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Author Topic: Misery Index: The Obama Depression - "Private sector doing just Fine"  (Read 56893 times)
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« Reply #1500 on: June 23, 2014, 09:57:17 AM »

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/06/23/nearly-half-of-detroit-water-customers-cant-pay-their-bill


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« Reply #1501 on: June 23, 2014, 09:57:55 AM »


One in Four Americans Has No Emergency Savings
 

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By
 Asma Ghribi
 
Twenty-six percent of Americans has no emergency savings, according to a report by Bankrate.com.  Over the past four years, there has been little to no progress when it comes to Americans ‘saving capacity.

—AFP
Even those who manage to save aren’t putting away enough. As many as two-thirds of people in the U.S. don’t have the recommended six months of expenses saved. The percentage of people with savings enough to cover at least three months shrank to 40 % in 2014, compared with 45%, a year earlier.

Despite Americans being more secure in their jobs and more comfortable with their debt since the recession ended, their savings capacity remains weak even among those with highest-income household. Only 46% of those with annual income of $75,000 or above have enough savings to cover six months of expenses.

“People are not making progress. Incomes are stagnating and expenses are high,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst. He said that many people are still struggling with payments from the past years and high household costs.

The report also indicates that the segment of the population aged between 30 and 49 are the most likely to have no emergency fund compared with younger people. “That is alarming because those are the people with a house, two cars and a dog but still with no emergency savings. You need emergency savings,” he added.

Although, people between 18 and 30 years old are more likely to have up to five months savings. Mr. McBride commented that the recession might have had a positive takeaway: younger people learned the lesson and are now saving more.

Mr. McBride doesn’t see any improvement in Americans’ saving capacity as long as there is no substantial income  growth.
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« Reply #1502 on: June 23, 2014, 03:02:07 PM »

Washington Examiner ^ | June 23 2014 | Susan Crabtree
Posted on June 23, 2014 at 5:31:31 PM EDT by PoloSec

President Obama held up France as the gold standard the U.S. workplace should emulate during an event at the White House Monday.

Extolling the business virtues of helping workers balance family and employment demands, including providing paid time off for the birth of a child, Obama said if France can provide the benefits, so can the United States.

“Other countries know how to do this,” Obama said. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out.”

France provides some of the most far-reaching worker rights in the developed world, including limiting a standard work week at 35 hours and providing 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.

France also has an unemployment rate that has hovered above 10 percent for more than two years, well above the rate of unemployed in the United Kingdom and the United States, which are both in the 6 percent range.

Obama made the comment at the first White House summit for working families, which sought to amplify issues like paid-maternity leave and the ability to take paid leave to take care of elderly loved ones.

“Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said. “There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not a list you want to be on, by your lonesome.”

The White House hosted the summit jointly with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and it served in part as a campaign pep rally focused on turning women voters out in November.

The president's filled his remarks with appeals to working moms, talking at length about his role in caring for daughters Malia and Sasha when they were infants and both he and First Lady Michelle Obama worked full-time.

When dads rearrange their schedules to leave early to go to a parent-teacher conference, “everybody in the office says, 'Oh, isn't that nice?'” he said. “And then when women do it, everybody is all 'Like, y'know, is she really committed to the job?'”

The White House attempt to elevate the issue of workplace flexibility isn't corresponding with any new legislative proposals.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest blamed Republicans for the lack of progress on work-place benefits.

“There are a lot of good ideas being blocked in Congress right now,” he said, referring to the House GOP's opposition to an increase in the minimum wage.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Click to Add Topic
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« Reply #1503 on: June 25, 2014, 06:54:06 AM »

