Unemployment Rate Explained

Conservatives woke up two days after one of our best debates since Bush/Kerry to hear that despite slower job growth than economists were expecting, the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.8%.  This is magically .1% lower than it was when Obama took office.  Most Americans don’t understand the details of the jobs report, but they understand 7.8%.

If you’ve ever played the game “which of these is not like the other”, the 7.8% rate would qualify.  Economists expecting 142,000 new jobs (the actual number was 114,000 according to the Establishment Survey) expected the rate to stay the same or go up to 8.2%.  However, there are two surveys used to measure the rate as I will explain later.

This is pretty wonky stuff and I don’t want to lose you, so let me get to the point then we will discuss the details.  The reason the rate dropped is because the economy added 583,000 part-time jobs.  But the U-6, which measures unemployed and under employed remained unchanged at 14.7%.  In other words, 583,000 people got part-time jobs they didn’t want.  Why?

Now for the background.  In 2012 we saw some major changes to the way unemployment benefits are paid out.  First, for anyone who loses their job after the beginning of the year, states only pay for 26 weeks.  Second, in states with high unemployment the federal government cut back payments from 99 weeks to 73 weeks.  They cut to 63 weeks for low unemployment states.  So here is the question:

What do you do when your unemployment benefits run out and you still can’t get the job you want or need?  Well, in my family’s case when I was a kid, my Mom got two part-time jobs while my Dad kept looking.  We had to eat.

Can Obama take credit for the 7.8% unemployment rate?  Only if he wants to take credit for cutting off the government’s new pseudo-welfare program of never ending unemployment benefit extensions and forcing some of the 47% to get off the government dole, even if it means flipping burgers for the King during the day and the Clown at night.  How does that sound for the narrative of Obama’s soon to be released “I fixed jobs” ad.

Actually, based on many of the revisions up from previous months, government jobs make up the majority of the growth.  How about that, they can work for the King and the Clown at the same time.  But of course this time I’m not referring to fast food chains.

But even the part-time job growth leaves many rightfully scratching their heads.  Did unemployment really just have its biggest one month drop since 1983?  If the economy is really about to come roaring back, why did Bernanke just promise QE-Infinity where he prints $40 billion a month to pump job growth?  Perhaps Bernanke is a terrible economist and should be canned.

Well, there is one more discrepancy to be mentioned in this jobs report.  The 7.8% rate is based on two surveys.  The Establishment Survey asks 390,000+ businesses about their hiring and extrapolates a national figure based on that.  The Household Survey asks 50,000 households if they are employed, searching, or gave up looking.  The Establishment Survey gave us the 114,000 job number.

The Household Survey indicated that 873,000 more people are employed.  That’s a little bit of a variance.  So although the surge in part-time/temporary hires certainly makes sense, the 7.8% figure is still suspect.

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Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid

Bookmark and Share  We now know Obama-tax is the law of the land. It’s a big-ass beast that’s here to stay unless the people kill it. Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you’re probably not digging the idea of a big tax hike during a “recession”. Americans For Tax Reform estimates some $500 billion over 10 years and further, it includes 20 new or increased taxes already in effect or right around the corner. And not all but lots of these are applicable to wage earners at the $250,000 a year level or below. A level Obama swore he wouldn’t exploit. Worse, just yesterday CNBC reported the house ways and means committee says there are “21 tax increases costing more than $675 billion over the next ten years” and “75% of the costs could fall on the backs of those making less than $120,000 a year.” Geez, what happened to the $250,000 mark?

And as a result of Thursday’s ruling, The American Action Forum (AAF), says, because states now know they can cut their Medicaid rolls back to the federally designated minimums, that tax payers will get hammered further. AAF chief Douglas Holtz-Eakinand said,”It seems safe to say that the [health law] will leave the taxpayer on the hook for “an additional $500 billion or so in federal costs over the first 10 years.” Not good.

Recall in March, the Congressional Budget Office released an ‘official’ government adjustment for the cost of Obama-care over a decade from $940 billion to — here we go — $1.76 trillion. Now, according to AAF, we can throw another $500 billion or so on to that. Super.

Let’s be honest, whether it’s $940 billion or $1.76 trillion or over $2 trillion (if you add in AAF’s new $500 billion) this is absurd. This isn’t a 2-cent increase on everyone’s phone bill, you know, an unpleasant little creature hiding under the stairs. This is a colossal beast — dirty, drooling, dim and dangerously destructive. Doctors don’t like it, businesses don’t like it and the majority of people (about 60%) don’t like it. Who does? The supreme ruler, San Fran Nan and other liberal-socialist politicians and their followers. But they represent the minority.

