|Liberals Double Down on Inequality||Many Liberals are Naifs and Innocents|
by Christopher Chantrill
January 14, 2014 at 12:00 am
EVERYONE AGREES that the employment report last Friday was very bad. Unemployment went down to 6.7 percent, but that was because the Household Survey showed that 347,000 people left the labor force in December while only 144,000 found jobs. In a healthy growing economy you are supposed to get the work force increasing faster than the actual employment, as people join the labor force confidently looking for work.
If you look at the data for the five years since President Obama was inaugurated, you can see that we are not just talking about a bad month. It’s all bad, from the giddy inauguration to the latest vacation in Hawaii.
The chart shows the seasonally adjusted percent participation of the civilian population in the labor force and percent of the civilian population actually employed. You can see that for the last four years the employment of Americans has chugged along at about 58.5 percent of the civilian population. Meanwhile the labor force has steadily declined. More and more Americans have given up looking for work.
Now we know why people have always worried about witches: the president cast a spell to tell the oceans to stop rising and instead he got the labor force to retreat.
This is surprising to anyone paying attention to the mainstream media. After all, the president has pivoted again and again to jobs. You would think that all those speeches would have made a difference.
So here we are, at the end of five years of Obama. The US population is 317 million, according to the Census Bureau; the “Civilian noninstitutional population” is 246 million, the “Civilian labor force” is 155 million, and the “Employed” is 145 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s your Hope and Change for you.
Why, if I were a Clinton running for president I’d say it was the “worst economy in the last 50 years.”
We all know that the president came into office when everything was Bush’s fault. So let’s look back a bit, all the way to 1993 and see what’s been going on in the medium term since the day that Bill Clinton was inaugurated president.
These numbers are not seasonally adjusted, so you get a seasonal sawtooth. But you can see that the labor force and employment were gung-ho in the 1990s, and dipped a bit in the 2000s.
Then came the Crash of 2008 and employment crashed with it. Today we have the Obama economy, with the employment to population ratio stuck at 58.5 percent and a labor force slowly losing heart dipping below 63 percent, down from a high of 68 percent in the late 1990s.
Of course it may be that Americans are doing fine, and the decline in the labor force merely reflects increased scamming as more Americans work off the books while collecting government benefits.
But if you are like me, you want to know more. What is going on with the labor force? Are young people giving up? Older people? What is going on? So I dug a bit deeper into the Bureau of Labor Statistics data (you need Java) and came up with this chart, which divides up the labor force into six age categories.
Now this chart is really fascinating. It shows that people in the peak working years are backing off their labor force participation a little and the young ’uns have backed off a lot.
But the really interesting part is the old ’uns, people like me. Work force participation has been going up for older people in the work force, going back to the early 1990s. For people over 65 the participation has nearly doubled, from a little over 10 percent to nearly 20 percent, and it kept right on going through the first four years of Obama’s Hope and Change. Imagine!
The participation of 55-64 year-olds started going up in the 1990s and continued into the 2000s. But 55-64 year-old participation has been flat in the Obama years, even while the participation of the 65-and-older bunch was increasing.
What is going on with older people? Are we working because we like it? Is it because low interest rates have forced us to work? What is it?
Here’s a thought. The Obama policy of extending unemployment benefits isn’t going to encourage people to get into the labor force. Maybe that’s the idea. Keep Americans out of the labor force and collecting benefits. That way the labor force will go down and with it the unemployment rate. Way to go Barry!
I tell you what I think. I think it is “time for a change.”
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel