Saturday, April 9, 2011

YES! THEY LIE! (The Truth About That Fraudulent Job-Creation Number - 216K? HA!) The New American Dream

The February jobs report would have been mediocre if the economy were already at normal rates of unemployment. In the context of a badly depressed economy, it is pathetic. We should be seeing jobs growth at two or three times this rate. But the real bad news is that it is more likely to get worse than better. Yet again, the business press is missing the story.
I don't think it's true in any sense to say "the business press is missing the story." And I don't believe for a nanosecond that anyone in business is missing the story. They are obfuscating the real story with fake numbers made up back in the 80's under Raygun's economic wizards to obscure the real news about how no economic growth ever occurred in the destructive wake after the original tax cuts given mainly to the rich (and sold whenever necessary as being absolutely required "for job creation"). We know now that they sit on our money (and always have - in their banks making interest (from other public giveaways) for themselves personally until they dole it out to buy and sell other businesses, putting more people out of work, causing death and destruction in the business world until a war occurs where they will then make even more), and DO NOT CREATE JOBS IN THE USA WITH IT. This was the plan all along, which was accomplished compliments of the bought-and-paid-for "librul" media (which has never existed outside of the fevered imagination of asswipes who made it up for marketing purposes).

And the reason the job rate has gone down .1%? (If that's even close to a meaningful number.) People have fallen off the rolls. THEY HAVE NOT FOUND JOBS!

End of story.

Noam Chomsky, he of the non-reported-on but obviously well-worth-your-time deep philosophical and economic wisdom fount, says that there's an ultimate price to pay for letting clowns run the U.S. media - and mad clowns they will be as the situation gets worse. Exactly like those he witnessed personally in the media preparation for the build-up to war frenzy (conspiracy theories and the designation of scapegoats) in pre-World War 2 Germany. (Emphasis marks and some editing inserted - Ed.)

The Real Story Behind Job Creation

March's job numbers were greeted rapturously by the business press. Scratch the surface of the data and things are not so rosy.

Dean Baker

Tuesday 5 April 2011

(Unemployment in March 2011 appears to be down from its peak the previous year of 9.7% – but the percentage of Americans actually in work has fallen in the same period.)

When the labour department announced that the US economy had created 216,000 jobs in March, it set off a round of celebrations throughout Washington policy circles. The word in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major news outlets was that the economy was back on course; we were on the right path.

Those who know arithmetic were a bit more sceptical. If the economy sustained March's rate of job growth, it will be more than seven years before we get back to normal rates of unemployment.

Furthermore, some of this growth likely reflected a bounceback from weaker growth the prior two months. The average rate of job growth over the last three months has been just 160,000. At that pace, we won't get back to normal rates of unemployment until after 2022. That's a long time to make ordinary workers suffer because the folks who run the economy are not very good at their job.

In addition to the job growth numbers, the March data also showed that the unemployment rate slipped down by another 0.1 percentage point. It now stands at 8.8%, almost a full percentage point below its year ago level of 9.7%. This, too, was treated as cause for celebration. While that may sound like progress, a more careful look at the data makes this number less impressive. The percentage of the population that is employed has actually fallen by 0.1 percentage point over the last year.

In order to be counted as unemployed, you have to say that you are looking for work. The unemployment rate did not fall because the unemployed had found jobs; rather, the unemployment rate fell because people have given up looking for work.

Only in Washington would this be hailed as good news. Remarkably, as the mixed basket of economic news in the March employment report was being celebrated, a major piece of unambiguously bad news was almost completely ignored.

The commerce department released data on construction spending for February (pdf). A decline of 1.4 % in spending in February, coupled with sharp downward revisions to the data for the prior two months, left nominal spending in February 6.2% below its November level. The slump in construction is virtually certain to be a major drag on growth in the first quarter. The big culprit this time is the non-residential sector – as a result of the bursting of the bubble in this sector, coupled with a fading out of stimulus spending on government projects.

Other recent economic news also suggests that the economy's momentum is more likely to slow than accelerate in the months ahead. Nominal wage growth has been virtually flat the last two months. With food and gas prices rising sharply, this means that real wages are falling, leaving workers with less money to spend.

House prices are again falling rapidly, having declined at the rate of 1.0% a month for the last three months. If this pace of decline continues, by the end of the year, homeowners will have lost more than $2tn in equity compared with peak hit in the summer of 2010. This loss of housing wealth implies a reduction in annual consumption of $120bn.

There was also a big jump in the trade deficit reported for January. While the celebrants of recent trade pacts were excited by the growth in exports, people who know economics recognise that the larger increase in imports will be another drag on economic growth. With most of the country's major trading partners experiencing weak growth, there is little prospect for an improvement in the trade deficit any time soon. And, investment in equipment and software also appears to be weakening.