You’re going to hear lots of speeches that include personal stories of how Obama-care helps Joe. You’ll see lots of television commercials about how Sally was saved by Obama-care. These are designed to tug on your heart. Don’t be swayed. Unrolling benefits before costs was an intentional move by Democrats. Everyone knows the bill always comes after the meal. Pay close attention. It will be interesting to see how many seniors are paraded out as examples of success and how many times the phrase cost-utility analysis is used.

Cost-utility analysis is used to estimate the ratio between the cost of treatment and any benefit in terms of the number of years lived in full health by the patient. Basically, it’s a financial calculation to determine whether a medical procedure is worth it. For example, does an Obama-care bureaucrat authorize heart surgery for a 74-year old? Does a government bureaucrat authorize a life long, expensive prescription to a 15-year old? And what if, say, the prescription doesn’t really bring “full health” but rather just maintains the 15-year old at his or her current level of impairment. This is the Obama-care you won’t see on television or hear in rah-rah speeches — a bureaucrat running cost-utility analysis on a spreadsheet in a cubicle in Washington. Are these death panels? You tell me.

You’ll also be presented with the false choice of Obama-care or back to the old ways. I’d wager virtually everyone in America would be receptive to re-working healthcare. The argument is that this particular healthcare proposal sucks. Sure there are some strong concepts, but the rest just blows — big time. It wasn’t thoughtful legislation. It arose from emotional and fanatical, liberal-socialist ideology — it’s been a wet-dream for the Left for a 100 years — quick we’re in power, rush, rush, sign, sign. It wasn’t even written when it was passed.

All I’m saying is deranged Doc Barack, his loony lab assistant San Fran Nan and the other liberal-socialist scientists had their shot at mixing the test tubes and they concocted this monstrosity. And now it’s on the loose. We need to destroy this monster now, before it destroys us. There are other ways to approach healthcare that don’t need massive government, outrageous taxes and costs or bureaucratic death panels — pardon me, cost-utility calculations.Bookmark and Share

Rush Hits Newt Again

Six months ago, I wrote an article about Newt Gingrich’s attempt to clarify his views on healthcare.  Newt had gotten himself in trouble when it came out that in 1993 Newt agreed with the Heritage Foundation on an insurance mandate.  At the time, Newt said that he felt there should be a law that made it so that people would need to either buy health insurance, or post a bond when they receive medical care as a guarantee that they will in fact pay for that care.

At the time, I warned Newt that this would cause problems.  Of course, we didn’t have as large a readership back then, so I’m sure he didn’t get my warning.  Shortly before that, Newt was secretly my number one pick to eventually win it all.

With great influence comes great responsibility

Sure enough, right about that time Newt called in to Rush Limbaugh’s show and tried to explain exactly what I said in the first paragraph here.  Rush didn’t buy it, and the godfather of Social Conservatism cast doubt on his blessing of Newt’s candidacy.  Listen to the interview here.  The result was that a couple weeks later I was writing about the rubble of Newt 2012.  In that article, I said that it would take a miracle to revive Newt, that miracle being upward movement in the polls.  Hallelujah, we now know the political gods did not forsake us after 2008.

Today, Rush once again expressed his reservations about Newt.  In what he framed as analysis of Newt’s rise to the top, Rush once again mentioned Newt’s baggage including his support of a mandate in 1993.  While doing his best not to appear against Newt, Rush laid out everything Conservatives should be careful about with Newt.  To be fair though, he did the same for Mitt Romney at the same time.

In the end, Rush chalked up Newt’s rise to the top as two things.  Newt doesn’t defend his mistakes (like Romney does with Romneycare), and he does go after the media for their bias.

It’s a little bit more than that.  Newt has a proven fiscal conservative track record.  He balanced the budget for four years in a row.  The Federal budget, not just one of the 50 states.  That doesn’t even seem in the realm of reality these days.  It would be like saying he walked on water in the context of today’s deficit.  But speaking of walking on water, Newt has the social conservative credentials as well.

In a speech in Jacksonville, Florida yesterday (that yours truly had the privilege of attending), Newt said that under his education reforms, teachers who could not adequately explain what it meant to be endowed by your Creator with certain inalienable rights would be asked to resign.  This was in response to a question from the audience regarding a neighboring county where the government was putting pressure on a pastor there to stop school flagpole prayer meetings.  Newt said that he would seek to end funding for Planned Parenthood and use that money to help promote adoption.  He is pro-school choice.  He has well rounded conservative credentials and unlike Romney, conservatives trust Newt when he says things like supporting a mandate and sharing a couch with Pelosi were stupid.

