Political Economy category archive
Not very good.
Jobless claims jumped by 32,000 to 360,000 in the week ended May 11, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists and the most since the end of March, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. A Labor Department spokesman said no state provided information explaining the surge in applications which was the biggest since the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in November.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, rose to 339,250 last week from 338,000.
Donald Kaul points out, one more time, that the past is not even past, in a particularly depressing context:
Conservative leaders, then as now, were absolutely clueless as to what regular people were going through. There’s a reason they call what we’ve just experienced the “Great Recession” and the 1930s economy the “Great Depression.” The Depression was much more devastating, with 13-15 million people unemployed, leaving as many as 34 million men, women, and children with no income at all.
Their safety net was often a garbage heap in which they foraged for food, or worse, begged for it. Yet President Herbert Hoover actually said: “Nobody is actually starving. The hobos, for example, are better fed than they have ever been.”
And when it was suggested that the Du Pont family’s corporation sponsor a Sunday afternoon program during the Depression, a member of the clan rejected the idea on grounds that “at three o’clock on Sunday afternoons, everybody is playing polo.”
Does that sound like Mitt Romney talking to his country club friends or what?
Read the rest.
The evidence is that Reagonics sounds nice, but doesn’t work.
Tim Donovan wonders why, despite the evidence Republicans are considered to be responsible fiscals, despite the evidence of Reaganomics in practice.
A snippet; read the rest.
While those who adhere to supply-side principles might point to a brief period of economic growth during the Reagan administration as proof of the success of their policy prescriptions, or perhaps instead argue that their economic agenda has never been fully implemented, neither of these arguments can stand up to careful scrutiny. The economic results of neoliberal policies have been consistently devastating, and their failures immediately apparent. Examples abound: the Argentine currency collapse from ’99-’02; the East Asia Crisis of ’97; the “Shock Therapy” technique in post-Soviet Russia; the Bolivian Water Crisis of 2000; the collapse of the Mexican Peso in ’94; the Subprime Mortgage Collapse of ’09 … The list goes on and on. Supply-side ideologues refuse to accept this most basic reality: Their principles are fundamentally flawed and do not work. To continue to base our economic policy, our regulatory policy and our financial policy on their misguided assumptions makes about as much sense as adopting the governing principles of the CCCP [Soviet Union}.
Reagonics sounds nice because every successful con has a smooth line of patter.
Again, no mention of those who are “furloughed” for the sequestrian dressage.
The four-week moving average of claims, a less-volatile measure, dropped to 336,750, the lowest level since November 2007. The worst recession since the Great Depression began the following month and ended in June 2009.
The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits fell by 27,000 to 3.01 million in the week ended April 27. The continuing claims figure does not include the number of workers receiving extended benefits under federal programs.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments fell 18,000 to 324,000 in the week ended April 27, the fewest since January 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists forecast 345,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the data.
Estimates for first-time claims ranged from 335,000 to 365,000 in the Bloomberg survey of 48 economists. The Labor Department revised the previous week’s figure up to 342,000, from an initially reported 339,000.
As near as I can tell, workers doing the sequestrian dressage, who are “furloughed” without pay for a day or two a pay period, are not considered unemployed.
At MarketWatch, Paul B. Farrell discusses the difference between a “market economy” and a “market society” and gloomily concludes that we are moving towards the latter:
What is certain: Capitalism is eliminating moral values, as Nobel economist Milton Friedman and capitalism’s philosopher Ayn Rand had been preaching to the generation. As (Harvard Professor Michael–ed.) Sandel puts it: “Each party to a deal decides for him- or herself what value to place on the things being exchanged. This nonjudgmental stance toward values lies at the heart of market reasoning, and explains much of its appeal.”
But unfortunately, market capitalism “has exacted a heavy price … drained public discourse of moral and civic energy.”
The good professor is a great teacher, with only one glaring flaw in his logic: he’s too idealistic, too quixotic. You don’t have to be a fatalist to know that without a total economic collapse, market capitalists — including 1,426 billionaires, Wall Street bankers, hedgers, lobbyists and every other special interest getting rich off the new market society — will never voluntarily surrender their control over the American political system.
A little better, but still in the same ballpark:
Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 16,000 to 339,000 in the week ended April 20, the lowest since March 9, according to Labor Department data released today in Washington. Economists projected 350,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A Labor Department spokesman said the claims data typically bounce around this time of year.
The four-week moving average of claims, a less-volatile measure, fell to 357,500 from 362,000.
The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits fell by 93,000 to 3 million in the week ended April 13, the lowest since May 2008. The continuing claims figure does not include the number of workers receiving extended benefits under federal programs.
Things are working out nicely in Greece.
Right-wing thugs have been spreading fear and terror in Greece for months. The worse the financial crisis gets and the harsher the budget cuts imposed by European creditors are, the worse the terror gets on the streets. Foreigners have been attacked, homosexuals chased and leftists assaulted. Some were beaten to death. There are parts of Athens in which refugees and minorities no longer dare to go out alone at night, and streets that are echoingly empty. Foreign merchants have had to close their doors, while journalists and politicians who criticize these developments receive threats or beatings.
