U.S. Politics

Thanks, Obama! Jobless Claims Drop to 42-Year Low

attribution: None


Oops, he did it again!

“Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 255,000 for the week ended July 18, the lowest level since November 1973,the Labor Department said on Thursday.”

Now keep in mind that the unemployment benefit claims in number of applicants is at the lowest level in 41-and-a-half years, which, given the fact that the labor force has grown considerably in that time, is phenomenally impressive. The 4-week moving average (a key marker since it tends to eliminate the week-to-week spikes and lows) has stayed under 300,000 for 17 straight weeks, indicating more good jobs news is coming when the July jobs report is released.

Here is how jobless claims have dropped since the Bush great recession was handed over to President Obama to manage, end, and pull the country back from.

Bloomberg provides the big picture on Barack Obama’s record on jobs.

And here is how the initial and 8-week moving averages have looked since President Obama was sworn in for a second term.

Chart credit: Pantheon Economics.

Add that feather to President Obama’s cap that the economy has added 200,000+ jobs for 14 of the last 16 months, dropping the unemployment rate to 5.3%, just above the 5.2% considered to be full employment by Fed officials, not to mention the US is on its longest ever expansion of private sector employment.

It looks like that job killing Barack Obama is just intent on taking us from utter disaster to full employment in less than seven years. This is so inconvenient for talking points!

Unemployment Rate

HuffPo – Jobs Report: U.S. Economy Adds 114,000 Jobs In September; Jobless Rate Down To 7.8 Percent

Jobs Report Unemployment Rate

The funny thing about today’s jobs report is that at least one pundit on the GOP side is quite upset over it.

The Huffington Post

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years and giving President Barack Obama a potential boost with the election a month away.

The rate declined from 8.1 percent because the number of people who said they were employed soared by 873,000 – an encouraging sign for an economy that’s been struggling to create enough jobs.

The number of unemployed Americans is now 12.1 million, the fewest since January 2009.

The Labor Department said employers added 114,000 jobs in September. It also said the economy created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than the department had initially estimated.

Wages rose in September. And more people started looking for work.

The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs per month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months.

The 7.8 percent unemployment rate for September matches the rate in January 2009, when Obama took office. In the months after Obama’s inauguration, the rate rose sharply and had topped 8 percent for 43 straight months.

The decline in the unemployment rate comes at a critical moment for Obama, who is coming off a weak debate performance this week against GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The September employment report may be the last that might sway undecided voters. The October jobs report will be released only four days before Election Day.

“An overall better-than-expected jobs report, consistent with most recent data that suggest the economy is gaining some momentum,” said Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, in a note to clients. “The sizeable drop in the unemployment rate could lift the president’s re-election chances following a post-debate dip.”

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was asked on CNBC about suspicions that the Obama administration might have skewed the jobs numbers to aid Obama’s re-election prospects.

“I’m insulted when I hear that because we have a very professional civil service,” Solis said. “I have the highest regard for our professionals that do the calculations at the (Bureau of Labor Statistics). They are trained economists.”

After the jobs report was released, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 65 points in the first half hour of trading. Broader stock indexes also rose.

Continue reading here…

Media Myopia

Jobs Report Covered Through 2012 Election Lens, Media Not Focused On Impact To American People

Jobs ReportIn my opinion, the media needs to report the real news and not just what’s happening in Washington or who gave the most millions to the latest super-pac.

So yes, I completely agree with the HuffPo’s Michael Calderone‘s article…

The Huffington Post

Romney’s up. Obama’s down.

That’s the takeaway from much of Friday’s media coverage of another disappointing monthly jobs report and unchanged unemployment number of 8.2 percent. Like clockwork, political reporters quickly sized up whether the addition of 80,000 jobs in June would help or hurt President Barack Obama’s chances of keeping his own job, rather than the broader impact on millions of unemployed Americans.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza tweeted that June’s number presents a “major political problem for Obama.” He later suggested in a blog post that any hope the president “will be able to run for reelection bolstered by an improving financial picture is rapidly disappearing.”

