Gallup CEO Jim Clifton has discovered a shocking secret about unemployment: its definition.
Those Chicago guys didn’t even bother to hide this one in plain sight. It’s just sitting there in plain sight, right on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ homepage: only people who don’t have a job but are actively looking for one count as unemployed. That means someone who wants work but has given up looking for it because things seem so hopeless isn’t “unemployed.” Neither is someone who works part-time but can’t find the full-time job that they want. Or someone who does whatever odd jobs they can find. Add it all up, and our 5.6 percent unemployment rate is a “Big Lie,” according to Clifton…
If the unemployment rate is so flawed how come we pay so much attention to it? Well, because it’s the worst stat about labor market slack except for all the others. The problem is figuring out which people who don’t have jobs are really jobless.
Take discouraged workers. The unemployment understates how bad things are by ignoring them, but we wouldn’t want to count everyone who’s not working and not looking for a job as unemployed, would we? If we did, then we’d be saying that college students and stay-at-home parents and even retirees are just as unemployed as someone who’s sending out resumés everyday.
But even that’s not clear cut since some people go to school because they can’t find a job, and some people stay at home since child care would cost more than they’d make, and some people are forced into retirement. That’s why we look, for example, at the so-called prime-age participation rate—the percent of people between 25 and 54 years old who have or are looking for a job—to figure out far away we are from a real recovery. And by that measure, we still have a ways to go…
But even that’s imperfect because it doesn’t tell us why people aren’t looking for work. It could be that the crisis convinced more people to go to college, regardless of whether they could find a job now. That’d be good.
Or it could be that wages have been flat for so long and childcare’s gotten so expensive that it’s not worth it for people to work now or anytime soon. That’d be bad.
Or it could be both. But if either is true, it’d mean that the unemployment rate is more accurate than you might think. In other words, since we can’t read people’s minds, the best way we can tell what they want is to look at what they’ve done. That’s not entirely right, but it’s the least wrong.
So the unemployment rate’s not a big lie. But calling it one is.
All this crap got started back in the Nixon era. Yes, essential labor statistics were screwed with to make unemployment look like less of a problem. It’s called Republican arithmetic.
But, most of the whines since are just that. Beancounteers crying in their beer over a small fractional adjustment for whatever reason. Which has nothing to do with either cyclical or, especially, structural unemployment.
So, just tell your favorite whiner to put a cork in it and spend their time trying to find solutions instead of putting all their energy into a lament about people they ignore 99% of the rest of their lives.
Thanks to my favorite Recovering Republican
Ain’t enough water here to make tea — much less put out a fire
Efforts to address the upcoming wildfire season are already under way in Congress and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
On Jan. 8, Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., reintroduced H.R. 167, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act. The bill aims to fund activities to suppress large fires so that the Forest Service and BLM do not have to draw money from fire-prevention programs. A spokesman for the office of Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said Crapo and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., plan to reintroduce their identical bill in the Senate early next month.
Last year, the bills were co-sponsored by nearly 150 members of Congress and supported by a broad coalition of more than 300 organizations, but did not make it out of committee to be voted on by the full House or Senate…
The bill would budget for catastrophic wildfires in the same way that responses to other natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes are funded. Routine wildland firefighting costs, which make up about 70 percent of the cost of wildfire suppression, would be funded through the normal budgeting and appropriations process. Very large fires, which represent about 1 percent of wildland fires but make up 30 percent of costs, would be funded under existing disaster programs.
The question that remains for Congressional Republicans is will they join Democrats to protect the lives and homes of Americans in regions threatened by wildfire? Comparing the threat to hurricanes and earthquakes means nothing to the idjit votes in Congress. Tea Party and other rightwing nutballs have already demonstrated their willingness to screw over Americans who suffer from natural disasters.
They have refused to support funds either for preparedness or post-disaster remedies. The usual proposal from the Congressional conservative clown show is that funds be taken away from food stamps, unemployment insurance, programs to implement healthcare, education and the general welfare of anyone below the rank of corporate official in our national hierarchy of importance – in order to fund aid to ordinary citizens whose lives have been uprooted by disaster.
Think this will change with Republicans in charge of legislation?
I understand. You thought the NYPD worked for the people of New York.
One of the few times John McCain displays integrity is about torture. With good reason, of course. Wish he could find the same experience somewhere in his gold-plated heart to find solidarity with people who work for a living.
As for his criminal peers in the CIA, retired pricks like Bush and Cheney – these are the kind of evil thugs who would have willinglky sold out the American Revolution for a guaranteed spot in the Colonial government.
Especially if the Brits had discovered oil that early.
CIA director John Brennan gave a press conference on Wednesday afternoon defending the agency from the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration. During the speech, Sen. Dianne Feinstein — the leading force behind the report — fact-checked Brennan’s assertions. And it was devastating.
For example, when Brennan said it was “unknowable” whether torture was necessary to produce useful intelligence, Feinstein pointed out that the CIA’s own records show that the best intel was obtained without torture:
When Brennan said the CIA didn’t mislead Congress, Feinstein cited CIA sources saying otherwise:
When Brennan said torture provided “useful intelligence,” Feinstein pointed out that — even if that was true — this wasn’t nearly enough to justify its use in legal terms:
Brennan said that tortured detainees provided “useful intelligence” in the hunt for bin Laden. Feinstein points out, correctly, that torture played no role in finding the al-Qaeda chief:
Feinstein also went off on the CIA’s use of torture more generally, dismantling the agency’s legal and practical case for the program as well as its attacks on the report’s credibility:
The whole feed is pretty devastating.
Considering that Feinstein in general terms is an apologist for our network of spies, foreign and domestic – her action in bringing the report forward before Republicans could stonewall it next month is admirable.
On November 4, several states radically altered their approaches to a drug once known for Reefer Madness. In Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, voters approved marijuana legalization measures. But in Florida, a medical marijuana amendment fell short of the 60 percent approval it needed to pass under state law. Here’s a breakdown of each state’s initiative, the latest results, and how the opposing campaigns pushed their messages to voters…
Yes, I live in a major stoner state
Chickenshit politicians were afraid to advocate legalization; so, grassroots campaigns got referendums on the ballot in Bernalillo County and Santa Fe County. They cover the majority of the state’s population – and the city of Santa Fe has already decriminalized weed. But the county commissions wanted a vote to cover their buns before passing new regulations.
Bernalillo County voted 60/40 and Santa Fe County voted 73/27 to decriminalize pot possession. Hopefully, this will inject a bit of spinal stiffness into our elected officials and appropriate regulations will be passed. The next step involves the state legislature and, yes, I expect nothing to be accomplished. But – there may be a legalization measure on the ballot in 2016 similar to those in modern states.
You can RTFA if you think you might see something new from the moral opposition.
Sweden has officially recognised the state of Palestine, Stockholm’s foreign minister has said, less than a month after the government announced its intention to make the unprecedented move.
The Palestinians cheered Thursday’s move, while Israel recalled its ambassador to Sweden for consultations…
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement that the recognition was “an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination”.
“We hope that this will show the way for others,” she said in remarks published in the Dagens Nyheter daily.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed the “brave and historic” move to officially recognise the state of Palestine, his spokesman told the AFP news agency.
Sweden is the first EU member state in Western Europe to recognise the Palestinian state.
Seven EU members in eastern European and the Mediterranean have already recognised a Palestinian state – Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Romania.
Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so…
The United States expressed dismay – from their usual position next Israel in bed. Nothing new. They only know one position.
Our government’s willingness to ignore historic professions of support for national liberation, anti-colonialism, opposition to oil-based imperialism reaches new depths of hypocrisy.