Category Archives: Money

June Unemployment = Cold Porridge

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly employment situation for June this morning and a mixed top line almost hides some really scary internals.

The headline numbers were that June added 223k jobs which, by government counting standards, dropped the unemployment rate to 5.3%.

Black unemployment still leads all other demographics at 9.5%.

Some important revisions to the April and May numbers were announced as well. April was reduced from +221,000 to +187,000 jobs and May revised down from +280,000 to +254,000 – a 60k job reduction in total.

With the revisions in place, and supposing that June takes a similar 30k reduction, June appears to show a drop from May and only a slight increase from May.

The jobs increases came mainly in the areas of healthcare, retail and professional services with smaller gains in transportation and warehousing. But 71,000 jobs were lost in the mining sector mainly due to petroleum price-driven reduction in drilling rig counts and continued losses in coal mining due to over-regulation.

The remaining internals show an incredible weak jobs market where no wage inflation is likely any time soon.

People of working age that actually had jobs in June dropped by 432,000 people which dropped the labor force participation rate to 62.6% – the worst showing since October of 1977 (remember 1977?) This drop is not a one-time-off thing – May saw the labor force drop by almost the same amount. The reduction is illustrative of a jobs market that is not keeping up with graduation rates and those coming of age to work.

An area of concern is youth employment stayed at 18.1% despite the overall unemployment rate decrease. Are more adults taking jobs traditionally held by teenage workers?

A look at underemployment reveals another concern. The number remains steady at 6.5 million. That’s almost 7 million people that have taken part-time work that would rather have a full-time job. This likely continues to provide pressure on the underskilled and youth workforce.

The remainder of the drop in the labor force is likely due to those just giving up on finding work. Boomers will just retire and take their social security. Younger workers have been flocking to disability if they can get it.

While the headline numbers fit the “Goldie-locks” – not too bad, not too good – scenario, the internals look like pure, cold porridge.

BLS June 2015 Employment Situation Report [Full Text]

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until USDL-15-1274
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, July 2, 2015

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JUNE 2015

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in June, and the unemployment
rate declined to 5.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade,
financial activities, and in transportation and warehousing.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.3 percent in June, and
the number of unemployed persons declined by 375,000 to 8.3 million. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.8 percent),
adult women (4.8 percent), and blacks (9.5 percent) edged down in June, while the rates
for teenagers (18.1 percent), whites (4.6 percent), Asians (3.8 percent), and Hispanics
(6.6 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by
381,000 to 2.1 million in June. These individuals accounted for 25.8 percent of the
unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined
by 955,000. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force declined by 432,000 in June, following an increase of similar
magnitude in May. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.3 percentage point
to 62.6 percent in June. The employment-population ratio, at 59.3 percent, was
essentially unchanged in June and has shown little movement thus far this year.
(See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers), at 6.5 million, changed little in June. These
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time
job. (See table A-8.)

In June, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for
a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because
they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
(See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 653,000 discouraged workers in June,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.3 million persons marginally
attached to the labor force in June had not searched for work for reasons such as
school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in June, compared with an average
monthly gain of 250,000 over the prior 12 months. In June, job gains occurred in
professional and business services, health care, retail trade, financial activities,
and in transportation and warehousing. (See table B-1.)

Employment in professional and business services increased by 64,000 in June, about
in line with the average monthly gain of 57,000 over the prior 12 months. In June,
employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (+20,000), in architectural
and engineering services (+4,000), and in computer systems design and related services
(+4,000).

Health care added 40,000 jobs in June. Job gains were distributed among the three
component industries–ambulatory care services (+23,000), hospitals (+11,000), and
nursing and residential care facilities (+7,000). Employment in health care had grown
by an average of 34,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

Employment in retail trade increased by 33,000 in June and has risen by 300,000 over
the year. In June, general merchandise stores added 10,000 jobs.

In June, employment in financial activities increased by 20,000, with most of the
increase in insurance carriers and related activities (+9,000) and in securities,
commodity contracts, and investments (+7,000). Commercial banking employment
declined by 6,000. Employment in financial activities has grown by 159,000 over
the year, with insurance accounting for about half of the gain.

Transportation and warehousing added 17,000 jobs in June. Employment in truck
transportation continued to trend up over the month (+7,000) and has increased by
19,000 over the past 3 months.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in June
(+30,000) and has increased by 355,000 over the year.

Employment in mining continued to trend down in June (-4,000). Since a recent
high in December 2014, employment in mining has declined by 71,000, with losses
concentrated in support activities for mining.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing,
wholesale trade, information, and government, showed little or no change over
the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 34.5 hours
in June for the fourth month in a row. The manufacturing workweek for all employees
edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to
3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private
nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls were
unchanged at $24.95. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.0 percent.
Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees
edged up by 2 cents to $20.99 in June. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +221,000
to +187,000, and the change for May was revised from +280,000 to +254,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 60,000 lower than
previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month.

