Friday, January 6, 2012

Called different names by different people, they smell the same

The employer survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 213,000 new private sector jobs created in December. Local governments in states controlled by Republicans were forced to cut 13,000 police, firefighters and highway maintenance people for a net increase of 200,000 jobs. People in the Red States continue to pay the price for having turned democracy over to the criminal class, and the rest of us will pay in the long term. It’s true, at this rate of recovery it will take ten years to get back us back to normal, but that assumes no positive feedback from the jobs created. It also assumes no further destruction of the economy by the Republicans.

The other BLS survey, the household survey continues to show that employment numbers are recovering, and this lowered the jobless rate by 2 tenths to 8.5. Republicans continue to “fault” Obama for not keeping the rate below 8% as he had pledged, even though the last time it was this low was as George Bush was leaving office. If Red State Republican operatives hadn’t been able to eliminate 500,000 local government jobs, the current unemployment rate would be well under 8% and falling more rapidly than it is now. Good paying government jobs not only bolster the infrastructure which encourages growth, but also support other jobs in the service sector, increase home values and support the local tax base. All the things the Republicans deliberately sabotage in order to drive the middle class to extinction.

Deep down, Republican voters know this, that’s why they can’t agree on a front runner. The only constituency that gave Romney overwhelming support in the entrance polls at the Iowa caucus were voters making more than $100,000/year (this is big money in Iowa). The rest want that fictional Republican that doesn’t exist. Santorum isn’t well known, and was that proverbial last straw to grasp when going down for the final time. Reports are that Santorum actually won the caucus as discrepancies have appeared between the local counting of paper ballots, and the numbers reported by the state party. Republicans having a hard time totaling the vote numbers, who could imagine.

I don’t want to overstate the good news from the “recovery”, it has more to do with a natural tendency of an economy to right itself like a boat in heavy seas than any action the President has taken. The Republicans however, continue to drill holes in the bottom knowing full well the outcome.

We still need a trade policy, a manufacturing policy, an energy policy, a progressive tax policy, an education policy, single payer healthcare, and on and on and on. The fact we are doing this well is a testament to the strength of the economy that FDR built after wrestling it from the clutches from the corporatists; Marx called them capitalists, Mussolini called them fascists, Hitler called them his friends. FDR called Prescott Bush and his like from the  Wall Street banks “economic royalists”, and he welcomed their hatred.

Obama has finally ignored the Republican filibuster and has started appointing people who will take on the economic royalists. We shouldn’t put too much faith in the “recovery”, but we should take it as proof that Republicans are the reason we need a recovery, and not some natural phenomenon, or the work of Democrats. What we really need is to take matters into our own Progressive hands.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Worms, the good kind and the bad kind

The biggest payroll processing firm is estimating that the private sector created 325,000 jobs in December. This would be consistent with the weekly jobless claims number that have been remaining well under 400,000 for several weeks. Conservative business news outlets are suggesting this estimate be taken with a grain of salt, and that we should wait for the government survey of employers coming out tomorrow. The thing about that employer survey number is that it has been deviating further and further from the Labor Dept survey of actual working households. According to actual workers, the private sector created 500,000 jobs in November. Tomorrow could be a bad day for Republicans when the December numbers come out.

Reports from the manufacturing sector suggest strong growth in December with this being the 29th straight month of improvement. Of course new US manufacturing jobs only pay $15/hour if you’re lucky. Manufacturing jobs in Germany pay $56/hour. Their new unemployment numbers are the lowest since Mr Gorbachev tore down that wall. Here the Republicans who take credit for the reunification of Germany even though they had nothing to do with it, are getting ever richer while the middle class descends to the level of East Germany. Maybe Mr Gorbachev could be persuaded to hook us up with Germany, or maybe it’s time to march our own Ceausescu types out in front of the tanks. (Romania 1989)
Mitt Romney’s spokesman says he created 100,000 jobs while the head of Bain Capital. They give no numbers for how many jobs were destroyed by Mitt deliberately bankrupting companies after stripping them of their assets to take as booty (I mean profit). The bulk of the jobs he claims that he “created” were at the office supply chain Staples, but this was not any sort of innovation that created new jobs. This was simply the Walmart-ization of the office supply business destroying thousands of mom and pop businesses that had provided excellent pay for generations. Now the next generation can work for minimum wage, or even if they managed to go college, half of them are unemployed or working at Staples.