Frank Luntz on Sean Hannity’s show this afternoon said that everyone was shocked about Newt’s resurgence.  It wasn’t a surprise for me.  I predicted that as the Cain-Gingrich debate received acknowledgment and replay, Newt would rise.  On November 3rd, I said that people were taking a fresh look at Newt Gingrich.  But even better than that, on October 13th, I laid out the path to victory for Newt Gingrich going through South Carolina and Florida.  In a blog titled “Yes He Can”, I analyzed how Cain was preparing to fall on his 9-9-9 plan and how Newt would take early states Iowa and South Carolina, leading to a showdown in Florida between Newt/Mitt.  So no, it wasn’t a shock.  If you’ve been reading this blog, it wasn’t a shock to you either.

In that same article, I said that Newt’s dirty laundry has been airing out for a long time.  It doesn’t smell as “fresh” as Cain’s or Perry’s.  The same is true for Mitt, although Newt knows when to admit to a mistake.  Therefore, in this up and down race where nothing is certain and things change every minute, I am sticking to what I said over a month ago.  Newt/Mitt, for the championship, the second to last GOP debate in Florida in Jacksonville.  Newt will be carrying South Carolina and maybe Iowa to the table, Mitt will have New Hampshire under his belt.  Then the two smartest, most articulate, and strongest leaders will have one last significant chance to make their case.

Rush, Coulter, and any other big-time rightwing players who still think Bachmann, Cain, or Santorum could come back and win, keep dreaming.  It’s more likely that Tebow would win the Superbowl.

PS, I have absolutely nothing against Tebow.  In fact, after Thursday’s game against Rex Ryan and the Jets, Tebow is my second favorite quarterback.

Perry hopes we are laughing WITH him

Idea for a better Perry debate performance...

Following an awkward and frankly embarrassing stumble at the GOP debate in Michigan, Rick Perry made things all better by poking fun at himself on David Letterman.  Actually, if this was 2000 and Perry was running against George W. Bush and John McCain, this wouldn’t have been that bad a move.  On the other hand, even George W. Bush did well enough at the debates that whackos on the left thought he had a transceiver hidden between his shoulderblades.

Going on latenight television is not unheard of at all for candidates.  But for GOP’ers it usually doesn’t fare as well as for Democrats.  Letterman is pretty notorious for a left leaning slant.  Perry’s delivery was also reminiscent of his debate delivery.  So will his Letterman appearance make everything ok?  Or was this Perry’s falling off the stage moment?  My guess is the later.  But here they are, Perry’s top ten excuses for forgetting something like what departments he would eliminate as President:

10. “Actually there were three reasons I messed up last night. One was the nerves, two was the headache and three was, and three, uh, uh. Oops.”

9. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think things went well.”

8. “Hey, I was up late last night watching ‘Dancing With the Stars.'”

7. “I thought the debate was tonight.”

6. “Hey, listen. You try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude.”

5. “Uh, el nino?”

4. “I had a five-hour energy drink six hours before the debate.”

3. “I really hoped to get on my favorite talk show, but instead I ended up here.”

2. “Hey, I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain.”

1. “I just learned Justin Bieber is my father.”

Well, don’t forget Mr. Perry: Republicans don’t want the candidate who can make them laugh.  They want the candidate who can beat Obama.

CNBC versus the GOP

Last night the GOP candidates went into hostile Michigan to face a hostile set of moderators who were booed into sticking to economic issues by the crowd after an unfair detour against Herman Cain.  In all, the night turned into somewhat of a circus.  Hopefully, the GOP will shun CNBC in the future, as this was the worst and most unprofessional case of moderation we have seen.    But aside from that, let’s get to the winners and losers.  First up…

It floored me when they tried to ask if companies should be making a profit or growing jobs.  Excuse me, but how the heck do you create jobs if you aren’t making a profit?? Gingrich’s response was beautiful. Watching the moderator rolling her eyes when Gingrich said a 30 second answer on healthcare was ridiculous was fun to watch.  But my favorite answer of Gingrich’s was on education, where he offered a real life example of a real life solution that addresses the issue of education that is getting exponentially expensive with much cheaper results.  As someone who works full-time, is a full-time grad student and has been in college for a decade following various business and religious pursuits, I connected with Gingrich’s answer and could not agree more.  This morning Neil Boortz in a morning phonecall to WOKV implied that Republicans needed to worry about who could beat Obama, not who would be the best President speaking of Newt Gingrich.  Bull.  Gingrich keeps winning debates because he is the smartest man on that stage.  And he made a joke out of those bombastic, rude moderators.

