Posts Tagged Cartoons
FORTUNE — “There’s a lot of debate about whether or not we are better off than we were four years ago. But here’s one thing that we can say for sure afterthis month’s weak jobs report: Compared to a year ago, we are most certainly worse off.
Start with the headline number. In August, employers added 96,000 workers to their payrolls. That’s actually better than a year ago, if only slightly. But that’s only one month. What really matters is the trend, which is down.
QUIZ: Are you better off?
Over the past six months, the economy has added an average of 97,000 jobs a month. At this time a year ago, the six-month average was 136,000, meaning the economy was growing 40% faster than it is today.
For the whole year, the economy has added an average of 139,000 jobs a month. That’s better, but still worse than a year ago when that figure was 143,000.
What’s more, those numbers come from the survey of employers. When the Labor Department asks individuals, the picture we get is a good deal worse. Go by that survey, which many say does a better job of capturing new businesses and the self-employed, and the economy’s gains plummet to an average of just 6,000 jobs a month since March, or nearly one-sixth fewer than we were adding in the same time a year ago.
Secondly, the wage picture isn’t improving either. The industry with the biggest hiring jump in August was restaurants, which are jobs, but not high paying ones. Employment in the manufacturing industry, on the other hand, dropped by 15,000. A year ago, the economy was still adding manufacturing jobs.
As a result, the average hourly wage for all workers fell in August by a penny to $23.52. That was up $0.40 from a year ago. But at just 1.7%, it’s not much more than inflation. And it’s less than the $0.49 increase we had a year ago. Of course, that’s not a big drop in wage growth, but it’s significant nonetheless. Higher wages means that employers are eager to add workers. That’s clearly still not the case. And even if that’s only slightly less so than a year ago, remember we’re another year into the official recovery. Demand for workers should be significantly stronger at this point, not slightly worse.
Then there are temp workers. Most economists believe temporary hires are a good indication of where the job market is headed. It’s a way for employers to dip their toe in the water, and many of the jobs lead to permanent positions. A year ago, companies were adding temp workers, nearly 21,000 in August alone. That’s not the case any more. Last month, employers cut the number of temp workers they had working for them by nearly 5,000.
Overall, you could still make the case that we are better off than a year ago. The number of unemployed people in the country, at least just counting those looking for work, is down 1.3 million in the past year to 12.5 million. And the unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point to 8.1%.
But in the same time, the pace of people dropping out of the workforce is up too. That number rose by 2.7 million in the past year, or a half a million more than a year before that. Yes, some of those people voluntarily retired. But a good percentage of those people have just given up. That’s probably the best gauge of optimism in the economy that there is. If you don’t believe you can land a job, you basically don’t believe in the economy. And as long as the number of people who lose faith in the economy is rising, it’s hard to make the case that we’re better off.”
Related Article: “Rhetoric can’t mask unemployment numbers“
According to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, invited to address the Democratic convention and the nation, America faces a stark choice this November.
“During this campaign, we’ve heard about two profoundly different futures that could await women in this country — and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past,” she cautioned. “That future could become real.”
In one of those futures, women will be “shut out and silenced,” rape victims will be “victimized all over again,” pregnant women will “die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms” and “access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it.” If you’re wondering where all that is on your ballot form, just check the box marked “R.”
…. For me, the likely scenario isn’t that the Republicans will be terrorizing rape victims or that the Democrats will finally pass the necessary legislation to make contraception available for the contraceptively starved millions crying out for it, but that America will be sliding off the cliff — literally, as Joe Biden would literally say. And when America slides off the cliff it lands with a much bigger thud than Greece or Iceland.
I’m not certain that the Republicans will be able to prevent that happening. But I know that the Democrats can’t. America owes more money than anybody has ever owed anyone in the history of the planet. But millions of Americans don’t see it, and millions of those who do see it don’t see it as a problem.
Sandra Fluke is one of them. She completed her education a few weeks ago — at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light BS in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum — first job, first paycheck.
