What Steven D. said.

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Lowest since just after President George the Worst started his war on workers.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000, the lowest level since April 2000.

(snip)

The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, dropped 4,250 to 283,500, the lowest level since June 2000.

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13 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

One quality that Playboy and Reader’s Digest share is this: You can pick up an old issue of either and always find something to read.

I did that last week and discovered an excellent article in the June 2012 issue of Playboy by Tim Schultz entitled “These Rogues Of The Dismal Science Have Been Vindicated By The Economic Crash. How Much Longer Can Mainstream Economists Ignore The Heterodox?”

The thumbnail version is this: “Neoclassical” economists, the dominant school these days, believe that persons always act in rational ways* and that, consequently, economic behavior and outcomes can be predicted with the use of computer models. As a result of their touching faith in human rationality, neoclassical economists are constantly getting stuff wrong, such as the string of bubbles we have witnessed in the last three decades.

“Heterodox” economists, very much a minority, believe that human economic behavior is subject human qualities, such as greed, pride, predatory behavior, and so on. In other words, they tend to view economics much more as a social science, akin to sociology or psychology, than as a hard science, similar as physics. (You can guess to which view I am partial.)

I have not found the article available on-line without a subscription, but you can read about it at Alternet. I urge you to do so.

_________________

*Clearly, none of them drive cars or pay attention to the roads.

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09 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Still under 300k.

Jobless claims declined by 1,000 to 287,000 in the week ended Oct. 4, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average for jobless claims dropped last week from 295,000 in the prior period.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 21,000 to 2.38 million in the week ended Sept. 27, the fewest since May 2006. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits that week held at 1.8 percent.

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09 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Five-pointed twits.

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04 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Take the test.

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02 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

A little better.

Jobless claims dropped by 8,000 to 287,000 in the week ended Sept. 27, from a revised 295,000 in the prior period . . . .

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, fell to 294,750 last week from 299,000.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 45,000 to 2.4 million in the week ended Sept. 20, the fewest since June 2006. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits that week held at 1.8 percent.

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Robert Reich spoke in Seattle yesterday and punctured a myth (not that anyone will pay attention):

The rich are not job creators . . . The job creators are not people at the top, but those at the middle and below.

Follow the link for the rest.

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25 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Still under 300k.

First-time jobless claims climbed 12,000 to 293,000 in the week ended Sept. 20, the Labor Department reported today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of applications, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 298,500 from 299,750 in the prior period.

The number of people continuing to receive benefits rose by 7,000 to 2.44 million in the week ended Sept. 13. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent during that period, today’s report showed.

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18 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Under 300k again. The overall trend seems positive.

Jobless claims decreased by 36,000 to 280,000 in the period ended Sept. 13, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, decreased to 299,500 from 304,250 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 63,000 to 2.43 million in the week ended Sept. 6, the lowest since May 2007.

In related news, if Bloomberg’s “experts” offer to help you pick today’s trifecta, run away.

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15 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Tom Tomorrow:  Contrasting right-wing hysteria about ISIS with right-wing denial of climate change.


Click for a larger image.

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11 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Not good, not terrible.

Jobless claims climbed by 11,000 to 315,000 in the week ended Sept. 6, which included the Labor Day holiday, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits rose by 9,000 to 2.49 million in the week ended Aug. 30.

In that same period, the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.9 percent, the report showed.

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Watch the Republican defend starvation wages.

Billy Mays would have been proud.

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04 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

No change for all practical purposes:

Jobless claims rose by 4,000 to 302,000 in the week ended Aug. 30, a Labor Department showed in Washington.

(snip)

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 64,000 to 2.46 million in the week ended Aug. 23, the fewest since June 2007. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.9 percent during that period, today’s report showed.

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03 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Leonard Pitts, Jr., considers whether Republican economic theory is a spell or a curse. A nugget:

But the starkness and sheer preponderance of the numbers are hard to ignore. As of 2010, according to the Census Bureau, Connecticut, which has not awarded its electoral votes to a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, had a per capita income of $56,000, best in the country, while Mississippi, which hasn’t gone Democrat since 1976, came in at under $32,000 – worst in the country. At the very least, stats like these should call into question GOP claims of superior economic policy.

Yet, every election season the party nevertheless makes those claims. It will surely do so again this fall. So it seems fair to ask: Where are the numbers that support the assertion? Why is Texas only middling in terms of per capita income? Why is Mississippi not a roaring engine of economic growth? How are liberal Connecticut and Massachusetts doing so well?

Read the rest.

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31 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Cartoon lampooning bromide that government must be managed like family spending.


Click for a larger image.

Via Job’s Anger.

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28 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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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24 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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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