Depression: 33% Of Americans Out Of Workforce

The number of Americans aged 16 and older not participating in the labor force hit 92,898,000 in February, tying December’s record, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Over the longer trend, the labor force participation rate was between 62.9 percent and 62.7 percent from April 2014 through February, and has been hovering around 62.9 percent or lower in 13 of the 17 months since October 2013, the BLS data revealed.

To put it another way, when President Obama took office in January 2009, there were 80,529,000 Americans who were not participating in the workforce, which means that 12,369,000 US citizens have left the workforce since then.

The number of Americans out of the workforce jumped by 354,000 last month.

The last time the labor participation rate dropped below 63 percent was 37 years ago, in March 1978 when it was 62.8 percent….

A Record 100 Million Americans Not Working

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report for December counted 74,000 jobs created last month. That was less than half the 200,000 new jobs expected.

Nevertheless, the BLS reported those 74,000 new jobs as reducing at least what it calls the U3 unemployment rate by three tenths of a percentage point, from 7.0% to 6.7%. That was because 347,000 workers fled the work force altogether last month, and so were no longer counted as unemployed.

Those 347,000 workers leaving the workforce altogether were almost 5 times (4.689) the 74,000 new jobs created. But the BLS, and the New York Times, still count that as headline unemployment plummeting on net to 6.7% from 7.0%. In fact, all of the decline in the U3 headline unemployment rate since President Obama entered office has been due to workers leaving the work force, and therefore no longer counted as unemployed, rather than to new jobs created.

Those 347,000 for December, 2013, however, are still out there not working, and suffering. Indeed, they joined a near record of more than 102 million Americans not working in December, all still out there and suffering without jobs. Those 102 million Americans are the human face of an employment-population ratio stuck at a pitiful 58.6%. In fact, more than 100 million Americans were not working in Obama’s workers’ paradise for all of 2013 and 2012….

By Peter Ferrara – Forbes –

Net Neutrality = 16.1% Internet Tax

Late last year, President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to enact far-reaching regulations that would grant the federal government unprecedented control over the internet. The concept of “net neutrality” is based on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) treating all internet traffic “equally.” However, Obama has advocated for far more than is needed to achieve this concept by calling on the FCC to issue rules that reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act.

Reclassifying broadband as a utility not only threatens the internet as we know it, but will kill jobs, stifle investment and increase costs for American consumers. Moreover, the move could open the door to other forms of heavy-handed internet regulations and taxes. Given these serious economic implications, the FCC should put a hold on its late February vote on these rules and allow Congress to come up with a legislative solution.

Over the years the internet has grown rapidly largely due to the hands-off regulatory approach the government has taken. Yet instead of allowing the internet to remain in an atmosphere that has encouraged widespread growth, President Obama and FCC Chairman Tom Wheelers want to regulate the internet like telegraphs and telephones from the 1930’s. Not only are such archaic regulations inappropriate for our digital era, they will increase broadband costs for hardworking Americans.

By reclassifying broadband as a utility, the Obama administration will levy taxes on all broadband consumers and smartphone users via a Universal Service Fund fee. USF fees are already collected from traditional and cellular phones. Adding broadband to the same Title II category would slap consumers with a 16.1 percent tax increase on their internet bills–an estimated $24 billion for Uncle Sam. This adds up to almost $100 a year in additional costs for wireline broadband consumers and around $137 per smartphone for wireless customers –a deep financial burn that will certainly be felt by American families with more than one smartphone on their plan.

While reclassification undoubtedly spells bad news for consumers, the implications for industry workers could be even more dire. Title II reclassification would stifle investment –an $11.8 billion decrease –and directly impact jobs. According to an American Action Forum study, the drop in investment could kill as many as 174,000 broadband related jobs by 2019.

By Kuper Jones – The Hill –

Corporations Taking USA Back to the 19th Century

[T]he growth of on-demand jobs like Uber making life less predictable and secure for workers unleashed a small barrage of criticism from some who contend that workers get what they’re worth in the market.

A Forbes Magazine contributor, for example, writes that jobs exist only “when both employer and employee are happy with the deal being made.” So if the new jobs are low-paying and irregular, too bad.

Much the same argument was voiced in the late 19th century over alleged “freedom of contract.” Any deal between employees and workers was assumed to be fine if both sides voluntarily agreed to it.

It was an era when many workers were “happy” to toil 12-hour days in sweat shops for lack of any better alternative.

It was also a time of great wealth for a few and squalor for many. And of corruption, as the lackeys of robber barons deposited sacks of cash on the desks of pliant legislators.

Finally, after decades of labor strife and political tumult, the 20th century brought an understanding that capitalism requires minimum standards of decency and fairness — workplace safety, a minimum wage, maximum hours (and time-and-a-half for overtime), and a ban on child labor.

