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Friday, May 4, 2012

A Look at the Numbers

You know how the media is trying their darndest to convince the public that the economy is roaring back? Too many people are out of work or know people out of work, are out of homes or know people out of homes, have less pay for more work, and a higher cost of living. We're not buying it. Here are the numbers the press will not tell you, invested as they are in protecting the left.


Unemployment: Just because the labor force has shrunk, meaning more people have stopped looking for work, doesn't mean that more people don't want jobs. According to The Economic Collapse Blog, there are 100 million working-age Americans without jobs! That's about half the working-age population! I was skeptical on how he reaches 100 million people until he presented the math, which is basically to add the 12 million that Obama counts as looking for work to the 88 million who have stopped looking or don't want a job. You can look at his charts on his site, or at Zero Hedge. Then he quotes CNN:
About six million people claim they want a job, even though they haven't looked for one in the last four weeks. If they were to all start applying for work again, the unemployment rate would suddenly shoot up above 11%.

After that, he says:
If you want a much more accurate picture of what is really happening to the employment situation in America, the key is to look at the employment to population ratio. As I have written about previously, the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is not increasing.
Let's take a look at the employment to population ratio for the last six years for the month of March....
March 2007: 63.3%
March 2008: 62.7%
March 2009: 59.9%
March 2010: 58.5%
March 2011: 58.5%
March 2012: 58.5%
The percentage of the working age population that had jobs fell rapidly during the recession and it has stayed very low since then.
When Barack Obama tells you that "America is going back to work" he is lying to you.
(...)
Back in 2007, approximately 10 percent of all unemployed Americans had been out of work for one year or longer.
Today, that figure is above 30 percent.
*Rush Limbaugh talked about this subject extensively today.

*FoxNews put up on 5/7/2012: Lies, Damned Lies and Government Jobs Data
What’s important is the broader trend. Since President Obama took office, America has lost a net 740,000 jobs. But during the first 30 months of President Ronald Reagan’s economic recovery, which started in December 1982, total U.S. employment increased by 8.9 million jobs.

Right to Work: Here are some data from states with Right to Work laws. I've been eager to see this, as you might imagine.
The president says right-to-work laws are an attempt to "take collective bargaining rights away." No, they aren't. Unions can still bargain collectively in right-to-work states. What they can't do is make union membership a condition of employment.

The president also said he likes to call right-to-work "right-to-work-for-less laws." Good one. But studies about wages in right-to-work versus non-right-to-work states differ; some say they're higher, others say they're lower. And others note that both economic output and wages have risen faster in right-to-work states.

What's more, last year PolitiFact looked into Fox host Bill O'Reilly's claim that unemployment is lower in right-to-work states. The fact-checkers noted that while the difference is not great, and while one could argue about causation, the claim was "mostly true." They went on to note that "none of the economists we spoke to thought the gap was especially surprising, either now or historically."
My favorite part is the partisan Politifact grudgingly admitting that O'Reilly is right.


Taxes: Over at Breitbart is an article discussing why Romney ought to be using his tax rate as a teaching moment.
The hapless Republicans haven’t seemed to catch on that Americans have suffered long enough now to need (and I would wager want) a financial education. For example there's a difference, and an important reason for the difference, between the income tax and the capital gains tax. Paying much better attention these days, many people still don’t know this, yet they need to understand it.

It’s particularly important for Governor Romney that they do, because this is at the heart of yet another ginned-up attack on him by the ever-so-principled Mr. Obama. As long as people are ignorant of how and why our tax system works, the more successful our president will be in misleading the public about why Mitt Romney paid a lesser tax rate last year than the average secretary. (That Mr. Obama also paid a lesser tax rate than his own secretary seems not to be a consideration in his attack on the Governor.)
(...)
In order to make money off of capital gains, you’ve already done two things: firstly, you’ve already been highly taxed on that money when you earned it originally as income, and secondly, you’re investing it back into society when you invest in the stock market. Those investments help companies to grow, and growing companies mean more jobs for more people.

In real American life, as opposed to Obama’s utopia, we want to encourage investment. Investment is how companies get off the ground; it’s how companies evolve from a notion in an entrepreneur’s brain into Staples or Domino’s or another household name. So what we’ve done to encourage investment is that we tax capital gains at a lower rate than the income tax. This way, the risk is reasonable for investors, and thus they keep putting their cash on the line. 

If we increased the capital gains tax rate, it would drastically alter the calculations investors make before they risk their money. All of a sudden, they’d need to expect a much higher return on their investment because they’ll have to pay that much more in taxes if they manage to turn a profit. So, the risk becomes significantly greater. That means, if the capital gains tax rate gets too high, investment dries up, and so does innovation, hiring, raises, expansion and so forth. The economy grinds to a halt.
 I recommend reading the entire article. I sure hope Romney takes his advice. The author is right on about Americans desperately wanting someone to teach them about finance and the economy.


The War on Poverty: since its inception under LBJ, the War on Poverty has dumped trillions for no results. The percentages of people in 'poverty' as the left defines it, stay the same. Now they are worse, and it's not for lack of government spending. From Rush Limbaugh, as he quoted Ronald Reagan talking about the War on Poverty clear back in 1964, yesterday:
REAGAN: We have so many people that can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're gonna solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help, the reduction in the need for public housing? But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. (...)
REAGAN: But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty stricken on the basis of earning less than $3,000 a year. Welfare spending is ten times greater than it was in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending $45 billion on welfare. Now, do a little arithmetic and you'll find that if we divided the $45 billion up equally among those nine million poor families, we'd be able to give each family $4,600 a year, and this added to their present income should eliminate poverty.
AUDIENCE: (laughter)
REAGAN: Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running about $600 per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.
AUDIENCE: (laughter)
RUSH: Back in the eighties, the administrative cost on $1 of welfare was 28¢. Meaning for every $1 of welfare, 72¢ got to the recipient and 28¢ ended up funding government. It's probably worse now. That's what Reagan was talking about. It's further evidence it doesn't work! It never has worked. One final bite from Reagan...

REAGAN: So now we declare "war" on poverty. Do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add $1 billion to the $45 billion we're spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and, remember, this new program doesn't replace any; it just duplicates existing programs. Do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Yet any time you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always against things, we're never for anything. Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant. It's just that they know so much that isn't so.

The War on Women: Another Breitbart article takes Obama's hypothetical "Julia" and counters it with an example of a real woman's life as it is under President Obama, versus how it would be under President Romney. Subjective, to be sure. But the ideas are sound. Give it a read.

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