Resting from Our Labors

On this day that we rest from our labors, millions upon millions of Americans don’t have labors to rest from. Full employment? I don’t think so.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics alleges that “The number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 7.8 million in August, and the unemployment rate was 4.9% for the third month in a row. Both measures have shown little movement over the year, on net.”

Right. By December, 2014, only 23 out of every 100 jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits; that’s how the BLS counts the “unemployed.”

Nicholas Eberstadt notes in The Idle Army that “America is now home to a vast army of jobless men who are no longer even looking for work–roughly seven million of them age 25 to 54, the traditional prime of working life.” Last year, the ratio of employment to population men that age was 84.4%. That’s lower than it had been in 1940 as the Great Depression ended and we ramped up to WWII. No matter what the politicians or the Bureau of Labor Statistics tell you, the U.S. isn’t even close to full employment.

boatbuilding159,463,000 (up from 142,220,000 in 2012).
253,854,000 (up from 243,354,000 in 2012).

The bottom number is what the BLS calls the “civilian noninstitutional population” (no, I don’t know how we institutionalized 58 million people, either). The top number is the number of people employed, the “civilian labor force.”

What we really know is that 7,800,000 people are collecting up to 73 weeks of unemployment benefits (down from 99 weeks in 2012) and the rest, 86,591,000 men and women, young and old, either don’t have, don’t want, or can’t do a job. The BLS does not count them as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey. That number is virtually unchanged in four years.

“President Obama is creating jobs!” my liberal friend Fanny Guay said.

Good spin.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has an anonymous source — popularly believed to be Al Sharpton — who whispered that he has proof that Mitt Romney never paid income taxes for the past 110 years.

Really good spin.

Sen. Reid again refused to release his own tax returns, even as he continued to demand that Gov. Romney make his own public (sound familiar?). Rev. Sharpton, by the way, has a new tax lien to pay; he still owes $359,973 to the IRS for 2009 personal income tax. He also still owes more than $4.5 million in city, state and federal taxes, including penalties, dating back to 2002.

My new friend Ashley Proctor has been out of work in Madison, Wisconsin, since the Scott Walker cuts eliminated her job at Wisconsin Community Services.

“Losing my job is partly Gov. Walker’s fault,” Ms. Proctor said, “but it’s really the Koch Brothers who got him elected!”

That would be the same Scott Walker pranked by a left-wing blogger who posed as David Koch in a call to the governor. The blogger published that Gov. Walker was gonna take the money. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) later claimed that the Koch Brothers bankrolled Gov. Walker’s campaign to the tune of $8 million.

Great spin. rated Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s claim False. So did the New York Times. Even the Democrats finally had to fire Ms. Wasserman Schultz.

The best spin of all? The Administration telling us they have created jobs.

Meanwhile, Darcy Burner, a failed candidate for Congress in Washington state echoed Ashley when she said, “Our democracy has been bought and sold by people like the Kochs.”

machinist“So basically the Koch Brothers are the George Soros of the Right?” Rufus asked her in 2012.

Ms. Burner didn’t answer.

“Oh, wait,” Rufus said. “They’re like Soros except for being on the Right and in that they make their money by manufacturing stuff? So she wants us to boycott the poor schlubs who are actually working???”

Ahh, George Soros. “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” did it by short selling more than $10 billion in pounds sterling which devalued the pound and in a few days put more people around the world out of work than Bain Capital did in all the years Gov. Romney was there.

In 2005 the French Court of Appeals convicted Mr. Soros of insider trading. The French Supreme Court confirmed the conviction the following year.

Even left wing darling Paul Krugman wrote about Mr. Soros, “[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi’.”

Mr. Soros, like Democrat Joseph Kennedy before him, became busily engaged in buying approbation after looting the financial markets so they could run what Sen. Bernard Sanders (S-VT) always called the “good PACs.”

Simply unbelievable spin. Except for a True Believer.

Rufus has bought and used equipment from Koch Engineering. The rest of us have probably sipped from a Dixie cup, wiped up with Angel Soft™ toilet paper or Brawny™ paper towels, pulled up socks containing Lycra™ and walked on a Stainmaster™ carpet. All told, the evil Koch Brothers Empire™ employs about 100,000 people most of whom have a paid day off today.

The same can’t be said for the millions upon millions upon Americans who still have no jobs and have simply given up looking for work under this Administration.

Just another Labor Day, eh?