_____________
The Employment Situation for July is scheduled to be released on Friday, August 7, 2015,
at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

The Big Squeeze – How Obama Killed the Middle Class

Wal-mart is no longer the only retailer full of cheap, poorly-made foreign goods, American cars are made in Mexico and middle-income earners are extinct.

That’s the economy President Obama is setting up for the United States.

barack_obama_overtime exemptionTwo major agenda items for the President will cause the collapse of the manufacturing and start-up sector. The trans-pacific partnership (TPP) and his new push for raising the ceiling for overtime exemption.

The overtime exemption change won’t have the effect the president expects. Instead of magically raising everyone’s income, it will likely hurt millions of Americans:

“This change is likely to have the opposite of its intended effect and will clearly harm more workers than it helps,” Robert Cresanti, a spokesman for the International Franchise Association, said in an e-mail. “Millions of salaried workers will now become hourly and lose out on key benefits such as workplace flexibility and long term advancement opportunities. This is just the latest example of the Obama Administration unnecessarily meddling in the everyday management of small businesses.”

Obama’s proposed  change will likely force many lower level managers and technical workers into hourly pay and businesses will have no choice but to cap their hours to maintain their budgets. With inflation at historic lows, business have no ability to raise prices – so incomes cannot be increased simply because the president wills it so.

“There simply isn’t a magic pot of money that lets employers pay more just because the government says so,” said David French, National Retail Federation’s Senior VP for Government Relations.

One alternative will be to find someone who will do the job for a lower hourly wage (H1 visas anyone?) so that the overtime costs the company nothing additional. For factories, a more likely approach will be to move manufacturing plants overseas or over the border where U.S. labor laws don’t apply.

The TPP is perhaps the final blow. Making the flow of imports much easier from countries with less stringent labor laws and non-existent safety regulations means that American companies would be crazy not to relocate their plants overseas and import the products back into the country to satisfy the veracious American consumer.

This two-pronged attack will continue the death of the American worker that NAFTA started when it sent textile manufacturer, auto makers and electronics plants to foreign countries so that they could re-import their previously American-made products back into the U.S. for less cost than it took to make it in the United States in the first place.

Highly paid super-skilled workers and extremely low paid unskilled workers will be all that remain – a service economy that imports everything it needs.

Greece collapse begins

The PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have been under scrutiny for months due to their unsupportable mountains of debt in comparison to their incomes – on Monday, Greece may be the first to go down.

Despite Greek Priminister Tsipras’ plea for calm in this video:

Greeks lined up to drain ATMs of every ounce of cash they contained.

greeks line up for ATMs

 

Reports say that Greece will not open banks on Monday at a minimum and it may take days or longer to get them open due to lack of cash.

Greece said it would temporarily close banks on Monday in a bid to prevent its banking system from collapsing after the European Central Bank moved to cap the amount of emergency loans it provides for the country’s cash-strapped lenders.

The ECB said earlier on Sunday that it wouldn’t increase the lifeline of emergency liquidity that has been sustaining Greece’s banks, even as nervous Greek depositors appeared to withdraw their money at a greater pace over the weekend.

Zerohedge is reporting that the Greek stock market may not open Monday. Without capital inflows, why would they?

This entire event is due to debt. Just debt. Nothing more than debt. It’s what happens when a nation offers services it cannot possibly pay fore and as Margaret Thatcher put it “eventually runs out of other people’s money.”

The United States should watch what happens to Greece closely as America’s debt-to-GDP is even worse than it looks. Remember that the government decided to include R&D and pension write-downs in GDP just recently. That only makes GDP look better while the government hides how bad American debt really is.

Do Capitalists Understand Basic Economics? Disney Doesn’t Appear To.

The American Chamber of Commerce and many domestic employers are letting all Americans down and negatively impacting our economy by firing domestic employees and hiring foreign replacements. They threaten their own future profits and business prospects as well as the nation’s welfare.

The misuse of the H-1B visa program and other failings has for some time been used to get rid of experienced domestic employees who are seen as being too expensive and in turn hiring foreign workers at a lower cost. Not only is this kind of thinking going to hurt many Americans who have worked hard, achieved an education and been true to their employer for a number of years, but it’s going to impact the entire middle class.

