Saturday, December 8, 2012

Labor shortage?

Get this, Texas has a shortage of construction workers now that building has picked up. Texas has increased significantly in population in the past few years, and is still growing, so there is a demand for new housing.

The construction workforce in Texas is down by 30% since the Bush collapse. That's right, even with high unemployment the building contractors can't find enough help. Why so few 'qualified' workers? They went back to Mexico. Of course for 'qualifications', you have to be willing to work for less than minimum wage and take your chances with no Workman's Comp insurance. So if you're a legal resident, don't bother to apply.

If Republicans get their way, nobody will have that Nanny State required Workman's Comp (that's so early 20th century), and the minimum wage won't exist. That way they can hire Americans to build their mansions. In reality they still won't hire Americans, they might get uppity, it's all just an excuse to drive down wages still further for the brown people that they bring in.

Set them free

Having a problem with Tea baggers in your neighborhood? Print out these talking points and leave them around.

- Those safety guards mandated by the 'nanny state' on your power equipment, take those off. Run free.

- The warnings on your medication are just liberals trying to take your freedom, ignore them. Take as many as you like. Wash them down with alcohol. 

- The High Voltage sign on that green box in the back yard, that's a UN plot. Break in and have free electricity like God intended.

- Not only is Global warming a hoax, but those CO detectors that keep you from burning charcoal in your living room are just liberals stealing your heritage. Pull the batteries and light the grill next to the TV.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Polishing the rotten Apple

More jobs were created last month than were expected with 147,000 created in the private sector and 1000 public sector jobs lost that need to be subtracted from the number. The unemployment rate continues to fall as that is based on a large household survey, and is down to 7.7%. While the number of people that reported working didn't change, the rate that the boomers are retiring is picking up. Some economists estimate that we need as few as 75,000 new jobs per month to keep up with the growing millennium generation. The underemployment rate continues in the high teens with nearly one million reporting that they are not looking for work as no jobs exist for them.

Super Storm Sandy has been determined by the Labor Department to not be the the big job killer that it was feared to be. 'Super Storm', another new word to describe the 'new normal' we are living with. Why don't we just call them 'interesting times' after the Chinese curse? Everything else is made in China.

With Steve Jobs gone, the new Apple management has been embarrassed into actually bringing a token number of jobs back to the US. They won't say how many exactly, only bragging about how much money they will spend to build a US plant. Most likely the bulk of the $200 million they will 'invest' will be spent on robots and other high tech equipment made outside the US. We just don't make it here anymore. Apple's move is about trying to polish its image, as the cache of buying the latest 'i' product is beginning to dull with Asian designed products starting out compete them in technology innovation.

Applebees and other mega-food chains who's right-wing billionaire owners shot their mouths off about Obama care 'forcing' them to eliminate jobs, cut hours, and raise prices are back tracking on these new 'policies'. This comes as consumer polling showing that their brand images are dropping through the floor. One of the biggest loudmouths actually drove his brand rating all the way to zero.

In reality, Obamacare is one of the few positive drivers for economic growth. Better healthcare means fewer sick days for employers, and higher productivity. It means fewer consumer bankruptcies as 60% of them are currently from being sick, and half of those people had insurance. Hospitals don't need to sell thousands of unpaid bills for pennies on the dollar. Doctors can spend more time treating patients instead of fighting with an insurance clerk in India to authorize treatment. Consumer confidence will get a boost without the fears instilled by going without medical care, or the stress of trying to get care authorized by an insurance company, and on and on. It's not single payer, but it's like moving up to a team of horses from a dead mule.

The fiscal 'bunny slope' looms ever closer with a large number of Americans willing to take the plunge rather than give in to the billionaires. The only problem is that the corporate media continues conflate the 'fiscal cliff' with the deficit as if going over the edge would make the deficit worse. It would do exactly opposite by slashing spending and raising taxes.

There is a very real risk however that cutting spending would do real harm to the economy. This is the opposite of what conservatives say constantly, except that these cuts are heavily focused on the military. The constant screaming from the right about how many 'jobs' these cuts will cost is deafening, it seems the government creates jobs after all. They also create a lot of sprawling estates around Washington DC where defense contractors and their lobbyists live.

The Republicans have become so disorganized and out of touch that Mitch McConnell thought he could badger the Democrats by calling for a vote on Obama's proposal to eliminate the debt ceiling. When Harry Reid called for a voice vote, McConnell was forced to filibusterer his own motion. The 'debt ceiling' has only been around since the 50s, and is in fact un-Constitutional as the President is obliged to spend money Congress appropriates even if he must borrow to do so. Republicans never object to raising the ceiling no matter how spend-thrift Republican Presidents are, only when the Democrats are in power of course.

The fact is that the government can borrow money currently at near zero interest as the rich are swimming in cash like Scrooge McDuck, thanks to historically low taxes. If they pay any taxes at all.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blue! Blue 218! HUT, Hut-hut

While John Boner is down at the sports bar drowning his sorrows over the collapse of his Tea Bag offense, Nancy Pelosi is calling the plays on the House gridiron. She only needs to pickup 25 yards (er, Republicans) to make it across the goal line carrying the Senate Middle-class Tax Cut Bill on a discharge petition.