So this is America’s best and brightest — or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument.
She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year old children. She says the choice facing America is whether to be “a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices” — and, even as the words fall leaden from her lips, she doesn’t seem to comprehend that Catholic institutions think their “voices” ought to have freedom, too, or that ObamaCare seizes jurisdiction over “our bodies” and has 16,000 new IRS agents ready to fine us for not making arrangements for “our” pancreases and “our” bladders that meet the approval of the commissars.
…. But, as it stands right now, a Cornell and Georgetown graduate doesn’t understand the central reality of the future her elders have bequeathed her. There’s no “choice” in the matter. It’s showing up whatever happens in November. All the election will decide is whether America wants to address that reality, or continue to live in delusion — like a nation staggering around with a giant condom rolled over its collective head.
Any space aliens prowling through the rubble of our civilization and stumbling upon a recording of the convention compatible with Planet Zongo DVD players will surely marvel at the valuable peak airtime allotted to Sandra Fluke. It was weird to see her up there among the governors and senators — as weird as Bavarians thought it was when King Ludwig decided to make his principal advisor Lola Montez, the Irish-born “Spanish dancer” and legendary grande horizontale.
….Taking up with Lola cost King Ludwig his throne in the revolutions of 1848. We’ll see in a couple of months whether taking up with Sandra works out for King Barack. But what’s strange is that so many people don’t find it strange at all — that at a critical moment in the affairs of the republic the ruling party should assemble to listen to a complacent 31-year old child of privilege peddling the lazy cobwebbed assumptions of myopic narcissism. Lola Montez was what botanists would call a “sport” — morphologically distinct from the rest of the societal shrub. The tragedy for America is that Sandra Fluke is all too typical.
So writes, in part, Mark Steyn, in an article entitled:”While America Slides Off A Cliff, The Democrats Go To Sandra Fluke“.
The editorial opinion, partially quoted below, of Mr. Obama’s convention speech was published today by a major American newspaper. Can you guess if it was a conservative or liberal paper?
…An acceptance speech is not a State of the Union laundry list of specific proposals. Its role is to set out a vision of the country’s future path. Mr. Obama was correct that he and Mr. Romney have dramatically different visions of government’s role, and that the Republican prescription of tax cuts to address any woe has left the country in terrible shape. Mr. Romney has been inexcusably vague in outlining his program, fiscal and otherwise, and he did nothing to mend this deficiency in his acceptance speech. But Mr. Obama’s speech also fell short — of his own proclaimed standards.
He vowed, “I will never turn Medicare into a voucher,” but he gave his audience no indication that his solution — controlling health care costs — might involve sacrifice on the part of seniors. He promised “responsible steps to strengthen” Social Security, which he has neglected throughout his first term. As to which steps those might be, not a word. “My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet,” Mr. Obama said. What plan would that be?
Mr. Obama sketched a tempting array of expensive benefits and changes: eliminating overcrowded classrooms and crumbling schools; preserving the strongest military in the world; making certain that children can afford college. But he did not offer a whiff of explanation of how those programs can be paid for and the mounting national debt brought under control. Mr. Obama proferred his old plan to cut the debt by $4 trillion over the next decade, but that number includes $1 trillion in spending cuts already agreed to and nearly $900 billion in imaginary savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Obama boasted of foreign-policy achievements and challenged his opponent’s views and credentials in that area. Some of his boasts were justified, others less so; it had to be galling for Syrians to hear him present himself as a champion of “the rights and dignity of all human beings” without mentioning their country, where civilians are slaughtered by the thousands while the United States stands by. As with his domestic promises, he offered no new vision for challenges that have resisted his first-term efforts, such as Iran’s march toward acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The president offered an appealing, even a stirring, vision of a shared citizenship and commitment to democracy. “We don’t think government can solve all our problems,” he said. “But we don’t think government is the source of all our problems — any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.”
