Work Force.

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office released it’s latest report on the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the economy. In the report it estimated that the work force would be reduced by 2.3 million workers by 2021 (pdf). Needless to say, the right wing media and Republicans seized on this as proof positive that Obamacare was a “job killer.”

Well not so fast, this is what the report said:

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. [..]

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=purchase-prednisone-from-online-drugstore 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.

In other words, this isn’t about jobs, it’s about whether or not workers will choose to work less in order to hold on to their eligibility for subsidized health care or Medicaid.

The Washington Post‘s fact checker, Glenn Kessler clarified:

First, this is not about jobs offered by employers. It’s about workers – and the choices they make.

The CBO’s estimate is mostly the result of an analysis of the impact of the law on the supply of labor. That means how many people choose to participate in the work force. In other words, the nonpartisan agency is examining whether the law increases or decreases incentives for people to work. [..]

Some might believe that the overall impact of the health law on employment is bad because it would be encouraging people – some 2.3 million – not to work. Indeed, the decline in the workforce participation rate has been of concern to economists, as the baby boom generation leaves the work force, and the health care law appears to exacerbate that trend.

Moreover, the argument could go, this would hurt the nation’s budget because 2.3 million fewer people will pay taxes on their earnings. That’s certainly an intellectually solid argument – though others might counter that universal health care is worth a reduction in overall employment – but it’s not at all the same as saying these jobs would be lost.

On the brighter side, before a House hearing on Wednesday the Director of the CBO Doug Elmendorf made this argument:

“The reason we don’t use the term ‘lost jobs’ is there is a critical difference between people who like to work and can’t find a job – or have a job that’s lost for reasons beyond their control – and people who choose not to work,” he explained. “If someone comes up to you and says, ‘The boss says I’m being laid off because we don’t have enough business to pay,’ any other person feels bad about that and we sympathize for them having lost their job. If someone says, ‘I decided to retire or stay home and spend more time with my family and spend more time doing my hobby,’ they don’t feel bad about it – they feel good about it. And we don’t sympathize. We say congratulations.”

Matt Iglesias at Mother Jones makes a very salient point about the impact on the job force:

Obamacare will reduce employment primarily because it’s a means-tested welfare program, and means-tested programs always reduce employment among the poor.

If, for example, earning $100 in additional income means a $25 reduction in Obamacare subsidies, you’re only getting $75 for your extra work. At the margins, some people will decide that’s not worth it, so they’ll forego working extra hours. That’s the substitution effect. In addition, low-income workers covered by Obamacare will have lower medical bills. This makes them less desperate for additional money, and might also cause them to forego working extra hours. That’s the income effect.

This is not something specific to Obamacare. It’s a shortcoming in all means-tested welfare programs. It’s basically Welfare 101, and in over half a century, no one has really figured out how to get around it. It’s something you just have to accept if you support safety net programs for the poor.

It’s worth noting, however, that health care is an exception to this rule. It doesn’t have to be means tested. http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=miglior-sito-per-acquistare-viagra-generico-25-mg-a-Bologna If we simply had a rational national health care system, available to everyone regardless of income, then none of this would be an issue. There might still be a small income effect, but it would probably be barely noticeable. Since everyone would be fully covered no matter what, there would no high effective marginal tax rate on the poor and no reason not to work more hours. Someday we’ll get there.

Optimistically, people leaving jobs or working less may be an opportunity for someone else to take their place. On the other side it could increase costs for employers who would then reduce the number of people they hire. This is an educated guessing game that we would not be engaged in if there were single payer or a public option that leveled the playing field.

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: A Non-Capitalist Response to the SOTU by UnaSpenser

Author’s Note: Hi everybody! Welcome to a participatory diary. That’s right, participatory. I’m offering this up as an exercise for everyone to try. The original text is  an explanation of the exercise and why I’m suggesting it, followed by a couple of examples. Then, it’s up to you to complete the diary. Add comments with your own examples and I’ll build out the diary with your content. Let’s see what the whole feels like when we make an attempt to respond to the State of the Union address together. When we make a conscious effort to dig into the principles we find buried in the speech and compare them to the principles we would like to live by, how aligned do they feel?

We’ve heard a lot of responses this week to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. What I find persistently frustrating with any US political speech the lack of unpacking the “capitalist”, “democratic” and “American Way” framework. Or rather, the lack of establishing the principles behind what is being said to see whether it’s fits with the principles and values that we hold.