The U.S. economy turned in its worst quarter in five years during the first three months of 2014, shrinking more sharply than previously estimated.
The nation's gross domestic product in the first quarter fell at a 2.9% annual rate vs. the 1% contraction previously believed, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a 1.8% drop in output from the fourth quarter.
The decline was the sharpest since growth tumbled 5.4% in the first quarter of 2009 during the Great Recession. The last time the economy shrank was in the first quarter of 2011, slipping 1.3%.
The more dramatic drop was partly the result of smaller growth in household consumption than previously estimated. Consumer spending increased just 1%, vs. the 3.1% gain previously estimated as health care spending dipped slightly. The government previously said that medical expenditures contributed substantially to growth as the Affordable Care Act began to cover more Americans.
Also, exports declined 8.9%, vs. the 6% drop previously estimated. And businesses replenished their stocks even more slowly than believed after aggressively adding to inventories late last year.
The larger than expected drop in output is not a harbinger of an economy headed back to recession or even softening. Many economists say much of the first-quarter weakness was the result of temporary factors, such as an unusually harsh winter weather. They expect growth to exceed 3% in the current quarter and the rest of the year.
In a research note before Wednesday's report, Goldman Sachs called a decline in output of at least 2% "unprecedented"outside of recessions. But it added that "2014 will mark the start of a period of clearly above-trend growth for the US economy."
Paul Dales of Capital Economics said the contraction "was still largely due to the extreme weather" and "not a sign that the U.S. is suffering from a fundamental slowdown."
Reports this week show that the housing market picked up last month after the dismal first-quarter, with new homes selling at the fastest pace since 2008 and existing home sales posting their largest increase in three years.
Job growth, consumer confidence and measures of manufacturing and service sector activity also have gained steam recently.
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« Reply #1504 on: June 25, 2014, 08:12:30 AM »

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 10:40:55 AM EDT by Phlap

The U.S. economy shrank at a steep annual rate of 2.9 percent in the January-March quarter as a harsh winter contributed to the biggest contraction since the depths of the recession five years ago.

(Excerpt) Read more at ajc.com ...
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« Reply #1505 on: June 25, 2014, 08:27:54 AM »

U.S. Economy Shrinks By Most Since Great Recession in 1Q (-2.9%)
Reuters via Fox Business ^ | Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Posted on June 25, 2014 at 8:47:58 AM EDT by kristinn

The U.S. economy contracted at a much steeper pace than previously estimated in the first quarter, but there are indications that growth has since rebounded strongly.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday gross domestic product fell at a 2.9 percent annual rate, the economy's worst performance in five years, instead of the 1.0 percent pace it had reported last month.

While the economy's woes have been largely blamed on an unusually cold winter, the magnitude of the revisions suggest other factors at play beyond the weather. Growth has now been revised down by a total of 3.0 percentage points since the government's first estimate was published in April, which had the economy expanding at a 0.1 percent rate.

The difference between the second and third estimates was the largest on records going back to 1976, the Commerce Department said.

Economists had expected growth to be revised to show it contracting at a 1.7 percent rate. Sharp revisions to GDP numbers are not unusual as the government does not have complete data when it makes its initial and preliminary estimates.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxbusiness.com ...
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« Reply #1506 on: June 25, 2014, 11:44:02 AM »

http://thefederalist.com/2014/06/25/the-economy-tanked-last-quarter-and-its-everybodys-fault-but-obamas/


The U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 2.9 percent during the first three months of 2014, government bean counters announced this morning. That matches the worst non-recession contraction of the U.S. economy in over 40 years.

Each quarter, the government releases three sets of numbers gauging the size of the U.S. economy: preliminary, revised, and final. Today’s numbers were the final version. This is important, because the numbers drastically changed throughout the process, as did the liberal spin about the economy. The preliminary numbers, released at the end of April, suggested that the economy barely chugged along during the first quarter, growing at a meager rate of 0.1 percent.

A normal observer would look at that number and be disappointed, given that it was posted nearly 5 years into an alleged economic recovery. The leftist online illiterati, however, is decidedly abnormal. Here’s how they spun the news:





These commentators seized on the fact that health care spending rose enough to offset contraction elsewhere. Forget that Obamacare promised to drastically reduce long-term health care spending: this spike was great news.

Then came the revised numbers, which were released at the end of May:


The U.S. economy was battered even more than first suspected by the harsh winter, actually shrinking from January through March. The result marked the first retreat in three years, but economists are confident the downturn was temporary.

Sadly, Obamacare could no longer pretend to be the economy’s savior. Spinmeisters found their villain, though: winter. As everyone knows, winter is a freak, unpredictable event. And if there’s anything that makes a cold winter even colder, it’s global warming.