Rick Santorum did well.  This doesn’t mean anything, he still can’t win.  But he did highlight his leadership on things like medical savings accounts and gave viewers no reason to mark him down.  He has struggled in debates, but performed well last night.  Ron Paul also did a good job.  He avoided saying anything outlandish and produced a solid, constitutionalist approach.  Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Huntsman also did pretty well, though his attempt at “answer this in 30 seconds?” humor sounded like a lame, screwed up retelling of a good joke.

Mitt Romney needs to understand his precarious position.  He is stuck at 30%.  The rest of the GOP voters are looking for not-Mitt-Romney as their candidate.  His smoothness, economic savvy, and gaffe free debate performances have gotten him this far (along with a great deal of establishment money).  He needs to figure out how to get himself the rest of the way.  He has to find a way to make Social Conservatives trust him. Mitt, if you are listening, make a major statement in favor of state personhood amendments.  Consider that step one to breaking into the 40s in the polls.

Herman Cain also has hit a roadblock, but it is a policy roadblock.  I think many viewers were left with the feeling that if nuclear missiles were airborne from China heading for the US, President Cain would be on the phone with the Chinese President telling him how his bold plan, the 9-9-9 plan, could solve their problems by growing China’s economy.  9-9-9 is to Herman Cain what Windex was to Tula’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  This one dimensionalism will leave him open to a Gingrich rise.  On the other hand, Cain did very well defending himself against accusations which are more and more looking like racist smears from the Axelrod/Democrat machine.

Rick, Rick, Rick.  By the way, if you want to see the sexism of the left, just watch how long Perry’s crash and burn stays in the media cycle and blogosphere compared to a Palin or Bachmann gaffe.  Talk about not being ready for primetime.  I think Perry likes to start talking and get rolling, and that’s why he sometimes forgets what he was talking about mid-sentence.  No excuses.  You are running for President of the United States.  Running before you secure the ball is how you lose games.  Running your mouth before you have your answer and grasp on the issues is what makes Presidents say stupid things.  E.g. Barack Obama talking about police officers who arrested his professor friend.

Can The TEA Party Win On A National Level?

Bookmark and ShareWith the 2012 GOP field of presidential hopefuls lending numerous rumors and anticipation to it’s constituency the polls seem to be giving early indications that those names who have been there before have the advantage heading into the spring.

2008 candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have been neck and neck in most polls and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich along with 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin have been receiving a large helping of media attention. So with the polls showing the familiar names leading the pack, where does the TEA Party fit into all of this?

Most media outlets recognize CNBC’s Rick Santelli with launching the movement with a speech from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on February 19, 2009 while giving a speech against the Obama administrations proposal to help homeowners with their mortgages. Keli Carender, blogger, teacher organized some of the earliest Tea Party style protests, before they were even called Tea Party protests. In February of 2009, Carender held a rally against the economic stimulus package in downtown Seattle. Ron Paul supporters credit him with launching the movement as far back as 2007 when the GOP held the keys to the White House and the federal budget deficit began to grow.

Despite who claims credit for the origins of the movement it flexed it’s muscles during the 2010 midterm elections. Some credit has to be given to the TEA Party movement for the Republicans taking the majority away from the Democrats in the House of Representatives. It was their message of controlling government spending and debt that propelled the GOP to victory.

So why is it that most polls for 2012 show the members of the ‘old guard’ as the early favorites? Sarah Palin is held in high regard by many who consider themselves TEA partiers but has shown little indication that she is making a run in 2012. Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll for the second straight year but in national polling is far behind the leaders. Tim Pawlenty has been campaigning to and garnering new found support amongst the TEA Party faithful but has yet to make any real gains to put himself on the same level of support as the early polling favorites. MN Rep. Michelle Bachmann has been hinting at a run and is the founder of the House TEA Party Caucus but has made many highly publicized gaffes and hasn’t even been a blip on the radar if the polling is any indication.

It is apparent from the results seen in 2010 that the TEA Party movement has a certain bit of influence. They are well organized and always draw media attention to their message of government fiscal responsibility. The question is can they bring the same message and support on a national level during a run for the White House as they did on the local level bringing a GOP majority to the House? The early polling doesn’t seem to say they can. It is very early in the process however and things can change quickly in the world of politics.

I believe that 2012 will be a huge test for the TEA Party movement. If they can get a candidate amongst the leaders for the GOP nomination they should be able to cement themselves as a true influence in national politics. If they fail to break through during THE largest race in the nation, they could be relegated to a mere footnote in American political history. Their message is a good one and seems to resonate with most Americans perception of the countries economic situation. Will that roll over into support from the independents that are necessary to win the White House? Time will only tell. Early indications however show that they have inroads to make within the GOP first.

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