Kicking off MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” host Chuck Todd said that “another disappointing jobs report puts more pressure on the president with just four months until election day.” On Twitter, Politico’s Ben White said the report is “not good news for Obama.”

In covering the campaign horse race, reporters often make snap judgements following statements, reports, or “gaffes” that are mostly forgotten days later amid the stream of non-stop election coverage.

Earlier this week, the consensus among reporters was that Team Romney was down, following adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s comment that the individual health care mandate is a “penalty” rather than a “tax.” Similar to health care — where the media focused more on the politics of the bill rather than its contents — the jobs numbers could be reduced to a win or loss in a long election season.

But as the summer holiday week came to a close, Team Obama was on the defensive, as Friday’s news was ruled a tough blow for the president — at least according to the news media.

“The U.S. unemployment rate remained flat in June, which is bad news for President Obama,” began an ABC News piece.

Continue reading here…


Virginia Legislature Latest To Advance Drug Testing The Poor And Unemployed

Now who’s calling for a class war?

The Huffington Post

Virginia Republicans are the latest to advance drug testing for the poor and jobless as a half-dozen bills requiring the needy and unemployed to prove they’re not on drugs move through the state legislature.

More than 30 states in the past year have considered legislation to require drug tests for welfare recipients, and several have also targeted unemployment claimants. Virginia State Sen. Richard Black (R), a sponsor of drug testing, told HuffPost he’s not surprised by the surge of interest.

“Frankly, I think the use of drugs for some people is the reason they are unemployed,” Black said. “I don’t believe that taxpayers have an obligation to pay for recreational drug use … And I think if a person has the money to pay for illicit drugs, then they have the money to support themselves.”

Over objections by Virginia House Democrats, the Committee on Health and Welfare Institutions on Tuesday approved one of several bills that would require welfare recipients to be screened in order to qualify for assistance.

The bill  would require every person on public assistance in Virginia to be evaluated to determine the likelihood that they are on drugs. Anyone who aroused suspicion in an initial screening would have to submit to a drug test or be thrown off public assistance for one year. The law would allow those with positive results to attend an approved drug treatment program.

Continue reading here…

Newt Gingrich · President Barack Obama

Newt Gingrich Owes African Americans an Apology

This article says it all and says it well…

Candid Observations

Newt Gingrich owes African-Americans an apology.

He absolutely knows what he is doing.

His constant calling President Obama “the food stamp president” is nothing more than racial politics, no less reprehensible or excusable than when Lee Atwater and the GOP used the image of Willie Horton to take down Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Gingrich has settled into the language that “liberals” or “elite liberals” are the only ones who “despise making money.” That is incorrect, but it isn’t a morally and ethically reprehensible statement or behavior.

But going to South Carolina and using language that feeds into the racial fears and misconceptions that come up in conversations with far too many white people, is a moral and ethical outrage.

Can you not get the votes, Mr. Gingrich, without putting black people down and feeding into the misconceptions of way too many white people?

Statistics released by the United States  Department of Agriculture show that 35 percent of all food stamp recipients are white, compared to 22 percent black, and 10 percent Hispanic. If  you, Mr. Gingrich, would saythat, or something to that effect, the insult you have heaped upon the descendants of African slaves who built this country would be non-existent.

I wonder if Gingrich, or any candidate, has the chutzpah to tell people part of the reason that the unemployment rate amongst black men, especially young black men, is that too many white employers still refuse to hire them? I wonder if Gingrich, a historian, has the courage to talk about the fact that black people have lived through an era where at one time, there were blatant signs put up, “Black (or Colored) people need not apply,” as African-Americans sought to find work?

The signs are gone, but the emotions, feelings and beliefs that made people feel justified in putting such signs up are far from being gone.

I wonder if Gingrich has the courage to stand up and say, since he is wanting to be president of ALL of the people of this nation, that the undercurrent racism of this country will be met with and dealt with in his administration if he is elected president, so that the course of this nation will be turned, finally, away from post-Civil War and Reconstruction white resentment of black people which has never died, to a 21st century,Christian endeavor to deal with our racism honestly, for the good of the nation.