I have not framed this diary as an “anti-capitalist” one. I am suggesting that regardless of how you feel about capitalism, you might find it useful to analyze what another capitalist is saying by setting aside the supposed common ground of capitalism and searching for what values are reflected in what is being said. Capitalism isn’t a value. It’s a type of economic system. When we identify as a capitalist, however, we probably attach a value system to that identity. What I’m wondering here is whether everyone attaches the same value system. Do you even know if the speaker has the same value system as you?

I am someone who gets frustrated when people try to make decisions or solve problems together without establishing their shared principles. “Capitalism” is not a principle. Principles are about values and beliefs. They are guides to how we behave, how we treat one another. You could claim to be a capitalist and believe that everyone has a right to food and shelter. You could claim to be a capitalist and believe that food and shelter are not rights, they must be “earned.” Those are mutually exclusive principles which two different people are claiming as part of the capitalist construct. If they simply greet each other as capitalists, it is possible for them to think they are aligned when they are not. This opens the door for misunderstanding, at best, and deception, manipulation and oppression, at worst.

Is that happening in this speech? The answer to that and the places where we feel it is happening may be different for each person. Hence, the participatory nature of this diary. What feels unaligned for me may feel aligned for you and vice versa. But, perhaps, we’ll find some common threads of values that we would like to see underpinning our governance and social life. Perhaps ….

Jobs Stink

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The number of jobs created in the month of December fell far short of the expected 200,000 and unemployment (U-3) fell to 6.7% the lowest it has been since November 2008. I think the word “disappointing” is an understatement:

Stock futures fell after the report was released.

The slowdown in hiring could cause the Federal Reserve to rethink its plans to slow its stimulus efforts. The Fed decided last month to cut back on its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion. It could delay further reductions until it sees evidence that December’s weak numbers were temporary.

Cold weather may have slowed hiring. Construction firms cut 16,000 jobs, the biggest drop in 20 months.

Still, December’s hiring is far below the average gain of 214,000 jobs a month in the preceding four months. But monthly gains averaged 182,000 last year, nearly matching the previous two years.

The proportion of comprare viagra generico 200 mg spedizione veloce a Venezia people working or looking for work fell to 62.8 percent, matching a nearly 36-year low.

As Huffington Post‘s Mark Gongloff writes “unemployment is falling for al the wrong reasons

One reason for the big drop in unemployment in December was that many, many people dropped out of the labor force — 347,000, to be exact. They stopped looking for work, which made them no longer “unemployed” in the eyes of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Labor Force Participation Rate photo original_zps097bbb5d.jpg

Click on image to enlarge.

Some of this is due to the fact that Baby Boomers retiring — but only some. Most of it has to do with the fact that the economy is still too weak to create enough jobs to draw people into the market. This is most clearly evident in the fact that younger people are leaving the labor force, too — or never even entering it — because they can’t find jobs.

Meanwhile, Charles Pierce reports that the Republicans keep finding new ways for “screwing the unemployed

Rob Portman of Ohio, who might have been the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee had the Romney people not been terrified that, if they put Romney and Portman on the same stage together, the earth would spin into a dark region of the galaxy made up only of the primeval tedium whence the cosmos came, and we’d all come out named Tagg or something. Now, though, he’s back in the Senate being “reasonable,” which means that Portman felt free to allow an extension of unemployment benefits to come to a vote in the Senate, so Portman then could devise a way to sabotage those benefits because that is reasonable and bipartisan and centrist, and nobody will yell at him on the radio too loudly back in Columbus or Elyria.

   It depends, he said, on whether lawmakers find a way to pay for the $6.4 billion cost. Wednesday, Portman said he has just such a way. He said that people drawing two other kinds of government aid — Social Security disability insurance payments (SSDI) and trade adjustment assistance (TAA) — can simultaneously get unemployment benefits, which he thinks is wrong.It depends, he said, on whether lawmakers find a way to pay for the $6.4 billion cost. Wednesday, Portman said he has just such a way. He said that people drawing two other kinds of government aid — Social Security disability insurance payments (SSDI) and trade adjustment assistance (TAA) — can simultaneously get unemployment benefits, which he thinks is wrong.

The “compromise” on offer is to help the unemployed while stoking the usua; anger at a vague claque of disabled freeloaders elsewhere. Where ever did Portman get the idea that the country’s economy is beset by double-dipping cripples?

The Labor Department reported Friday that in December, the average unemployed person had been out of work for more than 37 weeks.

Meanwhile, “Christiegate.”

The Rich Get Richer: Embrace the Suck

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Senate will pass the budget bill that was approved by the House last week. It passes the hurdle of cloture with a “bipartisan” vote of 67 – 33. The bill leaves a lump of coal in the stockings of 1.5 million Americans whose unemployment benefits expire the end of December and future career servicemen and women whose cost of living increases to their pensions will be cut. But the Pentagon will get their due and so will the 1%.