How can these clever people make such dumb short-term labor decisions that will have such long-term impact on their own profits?  Disney is one of the most recent companies found doing this very thing, but what Disney doesn’t seem to understand is that the domestic employees they fire will no longer be able to afford to visit its amusement parks, see its movies nor take cruises on its ships, and neither will the underpaid foreign hires who replace them.  So with these firings they have lost many past and potential customers.  When this sort of decision is multiplied by many companies doing the same thing, the economy as a whole will take a big, negative hit and unemployment will increase.  Obama has caused the current recession/depression to last longer than it should have with his enormous spending and EPA and Obamacare costs, but now employers are adding their mistakes to the president’s, which will only add more drag to any possible economic recovery (which recovery, by the way, has not happened).  And Disney is taking these draconian measures at a time when its corporate income is fine; it’s not like they need to cut labor costs to make a profit.

Risking long-term earnings, stability and negative public reaction for short-term labor savings is not a good plan.  It hurts us all.

 

What We Need From Our Next President

President Ronald ReaganAs the pool of aspiring presidential candidates grows by the day, one can’t help but hope that the electorate’s appetite for economic improvement under a term or two of a new president will likewise increase. After eight years of burgeoning government hegemony, diminution of personal liberty, assault on the free enterprise system and middle class family incomes, the last thing we need is perpetuation of the stagnant and fiscally stifling policies of the Obama administration. Perhaps we should look back, as we look forward, determining the nation’s course under a new president.

The last time the U.S. floundered with such a moribund economy was when the misery index (inflation plus unemployment) spiked over 20 at the end of the Carter administration. With rather constrained inflation, and government underreporting of real unemployment (Department of Labor U6 is still over 10%) our misery index is nowhere near Carter’s abysmal economic mishandling. But the sluggish economy, declining median income, and negligible economic expansion are taking their toll not just on the middle class, but the whole country.

Reagan-Obama-November-11But looking back to 1980 and how a new president, with congressional help, was able to reverse the negative trends, as well as instill hope for the future, is an example that begs repeating. If we’re to have any hope for our children and grandchildren’s future, it’s an example that must be repeated!

Carter’s economic policies had perpetuated the inordinately high tax rates of the previous decade, limiting job growth and capital investment, while generating less tax revenue due to the stagnant economy. Yet following the passage and implementation of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1982, unemployment dropped 45%; private domestic investment grew 77%, and economic growth averaged over 4.5% annually. The consumer price index, a measure of inflation, rose only 17% over the next ten years, far below the one-year peak of 13.5% the last year of the Carter term. Real income of every income bracket increased while tax receipts doubled from 1980 to 1990, from $500 billion to over $1 trillion.

Real GDP Growth (Recovery)The Reagan administration deregulated many industries, reducing the cost of doing business significantly, including oil, making energy cheaper. A new U.S.-Canadian free trade agreement was inked, and savings and investment encouraged by the creation of IRAs and 401(k) plans. A whole new investor class was created, as most Americans now had “skin in the game” of economic expansion. And they were richly rewarded, as the GDP increased by 77%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than doubled.

National debt continued to grow under Reagan, but that was more the culpability of a spendthrift congress headed by Speaker Tip O’Neil. Twice Reagan sent balanced budget recommendations to Congress, both of which were carried to the capitol in an ambulance so Speaker O’Neil could declare them DOA (dead on arrival).

Cumulative Job Growth ComparisonSpending on education, social services, and healthcare nearly doubled over eight years, while federal outlays on commerce, housing credits, and regional development were decreased by nearly 22%. The federal civilian workforce was reduced by 5% as well. The deficit, as a share of GDP, was cut more than in half, from 6.3% to 2.9% by the time Reagan left office. A vibrant, growing, and healthy economy made that possible, even with the spending increases.

National defense was a priority in the Reagan years, as exemplified by a near doubling of the annual military budget over his two terms. When told in a cabinet meeting that he couldn’t spend that much on the military, the president responded, “Look, I am the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief. My primary responsibility is the security of the United States. … If we don’t have security, we’ll have no need for social programs.”

GrowthInPerCapitaGDP80sVsCurrentThe strengthened and expanded military validated Reagan’s defense mantra: peace through strength. Due to our significant military investment, the cold war never evolved to a hot one, and the Soviet state collapsed in part due to their inability to match our burgeoning military capabilities.

Researching the economic “report cards” of postwar presidents, Harvard economist Robert Barro claims, based on the raw data alone, Reagan easily has the top scores. “Using the change each year in inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and growth in gross national product, Reagan ranks first. He engineered the largest reduction in the misery index in history—50 percent.”

