Posts tagged ‘economy’

Obamanomics

All courtesy of zerohedge.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dancing with the Straw Man

For many, the post 2012 elections have been one of reflection and quite a bit of frustration. To sit back and watch the train wreck—especially after having warned about the impending doom for months, nay, years—is never fun, particularly when you are on that train. There is no gratification, nor righteous dignity in being proven correct. After all, you’re on the train and have more pressing issues at hand, like survival.

But events come along the way to expose the lies and highlight the liars. Despite the claims that it was a conspiracy against the Administration, perpetuating a sea of “racist” vitriol by wannabe clansmen wrapped in the American flag while waving the Gadsden flag, there was actual, legitimate concern based on facts and common sense. The greatest disappointment from the 2012 election is how the left got away with so much racial rhetoric and never once got called out by the “legitimate” media for rampant race baiting, racial lies, and racial distortions. Really, what we witnessed was the complete and total masking of an Administrations record with claims of racism. They didn’t need to actually prove anything, they just needed the accusations to fly in order to force denials and retorts long enough to mask their failures. Obama’s campaign was the epitome of the Straw Man.

Unfortunately, as Obama’s favorite racist pastor would say, “chickens are coming home to roost.” The March job numbers were projected to be ~190,000. The honest truth of the matter is this number, in and of itself, is anemic. America needs some 300,000+ jobs to maintain population growth and retirement (the later is clearly not much of a factor anymore in the Obama economy). So when the March number came out at 88,000, it was, as Obama’s former financial advisor Austan Goolsbee said, a “punch to the gut.” It was less than half of what was projected, a massive miss. Of course, the Administrations initial knee-jerk reaction was to blame it on Obama’s Sequester, which he has worked very, very hard to Staw Man—with gleeful and dedicated help from the lapdog media—as a Republican idea. While this is incredibly ironic, it is also woefully inaccurate. No, Obama’s Sequester is not the particular economic brainchild of this Administration to be responsible for the collapse in jobs, it was actually the Obama brainchild of increasing the payroll tax and, of course, Obamacare.

This is just the latest in a long—I mean a four plus year long—malaise of poor economic indicators that are the result of poor economic decision after poor economic decision by an Administration that is either grossly incompetent or grossly complicit in handcuffing our economy to a sinking anchor of debt while, almost intentionally, undermining economic progress with atrocious fiscal policy. The real irony is that the unemployment rate went down. That’s right, another data point in the Administration’s Straw Man that the economy is coming back and that the Administration’s ideas are creating jobs. Of course, this is complete and utter bullshit. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.6% because 663,000 people STOPPED LOOKING FOR WORK. This is not new. In fact, for literally years now, the unemployment rate decline has been a result of people leaving the labor market. Of course, the Administration has been waving it’s hand and touting the rate, not the reason of decline, as evidence of their success, but this is ultimately what Obama’s economic story of “success” looks like:

The folks at www.Zerohedge.com sum it up best:

This was the biggest monthly increase in people dropping out of the labor force since January 2012, when the BLS did its census recast of the labor numbers. And even worse, the labor force participation rate plunged from an already abysmal 63.5% to 63.3% – the lowest since 1979! But at least it helped with the now painfully grotesque propaganda that the US unemployment rate is “improving.”

This graphic does a fantastic job of exemplifying the disconnect between propaganda of job creation with the reality of labor participation:

There have been, of course, many other Staw Men setup by the Administration as well, and—unfortunately—the deceit paid off in the election. A large proportion of youth voted for Obama, the irony of which is that Obama has financially hurt the youth of this country more than any other President in modern times. Per the Wall Street Journal:

22.9%: The unemployment rate for Americans under age 25, adjusting for the decline in the labor force since the start of the recession.

Perhaps no group has been hit harder by the recession and grinding recovery than the young. The official unemployment rate for those under age 25 is 16.2%, more than double the rate for the population as a whole. In percentage terms, unemployment has fallen far more slowly for young people than for the wider population.

Of the 663,000 that dropped out of the labor force in March, 236,000 of them were under 25. And how about that “War on Women” the left consistently pushes, facts be damned? 315,000 of the mass exodus were women.

