It’s Thursday, this is when the new unemployment numbers come out, and they continue to edge downward, we had “only” 348,000 initial claims for the past week. The number of newly jobless hasn’t been this low since four years ago when the Bush collapse was really just beginning to pickup steam. At that time this number was seen as worrisome, oh how expectations have changed. We know jobs are being created, but the high number of layoffs indicates a drag on wages from large employers who continue to layoff higher paid workers because they can.
Then there are the Red states under the thrall of austerity ideology where public sector layoffs continue to drag down employment numbers. Some 750,000 government workers have been laid off in these states to fund giveaways to corporate cronies. Each of these jobs in turn no longer supports other jobs in the economy also putting downward pressure on the wages of remaining workers, public and private.
The big bright spot today was the announcement of all time record profits at GM. While employment is way up at GM with some plants running three shifts, a big chunk of those profits actually come from selling Buicks in China.
US parts suppliers are producing a higher percentage of the content that goes into American cars and this is adding jobs too. The whole point of Obama’s loans to the car companies was to keep these parts suppliers in business. They simply would have been wiped out if the car companies had been forced into unaided bankruptcy, where the suppliers, as the major creditors would not have been paid.
As well as the car companies coming back in Detroit, their economy is being aided by massive campaign spending on behalf of Mitt Romney. His strategy is to convince non-union blue collar workers that the so-called bailing out of the unionized car companies was wrong. He has to convince them that there is truth in Republican mantra that lower wages for union workers will some how magically benefit low wage workers. A lot of blue collar workers actually believe this nonsense, somehow they rationalize that their piece of the pie will grow as other people sink to their level. Just the opposite is true of course, but a guy in a suit that costs twice what they make in a month told them “black is white my friends“, so it must be true.
Mitt is also hammering hard at Santorum’s record as a Washington earmark specialist, and about his many millions made from consulting to lobbyists after being driven from office by the voters. Santorum can point to having paid double the 14% tax rate that Romney paid. Neither one of them would actually raise taxes on the rich of course, so the billionaires continue to pour money into their campaigns. Romney wants to cut his tax rate in half, Santorum would cut Romney’s rate by a quarter, and remember the Newt? He would have cut Romney’s taxes to zero.
To the billionaires the amount of money they are spending thanks to the Supreme Court is really just chump change, like betting on a horse at the track. The eleven million dollars that Sheldon Adelson spent on the now fading Newt Gingrich amounts to three hours income for him. For the average US worker that would be like spending $40, although Mister Adelson will miss his $11,000,000 a lot less than a $12/hour worker will miss three hours pay. At $25,000 a year for 50 years the average worker will earn $1,250,000 and have about zero left at that point. If Romney wants to win in Michigan he has to convince them that is just the way it should be. www.prairie2.com