This column has mostly appeared before. I updated the numbers and revisited it because Ms. Clinton and many other candidates running on her coattails promise to continue the policies of this failed Obama Administration. My 2011 Labor Day column about how politicians “create jobs” is worth rereading today as well. You might also enjoy the 2010 Labor Day reminiscence, Milestones.


Happy New Year – Here’s the Check


Feel the Bern but also Feel the Pain.

It’s a pain that will come no matter whom we elect this year.

“Things are going ‘so well’ with the truth of how our system works that we are bankrupting ourselves,” wrote a concerned citizen.

Every politician since the wicked Nimrod has lied to us. Oh, some told little white lies but they lied to us nonetheless. “We know how to fix it!” they all say.

“We are not Greece, we are not Portugal,” Mr. Obama said in 2011 as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s prepared to downgrade America’s top credit status.

Yeah, they fixed it alright.

Liar, Liar, Pants on FireAccording to a new report by Kotlikoff and Michel, U.S. government debt stands at $210 trillion, not at the official $13.1 trillion nor the almost $18.9 trillion of the US Debt Clock nor the $86.8 trillion calculated by Cox and Archer.

Even using the make believe $13.1 trillion debt, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the debt will be well over 100% of GDP by 2039. When CBO incorporates its estimates of the impact of the continuing large federal deficits on the nation’s economy, it estimates that the accumulated debt held by the public will reach 180% of GDP by 2039.

For homework, try to find out if any member of Congress or the President has ever read these CBO reports.

The Feds will tell you every man, woman, and child of the 326,387,900 people now alive in the U.S. owes “only” $40,136.29 of that debt.

The reality is far different. The real debt load works out to $643,406.20 per person in the United States, 16 times higher than the current official level and 2-1/2 times our total net worth.

In 2014 the net worth of all U.S. citizens was pegged at $80.7 trillion. Wealth is commonly measured in terms of net worth, which is the quite simple sum of all assets (what you have in the bank, the market value of real estate, like your home, any stocks and stuff you own) minus what you owe on all of that. which accountants call “liabilities.”

(Including human capital such as skills, the United Nations estimated the total wealth of the United States in 2008 to be $118 trillion. The United Nations has never been good at accounting or science.)

$210 trillion in debt <==> $80 trillion in assets.

Yeah, they fixed it alright.

Mr. Sanders isn’t the only financial nincompoop. He’s just the most obvious among the economic geniuses we’ve elected.

A record Federal Reserve “reverse repo” auction on the last day of business means credit markets and mutual funds are in trouble. Like the “credit swaps” and off-balance-sheet financing that caused the Great Recession, the financial markets are again playing with numbers none of the geniuses understands.

“It is government’s fault for offering a housing finance program without making an effort to maintain underwriting standards,” then-Rep. Barny Frank (D-MA) said of the Housing Crisis.

That would be the same Barny Frank who imposed “affordable housing” requirements on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Before he did that, the government lenders had been required to buy only prime mortgages. Mr. Frank forced Fannie and Freddie to meet a government quota for bad loans to borrowers who could never repay them.

Yeah, they fixed it alright.

The Dow fell 450 points this morning, on its way to the worst opening day in 84 years. The Fed figures it can’t head off or even contain the coming financial crises.

Meanwhile China’s government-managed stock market tanked again today, too. Looks like China’s politicians are about as good at this financial stuff as ours.

And none of this helps rein in the stampeding public debt.

The Demorat’s answer to the National Debt is “there is no national debt but we’ll raise taxes anyway so we can spend more.” The Repuglican’s answer to the National Debt is “there is some national debt so we need to raise taxes so we can spend more.”

“We know how to fix it!”

Yeah, they’ll fix us right up.

How to Avoid Bankruptcy — For Dummies tells us:

  • Get your financial house in order by spending less than you take in.
  • Sell your assets.
  • Take over a large foreign country with lots of natural resources and land.

OK, I added the last one but, hey! It worked for Genghis Khan, Rome, Great Britain, and Google, right?

* Let’s get specific. How high would Bernard Sanders go on tax rates?
“We haven’t come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as … 90%.”


** “I applaud the people of Greece for saying ‘no’ to more austerity..
“In a world of massive wealth and income inequality, Europe must support Greece’s efforts” to loot the real European economies which create jobs and income.


News, Part II

I guess we don’t have my cuz to kick around any more, eh.