Fast forward to this morning, when the final GDP numbers showed that the economy actually shrank by 2.9 percent, the biggest drop since the devastating recession of 2008 and 2009. Bad news, right? Nobody could possibly be happy about an economy that shrank, due in large part to a massive, 11.7 percent drop in private investment. That plunge in investment contributed to more than two-thirds of the entire drop in GDP last quarter (the investment shrinkage was responsible for 1.97 percentage points of the 2.9 percent drop in GDP). Residential investment fell by 4.2 percent. Exports of U.S. goods fell by 11.4 percent (apparently other countries stop buying stuff from us when it’s winter, even if it’s summer for them).

Your friendly White House apologists at at TNR and Vox found some pretty awesome news, though. News so good that it completely offsets one of the worst economic performances in years. That’s right: according to the best and the brightest, the terrible economic report today is actually good news, according to TNR’s Danny Vinik:


But this may be a case of bad news that’s not so bad—and maybe even good. The reason why consumer spending fell is that health care spending decreased by 1.4 percent in the first quarter. In fact, in the BEA’s second estimate, health care spending contributed 1.01 percent to the growth rate. Under the third estimate, it subtracted 0.16 percent.

For those keeping score at home, when health care spending increases and props up GDP, it’s a good thing. When health care spending falls and subtracts from GDP, it’s a good thing. And when the economy significantly shrinks when it’s supposed to be rapidly growing, it’s a good thing. Sure, your car got totaled by an idiot who didn’t know what he was doing. The important thing to remember is that as a result, you’ll be able to save money on gas for the next few weeks. Make sense?

The best rationalization of all, though, came from Sarah Kliff, the local crime reporter for Vox, which is Latin for “error-ridden summaries of Wikipedia entries“:



That’s a great point, Sarah. It’s like that time Mary Todd Lincoln was treated to a really delightful little rendition of “Our American Cousin” but for some reason wouldn’t shut up about that man who made a mess of things in the balcony. What a drama queen.
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« Reply #1507 on: June 26, 2014, 04:10:20 AM »

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 10:10:00 PM EDT by lbryce

In the first quarter of 2014, GDP shrunk 2.9 percent and most of the reason is because health-care spending declined. That doesn’t mean we’re in for a recession though. Obamacare did help crash the economy. Only not in the way its critics thought it would.

The Commerce Department on Wednesday revised the growth figures for the first quarter of 2014, and concluded that the economy shrunk at a 2.9 percent annual rate. This comes a month after the government slashed its initial estimate from an annual growth rate of .1 percent to a decline of 1.0 percent. At the time, I called it a hiccup rather than a heart attack.

That was some hiccup.

At first blush, the substantial downward revision is something of a mystery. The U.S. economy didn’t suffer from any major shocks. There was no threat of default, government shutdown, huge cuts in government spending, or sharp tax increases. No major financial institution failed.

Throughout the winter and spring, companies warned that the brutal weather—the disruptive snowstorms, the arctic cold—would have a dampening effect on economic activity. And the weather definitely played a role in stalling the main engine of the U.S. economy—the American consumer.

The BEA breaks down sectors by their contribution to GDP. Personal consumption expenditures—people buying stuff—grew at a meager one percent rate in the first quarter. And that had a significant impact on businesses. When companies add to inventories—i.e. they sell stuff and then order more stuff in anticipation of higher sales down the rate—at a strong rate, it adds to GDP. When they don’t restock depleted inventories, it detracts from growth.

(Excerpt) Read more at thedailybeast.com ...
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« Reply #1508 on: July 17, 2014, 06:50:25 AM »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/microsoft-lay-offs_n_5594720.html

Mass layoffs
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« Reply #1509 on: July 17, 2014, 01:14:18 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-more-millennials-moving-home-20140717-story.html
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« Reply #1510 on: July 18, 2014, 05:16:27 AM »


And yet this clown wants unlimited guest-worker visas:

Microsoft to Slash 18,000 Jobs Week After Bill Gates Pushed for Unlimited Guest-Worker Visas
On Thursday, a week after former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates argued for amnesty and for an unlimited number of high-tech guest-worker visas, Microsoft announced it would slash 18,000 jobs.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised his employees that "we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible." Analysts told USA Today that the number being let go was "larger than expected."