For the Administration, this is the New Normal:

This is, by no means, the end either. Higher taxes and intrusive, obstructive and burdensome policies will continue to prevent job growth, consumer confidence will continue to wane, and then the house of cards will tumble. The irony will be when the very fools who blindly swallowed Obama’s bait, fall into the sea of broken hopes pitched by the Chicago Jesus. The mirage is coming to an end, but it is really a shame in how many will be forced to starve in the desert because they were to naive to open their eyes and see the Straw Man for the deception that he is.

Math and Delusions

Two big financial bits from last week- the Dow and jobs. One hit a record, the other, not so much, but that hasn’t stopped the hysteria surrounding both. But first, there has been a lot of hype over Friday’s job numbers. 30 second “economists” in the MSM are touting the strong growth to the economy and how we are “obviously” in a strengthening recovery. Of course, all it takes is about three minutes of perusing through the subterfuge to find that things in Oz are not all the rosy.

 

So straight to the hype: the BLS reported Friday that February created 236,000 jobs. If you stopped thinking at this point—as most liberals and journalists seem to do—then you’d be happy. This was one of the highest job gains in a month for the Obama Administration (ever), which is frankly pretty pathetic considering Biden’s promise of 500,000+ jobs per month during the “Summer of Recovery” in…2010…that never happened. But this is the kicker: 296,000 left the labor force in February taking us to a record 89,304,000 out of the labor force. For those not challenged by Math, that’s 60,000 more people leaving the labor force than joining it in February. Now, not all of those leaving the labor market were job losses, after all, some people retired—whether they wanted to or not—and certainly some found that the pay for being unemployed is better than the pay for being employed. Regardless, we’re at a net negative in February—minus 60,000 workers—versus the mythical positive of 236,000 jobs. Of course, it is how you count the “jobs”, which means you ignore the workers, and therefore don’t count their decline, resulting in the exuberance of …wait for it…7.7% unemployment. Where’s the bubbly?

 

 

Well, before we pop the top, let us do a little more in qualitatively looking at the job numbers. The chart above shows the number of multiple job holders—that’s people with more than one job—which is important because in February (that magical month of 236,000 jobs, remember) saw the largest rise (340,000) in multiple job-holders. The number of full time jobs in February declined by 77,000 and the number of part-time jobs surged by 102,000. So, an honest question would be to ask: of that 236,000 “jobs” in February, how many are held by one person?

 

 

You can go here for a break down, specifically, of the job gains in the sectors, but I want highlight a couple things. As you can see from the chart above, the biggest gainer was in Professional and Business Services, which sounds great! That is, until you read this:

 

Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs in February; employment in the industry had changed little (+16,000) in January. In February, employment in administrative and support services, which includes employment services and services to buildings, rose by 44,000. Accounting and bookkeeping services added 11,000 jobs, and growth continued in computer systems design and in management and technical consulting services.

 

Yes, employment and building services are low wage positions, with a healthy chunk being part-time labor. And those 11,000 accounting and bookkeeping positions, well, it is tax season, so those will almost certainly be temporary, and most likely part-time or commission positions. Really, the only positive from this chart is the decline in government jobs, of course, those are states and counties who actually have to live within their means, versus a bloated federal work force that can—and does—just print more money to pay for its excess.

 

 

Regardless, again, we have a long, long ways to go before we’re back to the unemployment numbers of the previous Administration. But then, this love fest with the numbers will be short lived, mostly because they’ll be forgotten, or worse yet, the fallacy will be perpetuated. For instance, folks who follow this remember that in January, we added 157,000 jobs… or did we? How many people know that the January number was revised down to 119,000. That’s 38,000 fewer jobs, or a decline of 25% from the initial stats. Hell of a rounding error. But here is the humdinger: in January 2012 we added 311,000 jobs. The fact of the matter remains that the single greatest contributor to a declining unemployment rate is people abandoning the labor force all together, and thus not getting counted in the first place.