But the attractiveness of that vision made all the more frustrating Mr. Obama’s refusal to fill in any substance, his once again promising hard truths that he did not deliver. “They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan,” he said of the Republicans. If Mr. Obama has a plan, Americans who listened Thursday don’t know how he would achieve it.
Was it the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, or LA Times?
The answer is: The liberal Washington Post.
Economic Conditions: All weekend, Democratic party leaders kept fumbling their answer to a simple question: Are we better off than we were four years ago? There’s a good reason for that: We’re not.
It wasn’t until Monday that the campaign was able to figure out how to answer the question, with Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, saying, “Absolutely.”
Obama’s argument is simple: The economy was headed for a second Great Depression when he took office — hemorrhaging GDP and jobs. His stimulus, the auto bailouts and so on, prevented that, and the economy has since been slowly digging out of the massive ditch into which President Bush drove it. Thus, Obama says, he deserves an “incomplete” grade.
It’s quite a stretch that Obama stopped another depression. The recession ended just five months into his first term, before most of his policies had a chance to take effect. It’s an even bigger stretch to say that people’s lives have been improving during the 3-year-old Obama “recovery,” which started in June 2009.
By most measures the country isn’t making slow progress; it’s falling further behind. Some examples:
• Median incomes: These have fallen 7.3% since Obama took office, which translates into an average of $4,000. Since the so-called recovery started, median incomes continued to fall, dropping $2,544, or 4.8%.
• Long-term unemployed: More than three years into Obama’s recovery, 811,000 more still fall into this category than when the recession ended.
• Poverty: The poverty rate climbed to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009, and economists think it may have hit 15.7% last year, highest since the 1960s.
• Disability: More than 1 million workers have been added to Social Security’s disability program in the last three years.
• Gas prices: A gallon of gas cost $1.89 when Obama was sworn in. By June 2009, the price was $2.70. Today, it’s $3.84.
• Misery Index: When Obama took office, the combination of unemployment and inflation stood at 7.83. Today it’s 9.71.
• Union membership: Even unions are worse off under Obama, with membership dropping half a million between 2009 and 2011.
• Debt: Everyone is far worse off if you just look at the national debt. It has climbed more than $5 trillion under Obama, crossing $16 trillion for the first time on Tuesday and driving the U.S. credit rating down.
Ironically, the only people better off under Obama are corporate chieftains, who’ve seen corporate profits climb more than 50% under Obama’s “recovery,” and investors, who’ve benefited from a near-doubling in the Dow industrials from its March 2009 lows.”
…”“A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant,” Ryan said. “Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.”
When the Obama campaign heard that, they couldn’t yell “Liar!” loud enough. But the question remains, what exactly did Ryan say that’s not true? Did Obama say that? Yep — and there’s video to prove it. Did the plant shut down within the year? It did. Is it locked up and empty to this day? As anyone from Janesville knows, it certainly is.
So why is the Obama campaign so upset? Like so many things in this election, they don’t want to focus on how Obama’s promises have turned out. They want to blame somebody else for our problems. They are telling us the plant closed before Obama could put his policies in place. So we shouldn’t blame him for that.
But here’s where the Obama campaign’s argument goes off the rails — and here’s why Ryan’s speech scares them so much.
Ryan wasn’t blaming Obama for closing that Wisconsin plant. As he said in his speech. “President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two.” Ryan said, “Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account.”
This election is not about what happened before Obama become president. It’s about his failure to make things better, and it is about where we are going in the future.
Obama didn’t close that factory — but he hasn’t re-opened it either. Despite telling the people of Janesville that was the plan. When GM announced in October 2008 that it would be halting production there, then-candidate Obama said, “As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.”
Though Obama got his bailout, the people of Janesville are still waiting for that re-tooling. It’s that failure to accomplish the very goals he set out for himself that is the greatest indictment of Obama’s presidency.
The president has not brought prosperity back to Janesville.
“And that’s how it is in so many towns today,” Ryan said, “where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”
That’s a fact that no amount of spin or hysteria can change. And it’s a fact that seems to terrify the Obama campaign to its very core.”