The "vast majority" of employees will reportedly be notified "within the next six months" and "earn severance and job transition help in many locations." Microsoft employs 125,000 people.

Bill Gates, along with Sheldon Adelson and Warren Buffett, advocated removing "the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States."

However, numerous nonpartisan scholars and studies have determined that there is a surplus – not a shortage – of American high-tech workers. Moreover, after a recent Census report found that "74% of those with a bachelor's degree in these subjects don't work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs," the mainstream media may finally be catching on and taking away the high-tech industry's "free pass." CBS News, for instance, concluded that the Census data suggest the high-tech industry's contention that there is a shortage of American high-tech "is largely a myth."

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« Reply #1511 on: July 21, 2014, 05:36:21 AM »

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21607809-countrys-potential-growth-rate-barely-half-what-it-was-two-decades-ago-heres-how-raise?spc=scode&spv=xm&ah=9d7f7ab945510a56fa6d37c30b6f1709


BACK in the mid-1990s, America’s economic prospects suddenly brightened. Productivity soared. Immigrants and foreign capital flocked to take advantage of what was quickly dubbed the “New Economy”. The jobless rate fell to 4%, yet inflation remained low. All this led economists to conclude that America’s potential rate of growth—the speed at which the economy can expand while keeping unemployment steady and inflation stable—had risen sharply from its decades-long average of 3%, to 3.5% or even higher.

Sadly, the New Economy is no more. The recovery from the recession of 2008-09 has been the weakest of the post-war era, and evidence is mounting that America’s potential growth rate has plummeted. Its two big determinants, the supply of workers and the rise in their productivity, have both fallen short. Performance in the past year has been particularly feeble: America’s labour force has not grown at all and output per hour worked has fallen. The IMF recently cut its estimate of the country’s potential rate of growth to 2%. Other economists put it as low as 1.75% (see article).


In this section

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A useful crisis


Another fine mess


No panderers, please: this issue’s black and white


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So far, the slide in potential has had little practical impact. Because the recession was so deep and the recovery so weak, the economy is still operating below its capacity. But in the long term a halving of the economic speed limit would have grim consequences. Living standards would rise more slowly, tax revenues would be lower and the burden of paying today’s debts heavier.

Solving the short-term problem means boosting demand, so the Federal Reserve should keep interest rates low. But to pep up long-term growth, America also needs to address the supply side. In particular, it needs more workers and faster increases in productivity.

The not-so-mysterious case of the disappearing worker

The number of working-age Americans rose by an average of 1.2% a year in the 1990s, and by a mere 0.4% in 2013. The proportion of them actually in the workforce has fallen from over 67% to less than 63%. The recession is partly to blame, because after years of joblessness some people have given up looking for work. That is one reason why boosting the recovery is important. The ageing of the baby-boomers is another reason. The number of people in their late 50s (when participation in the workforce starts to drop) and older is rising fast.

Both these vulnerabilities are exacerbated by a self-inflicted problem: policies that depress the supply of workers. Most damaging is America’s broken immigration system. Getting into the country has become much more difficult. The number of visas issued today for highly skilled people is a fraction of what it was in the 1990s, even as the number of unfilled vacancies for skilled workers soars. Deportations have surged and the southern border has become far harder to cross.

Obamacare, though good in other respects, tends to shrink the labour force because it helps people get health care without working. There is less to be said for the outdated social safety net, which manages both to be stingy and to discourage work. America spends a smaller proportion of its GDP than other rich countries on retraining the jobless and helping them find work. It has not raised the retirement age and it has allowed its disability-insurance system to become an ersatz welfare scheme. The number of workers on disability, hardly any of whom will work again, has doubled since 1997 to 9m. For once, Europe could teach America some labour-market lessons: thanks to welfare reforms, the proportion of Europeans in the workforce is now rising.

The mystery of the slump in productivity

In the long run, the most powerful way to boost growth is for workers to become more productive, as they did in the 1990s. But raising productivity is hard, and the recent slump puzzling. Innovation drives productivity growth, and a dizzying array of new developments, from “big data” to the “internet of things”, suggests that innovation is speeding up. Yet the growth in the average worker’s output per hour was slowing before the 2007 crisis and has fallen further since.