Ryan-Murray Budget Deal Passes Senate Hurdle

By DSWright, FDL News Desk

The truly horrendous Ryan-Murray budget has passed the Senate clearing the way to fully pass Congress this week. The deal restores war spending to astronomical levels while cutting federal pensions and raising airline fees. In other words, cash for defense contractors and groin kicks for the middle class. [..]

Why any Democrat would vote for such an awful reactionary budget is beyond comprehension. According to Nancy Pelosi Democrats had to “embrace the suck.” Otherwise things might not suck? [..]

We truly have the best government money can buy. The naked corruption on display in dumping oceans of cash into the Pentagon patronage den while attacking worker pensions and leaving the unemployed to rot is proof positive that we live in a deranged oligarchy where money is everything and the people are nothing.

“Makes Absolutely No Sense”: David Cay Johnston on Budget Deal That Helps Billionaires, Not the Poor

A bipartisan budget deal to avert another government shutdown comes before the Senate this week. The vast majority of House members from both parties approved the two-year budget agreement last week in a 332-to-94 vote. It is being hailed as a breakthrough compromise for Democrats and Republicans. The bill eases across-the-board spending cuts, replacing them with new airline fees and cuts to federal pensions. In a concession by Democrats, it does not extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people, which are set to expire this month. To discuss the deal, we are joined by David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize while at The New York Times. He is currently a columnist for Tax Analysts and Al Jazeera, as well as a contributing editor at Newsweek.



Full transcript can be read here

Once again the vast majority are Scrooged.

The 2 Year Budget Deal In 90 Seconds

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A two year budget deal was reached yesterday with congressional leaders announcing the deal that would to replace $63 billion in sequester cuts, a very small part of the $180 billion in cuts that will occur over the next two years. The deal will restore defense cuts by funding from a tax on airline travel and cuts to federal pensions. The budget does not include extension of unemployment funds to the millions of workers who are about to lose their benefits the end of December. There will be no changes to Medicare or Social Security but none of the tax loop holes were closed.

As Ezra Klein puts it:

Whether this deal can be a model for future deals is an open question. The core principle of this deal is that Democrats didn’t have to touch entitlements and Republicans didn’t have to touch taxes. But a lot of the policies that made that possible got used up in this deal. It’s not clear that another deal like this would work in 2016.

DSWright at FDL News Desk notes:

The Republicans got everything they wanted. They get more cuts while none of their friends in the defense industry get hurt – actually they even got to do some damage to the federal pension system. All that while avoiding another shutdown that killed their poll numbers before the 2014 elections. Christmas came early for the GOP.

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, sold out its own base to help Republicans maintain power. Why? Who knows? The only thing that is clear is this is an awful deal for majority of Americans.

Once again, the majority of Americans get screwed by their elected representatives.  

Striking for Raising the Minimum Wage

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

“We Can’t Survive on $7.25”: Fast-Food Workers Kick Off National Day of Action for Higher Pay



Full transcript can be read here

Fast-food workers are walking off the job in about 100 cities today in what organizers call their largest action to date. Today’s strikes and protests continue a campaign that began last year to call for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Early this morning, Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Hany Massoud headed to Times Square in New York City where a group of McDonald’s workers were joined by a crowd of hundreds of supporters to kick off their strike. We hear voices from the protest and speak to Camille Rivera of United NY, part of the newly formed New Day New York Coalition, which has organized this week of action to fight income inequality and build economic fairness.

US fast-food workers strike over low wages in nationwide protests

By Adam Gabatt, The Guardian

enter site Thousands due to strike across 100 cities through the day in a signal of the growing clamour for action on income equality

Thousands of fast food and retail workers went on strike across the US on Thursday in a signal of the growing clamour for action on income equality.

In Chicago, hundreds of protesters gathered outside a McDonalds at 6.15am. As a large “Christmas Grinch” ambled about in freezing temperatures, demonstrators chanted for the minimum wage to be increased to $15 per hour.

It was the first of nine strikes in Chicago, with employees at McDonalds, Wendy’s, Walgreens, Macy’s and Sears also due to walk off shift. Low wage workers were due to strike across 100 cities through the day, including Boston, Detroit, New York City, Oakland, Los Angeles and St Louis.