Ta Nea, a leading Greek daily, has described conditions here as similar to those of Weimar Germany. Vassiliki Georgiadou, a political science professor in Athens, likewise calls it “an atmosphere like in the 1930s in Germany against the Jews and their businesses.”
Reg Henry jumps himself to some conclusions. A snippet:
I will jump to further conclusions, now that I have the hang of it. Hate is an infection, one that has reached epidemic proportions in American society and the world. A lot of people think the remedy to hate is more hate, if it is focused on their favorite enemy. Trouble is, hate once loosed is not so easily contained.
It is a tall jump to the next conclusion, but I’m up for it: Those who just hate and those others who act on their hate in murderous ways are swimming in the same swamp. And, yes, some of those who jumped immediately to prejudiced conclusions about the Boston Marathon bombing don’t realize that their selective disdain for humanity helps maintain, even if only a little, the habitat where killers flourish.
Jump to the link for the rest.
About the same.
Applications (INJCJC) for jobless insurance payments increased by 4,000 to 352,000 in the week ended April 13, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. There was nothing unusual in last week’s data and two states, California and Kentucky, were estimated, a Labor Department official said.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, rose to 361,250 last week from 358,500.
Phil Terrana has a theory about why Congress obligated the postal service to pay up its pension fund for 75 years into the future: it’s all about the privatization con, another attempt to sell off the public’s assets for the personal gain of a few masters of the universe.
This comes to more than $55 billion in payments for a company adjusting to a significant loss of revenue. The Postal Service was actually still showing a profit until just a few years ago, despite these payments, but these are pretty big chunks of revenue to be giving up each year, and they are beginning to take a toll.
People keep asking why Congress doesn’t put a stop to this, or postpone it or reduce it to a more manageable figure.
The reason is that the people who put this into law don’t want the Postal Service to survive. They want to break the back of the Postal Service so that the only answer will be privatization, and some big investors with a lot of money will get their hands on a business that goes into every home and business in America.
No trip to Pensacola–JROTC units condemned to compete via video:
The competition held annually in Pensacola, Fla., has been cancelled due to federal budget cutbacks. Instead of riding a bus for 18 hours to meet 24 top NJROTC units from across the country, Green Run’s star cadets will record videos of their drills in the school gym, take their tests here in Virginia Beach, and mail it all to the judges. A unit from Norfolk’s Norview High School is in the same boat.
Oh, the humanity.
The only constant is Bloomberg’s need for new experts.
Jobless claims decreased by 42,000 to 346,000 in the week ended April 6, from a revised 388,000, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 360,000. A Labor Department official said no states were estimated and there was nothing unusual in the data.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, rose to 358,000 last week from 355,000.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 12,000 to 3.08 million in the week ended March 30.
The story points out that it’s difficult to correct for the effects of a movable feast, such as Easter.
Dan Froomkin wonders why poverty, which is all around us (just look around), does not make the news. A nugget:
The reasons for the lack of coverage are familiar. Journalists are drawn more to people making things happen than those struggling to pay bills; poverty is not considered a beat; neither advertisers nor readers are likely to demand more coverage, so neither will editors; and poverty stories are almost always enterprise work, requiring extra time and commitment. Yet persistent poverty is in some ways the ultimate accountability story—because, often, poverty happens by design.
“Poverty exists in a wealthy country largely as a result of political choices, not as a result of pure economics,” argues Sasha Abramsky, a journalist whose upcoming book is called “The American Way of Poverty.” “The U.S. poverty rate is higher than most other developed nations, and the only way you can square that is there are political choices being made—or not being made—that accept a level of poverty that most wealthy democracies have said is unacceptable. We make these policy choices that perpetuate poverty, and then because poverty is so extreme, it becomes impolite to talk about.”
In this part of the world, about the only significant news coverage of poverty comes when a tent city gets cleared.
My gut tells me that sequestrian dressage is starting to hit a rhythm, but it’s not mentioned in the report.
Jobless claims rose by 28,000 to 385,000 in the week ended March 30, the highest since Nov. 24, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 353,000. Before adjusting for seasonal variations, claims fell by almost 1,600.
The four-week average of claims rose to 354,250 from 343,000.
Economists’ estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from claims of 330,000 to 400,000.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 8,000 to 3.06 million in the week ended March 23.
I don’t have as much faith in monetary policy as Ben Bernanke seems to. From later in the story:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues reiterated March 20 they will press on with monetary easing until the labor market outlook improves “substantially.”
Growing demand will help to sustain employment amid concern about the impact of the automatic federal budget cuts, or sequestration, which were triggered last month as lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on ways to reduce the nation’s deficit.
Disappointing, but look for more of this as the evul fedrul guvmint sequesters its employees.
First-time jobless claims rose by 16,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 23, the highest level in more than a month, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an increase to 340,000. The four-week average climbed from the lowest level in five years.
The less-volatile four-week moving average climbed to 343,000, up from 340,750, which was the lowest since 2008.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 27,000 to 3.05 million in the week ended March 16, the fewest since June 2008. The continuing claims figure doesn’t include Americans receiving extended unemployment benefits under federal programs.