We also learned that capitalism needs a fair balance of power between big corporations and workers.

We achieved that through antitrust laws that reduced the capacity of giant corporations to impose their will, and labor laws that allowed workers to organize and bargain collectively.

But now we seem to be heading back to 19th century.

Corporations are shifting full-time work onto temps, free-lancers, and contract workers who fall outside the labor protections established decades ago.

The nation’s biggest corporations and Wall Street banks are larger and more potent than ever.

And labor union membership has shrunk to fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers.

So it’s not surprising we’re once again hearing that workers are worth no more than what they can get in the market.

But as we should have learned a century ago, markets don’t exist in nature. They’re created by human beings. The real question is how they’re organized and for whose benefit.

In the late 19th century they were organized for the benefit of a few at the top.

But by the middle of the 20th century they were organized for the vast majority.

During the 30 years after the end of World War II, as the economy doubled in size, so did the wages of most Americans — along with improved hours and working conditions.

Yet since around 1980, even though the economy has doubled once again (the Great Recession notwithstanding), the wages most Americans have stagnated. And their benefits and working conditions have deteriorated.

This isn’t because most Americans are worth less. In fact, worker productivity is higher than ever.

It’s because big corporations, Wall Street, and some enormously rich individuals have gained political power to organize the market in ways that have enhanced their wealth while leaving most Americans behind….

By Robert Reich – Op Ed News –

The Eugenics Plot Behind the Minimum Wage

In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. identifies the government as the enemy of the rights and dignity of blacks. He was locked up for marching without a permit. King cites the injustices of the police and courts in particular. And he inspired a movement to raise public consciousness against state brutality, especially as it involved fire hoses, billy clubs, and jail cells.

Less obvious, however, had been the role of a more covert means of subjugation — forms of state coercion deeply embedded in the law and history of the United States. And they were offered as policies grounded in science and the scientific management of society.

Consider the minimum wage. How much does racism have to do with it? Far more than most people realize. A careful look at its history shows that the minimum wage was originally conceived as part of a eugenics strategy — an attempt to engineer a master race through public policy designed to cleanse the citizenry of undesirables. To that end, the state would have to bring about the isolation, sterilization, and extermination of nonprivileged populations.

The eugenics movement — almost universally supported by the scholarly and popular press in the first decades of the 20th century — came about as a reaction to the dramatic demographic changes of the latter part of the 19th century. Incomes rose and lifetimes had expanded like never before in history. Such gains applied to all races and classes. Infant mortality collapsed. All of this was due to a massive expansion of markets, technology, and trade, and it changed the world. It meant a dramatic expansion of population among all groups. The great unwashed masses were living longer and reproducing faster….

The eugenics movement, as an application of the principle of the “planned society,” was deeply hostile to free markets. As The New Republic summarized in a 1916 editorial:

“Imbecility breeds imbecility as certainly as white hens breed white chickens; and under laissez-faire imbecility is given full chance to breed, and does so in fact at a rate far superior to that of able stocks.”

To counter the trends unleashed by capitalism, states and the national government began to implement policies designed to support “superior” races and classes and discourage procreation of the “inferior” ones. As explained by Edwin Black’s 2003 book
, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, the goal as regards women and children was exclusionist, but as regards nonwhites, it was essentially exterminationist. The chosen means were not firing squads and gas chambers but the more peaceful and subtle methods of sterilization, exclusion from jobs, and coercive segregation.

It was during this period and for this reason that we saw the first trial runs of the minimum wage in Massachusetts in 1912. The new law pertained only to women and children as a measure to disemploy them and other “social dependents” from the labor force. Even though the measure was small and not well enforced, it did indeed reduce employment among the targeted groups.

To understand why this wasn’t seen as a failure, take a look at the first modern discussions of the minimum wage appearing in the academic literature. Most of these writings would have been completely forgotten but for a seminal 2005 article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Thomas C. Leonard.

Leonard documents an alarming series of academic articles and books appearing between the 1890s and the 1920s that were remarkably explicit about a variety of legislative attempts to squeeze people out of the work force. These articles were not written by marginal figures or radicals but by the leaders of the profession, the authors of the great textbooks, and the opinion leaders who shaped public policy.

“Progressive economists, like their neoclassical critics,” Leonard explains, “believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it performed the eugenic service ridding the labor force of the ‘unemployable.’”