That may change, because it takes a while for firms to react to disruptive technologies. Computers started to spread in the 1980s but their impact did not show up in the data for more than a decade. The latest surge in innovation will also take a few years to translate into higher output per hour. The slow recovery from the recession may have lengthened this delay, by deterring many firms from investing in information technology. But here, too, politicians have made matters worse.

There is much America’s government could do to boost investment. It could, for instance, increase public spending on infrastructure. It could reduce the sky-high corporate tax rate which encourages firms—such as AbbVie, which is proposing to shift its base to Britain by buying Shire (see article)—to move abroad rather than invest at home. And it could start cutting the endless sprawl of job-destroying regulations that companies say is a worse problem even than taxes. It is doing none of these things.

The impact of a supply-side revolution, with immigration reform, an overhaul of disability and training schemes, infrastructure investment, deregulation and corporate-tax reform all high on the agenda would be gradual. But even the prospect would strengthen the recovery, by encouraging investment and deterring the Fed from raising interest rates too soon.

Thoughtful politicians have produced schemes for radical change in almost all of these areas, but their plans—like so much else—have fallen victim to America’s polarised politics. The Republicans stand in the way of loosening immigration rules, while Democrats fear that supply-side reforms are a plot to hurt the average Joe. Both sides hoover up cash from special interests keen to keep anticompetitive regulations in place. Barack Obama, the least business-friendly president for decades, has devoted far too little attention to the problem. So the odds rise that America’s economy will continue to lumber along at an underwhelming pace, and Americans will have no one to blame but their leaders.

From the print edition: Leaders
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« Reply #1512 on: July 27, 2014, 12:33:25 PM »

https://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/why-the-housing-recovery-has-been-so-muted-median-us-household-wealth-has-fallen-43-since-2007


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« Reply #1513 on: July 27, 2014, 04:20:02 PM »

And yet this clown wants unlimited guest-worker visas:

Microsoft to Slash 18,000 Jobs Week After Bill Gates Pushed for Unlimited Guest-Worker Visas
On Thursday, a week after former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates argued for amnesty and for an unlimited number of high-tech guest-worker visas, Microsoft announced it would slash 18,000 jobs.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised his employees that "we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible." Analysts told USA Today that the number being let go was "larger than expected."

The "vast majority" of employees will reportedly be notified "within the next six months" and "earn severance and job transition help in many locations." Microsoft employs 125,000 people.

Bill Gates, along with Sheldon Adelson and Warren Buffett, advocated removing "the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States."

However, numerous nonpartisan scholars and studies have determined that there is a surplus – not a shortage – of American high-tech workers. Moreover, after a recent Census report found that "74% of those with a bachelor's degree in these subjects don't work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs," the mainstream media may finally be catching on and taking away the high-tech industry's "free pass." CBS News, for instance, concluded that the Census data suggest the high-tech industry's contention that there is a shortage of American high-tech "is largely a myth."



Nice catch. The big lie that has been promoted by the media and big business is the shortage of STEM labor. The biggest reason those corporations want the H-1b Visa's to be set to "UNLIMITED" in the next big immigration fight is to get more and more cheap labor. It's how it goes. Hire a ton of shoddily trained, inexperienced workers who may or may not have correct academic credentials, bring them in and have your highly trained workers train them and then fire your highly trained tenured workers. Boom, hire H-1b cheap, stack them in some apartment and you're golden.
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« Reply #1514 on: September 05, 2014, 04:51:03 AM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/4/incomes-fell-most-families-past-three-years-while-/
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« Reply #1515 on: September 09, 2014, 09:46:09 AM »

http://www.my9nj.com/story/26486708/trump-casinos-file-chapter-11-seek-concessions
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« Reply #1516 on: September 11, 2014, 10:48:10 AM »

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-longterm-jobless-20140910-story.html#page=1
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« Reply #1517 on: September 26, 2014, 06:15:14 AM »

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/1-4-americans-25-54-not-working_806178.html
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