This is not intended to heap adulation on a former president, but to illustrate what can happen nationally when tried and true principles are applied in governance. Rather than perpetuating the failed Obama doctrines intended to fundamentally transform America, a return to the economic principles that made the nation great will resurrect the indomitable free enterprise engine of America, unleashing our ability to work, produce, and compete, and hopefully get a handle on our out-of-control spending.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Consider the Economic Situation We’re In

Some say another collapse is soon to come, others praise the approaching uptrend of commerce and opportunity, but the truth .. is about the situation we’re already in.

The United States Federal Reserve sets monetary policy for the nation. They have  had interest rates at 0% for many years. The Fed has also been dumping a ton of cash into the markets to create liquidity – but why?

When an economy is struggling, some economists believe that the best remedy is to create a credit-friendly economy. Within limits, credit creates opportunity and the interest creates profits. Those profits create more money and the cycle perpetuates – or so the fable goes.

What happens when no one can take on any more credit? What happens when 0% isn’t low enough? What happens when liquidity can’t propel an economy and another recession is due? Welcome to 2015 – and the federal reserve has nothing left to give.

It is possible that we are about to experience the depression that the Obama recession was intended to prevent.

What proof is there that such a calamity may strike? Well, there is financial news that the MSM doesn’t share with you:

There are more.. but Americans are being fed a steady diet of “everything’s getting better” to create a “happy place” so that U.S. citizens will take out more debt and buy more stuff – WHY???

If the American consumer shuts down – down goes the world. Without Americans buying semi-broken Chinese furniture and accessories from Wal-Mart – the Chinese would suffer.

If U.S. consumers no longer needed Levi jeans made in Mexico or fruit from Central America – those nations would suffer.

Trade deals we have negotiated and some under negotiation now seek to even the playing field – for those other nations. American will be lowered to the norm and they will be raised towards it. Bad for us, good for them.

It’s all about leveling the playing field – for them. At some point, isn’t access to the American market worth a premium?

What Obama and some before him have failed to understand is that America must negotiate trade from strength because we are strong. Once we stop acting that way, we will be as weak as nations we bargain with.

Before long, the U.S.A will be just as weak as those she bargains with – and now, the central bankers have no tools left to fix it.

Younger Worker Unemployment at 13.6% in May

banksy-youth-unemploymentThe government came out with May jobs numbers that sounded amazing – but for whom?

Generation Opportunity, a national, non-partisan youth advocacy organization, is announcing its Millennial Jobs Report for May 2015. The data is non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) and is specific to 18-29 year olds:

The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 13.6 percent (NSA). The (U-3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 9.1 percent (NSA).
The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.791 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 19.2 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 16.5 percent (NSA).
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics is 13.9 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 10.3 percent (NSA).
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old women is 11.6 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 8.6 percent (NSA).
Generation Opportunity Director of Policy Engagement Luke Kenworthy issued the following statement:

“Young people do have some reason to be optimistic about their futures as they continue to see economic conditions improve for our generation this year. May’s jobs report shows a 13.6 percent youth unemployment rate, down 0.6 percent from where we started at the beginning of 2015.

“While we’re encouraged, we also know there are still far too many obstacles in place preventing our generation from exercising our entrepreneurial muscles and creating jobs for ourselves. Excessive government regulations are preventing us from doing the simplest of things – driving for Uber, renting out our homes, or opening a food truck.

“Millennials are key drivers of the American economy – we should be able to pursue our dreams, explore new ideas, and distrupt the status quo. Our generation will flourish when Washington releases its grip on trying to control our futures.”

The True U.S. Economy Most Ignore – Powerful Note from the Middle Class

The Wall Street Journal published a blog post entitled “A Letter to Stingy American Consumers” that was obviously a tongue-in-cheek poke at why consumer demand is so weak in the “recovery” that the fed and Obama officials pretend is happening.

The post was truly sataristic in nature so no fault is placed on WSJ for the article, but it does point out the real reason the American economy continues to struggle – Americans have no money left with which to buy stuff. And this guy points out the real issues for American families:

Dear Mr Hilsenrath and your Central Bank Team,

 

 

This is Joe from the disappearing Middle Class in America.  You asked me the other day to drop you a note if I felt that something was wrong.

 

 

What I’m having trouble with is “why” you’re asking me if anything is wrong!  ?

 

 

So let me explain.

 

 

Regarding the weather, as you stated, the sun shined in April.  It was also overcast some days some places, rained a few spots here and there, was nice quite a few days and even got dark on time, most evenings.  And the Commerce Department is spot on that my spending didn’t increase any adjusted for the inflation that you all keep telling me isn’t there.  Have you tried to buy some hamburger recently or do you just eat out on a corporate credit card?  The price of a pack of spaghetti has doubled over the past 3 years.  Me and Mrs. J along with the kids kinda like spaghetti now and then and the Mrs. even made a great Bolognese sauce, but the hamburger got too expensive as has the spaghetti, so we had to cut back.   So you’re right, we did sit at home and watch Dancing with the Stars a lot.  It’s what we can afford.  So, I really don’t get what you guys mean by those “winter doldrums” because things have gotten worse independent of the weather.  The weather’s had nothing at all to do with it.