New orders for capital goods (excluding volatile aircraft orders) in February were down 6.8% from the levels reported in December. In addition, the government cutbacks, threatened at the federal level and going into place at the state and local level, will be a further source of drag on the economy. In short, there is little basis for last Friday's celebrations about the economy. The February jobs report would have been mediocre if the economy were already at normal rates of unemployment. In the context of a badly depressed economy, it is pathetic. We should be seeing jobs growth at two or three times this rate. But the real bad news is that it is more likely to get worse than better. Yet again, the business press is missing the story.

Despicable Lies, Delusional Economic Recovery, Hyped Unemployment Numbers

Joel S. Hirschhorn

The US government lies.

Sure looks like most Americans gobble up false and misleading information that is nothing less than political propaganda.

Take the highly hyped unemployment number for March, 2011 of 8.8 percent that moved like a tornado through the media and was praised by Democrat politicians and the White House. As if that number is accurate, as if it fairly describes unemployment. It does not.

What is called by experts, such as Leo Hindery, as the real unemployment number was actually 17.7 percent, which is remarkably higher. To appreciate that much higher number is to throw a large bucket of cold water on all the political spin on the economic recovery.

The official government unemployment figure has been carefully crafted to intentionally underestimate actual unemployment. The way the data are collected through a survey of homes intentionally ignores a number of unemployed and underemployed Americans. The latter includes those who have stopped looking for a job because it has become crystal clear to them that there are no jobs for them, as well as those working part-time when what they really want is a good full time job.

Similarly, Gallup polling which takes into account these other factors found the total number for March up slightly to 20.3 percent of the US workforce.

As if this sham game is not bad enough, what the government also does not reveal with hard information is that most new jobs being created now are low wage ones often without any good benefits.

Another reason to see how delusional the economic recovery is.

To get back to a low unemployment level characteristic of a good economy could take up to ten years. The federal lie includes 13.5 million unemployed workers but the real number is more like 28.2 million. That means a lot more hardship and suffering in the fictional recovery than the government wants the public to know about.

The number of real unemployed workers has increased by 11.5 million since the start of the Great Recession, and just since December 2008 by 3.7 million. The economy must add 13 million private sector jobs over the next three years-360,000 each month-to bring unemployment down to 6 percent.

There is no possible or imaginable way for this to happen. So real unemployment will remain terrible. All this plus the fact that real wages have stagnated for many years means that the middle class in the US is in dire shape.

The most important implication of this is that there is no good reason to think that the deeply depressed housing market stands any chance of recovery for many years. There are not enough people with enough money and financial security to buy even low priced houses. There simply are too many empty houses and even more coming from millions more foreclosures.

Without a healthy housing market it is inconceivable that a true economic recovery and meaningful growth are possible. In other words, contrary to all the blabber from politicians and pundits, the current recovery is largely delusional as far as the vast majority of Americans are concerned.

Of course, the rich Upper Class is doing just fine. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The richest 20 percent of Americans own 84 percent of all wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively hold just 12.8 percent.

As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion. Odds are that you, dear reader, are in the bottom 80 percent, which means you should have the good sense to see how delusional the current economic recovery is and that you should have little hope for doing well in the future.

Remember also that state and local governments facing budget shortfalls will surely layoff many more people and those congressional attempts to address the horrendous national debt and deficit will surely mean cuts in many government programs that many in the bottom 80 percent depend on.

Companies will continue to make huge profits, pay little in taxes and continue to manipulate government policies through lobbying and campaign contributions so that they keep getting away with murder of the middle class. Corporate bigwigs and Wall Street fat cats will continue to grab incredible amounts of money.

And hardly any of the corporate crooks that have screwed most of us will get prosecuted or jailed, as they should. Nor will there be any true, badly needed reforms of the financial sector. Banks will continue to financially rape Americans. Lies will keep coming from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress as well as President Obama. Do you want to believe them? Or can you accept the painful truth about our bleak national condition and stop voting for lying politicians that keep the corporate dictatorship in power?

Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn here. Global Research Articles by Joel S. Hirschhorn

William Rivers Pitt believes there is a New American Dream:

If you are wealthy, you are living in the Golden Age of your American Dream, and it's a damned fine time to be alive. The two major political parties are working hammer and tong to bless you and keep you. The laws are being re-written - often by fiat, and in defiance of court orders - to strengthen the walls separating you and your wealth from the motley masses. Your stock portfolio, mostly made by and for oil and war, continues to swell. Your banks and Wall Street shops destroyed the economy for everyone except you, and not only did they get away with it, they were handed a vast dollop of taxpayer cash as a bonus prize.

The little people probably crack you up when you bother to think about them. Their version of the American Dream is a ragged blanket too short to cover them, but they still buy into it, and that's the secret of your strength in the end.

So many of them walk into the voting booths and solemnly vote against their own best interests, and for yours, because the American Dream makes them think they, too, will be rich someday. They won't - you've made sure of that - but so long as they keep believing it, your money will continue to roll in.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision swept away the last tattered shreds of the façade of fairness in politics and electioneering, and now you own the whole store. You can use your vast financial resources to lie on a national level now, lie with your bare face hanging out, because it works.