 

We continue to fail to add enough jobs to meet the death rate, let alone grow the economy, and this Administration continues to add road block after road block to the highway of employment. I firmly believe that we will be (officially) in a recession by the end of this year. I sincerely hope not, but I have no confidence that this Administration is interested in helping the economy. Not even a little…

…which brings us to the Dow. At one point, perhaps, there was some equivalency between how the stock market did and the health and strength of the economy. Those days seem to be long gone. There is so much gaming and blatant intellectual dishonesty that it is hard to fathom where lies the road and the edge of the cliff. Without belaboring the point, Zero Hedge did a fantastic job of pointing out the context surrounding the euphoria of the record Dow. Frankly, it speaks for itself…

 

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Then 14164.5; Now 14164.5
  • Regular Gas Price: Then $2.75; Now $3.73
  • GDP Growth: Then +2.5%; Now +1.6%
  • Americans Unemployed (in Labor Force): Then 6.7 million; Now 13.2 million
  • Americans On Food Stamps: Then 26.9 million; Now 47.69 million
  • Size of Fed’s Balance Sheet: Then $0.89 trillion; Now $3.01 trillion
  • US Debt as a Percentage of GDP: Then ~38%; Now 74.2%
  • US Deficit (LTM): Then $97 billion; Now $975.6 billion
  • Total US Debt Oustanding: Then $9.008 trillion; Now $16.43 trillion
  • US Household Debt: Then $13.5 trillion; Now 12.87 trillion
  • Labor Force Particpation Rate: Then 65.8%; Now 63.6%
  • Consumer Confidence: Then 99.5; Now 69.6
  • S&P Rating of the US: Then AAA; Now AA+
  • VIX: Then 17.5%; Now 14%
  • 10 Year Treasury Yield: Then 4.64%; Now 1.89%
  • USDJPY: Then 117; Now 93
  • EURUSD: Then 1.4145; Now 1.3050
  • Gold: Then $748; Now $1583
  • NYSE Average LTM Volume (per day): Then 1.3 billion shares; Now 545 million shares

 

Bottom line: when the economy collapses into recession, the market correction is going to be astronomical. Warren Buffet and George Soros aren’t pulling their money out of stocks for nothing—they see a massive correction coming and the fear is that it’ll wipe out the retirement savings of so many in the middle class. Be afraid, very afraid.

 

The Blatantly Obvious

This is a snippet of an article I recently read on the impact of Obamacare to the economy. There have been consistent, persistent and blatantly obvious obstructions placed in the road to business by this administration. The pResident has worked long and hard to not only ensure his economic malfeasance persists, but has been abetted by a willingly corrupt media in veiling the damage being done by the policies of the left. But first, a vignette:

 

I’m in the commercial real estate business, and have managed commercial properties for more than 20 years. A friend of mine has been in the real estate services business, providing everything from janitorial services to window washing to parking lot repairs for about as long. In fact, the company I work for was his first account. In the last 20 years, he has expanded from a handful of full-time employees to 150 full-time employees. I recently discussed with him his concerns about the effect of Obamacare on his business. Most of his employees are in lower-skill occupations and so only earn $10 – $15 per hour. He cannot afford to tack on health care benefits equal to another $3.50 to $5.50 per hour without going broke. His more affordable alternative would be to pay the $2,000 per employee fee, which would effectively erase his entire 2012 profit from his business. In essence, this one provision is the equivalent of a 90% – 100% tax on his typical net business income. Worse yet, since the law does not allow the $2,000 per employee charge as a deductible business expense, he’ll have to pay federal income tax on approximately $240,000 of business income he didn’t get. Implicit in the law (or perhaps it is explicit) is the notion that it is the responsibility of employers to provide health insurance to their employees, and if they don’t they are bad people, greedy capitalists exploiting the working class, and deserve to be punished.

What is my friend to do? He can raise his prices and risk losing business from people like me who will then need to cut back on his services, or who will go to his smaller competitors with fewer than 50 employees who are not (yet) subject to the fee. Or he can cut back the hours of his employees until he has fewer than 50 working full-time. Or he can fire most of his employees and tell them they are on their own as independent contractors, and he may be able to subcontract with them from time-to-time for specific jobs. None of these alternatives are good for the business owner, his customers, his employees, or the economy in general.

