Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hey! What about the economy? (Take #2)


"President Bystander has done an excellent job in changing the topic and putting fuzz on the economic radar..."

He has done it again. Those old Cloward and Piven tricks of overloading the news cycle has worked flawlessly. With our attention being diffused on a multitude of issues like Iraq, the IRS, NSA, and on and on and on, we forgot about the economy. Well, it still sucks.

In the paper today, there was an article about one sliver of the workforce which is in trouble. It is middle aged women who leave the workforce to do things like parent care, and then have trouble getting back in the workforce. It adds to our dismal workforce participation rate. That led me to think - how are we doing with our economy right now? Some analysis was needed to see how the summer of 2014 was faring.

Some economic bullet points:
  • Our GDP looked like it might finally be healing in the 3rd quarter of 2013. It was up 4.1%. It was less in the 4th quarter of 2013 and then in the 1st quarter of 2014 it started to tank, and contracted 2.9%. That is a drop of 7% from the 3rd quarter of 2013!
  • Jobs continue to be a huge bugaboo. Forget the U3 unemployment rate which is published every month. It means absolutely nothing. The two metrics which really mean something are workplace participation and median income.
  • Our workplace participation continues to be at historic lows. In fact, right now it is as low as it has been since 1978 - the regime of Jimmy Carter. The percentage is about the same (62.8%), but because we have considerably more people than in 1978, our actual number is higher. How high? 92,000,000 people out of the workforce.
  • How is that paycheck doing? When our President took office, the median annual income was $55,438. Today it is $51,404. If you feel broker these days, you should, because you are. ALL honest economists are saying the same thing - jobs lost and jobs gained are dissimilar in wages and benefits. Duh!
  • With 47,000,000 (20% of the country) on some kind of food assistance, what is going to happen with the recent price increases in certain food items? My guess is this $80,000,000,000 program will get even more expensive. Where will the money come from? The Fed of course, running their printing presses.
  • One final thing. No matter how much revenue the government takes in, we still find ways to spend more than that number. Our national debt, which NOBODY in Washington wants to talk about anymore, continues to grow. As of this post, our national debt is $17.55T. Our unfunded liabilities are $124.715T. Oh well, and the band plays on.
Well there we are. As we close in on the finish of the second quarter of this year, our economic malaise continues. After living through the Jimmy Carter term, I am definitely feeling the deja vu all over again.

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