Alfred Doblin doesn’t think Chris Christie is serious about his attempts to “reform” (Christie’s term, not mine–ed.) New Jersey’s pension laws.

You have to hand it to Christie for making the most of his brand. He made bad manners a sign of leadership. He strolled the boardwalk with an ice cream cone to the enjoyment of YouTube addicts keen for an everyman. He told critics to shut up and sit down. But when the smartphone cameras weren’t on, he hopped on private planes to live like the king of Jordan.

But the facade is cracking, and that explains the pension war. The governor may say he intends to win this battle, but his actions say otherwise. He doesn’t need to win it, only to declare it to grab the attention of conservatives.

The overarching problem in pension-world is not retirees who expect to receive the pensions that they were promised. It’s companies and governments who promised the pensions, then failed to provide for them.

Employees kept their promises to come to work and do their jobs. Employers broke their promises and now would penalize employees for daring to expect a solvent retirement, while the companies and governments face no penalties for their pension lies.

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Back over 300k.

Jobless claims increased by 31,000 to 313,000 in the week ended Feb. 21 from a revised 282,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, gained to 294,500 from a revised 283,000 the week before.

In the one constant in a changing world, Bloomberg’s experts again missed the mark.

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Dick Bauman wants to know.

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22 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

The idea that casino gambling could replace honest taxation to support state and local governments has always been a mug’s game. The state mark might win in the short-term, but, in the long-run, the mark always looses.

In the last several states to open casinos — Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania — overall revenue is coming in below baseline forecasts, according to a review of state tax data. Officials blame miscalculations of spending habits and competition, but some also question how much the projected numbers reflected wishful thinking.

The casino industry has grown exponentially over the last decade as revenue-hungry states have moved to claim business that once went across state lines to Atlantic City, New Jersey, or the tribal-owned megaresorts in Connecticut. After Nevada, Pennsylvania has emerged as the country’s No. 2 gambling marketing, overtaking Atlantic City, where four of 12 casinos closed last year.

As long as politicians are too chicken to fund public needs through honest taxation, they will remain marks for the privatization scam of the day.

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15 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Culture Warriors, Political Economy

Reactions to Fifty Shades of Grey:  Roy Moore:

More »

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09 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Robert Reich asks,

How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots’ owners?

Meanwhile, human beings do the work that’s unpredictable — odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours — and patch together barely enough to live on.

Follow the link for his answer.

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05 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

A little higher, but still under 300k.

Applications for unemployment benefits increased by 11,000 to 278,000 in the week ended Jan. 31, from a revised 267,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, declined to 292,750 last week, the lowest in more than a month, from 299,250.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits climbed by 6,000 to 2.4 million in the week ended Jan. 24. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

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31 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Republican screaming

Via Job’s Anger.

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29 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Encouraging.

Jobless claims plunged by 43,000 to 265,000 in the week ended Jan. 24, the lowest since April 2000, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 298,500 from 306,750 in the prior week.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 71,000 to 2.39 million in the week ended Jan. 17. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent during that period, today’s report showed. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

In related news, Bloomberg’s experts were wronger than usual. Bloomberg really needs to trade them in for new experts.

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22 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Down a bit.

Jobless claims decreased by 10,000 to 307,000 in the week ended Jan. 17, from a revised 317,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed on Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, climbed to 306,500 last week, the highest since mid July, from 300,000.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased by 15,000 to 2.44 million in the week ended Jan. 10. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

The number of filings was higher than Bloomberg’s “experts” predicted. Bloomberg implies that this is somehow a commentary on the unemployment figures, when it is actually a commentary on their “experts.”

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20 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

At The Guardian, Suzanne Moore points out that an economy is not natural, like a tree. It’s man-made. Here’s a bit.

Most of us – I count myself – are economically inept. The economic climate is represented as a natural force, like uncontrollable weather. It’s a shame that the planet is getting hotter, just as it’s a shame that the rich are getting richer. But these things are man-made and not inevitable at all. In fact, there are deliberate and systemic reasons as to why this is happening.

The rich, via lobbyists and Byzantine tax arrangements, actively work to stop redistribution. Inequality is not inevitable, it’s engineered. Many mainstream economists do not question the degree of this engineering, even when it is highly dubious. This level of acceptance among economists of inequality as merely an unfortunate byproduct of growth, alongside their failure to predict the crash, has worryingly not affected their cult status among blinkered admirers.

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15 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

The experts x-spurts unknown drips under pressure are not sure to what extent this reflects the normal post-Christmas retail layoffs.

Jobless claims climbed by 19,000 to 316,000 in the week ended Jan. 10, the most since early September, from a revised 297,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 51,000 to 2.42 million in the week ended Jan. 3. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits declined to 1.8 percent from 1.9 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

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13 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Youngster keeps being told, at every stage of life,

Via Job’s Anger.

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06 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

This is not a surprise.

In what academics call neoclassical economics, human beings are largely rational, self-interested decision-makers. This stereotypical human, often referred to as Homo economicus, is a creature of coldly calculated selfishness, dispassionately maximizing its best interests even if that comes at the expense of others.

A study in Japan shows that Homo economicus makes up only a minority of the population, but a minority with a wide range of unusual personality traits, including a touch of psychopathy.

More at the link.

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05 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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18 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Somewhat better.

Jobless claims decreased by 6,000 to 289,000 in the week ended Dec. 13, the fewest since early November, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, declined to 298,750 from 299,500 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 147,000 to 2.37 million in the week ended Dec. 6, unwinding the previous week’s surge. Insured unemployment had jumped to 2.52 million in the period ended Nov. 29, which was the highest since August.

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13 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Indeed.

Nearly $1.5 million in debt, the Minnesota Republican Party is using a line of credit to help it through recent cash crunches.

The party owes $75,000 on a line of credit at Alliance Bank for loans taken out in late October and November, according to federal finance reports filed this month. It owes another $85,000 in other bank loans.

All told, the party had $990,000 in debt in its federal account after the election. As of mid-October, it also had $450,000 in debt in its state account.

I trust I am not the only person to see the irony in this.

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11 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Back under 300k.

Jobless claims decreased by 3,000 to 294,000 in the week ended Dec. 6, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, was little changed at 299,250 after 299,000 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits jumped by 142,000 to 2.51 million in the week ended Nov. 29, the highest since mid-August.

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04 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

A little better.

Jobless claims decreased by 17,000 to 297,000 in the week ended Nov. 29 from 314,000 in the prior period, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

(snip)

Employment probably increased by 230,000 in November after a 214,000 gain the previous month, according to the Bloomberg survey median ahead of the Labor Department’s Dec. 5 report. The unemployment rate is projected to hold at 5.8 percent, the lowest since July 2008.

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, rose to 299,000 from 294,250 the week before.

In the most stunning development, Bloomberg’s experts were, for all practical purposes, right on the money.

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