The Canadian federal election was held on October 19. A huge plurality of Canadians (OK, 39.5%) gave Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party the boot after nine years and elected Justin Trudeau to head a new Liberal government. Mr. Trudeau takes office on Wednesday.

Canada has 25 different political parties, all contending for seats in Parliament. From the Alliance of the North to the United (neither of which won a single seat) plus the Animal Alliance, Bloc Québécois, Bridge, Canada Party, Canadian Action, Christian Heritage, Communist, Conservative, Democratic Advancement, Green, Independent and no affiliation, Liberal, Libertarian, Marijuana, Marxist-Leninist, New Democratic, PACT, Pirate, Progressive Canadian, Rhinoceros, Seniors, and Strength in Democracy, There were almost as many Parliamentary candidates as Republicans running for U.S. President.

Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Trudeau campaigned on “Real Change” and “Hope and Hard Work.”

Voters could make up pretty much anything they wanted to match those slogans and the press did the same. Mr. Trudeau has promised to raise taxes and spending, run a deficit, oppose the oil industry, and plans to embark on a vast program of public works spending. Pretty similar to his father. And Mr. Obama. Except he supports international trade deals and the Keystone pipeline project.

Last week, we looked at the quantity of non-news behind the Twitter or Facebook “headlines.” This week, we’ll pay attention to the quality of the news and commentary you get from any source.

Justin TrudeauAmericanthinkerdotcom says of the Canadian election, “the disasters have already begun. Fasten your seat belts, Canucks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

The Canadian online conservative political and social commentary platform Rebel Media reported “The Canadian dollar dropped nearly two percentage points after Justin Trudeau’s Liberals swept to a majority in the federal election.

“That’s almost two cents in four days.”

Two whole cents!


The pundits used the bumpy road to mean way more failures than successes ahead for our northern neighbors. I agree that Canada has more troubles ahead.

But these pundits want to stir you up about it by cherry picking a fact and spinning it. (And, yes, this column has picked just one reported fact for discussion out of the Americanthinker article.)

Rebel Media was founded in February by former Sun News Network host Ezra Levant.

Mr. Levant noted that the “precipitous drop” has a profound effect on Canadians. What Mr. Levant didn’t note is that the Canadian Dollar has fallen pretty steadily since 2011 and is now back down to about where it was from the 70s on.

“It’s like every Canadian just got a pay cut.”

               Famous Fakery
• Faked peer reviews prompted 64 retractions at Nature.
• 60 Minutes aired a story in 2004 that showed memos that showed then-1st Lieutenant George Bush had gone AWOL. Except the documents were obvious forgeries.
• Both New York Magazine and the New York Post reported on a Stuyvesant High School senior who made $72 million on stocks. Except that alluring story was, well, fake.
• The Rebel Media claim that the Canadian dollar dropped two points after Mr. Trudeau’s election. Except the election had little to do with it.

CBS rightfully fired Dan Rather over the Bush-National Guard story.

The Globe and Mail noted back in August that the Canadian dollar is under attack on several fronts, from the collapse in oil prices to the different paths being taken by central banks. “The loonie lost about 4% in July, sank to below 76 cents U.S. at one point [August 3] and again [August 4], and won’t stop there, according to analysts who expect it to tumble further to about 73 or 74 cents. It’s at 76 cents today.”

The loonie has been weakening for several years.

Editorial note: as a consumer of Canadian dentistry, I’m quite pleased in the return of the “weak” loonie. An exam and cleaning cost me $68 U.S. last month. The same service cost $95 U.S. in 2014.

So, the Canadian dollar did indeed drop a couple of percentage points after Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals won a majority in the Canadian elections but that’s probably not Mr. Trudeau’s fault. The two very real questions Canadian Conservatives should ask are
1. Why should we trust any media that cherry picks a few facts to lie to us?
2. What will Mr. T do to strengthen the loonie?

The rest of us have just one very real question to ask of the Twitter or Facebook or even our traditional news feeds:
Why should we trust any media that cherry picks a few facts to lie to us?


Thoughts for President’s Day

Banks and post offices are service businesses, same as movie theaters and restaurants.

Liz Arden and I both ordered new phones. Hers is scheduled for delivery today; mine allegedly shipped today. And a laptop SWMBO ordered is sitting at the post office. We can’t pick that up until tomorrow.

“I think FedEx does not necessarily follow bank holidays,” she said.