 

 

And talking about worse, you’re right.  I did get fired in late 2008 from a high paying salaried job with benefits when the economy dumped due to the Lehman Brothers shock.   Since then I’ve been holding down a part time greeters job at Home Depot with no benefits.  I even took on a second part time job with no benefits at another place because I was getting bored watching television all day.  Plus, we could use the extra money as our savings has been depleted.  And we’re very worried about our health and the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing.  But I guess you probably have a health care plan paid for by the Wall Street Journal.  Why, feeling particularly liberated, Mrs. Joe’s even picked up a couple of part time jobs, as well.  “Arbeit macht frei” seems to have taken on a whole new meaning these days for whole bunch of us out here.

 

 

And then when the stock market collapsed, our 401(k)s got wiped out as we’d been buying all the great stuff that the professionals on CNBC and and our broker had told us were “bullet proof”.  See, I had to rely on somebody, because I’m not a professional investment manager and really don’t have a lot of financial savvy.  I was just doing what my government suggested, that I was liberated by doing my own investing in my own 410(k).  I guess not.  And yes, when I got scared to death, right at the bottom of the market, I sold all the stuff and wound up with next to nothing for retirement.  And since we don’t have full time jobs with any benefits, it’s kind of a moot point that my market timing was bad, isn’t it?  So when you think of all the wealth being gleaned by people invested in stocks, none of us few guys left in Middle America have any stocks, period.

 

 

But it is what it is, isn’t it?   Maybe you should understand that as well: we’ve not benefited from any largess bestowed upon the “system”, zero interest rates since nobody loans me money at zero %, or rising stock prices.  Lemme know if you can tell me where to issue 100 year zero coupon bonds like them Brazilians, OK? (Even I get that! Great math, because I’m not gonna make it for 100 years, am I?)

 

 

I know that you said that you guys in the newsroom think that these shocks were a long time ago, and they were, indeed.  But you see, I’ve had a bad experience since 2008 and the only thing happened is that it’s gotten worse, since.  Guess you never took the hit, did you?  Maybe that’s why you’ve no empathy with my situation.  Nope, no empathy whatsoever, all you guys in good jobs talking with one another and the Wall Street tycoons and gainfully employed high income earners.

 

 

And I’ll bet that your kids who just graduated college, both of ‘em in the last 4 years, didn’t have trouble getting decent jobs, did they?  Well, both of ours didn’t get any job straight out of school, looked for over a year and now have part time, no benefits jobs, just like mom and dad.  And they both graduated from great schools with real employable skills.  Little Joe has a degree in Marketing and Little Mrs. J in Journalism.  Would you be looking for anybody at the Journal?  I didn’t think so.  What about those people who all work for the government making all sorts of rubbish up out of thin air and calling it news?  I don’t know any, either.  By the way, the kids live at home because neither can afford anything on their own.

 

 

So, you and the American economy might just not want to hold your collective breaths waiting for any of us to spend money on anything, because we can’t afford it.  Do you understand now?  And talking about phones, do you know where can I get an ObiePhone, because I can’t afford all the monthly bills for the four of us, anymore.  Let me know.  And buy the way, I fully understand that the Greeks and Chinese are not as well off as we.  In fact we know that there are kids starving in Africa.  So, do something about it, you’re the people with all the influence!  And what’s any of that straw-man rubbish about Greeks and Chinese got to do with the four of us having a tough go of it?  And no, we haven’t been able to pay down any of our debt as we don’t have the disposable income.  In fact, if we had a windfall maybe we’d use it to to pay off the second mortgage that everybody told us to get because home prices were going to go up forever (just ask the CNBC folks again) and nobody asked us anything about our assets or incomes.  They called us NINJA’s and that we were smart and brave.  Lot of good that did, no?

 

 

So John, here’s the real scoop.  We ain’t got the resources to spend anymore on anything except what is absolutely necessary.  Oh, you ask, who then are the folks crowding the cruise ships and tattoo parlors?  We’d guess they’re the people on government assistance that we’re supporting on de minimis hourly wages and no benefits that the government showers with our tax money in order to buy their votes.  Didn’t think I knew that, did you?  Well, we all do.  And no, we’re not racist, radical or anything of the ilk for disliking it.