At least the eugenicists, for all their pseudo-scientific blathering, were not naïve about the effects of wage floors. These days, you can count on media talking heads and countless politicians to proclaim how wonderful the minimum wage is for the poor. Wage floors will improve the standard of living, they say. But back in 1912, they knew better — minimum wages exclude workers — and they favored them precisely because such wage floors drive people out of the job market. People without jobs cannot prosper and are thereby discouraged from reproducing. Minimum wages were designed specifically to purify the demographic landscape of racial inferiors and to keep women at the margins of society.

The famed Fabian socialist Sidney Webb was as blunt as anyone in his 1912 article “The Economic Theory of the Minimum Wage”:

Legal Minimum Wage positively increases the productivity of the nation’s industry, by ensuring that the surplus of unemployed workmen shall be exclusively the least efficient workmen; or, to put it in another way, by ensuring that all the situations shall be filled by the most efficient operatives who are available.

The intellectual history shows that whole purpose of the minimum wage was to create unemployment among people who the elites did not believe were worthy of holding jobs.

And it gets worse….

Eugenics as an idea eventually lost favor after World War II, when it came to be associated with the Third Reich. But the labor policies to which it gave rise did not go away. They came to be promoted not as a method of exclusion and extermination but rather, however implausibly, as a positive effort to benefit the poor.

Whatever the intentions, the effects are still the same. On that the eugenicists were right. The eugenics movement, however evil its motive, understood an economic truth: the minimum wage excludes people from the job market. It takes away from marginal populations their most important power in the job market: the power to work for less. It cartelizes the labor market by allowing higher-wage groups access while excluding lower-wage groups.

King wrote of the cruelty of government in his day. That cruelty extends far back in time, and is crystallized by a wage policy that effectively makes productivity and upward mobility illegal. If we want to reject eugenic policies and the racial malice behind them, we should also repudiate the minimum wage and embrace the universal right to bargain.

By JEFFREY A. TUCKER – Foundation for Economic Education –

Gallup CEO: Full-Time Jobs Number Lowest It’s Ever Been

Gallup CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton doubled-down on his comments earlier in the week on the misleading Obama unemployment rate.

Obama says the unemployment rate is 5.6% which is very misleading.

Clifton went on America’s Newsroom today to explain the misleading government numbers. (Video included)

“The number of full-time jobs, and that’s what everybody wants, as a percent of the total population, is the lowest it’s ever been… The other thing that is very misleading about that number is the more people that drop out, the better the number gets. In the recession we lost 13 million jobs. Only 3 million have come back. You don’t see that in that number. “

The real Obama unemployment rate is above 10%

By Jim Hoft – The Gateway Pundit –

27 Facts Show How Middle Class Has Fared Under Obama

During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama is going to promise to make life better for middle class families. Of course he has also promised to do this during all of his other State of the Union addresses, but apparently he still believes that there are people out there that are buying what he is selling. Each January, he gets up there and tells us how the economy is “turning around” and to believe that much brighter days are right around the corner. And yet things just continue to get even worse for the middle class. The numbers that you are about to see will not be included in Obama’s State of the Union speech. They don’t fit the “narrative” that Obama is trying to sell to the American people. But all of these statistics are accurate. They paint a picture of a middle class that is dying. Yes, the decline of the U.S. middle class is a phenomenon that has been playing out for decades. But without a doubt, our troubles have accelerated during the Obama years. When it comes to economics, he is completely and utterly clueless, and the policies that he has implemented are eating away at the foundations of our economy like a cancer. The following are 27 facts that show how the middle class has fared under 6 years of Barack Obama…

#1 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale now earn less money than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#2 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale have a lower net worth than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#3 According to a Washington Post article published just a few days ago, more than 50 percent of the children in U.S. public schools now come from low income homes. This is the first time that this has happened in at least 50 years.

#4 According to a Census Bureau report that was recently released, 65 percent of all children in the United States are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

#5 In 2008, the total number of business closures exceeded the total number of businesses being created for the first time ever, and that has continued to happen every single year since then.

By Michael Snyder – The Economic Collapse –

Fuzzy Math in Unemployment Statistics

The Department of Labor announced that 252,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. economy in December. The Obama Administration is trying to pander to voters by touting a recent decline in government unemployment figures, but the official unemployment figure is dishonest because it excludes from the count the million unemployed Americans who have given up looking for a job. You don’t count as “unemployed” unless you are actively looking for a job.

Prospects are especially dismal for those who have been out of work for a half-year or more. A shocking 31.9 percent of the unemployed, about 2.8 million, have been out of work for 27 or more weeks, and that figure remained virtually unchanged last month despite rosy claims by the Obama Administration.

You would never know that by listening to spokesmen for the Obama Administration. Obama’s administration claims that unemployment has fallen to 5.6 percent. In fact, the more accurate U-6 unemployment rate was twice as high, 11.2 percent for December.

