Status quo ante.

Claims decreased by 1,000 to 298,000 in the week ended Aug. 23 from 299,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, declined to 299,750 from 301,000 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits climbed by 25,000 to 2.53 million in the week ended Aug. 16.

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Frank Carabino has a few thoughts about drug cartels.

Not, not those drug cartels–the other drug cartels, the ones that profit from warring on drugs. A snippet (much more at the link):

It’s not surprising that both the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the Florida Medical Association oppose legalizing medicinal marijuana.

Expanding public access to legal marijuana is bad for business.

Locking people up for minor drug offenses and maintaining a monopoly on the bountiful pain-relief industry are two aspects of the status quo that law enforcement and physician groups have an interest in maintaining.

His point regarding law enforcement is obvious. Warring on drugs has been been a prime source of funding and power for police agencies; it’s also brought them lots of cool toys (as we have recently seen displayed in Ferguson) and property. In addition, it enables them to feed the prison industrial complex with thousands of new captives every year.

We are not normally so willing to view the actions of medical associations so cynically, but do not confuse your kindly family practitioner with his or her professional association. Remember that the AMA coined the term “socialized medicine” over half a century ago in its campaign against President Truman’s effort to improve Americans’ access to health care for fear it might cut into its members’ wealth. You don’t get much more cartel-ly than that.

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21 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Back under 300K.

Jobless claims fell by 14,000 to 298,000 in the week ended Aug. 16, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The monthly average of claims, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, rose to 300,750 last week from 296,000.

The number of people on jobless benefit rolls declined by 49,000 to 2.5 million in the week ended Aug. 9. It’s at the lowest level since June 2007, before the last recession began.

In other news, Bloomberg’s “experts” were wrong again.

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15 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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14 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Back over 300K.

Jobless claims climbed by 21,000 to 311,000 in the period ended Aug. 9, the highest in six weeks, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 295,750 from 293,750 in the prior week that was the lowest since 2006. Last week’s average is still well below the 318,700 mean so far this year.

Bloomberg’s “experts” were, predictably, wrong again. I don’t know why they even bother . . . .

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09 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

. . . casts an evil spell in Kansas.

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09 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Take the quiz.

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09 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

“Logic,” said St. RandPaul, “is like a circle.”

Rand Paul:

Via Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog.

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07 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Better–back under 300K.

Jobless claims decreased by 14,000 to 289,000 in the week ended Aug. 2 from 303,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 293,500, the lowest since February 2006, from 297,500 the week before.

In one reassuring development, Bloomberg’s “experts” are back into their rhythm. The predicted an increase.

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Chart showing that the deeply-Republican US South is the poorest part of the country


Click for a larger image.

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31 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Looking up a bit. (The most surprising part of this is in bold.)

Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment insurance benefits over the past month than at any time in more than eight years, signaling employers are hanging on to workers as demand improves.

The four-week average of jobless claims, considered a less volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 297,250, the lowest since April 2006, from 300,750 the prior week. Claims in the period ended July 26 climbed to 302,000, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, from a revised 279,000 the prior week that was the lowest since 2000.

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24 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Under 300k.

Jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 284,000 in the week ended July 19, the fewest since February 2006 and lower than any economist surveyed by Bloomberg forecast, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of jobless claims, considered a less volatile measure than the weekly figure, decreased to 302,000, the lowest since May 2007, from 309,250 in the prior week.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 8,000 to 2.5 million in the week ended July 12, the fewest since June 2007. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.9 percent, today’s report showed. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

None of Bloomberg’s “experts” were even close. I don’t know why they even bother.

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23 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Teddy Roosevelt in 1913 said,

Via Job’s Anger.

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23 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

My local rag has an odd story about research by a local professor which seems to point to a correlation between whether persons “front-in” or “back-in” parking spaces and their economic behavior. A snippet:

China had the highest share of reverse parkers, at 88 percent; the United States was lowest, at less than 6 percent, followed by Brazil, at 17 percent. The U.S. parking data included observations in downtown Norfolk and in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

He then looked at recent economic statistics, such as savings rate and growth in gross domestic product, and found that the more reverse parkers, the more economic success.

For example, of the six countries, China enjoyed the largest annual productivity increase from 2001 to 2011 – 17.8 percent. Virtually tied on the bottom were Brazil (1.3 percent) and the United States (1.5 percent). “Based on the way people park,” Li wrote, “we can gauge their economic performance.”

The link, Li said in an interview last week, is whether a society leans toward instant or delayed gratification. Rear-first parkers, he reasoned, are delayed-gratification types: They take more time to park so they can have a quicker getaway.

Note that he is not claiming causality, merely correlation.

Full Disclosure:

I usually back into parking spaces, but gratification of any sort has little to do with. It’s simple visibility.

If I get caught parked between two honking great SUVs, I’d much rather front out than back out.

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22 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

The Atlantic City casino dream is crashing and, as it crashes, it beggars honest workers.

Casino gambling is a mug’s game. It has always been a mugs’ game, just as the lottery in a mug’s game. The house always wins; the marks always lose. Those who would base their fortune on casino gambling are mugs and losers.

Financing public services by playing a mugs’ game because politicians fear to assess taxes–the price of living in a civilized society, by the way–is a con and a fraud, a mug’s gambit. Like all cons and frauds, it ultimately fails (think Bernie Madoff and Enron). In AC, the con and the fraud is failing big time.

Only the con artists and the fraudsters, who cash in early and get out quickly, benefit, as they play their (you will pardon the expression) Trump cards while leaving the citizenry holding the bag.

Depending on “gambling revenue” to pay for public services is an attempt to take the easy way out of governance.

There is no easy way out of responsibility. The citizenry forgets that at its peril

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17 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

For all practical purposes, no change: Still above 300k.

Jobless claims declined by 3,000 to 302,000 in the week ended July 12, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 79,000 to 2.51 million in the week ended July 5, the fewest since June 2007. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits fell to 1.9 percent from 2 percent, today’s report showed.

Bloomberg is all a-twitter with optimism because it was lower than their experts predicted, forgetting that that is ultimately a meaningless observation.

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15 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

The Gloomy Historian explains how the concept of the “free market” has become a misdirection play. A nugget:

Somewhere along the line, “free market” graduated from the world of abstractions and became an actual thing. By “thing” I mean an entity, something identifiably self-contained, an object in time-space. In reality, “free market” is simply a name we gave to an economy characterized by a reliance on market forces to determine value. But for many people, “free market” is more than a label: it is something concrete—at least that is how they talk about it.

When abstractions are spoken of as real things, we call it reification. Reification is a semantic fallacy, but its use is sometimes necessary when one wants to communicate complex realities with considerably less words. However, a semantic fallacy, if not challenged, can go on to support faulty conceptualizations of reality, especially once it seeps into discourse. The special problem in this case is that the reification complements an ideology, one that rejects the natural and necessary role of the government in the maintenance of the economy

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12 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

What happens when Republican economic theory, created to sound good and bamboozle voters, meets real life? Watch and learn.

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10 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Slightly better:

Jobless claims declined by 11,000 to 304,000 in the week ended July 5, the fewest in more than a month, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, dropped to 311,500 last week from 315,000. . . .

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits rose by 10,000 to 2.58 million in the week ended June 28.

Bloomberg’s headline focuses on the figure’s being lower than “forecast,” conveniently ignoring the execrable record of Bloomberg’s “forecasters.”

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06 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Cenk uses facts (gasp!) and numbers (horrors!) to expose the duplicity.

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