You're not the bad guy in America. Teachers, cops, firefighters, union members and public-sector employees are the bad guys, the reason for all our economic woes. NPR and Planned Parenthood are the bad guys. You did that, and when governors like Scott Walker rampage through worker's rights on your dime, you chuckle into your sleeve and enjoy your interest rate.

We're firing teachers and missiles simultaneously, to poach a line from Jon Stewart, and the inherent disconnect fails to sink in among those serving as dray horses for your greed and ambition. They're in the traces, bellowing about what you want them to focus on thanks to your total control of the "mainstream" news media, and they plow your fields with the power of their incoherent, misdirected rage.

They pay their taxes. Isn't that a hoot? They pay their taxes dutifully and annually, and that money gets shunted right to you and your friends, thanks to the politicians who love you and the laws that favor you, not to mention the wars that sustain you.

They pay their taxes when they should just pay you, right? Talk about getting rid of government waste. They should just pay you directly and cut out the middle man, because it all goes to the same place in the end. You.

You are General Electric, and you paid no taxes in 2010. You made $14.2 billion in worldwide profits, $5.1 billion of which was made in America, and your tax burden amounted to a big fat zero. In fact, you claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, thanks to your anti-tax lobbying efforts in Washington and your use of offshore tax havens that protect and defend your profit margin.

You are ExxonMobil, and you paid no taxes in 2009. In fact, you got a $156 million return. You are Bank of America, and despite receiving a massive chunk of the taxpayer-funded bailout, despite recording a profit of $4.4 billion, you paid no taxes and received a $1.9 billion rebate.

You are Chevron, and you made $10 billion in 2009. You paid no taxes, and got a $19 million refund. You are Citigroup, and you paid no taxes despite earning more than $4 billion, and despite getting a sizeable chunk of the taxpayer-funded bailout.

Your favorite part of it all? The part that makes you laugh out loud? It's when you hear the politicians you own talk about "shared sacrifices" and "fiscal responsibility." Man, that's a hoot. You watch them rave and froth on Capitol Hill about shutting down the government because the country doesn't have enough money to fund "entitlement programs" the little people have been paying into for decades. The very term - "entitlement" - cracks you up; how is it an entitlement if people paid for it?

Nobody asks that question, of course. Nobody asks about cutting the bloated defense budget. Nobody asks where the billions diverted to Iraq and Afghanistan actually went, or where the money for Libya is going. For damned sure, nobody demands that you pony up and pay your fair share. You made sure of that, and the show goes on.

The United States of America has undergone a powerful transformation over the course of a single generation, and you are right up there in the catbird seat, watching it all unfold. For you, the New American Dream is "I got mine, kiss my ass, work and die (if you can find work, sucker), and pay me."

For everyone else, the New American Dream is about simple survival, about running as fast as they can while going inexorably backwards. Maybe you can even see the cancer eating away at the country that has treated you so royally, but you don't really care. You are safe and comfortable behind your gilded walls. For now, anyway.

You may notice how I've said exactly same thing since the Tea Party came into being (and got decidedly told off for saying that they had a valid grievance - just as we all do). There are a good many reasons why so many ignorant and/or miseducated people have jumped on this bus, but they're not the reasons that its founders had for promoting it. Bet on it. (Buy its lottery number as you'll get just as much payoff doing that as any other course of action.)



Tom Harper said...

They can lie with statistics to tell us whatever they want us to think at this moment. Right now they probably want us to think jobs are being created because the Republicans captured the House and are "putting America back on track."

If they want to make Obama look bad, they'll come up with different unemployment statistics to show us how socialism is ruining America.

Snave said...

Great posting. I believe Chomsky is a great thinker, and if more people listened to him we would have fewer problems with the idiots in our country. More people ought to listen to George Lakoff too, for that matter!!

Suzan said...

Thanks, Snave,

I've been a Noam woman for decades and I also read George Lakoff whenever I have the opportunity.

I really appreciate your taking the time to comment. Welcome to our poor world.


I think they are lying for several purposes: 1) to reduce embarrassing numbers under the "new" leadership so they can start off the 2012 campaign by saying that they reduced unemployment when they only increased it among those who are now uncounted, and 2) to stop paying those unemployment benefits immediately to states that pay according to those numberss.

As a result of these fake numbers NC has just lost the unemployment payments that its long-term unemployed were still getting in the extended benefits group.

The problems arising from this course of action are unknown. What is going to happen when more thousands and thousands (I have no idea exactly how many are affected yet by this decision that just took place) of unemployed are added to the safety net numbers who need immediate assistance?

And NC has been overwhelmed with calls for aid from its non-unionized populace for years already.

There is a reason they had Halliburton build those prisons and hire and "train" new thugs as enforcement officers.

Stay tuned.