Once someone is out of work for an extended period of time, it becomes nearly impossible to get a decent job. Studies show that after eight months of being out of work, the likelihood of being called back for an interview declines to less than 50 percent.

This is what allows Obama to prevaricate about so-called falling unemployment rates. The more people who drop out of the workforce entirely, the lower is the official unemployment rate.

Why is the real rate of unemployment so high, why are wages stagnant, and why don’t Democrats or Republicans address this fundamental jobs issue instead of misleading the public about the figures and relying on more taxpayer programs and benefits?

The sorry answer is that Republicans and Democrats in Congress are following the Chamber of Commerce game plan: bring in more cheap labor to keep wages low. Economics 101 still teaches that the law of supply and demand works and a large supply of labor keeps wages low.

Obama facilitates this game plan by illegally admitting illegal aliens, and some Republicans want to expand guest worker visas at all levels (the well-educated by H-1B visas, the low-paid by calling them “guest workers,” or farm workers).

By Phyllis Schlafly – Eagle Forum –

The US Retail Industry is Collapsing

Shopping malls across America are going to look a whole lot emptier soon. An exodus of giant retailers is beginning with the announcement of hundreds of store closures and thousands of people newly unemployed.

The first of January, I broke with my usual tradition and wrote not about positive resolutions, but about the impending rockslide of the US economy. And “rockslide” is an apt word: as one thing starts rolling down the mountain, it will pick up other things until a veritable avalanche of other businesses and people are affected and rolling pell-mell right alongside.

Last year, we saw announcements of the expected closure of some retail giants….

Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. This morning, a World News Daily report announced:

Macy’s is closing 14 of its 790 stores across the country.

JCPenney is closing 39 of its stores and laying off 2,250 workers.

Sears has been around for 122 years, but it, too, is closing 235 under-performing stores.

C. Wonder, the preppy retailer, is going out of business, closing all 11 of its U.S. stores in the next few weeks.

Wet Seal is closing 338 retail stores while dealing with bankruptcy proceedings. Nearly 3,700 full- and part-time workers will be unemployed.

Aeropostale, suffering from declining sales, closed 75 stores during the holiday season, which runs from November through January. And in 2015, they expect to close an additional 50 to 75 stores.

RadioShack, which is negotiating with lenders to gain approval to shutter 1,100 stores, said last month that it closed 175 locations in 2014. (source)

Even holiday sales, normally high, plummeted this Christmas….

By Daisy Luther – FromTheTrenchesWorldReport.com

Eurozone Consumer Prices Fall, Stoking Deflation Fears‏

​Consumer prices fell in the eurozone for the first time since 2009, according to official data released on Wednesday, putting further pressure on the European Central Bank to act to prevent a downward price spiral that could further damage the fragile banking sector and undermine growth for years to come.

Consumer prices in the eurozone contracted by 0.2 percent in December compared with a year earlier, according to a preliminary report from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency. Even before the recent collapse in oil prices, inflation in the region had been falling amid slack spending by consumers and businesses that makes it difficult for companies to raise prices.

A separate report from Eurostat showed that the eurozone jobless rate was unchanged at 11.5 percent in November. For the 28-nation European Union, the unemployment rate was 10 percent, down from 10.1 percent in October.

By DAVID JOLLY & JACK EWING – New York Times –

As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up

A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms. Last spring, a software algorithm wrote a breaking news article about an earthquake that The Los Angeles Times published.

Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there are signs that this time may really be different. The technological breakthroughs of recent years — allowing machines to mimic the human mind — are enabling machines to do knowledge jobs and service jobs, in addition to factory and clerical work.

And over the same 15-year period that digital technology has inserted itself into nearly every aspect of life, the job market has fallen into a long malaise. Even with the economy’s recent improvement, the share of working-age adults who are working is substantially lower than a decade ago — and lower than any point in the 1990s.

Economists long argued that, just as buggy-makers gave way to car factories, technology would create as many jobs as it destroyed. Now many are not so sure.

….there is deep uncertainty about how the pattern will play out now, as two trends are interacting. Artificial intelligence has become vastly more sophisticated in a short time, with machines now able to learn, not just follow programmed instructions, and to respond to human language and movement.

At the same time, the American work force has gained skills at a slower rate than in the past — and at a slower rate than in many other countries. Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 are among the most skilled in the world, according to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Younger Americans are closer to average among the residents of rich countries, and below average by some measures.

Clearly, many workers feel threatened by technology. In a recent New York Times/CBS News/Kaiser Family Foundation poll of Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 who were not working, 37 percent of those who said they wanted a job said technology was a reason they did not have one. Even more — 46 percent — cited “lack of education or skills necessary for the jobs available.”

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER – New York Times –