 

 

So, hope you get my take on all this.  And if you’re left wondering, maybe read it a couple more times because the truth of the matter is right there.  And please remember us during the next big holiday, when the Joe family will most likely be lucky to be splurging, stretching it, with a plate of spaghetti Bolognese.

 

 

Joe

Sure, some people have a little extra, but as a whole, the economy is creating crappy jobs to replace the great jobs that used to exist.

Very few people are buying new homes (or existing homes for that matter), recent college graduates are taking jobs they could have gotten without that $40k in debt. That means high-school grads are fighting illegal immigrants for the jobs that remain.

nov-2013-obamacare-economy-cartoonLastly, Obamacare is making health insurance nearly unaffordable for most in middle-America. Sure, it made it basically free for the poor, but the rest of the citizenry can’t afford it.

The only result of all of this is deflation – precisely why the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program(s) have failed to produce the inflation they expected.

Congratulations – the economy is recovering, but the American citizen is not.

Lots of Weak Economic Data Today

economy11The latest economic reports show a slowing in the U.S. economy that “experts” had failed to see coming.

Today, the National Association of Realtors released their report on the sales of existing homes. The number of previously-owned homes that sold dropped 3.3% where analysts had expected a slight increase.

Unemployment filings increased more than expected last week according to a report released today.

Thursday also saw the release of the flash reading of the mid-Atlantic Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI). The report showed that growth in orders has declined to the lowest it’s been since January of 2014.

The National Association of Home Builders Confidence Index dropped two points to 54. “Consumers are exhibiting caution, and want to be on more stable financial footing before purchasing a home,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

The struggle to achieve growth has come despite incredibly accommodating monetary policy from the Federal Reserve. Lately, the Feds policies seem ineffective which will likely lead to an increase in interest rates later this year – whether the economy has recovered or not.

Deflation – but not why some say

The U.S. economy is beginning to swirl around the drain as a catastrophic bout of deflation may be rearing it’s ugly head. But it’s not due to Americans’ unwillingness to spend.

CNBC’s Alex Rosenberg surmises that the coming deflationary spiral is a failure of the fed’s policies to get Americans to spend more:

This despite years of ultra-loose monetary policy, which theoretically should spur inflation by making it more attractive to spend rather than save money.

The blame may need to be redirected just a bit.

Average Americans aren’t stuffing dollar bills into their mattresses or putting everything in tangible assets – they just don’t have anything left to spend. The only ones with money are the ultra-wealthy and they make up a very small part of the economic engine. The mega-rich will only drive up the price of rare art and really big boats.

The U.S. savings rate from March to April actually saw a drop that matches one of the largest in recent history from July-to-August in 2014. The money isn’t getting socked away.

The real movers of the American economy have been sidelined by free trade policies (NAFTA), expensive regulations (Obamacare) and the government taking money out of the economy instead of leaving it out to do what money wants to do – be spent.

A typical American family might have opted for a less-expensive medical plan prior to Obamacare, but now if they do, they get hit with a penalty at tax time. That moves more money from consumers to insurance companies (or the IRS) who have little reason to spend more than they have to. Insurance companies have to save those pennies for whatever new rule HHS dreams up next and every one of those rules is very expensive.

Open trade policies and unfriendly corporate tax rules have pushed lucrative manufacturing jobs and a boat-load of cash outside the country. If it doesn’t get spent here, it doesn’t grow the economy here.

The deflationary spiral isn’t because American’s don’t want to spend. It’s because Americans are cash-strapped and American businesses are being hampered by idiotic (pronounced Keynesian) economic policies.

While deflation is happening, hold on to cash if you are able – whatever it is you need will be cheaper soon.

The Secret Bank of England

With the enactment of the privately owned central bank, the Bank of England provided the model for the financial enslavement of governments, and their citizens. Well before the conflict for establishing a National Bank in America or the eventual surrender to the money changers with the betrayal in instituting the Federal Reserve, the history of the Bank of England needs to be studied. Relying on British historians may seem to invoke a cultural bias; however, the range and wealth of information on this topic comes from an earlier age. Further research will expand this understanding and many of the sources cited can fulfill this objective.

For purposes of a mainstream account, the official site of the Bank of England provides a flowery version about the background and purported success of the scheme proposed by   “William Paterson, envisaged a loan of £1,200,000 to the Government, in return for which the subscribers would be incorporated as the “Governor and Company of the Bank of England”. Although the new bank would have risked its entire capital by lending it to the Government, the subscription proved popular and the money was raised in a few weeks. The Royal Charter was sealed on 27 July 1694, and the Bank started its role as the Government’s banker and debt-manager, which it continues today.”

“The bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.”

– William Paterson

THE FORMATION OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND by Halley Goodman provides a detailed and well sourced chronicle and background.