In fact, unless all of the Republicans in the House are ready to risk the end of their careers with the next election, she should be able to deliver middle class tax relief to the President's desk on Christmas eve. The Republicans will take credit for it anyway, after all they are the silent majority. (snort) It turns out that after counting all of the provisional ballots that the Republicans weren't able to kill, that Democratic House candidates across American received one million more votes than did the Gerrymandered Republican pretenders.

Just 218 votes are needed to pass a bill, and Democrats are 192 strong. This margin will become closer in the 113th Congress at 200 for the good guys. The Republicans probably aren't going the way of Whigs just yet. They are desperately trying to re-invent themselves with Tea Bag Congressmen being unceremoniously dumped from critical House Committee chairmanships.

Another group that is heading rapidly toward the dust bin of history are the Blue Dog Democrats, once a force with 54 votes they will be lucky to claim 14 members in the new year. It would be nice to say that they were all replaced with Progressives, but a lot of them have been replaced by Republicans who grabbed the more conservative areas they represented during the Census driven re-districting. Still the math favored the Democrats in the end with a more Progressive delegation over-all.

The question is can Democrats keep the campaign going for the next two years and pick-up the additional seats? Gerrymandering doesn't give you a 'permanent' edge, that's why the Republicans have to keep doing it. With 49% of Republicans believing that Acorn stole the election even though it doesn't exist, and 25% of them in favor of secession, it's possible that they can act crazy enough to drive more than enough moderates to the Democrats. The number of people who self-identify as Democrats is in fact climbing, while those who will admit to a pollster that they are a flat-earth Republican is continuing to go down. Odds are that Democrats can beat the spread in overtime.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Record profits, lower wages, fewer Republicans

Corporate profits for US companies hit a new record high of $1.75 Trillion for the past quarter. (compare this to the total GDP of $16 trillion) This headline didn't keep Republicans from claiming that Obama has been killing business, and they're saying that 200,000 jobs have already eliminated by the threat of the 'fiscal cliff'.

If you wonder where they're getting these profits, consider that wages have fallen to only 43.5% of US GDP. Historically wages were more than half of GDP, and they were at 49% as recently as the beginning the Bush reign of terror. You also need to keep in mind that the wage total includes astronomical salaries paid to the one percent. Although the really big earners structure their income as capital gains or dividends that aren't counted in this total.

Capital gains, dividends and that favorite of Wall Street, 'carried interest', get taxed at a maximum of 15%, which makes all the noise about a 3 point tax increase on 'earned' income seem rather silly. If the rich were taxed at normal rates and you eliminated their special deductions, that would bring in $1.1 trillion in additional revenue. That's every year, not over ten years as the fiscal bunny slope numbers are calculated.

We don't have an 'entitlements' problem, we have a problem with those who feel entitled to take it all. This isn't about the income of the rich, it's about the rich taking literally everything. Not just the lions share of the money, but the very means of making money for anybody but them. 

Basically this amounts to cash hoarding. In the 19th century the popular name for what we call a recession was a 'cash shortage'. People couldn't do business because there wasn't enough cash in circulation, because the rich would hoard it. Foreclosures were the inevitable consequence, and the rich got richer.

Income taxes were invented to deal with the problem. This is what it's all about with the Republicans hated of income taxes. It keeps them from taking it all for themselves. Of course most people who call themselves Republicans aren't on the 'taking' side of the equation, they just think they'll magically get rich if they help make more poor people.

You can't get through to most conservatives to explain what's really happening to them, they just won't give up their fantasy. It's not hopeless though, you'll notice that there are fewer Republicans every year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Late Sunday, US time

Far East stocks are up on news that China's economy is stabilizing. This positive activity is viewed in those markets as being 'capped' by the US budget impasse.

The so-called 'world' market is dependent on what the US does or doesn't do. The fact is that China is a oligarchy based on the Communist Party. They don't care what the US does other than what damage the US can do to them. China is not a slave to the illusions that the West chooses to live by. This doesn't predict an outcome over the long term, only a sign post to read.

Ha ha ha ha ha, roll on the floor

George Stephanopoulos came very close to making Timothy Geithner burst into laughter on network TV Sunday morning by asking him about the possibility that Obama would replace him with Wall Street banker Jamie Diamon. After Wall Street spent hundreds of millions to put Romney into the Presidency, Obama will put the head pirate into the Treasury Department?  Ha ha ha ha ha....

George also asked if Senator McConnell actually laughed out loud when Geithner presented the President's tax plan. Geithner's response suggested that the Republicans are on the ropes and ready to compromise. In fact we should not 'compromise' with the people who have been stealing out wealth. Success will require having enough Americans aware of who the bad guys really are. Keep putting the truth out there. We will win, if we don't give up.