Many, too many, white people say, and believe, that “this is a white man’s country.” In her book Rising Sun, author Sharon Davies gives an account of a young white girl who is appearing before a grand jury because she has converted to Catholicism, against the wishes of her parents. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was not only against black people and Jewish people, but it also hated Catholics. This young girl’s parents were amongst the Catholic-haters, and, enraged that his daughter had married a Catholic boy in secret, her father had shot and killed the priest who married them.

In her testimony before the Grand Jury, the young girl was asked if her husband was a white man (he was from Puerto Rico and was allowed, by Alabama state law, to say he was “white.”) When the girl said he was a Spaniard, the Grand Jury members scoffed, and one juror said, just remember, “this is a white man’s country…always has been and always will be.”

A young Hugo Black, who would become a member of the United States Supreme Court, was one of the girl’s defense attorneys …and he was also a member of the Klan, as were many of the jurors.

That feeling has not gone away and Newt knows it, and he thus knows that saying President Obama is “the food stamp president” feeds right into that belief and the sentiment that there is a need to “take the country” back. The charge is that Mr. Obama is the most liberal president in history. Say that. True or not, it’s fair. It is fair political rhetoric.

Say that it is true that more people are on food stamps than at any other time in our history, but that  statistics say  that more white than black people are on those food stamps, and they needed to do it because the economic mess that Mr. Obama inherited from the GOP was so horrible that had he not made a way for more people to get food stamps, a lot of Americans, black, white and brown, would have not been able to eat!

Make the argument against President Obama openly about economics, and not sneakily about race.

Americans who have found themselves not only using but needing food stamps for the first time in their lives are ashamed for having to use them, but at the same time are grateful that this president did what he thought would best help them.

It is true that some people, black and white, who receive government assistance, are abusing the system. Say that, Mr. Gingrich, and nobody will be able to accuse you of playing the race card or indulging in racial politics. When you say that President Obama is “the food stamp president,” say that his policies have resulted in more  black and white and brown people getting food stamps than ever before. Then your statement will not be racially charged and racially polarizing.

I know that politics, or the game of politics, is not supposed to be fair, but it is high time that racial politics stop being the trump card for politicians reaching for the White House. African-Americans, and indeed all Americans, deserve better.

African-Americans have provided the labor upon which the economy of this nation was built. It is high time white politicians say that out loud, and stop the craziness and stop using words that only make the decay in our nation caused by racism worse.

You, Mr. Gingrich, owe African-Americans an apology. It is NOT all right to insult us, even if you are trying to kick Mitt Romney out of contention for the presidency. What you are saying and are now defending, is morally and ethically wrong. We deserve better.

A candid observation …


You Are the “Ninety-Nine Percent” if…

I just visited Fidlerten Place and what a pleasant experience.  Fidlerten commented to me that he thought we had a lot in common politically and he was correct.

I still need to visit more of the site but his latest post caught my eye and I wanted to share it with everyone and invite you guys to  visit his site:

By Fidlerten Place

You are the Ninety-Nine Percent if…

*You get up five days a week and head off to a regular job.

*You go to sleep at night wondering if you’ll be able to afford to send your kids to college.

*The number of digits in your annual income can be counted on one hand.

*Your health care is too expensive for you, though you have it or not.

* Your a small business owner and you struggle to provide health care insurance for your employees.

*You are unemployed and living off of your unemployment insurance.

*You have used up all of your unemployment insurance and are now depending on charity to support you and your family.

* Your home is in foreclosure because you can’t make the mortgage payments.

* Losing your job would make it difficult for you and your family.

*A major health crisis in your family might make you have to take out a second mortgage on your home.

*Republican politicians don’t care about you unless there’s an election coming up real soon.

*Republican politicians don’t call you a “Job Creator”.

*You will need to include your Social Security payments when you retire, to keep up your living standards that you have now.

*You work holidays instead of spending it with family and loved ones because you can use the extra money.

*Your employer decides how much money you make.

*Your employer decides if you should have a job or not.

*You shop at Wal-Mart because you need the savings.

*You work at Wal-Mart.

*You have an installment plan to pay off a medical bill.

*You understand what it feels like to be hungry; not because you’re on a diet, but because you can’t afford food.