“The goldsmiths evolved to become the original private bankers of the time. Since  goldsmiths already had as part of their trade private stores of gold and stout vaults to store them in, entrepreneurs could entrust their own gold to them for safe keeping, for a fee, and receive a paper receipt for the deposit. The goldsmiths could then lend monies against these deposits for an additional fee. Mr. Hartley Winters declares that “some ingenious goldsmith conceived the epock-making notion of giving notes…and so founded modern banking.” Merchants would deposit “their money with the goldsmiths and received from them receipts” that “…were payable on demand, and were transferred from one holder to another in payment of debts.” These receipts or notes from the goldsmith bankers, often in the form of a letter, are some of the earliest surviving cheques in England. Given the economic realities of the time, although deposits provided the funds for their business, most of the clients of these goldsmith bankers were usually borrowers rather than depositors.”

From such humble origins, the foundation was laid to invent a central bank that would create money out of thin air and loan it at interest to the government, who lost it sovereignty for making this Faustian bargain.

Secrets of the Bank of England Revealed at Last!!

The Charter of the Bank of England (1694) with the Great Seal of William and Mary. The first usury central bank to be incorporated in England.

The Bank of England account, published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin cites a rocky start and opposition from the goldsmiths.

“In 1696 (very soon after its birth) the Bank experienced a crisis. There was a want of money in England. The clipped silver had been called in, and the new money was not ready. Even rich people were living on credit, and issued promissory notes. The stock of the Bank of England had gone rapidly down from 110 to 83. The goldsmiths, who detested the corporation that had broken in on their system of private banking, now tried to destroy the new company. They plotted, and on the same day they crowded to Grocers’ Hall, where the Bank was located from 1694 to 1734, and insisted on immediate payment—one goldsmith alone demanding £30,000. The directors paid all their honest creditors, but refused to cash the goldsmiths’ notes, and left them their remedy in Westminster Hall. The goldsmiths triumphed in scurrilous pasquinades entitled, “The Last Will and Testament,” “The Epitaph,” “The Inquest on the Bank of England.”

It did not take long for the Jewish bankers to set their sights on Paterson’s bank and financers for the English regime. Brother Nathanael Kapner adds his audacious viewpoints.

“The new King William III soon got England involved in costly wars against Catholic France which put England deep into debt. Here was the Jewish bankers’ chance to collect. So King William, under orders from the Elders of Zion in Amsterdam, persuaded the British Treasury to borrow 1.25 million pounds sterling from the Jewish bankers who had helped him to the throne.

Since the state’s debts had risen dramatically, the government had no choice but to accept. But there were conditions attached: The names of the lenders were to be kept secret and that they be granted a Charter to establish a Central Bank of England. Parliament accepted and the Jewish bankers sunk their tentacles into Great Britain.”

Actual control of the fiat central bank is discussed in Who owns the Bank of England?

“A very famous story relates to the Bank of England and the infamous Rothschilds, that all powerful banking family. This story was re-told recently in a BBC documentary about the creation of money and the Bank of England.

It revolves around the Battle of Waterloo in which Nathan Rothschild used his inside knowledge of the outcome and his faster horses and couriers to play the market by getting the result of the battle before anyone else knew the outcome.

He quickly sold his English bonds and gave all the traders who looked to him for guidance the impression that the French had won at Waterloo.

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Secretary_Kerry_Participates_in_the_TPP_Meeting_with_Nations'_Leaders_(10152830624)While the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been in the works for a decade, only recently has it become front-page news. What is it about the TPP that so many find objectionable?

What is the TPP trying to accomplish?

The TPP has been negotiated in near-secrecy for a decade so its exact aims are difficult to discern. Some key objectives have become public after materials were made public by infamous hacker organization WikiLeaks.

The agreement, in its current form, seems to protect the patents of large multi-nationals, creates an international tribunal that can order reparations on behalf of corporations and more.

Even better for global companies, the tribunal can order compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation’s regulations. Philip Morris is using a similar provision against Uruguay (the provision appears in a bilateral trade treaty between Uruguay and Switzerland), claiming that Uruguay’s strong anti-smoking regulations unfairly diminish the company’s profits.

That tribunal we spoke of earlier can rule on corporation’s claims to be losing profits due to undue regulation. The nation’s may have little-to-no recourse. International law will over-rule.

Some oppose the international tribunal mentioned earlier because it be used by any participating nation’s companies to subvert regulations that Americans support. We don’t like horsemeat in our bologna or fox meat in our donkey meat (ok, that’s more a China thing, but you get the drift – and it could be our problem soon…) This pact could allow foreign companies to import unsafe or unsavory items into America – and U.S. consumers would never be the wiser. Heck, the foreign nations could petition the tribunal that U.S. regulations against fox, donkey, horse or … whatever meat are hurting their profits. raccoonAwesome! Who wouldn’t want some creamed raccoon in a jar for their babies?

It could also allow U.S.-based multi-nationals to get around regulations by claiming harm in the international tribunal – thereby over-stepping regulations on just about everything.

Who is involved in the TPP?

As of today, the agreement is being formed by twelve nations: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam.

What is the History of the TPP?

In 2002, New Zealand, Chili and Singapore began trade talks as the P3 (Pacific 3) at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. Brunei joined the negotiations in 2005 making it the P4.

Not until 2008 did the United States join discussions. President George W. Bush engaged the partnership to negotiate trade liberalisation on financial services. The first U.S. involvement in the negotiations was set to be at meetings in 2009.

Obama entered office in 2009 and announced that he was seeking a broader agreement. The 2009 conference was delayed until 2010.

At the 2010 conference, President Obama advanced a proposal to limit negotiations to completing by November 2011 – negotiations are still ongoing in 2015.

Why are the contents of the TPP so secret?

The question to worry all Americans – why are the specifics of the trade agreement being kept secret and why is Congress about to allow the President to negotiate a treaty without them?

There isn’t a benevolent reason anyone has come up with.

Sure, some defend the trade pact as a winner for unions, jobs, American exports, and making sure starving albino monkeys get their porridge.. or something. But that is the justification for pushing the agreement, not why it should be done in secret.

When governments do things in secret, it is either to conceal their intent from their enemies or to conceal the same thing from their own people. This isn’t about hiding anything from ISIS, Russia, North Korea or Iran – that leaves a taste in the mouth.. doesn’t it?

The administration, other nations and even analysts have offered no valid reason to keep the TPP secret, yet Congress (Democrat and Republican alike) are working to give the President fast track authority to approve the treaty – what could go wrong?

What is the Fast Track Authority Congress Wants to Give the President?

Fast track authority (aka Trade Promotion Authority) gives the President of the United States unilateral authority in negotiating a trade agreement.

Normally, Congress has amendment and filibuster capability that can be used to shape a trade agreement. With fast-track, they get only a “yes” or “no” vote – no adding or blocking amendments.. just vote one way or the other on the deal the President negotiates.

Born in 1974 in the Trade Act of 1974, it was advanced by a President consumed with power.  In the end, the provisions it enacted did little to protect Americans, their jobs or their health.

Retirement is Just a Dream

Retirement “Just a Dream” for Many

6 out of 10 believe they’ll never see a social security check

WASHINGTON, DC, May 8 – America’s workers are too busy looking for jobs to think much about the prospects of retiring. One of the longest, slowest and weakest post-recession recoveries has decimated the work force. Record numbers of people have stopped looking for jobs out of despair, skewing government unemployment reports. And, a recent Gallup poll reported that 60% of those currently in the workforce don’t believe they’ll ever receive Social Security when they come of age.

“It’s been a depressing, a tedious and worrisome so-called recovery over the past five years and we’re still not out of the woods. Individuals who once had good paying jobs are hard pressed to find employment that allows them to make ends meet, let alone put some money aside for the future. America lost nearly 9 million jobs during the Great Recession that lasted from 2007 to 2009. Statistically the country has regained the bulk of those jobs. But, for the most part, those who have gone back to work are making less money,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which issued its annual retirement survey this week, pointed out that more than a third of the country’s workers expect they’ll have to continue working well past their hoped-for retirement age.

“The long-held view that retirement is a moment in time when people reach a certain age, immediately stop working, fully retire, and begin pursuing their dreams is more myth than reality,” she said. The survey showed that only 21% of the workers who were interviewed expect they’ll be able to “fully retire” when the time comes. The rest expect to work, full time or part time.

Weber said that many seniors have gone back to work because they can. They are living longer, healthier lives and enjoy the camaraderie of the workplace. But most of them need the jobs in order to get by.

“The net worth of all Americans declined sharply during recession and its aftermath. But seniors have been hardest hit. And, the proof is in the numerous surveys that show there are more post-retirement job seekers out there than ever before.”

But for many elderly Americans, finding work to supplement their incomes is not an option. Social Security is what puts food on their tables. “It’s their principal source of income, meager as it might be, and they would face cruel hardships if they their monthly checks were cut. For them, the fact that Social Security faces major fiscal challenges in the coming years is a scary prospect. That’s why it is one of the reasons AMAC has put its primary focus on the fate of Social Security in the association’s meetings with lawmakers in Congress,” Weber noted.

« Older Entries