This is what you get when people sheltered all their lives in government and community organizing, with little knowledge of how businesses actually operate, are put in charge of crafting far-reaching economic policies. This is what you get from people who don’t recognize businesses as the drivers of employment, economic growth, and higher standards of living, but see them as entities that need to be regulated, managed, and controlled by government for the “public good.” This is what you get from people who deride the idea that successful businesses are created by their owners working long hours, developing good ideas, and putting capital at risk, but instead are the creations of government and the community at large.

http://spectator.org/archives/2013/02/06/the-coming-obamacare-recession

 

This, of course, brings to mind another worthy read and a great window into the future of America: Baltimore. From the article:

 

The Baltimore city government is on a path to financial ruin and must enact major reforms to stave off bankruptcy, according to a 10-year forecast the city commissioned from an outside firm.

 

But it was this nugget, buried towards the bottom that really stood out to me:

 

Baltimore already has the highest property taxes in Maryland — twice as high as in neighboring Baltimore County. The city’s local income taxes are the highest allowed under state law. While the city enacted some new taxes to deal with the 2010 deficit — including taxes on bottled beverages and higher hotel and parking levies — city officials say they can’t tax their way out of the problem without driving away residents and businesses.

“We’ve got to go from a vicious cycle to a virtuous cycle. That starts with a good, stable fiscal foundation for the city government,” said Andrew Kleine, the city’s budget director. “When you’ve lost so much population and the tax base has shrunk, it’s very difficult to deal with.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/06/city-baltimore-is-on-path-to-financial-ruin-report-says/?cmpid=prn_aol&icid=maing-grid10%7chtmlws-main-bb%7cdl1%7csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D266688#ixzz2KES5HKSW

 

To me, this is so damn obvious that it boggles the mind why it hasn’t been pointed out—and history has born out the fruits of this on a national level—CUT SPENDING AND TAXES. Reagan did it and it worked swimmingly. Anyone who knows anything about personal finance, or who has gone through debt counseling, knows that you CANNOT have financial stability and success if you don’t cease excessive spending.

We just saw that the last quarter of economic activity contracted. “Austerity” has been blamed for the GDP decline, except for the inconvenient fact that U.S. deficit spending went up—technically the exact opposite of “austerity”. The economy contracted because people have less confidence, less money, and lower paying, part-time jobs; all a direct result of Obama Administration policy. This is also know as an EPIC FAIL.

The economy is not going to take off this year. Hell, we’ll be lucky not to go into a recession this year.

 

Some more quality reading, which should of course be done away from a ledge or window…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-06/spot-government-subsidized-channel-stuffed-recovery

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-07/initial-claims-miss-second-week-row-nonfarm-productivity-tumbles-most-2008

 

 

Exposed

Since Paul Ryan was announced to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, we’ve heard non-stop about the “Ryan Plan” and how it was a gold mine for the left in their fight against Romney. This was it! This was going to be the stepping stone to another four years of his Majesties reign! The Messiah would come again and fundamentally change this nation! The seas would recede, the masses would be blessed – halleluiah, we’d all be saved from ourselves and those evil Republicans.

Except for one little problem.

Actually, ‘problem’ isn’t the right word. It’s a question, dared to be asked:

What is Obama’s Plan?

This seems to have caused great consternation, for no one can explain it. No one can point to it. No one can even articulate the premise it’ll be conceived from. We know, we’ve asked.

Of course, this leaves us with but one course, just one road that can provide insight into what we can expect out of Obama, and that would be the road we’ve been on. 8+ percent unemployment. Record debt, record poverty, record hopelessness. You want to know what Obama’s plan is for Medicare? Look at what he’s done- suck the funds from that entitlement program to fund his own entitlement program. Liberals will tell you that all he did was take money from the insurance companies, so its OK. Really? In an industry that operates on a 1-2% profit margin, do you really think they’ll just suck up $716 billion dollars? Of course not, they are going to transfer those costs to the patients because they have to recoup the funds from somewhere.

Ha, tag, you’re it.

Obama and the left have been exposed. The silence is deafening. The fact that we are about to get into September – just two months till election day – and Obama, nor any of his bots, can articulate or point to a single plan to deal with the pressing issues of this nation speaks volumes. He has been a complete and utter failure as a leader and as a president. And the fact that he thinks that he doesn’t have to tell us what he’s going to do in any substantial way is insulting and degrading.

The mantra for the Obama campaign might as well be, “you’ll have to elect me to see what I’ll do.

No, we don’t. We’re going to look at you now, just like we’re gonna look at you in two months…

…through the rear view mirror.