*You get turned down for a small loan from a bank even though you always pay your bills.

*A 25 cents an hour raise gets you excited.

*And, you’re not a Republican politician.

Next week – “You Are the One Percent if…”

GOP Malfeasance

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Admits There’s No Evidence Supporting Her Claim About Drug Testing The Unemployed

If she can lie about one thing, who’s to say that she hasn’t lied about other things?  Just sayin’…

Think Progress

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) admitted today that she was wrong in asserting that half the people who applied to work at a nuclear facility in the state had failed drug tests, yet said she will still push to drug test the unemployed.

Haley has been advancing a plan to force jobless South Carolinians to pass a drug test before they can receive unemployment insurance, claiming an epidemic of substance abuse. The problem was so unbelievable, Haley said last month, that at the Savannah River nuclear site, “[of] everybody they interviewed, half of them failed a drug test.”

So unbelievable, in fact, that a spokesman for the Department of Energy, which owns the site, told the Huffington Post’s Arthur Delaney “he had no idea what Haley was talking about.” The site doesn’t even test applicants, just people who have already been accepted, and the rate of those who fail drug tests is less than 1 percent.

At first, Haley’s office doubled down on the claim, blaming others for faulty numbers, but in an interview with the AP today, Haley said she’ll be more careful before blindly repeating things people tell her without checking them:

I’ve never felt like I had to back up what people tell me. You assume that you’re given good information,” Haley said. “And now I’m learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something.”

Haley said she’d probably repeated “a million times” the story that about the test failures before being questioned about the assertions after a Lexington Rotary Club on Sept. 8.

The Savannah River Site story has been central to Haley’s drug testing push. “It’s the reason you hear me focus so much on job training,” Haley told the AP.

“I’m not going to say it anymore,” Haley said, but nonetheless said that she’ll continue her push for drug testing, even though the basis for it is entirely incorrect. As ThinkProgress has noted, mandatory drug testing for unemployment benefits is likely unconstitutional. It’s also just bad policy. The purpose of these laws is to save money, but in Florida, one of the first states to implement drug testing for unemployment benefits, the law is actually costing rather than saving the state money. Ohio is also considering a similar law.


President Barack Obama · Rep. Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh To Skip Obama Jobs Speech, Calls President ‘Idiotic’

Joe Walsh is obviously projecting about his own shortcomings.  The real idiot is Joe Walsh!

This totally unprecedented  disrespect for the office of the Presidency because Barack Obama is occupying the office is absolutely absurd and says more about the GOP than about the POTUS.

The Huffington Post

House Republican Joe Walsh, a Tea Party favorite from Illinois, will not be attending President Barack Obama’s Sept. 8 jobs speech, the Chicago Tribunereports.

“I don’t see the point of being a prop for another of the president’s speeches asking for more failed stimulus spending and more subsidies for his pet projects,” he said in a statement issued Thursday.

Walsh, a member of the House Small Business Committee, will instead be hosting a small business forum in Illinois. He said he opposes Obama’s eagerness to give another major jobs speech before meeting with more constituents.

“The president needs to stop the speeches, get out of his office and away from all the White House academics and start talking to real people out there,” Walsh said. “They’re the ones who are going to create the jobs, not White House paper-pushers and bureaucrats.”

Walsh’s comments come after Obama embarked on a three-day bus tour through the Midwest to speak with citizens about jobs and the economy. Obama stopped in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, hosting town halls and addressing constituents’ concerns about the nation’s debt and high unemployment rate.

Walsh also criticized the president and his jobs plan earlier this week, according to the Northwest Herald. He called Obama “idiotic” while speaking to a group of voters in Illinois on August 31.

“How idiotic is this president?” Walsh said. “I don’t want to be disrespectful, but he’s going to bring forth a jobs plan next week. Think about that for a minute. He’s been in office for three years. He’s destroyed job creation systematically for three years.”

Walsh plans to return to Washington Friday morning after the speech.


Fox GOP Pac · Fox News · President Barack Obama

First, Fox News Attacks Obama For Scheduling His Speech On Wednesday, Then Attacks Him For Changing It To Thursday

The basic premise here is that Fox News will attack the President under any circumstance.  It’s what their demographic expects.