“Poverty Wages in the Land of Plenty”

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

The holiday season is upon us. Sadly, the big retailers are Scrooges when it comes to paying their staffs. Undergirding the sale prices is an army of workers earning the minimum wage or a fraction above it, living check to check on their meager pay and benefits. The dark secret that the retail giants like Wal-Mart don’t want you to know is that many of these workers subsist below the poverty line, and rely on programs like food stamps and Medicaid just to get by.  This holiday season, though, low-wage workers from Wal-Mart to fast-food restaurants are standing up and fighting back.

“Wal-Mart was put in an uncomfortable spotlight on what should be the happiest day of the year for the retailer,” Josh Eidelson told me, reporting on the coordinated Black Friday protests. “These were the largest protests we’ve seen against Wal-Mart … you had 1,500 stores involved; you had over a hundred people arrested.” Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer, with 2.2 million employees, 1.3 million of whom are in the U.S. It reported close to $120 billion in gross profit for 2012. Just six members of the Walton family, whose patriarch, Sam Walton, founded the retail giant, have amassed an estimated combined fortune of between $115 billion-$144 billion. These six individuals have more wealth than the combined financial assets of the poorest 40 percent of the U.S. population.

Raising the Minimum Wage Growing Momentum

Cross posted from the Stars Hollow Gazette

The push for an increase in the minimum wage has grown with the recent passing of an increase in New Jersey from $7.25 to 8.25 with annual increases based in inflation. The amendment to the state’s constitution passed with 61% of the vote over newly reelected Governor Chris Christie’s objection. A Gallup poll conducted Nov. 5-6 shows that an even greater percentage of Americans would vote for an even higher minimum wage. According to a White House official, the Obama administration supports the bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour in increments of 95 cents.

The same Gallup poll that showed 76% of Americans support for the increase, also showed support across party lines with 58% of self-identified Republicans supporting it. So what’s the problem? The issue is congress’ feral children, the Tea Party coalition in both houses who have vowed to block it and would completely abolish the minimum wage if they had their way. These are the same extremists who would repeal child labor laws, as well.

Despite the objections of the radical minority, the wave for an increase of the minimum wage is swelling as RJ Eskow observes:

There’s something happening here/what it is ain’t exactly clear …”

When Steve Stills wrote the dystopian anthem “For What It’s Worth” in 1966, it resonated with listeners who understood that great if half-hidden transformations were underway. There’s been a turn toward the dystopian in recent economic and social trends as well: Wall Street greed and criminality. The growing power of wealth over the political process. The rise of the Tea Party. The collapsing middle class. Growing inequalities of wealth. Lost social mobility.

But there were encouraging signs in 1966, as well as troubling ones, and that’s equally true today. Take the movement for a minimum wage. Voters in the state of New Jersey and the city of Tacoma, Washington voted to increase the minimum wage in last week’s election. These victories follow a series of polls which confirm that the general public holds strongly progressive views on issues which range from taxation to Medicare and Social Security.

Something is happening here.

Noam Scheiber, senior editor for The New Republic, spoke with Rachel Maddow about why economic populism is a wise strategy for Democrats.

Jobs & Economy Still Not Good Enough

Cross posted From The Stars Hollow Gazette

Don’t let the enthusiasm of the stock market or some financial reports that the job market and unemployment are improving or that the economy is growing faster. It’s not. None of today’s economics news is good. As a matter of facr, it’s rather depressing.

Better Than Expected Second Quarter Growth? Is the Post Kidding

by Dean Baker, Center for Economic Policy and Research

I somehow missed this Post article touting the 1.7 percent growth rate reported for the second quarter as better than expected. First it is incredible that the piece would leave readers with the impression that this strong growth, [..]

The economy’s rate of potential growth is generally estimated as being between 2.2-2.5 percent. This means that rather than making up some of the 6 percentage point gap between potential output and actual output, the gap increased in the second quarter. [..]

The GDP data released on Wednesday also included revisions to prior quarters’ data. The revision to the prior three quarters’ growth rate (Table 1A) were sharply downward lowering growth over this period by 1.3 percentage points or an average of 0.4 percent per quarter. With the revised data, growth over the last year has been just 1.4 percent. This is supposed to be a justification for withdrawing stimulus?

July Jobs Report Masks Real Problems In U.S. Labor Market

by Mark Gongloff, The Huffington Post

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the official U.S. unemployment rate could mask the real problems in the labor market. He got proof of that in July’s jobs report.

The unemployment rate dipped to 7.4 percent in July, the lowest rate since December 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, down from 7.6 percent in June.

acquistare viagra generico 25 mg a Milano But payroll growth was anemic, wages dropped and more discouraged workers headed for the sidelines, continuing the slowest job-market recovery since World War II. [..]