CalendarThat’s right. FedEx and UPS both provide normal pickup and delivery service on these national holidays:
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Presidents’ Day
Good Friday
Columbus Day
Veterans Day

Today’s holiday was changed to the third Monday of February in 1971 in compliance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Advertisers morphed the name into “Presidents’ Day” because the federal observance of Washington’s “birthday” must fall between February 15 to 21 and never include Lincoln’s birthday nor Washington’s.

Public Law 90-363 amended the the United States Code to move holidays on Mondays. The Act moved Washington’s Birthday (originally February 22), Memorial Day (May 30), Columbus Day (October 12), and Veterans Day (November 11) from fixed dates to designated Mondays so federal employees could have more three-day weekends.

Members of the Armed Services don’t get three-day weekends.

“Thank goodness they don’t drag me out on Monday mornings,” Phil told me earlier this year. If Candle Mas Day is bright and clear, There’ll be two winters in the year. I guess even Congress was smart enough not to condemn us to a Monday and six more weeks of winter all on the same day.

There was a time, back before you were born, back when I walked to school, uphill both ways, that most companies followed the same holiday schedule as the federal and local governments and that schedule matched actual birth and event anniversaries.

“Not so much any more,” Ms. Arden said. In fact, her workplace has pared official holidays down to New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

They did give back, with three or four “floating” holidays. Some employees use them for celebrations like One Ring of Sauron Day. Others bunch them up around Christmas.

I liked that change as long as they didn’t shortchange us in the process. We’re (mostly) still getting 10 days off which was about the norm I remember. We’re paid for 260 workdays in a non-leap year but we typically work no more than 240 of them and usually have some paid “sick” days as well.

“I do like the flexibility,” she said but it irks her that not to get mail delivery on days she has to work, and the bank is never open on a day when she needs to replace a lost credit card. “I want everyone to follow my schedule, dammit! Except, of course, if I’m taking a holiday I want businesses I use to be open.”

A decommissioned Russian satellite is headed for home and an asteroid the size of three football fields will do a flyby today.

Today is also Rene Russo’s 60th birthday and not George Washington’s no matter what they said in Congress or on

And despite all that, I still need to write a blog and a newspaper column and do laundry.


Jail – the Liberal Paradise?

My friend Nola “Fanny” Guay is ticked off this morning. Someone sent her this poster by email:

Jail - The Liberal Paradise

“I hate it when people send stuff like this around that just isn’t true,” she said.

Me, too.

Especially when the truth is worse.

No liberal really wants to put the rest of us in jail. Not really. Not even the farthest green protester whose mantra is that the Earth would be sooooo much better without humans.

The poster should read,

Projects — The Liberal Paradise.
A little history of public housing in the United States: The first “model tenements” begin to appear in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 1870s. Alfred Tredway White, a great believer in progressive reform efforts, built a series of buildings for the people known in the nineteenth century as the “deserving poor.”

The working poor, those hardworking people who couldn’t make enough to live in the nineteenth century were called the deserving poor.

Those first public housing residents were carefully screened. Only employed families with two parents were allowed. Alcoholics and those with social problems were banned.

There were other similar efforts but Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the first permanent, federally funded housing in the United States. His 1933 New Deal program, the National Industrial Recovery Act, directed the Public Works Administration to undertake the “construction, reconstruction, alteration, or repair under public regulation or control of low-cost housing and slum-clearance projects…” Liberal program.

Harry Truman’s Fair Deal dramatically expanded the role of the federal government in public and private housing with the Housing Act of 1949. Liberal program.

All the discontent with “Urban Renewal” led to Lyndon Johnson’s Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965. Liberal program.

Over those years the rules morphed from allowing only employed families and banning addicts to, in many cases, banning employed families and recruiting addicts. Poor, but maybe not so deserving. Still, the ways of keeping the poor, poor, do match the liberal mantra:

  • Each resident is exactly the same as everyone else.
  • Meals are provided free, along with exercise equipment, library services, television, and more.
  • Free healthcare is to be available on site.
  • Weapons are forbidden even for self-defense.

Now that I’ve done my Liberal pounding for the day, it is worth noting that the Conservative Banker approach to public housing is simpler: “indenture ’em with a mortgage.”

Join us next week when we wonder why under Obamacare (“Free healthcare is to be available to everyone”), a Key West family with insurance received two denial letters this past week for their 2-year old son’s Lymphoma treatment.