News Hounds

In case anyone needs proof that Fox News will attack President Obama no matter what he does, check out how the “fair and balanced” network handled the scheduling of his upcoming address to Congress about jobs. First, a fair amount of time was spent attacking President Obama for scheduling the address on Wednesday, September 7, because that’s the day of a Republican presidential candidate debate. In the middle of the Hannity show, it was announced that the date had been switched to Thursday, September 8. Did anyone on Fox show any gratitude or appreciation for the change? Heck no! They kept right on attacking him for the original schedule but now added that he had “caved.”

Sean Hannity led off his show complaining about the scheduling of the address. As he spoke, a graphic saying, “SPEECH PROBLEM” appeared on the screen. He repeated his complaints several times.

Later, after the news broke that the date had been changed, Hannity still complained about the original scheduling only now he added, “Now he’s backed down and he looks weak.”

In concert with Hannity, a banner on the screen read, “Obama caves to Boehner.”

Later, during the Great American Panel segment, the graphic read, “OBAMA CAVES.”

“Liberal” Greta Van Susteren picked right up where Hannity left off. She began her program with a “Fox News Alert” saying, “President Obama cries ‘Uncle’ and Speaker Boehner wins this round.” She made a point of noting that now Obama’s speech will conflict with a big football game. And then she went on to ask Donald Trump what he thought.

Memo to President Obama: Fox News and the Republicans don’t care how much you try to get along with them and do the right thing. They want power, not bipartisanship, and no detail is too small – from the kind of mustard you put on a hamburger, to where you go on vacation, to what day you schedule a speech – to seize as an opportunity to eat away at and ultimately destroy your presidency. The longer you fail to address this cancer, the worse it will get.


Is Goldman Sachs predicting Obama’s defeat?

It sure looks like Goldman Sachs, The Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers and the GOP are making a strong effort to make sure Obama is not re-elected in 2012, thus furthering their own agenda of more corporate tax cuts as well as many states turning to private companies to run schools, prisons, municipalities, etc.

The Week                                                                      

Goldman Sachs, which just six months ago forecast a stronger-than-expected recovery, hasdowngraded its prediction, saying economic growth will slow to a snail-like 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2011, and 2.5 percent in the third. The investment banking firm also crystal-balled that unemployment will still hover near 9 percent at the end of 2012, and that the U.S. is running a real risk of slipping into another recession. With voters increasingly focused on the economy, is Goldman essentially predicting disaster for President Obama and his fellow Democrats in next year’s election?

Yes. If this prediction comes true, Obama is doomed: “Alarms bells must be ringing all over Obamaland,” says James Pethokoukis atReuters. The Obama administration, in an “astoundingly optimistic forecast,” promised that the economy would be “off to the races” this year, thanks to its $800 billion stimulus. Now, as per Goldman, we’re looking at unemployment on Election Day 2012 that’s about where it is now. Slashing tax rates and scrapping regulation “may be the only way Obama can win another term,” but don’t hold your breath.
“Panic at the White House? Gloomy Goldman Sachs sees high unemployment, possible recession”

And Republicans would rather blame Obama than help: “If you have an ounce of actual humanity, you see this as an unmitigated catastrophe,” says David Dayen at Firedoglake. But Republicans, who can “use a crappy economy to take down a president,” are cheering. Instead of pushing policies to put people back to work, the GOP is defying all economic theory and pushing Obama to focus on cutting spending to close the deficit — a move that will only pull money out of the economy and worsen matters for everyone except the GOP’s presidential candidates.
“Goldman Sachs: Jobs crisis will continue for foreseeable future”

This is nothing for the GOP to celebrate: History confirms that a poor economy is likely to hurt any president, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. But it also shows that Obama’s “situation is by no means completely hopeless.” If he can pass along the blame to the legislative branch, as Harry Truman did in 1948, he can hang on, and even help Democrats pick up seats in Congress. Perhaps it’s House Republicans who should be panicking.
“A bad economy can hurt House Republicans”

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