Employers added just 162,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, down from 188,000 in June, which was revised lower from an initial reading of 195,000. Together, revisions to May and June figures subtracted 26,000 jobs from payrolls, another sign of weakness. [..]

The unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell in part because 37,000 workers dropped out of the labor force, meaning they gave up looking for work. The labor-force participation rate, which measures the percentage of buy generic proscar online uk pharmacies working-age Americans who are working or looking for work, fell to 63.4 percent in July, near a 35-year low.

The civilian employment-population ratio, which measures how many prednisone best buy working-age Americans actually have jobs, was flat at 58.7 percent, near the lowest in 30 years and down from more than 63 percent before the recession. [..]

The majority of the jobs that have been created during the recovery have been low-paying jobs, worsening income inequality and keeping the economy sluggish.

The job market is a long way from recovery and with the slow rate of job creation there could be a deficit of 4.6 million jobs in May 2016. Not only that but the quality of the jobs that have been created are not conducive to economic stimulus:

More than half of the jobs added last month were either in retail trade or “food services and drinking places.” People employed in those sectors tend to have much shorter work weeks and much lower hourly wages than everyone else.

Even worse, a recent paper (pdf) by Canadian researchers suggests that many of the people taking these jobs are relatively over-educated. The authors argue that, since 2000, globalization and technological advancement have reduced the demand for “high-skilled” workers. Desperate for employment, these workers ended up pushing the “lower-skilled” out of the job market entirely. This may help explain why the share of people aged 25 to 54 counted as being in the labor force has plunged by 3.5 percentage points since 2000.

The quality of jobs being created is probably connected to the depressing performance of incomes and the decline in the work week. Hourly pay has grown by just 1.9 percent over the past 12 months — basically unchanged since the end of 2009. The data from the BEA tell a similar story. Real after-tax incomes fell in June. Americans still have less purchasing power than they did in November 2012. Our standard of living has barely improved over the past year.

None of this is good news. The other question is what will the Federal Reserve do? Chairmen Benjamin Bernanke has promised to keep its target interest rate near zero at least until unemployment is below 6.5 percent.

The Fed’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said in June that the Fed wanted to end its current round of bond buying around the time the rate hits 7 percent, which he predicted would happen by the middle of next year. That prediction is looking conservative, suggesting the Fed could start tapering when its policy-making committee meets in September.

But Fed officials have cautioned that they want unemployment to fall because people are finding jobs, not because they’re leaving the labor force. And by broader measures, the job market remains weak. Growth is sluggish – just a 1.4 percent annualized pace in the first half of the year – and the share of American adults with jobs has actually fallen since the recession ended.

So the decision is unlikely to be clear-cut, particularly because Fed officials are divided about the benefits and the costs of the bond-buying campaign.

And the decision is not going to be made this week. Officials will see six more weeks of economic data, including one more jobs report.

I’m not all that well versed in economics but it seems fairly clear that there needs to be a huge influx of investment into the economy. Since it doesn’t appear to be coming from the private sector, which is more concerned about profits than quality job creation, then it need to start coming from the government. The likelihood of that happening any time soon is still rather grim.

The American Dream Becomes the American Fantasy

Cross psosted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In a recent survey from the Associated Press, it was revealed the 80% of Americans will face near poverty and unemployment at some point in their lives.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend. [..]

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.

Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

The host of MSNBC’s Now, Alex Wagner discussed the growing jobs, the middle class and bridging the gap in income inequality with Maya Wiley, Founder and President, Center for Social Inclusion; Jacob Weisberg, Chairman, Slate; and Jennifer Senior, Contributing Editor, NY Magazine.

At FDL News Desk, DSWright noted President Barack Obama’s admission in a New York Times interview that “he was worried that years of widening income inequality and the lingering effects of the financial crisis had frayed the country’s social fabric and undermined Americans’ belief in opportunity.” He sums up that the president is finally facing the facts:

Hope has its limits, eventually people want the eloquence of rhetoric to be matched by the eloquence of action.

But there is little incentive to help the lower classes of American society. The Bush and Obama Administrations bent over backwards to bail out the rich during the financial crisis the rich caused and they’ve done a heck of a job. According to the Federal Reserve, while most Americans saw their wealth go down by 40% during the Wall Street crash and resulting Great Recession, the rich actually got richer.

So now the 99% are getting wise to the fact that the game has been rigged against them and that continuing on this course will only lead to poverty and stagnation – a realization that is scaring elites. People may be done hoping for change, they finally be understanding that power concedes nothing without demand.

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