Out here on the prairie, global warming is working quite nicely. It was 61 degrees this evening, shattering all previous records. The farmer across the road is running a Caterpillar to groom his drainage. Normally the temperature would be between 30 degrees and minus 20 this time of year and the ground  frozen rock solid several feet deep. The night crawlers are still on top of the ground; I could catch some and go fishing. The regular kind of fishing; there‘s no ice; that is if the fish were safe to eat. You can eat worms; they’re high in protein. I keep a few chickens, they think the worms are more tasty.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mr Troll goes to Washington

Mitt Romney got called out by a Fox interviewer (of all places) for his promise to cut taxes for the middle class by eliminating the 15% tax on capital gains. You see the problem is that the average middle class taxpayer only pays $167 in capital gains tax. Mittens’ response was that “a $167 isn’t zero…”. A rich frat boy who has no idea how the 99% live, he actually thought this was a good idea. Half of the capital gains taxes are paid by the one percent, and most people only pay it when they sell their house at a profit. Thanks to people like Mitt, they don’t have to worry about that anymore.

This rant was inspired by an  anonymous comment to my blog: "[I'm] Part of the loser 99%. Yet, I made a bunch of $$$ buying Brigham Exploration for average $2.00 per share 3 years ago. ... Company [was] bought by Statoil for $36.50 this year. ... so even us losers can play the investing game. It is open to anyone with a few dimes, knowledge and balls to play. Yes, you can beat the big boys. My account up 18.6% this year, crushing the flat S&P 500. Don't let anyone tell you different, Losers."

Let's assume for the sake of augment that everything he said is true, and he's not just another troll making his living trying to create buzz for penny stocks at 5 bucks a post. In the first place, the stock market doesn't "make" money. The only money that comes into the market is from some sucker buying stock. "Profits" can only come from that sucker losing his money. The brokers make money on every transaction, and the high speed traders churn the market to shave off a slice from the stocks that they drive up. Then hedge funds bet against the stocks driving them down, they also make a killing, again the money comes from the suckers.

Government pension funds and 401(k)s were created to generate more suckers to funnel more money into the market. The Republicans want to do the same with your Social Security, so they can take it out of the market and put it into their pockets.

Then there is Mr Troll's claim that he made 18.6% profit this past year. The stock market as a whole was flat for the year. Hundreds of billions flowed in, but on the average nobody made money. The exceptions were the big Wall Street banks and hedge funds who made hundreds of billions. Again the money comes from the suckers and is subsidized by the government as the pension contributions are tax free, and Mittens want’s those profits to be tax free instead of paying the 15% capital gains tax. In the old days (ten years ago) capital gains were taxed at the same rate as earned income.

But let's say he's right about all us losers being able to beat the system as he claims he did. Fully two-thirds of Americans can't come up a $1000 cash to cover an emergency expense, let alone invest (he said “it only takes a few dimes”, but let's say they could come up with some dimes. If they royally beat the market as Mr Troll says he did, and they all made 18.6% profit, that would be $186 extra income from their $1000 investment, and tax free under President Mittens.  Boy that would really lift everybody out of poverty, if they had a $1000 to begin with and could beat the market the way Mr Troll says he did, which of course is absolutely impossible. Just as impossible as everybody being able to retire on their 401(k).

A 25 cent increase in the minimum wage would for anybody working full time (2000 hours/year) equals $500. In two years they would all have a $1000 to invest in Mr Troll's Ponzi scheme. Or maybe they would spend it back into the real economy and create jobs. “Job Creation“, it’s not just for rich people anymore.